Wednesday, 7 February 2018

Easterling Envoy

I am operating a new system for painting miniatures these days. I start off by going to the lead pile and picking out 3 to 5 models that I’d like to paint right now. I prep and prime them as a unit, and then paint them one by one, not even thinking about any others until I am finished. So far, this new system has a made a huge difference to my enjoyment and productivity. I am no longer weighed down by a mass of unpainted minis on my table, nor am I likely to get bored of the particular miniatures I am painting before finishing. Especially since the minis chosen often have nothing to do with one another.

For example, in the latest batch, I pulled out this guy. It’s a GW The Lord of the Rings miniature depicting Háma, Captain of the Guard of King Theoden of Rohan. However, I already have a by-the-book painted miniature of Háma in my collection, one that is in a more combat-ready stance. Not really needing a second, I decided to paint him as a different character.

Looking around for inspiration, I latched onto the colours used by GW for their Easterlings. The red and gold makes quite an attractive combination. So, I tried it out. I also gave the figure dark hair and a darker complexion to take it farther away from its Rohan origins. I’m pretty happy with the results. It wasn’t a hard figure to paint, but it’s a beautiful sculpt.

I figure this guy is some kind of envoy from one of the Easterling kings to Gondor in the years proceeding the War of the Ring. Of course, he constantly tells Denethor that his king will provide aid against Mordor, and, of course, he’s lying through his teeth…

Since I have brought up the character of Háma, and am unlikely to ever do so again, let me just say, that this is one of the few areas where I was disappointed by Peter Jackson’s LOTR trilogy. Háma is a very minor character really, but he is well played by John Leigh. His knowing decision to ignore Grima’s order to ‘take the wizard’s staff’ and to not interfere with Gandalf in Edoras, goes a long way to saving his king.

In the books, Háma is killed while fighting at Helm’s Deep. In the movie, he is killed in a rather brutal and dismissive fashion by a warg-rider on the journey to Helm’s Deep. To me this was a missed opportunity. His death accomplishes nothing in the movie. It’s never even remarked upon. Instead, if he had died at Helm’s Deep, this could have been used to illustrate the sacrifice of the Rohirrim at that battle – and frankly, would have probably produced a more moving death scene than the one of Haldir, who wasn’t an overly relatable character. Just to confuse matters in the movie, we do encounter Hama’s son Haleth before the battle of Helm’s Deep. This does give a nice moment of humanity to Aragorn, but it is kind of left hanging, since we never learn Haleth’s fate at the battle. 

Minor, I know, but I’ve always had a soft-spot for these second tier characters

‘In a grave alone under the shadow of the Hornburg lay Háma, captain of the King’s guard. He fell before the gate.

-The Two Towers


  1. Great paint job and back story.... and an awesome revelation on PJ's LOTR... I have my own beefs with how the movies were done and we do share the Hama story!

  2. With this hobby it's important to find an approach to avoid burn out. One of the reasons I gave up on 40 K, so that'll be 40 identical red berzerkers then !!!!

  3. I've found the same thing lately (largely because you pointed it out in your own painting a few posts ago) If I'm painting one or two guys, I actually delighted in the process. If I am painting five or more at a time, it seems to take forever to make any real progress.

  4. I actually read an interesting paper once, that compared Hama and Haldir- both reinterpret their orders to help the Fellowship, but in different ways that reflect their culture and social standing. Tolkien, whether consciously or not, often set up these contrasts of characters- like Boromir and Faramir, or even Ugluk and Grishankh.

    I've been using a similar system to get trough my LotR minis, it really makes the lead pile seem more palatable. The Easterling's armor looks great!