Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Heritage LotR Hobbits / D&D Halfings

Heritage LotR and Ral Partha Hobbits/Halflings

Halflings for RPGs

A friend of mine and I have been noting an unplanned synchronicity in recent projects for our respective RPG campaigns, my D&D Borderlands campaign and his WFRP. In response to my last post he mentioned his "bartenders, beggars, and drunk halflings."

Well, the synchronicity continues unabated. My campaign starting local is Gygax's Keep on the Borderlands. Well, many years after the original publication, Kenzer and Company published a return to the keep/ send-up for Hackmaster in their usual style, creatively titled, "Little Keep on the Borderlands," wherein are many new ideas and twists to the original, which I'm borrowing as fancy strikes me. One of these is a camp of squatter halflings which adventurers must pass through to reach the camp. So, have my players also been accosted by drunk halflings? The answer is a resounding yes.

That said, my halflings figures are of a more placid, hobbity sort and are only doubling as vagbonds and rascals when the need calls for it. These are actually Heritage Lord of the Rings figures. If I ever do a 25mm classic Tolkien collection, these will be used for the purpose for which they were intended.

Heritage Lord of the Rings Hobbits

For the purist collectors out there here's a pic of just the Heritage ones.

Heritage Lord of the Rings Hobbits
I refer those wishing to know more about these figures to their entry in Lost Minis Wiki. They are taken from the following sets:
  • 1750 The Fellowship
  • 1755 Hobbit Sheriff Command Set
  • 1752 Hobbit Townsfolk


Something about the figures inspired me to introduce yet another base effect to my repertoire. On the one hand, the oldest vein of retro old school miniatures, and on the other, the way outdoor nature scenes are often depicted in paintings and animation. The most representative example I have to hand are the paintings Eyvind Earle made for Disney's Sleeping Beauty.

Then I went and took the pics against a very yellow-green backdrop, making the intended effect an impossibility. I'll come back and take new pics, though, if/when I get a suitable backdrop, probably made of felt. I'm experimenting with simple, cloth ground coverings lately and having remarkable success. I have been shopping craft online shops and cataloging those I'm interested in for various purposes. I might make a post about this.

Not too much to say about the painting. I matched the colors of the Merry and Pippin figures with those used in the Bakshi films. The figures themselves are linked to the films and the designs from it. I like the scheme I came up with for the Ral Partha one, and am debating whether to continue it with other RP halflings I have.


I also can't go without comparing the sculpting of the Heritage figures with the lone Tom Meier Ral Partha one I also included. Both were made around the same time. I presume the Heritage ones were sculpted in Milliput, or something similar, and the comparatively rough, carved quality of the sculpts is indicative, as I think Meier himself has pointed out. The Meier figure, in contrast, is has a silky-smooth quality he achieved with the different sort of epoxy he pioneered, that became the ubiquitous green stuff we all know.

This is another good example to show all the people who buy into the myth of sculpting progress and the myth of casting progress. This figure sculpted in 1979 is a technical marvel, sculpted as well as anything since, and as well-cast as anything as well. The casting also puts 98% of figures cast today to shame, whether by large or small operations. I invite you to compare to the offerings you find in your local game store today. And this figure is 16mm to the eyes. It is literally 1/3 the mass or less of a halfling figure you might find today, if not 1/4 or 1/5.

Tom Meier Ral Partha Halfling, 1979

I thought I could bang out this hobbit/halfling post in no-time and that's why I chose to do this post over others, but it's taken me a good portion of the morning to make it. Such is blogging. After breakfast I hope to get back to painting peasants. Foundry Perry figures this time. I have 10+ here that need just 2-5 minutes each to polish off.

Oh, and last note, last night I just finished two Custom Cast hobbits/halfings that predate these, but haven't varnished or photographed them yet, so they will have to wait for another post.