Codsworth and Some Serious MESBG Musings

22 thoughts on “Codsworth and Some Serious MESBG Musings”

  1. Wow that Codsworth is superb! One of the coolest painted mini’s I’ve seen in a while. The NMM looks great on him, I didn’t even realise he is still a WIP. Lovely, lovely work! I’m really enjoying your Fallout updates, it’s really cool to see and read about your take on it.

    As for MESBG, I absolutely see your point(s). It’s all very true. I think, from the limited number of war games I’ve played it is one of the most solo-able war games out there, but yeah playing with others will probably give a better experience in most cases, not in the least of which due to the large amount of rules, interactions and optimal tactics and strategies you need to be aware of at all times. If you’re not, it very well might turn out that you forgot some key rule or tactic which could have totally changed the scenario. Which can be really disappointing after all the hard work you put into it. Especially with the larger scenarios it’s quite exhausting so not something you want to replay immediately, generally speaking. And the need for unique terrain not really suitable for other game systems is also quite taxing in terms of storage, cost and time.

    But, for me that is also one of the things that makes it so great. More than anything, having such specific terrain allows me to really be transported to parts of Middle-earth, right on the tabletop. Like you, my love for Tolkien’s Middle-earth related works is so strong that those moments are worth all the suffering behind the brush (that’s a tad dramatic, but still).

    I think you and I take quite a different approach to MESBG, like you say you go for quality versus quantity; for me it’s the other way around and I think that is a lot easier in this game system. When you think about it it’s quite ridiculous the number of options you have, you are basically recreating all of Middle-earth and storing it inside your home πŸ˜….

    Despite loving Middle-earth so much I get burned out by MESBG too every once in a while. In those moments I really enjoy playing other board/miniatute games, or video games. As long as storage allows, I think it’s perfectly reasonable to freeze progress on MESBG for an unspecified amount of time. But I know at some point, could be days, weeks, months or even years, but I know at some point I get sucked back in and then I’m really happy with all the progress I’ve made that far. I’m happy to hear you will continue the Goblin Town and Scouring of the Shire battle reports. πŸ™‚

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    1. Thank you very much for the kind words on Codsworth πŸ™‚ I could in theory leave him as he is but Cods in the game definitely has more weathering so I will add a bit more to him to match that.

      I’m really glad to hear your perspective on MESBG and you made a lot of great points that I can’t argue with. I think having the unique terrain is key to many scenarios as the beauty of Lord of the Rings (especially the movies) is part of what makes them so inspiring. I get really motivated and fixated on making the terrain look as good and as close to the movies which is probably to my detriment. If you’re a little less focused on that, you can get more games in and own a little less terrain.

      I couldn’t agree more that MESBG and indeed, most wargames, are setup to favor quantity over quality. You’re not supposed to take 10 hours to paint each miniature in a 200 model army and I think most people prefer to paint their models quickly, get decent results but maybe not great and keep churning out models. I think I realized that this model isn’t good for me and I’m hoping that I can focus on games that fit better within my preference of quality over quantity.

      I think a little break from MESBG might actually be good for me after working on it for so long and I will hopefully come back and enjoy it even more. I really am excited to have my own Hobbit holes for example and to play the scenarios for Goblin Town and Scouring so I think this will all work out well even if it happens later than anticipated.

      Finally, I hope that info on painting the Gondorian Trebuchet on FB helped! I didn’t want to put down anybody else’s opinion or argue with them but I’m absolutely sure that using colors like Dryad Bark, Mournfang Brown, or Rhinox Hide will not get you anywhere close to the colors you wanted on that. I can’t wait to see how it turns out as well as all the Gondorian and Orcs you’ve been working on too!

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      1. That’s good to hear!

        Yes, the info on painting the Gondorian Trebuchet helped me! I didn’t necessarily need an exact match, but I was curious how to achieve it because so far, for wooden buildings, I have used mostly those very paints you just listed.

        Since I wanted to go slightly more yellow than in the official pictures, I decided on XV-88, followed by Agrax Earthshade. I wouldn’t have dared to do this if you didn’t suggest Steel Legion Drab, because XV-88 seems very bright and not very brown when I looked at it in person. But I’m pleased with the result. I tend to skip the ‘Highlight’ steps and usually stop after shading, simply to save time and work (very much that quanity over quality mindset ;)). It looks sufficient for me. I think I’ll definitely try out Steel Legion Drab + Agrax when I’m painting more wood that I want to have a natural and brighter look than just Rhinox Hide or those other darker paints.

        Two Trebuchets will be used in the upcoming scenario and I’ll make sure to photograph a close up. I’m hoping to have the next scenario posted somewhere in July, though I still have a lot to do for it. But things are going well now after a couple of weeks without much progress.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Glad to hear it! I used to use XV-88 for wood and it can definitely work well, especially if you’re not too worried about highlighting. I think Steel Legion Drab is ideal for older or weathered wood and I like the highlight paint colors better than XV-88. That is what I use for the wood stuff in Fallout actually. With that said, I can’t wait to see the Trebuchets. They will look great even with some simple drybrushing and I’m sure they’re going to be used in an epic battle of some kind! πŸ™‚

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  2. I wish I could paint half as good as you do, that Codsworth is excellent. I’m happy with Tabletop standard as I fall into the quantity vs quality argument πŸ™‚

    As you said in an earlier post, do what makes you happy. When you get around to doing hobbit holes, leave windows open and put a tea candle inside and you can use them as a Christmas display also. πŸ™‚ (Two happy faces is all I’m allowed per post)

    Looking forward on reading your blog, no matter the subject.

    If you haven’t seen this blog, , it has been doing Fallout Wasteland Warfare scenarios that are interesting.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks, Bret! I completely agree about painting in a way that makes you happy. You may think my paint jobs look great but I can’t paint anywhere near as fast as you do so that is a trade off that you’re making which lets you get more gaming done than I do I imagine and I know it helps with those awesome army/action photos you take! πŸ™‚ Taking a break from MESBG has helped me figure out what makes me happiest but also reminds me that there is plenty in MESBG I want to accomplish so I will definitely stick with it for a long time, I imagine.

      Thank you so much for the link! I’ve been wondering if there are any blogs that focus on Fallout and haven’t seen much, but plasticlegions looks like a good one. I’m looking forward to reading it! πŸ™‚


  3. Excellent work on the mini and an enjoyable post. I do like to see well painted figures whatever the genre. A couple of thoughts if I may. First and foremost this is your blog, you write what you want and you do what you want. If people like it great if not so be it. Personally I and a lot of people love WIP posts. Seeing the transition from bare metal or plastic to a unique creation is awesome and besides we all like to learn. That doesn’t mean you should do them unless you want to of course. Oddly I get more comments on WIP posts than I do on others! A lot of the people I follow are gamers, yourself included. I’m not one but I still enjoy the images and enthusiasm even if some of it goes way over my head so keep up the good work and I look forward to seeing and reading more.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Your advice and insight is greatly appreciated. I made this site with the mindset of it is going to be focused entirely on MESBG and obviously, that is morphing into something else but I still let myself get in a rigid mindset where things have to fit in a box and everything I show must be finished. I’ve always had an issue with that and even my WIP threads on various forums were basically all finished work which is ridiculous! I will try to remember that people actually want to see WIPs and I am also going to try to make my site more of whatever I feel like sharing and less rigid as I think that will do me and the site some good πŸ™‚ Thanks for the support and I look forward to following all of your work as well!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. When I started my blog my only real aim was to create an audit trail of my work and to give me something to do which used my brain. Since those early days it has evolved and will continue to do so. The main thing is to have fun, it’s your space to do as you please. If you only want to do MESBG and show completed models then just do that but never feel a shamed of your work. All of us only improve by trial and error in everything we do. 😊

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      2. Evolving is a good way to think of things like a website. It can’t stay static or it will become boring after all. I’ve learned a lot about painting by making mistakes so I couldn’t agree more. Behind every successful mini, there is often a couple (or more) in your past that were failures or came out below expectations so I try to keep that in mind too πŸ™‚

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  4. Very nice job on Codsworth there! πŸ™‚ I know what you mean about painting something and then completely hiding it under muck and grime!

    I’ve enjoyed reading your thoughts! I can’t really offer much advice I’m afraid!
    Sometimes I think solo wargaming has a lot of advantages, mainly in that you can do what the hell you want to! OK, it means you always need to do both sides for a game, but that introduces variation as well. So doing skirmish games or those with only a small model count lets you keep up a standard you like to paint without having to have hordes of models!

    The important thing is to enjoy what you’re doing, more so in these crazy times than ever. No harm in putting things aside and moving on to different things – if you want to you can always come back to them. Always enjoy seeing your minis and reading your posts, whatever they’re about!

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    1. Cheers, John! I really appreciate your perspective on this and I completely agree about the strengths of solo gaming. It is a bit underrated in our hobby even if the hobby challenges can be high at the same time. I am going to try and be less rigid in my goals (something I struggle with as I’m very goal-oriented) and see where that takes me. It really helps knowing that I have a supportive and receptive audience as well πŸ™‚

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  5. Wow! Your Codsworth is brilliant. I have 1000 hours logged on Fallout 4 and Codsworth was one of my favorite, if not perhaps most efficient, companions. As usual your meticulous artwork style has paid beautiful dividends.

    I completely understand, and agree with, your thoughts on Middle Earth and terrain. Like many other hobbies, I think we all tend to grow to the limit of space available and wish for more… no matter how much space we start with! I know I am fortunate to have much more space than most but still wish for more as I try to figure out how to do scenarios in iconic settings using just what I already have rather than make more terrain.

    You might like the Battle Companies scenarios for less model count.

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    1. Thank you! πŸ™‚ I really enjoyed Codsworth as a companion too. I think I used him about as much as anyone other than Preston Garvey. And 1000 hours is truly amazing! I only got somewhere over 100 but I have been playing it a second time in between other games because it is so fun.

      It does sound like you’re quite lucky and I agree with filling up space. I’ve been filling up what I have and then moving stuff on when they no longer interest me for a few years now so I’m used to that cycle. To me, you have a very impressive collection of terrain. I have some 20 or so trees, some rocky terrain, 2 pieces of farmland, and hedges and that is it. It really does amaze me how much more terrain I’d need to collect to play even 25% of the total MESBG scenarios out there.

      I have thought about Battle Companies as an alternative to regular narrative scenarios and I may yet give it a try. I don’t have much in the way of armies but I could slowly build up some forces πŸ™‚


  6. Excellent wip, I wouldn’t of known, looks done to me. Lots of acronyms there I don’t know.

    As others have said, it’s your blog and hobby and should focus on what you like and enjoy. I think blogs that focus on one particular genre/ game system are hard to maintain. You eventually have other interests. In the end the focus is really just β€˜your hobby’ and the topics expand. Or you could just start a different blog for each topic but I think that way is nuts.

    It’s very difficult to paint high quality quickly. But painting is all personal preference and skill. . I rather have 15 miniatures painted decently rather than 5 painted superbly, and that’s why my skill has stopped at decent. However I’m more of a gamer than a painter, and you seem to be more of a painter. Or at least enjoy painting more for its own sake. I only paint to play.

    Like you, I love middle earth. But it’s taken a sideline recently to other projects. The GW narrative scenarios are usually pretty good but are pretty terrain intense. I feel they go out of there way to make them so. You either have to make do with comprises or make a bunch of specific stuff.

    While I am attracted to a blog initially because Of the genre content , I stick with a blog because I like the author and their style. So obviously I’ll be following along with whatever you do and enjoying our interaction. πŸ˜€

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    1. He’s nearly done! Just a bit of rust needed now. Sorry for all the painter acronymns as well. TMM = True Metallic Metal (paints with metallic pigments in them like Leadbelcher from GW). NMM = Non Metallic Metal (regular acrylic paints that you use to imitate the look of metal like Dawnstone or Eshin Gray from GW). Hopefully that helps!

      I couldn’t agree more with everything you said from MESBG to painting to quality over quantity. I do paint to paint and for art’s sake. I always am pushing myself to do my best and get better and I think I finally figured out that painting quantity is not fun for me or suit where I am in life so I need to make a change to enjoy hobbying even more. I also completely agree that the focus of the site is going to shift and that’s okay. I’ll probably just rename it and that should take care of that πŸ˜€

      As always, I appreciate your wisdom when it comes to the hobby. Your assessments are always spot-on in my opinion which is why I enjoy following reading your blog and seeing what you have to say about mine! πŸ™‚


  7. I second the Battle Companies recommendation! I play solo and with my brother and young son. You start with only a few models and can add one per match, which if you play weekly gives plenty of time to paint them up. Add to this the natural narrative component and it’s easily my preferred way to play! Check out some of our matches here to give you an idea
    I should add we are super casual!

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    1. Simon, thanks for weighing in on this and my apologies for taking so long to respond. I had computer issues that took a long time to get repaired unfortunately 😦 I am thinking that I might need to consider moving more towards BC for my future MESBG gaming. I’ll give your site a look once I get caught up. I’m looking forward to it! πŸ™‚


  8. I think the hardest part about the MESBG journey for you will actually be the terrain. The campaigns, especially the FotR ones don’t require all that many models and often build upon the models you’ve painted previously. The main thing for youi to reconcile will be the scenery though. I understand wanting to get it all perfect, but the decision you need to make is to weigh up how important perfection is to you versus wanting the experience of playing the scenarios – and from there – how often you’ll play each scenario.
    Whiel I have my own opinions, your answer to those questions will let you know where your own “path” lies. For example – here’s my “Weathertop”:
    I have one of those. It’s not film-accurate, and the giant skull is a bit silly, but for me it’s good enough to play and enjoy the scenario. The same piece will make an appearance later as part of Osgilliath no doubt as well, along with this thing and a few others from the same line:
    Neither is film-accurate to Jackson’s trilogy, but I first read LotR back in 1983, and then every so often again after that, so while I do love the films, they’re not the sole canonical version of ME in my head, and GW’s versions of things are also only an adaptation of PJ’s adaptation of Tolkien’s world.
    In short, I’m saying it’s all up to you and while I wouldn’t be held back from Fellopwship-scenarios by a lack of perfection (which is unattainable by definition) the choices are up to you – and then there’s always warband/skirmish/BC campaigns of SBG available to you as well. πŸ™‚

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    1. There is a lot of wisdom in this, mate. It has been a decent amount of time since I wrote this and there is part of me that wants to get back into playing MESBG and I think I will eventually but there is also part of me that doesn’t miss it that much. I definitely get a bit obsessive with terrain and minis and it becomes difficult to actually play much when I set that standard for myself. It is true that I can’t make playable dioramas no matter how badly I want to and I will have to accept that. I think I have made some progress in that regard but I am still worried about getting burnt out like I clearly was. My plan in the short term is to dabble with MESBG dioramas/display painting and playing Fallout to see where I want to go with those things. If I enjoy both, I may continue my hiatus from playing MESBG until I figure out a way to better balance my interests. Regardless of that, I will keep thinking about the ideas you suggested here as I think they’re important for me to consider.

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      1. I appreciate it a lot and I always value your wisdom and experience because you have more than me when it comes to this hobby and I am always looking for ways to learn new things πŸ™‚

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