Army of Mordor – Part 1

Orcs, it turns out, come in all shapes and sizes and dwell in all sorts of places. We’ve already seen Orcs from the Mortal Realms (both hulking armoured behemoths and underdressed nutters), Orks from the savage war zones of the 41st Millennium and even Orcs that just want to have a kick about on the Blood Bowl pitch. Even that old plagiarist JRR Tolkien got in on the act. Borrowing heavily from Warhammer, D&D and other contemporary sources he cooked up some Orcs of his own to serve as baddies in The Lord of the Rings. 

I’ve previously noted that, much as I loved the Lord of the Rings (both the books and the films) I never really got into the game. For the most part the miniatures just didn’t do anything for me so I passed over them in favour of other things. I’m told that the game itself is great and the tournament scene very friendly but given that I’m barely a gamer and wouldn’t go to a tournament unless I was carried there kicking and screaming by a band of Uruk Hai that doesn’t really sway me much. I do however have a bunch of Mordor Orcs which I acquired for some reason (I blame GW’s saturation advertising of the game several years ago combined with one of my periodic infatuations with all things Hobbity). I feel that the least I can do is get them painted up and there’s no time like the present is there? 

LotR Mordor Orcs Wudugast ConvertOrDie (1)LotR Mordor Orcs Wudugast ConvertOrDie (2)

I admit they’re not my best work but the small scale of these models combined with the less-than-amazing quality of sculpting doesn’t exactly inspire. By the time I got to the one with the bow I really couldn’t be arsed any more, although looking at him I get the impression whoever sculpted it felt the same way. Anyway I’m happy enough though and I might even knock through a few more before the month is out. 

21 responses to “Army of Mordor – Part 1

  • imperialrebelork

    I’m the same with LOTR. The movies are pretty cool, the books are better but the miniatures from GW never really grabbed me that much. Some of the monsters and dragons look pretty cool though. I think you’ve done well with these mate.

    • Wudugast

      Yeah, some of the monsters were good, the trolls for instance still look pretty cool. In the main though the quality was really poor, even accounting for the time they were made. To me it always looked as though they kept their best sculptors for WHFB and 40k. Still, I did my best with them and I’m happy enough with the outcome.

  • John@justneedsvarnish

    Those look really good! 🙂 I really like them – more would be good! And, of course, they count towards this month’s challenge total!

  • Pete S/ SP

    Those are great- oddly I was a big fan of the more restrained sculpting style… not being a big fantasy fan I never really went in for it though.



    • Wudugast

      Thanks! I know what you mean, I like the more restrained style – not more than the more flamboyant style of GW’s main ranges perhaps but it’s nice to have a mix. I just found the quality of the models to be a lot less than it could have been. Some of the new stuff is really nice mind you, might be cool to see them revisit the range and show what they could do these days, although I suspect that won’t happen.

  • Alex

    I’m like you & never got into LotR gaming (though I hear great things)… not enough time in the day!! Still, these look great to me pal 👍

    • Wudugast

      Yup, there’s so many projects I’d like to tackle and not nearly enough time for it. I’ll get these painted up but I really don’t see myself building an army around them. Who knows though, give it a few years and I might change my mind.

  • theimperfectmodeller

    I can see where you are coming from with regards to the quality of the minis but right now they all count even if they don’t look quite so great. 🙂

    • Wudugast

      Yup, it all counts towards the grand total right. 🙂 That said, motivating myself to paint the rest when I don’t have a contest with IRO running might be a little harder but I’m sure I’ll get there in the end.

  • heretic30k

    I actually like how simple to paint the LotR figs are – much the current GW AoS range is a bit toon gonzo for me.

    • Wudugast

      Aye, the simplicity is a big plus, I like a lot of the current GW models but sometimes I wonder if it’s beyond them to make something that’s “just an orc” or “just an elf”, not something completely out there and OTT. They’ve come up with some really awesome and original models, but sometimes that originality comes at a price and they end up missing the mark. Like I say I’ve got nothing against the simplicity of these, but working around the poorly defined details, the massive mould lines and the areas where the sculptor appears to have just given up made them a bit of a chore at times. Maybe it’s just these orcs though – I’ve not had that much experience with the rest of the range. The new models they’ve come out with lately, from new Theoden onwards, have all been awesome from what I’ve seen. It’d be cool to see them come back to the range properly, like they did with Necromunda, Blood Bowl etc.

      • heretic30k

        Yeah – I am finding with a lot of the older GW kits I have been working on lately that I keep thinking about how much they would be improved by a modern redesign now. Equally, I do miss that GW seems to have moved away from flexible multi-part design.

      • Wudugast

        Oh I couldn’t agree more on the lack of flexibility in current designs, they’re making beautiful character models but those should be for individuals, not whole squads. There was a time a few years ago when rumour had it that LotR was going to be dropped from GW’s ranges. At the time I was glad it didn’t happen, and of course that would probably have lead to them loosing the licence, but that aside I wonder if it would have been entirely a bad thing now. Dropping Blood Bowl and Necromunda seemed like a terrible thing after it happened but it paved the way for a much needed reworking of the whole range instead of trying to keep old kits limping on well past their sell-by date.

  • Kuribo

    Finally, some real orcs! 😉 I’m guess that these are the old plastic sculpts GW made about twenty years ago. While I know a lot of people in the MESBG community keep hoping that GW will remake plastics like this, I’m not sure that it will ever happen. There’s no doubt that GW would greatly improve these if they took the task on. I think the ones you painted look nice and the one thing I will say is MESBG minis tend to paint up quick so if you are painting to game, its hard not to like that!

    • Wudugast

      They are indeed the very same! You know it wouldn’t be Orctober if I didn’t include the originals right?

      I tend to agree with you, new plastic kits for units, rather than just heroes, would be cool to see but I’m not convinced it’ll ever happen. If it was a faction in 40k or AoS I’d say give it time and someday, sooner or later, they’ll come back. I’m not going anywhere, I’ll probably always be into this hobby, and GW aren’t likely to go away either and given a long enough timescale they seem to come back to everything eventually. Might not be for a decade or two but assuming civilisation doesn’t fall apart in the meantime (which feels like a big ask at the moment!) everything else will have it’s turn. Other old games got the chop, only to be resurrected once enough time had passed (Necromunda, Blood Bowl, Adeptus Titanicus, the Old World project – have you heard about the Old World by the way? I’m very excited!). I’m still holding out for a reboot of Chainsaw Warrior, or the 2021 edition of Oi Dats My Leg! 😉 MESBG just seems to be undead somehow though, they’ve not canned it but neither are they investing in it in a big way. It’s up there as one of GW’s 3 main games, front and centre of the website next to 40k and AoS, but ostensibly smaller games like Necromunda or Warhammer Underworlds get a lot more models and books than MESBG could ever dream of at this point. The releases it does get are pretty decent from what I’ve seen (the new Witch King is really cool for instance) but it’s just enough to draw my attention and emphasise how little they get otherwise. 

      • Kuribo

        Its a fun game to speculate on MESBG (unless you’re really into it and hoping GW will go all in I imagine). I think they’ll keep going with this guarded approach because the molds needed to make most MESBG minis (except for the new sculpts of course) have long paid themselves off so GW can make money on it as long as people keep buying stuff. As a result, there isn’t a need for them to take the financial risk of redoing armies or relaunching the game with new sculpts. It will be interesting to see what the Amazon show does for the game, if anything, but barring that, I expect things will stay the same and the old sculpts will get older but stay available much to the chagrin of many MESBG players.

  • Mark A. Morin

    Nice change of pace. I’d love to see you tackle some Tom Meier orc sculpts (Ral Partha).

    • Wudugast

      Cheers! Yeah, those are some really nice models aren’t they? I don’t have any at the moment but sooner or later I’d like to pick up some Ral Partha orcs. I did plan to get some of my old lead orcs painted this month but alas I don’t think it’ll happen now (eyes bigger than my stomach and all that). Still, I’ve managed to get a whole heap of other models painted so I’m not going to worry about it. 

  • patmcf

    Hey mate these guys are different, very interesting!

    • Wudugast

      Yeah, these were a bit of a change of pace – different style and a slightly smaller scale than the others. I know I moaned about them at the time but I’m actually looking forward to getting back to them, I must be a sucker for punishment!

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