Posts Tagged ‘Orcs’

The Mouth of Sauron

And thereupon the door of the Black Gate was thrown open with a great clang, and out of it came an embassy from the Black Tower. At its head there rode a tall and evil shape, mounted upon a black horse, if horse it was; for it was huge and hideous, and its face was a frightful mask, more like a skull than a living head, and in the sockets of its eyes and in its nostrils there burned a flame. The rider was robed all in black and black was his lofty helm; yet this was no Ringwraith but a living man. The Lieutenant of the Tower of Barad-dur he was, and his name is remembered in no tale; for he himself had forgotten it, and he said: “I am the Mouth of Sauron”.

Continuing with the Mordor theme, here is my Mouth of Sauron (both on horseback and dismounted). Painting him was relatively simple as he is basically black and silver. The black is Abaddon Black mixed with Kommando Khaki (as described here) and the horse was painted Vallejo Black/Brown and again highlighted by adding Kommando Khaki. To break up the black mud was added to the bottom of the robe using Vallejo German Camo Medium Brown (the same colour as the base) and Mournfang Brown. I kept the mud lighter at the top where it would be dry and darker towards the bottom to simulate wet mud.

The Mouth of SauronThe Mouth of SauronThe Mouth of Sauron

The Mouth of SauronThe Mouth of Sauron

Oh, and here’s another orc. You can never have too many orcs.

Mordor Orc

Mordor Orc Captains

I’ve recently finished painting up a few more orcs for my ever-growing Mordor army. Here are a couple of captains to lead my horde into battle. I’m particularly fond of the orc on the right who is based on ‘Skully’, the orc captain who is at the harbour in the film.

Mordor Orc Captain

Mordor Orc Captain

And here are a few more rank-and-file orcs. These are a mix of the original metal Fellowship of the Ring models and the later Return of the King plastic orcs.

Mordor Orcs

Mordor Orc

Mordor Orc

Mordor Orc

Mordor Orcs

Until next time,


Mordor Uruk Hai

Here are my finished Mordor Uruk Hai. These were fun models to paint and I kept to a very limited palette of dark browns and greys to match their appearance in the films as closely as possible. The tricky thing about painting them was to keep them very dark but without them ending up looking like black blobs. Hopefully the different areas look distinct enough while still having the desired overall effect of dark, dirty orcs.

The Uruk Hai were painted using the same techniques I used on Shagrat. However, one problem I ran into was the fact that Scorched Brown has been discontinued. Although Citadel’s Rhinox Hide is the new alternative the paints are not quote the same. When painted on neat the colours look similar enough but the pigments used in them are different, something which becomes very apparent when mixing the paints with lighter colours for highlights. Scorched Brown had a red tint to it which Rhinox Hide lacks. In order to solve this problem I mixed Rhinox Hide with Dark Flesh for the brown leather armour and highlighted this by adding Kommando Khaki to the mix. This has produced very similar results.

Mordor Uruk Hai Mordor Uruk Hai Mordor Uruk Hai Mordor Uruk Hai Mordor Uruk Hai Mordor Uruk Hai

I’ve also painted up a couple of Mordor orcs. Together with the Uruk Hai this adds a nice 100 points to my Mordor collection. I don’t know why that is important as I haven’t played a game in ages but it is a nice neat number.

Mordor Orcs


Mordor Orc

Mordor Orc

Mordor Uruk Hai

Just a quick update to share some Mordor uruk hai that I am currently working on. As you can see, they are all in various stages of painting. In the background are some Men of Gondor who I have also started.

And here are some other projects I have on the go as well. I never seem to be able to stick to one thing for long. Is anyone else a ‘hobby butterfly’?

Work in Progress

Host of Mordor

For a little space you may triumph on the field, for a day. But against the Power that now arises there is no victory. […] The West has failed. It is time for all to depart who would not be slaves.

Recently I have been revisiting my Mordor collection, once more buoyed up on my enthusiasm for all things Tolkien. A number of these models were already painted but have been rebased in order to better fit in with my collection. I was never all that happy with the grey, dusty bases so I redid them as verdant fields representing Gondor or Rohan. A few new orcs have been added including a drummer and a standard bearer along with a Mordor Troll (which I have finally got around to finishing after a few years of it sitting around on my ‘work-in-progress’ shelf*).

*or, more accurately, my ‘work-has-ground-to-a-halt’ shelf in many instances.


All those Quendi who came into the hands of Melkor, ere Utumno was broken, were put there in prison, and by slow arts of cruelty were corrupted and enslaved; and thus did Melkor breed the hideous race of the Orcs in envy and mockery of the Elves, of whom they were afterwards the bitterest foes. […] And deep in their dark hearts the Orcs loathed the Master whom they served in fear, the maker only of their misery.

The orcs were fun models to paint and each was surprisingly quick. I tried to emulate the dark and dirty look of the orcs in the film but was careful not to go overboard. At this scale too much dirt would make the models look messy and poorly painted. Instead I used a palette of dark, grimy looking colours to achieve the overall effect which, while not identical to the films, works very well at this scale.

Mordor Orcs

The design on the banner was copied from one of the concept sketches in Chris Smith’s The Lord of the Rings: Weapons and Warfare. Although this book is not a great read, it contains a wealth of concept sketches and images of film props which are incredibly helpful when painting models. The design was painted on using Mephiston Red and Shaded by adding Vallejo Black/Red.

Orc Standard Bearer

Orc Taskmaster

Orc Drummer

The taskmaster and the drummer represent two different approaches to painting Lord of the Rings models. The taskmaster is painted to be as close as possible to the film whereas the drummer involves a bit more artistic license. Originally I painted him with pale skin as seen in the film. However, this didn’t look right so I gave him dark skin more akin to an Uruk Hai. Sometimes you just have to go with what looks right rather than total fidelity to the film.

Mordor Troll

There came striding up, roaring like beasts, a great company of hill-trolls out of Gorgoroth. Taller and broader than men they were, and they were clad only in close-fitting mesh of horny scales, or maybe that was their hideous hide; but they bore round bucklers huge and black and weilded heavy hammers in their knotted hands. Reckless they sprang into the pools and waded across, bellowing as they came. Like a storm they broke upon the line of the men of Gondor, and beat upon helm and head, and arm and shield, as smiths hewing the hot bending iron.

The troll was another fun model to paint and a different sort of challenge because of it’s large size. I pretty much followed the ‘Eavy Metal team’s colour scheme which is very similar to the film. I also replicated a lot of colours and techniques used on the orcs to help tie them together as a cohesive force. Overall I’m very pleased with how all of the models look together, they are all different but the shared palette makes them look reasonably unified (well for orcs anyway).

Mordor Troll

Following on from my post at the weekend about Lord of the Rings orcs here are some of my recently completed Mordor characters. Again, I tried to stay true to the film in my choice of colours. Apologies for the blurry pictures but these guys are very hard to photograph.

First up is Shagrat, I went for very dark, almost black skin. This was painted VMC Black-Brown and highlighted by adding increasing amounts of Kommando Khaki.

and his rival, Gorbag.

Here is Grishnak. I’m very pleased with how he turned out. I tried to capture the blotchy red skin tone from the film. This was achieved by glazing the skin with very thin Scab Red and applying small patches of thinned Dark Flesh and VMC Black-Red.The effect is subtle but I think it works quite well. I may try it again on some future orcs I have lined up for painting.

These guys aren’t exactly Mordor characters but it seemed fitting to include them here. Frodo and Sam disguised as orcs. These models were really enjoyable to paint; really characterful, fun models.

That’s all for now. I hope you like them.


Posted: Jul 16, 2011 in Lord of the Rings
Tags: , ,

After reading an article in Empire magazine about the forthcoming hobbit films I’m very much excited again about the world of Middle Earth and its denizens.  As such I have begun repainting a lot of my old LotR models which I bought back when they were originally released a decade ago. In that time my painting has greatly improved and so I decided to update them.

Here are my orcs. I wanted them to be as close as possible to the film. However, the orcs in the film are all muddy and filthy and, while this looks great on film, it doesn’t really translate well onto miniatures without making them look like a badly painted mess. Instead I wanted to capture the feel of the orcs by using lots of dark colours and muted shades with the occasional red accent to add a bit of colour. Overall I’m very pleased with how these turned out.