How to Paint the MESBG Palantir of Orthanc (Easy Black Stone!) | The Gallant Goblin

How to Paint the MESBG Palantir of Orthanc (Easy Black Stone!)

by | Sep 4, 2023 | Blog, Painting Guides | 0 comments

Hey all! Just a quick tutorial today, on a fun little side piece from the Saruman the White + Grima Wormtongue MESBG minis set from Games Workshop. I’ve taken quite a few months off hobbying recently, due to life getting in the way. As such, I was a bit worried that I’d be a bit rusty and decided to paint some knickknacks I have lying around as a way of getting my skills back up to par. This is one such example, and correspondingly the paint scheme is quite loose as I came up with it on the fly. It might not win any awards, but I’m fairly happy with how this mini turned out, considering how long I’ve been off for.

Since this is a new start for LPP I’m gonna try out a more casual and slightly more detailed style of tutorial-writing, describing what I did to paint this with a few tips thrown in, as opposed to the step by step, very regimented style I normally do. Let me know if you like this better in the comments, or join our Discord server ( and let me know there! (I don’t even try to transition into these Discord plugs anymore, do I).

Anyhow, enjoy the tutorial!

Part One: How to Paint the Black Stone.

Note: I tried multiple different variations of this scheme on the stone before settling on this one, so the detail may not be as crisp as it could be in the photos due to many coats of paint. It’s nothing major, just know that your model is probably gonna look better than mine!

I started off by priming the model black, and then laying in a quick basecoat of Abbadon Black (any pure black will do). Make sure it’s fairly thinned, so it can sink into all the little nooks and crannies of the stone.

Next, I started to build up the texture of the stone by picking out all the little bumps and texture of the stone with Dark Reaper. I was quite rough with this, by dotting and stippling this on as opposed to trying to pick out each minute bump and chip of rock, especially on the smoother areas. This was kept to the raised areas and flatter of the sculpt only, be sure not to go into the deepest recesses of the pedestal. Also, apply this as a wide edge highlight to all the edges of the model.

With the texture established I started building up the highlights, starting with an edge highlight of a roughly 3:1 mix of Dark Reaper and Russ Grey on all the edges. This isn’t a fine highlight, but not a thick one either. Make sure to catch all the edges, there’s a lot of them! (Note: You should probably apply this as a rougher, almost stippled edge highlight to accent the texture of the stone. I only did this as a smooth highlight due to the fact this model was just a fun way of getting my painting techniques back up to par to me, and I was more focused on trying out every technique then making the model look good).

With the highlights in place, I continued building on them with a fine edge highlight of a 2:1 mix of Russ Grey and Dark Reaper. Just hit the most prominent edges, such as the rings of spiky whatevertheyares, and the shield-shapes at the top of the pedestal. Apply it as a dot highlight only on the lower, deeper parts.

Finally, I finished off the model with a dot highlight of pure Russ Grey on all the most prominent edges. Be sparing with this!

All in all, I’m pretty happy with this final recipe I came up with for the stone, and I’ll definitely use it again in the future. I should mention, I actually did an extra step I didn’t include, which was simply the first step but with an even darker mix of Dark Reaper + Black, which barely even showed up and probably only lessened the contrast of the included first step. Don’t do this!

Part Two: How to Paint the Palantir and the Eye of Sauron.

The Palantir is pretty simple to paint. I applied a quick basecoat of Black to the Palantir, then stippled on some thin, circling wisps of smoke with some Dawnstone.

The Eye of Sauron was the fun part of this model, for me. I had no clue whether I’d still have the brush control and skill to pull it off, but figured I’d have to find out at some point anyway. So, I gave it a shot!

I started off by stippling in a circle, followed by the cat’s eye pupil shape within it with Dawnstone to form the basis of the shape of the Eye. I then went over this initial shape again with White, this time making it even thinner. I also drew a few horizontal slashing lines on the edges to mimic flame.

I then went over the white/Dawnstone circles with some thinned Trollslayer Orange, then did the same for the black ring in between them as well as the outer edges with Mephiston Red. I made sure this was quite thin, and roughly applied in almost a stippling motion. After that, I quickly dotted on some more white very sparingly over the orange, then went over this with thinned Vallejo Golden Yellow. Make sure to still leave some of the orange showing through!

I finished the Eye off by easing the transition between the outer red ring to the black of the Palantir by cutting back into it with some heavy thinned Black. I also stippled some orange and red onto the surface of the pedestal in front of the eye for a simple OSL effect, then went over it with a thin coat of the thinned black from earlier to time it down and make it look more like a reflection.

And that’s how I painted cool little addition to the Saruman model set! I managed to go over a few good techniques to break myself back in, and I’m very surprised that I was even still capable of pulling stuff like the Eye off. Hope this comes in useful for anyone looking to paint some cool black stone, or maybe a fiery eye! I’ll be back with some full length tutorials on some really cool minis soon. It’s great to be back!

<a href="" target="_self">Kaiden Sabbadin</a>

Kaiden Sabbadin


Writer & Community Manager of the Gallant Goblin, leader of Lazy Paint Productions, and generally a fan of anything D&D, Warhammer, and miniature painting.


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