Posted 24/08/2017

Middle-earth™ Hobby Focus: Dan Huckvale’s Cirith Ungol

Jay Clare: This week I had the chance to sit down and chat with Dan Huckvale about his current Middle-earth™ hobby projects. Dan is a regular on the UK tournament scene and has won his fair share of Most Sporting and Best Army awards, as well as the odd podium position. One of the armies that Dan is most proud of is his Cirith Ungol force, so I asked him to bring it to Warhammer World so we could talk about it.

Jay: Hi, Dan. So, what was it that inspired you to collect this Cirith Ungol force?

Dan Huckvale: This force was put together for a local 400-point gaming event that rewarded attendees with extra points based on how thematic other players deemed their army list to be. I’ve always thought that it’s much easier to put together a thematic Good army than an Evil one, so I always jump at the opportunity to play some of my favourite Evil Heroes! 

The whole section of The Return of the King, where Frodo and Sam pass through Shelob‘s Lair and Cirith Ungol is one of my favourites in the entire trilogy. It’s a pivotal sequence for the two Hobbits, Sam in particular. The fight with Shelob is intense, with terrible consequences should Sam be beaten. The scenes set in Cirith Ungol are also one of the very few times we get to see a little of Orcish culture and the rivalries between the Orcs and their larger Uruk-hai cousins.

Conveniently, I found that you can fit Shelob, Shagrat, Gorbag and a warband of their respective races into a 400-point list. This leaves thirty-five points left over though, and who better to fill that than Gollum™! The treacherous creature just had to feature in the list somehow! 

Jay: Are there any models in the force that you are particularly proud of?

Dan: Although I’m proud of the whole army, the two models I’m probably most proud of are Shelob and Gollum.

Shelob was, in fact, one of the first models I painted when getting back into the hobby about three years ago. She was a real challenge, with having to paint a predominantly black model whilst ensuring that there is enough contrast in a spot colour to make the model interesting. A lot of what I learned with her I have used to paint other black models, such as the Nazgûl. She was also an experiment in using ‘Ardcoat to create a ‘wet’ effect, which has been used all over the fleshy patches around the mouth and creates, I believe, a truly terrifying appearance.

Gollum is one of those models I think every collector has to paint at some point. I’m a massive fan of the Rakarth Flesh paint, so any opportunity I get to use it I jump at, and it’s the perfect colour for Gollum’s skin. I don’t think I’ve had much more fun painting a model than I did with him, and he was one which actually made me sad when I finished… luckily, I have another two sculpts of the strange gangrel creature to paint sometime! 

Jay: I’ve noticed quite a few conversions in the army. How did you do them and what prompted you to make them?

Dan: The conversions in this army are relatively simple. I like every model in my army to be unique, so I made changes to some of the Mordor Uruk-hai. I found that it is remarkably easy to swap out weapons and add shields to vary their look. 

My favourite has to be the change to give one of them a huge two-handed axe. All I did for this was remove the weapon hand with pliers before filing the area down flat. I then removed the weapon hand from the Morannon Orc Captain from the Morannon Orc Commanders kit and simply glued it onto the flat area. Once this set, I used some liquid green stuff to disguise the join. I plan to use this guy as a Mordor Uruk-hai Captain in future, and his axe should be a great threat to any of his warband that try to step out of line, as well as the enemies of Sauron that oppose him.

Jay: So, what is next for your Middle-earth hobby?

Dan: There’s always so much to do! At the moment I’m jumping between multiple different projects, ranging from Iron Hills Dwarves to the fantastic Thranduil, King of the Woodland Realm on Elk. 

However, I’m starting to focus on getting my The Hobbit™ Throne of Skulls army together, with less than a month to go. I don’t want to reveal too much about it, as it’s an army I’ve never seen taken in full before, but it may contain a few ladders… oh, and also set off quite a bang! 

Jay: Cheers, Dan, and thanks for coming to chat with me about your Middle-earth hobby. We cannot wait to see what you have in store for the upcoming The Hobbit™ Throne of Skulls!

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