Last year I was introduced to the Hobbit Strategy Battle Game, formerly the Lord of the Rings, but don’t worry even though it’s called the Hobbit Strategy Battle Game (or SBG for short) it still encompasses factions and miniatures from across both eras of Middle-earth. In fact, the game will be rebranded the Middle-earth Strategy Battle Game later this year (but that’s kind of another discussion). Middle-earth is my favorite fantasy setting and has been a big passion for various parts of my life. I had kind of forgotten how much I loved Tolkien’s world until I started getting into the Hobbit SBG. I found myself attracted first to the Rivendell/high elf faction. When I was younger, I loved all things dwarf, but nowadays I’m all about the elves. I’ve always thought Elrond was a cool character and Rivendell seemed like a pretty cool place to chill, plus, who doesn’t love this scene from the intro to Fellowship of the Ring?
I soon found myself with a formidable high elf army with all the units (bar the Rivendell Knights cavalry) and heroes (except the elusive Gildor Inglorion) I could need. The curious thing about the Hobbit SBG is some profiles or units include options like being mounted on horse or wearing heavy armor that have never had models produced. But where problems exist, there exist opportunities for solutions and conversions. If you haven’t noticed by from Blood Bowl team and my Necromunda gang, I enjoy the bespoke models conversion produce and find the process to be a satisfying creative outlet.
I’ve spent way too much time Photoshopping possible conversions in the past few months, but here are some of the models and characters I am considering.
First up is Gil-Galad (the guy on the left with the spear), who was the king of the high elves during the Last Alliance against Sauron as pictured above (though I don’t think he was actually given any screen time in the final cut despite being filmed). He’s a super tough hero who has the option to take an armored horse and a shield, but the only figure produced is on foot with no shield.
Option 1 would be just to use the captain model in the Rivendell Knights kit. He’s on a horse, he’s not wearing a helmet but he’s got a circlet, he’s got a spear/lance. But his horse isn’t armored. The option in his profile is an armored horse, which is tougher to kill. So I had an idea for Option 2. The Galadhrim Knights kit from the Lothlorien faction does have horses with elvish armor on them. Perhaps I could put the rider on one of those horses. The Photoshop job is a bad one as the angles on the models don’t really line up, but that’s what maybe it could look like. On closer inspection of the sprues though the saddles and stuff for the Galadhrim Knights is on the horse model, for the Rivendell Knights it’s part of the sculpt on the rider’s legs. Hmm. Not sure what to do with that. Another option could be the Morgul Knights horses. Which are evil mind you, but if you look at the armor and imagine scraping off the spikey bits, looks pretty similar to the Galadhrim Knights horses. Another problem is the Rivendell Knights captain’s head doesn’t look much like Gil-galad’s head. But then, Gil-galad’s head sculpt is kind of ugly, so maybe that’s not a bad thing.
Another high elf hero who has the option of taking a horse, but lacks one is Glorfindel. OK, technically there is an OOP Glorfindel model that’s on a horse, but he’s unarmored. Glorfindel has the option to add the Armor of Gondolin which makes him resistant to magic. This one is fairly straightforward. I can take one of the Elladan/Elrohir mounted models and do a head swap. Or do a headswap on one of the Rivendell Knights.
I think both look pretty good, but seeing as I already have extras of both Elladan and Elrohir on mounts and I don’t have any Rivendell Knights, I’ll probably go that route. I’ll also probably reposition his arm to further differentiate him from Elrond’s twins.
Next is Lindir, who is from the Hobbit movies. It’s a nice model that’s a good representation of how the character appears in The Hobbit: Unexpected Journey. His profile states that he too can take heavy armor (no magic armor like Glorfindel though) and be mounted. I can go a similar route where I put his head on a mounted Elladan/Elrohir or the Rivendell Knights captain.
The Rivendell Knight captain I could leave as is, he could pass as Lindir, he’s got the hair and the circlet. Or I could try a head swap with the Finecast model. And if I’m going to bother making a mounted armored version, maybe I should make an armored version on foot. See in the Hobbit SBG mounted models need representations on foot as well, because they can dismount or have their mount killed beneath them but survive to fight on foot.
In the first picture you see the Lindir head on a high elf captain and banner bearer (which has also been Photoshopped to show a sword instead of the banner). I think the best bet is the banner bearer, the elf captain has a shield and would take a significant amount of cutting and grinding on a metal model to remove. The rest are either sculpted with kingly armor are poses that are more recognizable as other heroes. Also it helps that I received a headless banner bearer in one of the lots I bought on Ebay. But then I got to worrying, perhaps the Finecast Lindir head would be too small of a scale for the metal banner bearer. They were sculpted a decade or so apart and the metal models too seem a bit bigger. Then I had the spark of an idea.
Glorfindel and Erestor are both members of Elrond’s inner council and both models wear the same style helmet that is unique from the plastic warriors and metal spearmen. If Lindir is also one of Elrond’s chief counselors perhaps he wears a similar helmet into battle? I think that looks pretty cool. But then a mounted Lindir in armor with a helmet like Glorfindel is going to look an awful lot like a mounted Glorfindel
The last idea I had was to create a custom high elf stormcaller. Both the Rivendell and Lothlorien factions have a stormcaller model (although with slightly different profiles) and the model is for sale as part of the Galadhrim command pack. Most people use it for Rivendell as well, no problem. But then my brain started turning on making a conversion based off the Galadriel protectress model. I received one of the Galadriel models in the ebay lot I got and I received one of the original Arwen miniatures, which frankly is a little on the ugly side. So I came up with this idea (again this is a Photoshop, haven’t built this yet).
With Galadriel’s body and Arwen’s head … maybe this could pass of Celebrian, Arwen’s mom. In the Tolkein lore, Elrond married Galadriel and Celeborn’s daughter Celebrian. Yes, that means Galadriel is Elrond’s mother-in-law. Some time after the birth of Arwen, Celebrian was traveling from Rivendell to Lothlorien but was waylaid by a pack of orcs and taken captive and subjected to torture by the orcs. Her twin sons Elladan and Elrohir hunted down the orcs and rescued their mother. Elrond was able to heal her wounds, but not her traumatized soul, she lost the joy of Middle-earth so went to the Grey Havens and departed to Valinor.
These conversion though would require hacking up quite a few models, and some OOP ones at that (old metal Thranduil for the stormcaller/Celebrian staff for example) or some pricey new Finecast models (Lindir), so I thought maybe I could get away with doing some press molding and making copies of the bits I want in green stuff. In the next installment I’ll go over my experiments and failures with green stuff press molding.