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!