The Eriador Project Continues

For the first week in a while, I wasn’t able to get my usual weekend update done on time but work being a bit of a drag last week was part of that and I was working on some ambitious new stuff including some bigger and hopefully better tree pieces!  I’m pretty happy with both of the tree stands you see below.  A simple continuation of what’s been done before but on a larger and more impressive scale.

Eriador Tree Terrain Hobbit Strategy Battle Game Games Workshop

The one issue I am running into and am starting to regret is using pure tufts for ground cover.  These two larger pieces caused me go through a fair amount of tufts and I’m quickly realizing that this is going to get expensive for me as I continue to build terrain.  I’m not too upset about it but I’m learning some lessons that I will apply to future boards for sure.  I think I also need to not use tufts, especially 4mm tall ones, so frequently as minis have some trouble sitting on top of grass that tall comfortably which could make gaming and taking pictures an interesting challenge in the near future.

Hunter Orc on Fell Warg Hobbit Strategy Battle Game Games Workshop

Speaking of gaming, I got another Hunter Orc on Fell Warg done.  That brings me to five done and seven left to be completed.  Every time I paint one of these guys, I start off on the warg and make great progress and then the orc really slows me down and I get tired of painting it by the end.  I think they look great, especially the last couple I’ve done but it is hard to knock them out very quickly which makes playing these Unexpected Journey scenarios any time in the near future seem difficult.

Hunter Orc on Fell Warg Hobbit Strategy Battle Game Games Workshop

Speaking of playing, I was thinking about playing Roast Mutton soon as I felt like eight trees and a couple of hills would be enough to give decent coverage on a 4×4 board but I laid it all out while taking pictures and felt that the board was not quite there.  That is a real bummer as it has been forever since I’ve played and to be honest, I need a break from making terrain and from painting Hunter Orcs which means it will be that much longer until I get a game in.  I may bite the bullet and just play on a slightly bare board since I should have time to do so next weekend and I also know that Roast Mutton is a bit of a stinker in terms of game balance.  There are multiple versions of rules for it and I know I’m going to have to houserule it to make it decent so maybe it is okay to play on a board that looks good but not as great as it eventually will?  It will make it that much interesting for all of you to read, right?  Right?  I’m trying to justify it but the perfectionist side of me is also trying to shut it down.  We’ll see which side wins out!

Speaking of perfectionist, I’m starting to think about and obsess over my Shire board which will be what I work on after or alongside the remaining An Unexpected Journey stuff for variety’s sake.  I want to take everything I’m learning and make it perfect or as perfect as possible.  In my mind, it will be like a diorama which tons of detail and character.  Time will probably prohibit that quite a bit and my skills will probably let me down but that is the intention.  I think the only way I can do that is if I build a full-on board instead of a battle mat.  That is a problem in that I live in Chicago in an apartment that is already bursting out of its seams so I’m not sure how I’ll pull it off when that time finally comes.  Regardless, I’m painting some minis I will need and starting to make mental plans for those scenarios.  I think and hope it is going to be really fun and I hope many of you will stick with me for that voyage!

16 thoughts on “The Eriador Project Continues

  1. The tree stands look pretty good so far, but I certainly understand the issue that tufts can cause for model balance – especially with so many figures being plastic which weighs nothing! I tend to stick my tufts around the edges of terrain features, in and around the edges of rocks, rubble, trees, etc. I think some mid-tone static flock would work well, to give you that same “tuft” type appearance of sporadic colour, while making it easier for models to stand.
    I think you mentioned a dislike of batch painting, but have you considered that for the Warg Riders? Do a bunch of Wargs all at once, then do the riders. The finished Wargs will help to guilt you into finishing the riders! 😉

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    1. Thanks mate for both the kind words and the advice! I think you’re right about the tufts, on the edges of things and that is the lesson I have learned making this terrain. First of many as I’ve got a long way to go on this side of the hobby!

      I think the batch painting is probably the way to go and would speed things up quite a bit. I was thinking about why it takes me as long as it does for these projects and I realized that I tend to think about “How can I make this mini look as good as I possibly can?” and not, “How can I paint this well AND fast?” I need to start thinking about that second question a bit more as I developed a process for these wargs where I’m glazing and painting the wargs one of three-four color schemes. None of which makes them at all easy to batch paint! I may not get into batch painting these as a result but I will focus on it much more in future projects.

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      1. Learning is a constant experience, and we always do so to improve and get better – for myself most notably I’ve been doing the learning curve thing with the Contrast Paints recently.
        As for doing your best on each figure – I do know what you mean, and I was the same way for a very long time. Nowadays due to not enough time and too many models, paint quality is very much a “triage” situation for me, in that I’m so much more aware that not every model can get the very best paintjob I can achieve – and as a result, “good enough” is very much good enough for a lot of models. How good “good enough” turns out to be is entirely dependant on each model, though!

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      2. It certainly is. New techniques keep things interesting as well. I wonder myself if I could find myself in your position in future years. I am pretty disciplined buyer in that I don’t buy more minis than I can paint within a few months (with Made to Order behind the only exception) so I don’t truly know what my time limits are and feel like I can always take my time and avoid biting off more than I can chew. I get the impression you have quite the large collection and could be gaming with lots of different systems one day which awesome and I envy you in that as it is something I’d like to do but fear being overwhelmed. I think that is probably why I stick to a kind of hobby tunnel vision where doing my best is always a top concern and everything is LOTR. I’d love to try other stuff but don’t know if I can split my time so I don’t. Hopefully this makes some sense and is interesting to read as I feel like I’m rambling like a deranged mini painter! 😀

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      3. It all makes sense, and I admire your discipline in a lot of ways! I’m a bit of a hobby butterfly, and I can barely focus on any one project at all, as you’d know. The closest I have to a focused “project” at the moment is really just trying to finish all of the part-painted models I have accumulated over the years along with also updating old paintjobs to something I’m happy with today. I do need to play more, but due to a lack of time/gaming group, I tend to do most of my gaming on the consoles these days…

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      4. It is a blessing and a curse to be disciplined because it pigeonholes my site into one game that isn’t necessarily hugely popular whereas I bet your site gets much wider viewership because it covers a wide range of minis. Your goal is a very admirable one and I have several half-finished miniatures that I lost steam on and they’re just sitting around so I would do well to follow your lead on those. There’s no shame in playing video games mostly either. If I play, I record it here on the site and the rest of my time is with video games too as I have no gaming group. I have played hundreds of games in my life and find it harder and harder to keep up nowadays with all of the good to great games that are being released because of my limited free time. I have started to telling myself that when I retire in 30 years, I can finally get caught up but whether that ends up being true or not, I’m not so sure 🙂

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      5. True on the broadness of my site, though it I were just doing it for “da clicks” the smart thing to do would be to focus on one or two of the high-interest topics, like tutorials, Space Marines, Oldhammer, Middlehammer or rants against GW. I mean, no-one outside of the little community we have gives a shoot about my Shadows of Brimstone models. 😀
        I guess also posting on forums like The One Ring https://www.one-ring.co.uk/ and having your site in your sig can open your site up to more views from the LotR community as well as give you more people to chat to about SBG stuff. They also have monthly LotR paint challenges. I’m a member there, though I haven’t posted in a long time because time and distractions.
        One of the main reasons I want to finish the half-completed and neglected models besides just wanting to finish them is because I’ve got a lot of more recent, very cool stuff that I really want to paint, but I feel like I should finish off those old models before going really into the new stuff. So there’s a little bit of new-paint stuff that gets through from time to time – often boardgame models – but a ton if it is the old, neglected stuff right now.
        I’m good with my vidya gaming, it’d just be nice to have some regular minis gamers/opponents. Unfortunately, it seems easier to find like-minded people online than IRL, as a lot of the people I’ve met online in my city appear to be morons. Not talking about IRO or Pat or Faith & Steel, but a lot of people from Dakka, etc.
        On a similar note – some guys I’d love to game with that are a lot closer to you who you might(?) be able to hook up with. They play a lot of different games, and are open to many systems, so I’m sure they’d be up for some LotR/ME SBG, and you’d have a chance to play some other systems without needing to invest in models upfront. I’m sure your LotR collection would already have you well covered for SoB&H for starters!
        https://www.facebook.com/chicagoskirmishwargames/
        https://www.chicagoskirmishwargames.com/blog/
        Eilif (from Dakka) who is part of that club is a very cool guy as well.
        Of course, you could hit me up if you want to catch up for some MP in something on PS4/X1/Switch 😉

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      6. Haha, that is a very good point! The grass is always greener on the other side as they saying goes and I bet in my head, there is less of a difference in website traffic than I think. I do post on One Ring and it drives a lot of traffic to my site which it would not get otherwise 😀 The site is pretty dead and it really is a small core group of people keeping it going at this point. I do enjoy interacting with people there though, much more than on the various Facebook groups which are focused on tournaments I find.

        Keep at your goal of wiping out that backlog then. It will make you appreciate painting the new stuff even more! I have enjoyed learning about all the old models in your collection as you already know 🙂

        Some wargamers are almost anti-video games or would rather play an analog game but I like both equally. I would certainly consider playing something multiplayer with you if the games we’re playing ever overlaps 🙂 I tend to play single-player story driven games but I do play some multiplayer games too. I also dabble in video game collecting. I haven’t been focused on getting rare games lately but I have enjoyed doing so in the past. I probably have somewhere in the vicinity of 750 games at this point. Way more than anyone should ever own!

        I have actually heard of Chicago Skirmish Wargames though I’ve never tried to link up with them. I visited their site to see where they play and it seems like it is at people’s homes which may or may not work well for me. Many of the LOTR players in Chicago live in the suburbs (and I live in the city) and they play at a gaming store that is an hour away from me and you have to pay to get a table. They’re much more tournament focused than I am so I don’t play with them. I figure spending two hours driving is two hours I could have already spent playing against myself or painting up another mini. Its a bit of a shame as I came from a smaller city where nobody played LOTR and I expected to get lots of games in here in Chicago but I’ve only managed to meet up with a person once. So different continent but similar troubles I’d say!

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      7. Huh, I’m surprised one-ring is dead these days. I guess it’s no surprise at all that it’s dropped off a lot since the heyday, but the game has had enough legs for GW to essentially resurrect it recently, so it can;t be completely awful. I wonder where the SBG players have all migrated to?
        I’m pretty sure the Chicago guys have larger games days every so often, so it might be worth keeping an eye out for those?
        750 games is pretty impressive. I have no idea how many I own, but I probably shouldn’t ever try to count them…

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      8. I would guess there are about 10-15 people who post semi-regularly if that. Everybody is part of the Great British Hobbit League group on Facebook. I follow it but I have posted pictures of minis I painted fairly well and gotten almost no feedback where some people post and get tons so I gave up participating. Might be a bit British leaning in regards who gets attention and favor in the group but I can’t really say.

        I’ll definitely keep an eye out for the Chicago group as I’m realizing that I’m not going to get many games of LOTR in the near future. I appreciate the recommendation on that!

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  2. Several comments – tufts – have you considered making your own? There are several YouTube videos out there on how to do it but have to have initial investment on doing static grass. Also agree on comment above, tufts around the larger features leaving room in the middle for figures.

    Wargs and hunter orcs – excellent job on your orcs. I have a box of them waiting to be painted, keep thinking they should be easy until I look at them and see all the detail. For the wargs, would using the new contrast paints work well enough so Youville can focus on the orcs?

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    1. Hey Bret, thanks for stopping by and for your suggestions. Making your own tufts is a great idea. I don’t mind spending money to save me time/make things easier but it is worth looking into that as I make more hills (which will require even more tufts).

      Thank you for the kind words on the hunter orcs! The level of detail in the sculpts is really excellent and every part of the mini has stuff you can add detail and visual interest to. Don’t underestimate how many different colors you need to paint all of the different parts too. It gives my paint collection a workout each time!

      Your question is a good one. I haven’t used any of the contrast paints yet so I’m not qualified to answer. I glaze the highlights on the wargs to make them look smooth because I fear there isn’t a shortcut on making the fur look good. If you wanted to go easier on the highlights, the contrast paint should make it easy to do the shadows and maybe even the mid tones. I always get so wrapped up in trying to paint everything as well as I can, that I find taking any shortcuts or things that might lower the quality to be hard, to talk myself into. It offers little help to my productivity as you can imagine!

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  3. In every play of the ‘Roast Mutton’ scenario I’ve seen, the board has always looked a bit empty (especially when you compare it to the scenes in the film). I don’t have the book on hand but I think it actually shows in the map layout that it’s relatively scarce on terrain pieces.

    If I was in your situation I’d probably just go with it. Playing really is a big motivator, even if the scenario itself is not very satisfactory. It always gives me more drive to continue working on everything so I can play the next scenario. There have been times in my campaign where I actually wanted to make just a little bit more terrain, but I knew doing so would delay the whole thing and would be damaging to my motivation. I never regretted playing then. For me I draw the line at having all the required minis painted and having the bulk / most important features of terrain finished.

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    1. You are right my friend! The image that GW in the rulebook shows does not match the movie and it looks like they want you to most use terrain that blocks line of sight and movement, which is not really what I’ve been building so I suppose I won’t be matching that regardless of what I do.

      I really appreciate your recommendation and I am leaning towards just playing the scenario now too. I have to make more terrain for the other AUJ scenarios so I will be motivated to get that done whether I play with a slightly bare table this time or not. If anything, it will be fun to add more terrain to the table if I try the scenario again down the road. Thanks again for sharing your thoughts. I’m looking forward to giving Roast Mutton a try this weekend 😀

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  4. Looking forward to seeing how the trees come out, as the previous ones look great for skirmish level games.

    Don’t let things not being perfect prevent you from playing a game. It’s not a magazine article or a convention game, so there’s no pressure to have things just right. Try out the scenario on the not complete board and see how it goes. Especially if for the sake of sanity. I’ve found that a game will renew hobby mojo quite nicely. It’s a rewarding circle: paint to play to paint.

    Especially if you plan on painting cavalry, those are always a pain to paint for some reason. Cavalry and cannon limbers are the worst. 😀

    On Mon, Aug 26, 2019 at 6:42 PM Battles in Middle Earth wrote:

    > Kuribo posted: “For the first week in a while, I wasn’t able to get my > usual weekend update done on time but work being a bit of a drag last week > was part of that and I was working on some ambitious new stuff including > some bigger and hopefully better tree pieces! I’m p” >

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    1. Thanks for the kind words and advice as always! I think I have too much of a modeler’s mentality where I must “model” the board correctly and then a game can be played. You’re right that playing really motivates you to paint and with how many more minis I have to paint, some extra motivation can’t hurt 😀

      I completely agree on painting cavalry as well. It just feels like you’re painting twice as many figures at once since you have the mount and the rider. Certainly gives you something to think about when considering whether to create a Rohan force for scenarios or otherwise!

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