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Delved too greedily and too deep

Dwarfs are a popular fantasy force across all games in the genre but for me only the LOTR miniatures do them justice. Here we have anatomically viable but distinctive dwarfs whose arms are not longer and thicker than their legs and not sporting the mohican haircut or floating in steam powered airships. These guys are very definitely Viking/Norse type Dwarfs as if from the sagas. As if to confirm this on the banner below we even have one of Odins' ravens!

In Norse (and Tolkien) mythology Dwarves are craftsmen, making items and bending the worlds' materials to their will deep in their underground lairs which probably explains artillery pieces such as this cannonball ballista. Very much looks like a Roman Ballista to me except that the loader is holding a spherical shot of stone or iron instead of a bolt,

It is interesting that in the Norse the dwarfs are called Svartalfar which means Black Elves or Dark Elves but also called Dvegar. They are described as pale skinned with dark hair which has not carried over into modern representations.

In the picture above we have elite Khazad guard, heavily armed warriors from the halls of Khazad dum and the bodyguard or Huscarls of Durin. Here armed with fancy double headed axes presumably as symbols of their authority rather than as actual battle weapons as most scholars now consider such weapons as next to useless in actual combat.

Next up are the Iron Guard, lighter armed and wielding two hand weapons like a berserker or devish. I'm not convinced that this is a great fighting style for Dwarfs as by nature they are short of reach and wielding shorter weapons seems to exaggerate the issue. In the Norse sagas the Dwarfs are nowhere described as short of stature and this diminution in their height seems to have come about via Germanic stories where the Dwarfs become short and slightly comic, the butt of jokes and pranks.

In the GW Lotr miniatures this lack of height seems not to affect their use of bows, presumably shortbows but probably with a great draw weight to make up for it. Certainly these are some of the best of the minis. With their lamellar type armour and short bows they have an Eastern or Steppe vibe, possibly even a bit like the bearded Assyrian archers you see on carvings in the British Museum.

Ranger Dwarfs are also a thing in GW land. I don't remember anything about rangers in my reading of Lotr but I am no expert so may be very wrong. The figures are clearly homages to Viking raiders with their light leather armour and travelling cloaks and nicely done. They come with a range of weapons and are good value as well as being believable representations of Norse based Dwarfs unlike some other GW dwarves...

The Dwarf warriors box is another excellent box with characterful representations and attractive armour and weapons with the same lamellar looking armour, as well as round shields as used by Viking Warriors and axes that look like realistically usable weapons. These boys could genuinely sub in for any Dark Age warriors if they were not ...dwarves.

A more heavily armoured Dwarf captain below with a sort of scale armour which i chose to paint as bronze. To be honest I don't know if vikings wore either Lamellar or Scale armour but they kind of fit with the slightly Eastern feel of the LOTR dwarves.

Finally we have Gimli hanging with his fellows. Sadly he has a rubbish axe but as usual with the character pieces he actually looks like the actor. I am constantly astonished at the skill with which the sculptors of this range were able to do this.

And that ends the tour of my collection. Or as I should say my ex collection as these were sold to a friend and customer down south where hopefully they might actually get used! As you can see there are no figures from 'The Hobbit;' range as I was not a fan of these, a step too far away from the aesthetic established originally for me.


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