"Seven rings for the Dwarf-lords in their halls of stone."
Zirak Zagul Colonists
Greetings, wanderer! Welcome, by blasts of horn and meaty fat sizzling in the fire, to the newly carved halls of Zirak Zagul, a budding hold of Khazâd settlers of Ironfist extraction. Warlike and quarrelsome, the teeming numbers of their expanding mother hold saw an intrepid group of colonists split off to seek untapped ore veins and spread Dwarven might to new locales. Their mythical maker, Mahal, created the Khazâd to be tough and strong in order to withstand the baleful horrors and hardships of a hostile world. For Ages, these traits have stood the Dwarves in good stead, allowing them to endure, outlast and ultimately overcome their hated foes. Yet the true wonder of the Seven Houses of the Dwarves are to be seen in the crafty works of their hands, working magic on metal and stone beyond the dull ken of manlings. To the heirs of Durin, the mountain sing with marvellous potential. The raw metal speaks to them of true wonders to be wrought upon the anvil. And so the hardy Khazâd raise hammer, axe and mining picks alike, and set about their wondrous toil. Such works! Such unsurpassed carving of stone! Such unparallelled forging of metal!
Truly, the Dwarves themselves are the greatest treasure, the makers of such riches and wonders sung of in sagas and disbelieved by dull folk. And so the Khazâd will guard their hoards and their kin with ferocious vengeance promised to anyone who so ever dares to challenge them.
Baruk Khazâd! Khazâd ai-mênu!
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Two weeks ago, amid frugal Christmas present-making (as befits a Dwarven tightwad), Johan von Elak, a friend of mine, decided that we should meet up in the days between Christmas and New Year, and play Lotr Strategy Battle Game. He had been introduced to the system by a friend, and fell for it. Having tried Lotr SBG, he wondered why he had played clunky Warhammer with its bloated mass of special rules all these years, when such an elegant fantasy wargame existed.
Be that as it may, me and my brother were fired up with enthusiasm. We have collected Lotr for as long as we have collected Warhammer, and the wonderful miniatures and especially Games Workshop's homebrew designs for Lotr (Dwarves, Khand, Easterling Cataphracts and so on) have long captured our imagination. The Perry twins truly know their craft, and they gave us a phenomenal model range to crown their work for Games Workshop before they took their leave to focus on their own historical range. Yet Lotr players around here are few and far between, and no tournament has ever been sighted. As such, our modelling efforts have by necessity become concentrated on Warhammer Fantasy and Warhammer 40'000, which do have players and tournaments. Absolutely lovely as those settings and miniatures are, this has still left us longing for Lotr, even as we piled the boxes and blisters of our Lotr collection higher.
And so, after 18 years in the hobby, we at last have found opponents and a communal drive to convert and paint our Lord of the Rings miniatures!
While Johan goes for the elite forces of Mordor, and my brother paints Easterlings, I have spent at least 8 days of nonstop work from morning to midnight on converting my Dwarven warband for the Christmas games to come, based on the rather shoddy plastic kits. Painting will happen in preparation for some later Lotr event, and so I present to you pictures of these finished conversions. Time was short, and so I declined to work in all the angularities and intricacies I would have loved to do. Drawing inspiration from Games Workshop's own Lotr Dwarf range and from the splendid artworks of Sergio Artigas, I set about decorating the Dwarves. Most importantly, I went for my lifelong love of realism details, and frontloaded their equipment. I also drew on certain Warhammer Dwarf designs such as ancestor faces, because good designs should span settings and not be confined in their outreach.
It is far from perfect work, yet it was not meant to be anything else than fast work, though still completionist in scope of equipment and decorations. These are just quicksculpted personal conversions, not sculpts for casting.
In the process I also happened upon a simple method to give a base for making flapping cloaks, involving plasticard, pinned paper clips, super glue and baking soda. A tutorial can be arranged if the below work in process pictures do not suffice for an explanation: Say the word!
It is so good to at last be back not only to true Dwarven hobby work, but also to Lotr.
And now, heed the blasts of horn!