Reply To: What is the story of your first figure Mithril?

MMP Mithril in Middle-Earth The Prancing Pony What is the story of your first figure Mithril? Reply To: What is the story of your first figure Mithril?


    Well, when I were a lad, and all ’round ‘ere were fields…

    I saw an ad on TV for Prince August moulds. They had ads on TV back then, in Ireland. I’d seen Year of the French some time before, so I would cast English and French late 18th century figures and paint them as the Redcoats and French soldiers at Kilalla. I wrote away to Prince August and saw their catalogue. I remember being vaguely intrigued by the Goblins and Elves and Orcs. I had no idea what they were. Later that year, the year after, a family friend, while living in the US was rather amused by the media frenzy about Dungeons and Dragons and how it was driving troubled teens to suicide. Since I was a troubled pre-teen, she decided I would be perfect. So she bought me the Fighting Fantasy roleplaying game corebook.

    Some time that following winter, my friend Ian McGuinness introduced me to Dungeons and Dragons, the real thing. I was sort of hooked. He told me about the Hobbit and so on. I was 11. It was my last year in primary school. It was a pretty hellacious time. I was looking towards secondary school with increasing dread. I wasn’t much of a reader, then. My step mother loaned me her copy of the Hobbit, and I slowly made my way through it. On holiday in Cork that year, I finished (we went to Macroom on that trip, I think).

    I read Lord of the Rings that summer, re-reading it all over the last week in august before heading to the dreaded secondary school. I escaped into Lord of the Rings, into the appendices. I grabbed out my casting tools and made a sort of wargames ruleset. That christmas I got the Grenadier Fellowship boxed set, and…the other one.

    The following year, I started collecting the Games Workshop Lord of the Rings figures. I knew, on some level, that they were hideous, but they were “official” and they had a sense of movement (or something) to them. I kept all my figures in a big box, a mix of Grenadier, GW and Prince August fantasy. Sometime that year I discovered MERP, too.

    But some time in the summer of 1988, I was perusing the figurine section of Easons on O’Connell street, and had this weird moment. Beside the Prince August figures was a range called Mithril. I thought I was misreading. Then I realised: these were MERP figures. By Prince August. Without the ugly clothes and stupid poses of those other figures. These would look the same as the prince august fantasy figures. This was great! I bought probably all of the first dozen figures.

    And then, I don’t really know. I never had time to paint them. I was frustrated with my painting abilities. It was the Inter Cert year. Then into fifth year and hell, before you knew it, it was the Leaving Cert and then off to what came next. Life went on.

    In 2000, I was talking to my friend Tiina about The Lord of the Rings. the movies were coming and she and her brother were huge fans. I told her about these “Mithril” figures I remembered as a kid. I remember showing her the website in the cyber cafe where I worked, thinking “cool.” That summer, I did my first freelance professional writing assignment and once again, I forgot about Mithril.

    My moment of doom came at 3am in October 2002. I was trying to keep awake so I could meet my sister at the bus station at five am. I re-read this short fantasy written piece I’d done years before. I thought: hey, I wonder if Prince August is still going. And…they were. I wonder, I thought, if Mithril is still going. It was. Then, as it started to get light, I thought: I wonder if Iron Crown is still going. That lead to me writing Cyradon. But it also lead me to buying the Battle Games in Middle Earth magazine on a trip home to Ireland…and a few weeks later, making a huge order from Mithril. And that was it, I was doomed.

    Doomed, I tell you.