I painted Bilbo, or most of him, back in September before I caught the flu. My plan was to make a diorama in honor of Hobbit Day (September 22nd). I was working on the scene out of the books (Chapter V A Conspiracy Unmasked) when the Hobbits, temporarily safe in Crickhollow, tell Frodo they know all about his plans to escape The Shire with the ring. Frodo wonders how they could have known many of his inner secrets so Merry explains a portion of his "detective" work:
"It was the Sackville-Bagginses that were his downfall, as you might expect. One day, a year before the Party, I happened to be walking along the road, when I saw Bilbo ahead. Suddenly in the distance the S.-B.s appeared, coming toward us. Bilbo slowed down, and then hey presto! he vanished. I was so startled that I hardly had the wits to hide myself in a more ordinary fashion; but I got through the hedge and walked along the field inside. I was peeping through into the road, after the S.-B.s had passed, and was looking straight at Bilbo when he suddenly reappeared. I caught a glint of gold as he put something back in his trouser-pocket."
My plan included the Lobelia miniature, umbrella and all, striding down a hill with Bilbo standing by the edge of the road looking at the ring that had just saved him from dealing with his unpleasant relative. Merry, in the form of the Merry and Pippin vs. Grishnakh version, would be just across the road near a hedgerow, watching what had just transpired.
Although all three miniatures were mostly painted, I was quickly running out of time so I adjusted my plans and concentrated on Bilbo. I finished him late on the evening of the twenty-first but I felt he needed some additional highlighting so I refrained from posting him on his birthday. Then came the flu and other delays causing me to hold on to Mr. Baggins for over a month. Better late than never however.
I have not given up on the project though. For next year during the Hobbit Day celebration, I think I'll finish up the diorama so that my previous work will not be wasted.
As far as the painting goes, I deviated a bit from the movie version. His dinner jacked, while certainly eccentric and expensive looking, gave me fits during the painting process. I felt that the burgandy/purple of the color of the jacket was too close in hue to the waistcoat. The entire top half of the mini, at least from my eyes, seemed awash in nearly the same color. My solution was to go with a complimentary color and create a stark contrast between the two garments. While maybe not 100% true to the movie, and thus the GW version, I like Bilbo much better in this form. Plus, the color choice was more appropriate for the diorama anyhow. I have two extra unpainted Bilbo miniatures. Perhaps I'll paint another at some point in the future to represent the version from the movie.
As a final note, this is my first attempt at a Hobbit....ever. Well, maybe not truly ever. I may have painted one way back in the 1980s when I first started in the hobby, though I do not remember doing so. But since picking the miniature hobby back up about ten years ago, this is my first time. To those that know me, and my love of all things Tolkien, that admission may come as quite a surprise. But to be honest, Hobbits have never been my favorite part of Middle-earth. Yes, as an avid reader I can appreciate the achievement of simple ordinary men/Hobbits rising above the commons and performing heroic deeds. It's the stuff fantasy is made of. However, my eyes have always turned to the Professor's other creations -- the majestic elves, the grim Dunedain, the mysterious Istari, and especially the tragic figures of Feanor, Turin, and even Boromir. Oh well, now that I've painted my first Hobbit, it wasn't so bad. I guess I'll have to finish up the others now. That will be no small task though. Counting all the different versions of Hobbits, I have twenty-seven more to complete. I better get to work...