Painting Kraken!

The Watcher in the Murky Waters.

Lots of colours have dissappeared in these photos... it is a cloudy evening here in the Small Apple - tomorrow, my friend, after I have gone to the bazaar to buy a new mouth-piece for my shisha, I will take new pictures, in'challah!
    Peace be upon you my brothers! Go with Christ bro'!

PS) I should probably try to differentiate the base's colour-scheme from the Watcher's, but I strongly/lazily choose to believe that is beyond my particular set of painting skills...


Finished Watcher in the Water

This guy really should have stayed in the waters, he is not good-looking. But before all that, let me welcome mr Pendragon Without, as is custom with new followers. Followers are scarce and I try to appreciate you/them to an appropriate level, without sounding overly enthusiastic (it might sound fake!). As you all know, since I left Google+ I can no longer comment on 60% of the blogs out there - it seems also impossible to follow most blogs... I do have a running updates list to the right here which I use...
    The Kraken is closing in to completion. I would say it still lacks some "weathering" and sea-roses and perhaps a band of kelp or two (not that lakes typically have those, but for the sake of water-theming... ).
    The model is not fixed on the base yet, so we can say this guy is 96% done. The base is not done either, as I am sure you can tell.

I firmly do believe that I made this creature belivable, in the sense that it might actually come crawling on land, not just for a few meters, but rather kilometers. Remember: There are fish that are known to flop at least 200 meters to another lake for whatever fish-errand they have to run. With that in mind, I think this shrimp is realistic enough. Also happy to avoid the stereotypical "squid as a kraken".

This is how I had to place the model in order to properly attach it's heavy tentacles. In my Eddie Izzard-cup (Cake or death!).

An interesting side-effect, brain-wise, is the simple fact that I realized I needed to finally get the base for my Pelargir Beast ready and done. And how will I go about that business? With an anchor, naturally! Something tying in to coastal areas and salt waters: An anchor! It will be a joy to sculpt!

The Hunter Orcs on wargs are turning out nice enough. The dead models that I mounted on Fenrisian wolves are getting there, albeit slowly... I gave all the Orcs sacks instead of bags because Orcs are lazy or at least very practical - why bother sewing a bag when you can make a simple sack? The sacks I envision are filled with man flesh or other disgusting things - remember, they operate behind enemy lines, sort of some sort of Orcish S.A.S or orchiska fallskärmsjägare. That might be giving them a bit to much credit, but it sounds "kewl", doesn't it? No, it really doesn't...

As is tradition I started a new project before finishing the other one, in order to have a seemless transition between projects, always something stimulating to do. This will hopefully turn into my own version of the Mouth of Sauron. I already made my own (crappy) Hand of Sauron.


Hunter Orcs: Manflesh and a big barby

Barby as in barbie...

Well, not tit-barbie playing tennis, but barbecue:

In the summertime when the weather is fine (finally), I got some cheap spareribs and got the old drink T-röd and some charcoal and got to grilling. The guy fixing our BRF-lawn joined me after I mistakenly got eye-contact with him (being annoyed with his machines trimming our grass) and said a reluctant hello to him when he responded to my aggressive look. Instead of attacking him I invited him to join me.
      A bit awkard considering I prefer to eat alone, but he was a nice enough fellow and he managed to get the job done so... I hope he doesn't gossip about the weird BRF-resident eating just flesh and onions. I love flesh and onions...

My workspace was getting a big clogged, so I have started to finish up some projects.

A small conversion, but a conversion non-the-less. The head is a spare head from the Hunter Orcs on Warg Riders from The Hobbit: The Five Armies are Attacking Each other and this Is a Model from Games Workshop-set. I hope it is a superfluous statement when I state that the warg itself is a shameless resin copy? No need over-feeding the hydra that is Games Workshop...
    After svulling the flesh, I also ate around 0,5 kg of loose candy and received some well earned weight-anxiety and found this after some weight-googling:
Which concordedly got me to ring mr FoB to gossip about it (see below):

With all these pictures and syllables out of the way, I present to you, converted  casualty Hunter Orc models:

With the Rivendell Knight-box we also got some casualties, and perhaps this was some sort of trend? I know not, I only know that WotR/LotR/Hobbit is now an abandoned child of GW...

Here's the actual update... I made some extra gear for these hunters to show that they are outriders rather than regulars, they are more scouts than direct warriors and so need some extra stuff on them to be able to go behind enemy lines. That is also the reason they are lacking shields!

Not sure on these KIA:s though... They are mounted on Fenrisian 40K Wolves, for a bit of change from the old plastic Wargs.


Progress: Kraken

Most likely I will remove the legs in order to sculpt what needs being sculpted on said legs. They are glued to the shrimp at the moment to get the right angles and positions against the polystyrene-rock it will stand on.

Frontlegs are made out of sprue parts and some toxicrene parts. I modeled them after some sort of big shrimp, not entirely sure of the name.

It's hind-legs are inspired by the small little legs that crabs are equipped with on their sides.

Attaching the hind-legs, and below, after I left it to dry over night, I started attaching the front-legs.

You can sort of get an idea of how it will look with the giant tentacles.

Face of the creature is ammonoidish, and hence I kept it, it goes well with the theme of crustacean/squid - a water creature that doesn't exist but could very well do. That is also the reason I will not trim down the tentacles more than I have - it will be front heavy, but that is how I want it... if is after all mainly a water-creature...

The tentacles will (obviously) be attached between the mini-trunks/face and the first front-leg. More detailing than I thought was necessary has now showed to be an inevitable item on the to-do-list. I hope your weekend was a good one, good night one and all!


Kraken - Watcher in the Water

I will go against my normal way of looking at things and just call this a scratch build - it just isn't a conversion nor is it a kitbash, because I intend to sculpt more than 33% of the model myself, and as the law of Wargaming tells us, this means I can justify call this a scratchbuild.

Warhammer 40 000-players may recognize this magnificent bastard as a Tyranid Toxicrene. This particular bastard I ordered from a mailorder company here in Sweden that used to give great service... not everything stays the same, as most of us by now have understood or experienced, nevertheless I was surprised with their customer service, so that was the last purchase until the company gets handed over to another owner, as it tends to happen.
    That BS aside, I intended to make an Angband Beast (my secret project!) using parts of this model, and when it arrived, I could confirm that the kit would also be viable for the other project I had in mind: Kraken!

The Toxicrene's weird arms will be used as squiddy tentacles. It's cut-off knife-protrusions may serve as backwards "feet".

This is sort of how it will look: A mixture of a shrimp, a squid and something else, though I can't remember the word for the thing right now... What was it... yes, now I remember: A penis! No, just kidding, it is a water-living creature that I am thinking of. Doesn't matter, what does matter though is that I find Games Workshop's design of the Watcher in the Water very creative - not that I like it especially much, it is after all a water creature and IMO these things tend to be boring/frightening/disgusting - and I am amazed on their choice of design, it seems to me as most people making fan-art and models of Tolkien's Watcher in the Water have all gone with the squid-design, just as I would have, if GW hadn't done their shrimp. Good on you GW and thank you for the inspiration!
     Thank you mr Scott B. for your pictures of the Watcher in the Water, I have used those to get inspiration and see the creature from other angles.


The Hobby: 10 years later

After deciding it was time to let the Swan Sky Chariot take a well earned rest, I took the time to think of what I have been doing within the confines of this hobby of ours, and how I have developed. A short look at the now retired Dragon of Ancient Times - which I at the time (2008) was very proud of - made me think: Have I always been shit at painting, converting and sculpting? Even cleaning mouldlines seemed to have been beyond my skills at a certain time.
    So, I took the time to take a picture of all the recent sculpts/heavy conversions (from after 2008-2009) and am now publishing these projects. I am doing this for two reasons:

1) For my own sake, to get a morale boost, to see that I have actually progressed or at least developed my patience (the best way to sculpt or convert an acceptable-to-good model is to have patience, I have noticed - talent can go to flipp-offetiy-land!).
2) For your sake: Many times, I have noticed, I have posted a tonne of progress-pictures and by the time the darn thing is done I am bored with it and never posted the actual, finished model. Some of these have never been posted, so I suppose this is my magic gift to you this weekend...

Here goes, the biggest update in the history of jaows.blogspot.com.

We begin with Angmar. Instead of Gulavhar, I made my own Angmar demon, with similar rules but placed on a 40mm base... which is a very good thing to have, since it allows him to get in between you ghostly formations much easier.
    The model consists of a WHFB Bloodletter (gayest name ever) and a pair of homemade wings. My gratitude goes to mr FoB on this one, because this was the first time I managed to sculpt a somewhat anatomically correct pair of wings. Wings are basically weird hands with super long fingers.

After perusing the shitpage Warseer I found a Warhammer-unit called Death Cart or something. Greatly inspired I made my own version, called the Plague Cart and built it around a M.E.R.P. module with a certain character called Celgor Death-hand in it. Celgor can be seen after the cart. The paintjob on that model really isn't the best...

These Werewolves - another formation from Angmar that lacks models - got some good critique on a Polish forum. They are made of another batch of WHFB Bloodletters. When I finally got over it and bought a box of Bloodletters I realized what the WHFB:ers had been talking about: Our LotR-sprues really are simple.
    A lot of bad things can be said about the childish nature of WHFB, but their sprues are very useful!
    Today, I can honestly say that I am still kind of satisfied with these models, despite their giant heads. Notice the Mantic Ghoul that is turning into a Werewolf as we speak!

Celgor Death-hand (hence the invisible hand)

Arnor and Dale

I am a very self-reliant man - very self-trusting - and hence, other people's ideas and thoughts matter very little to me, but still, sometimes I am not sure, and I got some very positive feedback on these, which surprised me. It seems my own ideas of what looks nice or  not differs a lot from other peoples' ideas. In this case it was positive.

This bear was sculpted before the movie came out, IIRC. This is of course Beorn in bearform. I based the basic shape of the giant bear from the game Battle of Five Armies (that, if I am not mistaken, uses the rules for Warmaster).

Blue eyes...

A new version of Beruthiel is planned. Actually, two new models: One spectral version and one totally normal. This version is a mixture of both and as such accomplishes neither. Her command group looks nice enough though. Her banner is the only banner I have ever spent more than 5 minutes painting. 
     Remember: Mr Llama is all about tabletop quality, and nothing else!

The models above are made from Perry Miniatures Mahdist Ansar. Another great use for these figures. Not depicted are the Mahûd conversions (four trays!). These guys' bases are really not the best and I have every intention to fix this.

The banner bearer and captain (second from right) were amongst the earliest conversion I ever made. All these Harad conversions are very lackluster but serve their purpose. I have learnt a lot from them.

Rhûn (and Khand)

Not sure why I posted these Dragon Knights; they are obviously not painted the normal [low] standard, but I let it go. The banner is basically just a sketch... Despite this project turning out super boring, it was initally one the most exciting projects ever started. Perhaps it had to do with my personal situation at the time (home- and jobless!)

These two trays are amongst the most conversion-dense trays I own: Two DIY-captains, a converted Amdur, two converted archers -> Banner Bearers, a War Lion + handler, and a War Priest and a drummer...

Another very basic conversion (the banner was manhandled and broke off a year or two ago, but I haven't been bothered with fixing this) that I thought deserved a place here: The whole model is an actual resin copy I have shamelessly (if that's a word) cast and GS:ed.

These guys were very enjoyable to make. Take a look at the original Khemrian Warspynx and you'll see I have actually managed to de-WHFB-ify them! Also, I got two models from one box!

As is common in my hobby world, this model is not fully done yet (not to mention the base!): The crew lacks a few colours and their shields hasn't been attached yet. Still, the model is tabletop-ready. All the crew are magnetized. Another step forward in my skill-set: Learning to magnetize!

These four Khandish Charioteers are actually very early projects. Mr FoB and I did one each - for Rohan - in 2005 or 2006 when we had a little hobby meeting. I am still very proud of the wheels made by some thin slices of electro-cable-protection tubing. These have been renovated in three different stages as I have upped my tolerance for shitty models (or lowered, depending on how you see on these kinds of things). They are tolerable as of now, but still leave a lot to be wished for quality wise.

The Crazy King of Rhûn was really fun to make, and he looks a lot better in person - daylight made him and his faux-flying carpet look a bit crappy....

With Rhûn (and Khand) out of the way, we continue with:


Rohan is vanilla in it's essence and as such does not work very well with conversions. Nevertheless, the cheapskate within me made me buy one (1) Rohan Royal Guard for 120 SEK and three Perry Miniatures Mounted-Horse-riders for 80 SEK (Perry Miniatures's prices are very, very good!) and voila, these two trays were made.

In the rules for War of the Ring, there is one and only one formation with a shoot value of 2+ and that is the Rohan Outriders (for fluff reasons I have worsened that value to 3+ in my rules project). The models for said formation are all in metal, well, were, today I am not sure you can even buy them. So, I got a cheap box of Rohirrim for 160 SEK (about three fiddy dollars) and converted them ever so slightly to get the best conversion ever made: Behold the four formations of cheap Rohan "FTW" Outriders, as the keedz say.

Dwarf Holds
Super nice models: Grim Hammers. But super bad price. Enter unit fillers and conversions, and you'll get this result. Quite pleased.

This is the first project I ever felt really satisfied with, and I remember it got some positive feedback on a forum, which actually helped me going forward. I have a sketch for version two, but that won't happen within the end of 2019.

The Dwarves from the Hobbit. I made a special tray for them - not really sure how to convert their rules into usable War of the Rings-rules, but I am leaning toward something like the rules for The Fellowship (meaning that you lose a special rule depending on the model you remove from play after a kill).
    At the time of making this supertray I had not yet mastered base-painting and as such, the tray looks flat because, frankly, it is kind of flat...


In the Rivendell Knights' box comes one extra rider in two halves, IIRC, and this extra rider I used to make two new riders to get four full companies. Today, still, I am very happy with walking that extra mile: Four full companies of winning against mr FoB - if he takes the challenge that is...

This chariot needs a lot of love in the paint department, but I still can't fault the idea. No rules have been made, this is purely a decorative monster formation. The horses are from Tom "The Master Sculptor and Bater" Meier.

Ironically enough is the fact that the bow is made out of a Warhammer High Elf Longbow. Warhammer has ridiculous hands, heads and weapons and it makes me sick to my poor head thinking of all the potential that GW shits away due to humanity lacking any class at all...

Lantiroch, Sindarin for something along the lines of "White Water Force", if I remember somewhat correctly. This is a spawned unit that dissappears after a few combat rounds. Never used in battle and I have lost the rules. I will rewrite the rules and put them into my rules project if there is any interest in such a magical spawn.

Gandalf's Cart & Istari!

My absolute favourite project. Everything except the horse is homemade. A lot of the stuff on the horse is DIY as well, come to think of it.

This uninspired tray for the White Council I made just a few weeks ago for the simple reason it was on my to-do-list. The reason it is featured in this post is naturally because both Saruman and Gandalf are totally homemade/home-sculpted. Those guys I made 2014 and I think they marked another era in my hobby: Finally I am starting to get the hang of sculpting! Granted, Saruman is on his second or third head because the previous version looked like shit...

As you probably guessed by the number of pictures here, I am pleased with this formation. The two blue wizards, Alatar and Pallando, are very basic conversions made from a Perry Miniatures Christian Priest and a Perry Miniatures Persian Nafta Warrior, IIRC. There are a lot of symbolism going on on this tray.

Radagast really needs to be mounted on a 120 mm base, but I can't bring myself to mount such a small model on such a big base - the 120mm base is, IMO, reserved for big monsters and creatures, so I made this very special base for this OtT-model. It looks nice I have got some pretty decent feedback from the Polacks :D

The Avenger Bolt Throwers were the second compund-material project I did, after the Rohan Chariots (which turned into Khandish Charioteers). They still work, I think. The crew is very badly painted first gen. models that mr FoB and I bought together.

Even if the Carroccio for Gondor - Cart of Everliving Flame - is not really "popping", I very much like this model, because it - for me - feels very original, despite it's obvious cultural references. It "should not" fit very well into Middle-Earth but it does! I like it.

As is with the rest of the homemade models in this post, the CoEF is not yet 100% done and needs some bits and bobs to look like it should.

Some converted KoMT:s (Knights of Minas Tirith, for you n00bs) that I figure deserve a place in this post. Notice the converted Easterling Kataphract.

Couldn't be bother with the rest of the DIY:s and conversions for Gondor, so look carefully if you care, and find some interesting projects in this picture...

The Pelargir Beast is the most fun I have ever had sculpting. My fuck was it enjoyable to make this little bugger. It is a hefty model that weighs in at 320 grammes. Totally unusable for wargaming (it is difficult to motivate it's existance in a Gondor army fluff-wise), it merely has a decorative purpose.


This guy is responsible for circa 30% of all my traffic to the blog: The Great Beast of Gorgoroth. It has gotten some pretty sweet attention over at a Polish and Spanish board, which is very satisfying, despite me being impervous to C&C... a bit of a logical divergence there, but there you have it...

Azog is basically sculpted from scratch with the exception of his head which comes from a Hordes/Warmachine-model (ugly model that deserves to melt in Mount Doom).

Hunter Orcs. Some of the conversions are made out of Perry Miniatures Men at Arms with WHFB Daemonette-heads! I just bought a box of Hunter Orcs on Wargs and got a bunch of extra heads, so that is an upcoming project....

Mordor Orc conversions...

Some basic Mordor Orc conversions, both command and rank-and-file. I remember feeling like a true UKRocky when doing these conversions. Today I am not impressed.

Some Mordor Orc conversions made from Perry Miniatures Men at Arms and some GW Mordor Orcs - Orc Archers aren't that common on the sprues, so hence these seven or so guys.

Upon completion of the Avenger Bolt Throwers I made these two Mordor Siege Bows. They still hold their place, I think... The crew is just basic Orc Warriors and I suppose I could make some better models for these two trays, but I can't be flocked.

Mordor Troll Drummer, followed by Mordor Trolls and a Mordor Troll Chieftain. These guys need some serious GS-work and repainting, but as always: They are far from perfect, but acceptable tabletop standard.

Upon the release of The Hobbit III/3: The Battle of Five Amies, a bunch of pretty decent pictures of The Nine was presented to us. With these images in my mind I am planning the next generation of "The Nine are Abroad". All these nine models are made basically from scratch and still today I am surprised of their acceptable quality! Their paintjobs leave a lot to wish for, but thankfully The Nine are more or less black...

I left these two Isengard formations to last since they are the simplest but still today the two formations I am probably most pleased with. Simple weapons- and shields-swaps made them perfect for Isengard.

Elven Woods

Can't end this post without the neverending project Edheldu: In this project you will find the most time-consuming sideprojects of my hobby... it is a telltale sign of how bored I have gotten with this project that I can't even manage to take individual pictures of each interesting project, but instead settle for this low-res image.

I hope you enjoyed these pictures and perhaps even got some inspiration to make your own weird formation for LotR: SBG or WotR! This post took 2,5 hours to make, so read it and feel blessed by Illuvatar.