Archive for the Gathering in the Desert Category

More WIPs for the Unexpected Party

Posted in Armies, Gathering in the Desert, Painting, The Unexpected Party, Tournament on January 30, 2010 by BrentS

I’ve been making steady progress on the Unexpected Party.  I’ve got three new models to show off today and well as a group shot.

First off, a model that I finished a while ago.  He’s a replacement for Bofur (orginally planned to be Bifur as well).  I grew to detest my first conversion for this model (back when we has labeled Bifur).  So I had to go in and create a new one.  Much happier with this version.  So why the name change??  Well, when I started painting names on the rims of the bases I messed up and I painted Bifur’s base with Bofur’s name.  Huh?  Confused?  Anyway, since they are dressed the same, they are interchangable so Bifur became Bofur and Bofur became Bifur.  Got it? 



Next up is the venerable Balin.  Balin was described as wearing a scarlet hood (cloak) and a white beard in the Hobbit.  So that’s what he got.  My sculpting  on the back of the cloak let me down a little so I couldn’t paint him as well I as I was hoping.  However, he still looks okay to me.



Thorin and Company came to Gandalf because they needed a Burglar.  And a Burglar is what they found.  Here’s the Hobbit that made the Journey “There and Back Again…”  Bilbo Baggins.  Bilbo was late catching up to Thorin and Company.  So late he forgot to pack his cloak.  So he managed to borrow a dark green one from Dwalin.



Finally, here’s a group shot of the Unexpected Party.  I’ve got all these models assembeld on their scenic bases (purchased from Back 2 Base-ix).  Missing from the group photo are Bombur and Thorin Oakenshield.  Both of these miniatures still need a significant amount of painting and havent’ been mounted on their bases.

Portions of the Unexpected Party


If you look closely you’ll notice that the names have been painted on the rims of the bases.  I did this to add character to the army.  I also used two different colors for the name plates to differentiate those that are “Heroes” and those that are “Warriors” in the army.  This is to hopefully help my opponents when they are facing off agains the army.  I hope that distinction works and makes game play easier.


Painting the Unexpected Party

Posted in Armies, Gathering in the Desert, Painting, The Unexpected Party, Tournament on January 9, 2010 by BrentS

Wow, its been a long time since I’ve updated my Blog. I’ve got a New Year’s Resolution to do more blog posting. However, that’s for a different post. This update is all about WIPs for the Unexpected Party. Most of these are nearly finished models. However on the heroes, I’m planning a bit of freehand highlights and things.





Dori & Nori

Fili & Kili


Gandalf on Shadowfax

It was pointed out to me tha the beard on Gandalf is much to brown.  My colorblind eyes didn’t pick this up (though I knew I was using a bit of brown colors in the basecoat.  So I’m going to do some touch-ups on this to get the beard a bit “Grey”er.

Anyway, I’ve got 3 more models to get started painting (Bilbo, Thorin, and Balin) and then some final detail work and finish up the bases.  The Gathering in the Desert is along about 6 weeks away so plenty of time but I’m trying to get done this month.

Painting Work in Progress

Posted in Armies, Conversions, Dwarves, Gathering in the Desert, Painting, The Unexpected Party on November 19, 2009 by BrentS

I found a few hours over the weekend to pick up the paint brush and work on one of the Dwarves for the Unexpected Party.  Committing to paint one is a big step as I need to start deciding which Dwarf Character will be represented by which Dwarf model.  Why?  Becuase in the Hobbit each of the Dwarves are described by the color of the hoods (e.g. cloaks) that they wear.  I’ll post a full run through of all the dwarves and their color schemes in a future post.

However, here’s a nice WIP photo of Dwalin. 


Dwalin is characterized by a Dark Green Hood.  I was very excited to start painting again as I don’t think I’ve picked up a paint brush for anything specific since before Adepticon in April!  I did do a quick and dirty paint job on some proxy dwarves for playtesting puruposes but there wasn’t much care put into the painting of those.

As far as the painting of this model.  I’m very pleased with how he’s turning out.  In my opinion its one of the best faces I’ve painted on a miniature.  I’ve still got some work to do on the metal parts as well as the cloak as those have only received a basecoat so far.  However, the face, leather armor, boots  and tunics are nearly finished.   The only real complaint I have at this point is the speckliness (is that word??) on his left arm.  When I primed the model, the primer didn’t go on that part very flat and I probably should have tried to smooth it out a bit more.  I was hoping the painting could hide it to some extent.  In person, this is a very small area and its not nearly as noticeable; however these pictures do make it stand out a bit.  Oh well, I’ll learn more as I continue to paint the rest of the dwarves.

More Work in Progress for the Unexpected Party

Posted in Armies, Dwarves, Gathering in the Desert, Painting, Tournament on November 1, 2009 by BrentS

I’ve spent some more time working on adding new conversions to the Unexpected Party.  Some have come out very nice and others I’m still on the fence about. Here’s the first three which were mostly straight forward weapon swaps or head swaps.  You’ll notice two of the bodies are exactly the same.  This happens to be my favorite Dwarf Ranger pose.  I’ve seen this same body make an excellent Thorin Oakenshield conversion on its own.




These next three involve a lot more sculpting. I’ve been using ProCreate as the sculpting medium here. Several people I know through the interweb swear by this stuff being even better than Greenstuff. I’m no sculpting guru so I don’t have a strong opinion yet.

This model started its life as Gimli from the Death of Gothmog. Add in an Iron Guard sword arm, Gimli from Mines of Moria arm, and some generous amounts of ProCreate and you’ve got a suitable take on an Iron Guard-Ranger-esque model that should fit the army nicely. So far this is one of my favorite conversions.


Next up is some more work on old Bombur. I’ve really bulked him up here and did my best to try and sculpt a shirt and trousers. I’ve also added a heavy hood and started working on the cloak. I really should get a picture of him next to one of his thinner kindsmen. If you can envision the original Balin Model who “dwarfed” (pun intended) most of the other Dwarf models and then added another layer of bulk, I think you’ll definitely agree he is the fattest of all my dwarves.


These conversions have been a fun excuse to try and improve my sculpting skills. I’ve got a long ways to go but I do start seeing some levels of improvement. This blog has been very helpful for me and I purchased Sculpting Tutorial by James Van Schaik which gave me a lot of insight into the world of miniature sculpting. I’m no wear close to being considered a sculptor yet but I do see some baby steps. These larger than life pictures certainly highlight the imperfections in the work. At a more natural size I think the miniatures look pretty good. As always, I’d love to hear any comments or criticism.

I’ve got some other WIPs cooking on the workbench but they aren’t quite Blog-ready yet. More to come soon!

Building the Unexpected Party

Posted in Armies, Dwarves, Gathering in the Desert, GW Tournament Circuit, Painting, Tournament on October 29, 2009 by BrentS

Wow, way to long between blog posts…  I know many people promise this but I’m going to try and post more frequently over the next few months.  All my primary 2009 tournament events have been completed and I’ve started to look towards 2010.  I’m looking at trying to make my 2010 tournaments more about fun/themed armies and no worry as much about their level of competitiveness.  Well at least I’m saying that right now, we’ll see how things go if I start getting my brains beat in.

First up in 2010 is the Gathering in the Desert which is an annual tournament organized by my friends Tim and Dean.  This is a very hardcore LOTR tournament with a ton of excellent players and painters.  I’ve wanted to try something new for a while and I know that I’ve blogged about this in the past.  I’m planning on playing an army based around the theme from The Hobbit – Thorin’s Company, aka, the Unexpected Party.  My plan is to have all 13 Dwarves, Bilbo, and Gandalf.  Given that it is such a small army, I really want to do something special with the hobby piece of it.  I’m going to convert each and every model for this army and hopefully, if I’m stick up to my end of the bargain, I’ll document the whole process on the blog here.

Here are some early WIPs of the first few dwarves.  For the most part, I haven’t decided already which dwarf will be represented by which model yet.  My goal is to have 3 dwarf heroes (Thorin, Balin, and Gloin), 8 Iron Guard, and 1 Dwarf Warrior with a banner. 

This model represents one of the Iron Guard. They are based on Ranger Models as Thorin’s company is described as wearing caps, hoods, and robes. However, to make the combat effective, I used the most elite dwarf warrior profile I could use – the Iron Guard. I like to think of the Iron Guard as the armored rangers anyway! This particular model was a simple conversion using a Dwarf Ranger and the left arm from Gimli from the Mines of Moria set.

This model is another of the iron guard. He was converted to hold a different Axe. I also added sculpting putty (ProCreate) to create some new hair for the model. The rangers are cool sculpts but some of them are lacking a bit of detail. Sorry, not the best picture of these.

This model is a third in the Iron Guard Series. He’s started as an Iron Guard body with a Ranger head transplant. A lot of putty was used to try and blend in the hood with the tunic and beard.

This is Dwarf Warrior. Eventually he’ll be holding a banner as well. He’s going to represent Bombue. The fattest and most comical of Thorin’s company. Hopefully I’ll find some way to put some extra life into this model. He’ll certainly be bulked up to have the most girth.

finally, in addition to the dwarves, I’ve put together a simple conversion for Biblo. Just a quick headswap with Bilbo and Frodo.

Hopefully, much more to come in future days!!


Posted in Chicago GT, Gathering in the Desert, Painting on March 9, 2009 by BrentS

‘Let Ghân-Buri-Ghân Finish!’ said the Wild Man.  ‘More than one road he knows.  He will lead you by road where no pits are, no gorgûn walk, only Wild Men and beasts.’

—  Chapter V, The Ride of the Rohirrim, Return of the King

As part of the Gathering in the Desert, the Organizers were running the Red Dragon Painting contest.  I knew I wanted to support the competition but wouldn’t have time to paint an entry.  So what I did do, was pick out some of my favorite models.  Tim Kulinski managed to get this great photo of my Ghân-Buri-Ghân so I couldn’t help but borrow it and post it on my blog.



I painted the old Ghân to lead my Woses warriors as part of my  “Passage through Drúadan Forest” army that I used at the 2008 Chicago Grand Tournament.  The Woses models are fun to paint and give you a chance to experiment with some small freehand tatoos (nothing too fancy).  I went the extra mile on this this figure and gave him a scenic base.  Some day, I’ll paint up the rest of my Woses and be able to field up to 50 or so of the Wildmen.  That should make the Orc players crazy.

Gathering in the Desert

Posted in Armies, Battle Report, Gathering in the Desert, Harad, Rohan, Tournament on March 4, 2009 by BrentS

Post Tournament Wrap-Up

So that was it, the Gathering in the Desert had come and gone. My final count was 3-2-0 with 2 Major Victories, 1 Minor Victory, and 2 Minor Losses. All in all I was quite happy with my performance. I’d made some crucial mistakes in each of the last three games I played. However, for the first time in a major tournament, I’d managed to avoid the dreaded Major Loss and kept earning points, even in the scenarios where I was losing ground.
When the final results were tallied, I ended up third overall in battle points, second overall in appearance judging, and in the top cluster of sportsmanship scores. All this netted out as a Best Overall award! Now, Anthony still finished with the highest point total buoyed by going a staggering 5-0. However, as I described before since he hadn’t painted his army, he wasn’t going to be eligible for the Best Overall award.

The Prize Support was great, for Best Overall, I won a Rohan War of the Ring Battlehost Set – the equivalent of 48 Warriors of Rohan, 18 Riders of Rohan, and King Theoden.  For those that have followed my blog, you know that I’m a huge fan of the Rohan armies (even if they aren’t competely competitive) and this was a great prize for me.  I had every intention of building up my Rohirrim to 1500-2000 point force ready for War of the Ring.
Finally, I have to reiterate again,  I really think the Gathering of the Desert was probably the most fun gaming weekend I’ve ever had. Tim and Dean did a great job running the event and I absolutely loved the venue. Being able to spend time with so many of my hobby friends was just the icing on the cake. We had group dinners each night and Jeremy, Tim, and I (along with John and Keith on Saturday) stayed up late just shooting the breeze each night. Thanks to everyone for a great weekend!! 

Thanks again to Tim and Dean for running the event.  Thanks to Kyle for hosting the event as his great store.  Thanks to all the sponsors for their generous support and finally thanks to all the great players who made this a great event.



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