Wednesday, 23 January 2013

Tutorial: How to paint Balin the Dwarf from the Hobbit

The ninth tutorial in this series,  Balin is one of the simpler Dwarves to paint. His garments are just different shades of red. Read on to discover how I painted this miniature in 18 steps. 
This tutorial assumes you have a basic understanding of how to paint. For the beginners, I will explain the techniques as I go along. Each picture below shows four chronological steps. Underneath each picture are the corresponding instructions. Each step shows the paint I used during that step. It's good to have reference material close to hand to check colours. I used google images for film stills and Games Workshop's 360º pictures on their website were a great help. 

Paints you will need for this tutorial:
Black Undercoat (technical)
Cadian Fleshtone (layer)
Bloodletter (glaze)
Rhinox Hide (base)
Kislev Flesh (layer)
Administratum Grey (layer)
Pallid Wych Flesh (layer)
Dawnstone (layer)
Mournfang Brown (base)
XV-88 (base)
Doombull Brown (base)
Khorne Red (base)
Abaddon Black (black)
Wazdakka Red (layer)
Ceramite Red (base)
Carroburg Crimson (shade)
Ironbreaker (layer)
Stirland Mud (texture)

In case you need to expand your paint collection, head over to Wayland Games or Slave to Painting, which both stock a huge selection of paints at competitive prices.

1. Undercoat the model. The details are small, so I hand undercoated the model (rather then use a spray) with Imperial Primer.
2. I painted the face and fingers with Cadian Fleshtone. I painted around the beard. 
3. I changed the hue of the skin using Bloodletter glaze. Dwarves are a little more red in complexion then humans.
4. I watered down Rhinox Hide heavily and then shaded around the eyes, nose, inbetween the fingers and around the face. 

5. I highlight the face with Kislev Flesh. Also if you're feeling brave, this is the opportunity to paint the eyes with a thin black line and two white dots. I tend to pluck up the courage and do it when the model is virtually finished though. 
6. Paint the beard and hair with Administratum Grey. 
7. Highlight the beard and hair with Pallid Wych Flesh. I find painting the raised areas carefully more accurate then dry brushing. It requires patience, practice and a steady hand, but when the set costs as much as it does, why wouldn't you want to take a bit of extra care and attention to get it right?
8. I heavily water down Dawnstone and paint the mix into the recesses of the beard and hair to give it a bit of extra depth. Don't wash it all over because it will dull the white highlights down.

9. Paint Balin's boots Mournfang Brown. 
10. Highlight his boots with some XV-88.
11. Balin's overcoat should be painted with Doombull brown. 
12. Now the tricky bit. Breaking down all the different reds. Using Khorne Red highlight the overcoat you paint in the previous stage but make sure you leave the material on the collar and across the shoulders as Doombull Brown. Paint his tunic including the sleeves with Khorne Red but leave the trim black. Now edge the trim with Khorne Red with thin lines. 

13. Water down Abaddon Black a lot and then lightly paint it into the recesses of the overcoat. This is delicately shading the creases. 
14. Highlight  just the tunic and sleeves with Wazdakka Red.
15. Mix three parts Ceramite White with one part Khorne Red and then paint thin highlight lines on the overcoat. Use this mix to also pick out the raised detail on the collar/shoulder material.
16. To tweek the hue of the overcoat wash it with Carroburg Crimson. Just do the overcoat. Leave the tunic and sleeves as they are. You should see the different shades of red clearly now.

17. Paint Balin's Sword-mace with Ironbreaker.
18. Water down Abaddon Black to a consistency where you can paint thin lines on your mixing palette, then paint the cross pattern on the tunic and sleeves. Also carefully paint the pattern on the cuffs. 

Finally base the model in a way which fits in with your collection. I used Stirland Mud texture paint highlighted with Karak Stone and the base edge was painted with XV-88. Static grass and scrub were glued on in small clumps.

For more Hobbit tutorials check out my BilboGandalfThorinGloin, BomburOri, Dwalin and Goblin tutorials. If you found this tutorial useful, let me know in the comments. 

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  1. Amazing, this is one of my favorite dwarves and this tutorial made it justice.

  2. i really like the red/purple cloak. and very useful tutorial as always :)


  3. I really wasn't thinking of buying the Hobbit set, but I think I will now, just to try out your tutorials and prove that they are useful (though I personally have no doubt about that). I think my piggy bank is going to need some bandages soon...

    Anyway, thanks ever so much for taking the time to paint these models and break down the whole process into simple steps!



  4. I need moar time to paint all these dwarfs! Thanks for the tutorials!
    We really appreciate all the effort, Garfy =)

  5. good job. Man, I hate eyes. I HATE EYES! =)

  6. @ Miguel - Thanks buddy. Ah it's interesting he's your favourite. I'm not sure what my favourite dwarf is. Maybe Bombur.

    @ Korhain - Thanks man, I'm pleased with how the cloak came out as well. I thought I was being clever missing out some steps by painting the tunic and cloak the same base colour, then highlighting them up differently and finally washing the cloak with Carrouburg Crimson to change the hue completely. Worked a treat.

    @Grimklaw - If you haven't already then read the Tale of Painter's review on the Hobbit box set.
    When you think the Fellowship of the Ring sprue of characters is now £30 to buy on its own it makes this box set really good value. You're effectively getting £30 character sprue sprues of goblins totalling £40, the scenery which is £35 (ok you don't get a raised platform in the boxed set that comes with the separate scenery set but you do get the throne and scribe). If that's not enough you get a Goblin King (£15 to £20 in fincast maybe) a captain (£10 finecast equivalent) and Grinnah (£10 - £12 finecast equivalent). So for £75 you are getting an awful lot of hobby.

    @Strait - You're welcome dude.

    @Michal - The eyes are a nightmare. The Hobbit scale models are smaller then 40k or fantasy so the eyes are even more difficult. Anyone who can paint the eyes in this set gets my respect.

  7. Great tutorial, always useful to find new (and better) ways of painting red themed figures.


  8. Found this via a search and i just want to say, these tutorials are amazing. Running Balin and I had no idea where to start. Keep up the great work!