A Long-expected Party


The first entry in The Tale of Years I’ve chosen because it’s where both the book and the movie (minus the prologue) begin, as well as it being around the same time of year that I’ve began this project, but in the year 3001 (by Shire reckoning).

The entry in the appendix reads:

Bilbo’s farewell feast. Gandalf suspects his ring to be the One Ring. The guard on the Shire is doubled. Gandalf seeks for news of Gollum and calls on the help of Aragorn.

In the first chapter of Tolkien’s masterpiece, we find out that Bilbo Baggins will shortly be celebrating his 111th Birthday. The chapter also introduces the main protagonist of the series – Frodo Baggins – and explains the events that have taken place between the end of The Hobbit and this point of the story, including Bilbo’s adoption of Frodo and their shared birthday. The book gives a lot more detail about Hobbits, their customs, history and their coming of age at 33 – important as this allows Frodo to come into his inheritance when Bilbo leaves The Shire.

The movie doesn’t really focus on the age difference between Bilbo and Frodo, except for the fact that Bilbo is old for a Hobbit – and that he hasn’t aged much, a side-effect of the ring.

It opens with a monologue of Bilbo writing to Frodo, mostly concerning Hobbits and The Shire. Gandalf arrives in cart laden with packages – and fireworks – for Bilbo’s party.

Both the movie and the book show Bilbo’s disappearing act, and afterwards Gandalf’s chat with Bilbo and how Gandalf persuades Bilbo to leave the ring behind as he leaves Bag-End.

Keep it secret, keep it safe!

Gandalf informs Frodo of his inheritance, and instructs him to look after the ring and not to use it.

I’ve always really enjoyed this first section of the movies, as it really sets the tone for the rest of the series. Hobbiton is definitely on my list of places to visit!

For this chapter of my challenge, I’ve decided to paint two miniatures that in all my years of collecting and painting I’ve never painted before – kind of the point of this challenge I know!

The first is one of the first miniatures released from Games Workshop’s range in 2001 – Bilbo Baggins. Cast in metal, Bilbo was originally a mail-order only model. Later made available on general release. The mini was also available with Battle Games in Middle Earth issue 62.

The sculpt really is fantastic; its detail superb. It captures Ian Holm’s Bilbo perfectly – you can’t see from my rather naff photo, but in his outstretched hand is a tiny golden ring – The One Ring – and the front of the Red Book of Westmarch is adorned with the star that can be seen on the cover in the movies. I really enjoyed painting him up – you can see how I painted him in my Bilbo Baggins Painting Guide.

The other miniature I’ve painted up is Gandalf on Cart. The piece was originally only made as a showpiece and prize for a GW grand tournament, but was eventually released in metal c2005.

I never managed to grab one of these at the time, but recently picked it up in Finecast – the detail is great again. I think I’d prefer this kind of model to be resin to be honest; there’s not really any need to pin anything – especially if you’re only displaying it.

I’ve put together another painting guide to show how I approached it.

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By Rich

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