Dusting Off Old Miniature Collections

February 25, 2019 by crew

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The expression “Plastic Crack” is one that I hear fairly often these days. With many games companies maintaining a frenetic flow of new releases, backed up by deals and supporting literature, it is easy to get swallowed up in a cycle of constant desire for new acquisitions, with the aspiration to paint new armies with an unquenchable lust that might make Smaug The Dragon blush!

Dusting Off Old Miniatures

Recently I have tried to take a step back to enjoy the fruits of past labours. Somewhat sadly I had become blind to shelves containing ranks of miniatures that I had put a lot of time, effort and love into building up and painting. Particularly the Lord Of The Rings, now Middle-earth Strategy Battle Game, which was really my first love in terms of a tabletop miniatures game.  It also represents about eighteen years of collecting and hobby time, time that I am glad I chose to spend painting rather than watching TV.

An Old Collection Anew

Dusting off my old Harad army in a literal and metaphorical sense felt wonderful. Not least because I have everything that I would wish to include on a table available, painted and ready, without any feeling that I needed to work on it further.


I am in a fortunate position in that I live around the corner from Beasts Of War/OnTableTop for three or four months of the year, and have no problems getting a game of the Strategy Battle Game at the Cult of Gamers Members Suite. In terms of gameplay, variety and depth, I can’t think of a better-designed game on the market. It is also great that there is no built-in obsolescence in this game, and I can use all but about three miniatures from a collection of several thousand with the current rule set.

After playing mostly Bolt Action back in England, it has been great to return to the complete contrast of Tolkien’s Fantasy, with vivid characters, monsters and bright colour palettes on the table.


Lloyd was kind enough to mention my Harad army and his reaction to it on a recent Weekender, with the irony that I had dusted off an old and forgotten army, resurrecting my love for an old game, in an attempt to appreciate what I am lucky to have, and his response was miniature-lust for the new and shiny, “I need this in my life!”

Building On A Collection

It’s so easy to get swamped and to become greedy, forgetting what you have, and why it is special. I have now begun filling in the gaps in my collection by painting some of the neglected backlog of unassembled Middle Earth miniatures and to add further life to a game has been quite a big and happy part of my life.


A very real benefit of returning to my Tolkien miniatures via Military Wargaming is that I have picked up a few new techniques that I can now use in painting my miniatures. I have bought and learnt to use an airbrush, which can allow me to really speed up getting my painting layers down including base colours and pre-shading. I am also particularly looking forward to using my new set of Forge World pigments. They work great on metal work to show rust and general dirt and grime which will really add a level of gritty realism to my orc and goblin hoards.

I have also really missed bright colours that are just not present in modern military uniforms and camouflage. I have picked up some more Abrakhan Guard for my Harad which I am painting in a Royal Purple and Gold and after that, I look forward to working on finishing a Mumak! This is a fresh change from the Greys of my last project, Winter WWII Germans.


With the announcement of a Tolkien based television series, I expect to see a greater revival of interest in this game, and I hope that we may even see more miniatures as a result.

Possibly the greatest thing about coming back to the Strategy Battle Game, however, has been the social side. People have always been an important part of my life. As a result, I have reached out to some of my friends and my cousin, who I used to play against regularly but have seen a lot less. It's also an excellent excuse to revisit an old gaming club and get involved again.


So what miniatures do you have in YOUR collection that could be dusted off, ready for the gaming table once again?

By Michael MacDonald

We'd love to know your thoughts in the comments below!

"It’s so easy to get swamped and to become greedy, forgetting what you have, and why it is special..."

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"So what miniatures do you have in YOUR collection that could be dusted off, ready for the gaming table once again? "

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