Friday, 30 July 2010

Lord of the Rings Miniatures from the Third Citadel Compendium (1985)

ME 55  Mouth of Sauron painted by Phil Lewis.

At its head there rode a tall and evil shape, mounted upon a black horse, if horse it was; for it was huge and hideous, and its face was a frightful mask, more like a skull than a living head, and in the sockets of its eyes and in its nostrils there burned a flame. The rider was robed all in black, and black was his lofty helm; yet this was no Ringwraith but a living man. The Lieutenant of the Tower of Barad-dûr he was, and his name is remembered in no tale; for he himself had forgotten it, and he said: 'I am the Mouth of Sauron.' But it is told that he was a renegade, who came of the race of those that are named the Black Númenóreans; for they established their dwellings in Middle-earth during the years of Sauron's domination, and they worshipped him, being enamoured of evil knowledge. And he entered the service of the Dark Tower when it first rose again, and because of his cunning he grew ever higher in the Lord's favour; and he learned great sorcery, and knew much of the mind of Sauron; and he was more cruel than any orc.
J.R.R. Tolkien - The Return of the King

Despite the liberties taken with the design of this model - the text states he was a "living man" not a wraith, and certainly not "Skeletor in quasi-oriental armour heavily decorated with eyes" - I really like this figure. As an undead general or a Necromantic undead warrior-priest, can't really get much better than this skull bearing armoured freak. Phil Lewis' paint job doesn't draw attention to the overly ornate nature of the armour - which is a kind of plate-mail, where every plate is embossed with the evil Eye of Sauron but does highlight the large chest-place eye device, giving him a somewhat iconic supervillain feel.

The scroll has sculpted writing, and this is one criticsm that the whole range falls down on, from the horse on the mounted Rohirrims banner, to Pippins tabard with the White Tree of Minas Tirith, all these decorative elements are sculpted on, giving them a bulky appearance and in my opinion are more difficult to paint than free-handing the devices on. Nontheless, the scroll is great, with loads of crinkly edges, and just seals him as a messenger, or a magic user.

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