The Fellowship entering Moria on the Quest of the Ringbearer has awaken something that would have best been left undisturbed and with them only two scenarios away from meeting it, it was time to paint one of my bucket isn't miniatures: the Balrog.
Sunday 3 September 2023
Shadow and Flame
The Balrog has always loomed large in my vision of fantasy. From reading the Bridge of Khazad-Dum chapter of The Fellowship of the Ring, through the lion-headed rendition in the animated film, spotting references to it in other fantasy works (Baalrukh, I'm looking at you), the Balrog has always typified what I imagine when they use the word 'demon'.
When Peter Jackson's movie arrived, one thing I've always felt he got spot on was the awesome appearance of the Balrog.
Which all combines to make the damn quite intimidating to paint.
This is not the first Balrog I've owned, I had the original metal model from the initial release of the game and never got round to painting it. Partly this was intimidation, but mainly it was because one half of the chunky metal body was warped and so it has a massive gap (and I mean massive, you could get a paintbrush handle in there) down the front when assembled. I filled the gap but it never looked right.
However, I wanted to get this right and so I took to YouTube to seek advice and found a handy video done by The Pickle Jar which really helped, and although he used an air brush, the approach he used was something I could imitate with what I had available.
The body was done simple with Black Templar contrast paint over a Grey Seer base. This was then drybrushed with Administration Grey.
The cracked skin was painted over with Khorne Red and then heavily drybrushed in stepped stages with Mephiston Red and Ryza Rust. I then picked out the scales with Abaddon Black.
The whip was painted Khorne Red and also drybrushed up with Mephiston Red and Ryza Rust, but then I went further with Averland Sunset and some White Scar at the high points before washing the whole thing with Cassandora Yellow.
The flames on the whip, back and base were painted White Scar, washed with Cassandora Yellow and the ends drybrushed with Ryza Rust.
I'm really quite happy with the fiery bits as I've never really been able to make flames look decent before.
Whilst I was being a bit messy with the drybrushing of the Ryza Rust on the back, I noticed a rather interesting effect happening on the horns. They looked a bit like the light from the flames was reflecting on them.
And so I began my first ever foray into trying OSL (object source lighting), simply by drybrushing Ryza Rust in areas that might catch the light of the flames, focusing on the back, the legs and the base.
I'm really pleased with how it turned out (it had the added bonus of binging out some of the detail on the feet that was getting lost) and I feel that I've added a new painting too to my toolbox that I can try in other projects.
I have only two minor gripes with how my Balrog has turned out. Firstly, it only appears in a single scenario of the Quest of the Ringbearer, and secondly I wish I hadn't taken so long to painting it.
I'm really proud of this one.
Lead Mountain: 469