Thursday 9 March 2017

Jes Goodwin's 1980's Citadel Lord of the Rings Alternative range of Uruk-Hai.

As the overlong title suggests, this blog update is on the alternative range of Uruk-Hai miniatures which Jes Goodwin sculpted for Citadel's Lord of the Rings range of Uruk-Hai. Don't worry Snakeman fans, I am still painting my way through the army (and other things!). However, I managed to buy the last few Uruk-Hai miniatures from this range recently, and so I wanted to update about them.

From 1985 until 1987 Citadel Miniatures produced a range of figures based on the Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit books. The miniatures were sculpted similar to Citadels style of their general fantasy miniatures of the time, and some of the Orcs later ended up being used as the basis for other sculpts in Citadel's Warhammer Orc ranges. The Lord of the Rings range as a whole was sculpted by several of the sculptors working for Citadel at the time. The range, with some exceptions, was slotta based.

Towards the end of their licence, Citadel produced an alternative range of Uruk-Hai miniatures, sculpted by Jes Goodwin (famous for his wonderful Elf and Eternal Champion ranges from the time). At the time their Lord of the Rings range only had three Uruk-Hai models, and so it seems that this range was sculpted to add variety.

Now, I can only assume that Citadel did'nt realise that they were going lose the licence, as why sculpt a new range? After they lost the licence, this range of Uruk-Hai ceased production, and so was only available for a few months in 1987. I think they may have been available as stock clearance via mail order for a month or two longer, but then were gone. I again can only assume that this was because of intellectual property, as the miniatures had been marketed as Uruk-Hai and then could'nt have been re-branded and sold as a different range. So whilst not breathtakingly rare, they are still quite rare.

Anyway, the range consisted of fifteen miniatures. There were three distinct types; the Archers, the Swordmen, and the Pole-arms. There were three base sculpts for the range which went on to form the basis for the sculpt of that type. There were five sculpts for each of the Archers, Swordsmen, and Pole-arms.

Aesthetically I think they are wonderful. They are excellently detailed, crisp, sculpts. The faces are amazing. They are full of life and character, with a nice sense of movement. The variations of sculpting from the base sculpt are great, offering fiffteen distinct and yet coherent miniatures. If you were to build units/an army from these miniatures, as was the intention, they would have formed a good basis. With a little bit of conversion, many of the miniatures would have provided even greater variation. Personally, I think it was a great loss to the miniatures world that this range disappeared so soon.

So what am I going to do with them?
My plan, at a later date but not yet, is to paint these Uruk-Hai and use them as the basis of a 1980's Lord of the Rings skirmish force. Despite a couple of the sculpts having the Eye of Sauron on their helms, I will use these as the core of Saruman's 'Army of the White Hand', and paint them with the symbol of the White hand on their shields. I will use the original Uruk-Hai sculpts, which are more overtly Mordor in design with the more prominent Eyes of Sauron on them, for the forces of the Dark Lord.

Enjoy :)
 The range, as appeared in White Dwarf #99.
I am not sure why they painted them green, but they look very in keeping with many of Citadel's Goblinoids of the time.
One of the interesting and cool things about this range is how very similar miniatures have been given a very different look and sense of movement by having the heads facing in differing directions. They also look similar to the way Tolkien described Uruk-Hai/Orcs, "crooked legged and long armed". 
 My full set of Uruk-Hai.  :)
Like all of my 1980's Lord of the Rings miniatures I am basing the infantry on 30mm round lipped bases.
Originally however the range would have been on 25mm square bases. The Swordsmen and the Pole-armed Uruk-Hai have a boss on the hand to allow the addition of the plastic Citadel shields. I have equipped mine with the largest of the round shields.
 The five pole-armed Uruk-Hai.
 The five Swordsmen Uruk-Hai.
 The five Archer Uruk-Hai.
The first of the Pole-armed Uruk-Hai, armed with a pole-mace, and looking straight ahead.
The second of the Pole-armed Uruk-Hai with a double-handed axe,and looking left. His mop of hair makes him look like a bit of a 'metal-head', or perhaps one of the Beatles from the late 1960's!
The third of the Pole-armed Uruk-Hai, armed with a long bladed spear, looking right, and sporting a rather fetching mohawk haircut.
The fourth of the Pole-armed Uruk-Hai, with another long bladed spear. He has the same look as the first Pole-armed Uruk-Hai, although the blade is slightly different.
The fifth and final of the Pole-armed Uruk-Hai, with a type of hooked halberd.
Rear view of the Pole-armed Uruk-Hai. They are all the same in this respect.
The first of the Swordsmen Uruk-Hai. 
He has quite a fancy helmet, and it has an Eye of Sauron on it. If these miniatures were very commmon I would file this off as I am meaning to use them as Uruk-Hai of the White Hand. However, as they are not common, I have'nt the heart to, and so will just leave it metal coloured as the rest of the helmet.
The second of the Swordsmen Uruk-Hai with a spiked helmet.
The third of the Swordsmen Uruk-Hai, wearing a leather helment with metal discs on, and looking to the left like he is about to swing his sword.
The fourth of the Swordsmen Uruk-Hai, yelling, and wearing a plumed helmet.
The final of the Swordsmen Uruk-Hai. Compared to the other sculpts he is a little more sedate (if an Uruk-Hai could be described as such), but he is great none the less.
Rear view of the Swordsmen, again like the Pole-armed Uruk-Hai the are the same for each of the five. 
The first of the Archers.
He is wearing a hood emblazened with the Eye of Sauron on. 
Unlike the Pole-Arm and Sword wielding Uruk-Hai, all the archers are in the smae pose and facing the same way.
The second of the Archers, wearing a helmet.
The third Archer, this time bare-headed with a top knot.
The fourth Archer is wearing a wonderful ridged helmet.
The final Archer has a leather, with a few studs around the rim and ends.
Read and side views of the Archers. 

Next update will be back to the Snakemen.


  1. Excellent. I didn't know this range, thanks for the discovery

    1. Cool, glad you like them. I hope I have'nt set you on an expensive course of collecting them now! LOL

  2. I had some of the other range back in the day but never saw these guys.

    Thanks for the knowledge drop.

    1. They were not released for long, so it was easy o miss them. I only finished collecting them very recently.
      Glad you enjoyed the update.

  3. I also have a complete set but am working on other figs at the moment.

    1. Excellent, good to hear that someone else has a full set of them, and likes the range as well. I'll look forward to seeing how you progress with them. :)

  4. Excellent post about an excellent range of mini's. I need just two more to complete my set. Numbers 1 & 5 should anyone have them. I have many other ME44 Uruk Hai should anyone want to swap! Once again, great post!

    1. Thank you Jeg, glad you enjoyed the post.
      They really are a lost gem of a range. I hope you have the best of luck finding the last two as they are worth hunting down.
      It took me about a year to collect them all, and I only managed to get the last half of the set over the last couple of months. I have some of the ME44 range as well.

  5. Hi,

    Do you have numbers 1 & 5 spare to swap or sell? I have numbers 9, 6 and 4 for trade.

    I'm really struggling to find No's 1 & 5! It's become a mission now!



    1. Hello Jeg,

      sorry I don't have a spare of 1 or 5. I can sympathise with you as they were two of the Uruk-Hai which I found hardest to find.

      I bought 1 and 5 in open auctions on e-bay. I bought them from the e-bay seller brigend steve, who often has a lot of interesting Oldhammer era auctions, and is a nice chap as well.

      Perhaps someone on the Oldhammer Trading page on Facebook might have them?

      All the best with hunting down the Uruk-Hai.

  6. Hi Lee,

    Many thanks for the reply.

    Patience is the name of the game when collecting ME44 Uruk’s. I remember when I only had two and thought it impossible to find anymore. Then loads appear on ebay all at the same time!

    Best Regards,