Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Workbench Report #2017-1: In Which We Are Not Dead

Happy 2017 gamers!
I find myself alone most Tuesday evenings with my wife hanging out with friends and I took a look at the blog and realized a great travesty: 6 posts came from this blog last year. I know what you’re thinking – how in the WORLD did you only get up 6 posts (and not all of them were yours)! Where were you last year!?!?!?
The answer is quite simple: the workbench has been far from empty – it just hasn’t seen much LOTR stuff. While I will go into great detail as to what we were doing last year, I’ve decided first to show you:
Behold! The great Highborn Elves in all their glory!
In 2016, my capital investment team (aka me while driving in the car to/from work) had many meetings with my fellow board members (aka, me while driving in the car to/from work) about what we wanted to buy during the course of 2016. We plan things out two in advance and then adjust for trends as we deem fit. In our case, we planned 2016 to include the following purchases: 1 blister Warg Riders, 1 blister Uruk Scouts, 1 blister Wood Elves, 1 blister High Elves + Numenor. As we began thinking about what we actually wanted/needed, we came across a different plan: finish our Warhammer army. Why? In a word: Ninth-Age.
For those unfamiliar with what’s been happening in the Games Workshop cosmos, our beloved Warhammer Fantasy 8th Edition got shelved in favor of Age of Sigmar. Most of the competitive armies (and the entire meta) got dumped for a new system that’s more squad/hero-oriented instead of large army block-oriented. This got a large group of WHF fans miffed, so a handful of our great heroes of the game decided to petition for (and were granted) permission to create “The Ninth Age,” which is either the step-daughter or pretty niece of WHF 8th Edition.
Citizen Spears/Sea Guard (can't decide) on the left, Flame Wardens on the right - none of these are the original GW models...
Two big improvements came from the dawn of the Ninth Age: first, all rulebooks are available free online. Second, there aren’t standardized models anymore – just base sizes. I had no interest in dropping ~$100 for a basic unit of 20 Phoenix Guard during 8th Edition, but in Ninth Age, I was able to buy models that were roughly $1/model. Really changes the game for investment planning!
So, why didn’t I post any of this last year? Because that’s not what this blog is for. This is not a Ninth Age blog and it’s not going to become one. Why do I bring up all this now? Because the purchases we made for Ninth Age had an impact on our LOTR collection in two big ways:

First, we took Dunlendings to a tournament this year. No picture today - more on that next week. At THRO 2016, we did a Rohan vs. Isengard tournament (pictures going up next week, know it’s really late, been really busy, more excuses than I can write, yada-yada-yada). At that tournament, we tested out whether Dunlendings are worth it – questionable whether getting MORE S4 units against a predominately D5 civ is even valuable, but I did like them (and thematically, since I brought Thrydan, I needed to bring at least some Dunland units). The models you see here are taken from the Saxon Thegn set distributed by Warlord Games. They’re really good and can be used easily for Dunlendings or Rohan guys. You could probably use them for other things to, but those would be the most obvious conversions (since they come with rounded shields and ringmail armor). But as great as these guys were/are, they’re not the biggest reason for the purchases we did…
It's amazing how much stronger a list can be when it has basic alternate gear options available...
As you may have noticed last year (not that we talked about anything that much), we started working on a Numenorian contingent for our High Elf army. I don’t like armies that have all High Elf models because they’re expensive – really expensive. I was toying (and still kinda am) with converting up all my Numenorian warriors into Warriors of Arnor, but have decided for the now to just stick with a Numenor contingent. Just getting warriors with shields doesn’t do much for your army resiliency, but giving them spears/bows (thanks to a 'bows and bills' set from the War of the Roses) is a great way to add a little umph to your army.
The bows got new hands, spearmen sometimes got new hands (but most lost their entire forearm) - can't tell, huh?
What I really like about the Saxon Thegn army is that all of the warriors can be equipped with spears. Since I knew I wanted a few that didn’t have spears, I had a bunch of extras (and still do) to give to my Numenorians. While these guys might all see spears entering their converted arms soon, for now I converted up 6 as spearmen. What you might not know is that the entire forearm of these converted guys is borrowed from the Thegn model arm…looks pretty minted, though, right? Yeah, I’m proud of that. J

Ultimately, it’s pride in our work that makes the hobby what it is – hence the repeat of the quote of the month. We’ll be doing hobby work every Tuesday (and some other days as is convenient), and when those are LOTR-based, we’ll let you know in this space. I should warn you: 2017 and 2018 are currently pegged as Star Wars Imperial Assault years – we’re getting the core set soon, have a few of the support blisters already, and my kids want the new Rancor, so we’ll be busy. J I've also been asked (along with my good buddy Glenstorm) to join the FFG forums contributor Rythbryt at a new blog dedicated to talking all things SWIA - the blog is called Wretched Hive (if ya don't get the reference, you need to re-watch A New Hope, :-) ). While new models will probably not be flowing into this hobby, we’ve got plenty of painting/basing/terrain-ing to do to provide content here. Until next time, have a great start to your year and happy hobbying!


  1. Hehe, yeah, I should probably finish a bunch of the posts I was thinking about doing in 2016 as well, :P

    Loving the Numenor conversions - Numenor always struck me as a good investment (high FV humans are rare for that cost), and love the switch to bows and spears. Plus huge fan of being able to use surrogate models in-game, :)

  2. I'm a Numenor fan myself. In fact, that was my army at the 2016 NOVA Open SBG event Labor Day weekend. I did better than I had hoped, 3-2 Win/Loss record for my first big tournament (52 players, I believe).