In the dim and distant past, before I lived where I live now, before I did what I do now, before this blog ever existed, I began collecting Lord of the Rings miniatures when the game was first released.
Lord of the Rings has always been my first love in terms of nerdish fandom, easily beating the likes of Star Wars, Batman and other nostalgic delights. I also loved the films. They were pretty much as good as movies of the books could get. Therefore the Lord of the Rings Miniatures Game seemed to be the perfect gaming project for me.
I painted the Fellowship, some Nazgûl, Arwen, Saruman, some Elves, a few Numenoreans, a host of Moria Goblins and even a Cave Troll.
I had a paint queue that included Uruk-Hai, a second Fellowship (although second Boromir was in the process of dying), Warriors of Minas Tirith, another Cave Troll and even a Balrog. I had my eyes on the Two Towers boxed set too.
And then something happened...I joined a gaming club for the first time in my life.
It was full of really fantastic people, most of whom are still friends to this day. They played Warhammer Fantasy Battle, Warhammer Ancient Battles, Blood Bowl and Flames of War. They drew me into smaller games like Saga, away from the bigger games companies and encouraged me to become the ecclectic gamer you know today.
But they didn’t play Lord of the Rings.
My collection lay unused, and my paint queue remained unpainted. Slowly, but surely models were diverted to other projects. Second Legolas joined the ranks of my Warhammer Wood Elves as a unit champion, dying Boromir became part of a unit filler diorama in my Bretonnian infantry, and the Nazgûl sold their swords in the service of my Vampire Counts.
The unpainted models I owned were sold to fund other projects, and finally I exchanged my painted models for some unpainted Napoleonic British. All that I kept were the Fellowship of the ring and those few models that I was using in other armies.
It is the only painted ‘army’ that I have ever sold, and I’ve regretted it ever since. I didn’t even do anything with the British.
History passed into legend, legend passed into myth, and my interest in gaming the Lord of the Rings passed out of all knowledge of those that I gamed with. Until, when chance came, it ensnared new victims.
The new edition of the Middle Earth Strategy Battle Game was released and Pete expressed an interest in dong an army, Minas Tirith specifically. Mike started working on some Khandish chariots he had bought for another project. Wes surprised us all by buying the Pelennor Fields boxed set and Matt casually mentioned that he still had the Hobbit boxed set sitting unopened.
And the old desire to game Lord of the Rings came roaring back into my soul.
The Fellowship were dusted off (literally, they’ve been on a shelf for fifteen years), given a quick wash as they were painted before Agrax Earthshade (aka ‘Liquid Talent’) was invented, given some base attention, and a couple of coats were redone in slightly less garish colours.
Given that I did these so long ago, I was surprised how good they were in comparison to a lot of my earlier painting. I really must have taken my time with them, or my eyes were just better back then. I particularly like Boromir’s coat and the cloaks and robes. These are genuinely some of my favourite models that I’ve ever painted.
And so, I’m back into Lord of the Rings. The bits box has been scoured for the few remaining models, the Nazgûl shall return to their rightful role (joined by some Wargs that were used as Dire Wolves), eBay has already been hit for some second hand miniatures, and I’ve watched all three films in the space of a week.
At some point, I’ll probably need to buy some rules...