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I expect this is going to be a long-running WIP thread. My intention is to convert this heap of vintage lead into war games armies to allow me to field forces for a variety of Tolkien situations, using only vintage Minifigs. For those who are younger than me, Minifigs produced this line of Tolkien-inspired figures starting in 1972, and, as far as we've ever been able to determine, it was the first range of specifically fantasy miniatures ever produced. They were the first that I bought as well, and I will freely admit that this is a nostalgia project. I posted a batch of finished elves this morning. Here's what I have left to do: two elf riders, an elf king to form a second command stand, 14 elf swordsmen, and 9 elf bowmen (three of whom have lost arrows and one who's been redone as a standard bearer for the command stand.) For the era of the Battle of the Five Armies, they have some dwarf allies. Here's a dozen, representing all three stock numbers that were produced. Each stock number was a strip of two. I have a batch of seven already finished and based. Minifigs did not issue any specific Lakemen, nor, for that matter, any specific Rohirrim on foot. For the Five Armies-era humans, I'll have to reach into the historical and use some figures from their NS (Norman/Saxon) range with round shields. I've got about three dozen available with which to work. They should also serve as dismounted Rohirrim when needed. Beorn and Gandalf are also available, and a token eagle... To continue with the good guys, there were two catalog numbers of actual mounted Rohirrim. I have two completed so far, and about 22 available, including a few Later Romans or similar Dark Ages figures which blend well. A few spare horses remain to be found. The Gondorians were represented by five different figures, a citadel guardsman, two rangers of Ithilien, a spearman, a swordsman, and a foot knight. I've got at least a dozen of each, plus a total of two dozen of ME53 and 54, Rangers of the North. The Dark Lord's forces can be lead by the imposing squadron of flying Nazgul, of which I have four: I have 18 wargs (plus a few already finished), but only two of the goblin riders: Large orcs came in three poses, with sword, axe or spear. I've got about 85 to be done: Smaller orcs came in four poses, a bowman, a swordsman without shield, a swordsman with shield, and a well equipped armored goblin with shield, spear and bow. Of that latter, I've only got a handful, all completed. Of the first three, I've got about seventy from a recent purchase: There is also one pose of little goblins. I finished a few of them last month. I've got more, but they are sitting in paint stripper at the moment. Sauron's human allies were represented by four poses of figures; there was a Haradrim spearman and a mounted lancer, of which I've got about 30 and 5 respectively: There was also a Southern spearman and a mounted swordsman. I only have a token 3 of the spearmen, so they won't be a unit on their own, but I do have nine of the mounted swordsmen, so they can be. Last, I have a hobbit militia of about a dozen, plus a couple of mounted hobbits. The foot hobbits came in strips of three, and one strip is much easier to find than the other... My basic plan is going to be to play these with Dragon Rampant, which generally uses units of six mounted or twelve foot figures, with provision for heroes and large monsters as exceptions. However, some of the teams will be big enough that I could use Chaos Wars (also in sixes and twelves), and I expect that an actual Battle of the Five Armies game my brother and I have been discussing will take every orc/goblin that we have painted. Edit: Ooops! Forgot the Dunlendings; there are enough of them to make a unit, and given Saruman's forces a bit of distinctiveness...
Travel Painting, Rangers versus Orcs
Rob Dean posted a topic in Works in Progress: PaintingMy significant other is in a songing competition this weekend, and I’m along for moral support. Knowing that I would have some quiet time, I brought my travel paint kit and some miniatures. On the left are five Broadsword rangers, and on the right three Minifigs true orcs. The orcs are part of my Mythical Earth warbands project, but the Broadsword figures are a one-off. I didn’t have any Broadsword back in the day. Apparently none of the hobby shops I visited stocked them. My first encounter with them was in larger eBay lots while fishing for other old figures. I ended up with four of these archers in a large lot early in my eBay history, and then went looking for the command/personality pack later. I painted the swordsman/captain and the ranger-bard last summer. Now that they are almost all done, I hope to get them out as a unit of scouts in a Dragon Rampant game soon.
Since I went ahead and posted the big project WIP for this, here's what I've already got on hand to start with. For orcs etc., I've finished 6 of the man-orcs, 7 armored goblins with spears and bows, 3 "true orcs", and 7 of the little goblins. There are also four wolves and a rider, a "troll", and two Nazgul on horseback that still sport an original 1970s paint job. For my own amusement, every shield so far is unique, although I hope that the running black/red/white theme gives them a related look. By the time I do nearly two hundred more, I expect there to be some duplication. So far, all of the orcs and goblins have been individually based, but for wargaming purposes, I will be switching to three or six figure bases once I've done a dozen big orcs, two dozen middle orcs, and a dozen little orcs. This stand of dwarves was one of the triggers for my full-scale vintage binge; the figures came from a dealer table at Cold Wars in 2015, and I hadn't seen a Mythical Earth figure in a long time. The elf army to date suffers from a bit of indecision on basing. The one scout stand in the front on the 60mm square base was built from the same bag of miniatures that contained the dwarves. I didn't think I'd ever see another. As I work through the remaining figures, I'll need to do one more stand of three to match it, which will do duty as a Dragon Rampant scout unit, but the rest of the elves will be in threes. Anything that doesn't currently work out to a twelve man unit will be mounted individually, like the archer next to the command stand. The two stands of ents and huorns (the range contained two of each for some reason) have been with me since the '70s. I "enhanced" the horns with some Woodland Scenics tufts, but any more that I acquire, like the large Huorn in the middle, will not be so treated. I was playing with him to attempt to make his bark a more typical tree bark gray. I've got five or so ents awaiting attention, and two more huorns are inbound, so Fangorn Forest is well represented. For humans, I've mostly been doing samples to get the feel of working with them. The back row is a little group of really old Minifig Vikings (base code V5). I got about ten of them in a lot, and the ME range has few archers. I expect them to do duty as needed as Dunlendings, Rohirrim, or Lakefolk. In the front row, a historical NS (Norman/Saxon) spearman is a sample of historical who will be adopted for the same block of cultures. Next to him is a slightly later IR (Imperial Roman) range early Dark Ages warlord, who fits my idea of a Rohirrim leader on foot. Then we have two actual ME mounted Rohirrim, in the early versions. (The later versions were helmeted). You only need one Gandalf, at least on foot, and the ME53 Ranger swordsman has been done as my Aragorn figure. Next to him is a basic Gondorian swordsman, and an archer of Faramir's Ithilien rangers. As of today, they would make a rather odd skirmish game, but, given how far along the elves are, I think the first all-vintage-Minifigs battle is likely to be allies of the north against the goblins of the Misty Mountains.
Vintage Minifigs Elf Reinforcements
Rob Dean posted a topic in Show Off: PaintingI did a batch of 18 of these little guys last year. Every time I think that I have acquired all the possible large lots of these things, more show up. Shortly after I finished those, I got fifteen more in an auction lot, and have finally finished them up this weekend. In the meantime, I found another cache of twenty of them...at this point, I think I have enough. Now, I have to say, by modern standards these are some sad little figures. There is little detail, and the faces are very vaguely sculpted. However, it does emphasize a point I make every once in a while. The expected use of these things was in mass, and viewed as part of a scene during a war-game, rather than as individual show pieces. Therefore, the fact that there isn't a lot of detail means that you can knock them up pretty quickly and get to your mass effect. At normal viewing distances, you get something more like this: The one blue tunic stands out, but you can't tell whether anyone's belt is slightly off, or even whether they are cross-eyed. I am always in awe of the serious painters around here. I don't have the patience to do much of that sort of work, so I have been gravitating back to this earlier style... On to some goblins today, I hope...
Vintage Fantasy--travel kit
Rob Dean posted a topic in Works in Progress: PaintingI'm traveling this week, so I have a few figures and a travel paint kit with me. The ca1974 Minifigs Mythical Earth Rider of Rohan and Gandalf were well along when I started last night, but the 1981 Broadsword ranger-bard was just in primer. I have a captain to go with him along, and a handful of archers at home, which will eventually form a little Dragon Rampant unit.
Old School Minifigs Elves and Woodlouse
Rob Dean posted a topic in Works in Progress: PaintingI'm digging into my Old School collection this weekend, with this batch of old Minifigs. I have the rather odd VFW19, armored woodlouse (aka sow bug), and a group of 18 elves from the Mythical Earth range. I believe the MEs were the first commercial fantasy range. They're certainly where my collection started back in 1974. 8 more to finish, still on sticks in the back, 6 down so far this weekend, and 4 from a previous session. After that, I have to decide how to base them, probably for use routinely with Dragon Rampant.