Sunday 27 September 2015

Haldir & his Galadhrim Warriors

Haldir and the Galadhrim Warriors.
Minis a mix of GW plastics and blister.

In the War of the Ring, evil picks up momentum after Sauruman’s betrayal became known, and his forces swamped the villages of the Rittermark. The assailed people of the Westfold under King Théoden, had to leave their homes and take refuge in the old Hornburg castle in the ravine of Helm’s Deep. Here, heavily outnumbered against the Uruk-Hai, they would make a desperate stand at the Battle of Helm’s Deep.

Haldir and his 400 Elves awaiting the onslaught
of the enemy at Helm's Deep.

As preparations for the ensuing battle intensified, a glimmer of light appeared in the despairing darkness. Thinking themselves forsaken by the other factions of Good, Théoden and Aragorn were more than relieved to receive the help of Haldir and 400 Galadhrim Warrior Elves. 

The command stand with Haldir and improvised Elvish banner.

Haldir had persuaded Elrond of Rivendell not to abandon the people of the Rittermark in their hour of need, and thus he was allowed to gather a contingent of the elite Galadhrim Warriors, rushing to join Théoden and Aragorn just in time for the coming battle.

According to Tolkien, Haldir spoke the "common tongue" of man.
Thus he would help guide the Fellowship out of Lorien, as they commenced their might quest to destroy the One Ring.

During the Battle of Helm’s Deep, the skilled Elves would prove decisive in slowing down the advance of the Uruk-Hai sufficiently, allowing Gandalf the White to arrive with reinforcements to flank and defeat the Forces of Sauruman. However, the hard-fought battle would see all but a few Elves slain, including their leader, Haldir.

Galadhrim Warriors from the GW plastics sprue.

Interestingly, the movie-version of Haldir’s actions doesn’t correspond with Tolkien’s original book-version. In the books, Haldir and the Galadhrim never joined in the Battle of Helm’s Deep. Lorien was too hard pressed after the onslaught of Dol Guldur. Thus, in the books, Haldir has an unknown fate, perhaps taking him across the Great Sea with the rest of the Elves as they eventually leave Middle-Earth.

Thank you very much for reading!

Sunday 20 September 2015

Galadriel - Lady of Lórien

My take on Galadriel - using a 60mm "forest" resin base from Micro Art Studio,
to give her that Lorien Forest feeling.

For more than 4 years a moving box, filled to the brim with the wonderful world of GW’s Lord of The Rings plastic and metal minis, have been sitting in my attic waiting for the day when I would find like-minded project companions to game with. Over the summer fellow club-members Jonas and Michael happily confessed to having the same Tolkien compulsion and indeed a similar dormant collection at home – so after a talk about who would paint what, a project was finally born.

The Lady of Light - Galadriel.

For those of you familiar with Tolkien’s wonderful world of Middle-Earth and it’s many inhabitants, the cover photo will have given away what faction I’m painting – the elves. I decided to cover both Lórien and Mirkwood, incorporating some of the new fantastically crisp miniatures from GW’s The Hobbit collection. 

Forest of Lorien, ruled by Galadriel and Celeborn.

The single most fantastic thing about Tolkien’s work is probably his rich cabinet of characters, races and their long line of descend all carefully described in one man’s fables (the info is so extensive it has its own Wiki-universe), inspired as he was by Norse and Celtic mythology. So with all this rich material on the elves, I’ll be posting a bit of their background here as the project goes forward. First off – the Lady of Lórien. The lady of the Galadhrim and the Lady of light – Galadriel.


According to the legends she was born in Valinor during the mystical time before The First Age known as the Years of the Trees. She was the only daughter of mighty Finarfin, prince of Noldor and Eärwen. As she became a young adult, her fascination for Middle-Earth grew, mostly thanks to her uncle Fëanor, who told her about its wonders. She felt drawn to it, desiring to find a place there to rule.

Galadriel as portrayed by Kate Blanchett in Peter Jackson's movies.

As she journeyed across the Great Ocean to Middle-Earth, her three brothers joined her, as she set out to accomplish her dream of creating a realm of her own. Arriving to Middle-Earth, she spends the First Age at the court of Thingol in Menegroth. To her great sorrow, all three of her brothers were killed in the many wars during the First Age. Galadriel herself played an insignificant role in the wars and the final defeat of Morgoth.

A view of the fantastic base from Micro Art Studio.
The level of details were just astounding!

At the dawn of the Second Age, Galadriel and her spouse Celeborn were given a small fiefdom to rule under the great Gil-Galad, High King of Noldor. There they had a daughter, Celebrían – who later would be mother to the more well-known Arwen, through her marriage to Elrond of Rivendell.

They then moved east, to rule a territory west of the Misty Mountains. They called it Eregion. It prospered under their wise rule, and trade relations were established with the Dwarves in Moria. They then left Eregion, passing the task of ruling the flourishing territory to Celebrimbor, prince of the House of Fëanor.

A complete map of Middle-Earth with Lorien placed to the east of the Misty Mountains,
between the larger forests of Fangorn and Mirkwood.

Galadriel and Celeborn once again moved east, this time over the Misty Mountains, through the mines of Khazad-dûm. On the other side of the mountains, in the wast forest, they took rule over the lands of Lothlórien. It is now the Rings of Power come into play, as they were created under the guidance of the Maia (Great Spirit) Annatar. Galadriel suspected Annatar to have a hidden agenda, and her instincts proved her right, as Annatar turned out to be none other than Sauron. His plan being to rule Middle-Earth through the magic and power of the rings. The rings were hidden, three of them among the Elves.


Galadriel is wearing the powerful ring Nenya, also known as The White Ring or the Ring of Water. Nenya is one of the Rings of Power, of which three were entrusted to the Elves of Middle-Earth. In the tales, Nenya is said to have been crafted of Mithril Silver and a white stone of Adamant.

A scene from the Peter Jackson movies, 
that probably inspired the GW miniature.

At the end of The Second Age, Sauron was finally defeated during the War of the Last Alliance, Isildur managing to cut of his finger and separate the dark lord from the One Ring. In an attempt to stem future tides of Evil, Galadriel then formed the White Council, incorporating some of the most powerful wizards and characters of good in Middle-Earth. At this point in the legends, the three movies of the Hobbit then begin as we see the dawn of the Third Age. I warmly recommend the movies to anyone who haven't seen them yet!

More Elves to come – Thank you very much for reading!

Thursday 10 September 2015

The History of elite unit Großdeutschland - part 4: The Russian Bear counterattacks

Battlefront's Panzer III command model.
Great piece with plenty of stowage details.

Gaming has now commenced with my 15mm collection of Germans for Operation Barbarossa. Skillfully coached by fellow club member and experienced Chain of Command player, Ulf, I saw the need to increase my panzer contingent in the collection. I've decided to build a forced consisting mainly of Panzer III's with a single Panzer II and the support of the Sdkfz 222, as a good sample forced of the Panzer forces of Guderian in 1941. StuGIII and Panzer IVs will be added later in white-washed camo, when I paint up the winter uniformed units for Stalingrad. 

Russian reinforcements marching across the Red Square in the winter of 41.
The march continued straight through the city and to the front line on its outskirts. 

Operation Taifun - the era of Blitzkrieg comes to an end. 

The fall of 1941 had seen the German army rapidly advance into the heart of Russia. Huge encirclements resulted in catastrophic amount of surrendering Russian troops (Smolensk: 850.000 / Kiev & Uman: 1.500.000). The situation was hard pressed for the Russian Rodina. Hitler wanted to apply the deathblow by a rapid capture of Moscow, before the Russian winter would set in. In the usual style of the German high command, a plan was meticulously drawn up and named Operation Taifun (Operation Typhoon).

A closer look at the stowage.
The IRGD decal has been duly added.

It started promisingly with the advance of von Bock’s forces, encircling and capturing another 660.000 Russians at Bryansk in the beginning of October. IRGD joined the push for Moscow on the 23rd, fighting through the thick autumn mud at Mtsensk, some 200 km south of Moscow. Within a week of heavy fighting and tough marching in the mud, the regiment reached Tula. Moscow was now only little more than a 100 km away. To the Northwest the German forced were even closer, with only 50 km left before they would stand on the Red Square.

The Siberian troops would prove a formidable foe in the harsh winter conditions,
fighting the summer-clothed and suffering German troops.

In Moscow panic broke out among the civilian populace, and intense efforts were made to prepare the city for a fight, house by house. Soviet General Zhukov had been called in to take command of the defence. Reinforcements consisting of the elite Siberian corps had been called back from the east (no attack from Japan was expected anymore), and the remainder of the Russian air force was concentrated around the capital to give support to the ground forces.

Radio antenna added using a thin brass wire for ship modeling.

Meanwhile November saw the German troops bogged down in mud, icy rain and snow as temperatures rapidly dropped to inhumane levels. Machinery seized to work, engines refused to start with the oil inside frozen solid. As November turned to December, the infantry began to show signs of extreme fatigue, with troops suffering from frostbite and sanitary diseases. The German Blitkrieg machine had ground to a halt. 

IRGD were split into minor units, 
plugging the holes in the crumbling German front.

On the 7th of December, the Russian bear roared for the first time, as Zhukov launched an immense counter-offensive all across Brock’s line. IRGD and the rest of the German infantry was poorly equipped to fight in the extreme winter conditions that now faced them. German Army command suggested instigating a controlled retreat and refitting the troops. Hitler denied this, knowing full well that his troops had next to no winter clothes to sustain them. Instead orders were issued to fight to the death. IRGD fought bravely and suffered incredibly, and they were split up into smaller units and dispersed to fill holes in the crumbling line of Bock’s Army Group Centre. 

The Panzer commander scouting for the shortest way to the Red Square.

The push for Moscow had failed. The bear had awoken, and the era of Blitkrieg had come to an end. The dawn of 1942 saw Hitler sack his army command, take personal leadership of the German forces, and dismiss backbone Generals like Guderian. With the apex of the German army behind it, 1942 would be a road leading into even darker chapters. 

A map of the massive Soviet counter attack during the winter of 1941.

Next up: Part V, Stalingrad and the beginning of the end.
Thank you very much for reading!

Wednesday 2 September 2015

Book Recommendations

"The Key to Berlin"
Russian propaganda poster, 1945.

The victors write history – or so they say. Perhaps it’s true, but in time, even the defeated party might have something to add.

The defeat of Nazi Germany in 1945 also signalled an era of European division and the beginning of the ”Cold War”. It was not until the Berlin Wall came down in 1989, that Europe could start to really heal the wounds of WW2 and a united Germany could start to reflect on its turbulent birth. The fall of communism also opened a lot of historical archives in both East-Germany and Russia, casting new light on a dark chapter in history. 

Some of the well-preserved Ostwall defences.
Looks like this piece took a few direct hits.

My friend and fellow historical enthusiast, Uwe Klar, has written two recommendable books about some of those last dark episodes during WW2. With new material from both German and Russian archives (Uwe has lived in Russia for many years), he writes about the desperate fighting in Poland, East-Prussia and on to the Seelow Heights as the Russians tightened the noose on Berlin in 45. 

German artillery position defending the Seelow Heights.

I know from my Google-Statistics that many of my readers are in fact Germans, so I would like to showcase Uwe’s books, and recommend them to all German reading visitors here on the blog.

Brennpunkt ”Ostwall”

The book meticulously documents the fighting on the fortified line of Oder-Warthe-Bogen in the winter of early1945. It narrates in a day by day style, that helps the reader to really understand the desperation of the bitter struggle, as the German army throw scattered Panzer resources into the mix of Volkssturm units and veteran Grenadiers in an attempt to stem the Russian tide.

Brennpunkt “Ostwall”
By: Uwe Klar & André Vogel
Pages: 390
Published: 2015 by Helios Verlag, Aachen (DE)
Price: €32.00 (

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Der Schlüssel für Berlin

Again Uwe Klar uses his knowledge of Russian, mixing German and Soviet sources to give as accurate and interesting account as possible on the dramatic battle of Seelow Heights. “The Key to Berlin” as the book is called, covers the background for the battle, organization of the armies and offers a very detailed description of the fighting itself.

Der Schlüssel für Berlin
By: Uwe Klar & Gerd-Ulrich Herrmann
Pages: 240
Published: 2010 by Helios Verlag, Aachen (DE)
Price: €19.00 (

Thank you very much for stopping by!