Sunday, February 26, 2012

LotR SBG Great Eagle

Well, ages ago I said I'd like to get something with some "height" for my dwarven army. I got a good ebay metal great eagle last year (actually, it may have been the year before).

It was a complete expletive to put together, and so it sat on my desk until now. Over the last few months I've done a bit of work here and a bit there to get it put together. Even when it was finally assembled it would break so easily due to the pose and the heaviness of the metal. Still, here's hoping it's together for good now, I still handle it very gingerly!

Here it is, based and sprayed black. The base has extra greenstuff on the far side to raise it on the back and help counterbalance the miniature. The base itself has lots of metal scraps and bits to try and weight it. As you can see, the pose is very high and dramatic, but you can imagine the pain in getting it together when it's all attached from one point down the bottom!

To paint it I first did a google search for "eagle" then "australian eagle" to get an idea of colours etc. I decided to go for a fairly plain brown banded look, with a little red colouring as well. Here he is with the solid colours blocked in. I took this photo after three layers of paint. In hindsight, the base coat of black was silly given the lightness of the browns (apart from Scorched Brown). 

The darkest is Scorched Brown, then Bestial Brown, Vermin Brown and Snakebite Leather, with Bleached Bone on the wingtips. 

As you all know by now, I try to get the best I can without having to mix paints, straight from the bottle. I do water my paints down, and on this model it was especially important because I still wanted to see the feather details. Of course, Vermin Brown is quite red and Snakebite Leather quite yellow, so I wasn't very happy. My original plan was to just highlight each layer with the layer below it, but I didn't think that would work now, given the red and yellow tones.

Here we are after a couple of highlights. I've highlighted the Scorched Brown with bits of the other browns. The Bestial Brown is highlighted with the Snakebite Leather. The Vermin Brown is highlighted with some Red Gore and a tiny bit of actual Red. The Snakebite Leather is highlighted with Bleached Bone and the Bleached Bone is highlighted with White.

I should also mention the Desert Yellow for the beak and feet.

It was still looking nowhere near what I wanted at this stage and I should know by now not to judge until after the washing is done, but I still panic at this stage. So next I gave it a really good wash with Devlan Mud, pretty much all over. Oh, and before I did that I picked out some random feathers in lighter colours, hard to see in the photo.

After that broad wash I went back with a small (10) brush and just washed the ridges between feathers to help delineate each feather. I also gave the beak a little drybrushing and washing to give it some extra look. On lots of the eagle pictures the beak went from yellow to white to black near the tip, so I tried to duplicate that. I also washed black under the eye and highlighted around the eye and the feathertips.

None of these pictures quite capture the colouring, I'm afraid, I think because it's relatively subtle compared to my usual turquoise and purple! I'm pretty happy with it, though, it's certainly not a brilliant job, but at the moment I think I was pretty good to get ANY painting done =)

Oh, and you know I'm a nut for story, so just how does a great eagle come into the company of dwarves?

As you know, Etako Ironfist and his clan live in the southern barren reaches of Harad. Some of their battles take them closer to the southern borders of Mordor and that is where they first met Barukshathur. The great eagle had been following The Betrayer when Etako met the evil Nazgul in battle. The eagle dove in to the fray, saving Etako from a Hasharin blade. Etako returned the save moments later by hurling himself bodily at The Betrayer just as he was hissing out a Black Dart to bring down the majestic eagle.

Since then they have been fast friends, Barukshathur often brings Etako news of where the Harad are massing, allowing the dwarf to meet the Harad armies, even with the slower travel speed of the dwarves. The directions from up high above the land allow them to take handy short cuts!

Barukshathur is the dwarven name for the eagle, who's eagle name is unpronounceable by the dwarves. It is translated to mean Axes of the Clouds, referring to the deadly beak and talons of the eagle.

Look later this week (or next) to see Barukshathur in action (all going well)!

In game terms I'll be using the stats for Gwaihir, there not being a lot out there in the way of eagle profiles. He's pretty expensive, 125 points (more than my dwarven heroes), but I could use a little speed. Of course, I'll have hardly any dwarves! I haven't got the rulebook yet, but I guess Gwaihir has to lead his own warband (of which I have none) and therefore to make the 700 points I have to have three undersized dwarven warbands.

Anyway, we'll see how it goes!


  1. Great work on the Eagle, fantastic colouration. Following your blog - feel free to follow mine at

  2. Great eagle, maybe if the red wasn't there but excellent painting :)

  3. Great paintjob. I really appreciate the drybrush and inking, they really make details stand out.

  4. I love that eagle, fantastically well painted, and its nice to see the Dwarves getting a little speed into the army (and hopefully revenge)

  5. wow great pose! but am i right in thinking the eagles have a bigger base size than the one on yours? i could be wrong as i've never seen one assembled but it might be something having a look into just in case.

  6. Thanks all =)
    @Hilbert - the red is really brown, it just looks red next to the darker browns. If you've got the same paints you can see what it would look like under "real" lighting. Just get some Vermin Brown then give a light drybrush of Red Gore then a really tiny edge drybrush of Red, then a really heavy wash of Devlan Mud.

    @Rob89 - I always stress about this painting method as it often looks horrible before the wash goes on! I don't know what I did before the washes!

    @Chris - I'm sure revenge has nothing to do with it (looks innocently about) but yeah, I'm hoping so too! Looking forward to having some speed =)

    @Bemokuj - I have NO IDEA what size base it's meant to be on, I assumed cavalry base, but if it's bigger that would be great for stability and easy to fix, I'd just glue the current base onto a bigger one then bulk up a bit with some rocks and stuff for even more stability! With no easy access to a store I don't know how best to find out what size base. Maybe I can find some pictures of the Eagles near other models somewhere to get a better idea.

    Hoping to get it into play on Thursday.

  7. Update, Typhoon2 on The Last Alliance website let me know that the base is meant to be the larger one! Woohoo! So I'll get to work on that and hopefully make it much more stable!

  8. Came out great! I love the colours, and the face/beak especially!