Friday, October 28, 2011

Easterling Command Conversions for Lord of the Rings

I've always liked the idea of having a Lord of the Rings Strategy Battle Game Easterling army.
The models are nice, the helmet is very cool, and they seem to be a force that could have a very tight theme and still be a tough contender.  They have only average shooting, but have good armor, access to spears and very tough cavalry.  They don't have the variety of a list like Gondor, or the range of characters Gondor has, but they can position themselves as a good counter to Gondor. There are a couple interesting newer lesser characters and command types, and there is always the Nazgul Khamul to fall back on.

My sense of theme makes me reluctant to add allies to fill tactical gaps, or even what I perceive as not really fit for the list.. such as orcs in an Uruk-hai army... Uruks are supposed to be more disciplined than orcs and willing to fight in the sunlight, yet we're supposed to believe Sauruman has his Uruks drilling to fight in formations of Sword Uruk/ Spear Orc/ Pike Uruk?  What is this? The Oreo formation with the soft squishy Orc in the center? Just begging for a disaster on the field. I refuse to do it. Just to gamey.
But I'm chasing a pet peeve out into the brush... back to the trail:

Easterlings look like a fun & viable theme list, but the metal command characters are both expensive and didn't thrill me much, so like I did with the dwarves, I set about to make my own on the cheap:

First a banner. The obvious choice is to use a spearman, but the box has 8 archers, 8 sword & shield and 4 spear.  This makes spears too few to spare one.  It also has an illegal percentage of bows in the box, which is annoying- I'd have preferred 6 archers & 6 spear- as it is, if you're not adding a lot of cavalry (which I will be) or taking cheap orc filler allies (which I won't be) then you end up with more archers than you can use.
But an archer wasn't going to be much help for a banner...

So I took one of the sword miniatures and cut the sword out, trying to preserve it. The unfortunate thing about the LotR kits is the lack of any extra bits whatsoever. So save everything.

Next I drilled a thin hole through the hand.  Testing with brass rod, I found what I already assumed: the angle was wrong. So I took a jeweler saw and sliced the hand off and glued it back on at an angle that would hold the banner pole perpendicular to the ground.  I didn't want a flag, I wanted some kind of symbol.  Looking through the bits I found the freebee plastic Numidians from Wargames Factory, on it was a banner symbol that suited me just fine.  The pole was too thick, which was perfect: cut it as a stump and carefully drill into it, so when the brass rod is inserted, it looks like a metal casing for the pole.  Here is the result:

Next up is a Captain.  I was planning on just taking a sword mini and change his arm to a raised "follow me into the fray!" pose, but looking at one of the GW pdf supplements, I found an alternate captain type, with 2 swords. That looked fun. The actual model is part of a $25 set that gets you the dual sword character, a battle mage fellow and a banner.  A bit pricey (but not as much as the $12.50 individual characters). I do like the battle mage mini, but I didn't want a flag banner, and the pose of the dual sword character is mediocre at best: it's just too static.  So $25 for a mini I like, one I don't want and one that I'm 'meh' about isn't a solid purchase.  So I decided to make the guy myself:

I took the one sword & shield pose that has separate shield (there is only 1 of this pose) and cut the 'shield bump' attachment off his hand.  Since the angle of the hand was too vertical, I removed his hand, and changed the angle to what suited me.  I then attached the sword which was removed from the other model (see? save everything!) and made a pommel.  Easy-Peasy. 

Here he is:

I much prefer the sense of movement of this mini.  Looks ready to carve up Gondor for Rhun! 

I'll be looking to make a basic Captain as well as an Amdur, who uses an Easterling Falchion.. kind of a bastard sword like the elven blades. More to come. 


Michael Awdry said...

They were certainly my favourite looking force at the siege of Minas Tirith. Great work Sir.

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