Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Wherein I First Speak of LOTR-Nerding

The Lord of the Rings is the best epic fantasy movie ever made, in my humble yet completely correct opinion. But then, I was a fan before the movies came out and it became semi-cool to be a fan. And when the miniature paint-em-yourself models came out from Games Workshop... well... it was too good to be true.

I've always loved Tolkien's elves the best - can't tell you why. Maybe it's because they're awesome? So of course when the figures came out, I opted to assemble and paint an army of Elves. It's fantastically therapeutic - and I think every writer should find something therapeutic that isn't writing to do.

This is the first set I painted - the Elven foot soldiers from that classic, epic, iconic opening sequence in The Fellowship of the Ring. It took me FOREVER, because of a deadly combination of my own perfectionism and inexperience. This totally applies to writing - the only way to become better is to write, but if your perfectionism is stopping you or making you write at a sentence a day... it will take FOREVER to become a better writer. (I'm still working on this one.)

Same elves, different angle. I love the gleam of the armor and the way the plate-mail fits together - like overlapping leaves. Weta Workshops did a fantastic job of designing these guys.

Okay, okay. This guy isn't an Elf. Other than Gandalf (who is not featured in this post, as he is not finished) he's the only non-elf in my personal collection. This is Strider - AKA Aragorn. He's the man.

Next to the elves - Ents have to be my favorites. Walking trees? That's gotta be worth, like, 340 coolness points. The scene in the Lord of the Rings where they make those long, menacing, purposeful strides out of the forest gives me chills every time I watch it. This model was SO MUCH FUN to paint - all those ridges of bark and the tiny vine crawling up the trunk/leg... whatever you call it.

Legend tells that when Tolkien was a boy, he saw a play - Macbeth. In the play, Macbeth is told (by a ghost, no less) that Macbeth will not be defeated unless a forest travels to fight him.

If you've ever seen or read the play, the prophecy is fulfilled when an army... of humans... uses branches of trees as a disguise to march upon Macbeth's city. So it just looks like the trees are marching.

Tolkien was disappointed. He wanted REAL trees marching to war, not fake ones.

Hence - Ents.

These are Elven Cavalry, and no, you didn't see them in the movie, because they weren't there. In fact, this sort of model doesn't exist - I made it from cutting the top half of standard Elven foot soldiers off and gluing it to the bottom half of a Rohan horseman. A little filing, a little paint, and some very careful drilling to fit the pole into the hand of the banner bearer, (banner itself shown below) and voila! Elven Cavalry. I especially liked painting the horses.

I love horses. I didn't paint the eyes - from far off you can't tell.

There's the banner - I used the design from the cover of an old edition of The Lord of the Rings. For the hardcore LOTR fan out there, it's a segment of Luthien Tinuviel's standard. And guess who that is leading the charge? Um, yeah, it's Legolas. He's not quite finished in this shot, but I figured I'd give him a chance anyway.

Galadriel. Another favorite elf. This is the Games Workshop take - the film version is much less warriorprincess looking. See that she's standing on? It looks cool, huh? Like it belongs there? Like it's an expensive hobby shop purchase?

Smug smiley face. It's actually a fishbowl castle. You know. The kind you can buy at a pet shop for like, five bucks. I'm a cheapskate when it comes to set-pieces. It shows up in my writing, actually - I pay WAY more attention to the people in my books and stories than their surroundings. This is not the best. Sometimes it seems like my characters are moving through fishbowl castles. Or worse, styrofoam castles. Sigh. That's why I love rewriting.

And... for a sense of scale, I posed Erestor (who is not in the movie either, and this is my favorite armor job so far) with his Gondolin blades next to a thumbtack, a penny, and a guitar pick. No, I do not play the guitar. Yes, I wish I did. No, not enough to practice more. Although it would probably get me more dates than this model collection. :)

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