Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Painting Nazgul and the Effects of the Black Breath

I am usually rather lucky in the fact that I rarely get sick.  The plague could be ravishing my neighborhood but somehow I would avoid the mess and go about my business.  Well, it seems that it's time to pay the piper.  The flu (or is it the Black Breath?) has taken its toll on me and wiped me out for over a week and dramatically reduced my hobby time.  Although I was out of work for a few days and suddenly found myself with extra free time, I rarely felt like sitting at the hobby desk and instead spent most of my time on the couch.  As a result, my plan to finish November with a high miniature output was completely dashed.

However, in between the fevers and coughs, I was able to work on a few things.  Two pirates and two fantasy miniatures received some of my limited attention but mostly I concentrated on finishing up a few GW Nazgul.

I've made mention before about my pathetically slow painting speed and the mountain of lead that I have waiting for me.  That I have just finished these guys is a perfect illustration and example of those facts.  I purchased the minis in late 2001 or early 2002 when GW was just starting to turn out LOTR figures.  That means that it has taken me ONLY ten years to complete five of the nine Nazgul.  How's that for speed?

Anyway, they were obviously simple to paint and that's exactly what I needed since I wasn't feeling well at all.  The only semi-difficult aspect was trying to give the swords a cold magical glow.  I wanted them to look as if they exuded some inner sorcery instead of plain steel.  To accomplish this, I applied several washes of blue and green along the blades and only highlighted the extreme edges with a mid-silver.  Though the photos do not really depict the effect very well, I am quite pleased with the outcome.

Since I was bored from sleeping so much, when I was taking the photos I tried to play around a bit and get creative.  I experimented with long shudder speeds and alternate focus points to try to give the photos a fuzzy/blurry quality, as if the Nazgul were not really completely in this world.  Well, some of it worked and some....not so much.  But it was fun and provided a little entertainment.  Next time I think I will just stick with photoshop though.

Not a scene I would want to be facing on a dark night......

One final thought on the Nazgul.  I typically name most of my miniatures for ease of tracking in games (except large rank and file minis which I simply number).  Plus, to me, it gives each individual miniature a bit of personality and separates them from the mass of lead on the shelf or table.  Since only two Nazgul were given names by Tolkien (The Witch-King and Khamul the Easterling) I wonder what other gamers use to distinguish the other seven.  There are several options out there that have proliferated on the web over the years such as the names used by Iron Crown Enterprises in MERP (Murazor, Akhorahil, etc..) or those used by Decipher in their collectible card game (Ularie Nelya, Ularie Cantea, etc..).  Some time back, GW also invented identifiers (The Dark Marshal, The Shadow Lord, etc..) but some of the names seem boring, except for The Dwimmerlaik, which I very much like.  I guess a fourth option would be to simply number them which is essentially what Decipher did except that they based their numbers off of the Quenya system.  So what do you use for the Nazgul?  Do use one of the methods above or some other system? you bother to do so at all?

For gaming purposes (and since I'm feeling a little better and actually have a bit of energy tonight), I'll leave you with a list of possible names for the Nazgul.....keeping in mind Tolkien only mentioned two of them by name.

1.  The Witch-King of Angmar   aka Er Murazor
2.  Khamul the Easterling
3.  Dwar of Waw
4.  Ji Indur Dawndeath
5.  Akhorahil
6.  Hoarmurath of Dir
7.  Adunaphel the Quiet (female)
8.  Ren the Unclean
9.  Uvatha the Horseman

1.  The Witch-King of Angmar
2.  Khamul   aka Ularie Attea
3.  Ularie Nelya
4.  Ularie Cantea
5.  Ularie Lemenya
6.  Ularie Enquea
7.  Ularie Ostea
8.  Ularie Toldea
9.  Ularie Nertea

Games Workshop
1. The Witch-King of Angmar
2.  Khamul the Easterling
3.  The Dark Marshal
4.  The Shadow Lord
5.  The Undying
6.  The Tainted
7.  The Betrayer
8.  The Knight of Umbar
9.  The Dwimmerlaik


  1. Nice job, and better late than never... ;-)

  2. Nice minis! I've owned MY Nazgul for just as long...and they are less painted than yours, so don't beat yourself up too much.

    Even though I learned all my Lord of the Rings lore and appreciation through years of playing MERP, I have to say I'm most impressed with the names Games Workshop came up with over the other two lists you included on your post; I dunno....the GW names are specific enough, yet mysterious enough to feel lend the feeling of authenticity--like those are the names Sauron's minions refer to them as and less like MERP or Decipher's decision to include the "legal names" (if you will, of the Ringwraiths.

  3. Nice job! If that makes you feel better, I haven't paint mine yet! So thank you for the inspiration!

  4. @Imaginary Wars - Funny you should mention your preference for GW, but after writing the post, some of the GW names started to grow on me. And although MERP had a major influence on me growing up, I like their names the least of the three. Thanks for reading!

    @Elhion - Better get started soon or you'll have a bunch of miniatures from The Hobbit to paint in addition to your backlog of LotR minis. And speaking of inspiration, after seeing your Fellowship post, now I'm thinking about finally finishing that long overdue project! Thanks.....