Monday, March 22, 2021

'A Sword Day, A Red Day!' - 10mm Lord of the Rings

Yes, yet another project for distraction. Really, can we ever have too many hobby projects? Heavens, I hope not.

When I first read 'Lord of the Rings' as a boy I was enthralled by Tolkien's description of the Battle of Pelennor Fields and have always wanted to see it arrayed on the games table in miniature. So after spending this past year re-reading Tolkien's work, I've decided to start the journey to see if I could achieve this.

For me, one of the highlights of the battle was when Theoden looked upon the mighty enemy host in front of Minas Tirith, turns to his Rohirrim, and calls out:

Arise, arise, Riders of Théoden!
Fell deeds awake: fire and slaughter!
Spear shall be shaken, shield be splintered,
a sword-day, a red day, ere the sun rises!
Ride now, ride now! Ride to Gondor!

With this in mind, I thought I'd start this project with Theoden and some of his riders of Rohan.

Okay, with a subject and some figures in mind, what rules would I use? Well, thankfully GW has their excellent 'War of the Ring', which has a small, but dedicated fan base still supporting it.

While 'War of the Ring' is a great set of rules, I have a couple criticisms. First is with GW's  extortionate pricing, as the cost in figures for two good-sized forces is prohibitive for most hobbyists, except perhaps if done as a club project. 

The second is that I just don't like how cavalry formations look in the game. Sure, it allows people to fit their existing LotR cavalry into sabots, but due to the large circular bases, they only can fit two models per sabot base. While I quite like the large basing for LotR skirmish, it really doesn't translate well for massed ranks of cavalry. 

So after giving it a bit of thought, I decided I'd use the same base dimensions provided in the game, but I'd use 10mm figures in order to give a greater sense of mass.

These models are from the excellent Copplestone Castings range. I absolutely love them as they capture all the Tolkienesque spirit, while also being rather minimal in their design, and so quite easy to paint. I've put them on large acrylic bases as an experiment to see how it works with massed ranks - I think I like it.

I know these are not that much of a 'battle host', as trio of bases represents just one formation, and I want six for the entire Rohirrim contingent. I have a suspicion I will be serving this out to commission painters to finish up for me...

I've decided to put the various heroes on separate bases, so here is Theoden on his mount, Snowmane, riding with his household banner bearers. 

The Mumakil were a bit of a problem to source at first. A have a few different variants as test models. One you see here is a mastodon from Eureka miniatures, another (not shown as I didn't get him done) is a 3D print of a Chaos mastodon, which has a good look as well. I'll have to post him up later. 

Finally, the pick of the litter is this Mumakil from Eaglemoss magazine. This was part of their long out of print LotR chess set series done around when the films were released. He's quite hefty, being in white metal, and is an almost perfect fit for 10mm. His stock paintjob wasn't too bad, but I wanted him to blend in with my other figures, so I primed him up and gave him a fresh lick of paint.

The Eaglemoss Mumakil are rare as hen's teeth, so if anyone ever comes across one for sale, please let me know as I'd like a few more for the force. Sorry, I have no crew for the howdas as they are still coming in from Pendraken (Persian archers). Sigh, another task for another day.

- Curt


  1. Cool. Eager to watch this project develop

    1. Thanks James, there is a whole mess of painting ahead...

  2. Lovely! The way you have placed the figures really gives the units a mass battle look, with the slight angle around the leaders in the center.

    I got the plastic battle of five armies box long ago, and have fantasied about 10mm Middle Earth ever after... unfortunately it is all still in the box, so it is great to see your work.

    1. I'm glad you like them!

      Good Gravy, if you ever want to get rid that BotFA please let me know. I'd love to get my mits on some of those minis. :)

    2. It would be smart to cut down on projects, but I keep thinking I am going to get around to it soon! You know, for the last 10+ years.

    3. Oh, I hear you brother, I hear you. :)

  3. Great job, I am also reconstructing the battles in middle earth in 10mm. I have just finished the Pelennor Fields and Siege of Minas Tirith project and have begun the siege of Helm's Deep.

    1. Wow! That's amazing! Do you have a blog where I can see your work. Thanks for dropping in and leaving a comment - much appreciated.

  4. Nice I'm doing the same project but not quite as ambitious as yours in scale, I'm basing my infantry on 40mm by 20mm and I'm basing the cav 2 per base on 20mm by 20mm that's my plan just currently painting a hoard of Orcs first get the baddies done first.
    My idea is to use half measurements so I can play huge battle on a 4x4 board or 6x4, this will double those boards in scale so plenty of room for manover.

    1. Great idea! That will provide for a nice compact gaming area. Good luck on your project!

  5. This is very interesting. I’m going down the route of Warmaster/Battle of Five Armies for my 10mm LotR project, but I have War of the Ring. What changes do you plan to make to the rules, if any?


Thanks for your comment! As long as you're not a spam droid I'll have it up on the blog soon. :)