Archive for the ‘The Hobbit’ Category

Grim Hammers

I’ve finished my Dwarf Grim Hammers. As I mentioned in my last post, I used a few shortcuts on these guys and they were very quick to paint with pleasing results. The beards were painted either Mournfang Brown, Rhinox Hide or Zandri Dust and then washed with Agrax Earthshade. They were then highlighted Skag Brown,  Gorthor Brownand Ushabti Bone respectively. The cloth is either Abaddon Black mixed with Kommando Khaki or VMC Black Brown mixed with Kommando Khaki (to help differentiate the two areas of black cloth). they were the based to fir in with my LotR/Hobbit collection.

Grim Hammers

I have started work on a set of dwarf ‘Grim Hammers’ from The Hobbit. I have used a couple of short cuts on these models and they have been very quick to paint, just a couple of sessions to get them to their current stage. Firstly, I undercoated the models using Tamiya light gun metal spray. I did this over a black undercoat as my tests found that this gives a better finish than applying it over bare plastic (although you can spray directly onto the plastic but you will need a couple of coats). I then washed the models with Nuln Oil and left them to dry thoroughly. Once dry I gave them a quick drybrush with Necron Compound and then blocked in the basic colours for the non-metal areas. I just need to apply a few highlights now and they’ll be done.

Grim Hammer

The Great Goblin

“Murders and elf-friends!” the Great Goblin shouted. “Slash them! Beat them! Bite them! Gnash them! Take them away to dark holes full of snakes, and never let them see the light again!” He was in such a rage that he jumped off his seat and himself rushed at Thorin with his mouth open.

Here is the latest denizen of Middle Earth to come off my painting table: the Great Goblin (apparently referred to as the ‘Goblin King’ in New Line’s merchandising). I loved the portrayal of the Great Goblin in the film (ably played by Barry Humphies) and GW’s model captures the character perfectly. It is a fantastic model which has some great textures considering the fact that it is plastic.

For the colour  scheme I tried to stick as closely as possible to the concept art for the character as seen in Brian Sibley’s excellent An Unexpected Journey Official Movie Guide (definitely recommended as a reference  for anyone painting Hobbit models). The only time we see the Great Goblin in the film is in scenes lit by torchlight and so the film stills weren’t a reliable guide to painting him. See below to find out how I went about painting him

The Great Goblin

The Great Goblin

The Great Goblin

The Great Goblin

Detail on the skull:

The Great Goblin

Gruesome severed heads adorn the scepter:

The Great Goblin

A close-up of the crown. Note the painted-on chips and scratches:

The Great Goblin

The Great Goblin with some of his minions:

The Great Goblin

Painting the Great Goblin

The skin was basecoated with Tallarn Flesh. Even though most of this stage would be completely painted over on the finished model it would give the skin tone an underlying warmth. This is because even though the Great Goblin is pallid and unhealthy he is not a zombie or Nurgle model and so should still look as though he is alive.

The skin was then painted with a 50/50 mix of Tallarn Flesh and Space Wolf Grey. This was washed with Ogryn Flesh mixed with Lahmian Medium and allowed to dry. This was followed by more targeted washes applied directly to the recesses using Ogryn Flesh and Agrax Earthshade. I then highlighted the skin with the original flesh mix with increasing amounts of white added.

The purple/red lesions on the skin were glazed using a mix of Leviathan Purple and Tallarn Flesh. The yellowish areas were glazed with Seraphim Sepia. At this stage the skin was looking a little too warm and so was glazed with thinned down Guilliman Blue in order to give it a slightly cooler tone.

The lesions on the skin were built up further by adding glazes of Leviathan Purple, Bloodletter, Ogryn Flesh and Seraphim Sepia. I tried to copy the look of real bruises.

In order to make the model look really disgusting (more so than he already was) and to add visual interest to such a large model I painted veins and texture on the areas of bruised and broken skin as can be seen in the close-ups below. This was done with a mix of Scab Red and Leviathan purple. Veins were also painted on the undamaged skin using Guilliman blue. The blue veins were then glazed over using Tallarn Flesh and then Pallid Wych Flesh. This was to tone the colour down and to make them appear to be beneath the surface of the skin.

Broken Skin  VeinsBroken Skin

The face was highlighted by adding Pallid Wych Flesh to Tallarn Flesh and working up to pure Wych Flesh. The eyes and mouth were then glazed blue and purple. The eyes were painted Pallid Wych Flesh and the irises were painted using Ballor Brown edged with Mournfang Brown. The pupils were painted in black.


All in all a suitably disgusting and grotesque paint job for such a foul character. Let me know what you think by leaving a comment below.

Now, on to the dwarves.


Misty Mountain Goblins

Now goblins are cruel, wicked, and bad-hearted. They make no beautiful things, but they make many clever ones. They can tunnel and mine as well as any but the most skilled dwarves, when they take the trouble, though they are usually untidy and dirty. Hammers, axes, swords, daggers, pickaxes, tongs, and also instruments of torture, they make very well, or get other people to make to their design, prisoners and slaves that have to work till they die for want of air and light. It is not unlikely that they invented some of the machines that have since troubled the world, especially the ingenious devices for killing large numbers of people at once, for wheels and engines and explosions always delighted them, and also not working with their own hands more than they could help; but in those days and those wild parts they had not advanced (as it is called) so far.

As mentioned in an earlier post, I finally succumbed and purchased the ‘Escape from Goblin Town’ boxed set. Initially I was reluctant to buy such a large set as I didn’t want to end up with lots of models that I never got round to painting and ‘Escape from Goblin Town’ contains 36 goblins! In the end I resolved to find a quick and easy way to paint the goblins, allowing me plenty of time to devote to each member of Thorin’s company. Although I usually paint each and every model to the best of my ability I knew that if I attempted this with so many similar models I would never get through the lot.

Painting Stick

In order to speed up the process I adopted a technique I read in an old White Dwarf and affixed each of the goblins to a long stick using Blu Tack. This allowed me to prime them all at once and apply the initial basecoat to all 36 goblins using an airbrush. This whole process took about an hour (including drying time) and I then when to work washing and drybrushing the models. Below is a rough guide to the process:

1) Basecoat Dheneb Stone using an airbrush.

2) Wash the whole model with a heavy application of Baal Red.

3) Drybrush the goblins Elf Flesh.

4) Give the goblins a lighter drybrush of Pallid Wych Flesh.

5) Apply purple, red, sepia and blue washes and glazes over the rotten and diseased parts of the goblins as desired.

6) Paint the details.

This was a very quick process and produced some good results. On the whole I am very pleased with these and, although not my best work, they are painted to a pretty decent tabletop standard.

Misty Mountain Goblins

Misty Mountain Goblins

Misty Mountain Goblins

I hope you like them,


Radagast the Brown

Here is my latest model from The Hobbit range, Radagast the Brown. This is probably my favourite of the Hobbit releases so far. It’s a really elegant sculpt and the little model of Sebastian (the stricken hedgehog aided by Radagast in the film) really adds something to the spirit of the piece.

Because in the film Radagast’s robes are all very similar in tone I decided not to try and replicate the look from the film exactly as it would result in a very boring, undefined miniature; what works as a costume on film doesn’t necessarily work on a 25mm model, it’s just a question of scale. With models like this I think that the overall effect is more important than exact verisimilitude to the film. However, hopefully my paint job captures something of the essence of the character.

Gollum 1

Another of my Hobbit themed models, this time Gollum. As with the White Council, this model is taken from the Lord of the Rings release rather than the new range of models released for The Hobbit. This was a fun little project and quite quick to paint (the whole model is largely one colour).

The rock was drybrushed first and then I painted Gollum himself. The skin started with a basecoat of Tallarn Flesh with a bit of Codex Grey added to remove some of the warmth of the colour and make Gollum look a little less healthy. This was washed with thinned Dark Flesh followed by a more precise application of Scorched Brown in the deepest recesses. I then highlighted the model by adding increasing amounts of Bleached Bone to the basecoat. I then added a tiny bit of White Scar for the final highlight.

Gollum 2

In the photo below you can see the scars on Gollum’s back. These were picked out with Tanned Flesh and highlighted by adding Bleached Bone. I also used a little bit of Baal Red around the edges to add to the effect of the scar tissue.

Gollum 3

I added some clump foliage and flock to the base to match the look of Emyn Muil in the film and to tie Gollum in with my other LotR/Hobbit models. It also adds a bit more realism tot he rocks which are rarely as bare in real life as they often are on model bases.

I hope you like Gollum and my other Hobbit models. In my next blog post I will be returning to the grim darkness of the 41st millennium with some more Dark Angels.

All the best,


White Council

As mentioned in a previous post, it was my intention to try and paint all of the White Council before the release of The Hobbit as a kind of ‘count down’ project. Well here they all are finished. As these have been completed ahead of schedule I have started work on Gollum who will hopefully appear in another post later in the week.

Here is the final model to be painted for the White Council, Elrond of Rivendell. Now I know this isn’t the ‘official’ model of Elrond, rather it is meant to represent Celeborn. However, I don’t really like the unarmoured Elrond model GW produce and so I was searching around for an alternative and I found this model in my collection. I think it suits Elrond very well.

Elrond of Rivendell

The model has quite an unusual colour palette which I would not have chosen had there been no existing depiction of Elrond to work from. The lilac robes were painted with a mix of Space Wolf Grey and Warlock Purple highlighted by adding white and a little bit of Bleached Bone to stop the colour becoming too cold. The warm brown robes were painted Dark Flesh and highlighted Vermin Brown followed by a Vermin Brown and Vomit Brown mix.

All the best,



With only one week to go to the release of The Hobbit here is my version of Galadriel for my White Council project. This is such a simple, elegant miniature and it was a joy to paint.  Unlike Saruman, who was painted with off-white robes, Galadriel’s garb is much brighter. The model was primed white and shaded with Fortress Grey followed by Codex Grey and then blended back up to pure White Scar.

DSCF2814 DSCF2815

Next up is Elrond to complete the White Council.

Saruman the White 1

Continuing with my Hobbit countdown here is Saruman the White. The robes are Dheneb Stone shaded with Vallejo German Camo Pale Brown and highlighted by adding increasing amounts of White Scar to Dheneb Stone all the way up to pure white.

For Lord of the Rings and Hobbit miniatures I favour a more natural, realistic finish to the models to capture the look and feel of the films. Because of this I used very soft blending for the highlights rather than the starker, more stylised highlights found on my Dark Angels, for example. I think it’s really important to adapt your painting style to fit the model at hand in order to bring out the qualities and character of the model.

Saruman the White 2

One of the interesting things about revisiting Middle Earth after so long (nearly ten years since the last film) is that it really shows how much my painting style and ability has changed over the years. To illustrate this, below is on older model of Saruman that I painted eleven years ago back when The Fellowship of the Ring was released.

Saruman the White (old)

And the two side by side for comparison.

Saruman the White Comparison

Gandalf the Grey

December is upon us and it is only a couple of weeks before The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey hits our cinema screens. I’ve been very excited about this for some time now (just ask my wife). Not only does this mean a new Tolkien film from Peter Jackson et al (which is exciting enough in itself) but it also means that the Strategy Battle Game that was launched by GW alongside the Lord of the Rings films will be reinvigorated. Since it’s initial release back in 2001 this has been one of my favourite GW games and I strongly believe that the LOTR models are some of the best GW has ever produced.

In order to celebrate the launch of the new film I have decided to embark on a special project to count down to the film’s launch. I have decided to paint the White Council between now and 14 December and post my progress on the blog. These are some of the principle characters from Tolkien’s world and promise to feature strongly in the forthcoming films so it seemed only appropriate to paint them. Also, I happen to have models to represent all of the characters from the release of Lord of the Rings. I may even paint up Gollum (another important character who features in both trilogies) if I get the time.

First up is Gandalf the Grey (pictured above) who was already painted. Hopefully more to follow soon.