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Author Topic: [Miniatures archeology] what was the first brand to portray LOTR troops/heroes  (Read 935 times)

Offline paspas

  • Bookworm
  • Posts: 69
hello
I'm writing an article about "wargaming on Middle Earth".
I'm listing the different brands that manufactured minis for Tolkien's universe.
Mithril was founded in 1987.
I'd like to know if any company manufactured specifically LOTR minis before that.
Thanks
Pascal

Offline Hobgoblin

  • Scatterbrained Genius
  • Posts: 3796
    • Hobgoblinry
Citadel had an official Middle Earth range in 1985. Grenadier had a Lord of the Rings range in the same year.

The Heritage range was earlier still (1979 or 80, perhaps).

There were unofficial Ral Partha and Minifigs ranges early on too (late 70s, I think).

Offline JohnDSD2

  • Librarian
  • Posts: 184
Minifigs in the 70's were the first I had. They are in the loft!

From memory they were about 15p a mini and you got 2 Dwarves or 3 Hobbits for that price.

The Balrog was not much bigger than a man and the Nazgul rode Pteradactyls.

They had a set of rules, also, in the loft, I remember that was quite a bit of emphasis on the orcs working best under dark skies and the magic was geared towards light and dark.

The first figures I bought for myself and painted.

Happy days

Offline Chief Lackey Rich

  • Mastermind
  • Posts: 1270
Minifigs in the 70's were the first I had.

Lost Minis wiki says they were 1972, which jibes with my (dim) memories.  They have a pretty good gallery of the "Mythical Earth" range along with a bit of history over here:

http://www.miniatures-workshop.com/lostminiswiki/index.php?title=Mythical_Earth

EDIT:  Thanks for the inadvertent reminder to go look at some old metal.  I'd forgotten how truly bizarre the Valley of Wind range was.  Feel inspired to do some homage kitbashing for some of it now.
« Last Edit: September 28, 2021, 12:05:46 PM by Chief Lackey Rich »

Offline Hobgoblin

  • Scatterbrained Genius
  • Posts: 3796
    • Hobgoblinry
Here they all are - 1972, so coming up for their fiftieth anniversary. Some of them are still in production.

Here's the Ral Partha range, from 1978. These are unofficial too, but they're painstakingly close to the book's descriptions. For example, look at the "Giant Goblins" (Uruk-hai of Isengard). They've got the short, broad-bladed swords, long bows, White Hands on their shields - and even the S-rune (for Saruman) on their helmets!

(Oops - sorry - repeating some of what Rich said here!)

Offline dadlamassu

  • Mastermind
  • Posts: 1262
    • http://www.morvalearth.co.uk
I think the Minifigs ones were the first specifically LOTR figures I bought while at university which certainly places them in the very early 70s and I remember playing small games, that are now called "skirmish" games, as small forces were all we could afford. 

EDIT - sorry just repeated what others said while I was looking for the links!
« Last Edit: September 28, 2021, 12:31:26 PM by dadlamassu »
'He could have lived a risk-free, moneyed life, but he preferred to whittle away his fortune on warfare.'
-- Xenophon, The Anabasis

Offline has.been

  • Galactic Brain
  • Posts: 4469
Waves of nostalgia upon seeing the Mini-Figs.
The good (Man Orcs & Harad Spearman) & the not
so good (Frogman???? & The cowardly lion, sorry
Balrog). They do crop up on e-bay from time to time.
Saw some only last week, about 20 figures.
I thought that if they stayed at under a tenner
I would buy them for the six or so Man Orcs. They went
for well over a hundred quid!!!!
Needless to say I didn't buy them. :D

Offline Chief Lackey Rich

  • Mastermind
  • Posts: 1270
(Oops - sorry - repeating some of what Rich said here!)

S'okay, Lost Minis can't get too much signal boosting.  Fantastic resource that seems to fly under the radar for far too many people.  :)

Offline Hobgoblin

  • Scatterbrained Genius
  • Posts: 3796
    • Hobgoblinry
The guy in the middle here is one of the Ral Partha "goblins of the night" (i.e. Mordor orcs):


Offline Spooktalker

  • Mad Scientist
  • Posts: 701
    • Belched from the Depths
The Ral Partha figures are stamped 1976.

Looks like the Custom Cast Der Kriegspielers Fantastiques range hasn't been mentioned:
http://www.miniatures-workshop.com/lostminiswiki/index.php?title=Der_Kriegspielers_Fantastiques_%281000%29
This was a mainstay of Middle Earth gaming from what I understand, and is quite complete and faithful.

Grenadier also made unofficial LotR figures a decade before they got the license in their Wizzards & Warriors range: http://www.miniatures-workshop.com/lostminiswiki/index.php?title=Wizzards_and_Warriors#W15

Offline Hobgoblin

  • Scatterbrained Genius
  • Posts: 3796
    • Hobgoblinry
Looks like the Custom Cast Der Kriegspielers Fantastiques range hasn't been mentioned:
http://www.miniatures-workshop.com/lostminiswiki/index.php?title=Der_Kriegspielers_Fantastiques_%281000%29
This was a mainstay of Middle Earth gaming from what I understand, and is quite complete and faithful.

These are fantastic. It's interesting (to me at least) that the earlier ranges tend to be more faithful to the books than later ones - so that you get all those little details like the S-runes, the hooped badge on the front of Orcish helmets and appropriate relative stature for the various creatures. I suspect it's down to having little to go on but the text - before later "secondary sources" distorted the signal!

Offline paspas

  • Bookworm
  • Posts: 69
Thank you all for your replies.
It brought back nice memories and also made me discover brands I did not know.

Offline mweaver

  • Scatterbrained Genius
  • Posts: 2540
The figures in the Heritage range (linked in the first response by Hobgoblin) were made to go with the Ralph Bakshi LotR film, which was released in 1978.  So '78 or '79 sounds right for them.

-Michael

Offline jetengine

  • Mad Scientist
  • Posts: 558
These are fantastic. It's interesting (to me at least) that the earlier ranges tend to be more faithful to the books than later ones - so that you get all those little details like the S-runes, the hooped badge on the front of Orcish helmets and appropriate relative stature for the various creatures. I suspect it's down to having little to go on but the text - before later "secondary sources" distorted the signal!

It's why Fellbeasts keep looking like Dinosaurs, the books vague description brings to mind Pteradactyls.

Offline Chief Lackey Rich

  • Mastermind
  • Posts: 1270
It's why Fellbeasts keep looking like Dinosaurs, the books vague description brings to mind Pteradactyls.

So true.  I suspect the Jackson films have put their indelible stamp on modern LotR/Hobbit imaginings, for better or worse.  Mostly worse, IMO.  Bakshi was far from perfect but felt more faithful to the books than any of the six recent-ish films.

 

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