I’m very fond of GW’s Lord of the Rings range. The films made a big impression on me and the sculpts (I think they’re mostly the work of the Perry twins) really capture the mood and the aesthetic. Result: a very inspired and motivated painter!
I’m much less keen on the Hobbit however. I read the book as a kid and didn’t particularly like it, and predictably the films weren’t a patch on the LotR trilogy. So I was less enthusiastic about the minis to begin with (even though there are still some lovely sculpts), and it wasn’t helped by them coinciding with the finecast era! Fortunately there are a few plastics available, so when I was looking for something to paint up as a result of a late decision to go to Warhammer Fest I decided to give Legolas a go.
I’ll hold my hands up here and say that I was so keen to get painting that I didn’t really think much about colours. I had a vague idea that I wanted his robe to be dark red and fancied doing the armour in gold, but beyond that nothing was planned. This is a bad habit of mine that I’m trying to correct with future projects.
When painting LotR/Hobbit minis for competition the challenge is to do something to make yours stand out. Compared to the Warhammer ranges the minis are very small and have a lovely simplicity about them. I’ve had good results in the past with subtle little freehands and texturing and I decided to employ both here. (In case you’re wondering, the freehand on this piece are the little patterns I painted on the daggers – I told you they were subtle.)
I spent some time with a couple of reference pictures of Orlando Bloom trying to place the highlights and shades to capture the likeness. I don’t think I was wholly successful in this – but the face really is tiny so I was probably being a bit ambitious.
I went for NMM on this piece as I find metallics don’t have much impact when the details are so small.
One of the things I like about this scale is that the minis are small enough that I can indulge the inner perfectionist and make every blend as smooth as possible without it resulting in hundreds of hours of work. I think Legolas ended up being as close to flawless as anything I’ve achieved so far, and I was very pleased to take gold at Golden Demon.