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Valour of the Dúnedain - a 1500 point army of Gondor

Full Army Photo

This army started as a 750 point skirmish army, put together on a whim as I wanted to get to grips with painting more muted colour schemes than I was used to (my previous armies being WHFB Orcs and Goblins, and scattered 40k figures from the Dark Eldar, Daemonhunter and Tau forces). On June 17th, however, I was encouraged to build a 1500 point army in order to take part in Games Day, occurring September 25th. I figured this seemed a good challenge, and a way to make sure I got a decent amount of painting done, so I agreed. Deciding I wanted to stick with a mundane, straight-up Gondorian force - no allies, no magic - I put together a list that stuck to the basics - a solid core of heavy infantry, a wide range of skirmishers, and some shock troops. Over the course of building the army I changed things up a few times (resulting in one knight and sixteen warriors being painted but not actually being used), and I discarded the archers of Minas Tirith that had been present in my skirmish army entirely - the other 48 painted models (24 warriors, 24 rangers) were the only headstart I had.

I ended up with the 204 figure army you see above, plus the various unused models which aren't pictured. Including the needlessly painted models, I painted 173 models between the 17th of June and the 22nd of September, at which point the army was completed - not a bad rate, particularly considering that the month of August went by with almost no painting done at all. As of today, the army hasn't been played, and I don't know how well it would do - built for flavour rather than competitiveness, I imagine the lack of any broken hero combinations or magic will hurt me in the tournament, but I'm sure it'll be a fun force to play with!

Unit Photos

First up, my Knights of Dol Amroth. Initially conceived as the only shock troops in my army, I flitted back and forth over whether or not to include a banner, ending up painting an extra generic knight 'just in case' I'd need him. In the end, I didn't.

These are my fastest unit on the board, the most damaging on the charge, and also the most expensive per company (ignoring modifiers from legendary companies' command companies, at least). They were the first unit I painted when I decided to make the full 1500 point army, and so I was able to spend more time on these per model than any other figures in my army. Which, of course, was a good thing, what with them standing out thanks to their size and colour scheme. Speaking of which: I inverted the white and blue on the SKODA's streamers, as I liked the effect - blue swans may not make sense, but hey, who said it had to?

At 235 points, they're expensive for four companies + standard bearer, but worth it for their speed, power and ability to take a good few knocks.

Next up, The Grey Company. These were actually the last formation to get painted, and the last to be added to the list. Alongside my SKODA they make up the mailed fist of my forces, offering hefty offensive capabilities supported by impressive skills with a longbow. They're also, unlike the SKODA, decent at receiving a charge, despite their lower defence. Oh, and they move as fast as elves, which is nice.

I discovered that I'm not very good at painting grey, and it took me a while to work out a good system for churning out grey cloaks that didn't look awful at a decent pace (with 40 models to paint, I couldn't afford to spend much time on any of the characters aside from Halbarad, and even then only really on his standard). Still, they came out pretty well - though the plastic rangers (approximately half of the formation are metal Rangers of the North/Dúnedain of the North/Grey Company figures, plus Halbarad; the other half are generic plastic Rangers of Middle Earth) took less well to the scheme. In the end, this is the one formation I really want to go back to and tidy up some more, but they aren't nearly as bad as I first worried they might end up.

Another expensive unit, the five companies cost a total of 325 points. However, with their longbows, high strength, high fight value (helped by the banner), ability to fight at the same time as cavalry and to fight to the last man, they're a versatile unit, dangerous on the offence and in defence.

Ah, rangers. These make up a large portion of my army (9 companies, or 72 men), and are split into three formations. One of said formations are Rangers of Ithilien, marked only by the fact they are led by Damrod and Madril, and have three metal 'Faramir's Rangers' figures mixed in with them. The Rangers of Ithilien are the company in focus here.

These were fun to paint, though in the end I didn't have time to properly finish all of them. I also made sure to use a small number of variations in their colour schemes - nothing obvious, they all had to have green cloaks and brown clothing, but in the detailing I made sure some had different colours on the boiled leather of their armour - just enough to give the impression that these are all individuals.

Altogether they cost 365 points, which isn't bad for three formations of three companies of ambushing archers with a decent fight value. Their finest hour came when a unit managed to pop out of a terrain feature after a Rohan opponent's move, then heroic charge into the rear of one of their cavalry companies. Whitewash doesn't begin to cover it.

Out of focus here are mounted Faramir, and Aragorn on foot. I hate the Faramir model, I really do. I also rushed it, as a) I was running low on time, and b) I really don't like the model. Aragorn, on the other hand, I spent a little time on, and I do like the figure - and its pose. I think he came out okay. In focus you can see some of the warriors of Minas Tirith, of which I have 10 companies (80 men), split into three formations. All are much of a muchness, and were first primed with Army Painter plate mail which drastically cut down on the time spent painting them. Quick and easy to paint, and they came out quite well.

The warriors are, as you might guess, cannon fodder. At 250 points for ten companies, they're cheap to lose - and at defence 7 to the front, they can sit around absorbing attacks for turn on end. Well worth the cost.

Faramir is just a great, cheap model, and needed for the battleforce I use. His Valour Unbound ability is very handy, and 90 points for four might points isn't bad at all.

Aragorn, meanwhile, is Aragorn - his +2 to rolls in his company is always incredibly useful, as is his ability to spend a point of might for free each turn, while his Epic Journey can be very useful, if used carefully.

And finally, you can see mounted Aragorn, and Faramir on foot. I'm not a big fan of the mounted Aragorn figure, but I tried to make sure he reflected the army as a whole - so he rides on a white horse with blue coat (Dol Amroth), has a green cloak (rangers), grey coat (Grey Company) and the silver tree of Gondor (er, Gondor). The Faramir figure is from the 'captured by Gondor' set, and is by far my favourite Faramir figure - it's not amazing, but it's a lot better than the other (awful) choices. Oh, and in the background, some more warriors - this time out of focus.

And that's it! Not the most brilliantly painted army, but I'm quite proud of it nonetheless - as a not-so-brilliant painter, with a limited time scale to work in, I think I did alright.

Army List

  • 200 points – Aragorn
  • 90 points – Faramir
  • 275 points – The Grey Company x5
  • 50 points – The Banner of the King x1 (Grey Company)
  • 200 points – Knights of Dol Amroth x4
  • 35 points – Banner Bearer x1 (Knights of Dol Amroth)
  • 185 points – Rangers of Ithilien x3
  • 100 points – Minas Tirith Warriors x4
  • 90 points – Rangers of Gondor x3
  • 90 points – Rangers of Gondor x3
  • 75 points – Minas Tirith Warriors x3
  • 75 points – Minas Tirith Warriors x3
  • 25 points – Battlehost: Faramir’s Rangers

1490 points total


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