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