337 Days until Dragon*Con 2012…
Yesterday we talked about mini-wargaming and I mentioned that I was going to show you just how badass some of the LOTR armies can be, when meticulously painted by pros. I don’t really know what a “pro” miniature painter is, but I’m assuming that there are people out there who make their living doing it.
But, before we get to that, I felt like I would be wrong to not, at least, mention that Lord of the Rings Online’s new expansion set, “Rise of Isengard” went live yesterday.
I have mixed feelings about it, but then again, I have mixed feelings about any mmo expansion I have ever played…
To me, the problem I have with expansions is that they almost always raise the level cap. I know that they hafta do that because, otherwise, there would be no reason for people to explore the new content. Plus I have no doubt that there are people out there somewhere who haven’t slept in 2 days because they want to be the first one on their server to get to level 75.
As I’ve said before, I’ve played numerous mmo’s, and have played plenty of expansions… and I always have the mixed feelings. On one hand, I like checking out the new content (the Lich King expansion in WoW, I thought, was particularly good. Walrus-men! How could it get any better? The only way would be to have friendly, talking otters who gave you epic loot when you smurfed em out of their misery).
The main thing I don’t like is that I just feel like it’s more work. More work that I have to do before I can feel satisfied, and with an obstacle like Moria standing between me and the level cap, it can seem a bit overwhelming. When you’re already 65, ten more levels might not seem too bad. But when you’re trying level up your alt who is 30, well…. it’s a real bummer, man.
Not only that, but if you’re 30, it’ll be 30 more levels, at least, before you can experience the new content, and we all know that we all want to get in on the new exciting shit on the ground floor so we can say, 2 years from now, “I was there. I was one of the first ones into Isengard”.
It means more work in crafting too, which makes me wish for a LOTRO-playing slavebot who would come level up my crafting for me while I watch old episodes of the Lone Ranger and eat Halloween-themed treats. Or nowadays, Halloween-themed twigs’n’berries’n’shit.
Still, the video trailer for Isengard that Turd-bind released on launch day is pretty wicked pisser. Check it out:
At about 1:00 in the video, I’m pretty sure it means that we will be fighting Grimlock at some point. And at 1:25 it makes a totally Hanna-Barbera noise, like the noise the old Superfriends shows used to segway into a different scene. I’ve never heard anything like that noise in LOTRO before, but I like it. It makes me think we’re about to go see what the Wonder Twins are up to (form of: a HOT ELF MAIDEN!!!). Gleek’s probably havin’ a wank.
LOTR Tabletop Wargame
Like Warhammer and 40k, Games Workshop also produces a tabletop wargame based on the Lord of the Rings. It’s more based on the Peter Jackson films than the books, or Bakshi’s film, but that’s ok because the miniatures look frackin awesome.
The Lord of the Rings tabletop game is played exactly the same way as Warhammer. You pick your army (Rohan Isengard, Gondor, etc.), you paint the miniatures and vehicles and terrain, then you roll dice and try to out-strategerize your opponent on the field of high fantasy battle.
The main reason I’m bringing up this game isn’t just because we talked about tabletop games yesterday, although that is a part of it. The main reason is because I wanted to show you some good photography (as opposed to my photos yesterday which could have been taken by a drunk manatee) of some pro-painted LOTR game miniatures.
These miniatures were shared with theonering.net on our message board, by member reags. You can go over to that original thread HERE.
All photos were taken by reags, and the mini’s were painted by Polish painter Wojtek, aka Viruk, from Independent Painters.
These are just to show you how they are s’posed to look, not how mine looked like the melted guy from the climactic battle sequence in Robocop.
As you can see here, Sauron is poised to strike you down with his giant club/mace thing. He’s even pointing at you in full-on mockery, as though he is Babe Ruth about to knock your pitiful little head into left field. You can also clearly see The Ring on his hand. Perhaps this is just moments before Isildur cut that bitch off? If so, I kinda feel bad for Sauron here, forever frozen in the moments before making the biggest mistake of his life. I can only imagine if I had a figure of myself frozen in the same way. I’d probably be holding a bottle of Tullamore Dew and have my little painted britches halfway to my knees.
Regardless of all that, this is a magnificent job. Check out the shadowing in the armor. Perfect. And like I said, the fact that the ring is so prominent just makes it that much better.
I also really love the little bits of terrain on his base. Rocks and everything! Lots of people will have a little grass, but this is perfectly textured.
This is the “Mouth of Sauron”, an emissary of the head bad guy in charge, is only seen in the book and in the Extended Edition of the Return of the King film (and in the ROTK animated film, but since this is so clearly based on the PJ movie, I’ll leave that alone). I really like this scene in Peter Jackson’s adaptation because this character is so interesting, but almost no backstory is given [in the fillum]. Despite being quite different from how he is described in the book, this look for him is just plain cool… and rather creepy like. The paint job is phenomenal. Just look at the detailing on his mount’s armor! Incredible. And once again, the textures on the base are perfect.
The Mouth of Sauron bears quite a frightening countenance in the movie. I’m guessing this may be why he was cut out of the final picture. If you are scared of him, watch this video and he might not be so scary anymore.
Here are some good old-fashioned Mordor orcs, bearing their Master’s standard of a red eye on a black field. Check out that battle damage on the swords and armor and shields! Someone has their inner Model Railroad Enthusiast cranked up to about a billion! Also, look at that drum on the left. This is similar to the Irish bodhran drum. My wife has one and I can tell you that the skin on it looks almost identical. It’s little touches like the skin on that drum that really set these pieces apart. I mean, even knowing that they’re miniatures, I’m a bit intimidated by these guys. Not the sort of chaps that you’d meet out for a malted, that’s for sure. Unless it was not malted milk but malted hobbit, ha! I am so stupid.
If you want to see more of these immaculate miniatures, the photobucket album can be viewed in its entirety HERE. There’s tons more pics, including the Nazgul and some orcs you’ll recognize from the movie. Thanks to TORn member reags for allowing me to post these pics!
By now you’ve definitely seen it, but here’s the official unveiling of the current fitfordragoncon.com logo! I clearly manipulated the original Dragon*Con logo (crappily, I might add) and turned that dragon into Rambogoncon! I know he has 6 arms. Or 4 arms and 2 legs. Whatever.
You know you love it. Tell your friends.