Monday, 18 February 2013

The Hobbit Ltd. Edition Review & New Games Workshop Paint Range Review

Evening all,

I was initially going to post these reviews alongside the update with the painted Hobbit Terrain. However I've had an eventful two weeks - in the first instance I got engaged to my girlfriend of 3 1/2yrs and in the second, I've picked up some nasty flu virus which has made the past three days utterly delightful and in the third, I got bitten by a dog (neither of our dogs I hasten to add). Both the latter events occurred mere hours after the engagement and I'm hoping it's not going to be the 'way of married life'...

So, apologies are due once again. I've got the terrain about 75% painted so hopefully you'll see them finished tomorrow or Wednesday.

The Hobbit Ltd. Ed. Boxed Set Review

First up the price, a bit daunting at £75. But let’s look at it a little closer – for your money you get;
·      A condensed rulebook, which separately costs £50
·      Thorin’s Company; that’s 15 models in itself (13 Dwarves, Gandalf and Bilbo)
·      38 Goblins
·      Goblin King
·      Radagast Exclusive Model
·      An introductory booklet with quick reference rules pages
·      Rulers
·      Dice
·      Extensive Terrain

Now, bear in mind the following addenda, as to why I feel this is good value for money. The first is that Thorin’s Company, is as yet unavailable outside this box set. Second, Radagast exclusive model is interesting, and given the way the first film is I’m inclined to guess that Radagast will feature in one or both of the following films in some way. Third, whilst another (perhaps better) Goblin King is available, this one is not, it’s also plastic not Finecast....
What I’m saying is, this box set is unique in more than one way and I like that.

To the models, these are, without exception fantastic. Thorin’s Company do not suffer for being, for the most part, one piece models. The faces are discernibly the characters on screen in the film and the goblins are suitably rag-tag.

The terrain is great and is even suited to being a platform for painted models as well as a playable surface. It is incredibly detailed and lots of fun to paint.

Another thing I quite like about the kit is that it is, despite being a depiction from the film, it is also a depiction from the book, not one of the Jackson additions. Consider that they could have made the set based on perhaps the assault on Moria flashback or the fighting wargs from the trees from the film.

Whilst I am aware that the Hobbit franchise along with the GW Lord of the Rings franchise was sometimes looked down upon by 40k players and fantasy players I must say I’m extremely pleased with the kit. And it brings nostalgia for the original LotR boxed sets way back when.

Now, as someone who adored the film release of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, I can see nothing I would change about the kit. As an avid Tolkien fan-boy with a more-than working knowledge of the ‘Tolkien-verse’ there are things I’d change. But that would be an extremely unfair way of assessing the kit and so I will not bring that up.

Review: The new Games Workshop Paint Range

Now, I shy away from change...

So, the new range is much larger than the old one. I say that in the knowledge that GW removed a lot of their colours running up to the changeover. But I do miss the familiar favourites of Space Wolves Grey and Dark Angels Green. That said, I like the new range. The new base colours have higher colour density (therefore the paint itself is thicker). This is fine as I thin my colours, it took me a few minutes to work out how much I’d thin the paint prior to use. And when I had thinned the paint I still got a good coverage on the model.

The paints are labeled ‘layer’. On the Games Workshop site they’re labeled ‘Layer 1’ ‘Layer 2’. They have the same thickness and colour density, but are labeled to show which is the next tone after the first. That’s fine but for an experienced painter this is unnecessary. For a beginner I think this would make the learning process far easier, for that I applaud Games Workshop.

I will not comment on the texture paints as I feel they’re unnecessary, saying that, I have bought one to try out and perhaps, just perhaps, it would make the younger less experienced hobbyist avoid paying money for GW sand, GW glue and a paint.

The shades are not much different to the older GW shades, they are fine for most, but I tend to avoid them as they come out overly matt and look funny on the model.  The glazes suffer, though not as severely, from the same problem. I much prefer adding a glaze medium (which GW have now produced) to a paint to do my glazes and shading.

Generally, the main issues with the range are the new names which is a new learning curve and the somewhat juggling effect of having to deal with different thicknesses of paint on the trot. Once the names are recognised it should be much easier. I would also like to add that among all the Games Workshop hate for prices (which I do not take part in, as models are a luxury product, not necessary to living) the paints have generally, not been to badly priced. When I joined the hobby back in 2001 (the outset of the Lord of the Rings models) the paints costed £1.50. They now cost £2.30. That’s about 6.6p a year, which I feel is a very reasonable growth in price.

So the intention with the new range is clearly to make painting easier and more accessible to younger or inexperienced people. Which is a laudable aim. For us more experienced painters we just need to tinker with our processes.

I do realize from my two reviews I may seem a GW ‘fanboy’. That’s not completely true, I would like to point out, I am willing and able to descry something I dislike. I do still feel rather discriminatory of Finecast products.

We will get back to more painted models in the next few days, as soon as I can shake off this plague.


  1. Totally agree with the new names, I still have a big range of 'old' GW paints, there is a handy conversion chart in a White Dwarf around the time they changed over and a pdf here that Ron put up before his hiatus.

    I loved Charadon Granite, shame nothing replaced it correctly. I hope the new Codex Grey is a good replacement, I've painted far too many Relictors now to start changing...

    1. Thanks for the link Siph. I've found that Stormvermin Fur is the closest approximation to Charadon Granite. (I used Charadon for the chips on my tanks, now I use Stormvermin).

    2. Oh and Codex Grey's replacement is Dawnstone, and it's a good match. :)

  2. I bought lots of my main colours from the old range before they disappeared. I've not found that the new paints suggested by the conversion chart are anything like the old ones so hopefully I've got enough to finish the projects I've started...

    1. There are a few that just about match up - Codex Grey/Dawnstone etc. But I agree with you in general.

  3. It's okay to like GW products. All the nerd rage is just hot air. You are not a fanboy. Most of their products are well above average and they are the industry leaders. I love the new range, but it hasn't stopped me from branching out into other ranges like vallejo and tamiya and others to boot - it may be my imagination or perhaps I am developing a paint addiction, but some taste better on the brush than others ;) As for the sickness that comes from commitment all I can say is: Just you wait until you have kids. You'll long for the health you once enjoyed. I swear every little kid out there is in secret an agent of the plague god -_-