Saturday 20 May 2023

LoTR, Samurai & Tanks

 Not simultaneously though. But is is a cool idea for a setting... be right back...

Due to reading my 7-year-old Lord of The Rings (just finished RoTK, whew it was an undertaking and a half!) I have been inspired to hunt out my last LoTR minis -  24 orcs, 6 Dol Amroth Knights being added to my 162 models from March = 192 in 2023 so far. Finally my LoTR collection was all painted! The 600+ mini pile of shame was at last vanquished!

So I did what any wargamer worth their salt would do. I bought more.

Fisher-Price castle + my moonscape board (I once planned on a 1980s moon battle between USSR and USA)  = Mordor fort. 

I 'needed' some mounted Easterlings for Battle Companies. While I liked all the spare bits I was not so enamoured of the way the riders don't actually fit on the horses.

Morannon orcs as they are useful backbone to evil forces (although I'm a bit sick of painting orcs having done about 80 of them this year). At $20 for 24 (thanks Ebay!) I thought I was in a time warp.

For the same price I got only (2)! Dol Amroth foot. The metals are OOP now. 

LoTR has been pretty shamefully treated for models. Most of their plastic range is 20 years old and very dated, basic  sculpts compared to their new sexy 40K and AoS stuff - but the price has been hiked up to match. In addition, many units (Black Numenoreans, I never knew ye) have been retired with years and no new models in sight, or normally available store items reinvented as boutique Forge World models. And the hero/command models are way ovepriced - based on how much you need them in your force than what you get in the box.

Heigh ho, 3D printing here I come! (I have actually ordered some as a test, and will do a side-by-side comparison when they arrive)

Since you can't get Last Alliance spears I scratch built some with help from a Warlord Saxons kit. I also found a metal (Damrod? Madril?) Ithilien-ranger-dude of some sort in a bitz box.

Inspired by this, I then scratch-built some orc/goblin drummers using Easterling spares and created an orc shaman by tipping his spear on the side and swapping the tip with an Easterling crescent-thingie. There! Some expensive models for 'free.'  Now up to 230 LoTR in 2023. The output is in part due to the simplicity of the sculpts and my keeness to simply get 'toys on the table.'  There's a reason I have a hundred fiddly Infinity troops still languishing unpainted....


Talking about unpainted, a discussion with my son lead to a burst of Samurai enthusiasm. On PC, Shogun 2 still stands up well 10 years later and I have just finished uniting Japan under the Chokosabe. 

I've just dug out some 28mm Perry samurai metals (enough to make a few small skirmish warbands) and they align pleasingly with LoTR to possibly do double duty (hello, new Evil men faction).

However I have hit a wall trying to assemble the Wargames Factory (now Warlord?) Ashigaru plastics. With 2 separate legs, 2 torso pieces, a head, separate arms and a separate weapon (which must be joined to both arms in an act of glue-y intricacy) I quickly realized why they sat forgotten. I think I managed to finish two in a single Deadwood episode. They also don't click into a base (requiring separate supply of the solid non-slotta 25mm version). And I have 40 of them. Yikes! See you in another month...

For rules, I can no longer find Legends of the Rising Sun on my HDD (it was once free online) so I guess it's Ronin. In Ronin I remember liking the dice-pool/resource management of melee (you allocate dice to attack and defence and you can 'pool' dice if your models attack together) but I remember finding something a bit fiddly (too many tokens scattered on the table/tracking if moved or not?)


My son likes to discuss/have me tell stories of what he calls "Tankworld" my dystopian, post-apocalyptic Europe set after WW1-gone-wrong(er), where tanks escort convoys across the harsh lethal wastelands teeming with mutants, cannibals and tank pirates. It's also my homerules which are the most advanced; basically simple 40K/FoW mechanics with much more complex activation and hit locations bolted on. I've basecoated probably 100 tanks and a few token infantry platoons and half-tracks. I've been quickly buying FoW tanks before they all price hike (50%+) probably because they now include 'unit cards.' Yes that piece of cardboard with unit stats is totally worth an extra $20...

I find it interesting how some folk like the idea of unit cards as it is better/cheaper than codexes/army books. It's like "x disease is better than y disease."  How about at least releasing them for free as a pdf online? Special unit cards or dice or rulers (any extras without which you can't play the game) is a money-grubbing curse on the hobby. I can still play my Legends of the Old West 20 years on as it just uses normal rulers and dice. There's no built in obsolescence where I have to have bought their unit card deck for an extra $20 or if I lose my $pecial movement dice or ruler I'm outta luck.