Hey everyone, welcome to Lazy Paint Productions. Today I’m writing a guide I’ve wanted to make for as long as I’ve played the Middle-Earth Strategy Battle Game: How to paint the Witch-King.
The Witch-King of Angmar is probably my favourite villain of all time. Anyone who knows Lord of the Rings knows how cool he is, and he just keeps getting cooler the more you read about him in Tolkien’s extended media. And his MESBG mini is a knockout, especially the one on horseback; it’s so evocative and simple stunning, it’s one of my favourite MESBG minis. Since I doubt anyone wants to learn how to paint a boring brown horse, I’m gonna cover how I painted the model on foot. This guide will work for any other Ringwraiths (Nazgûl) you have too, btw. Let’s jump in, I’m gonna be using only Citadel paints so get a conversion chart if you don’t have them, as I’m too lazy to do all that myself.
Start off by priming the mini black. I used a paint-on black primer by Vallejo cause I’m stuck in a Northern Canadian blizzard coming straight out of Santa’s backyard that makes spray priming unavailable, but a spray primer is better.
1: THE ROBES.
The straight up biggest feature on any Nazgûl model is their iconic black robes, and the Witch King is no exception. I’m going for a worn, tattered, dirty, aged black for these robes as it feels suitable for these undead Grim Reapers.
1. Start off by basecoating all the robes with Abaddon Black (or any pure black you prefer). Thin your paint, use a large brush and be messy with this, just make sure to cover all the robes.
2. With the basecoat established, time to start building up the highlights. We’re gonna be using drybrushing for this, to get that dusty, ragged feel to the robes. Start off by giving all the robes a heavy drybrush of Skavenblight Dinge. This will be the foundation for our midtone, so be fairly heavy and make sure you get all the raised and flat areas. Use a big drybrush to get this done quickly.
3. Follow this up with a lighter drybrush of Stormvermin Fur, to get a nice highlight appearing on the raised areas.
4. At this point, the robes are gonna be looking kind of grey. Time to use the secret ingredient to knock them back and get that aged black look: Nuln Oil. Slap a good coat of this all over the robes, using a big fat brush to apply a generous amount. Make sure it doesn’t form massive pools at the bottom of the mini, though.
Once that Nuln Oil is dry, it’ll have knocked back those highlights and made the robes look black again. However, it will have lowered the contrast a bit, so we’re gonna fix that in the next steps.
5. As Nuln Oil is a slightly off-black, not a pure black, it’ll have made those Abaddon Black shadows a bit lighter. So, the first thing we’re gonna do is darken those shadows even more and make the robes look even blacker. Take some Abaddon Black and dilute it with a lot of water so that it’s quite thin and inky, almost like one of the thicker Contrast paints. Paint this into the shadows and recesses of the robes with a small detail brush, being careful just to keep it in those shadows. The natural folds of the robes make this actually quite easy.
6. Next, it’s time to add a nice edge highlight to finish off the robes. We’re gonna return to Stormvermin Fur for those, but this time we’re gonna use a detail brush to apply an edge highlight with it, on all the peaks and edges of the cloth. Instead of doing the typical solid fine lines, make these edge highlights ragged by almost stippling with your brush as you’re doing them. Don’t forget to thin your paint, and make sure the highlights are still thin and fine, however. This will really sell that ragged effect. If you want your highlights to be a bit brighter, do a second pass to brighten them up.
7. Finally, do a dot highlight on the sharp corners and ends of the cloth with some thinned Dawnstone just to add an extra punch to those robes.
And there we go, that’s the robes completed. Remember, the big key to selling the ragged robe look is with those ragged edge highlights, so take your time and make sure they look good. If they’re thick and fat, the ragged edge edge effect won’t sell.
2: THE METAL.
The second biggest (only) other part of the Witch King and his Nazgûl is their dark, old, evil-looking spiked armour. Fortunately, it’s fairly easy to get it looking good once you know how, and that’s what I’m here for. I use this recipe for virtually all armoured undead like death knights, Wights, vampires, etc.
1. Start off by basecoating all the metal (armour, crown, mace, and sword) with Leadbelcher (or any dark silver). Use a size 1 and/or a size 0 brush for this to make sure you don’t get it on the robes.
2. Apply a coat of Agrax Earthshade wash all over the metal. Apply this a bit more thinly then you normally do with a wash, as we don’t want to shade the metal, just tint it to get that rusty aged look.
3. Then apply a coat of Nuln Oil, just as you’d normally do with a wash. This will give it that shading and darken down the metal, and over the brownish Agrax tint it’ll produce a nice dark, aged, evil looking metal.
4. Once that wash is dry, highlight the metal with Leadbelcher. Pick out all the raised areas such as the designs on the armour, spikes, and edges, and use a fine detail brush for this. You can just do a heavy(ish) drybrush on the mace and sword to make it easier.
5. Finally, apply an edge highlight of Stormhost Silver to the edges of the armour and crown, tips of the spikes, etc. Be sparing with this, you don’t want your metal to end up to bright. Just reserve it for the sharpest and highest edges. Pick out the belt buckles right now too.
And that’s the metal done. The Agrax and Nuln Oil combo is what really gets that dark, aged, slightly rusty look. Never underestimate the power of washes!
3: FINAL DETAILS.
This is just the final steps to finish off the Witch King.
1. The belt. Start off by basecoating it with Dryad Bark. Use a fine detail brush, thin your paint, and make sure not to hit the finished robes. Next, apply a wash of Nuln Oil to add some definition and darken it down. Lastly, make a 50/50 mix of Stormvermin Fur and Gorthor Brown to get a greyish off-brown and do a fine edge highlight of this on the belt. Try to get that ragged look again, to make the leather look worn.
2. Next, drop some of that thin Abaddon Black mix for the shadows from earlier into the face-hole and eyes in the helmet to make them really black, as you’ve probably got some washes in it by now.
3. Lastly, do a light drybrush of Steel Legion Drab around the bottom edge of the robes to get a nice easy dirty weathered look.
And that is the entire Witch King finished. It’s a fairly high level paint job, so you can just leave the robes after step 4 and drybrush the metal (with a really small drybrush to not get it on the robes) if you’re not confident enough to do all the edge highlights and detail work. That being said, this is actually one of the easiest and most forgiving minis to try these more advanced techniques on, so I encourage you to give it a shot. I hope you found this useful, like, comment, join the LPP Discord (link: https://discord.gg/jZVegD3fUR), and I’ll (hopefully) be back with some more content soon.