Tuesday, 17 March 2015

Let Me Ent-ertain You

Lacking the time (or indeed the attention span) to stick with one army, I have flitted away from the Night Goblins once more and come back to the Wood Elves. The painting equivalent of a gadfly (or a Mangler Squig, if you've seen the way I do eyeballs).

I thought to reignite my interest in the Asrai with something large and arboreal:

Lord of the Rings Treebeard - Treeman

I used to have a Treeman in my 4th ed army. In fact, I had two of them, since they were the small Marauder Miniatures ones that were a quick and easy way to pad out your army. Then Treekin came along, and the hoary old chestnuts were relegated to the rank-and-file (more on them in a future update).

Which left me shopping for a new centrepiece: the reason I held off for so long (aside from the usual inertia) was that the 6th ed metal treeman looked slightly demented (like a concussed man trying to pick up his hat).

The new plastic "Greater Daemon of Conifer" treeman models are more dynamic, but the design is at odds with the rest of my army, not to mention it's too tall to fit in my storage drawer and the sheer amount of twiggy bits are just begging to be snapped off in transit.

And so I was back to the familiar territory of Lord of the Rings proxies. My biggest worry about the Treebeard model is that Merry and Pippin were sculpted directly on, and I'd have to hack them away (there are no passengers in Athel Loren). It turns out they were just separate models, and popped right off during the Dettol bath.

Lord of the Rings Treebeard - Treeman
Once you've seen him dribbling an invisible basketball, you can't un-see it.

Unlike the LotR human models, the difference in scale doesn't really show (I guess because there is no 'proper' size for a tree). He does loom above the elves and dryads, although the treekin give him a run for his money height-wise (but only because they're flinging their arms in the air).

One feature I like is that Treebeard is stooping slightly, as if everything he is looking at is beneath him. That alone conveys a sense of scale - whereas the new treemen seem to be looking at something directly at eye level (and given the current fashion for gigantic models, he probably is).

Lord of the Rings Treebeard - Treeman
Kiss my ash.

For such a big model, the painting scheme was embarrassingly simple (I don't have the imagination for anything fancy: bark n' branches man, that's me):

  • Bark: Steel Legion Drab base, Brown Ink wash, Agrax Earthshade wash, Tallern Sand drybrush
  • Beard: Death World Forest base, Green Ink wash, Elysian Green drybrush
  • Moss: Catachan Green base, Nurgling Green drybrush
  • Leaves: Elysian Green base, Agrax Earthshade wash, Nurgling Green drybrush
  • Fungus: Dwarf Flesh drybrush
  • Rocks: Dawnstone base, White Scar drybrush
  • Eyes: Fiery Orange base, Golden Yellow details.

I was going for a 'pools of amber' look for the eyes, as I remembered that was how Treebeard was described, and it seemed appropriate. Then I checked my paperback and realised they were described as "brown, shot with a green light."

Lord of the Rings Treebeard - Treeman
I must have been remembering the film version - damn you Peter Jackson!

As an aside, I don't think any depiction of the Ents has managed to get it right. The most obvious interpretation (which everyone goes for) is to make them animated trees, whereas they're supposed to be giant humanoids with tree-like characteristics.

(Oh God, does that mean the latest plastic kit is the most accurate? Swing that sword, Optimus Vine.)


  1. Yeah, you seldom see a treeman model that makes you go 'yes, that's exactly what I imagined.' Which makes me wonder what exactly I've been imagining all this time.

    Smashing base (not more so than the model, I'm just saying). That leaf litter stuff is still lovely.

    1. I can't quite picture it myself, but I think it would have to work like an optical illusion: seems to be a tree when still, but takes a human shape when moving.

      That kind of thing would be best be portrayed on film (so that's another demerit, Jackson).

    2. They do say that a good base will uplift a mediocre paint job, and I seem to have proved the point here (although I was expecting more to work with - maybe I should have left the hobbits on).

      And yes, that jar of leaf litter was worth every penny of custom duties.