Middle-earth Hobby Focus: Thranduil’s Halls by David
Jay Clare: David is an avid fan of the Strategy Battle Game and a regular gamer here at Warhammer World, one I have played many thrilling battles against in recent years! The pride of David’s collection is his Thranduil’s Halls army which he has been working on since their release; in fact, his army has collected its fair share of Best Army awards and nominations at various events up and down the UK, including a coveted Best Army nomination at The Hobbit™: Strategy Battle Game Throne of Skulls in 2016. With all this in mind, I caught up with David over a nice cup of tea in Bugman’s Bar to find out what inspired his army, and what is next for it.
Jay: So, you have a pretty impressive army of Elves, what was it that inspired you to start collecting them?
David: I had long been considering adding an Elf army to my collection, but I was a little unsure of which ‘flavour’ of Elf would be the most fun to paint and play with. I found myself leaning towards Mirkwood as I like the fact they are less noble and seem to be far more flawed than their cousins in Rivendell™ or Lothlórien. I think Beorn™ sums it up well when he says “They are less wise, and more dangerous.”
Mirkwood is also fantastic from a collecting and painting point of view, as you have three iconic Heroes, some solid captains and a nice variety of troops to sink your teeth into.
Jay: How did you go about choosing the colour scheme for your army, and what tips would you give to recreate it?
David: The colour scheme for the Mirkwood Elves came about by accident. I only managed to catch the movie once at the cinema and at the time of painting my first warband, the film was not out on DVD. I picked up my first few Mirkwood Elves and began painting them as I remembered them looking in my head. While they’re not quite movie-accurate, I was really pleased with the result. I was particularly pleased with their brown cloaks, which I painted with a base coat of Rakarth Flesh which I then painted over with a couple of layers of a 50:50 mix of Lahmian Medium and Mournfang Brown. Because of the light base colour, this established some really good depth to the appearance of the cloak. I then mixed up some Rhinox Hide with a lot of Lahmian Medium and painted this into the deepest recesses.
The shields were painted with Rhinox Hide at first before I tackled free-handing the wood grain. This was done by carefully painting Gorthor Brown then highlighting the grain with Baneblade Brown. I then washed the shields with Nuln Oil before applying two coats of Carroburg Crimson to give that reddish-brown look.
The Palace Guard are a more deliberate deviation from the source material. I wanted them to really feel like Thranduil’s personal bodyguard so chose rich reds over the traditional greens to give them a more regal appearance.
Jay: Are there any models that you are particularly proud of?
David: Thranduil, King of Mirkwood is not only one of my most favourite models in the army; it is also one of the models I am most proud of in my entire collection. The posing of the figure really captures the air of self-importance which Lee Pace portrays so well in the movies and the folds on the back of his robes are a joy to paint. I am also very fond of my converted Legolas Greenleaf™ in armour, which uses the head and quiver of Legolas Greenleaf, Prince of Mirkwood on the body of an Armoured Elf Archer. I took the bow from the plastic Legolas from The Fellowship of the Ring™.
Jay: How has The Hobbit™: There and Back Again impacted your army? Have you added anything new to it because of the book?
David: I feel the army got a real boost with a few minor changes. The added Defence value of the Armoured Elves makes them sturdier, particularly against Strength 4 opponents such as Gundabad Orcs. The biggest change to my army will be to my leader as I have only ever used the older Thranduil profile with the Circlet of Kings for his magic abilities. The newer profile takes him from a support role to a front line killing machine, so it’ll be a bit of a learning curve to get used to using him effectively, but one I am looking forward to (especially with the possibility of him having a very exciting new mount in the future!). Going forwards, I think I will be adding a bunch more Elven glaives to the army as they are such a versatile weapon, and are now even better when combined with the increased Defence of the bearer. I am also in the midst of painting some Mirkwood Cavalry. Now that they have gained heavy armour and the option for a shield, they are definitely worth adding to my force!
Jay: What advice would you give to someone who wants to start their own Thranduil’s Halls list?
David: I started by picking up the three named heroes: Thranduil, Legolas and Tauriel™. I then added a warband for each: Palace Guards for Thranduil, Mirkwood Elves for Legolas, and Mirkwood Rangers for Tauriel. This should provide enough to keep you busy with painting, and gets you close to the 800 point mark. After that, play a few games and add more of what you love. The army special rule is great, letting you take as many Mirkwood Rangers as you like, so there are really very few restrictions. I have taken them to a few tournaments in their previous incarnation and had great fun! I can’t wait to hit the tables with them again and take advantage of their new rules.
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