Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Helm's Deep Project Update #1

Well, my Helm's Deep project has gotten off to a great start.  I have everything I need to do the project in both materials and miniatures now.  With all the molds from Hirst Arts in hand I set about casting lots of blocks to get me started.

The first thing for me to do was look at the Onyx blog project for reference.  Unfortunately the steps are not detailed enough to build out the whole model ... but there is enough there to save you a lot of time on getting the initial front part of the structure underway.  I've also decided to make some modifications to the basic approach based on careful study of screen captures from the Two Towers movie that I've printed off for reference.

Anyways ... I first had to loose fit blocks together to get an idea of what the structure would look like.  Once that was done I made some changes and then it was time to start gluing the foundation together.  Some pictures below ...

Day 1 ... loose fitting blocks together to see how it would
all go together ...

Once I got the general idea, I focused more on the
foundation, made some modifications, and have set
about gluing parts together ...

Sizing the foundation and build out on a 2 foot by 2 foot
MDF base ... which I will build up with blue foam ...

First wave of blocks that have been cast ... with many
more to be cast ... I might need to order some more
dental plaster!

I know it doesn't look like much right now, but I've made a lot of progress which is not visible, primarily in making sure the whole Hornburg component will fit on the 2' by 2' base and making sure the "inward" design will all fit together and provide the playing space needed for all the models.  I've also given thought to getting my big fat hands in there to move models around ... something not to be overlooked in a model like this!

At the same time while waiting for plaster to dry, I've gotten a start into assembling all the miniatures I need.  I've begun with the forces of good - the dismounted Rohan warriors and Galadhrim.

Rohan foot command

A note on Finecast models from GW ...

Although I've had many disagreements with Games Workshop over the years on multiple fronts, I've always had a respect for the quality of their figures.  Very detailed and well sculpted.  A little on the flashy/dirty side in many cases for their metals ... but nowhere near the worst I've dealt with ... very acceptable from a cleaning perspective, and detail and range of coverage you can't complain about.

I had stopped buying figures from GW many years ago ... far before Finecast arrived on scene.  Some of the new sets I ordered arrived and are Finecast.  Now, the details is outstanding and very crisp.  However, swords and spears ... and other more flimsy parts of the model are not straight!  If you have ever played Zombicide or Battlelore ... you'll know what I mean ... the models are plastic and cast in a flimsy way and usually bent all to hell in ways you can't correct, because cast plastic wants to keep to it's form.  I'm not in the business of attempting to slightly melt plastic to correct casting flaws ... "ain't got time for that" ... which is utterly ridiculous that a Finecast model from GW would have similar issues ... something that they are charging you extra for!!!  Shit!!! (*&^#($*&^#@$!!!!  Give me back basic plastic or metal ... I'll be happy to pay less!!!

Anyways ... fortunately I've been able to correct most of the worst of it ... e.g. cutting away the standard bearer's pole and replacing it with a brass pole (I wish I took a picture of what it looked like before I did it ... the flag was bent over about 45 degrees because of the weight of the cast ... stupid!!).  Oh well ... most of the models I have are second hand and of the original range ... so not a big issue for me ... but I pity anyone getting this crap in any sizable numbers.

Okay, enough complaining ...

Rohan characters ... left to right ... Grimbold, Hama, Eowyn,
Theoden, and Gamling.  Poor Hama, eaten by a Warg ...
still, I love the miniature and he'll just be a regular old
guard captain for Helm's Deep :-)

Rohan Royal Guard contingent ... oh yeah!

Assembly in progress ... foreground is Galadhrim and
behind is Rohan ... still more to build.

So not a bad start.  Once I get all the Rohan and Galadhrim figures assembled I'll be sending them out for painted to my trusty friend Mr. Steve Dake ... who will do an absolutely amazing job on them.  After that it is the slug through 300 Uruk-Hai warriors ... yikes!

Stay tuned ... I'll continue to post project updates as I get more done.


  1. Brilliant! Super excited to see this progress :)

  2. Looks great so far, even if there is a long way to go!

  3. Impressed, you Will build it brick for brick...

    1. Lol, yes sir ... brick by brick ... what was I thinking??!! ;-)

  4. Nice project - and brick by brick as well !

  5. Oh gosh,
    A great idea.
    Stunning presentation

  6. What I see, maybe you missing many soft taste Finnish made liquor, (made from grain), as well as the latest: Napue Gin (rye-gin)

    1. Lol, I don't have either of those in the bar collection just yet ... will have to see if I can get any here ;-)

  7. The bricks look amazing! Are you going to build the Deeping Wall as well? Very excited to follow along as your project comes together!

    1. Thanks! Oh yes, the Deeping wall will be done as well, the whole fortress :-)

  8. How industrious, Jay:) An awesome task that will be rewarding to view and game when complete. When building, insure two things: that you have enough room between the first two walls for figures and gamer's fat, meaty hands, and next, start at the rear of the model first, to insure room for all that. Discovered thise two points in hindsight when building my model. Good luck and enjoy.

    1. Great advice, thanks Steve! It will be your skilled paint work on display, so looking forward to it ;-)