Wednesday 21 July 2010

Saruman & Grima

Painted these two largely as an exercise in painting white and black: Saruman the White (but not too white) and Grima Wormatongue, both from the GW Lord of the Rings range.

The white was a chance to use the P3 Shades. I started with a base of Hammerfall Khaki for the darkest shadows, then added Menoth White Base until painting pure MW Base, then into Menoth White Highlight, etc., and finally Morrow White. In the past I have always had trouble painting with Vallejo white, but the P3 shades are simply awesome. I also like the less-than-pure white effect here: as Saruman had turned to evil, it makes more sense to me.

I went for a very “soft” approach, applying multiple layers of thinned paint from one colour to the next, intermixing as I went. Very time consuming, and not something I will do on rank and file gaming pieces, but something I have wanted to try for a while now. I’m pretty happy with the cloth overall, though there are places where the shadows could be softer: something I need to work on.

The main part I don’t like on the figure is the hair: it’s just too strong a contrast for my liking. The face could also do with a bit more definition I think, as is the highlights appear too dark (or rather not enough contrast between layers).

Grima Wormtongue was the candidate for painting black. In the past I have always worked with black followed by dark greys as highlights which always ended up looking like....dark grey. Here I confined the greys to, well, the stringy bits on his arms and the fluffy-looking thing on his shoulders...technical terms these. Apart from this the cloth was painted black and only the very edges highlighted with a mixture of P3 Thamar Black and P3 Coal Black, the lightest highlights being Coal Black. This gives the black a blue-ish tinge, but to me was preferable to more dark grey. Dogey pics don’t show this too well though.

I kept the face suitably pale and tried to give it a wormy look, a slight reddish was under the eyes, etc. The Grima character in the movies was, for me, one of the better adaptations from Tolkien's work.

As always, C&C more than welcome.



  1. Absolutely beautiful blending!!Small or larger scale your results are excellent.


  2. Fantastic blog, keep going on!

  3. Amazing result. I totally agree with your comments on hair and faces. There could be more life in the skin. The hair of Saruman has to much contrast. But Saruman´s coat is marveless. It´s perfect. For me both Grima an Saruman were excellent interpretations of the book. Saruman got a coat which was produced with old or old looking fabric, considering that Saruman wore that clothing for ages. So your colour choice is perfect. Embroidery was used on the original costume, but I have no idea how to paint such like things on that model without changing Saruman in a bride. Grima´s black clothing is perfect. I have seen some models painted with shades of purple or green in the Clothing, which also looked very interesting. I just ordered some P3 paints because of this post. Thanks!

  4. It must be a matter of taste because I think the face looks perfect. The only flaw I can find is like you said, the hair could possibly use a glaze to soften the contrast but really these figures are beautifully painted.

  5. Could I ask what colour you used to basecoat/spray Saruman first please? Beautiful work.

    1. Long time past, but probably a black undercoat; Humbrol enamel no. 33 is what I used to use. If that's what you're asking?



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