I got these done comparatively quickly for me. I bought them on December 12th so to get them finished on January 19th was very rapid. I painted them in a very muted colour scheme, largely black, as that's the way they appear in the film.
I also didn't highlight the metal parts (of which there are quite a lot as many of them are basically wearing the same armour as the Grim Hammers) as, again, I didn't want them to be too shiny. I used Boltgun Metal for the armour and then gave it a black wash to dull it down.
The box contains 12 warriors but there are not instructions on how to assemble them so I just followed the poses on the box. With historical plastic sets I have got used to there being a lot of options as around interchangeability of heads, arms etc. I am not sure to what extent swapping around some of the arms is possible with this set (heads are attached to torsos so no options there) but when I get the next set I will look at this.
Here are the sprues from the set. Half the figures have, for want of a better word, polearms, and the others have axes and shields. Although there are no optional parts in the box there are 12 shields so if you don't attach shields to the figures with two handed weapons then you do end up with some spare ones. I am contemplating buying some of the normal Lord of the Rings dwarves and giving them the Erebor eight sided shields to add a bit of variety.
That said, the troops in the film have the polearms and shields but I think I prefer them as I have done them, which is the way they are done on the box cover. Incidentally, this behind the scenes shot gave me the only picture I have seen of the reverse of the shields: reddish brown wood with black radial bands going into the centre of the shields from each apex.
There have been lots of anti Games Workshop comments as a result of their poor profit announcement recently and although I did buy a few Warhammer and 40K figures I could never get into either the rules or the figures. The Lord of the Rings figures (despite their ridiculous prices) are very nice, though, (better proportions help) so I will continue to pick these up (not that I am short of LotR figures to paint. I can see at least 12 boxed from where I am sitting and I have many more that that).
Next I need to get some orcs but, because of the non uniformed nature of these they will take longer to paint.