The first project for 2021 started with a chance post on facebook by Specialist Games product design manager Rob Alderman and an app called ‘Walk to Mordor’. It’s one of those quirky but fun apps that breaks down Frodo’s journey from the Shire to Mount Doom by distance and key milestones. By logging your own exercise routines, be that running or walking, you can amuse yourself by tracking your progress in relation to that iconic journey. I’ve made no secret of the fact last year and all the restrictions the Covid pandemic introduced had a negative impact on my motivation to paint and, if I’m being truly honest how I felt about ‘things’ in general. I really don’t want that to be a thing as we move into a new year and want to get on top of it now with a bit of positive mindset, using the hobby as a productive way to decompress. So let’s pivot.

Being stuck working from home a lot more I began adopting healthier routines, including making sure I took a good break away from my office to go for a walk. A proper walk, rain or shine for a good solid hour. It has helped me get my head in the right place and I’m not ashamed to say I’ve shed a few pounds as a bonus. Rob’s random post about ‘Walk to Mordor’ gave me an idea that not only keeps me honest with what’s become a daily habit, but also make it a bit of added fun with a hobby twist.

It’s a dangerous business, Frodo, going out of your door. You step into the Road, and if you don’t keep your feet, there is no knowing where you might be swept off to.

The plan is actually a quite simple; as each milestone event is passed throughout the year, I will select a suitable Lord of the Rings miniature or miniatures to build and paint. It has to be relevant to the events in the book in some way, but I’m not going to be too prescriptive and let creativity and inspiration guide me. For example when I reach the Barrow Downs I may opt to paint a Wight, or it could be someone like Tom Bombadil. It’s going to be really interesting to see if I can see this through all the way to the end of the year, how far I get and just how many characters get painted along the way.

Leaving Bag End

At the time of writing I’ve just logged my first couple of days walks and made it out of Hobbiton and into Tookland. As is right I ought to start somewhere and of course the first two miniatures should be Frodo and Samwise. These I shall find appropriate miniatures for and get them prepared for painting without delay. I have to confess I’m really quite excited about the potential scope of this project and it may just be the spark I needed to get my painting and hobby mojo back.

All things being equal the next update shall be “concerning Hobbits”.

Until then, stay safe.