Collector's Guide, circa 2005

Could not be bothered with the exact date on this publication, but it should be old and venerable enough to lure some readers into reading and subscribing to my blog. I do not make any money on subscribers, but I find it somewhat satisfying that people want to read my posts, so there's your reason.

But let us continue with this publication by GeeDubb and also NLC, for some reason. I suppose those thousands of hours put into costume design rendered at least a mention in GeeDubb's publication...

Gandalf. He has around 56-57 different poses. Gotta catch 'em all. Gandalf is a nice model and very much the wizard, so I guess it is okay. Gandalf in/on Cart (not sure on the correct English grammar there, please enlighten me, Anglicans) is a superb model that I do not own, but made my own instead. I would really like to get my hands on the "Gandalf looking confused on a Brown horse", but alas, it seems to be totally impossible to locate.
Hobbits... too many to count. The most boring in SBG, but very interesting in the books. Don't you miss these days? Every week there was a new, exciting release... even if it was a boring white metal hobbit...

I find it highly encouraging that the converted troll above got a place in a official collector's guide now that I honestly believe I can finally do better! To toot my own horn and whatnot... Painting-wise, not really, but maybe one day I get there.
To be honest, the elven chariot is kind of a lazy conversion. Still, it was the sole reason why I made my Rivendell Chariot.

Inspiring terrain indeed - another example of how discouraging these pages were at the time, I thought it nigh impossible to ever recreate such perfection.
Apparently, this fallen mûmak was a special store-thingie-model that never was released to the public. It would not be that hard to make a conversion if you had a mûmak to spare... Still not worth it. I remember reading somewhere that this model was made out of polyurethane.
    The Mordor Troll on the same page was a wonder of painting-perfection when I first saw it, and still is. Painting miniatures is not that easy...

This is the single most inspiring picture I have ever experienced. When I first saw this I thought that the man that had made this must be a genius or at least an Aspergers-extraordinaire. Today, I find that while I cannot paint or convert as well as this Golden Demon-winner, I have at least a slight chance of pulling off something somewhat similar! Development and growth - it is satisfying.
To end this, I would like you to take a look at these expensive metal Haradrim Raiders. These were the only available models if you wanted to make a mounted Haradrim force. The time of metal has ended, the time of plastics is here.


Tolkien - a dictionary, and a ½&½ troll

This was inside the package I got. The sender, Joshua (sorry for always losing the "u" in your name, it says so in one of your contact-thingies, so... that is my excuse), had also enclosed a nifty little envelope which I read with interest and joy. Sometimes this hobby brings you joy rather than headache.

A little miscalculation on my behalf when making dinner made me take an involuntiraly "rest" in the "restroom", and later I semi-collapsed in my bed. After a while I got better but was still weak, so I spent a few hours reading and getting inspired.
     Do you remember in the early days of our hobby? How inspiring and new everything was? Always something new, new players and the hobby was growing... ? Honestly though, today's state of our hobby is fine with me, it means it can be more personalized towards me. I can bend and break rules however I want, and it will be my Middle-Earth.
Get off my lawn, bloody elves!

After a little nudge on behalf of a commenter (J. again), I did not throw away the failed troll, but instead dug up one of the older trolls, made nearly purely of Super Sculpey, and cut him in half. I did the same to the troll I was about to throw in the bin, and attached the somewhat skinnier top half on the sturdy "official" Mordor troll-legs. 
    You can see how the hands are somewhat primitive, which depends on two simple reasons:

1) They are made in Super Sculpey.
2) I have gotten better at sculpting, or rather, I have finally understood the point of patience, and keep going even if it is "good enough".

The old troll, which was just left in a box of unfinished or scrapped projects.

See the size difference between the two parts... ?

It looks as if he is about to take off like Superman.
     That's all he wrote. Since I am now officially unemployed I am off to a fika in the middle of the day.

TLDR for all you reading-impaired half humans? In this post I made two and half and half troll-men (see pictures for less information):

 TLDR on the TLDR? Winning! So kewl määän


Finished Ent #3

The first ent I did was completed many moons ago. It is small, has been rebased twice and is painted with cheap "artist's" acrylics. Additionally, I followed the canon and made him very rigid and almost lumbering (pun perhaps intended). The result? At the time I was very pleased. Today I might even consider it ready for the "too-attached-to-throw-away"-box.
    A few years later, 2015 came, and I made the Birch-Ent. At the time of it's completion, I was very pleased. Today? Not so sure.
    So, a few weeks later, 2015 was still the year, and I finished ent number three. At the time of completion, today, I am quite pleased, and I hope the future recipient (yes, Josha, I am talking about you!) will excuse me for spoiling the surprise - or, you could always come back tomorrow when this update is hidden behind something new...

Spoiler alert...

So, the finished, square based ent, because some people just go their own way.

We can start with a size comparison. This new ent is considerably smaller, or rather, ent number two was oversized.

It's headgear (in the form of branches) was made slightly less messy in case one would like to remove them, for whatever reason, be it mould making or whatever. Also, it would be very easy to attach more branches and details if one would like.
    One may notice that I've used plastic pieces in some places.

The model's inner core is iron wire with aluminium foil wrapped around (for the first layer of Super Sculpey to get a better grip) and Super Sculpey. The outer part consists of two additional layers of Super Sculpey, baked consecutively. Small details are made out of plastic, iron wire, green stuff and perhaps some yellow stuff if I am not mistaken.
    If one would like to detach a part, let say an arm, I would use a hobby razor-saw, use mild violence and be mindful of the iron-wire core (it is easy to cut through, but strong enough to keep the model intact).
Whilst the arms have slightly arced lines, as do the neck and the body (to signal that that this is a slightly younger, more flexible and aggressive ent), this is all in all a very restrained design I think...

... with the obvious exception of his legs, that is clearly flexible and strained like a young tree in heavy wind. I think I captured the feeling I wanted to with this design. I am rather pleased to say it myself, and I tend not to be that with most projects.
    Some minor things are still left to do, but the majority of the model can be considered done. And better still,  I had some actual, homemade fun when sculpting it!
    Have a nice weekend good people and hobbyists and good hobbyists and bad people.


Discarded Projects

Another non-eventful update. I am still chipping away at a certain project and let it take the time it needs. Inbetween I am trying to get in shape, secure an income (80% there, it actually looks promising, peppar, peppar), learn another language (it has a different alphabeth than the Latin we use here, so it fucking difficult. FUCKing DIFFicult!), practice my gun-toting skills and write, write, write. Correspondence with some Ausländers takes some time also - I have a friend in Middle East that wants to take his wife to Sweden. Oh, the irony... He is very persistant and nowadays, with all available channels of communication, let us just say it is getting a bit old.
    All in all, upcoming days will despite this be quite lazy and I will try to use them in a more focused way: Writing and physical training. Those two tend to work very well together.

In an effort to pick up the pace in the hobby-part of my life, I have discarded these projects:

The old Sand Wyrm, which I renovated but then never bothered to repaint, will be placed in my special "too attached to throw away"-sentimental box, but the unfinished Stone Guardian, Ice Wyrm and Mouth of Sauron (very basic start) will all be stripped of useful parts and put in the bin.
    My analysis of why they did not worked out is simple: I had not made sufficient plans for them. Always make plans, sketch the model-to-be from various angles and have lots of details ready.

This smug, green-faced Persian is missing a grey beard and a hat with some nice Persian, slick-rick hair.

Additionally, he needs a pair of ug-boots to traverse the treacherous sand dunes.

Mr egg-head. Don't mind the weird back, it is staged and ready for a cloak or mantle.


What's this...

... a raaanger caught off his guard?

Inbetween some good news and mildly annoying stuff (problems with a paycheck, that I have been waiting for since September!), I also had a very pleasant surprise! I got the little reciept in my mailbox downstairs and thought nothing of it the first minute, but then I remembered: Mr Josha had casually mentioned "something" about "something". 
       The big question is though: Wait until Christmas, wait until Lucia (13th December) or wait until 1th of Advent... I have already tugged a bit at the corner, but corrected my behaviour.
     :D to you mr J.!

Before collecting said package, I went out on a run. The goal was two kilometers under 11 minutes. I failed, coming in at 14 minutes, but I looked nice doing it, dressed in tight runners outfit, my fake Iphone in my hand etc - a lot like this camouflaged steam train:

Which of course is nothing but a fancy, slow steam train.
     As soon as other joggers (the noun in femininum, mind you) had passed, I stopped and hid behind a pine, let out steam in form of condensation from my mouth, breathing heavily and then walked briskly until I could breath normally again. I did this multiple times. The whole affair was a Potemkin village of a jog (see below for illustration).

By the by, as they say... this is something I recommend everyone doing in these upcoming gluttonous months to add some insult to your coworker's fat (injured) bums: Dress up these tiny little brüsselsprouts as candy and whatch them cry.
    I had such a co-worker at my old job (I have mentioned this workplace multiple times, "The Brain" I called my department). Whenever candy, cake, biscuits, lucia-breads, cinnamon rolls or sandwich-cake was on the table for our shift (around 60-70 people), this moon-sized satellite was by no apparent means of himself (well... ) drawn into the gravity field of the treats-table, and for some reason left inconspicously two minutes later with a filled stomach, filled hands and(!) a little food box filled for the later breaks!
   Should have tried this ruse, watched his reaction. Sugar truly is a drug, and I have actually some compassion for his behaviour. Not sure why I even mentioned this... ooor.... maybe it is because we are reminded EVERY day of the equivalent of emotional-addicts, these traitors that rule our country:

As you all know, Sweden is now broken. It is but a mere shadow of it's former self. Violence is abundant, free for everyone and our borders are open. Rapes are nearly as common as in Lesotho, murder is there for everyone to see and robbings have increased with a mild 3000% since when Sweden was homogenous. I have personally witnessed enough BS for a lifetime.
      What did these ladies above do when there was an important meeting with regards to our failing state? Well, the "smartest, bestest [sic] girl-gang" was drinking bag-in-box wine and had a grrrls night in, in some nice, expensive, segregated apartment in Stockholm. Why are these ladies even allowed to vote? Let alone run a country?

It is not music to my ears to listen to the state-run radio, the ladies received barely any critique for their natural behaviour. And rightly so, who can fault an animal abuser when he puts cray fish in a cat's ear? It is his or hers natural behaviour. Right?

This post might have derailed slightly, but what I was going to say is that all is well. I have been listing all the possible models one could create from the hobbitual movies and also the other models that might be interesting to make. With the extended versions available (thank you mr FoB of Flower of Battle) we could find a number of weird things to add. Peter Jackson doesn't know when to stop, does he? I like it, too numb by his assault on my good-taste-buds - or rather it is more in the lines of Stockholm syndrome.

Since a lot of people have already started to forget this, I added this picture. It might not be in the best of taste on a hobby blog, but reality creeps up on us - often times when we try to escape it or even forget about it.


Sculpting man-sized 28mm model...

... finally from scratch, truly from the beginning. To get the proportions somewhat okay, I have been cheating by copying a civilian Arab from Perry Brothers. His head will be slightly smaller than the model I am sort-of copying to fit better in with the LotR-range.

Also, if you like the Hobbit dwarves, read this from thefellowshipoftheminiatures.blogspot: I asked [the Perry brothers] about the Hobbit range and the battle of the five armies and they told me that they sculpted a whole dwarf range. So the miniatures exist, but will GW ever release them?


Sunken chest... I noticed it just now, when looking at these pictures. Perhaps I will fix it, maybe not...

What do I spy in the background with my little eye? Something suitably tree-like, almost like a Christmas ent? One can never be sure, in times like these...

No, it is not the right head. I feel it is a bit too "cartoony"... hmmm... if I were to remove the buck teeth, the potato nose, and perhaps resculpt the jawline and perhaps add some sort of beard, hair and then remove the whole head and make a real one? (yes, this is a head I made "jokingly")

Short one today, I am off to a late boardgame night.


Undead in Middle Earth

I have been listening to Somei Satoh's Birds in Warped Time, with Anne Akiko violating it (ba-dum-dish). I believe it is a concerto. Not sure if it is defined as a concerto, but I am going to define it as such. Regardless of violations and concertos just remember this: The music is only as sad as the listener. 
    Also, I mention this because this little article is about definitions, and more importantly about taste and opinions, so take it as that, nothing more, nothing less.

Undead in Middle-Earth is the topic of today, Sunday, the day of Solen, a holy day for Christianity, and what better topic than it's complete opposite: The undead - dun-dun-duuuuun! In many games and fantasy worlds the undead can be fought with more or less Christian paraphernilia, such as holy water, crosses, priests and garlic (well).

Copyright can be found if you click the image.

The enemy is often a vampire, the most sentient undead (in some fantasy worlds, the vampire is barely undead) as well as often times the most powerful individual in the story. They have been given more varying properties over the years than even zombies, and that is saying a lot since zombies are like the undead equivalent of Smiths of England, Svenssons of Sweden or Khans of Pakistan or Singhs of India

... or Changs of China.

Without staring us blind on the ever-boring zombie theme that has been rampant these latest 10 or 20 years, I would like to give my view on the three basic types of undead and why they actually often are segregated from each other in a book, assuming that the story had somewhat of a restrained style of writing. I will also try to argue why undead in Middle-Earth is something that should rightly be treated with delicate hands. Why, I hear you ask over the series of tubes... I will try to answer that, but first, we need to define the three types:

1) Walking dead: Moving fleshy dead beasts. These may be constructed by several different parts - Warhammer has a lot of these disgusting ideas - or may very well be a single zombie. Your typical animated, undead monster from modern games such as the Abomination from Warcraft III or any other high fantasy schlok-game such as that. Smelly, disgusting.

2) Skeletons: Boiled clean bone-constructs and "natural" skeletons.

3) Spirits of the dead. I think we can crowbar vampires in here, they typically are not mindless beasts. Whilst ghost may appear mindless in many RPG:s, books and stories, they are generally, culturally accepted as being "spirits". Wraiths of Lord of the Rings are the prime example here.

In Middle-Earth, all the famous undead are, as we say in scientific circuits, number 3 undead, AKA Spirits, and I have yet to read something from Tolkien about walking skeletons or undead constructs. I am sure there are mentions of such things, just like werewolves, ogres and fastitocalons are, but that is just about it when it comes to these two, most disgusting parts of the undead-world we have built up in the Western world* and which was a tradition Tolkien undoubtedly was a part of, or rather partially created!

I think it is in part because Tolkien had style that he steered away from such things (just go with it, there are actually thousands of other reasons, but just go with it). There just is something tasteless with most of these undead ideas, walking, rotting corpses, skeletons and other decaying monsters. Spirits on the other hand might seem more grown up, less silly, not only because they are purer in the most basic sense, but also because they can often be reasoned with or their terrorizing skills are beyond shock and gory violence. Spirits can be perceived as more "noble" than twenty zombies tearing humans apart for our "enjoyment". How well would Twilight work if the protagonists weren't sexy children (mentally) of type 3 undead, and instead were a type 1 undead, a suffering, middle-aged man, slowly rotting away.

All these moving corpses, disrespectful treatment of the dead and all that other degenerate stuff was not something Tolkien ever bothered to delve into, just as he kept the descriptions of the orcish filth, most of their language (and very likely unmannered behaviour in many aspects) mostly out of the books because it was not needed. It was already set that the orcs were bad, not necessarily evil, and we need not have to endure such filth - the books was ultimately not about the orcs but about something wholly different. Just as I do not have to explain further on the properties of the Swedish equivalent of "chavs", the word is there to generally encompass all sorts of nasty behaviour.

Where does this come into play on a blog of War of the Ring then? I have big plans for my Angmar army. I need to be wary of how I implement these fallen, ghouls, plague carts and perhaps a future undead construct. I build a story around the M.E.R.P. character Celgor Darkhand which was an emissary of Sauron, and extrapolate on his mission and agenda, and try to make it believable that he is spreading plague and raising dead. But! I will try to avoid mixing in spirits in this kökkenmödding - and what for? In the Angmar army list there are Ghostly Legions, Spectres and werewolves - it is already a mess, what can be disturbed? Well, the list is fine in itself actually, the creatures are all based on canon, but the problems arrive when a person such as myself starts to add other types of undead. It just becomes generic, boring and foul mainstream undead.

The charm (see picture above for a living embodiment of the word "charm") with Tolkien's world is that it shows a remarkable restraint in such a rich world! To dishonour that legacy with mixing orcs, goblins, wargs, zombies, ghosts and spectres is not something I would like to do. We end up with a generic high-fantasy boy world if we do - the whole shabang goes vulgar.

The current Angmar list of War of the Ring is the closest we come to an undead list - and I am aware that there are/were a unit type in the Hobbit: SBG called undead, but we shall leave that for now - and it is natural to expand on that list if you want to have very "evocative" models in your WotR-army, for example a Warcraft III-abomination.

I would however just want to end with this warning: If doing so, try to at least remove the living models out of it - goblins may be ugly, but fighting alongside dead humans may probably not be their thing. What I am getting at: If you really, really must mix a number 3 undead themed army with number 1 or 2, at least avoid the living. I can imagine a living, sentient creatue being able to work alongside weird, spooky wraiths that hiss orders every now and then. I can also imagine an orc being able to at least endure sharing a fort with a necromancer's shambling corpses, but enduring both of these for most of his career? No, keep within the theme, and separate undead and living. And even better, try not to do what I do and mix the rotting, smelling undead with the cleaner wraiths and spirits!

That was all I had to say on the matter. Happy Sol-dag.

*) Japan, for example, has a very different set of undead, often mixed in with their verson of demons.
**) Whatever encompasses the word "spirit" really means, as it is the ephitomy of our human fantasy and has been for thousands of years: It is such a well-known word or term, that most of the nine billion people on Earth know about but nearly no one have proven to me they are nothing but a walking piece of flesh.


Mowember and Mosswember!

Yeah, that is not my normal beard... it is some weird lichen, and do not worry that I look like a 60 year old biker, the light was not especially kind to my 35-ish year old face - I look quite alright normally, but the cold and damp made me look like a frozen egg with hints of aids in it. Also, don't do drugs kids (or sugar, rather... ).

I can honestly attract 10's! Don't mind the lichen growing out of my face!!!

After I had removed the lichen from my face I promptly placed it my hobby compartment. Colouring plans have been made for them (to use on my fastitocalon - I will fix the hind legs and add a lot of seaweed on it's shell-rims). It was actually a joke. My face is not made up of lichen and moss. Who would have thought!?

According to my release schedule, November will see the birth of my Red Wizard, the un-canonical 6th maiar. He will be looking suitably Persian (as all lazy fantasy-idiots, I also just plainly steal designs from Earth's cultures).

I am not entirely sure I will move forward with my Frost Wyrm, but one thing is sure: I have scrapped my old Sand Wyrm, because he just did not look right.

 Warhammer Forty Gay-bits!!! Lololol!

To mr FoB: I could not find the link I was talking about, so here's another one, that is entirely different from the one I was talking about...

    Speaking of misses and failed endevours: The best laid plans of mice and men...

Here are the plans for a new ent (for a certain blogger) and a new Stone Guardian AKA Púkelman that I made... very sketchy plans, but still...

The Ent is going alright, but the Stone Guardian is not progressing within expected parameters or whatever you call it... He is a tit-beast, a swollen basement dweller with a melted face!
     I should have made him out of polystyrene, just as his father was...

Lastly, any of you having any communications with me via my mail-address, you may notice that I haven't been especially good at reciprocating your emails, that is because I am getting a lot of emails these days (for reasons beyond hobbying, would you believe it!), but I will eventually get back at you!
     So, remember:

Try to mentally remove the stupid woman in the picture above, she is not lacking any communications... Bad picture, but a good message.