Thursday, 23 April 2015

The Hobbit, Minifigs and Mythical Earth. Going Very Old School.

The first book I ever read was my fathers 1966 Unwin paperback copy of the Hobbit. Time moves on and when pocket money allowed, the first metal figures I ever bought were the Minifigs Mythical Earth range, to play D&D with. I remember looking at the printed advert, listing the figures. I sent a postal order!

From Tolkien books Net

A full listing of the Minifigs range at

We are talking 40 odd years ago, and whilst not in my cups whilst writing this, I am not so sure of false memory. Maybe I'm looking back to my youth with rose tinted glasses, but well, thats how it goes. A little brown paper and cardboard box from Rye Stamp and Hobby Shop brought the figures.

I was to meet Bill Brewer, the owner, in the late 70's and 80's at his shop and at the South London Warlords.

I always took an interest in the Hobbit, its a much warmer and rounded book than the Lord of the Rings, but my fascination with Tolkiens Middle Earth was with the darker mythos that Lord of the Rings described, as well as the Silmarillion, and the subsequent books and stories that eventually made their way into print. However my focus shifted away to other things, mainly 15mm Renaissance.

With this in mind, 11 years ago, taking a friend around Dorset for a day of country life diversion, I bumbled across a book sale. Wandering around I came across a 3rd Edition, 7th print, of the Hobbit, without its dustcover, but with all of Tolkien's art plates intact. Four colour and nine black ink prints, a lucky book to have avoided the razor and clip frame.

The artwork was so dated, stilted and charming, naive yet detailed. I loved it. I thought of those Minifig Mythical Earth figures straight away. It reminded me of the artwork and designs of the Art and Craft movement. The figures seem to have stepped out of these drawings and prints.

This sparked a quest  to search out those figures over the years, and so I have slowly built up a collection of the figures, cleaned and to be ready for painting and to put in a display cabinet. Parallel to this was a project to build up a Minifigs retro 25mm wargames army to play with.

I seem to have come round in a circle regarding Wargaming. My choice of figures is more selective, but includes plastic, something I would never have considered years ago, even though I started with old Airfix figures and the period was WW2.

One thing I will keep up is the spark that lit my interest all those years ago. The pages of the Hobbit fans that flame.

I have used copies from the internet, apologies and attribution to those concerned. I did not wish to break the spine of the book I have got, to scan the images and upload.

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