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Painting Cave Trolls

Updated: May 9, 2021

After a quick trip home last weekend I managed to grab some of my old Lord of the Rings models. These were painted back when the films first came out in 2001 and I have improved a lot since then. So armed with new techniques and new paints I decided to repaint my old cave trolls and see if I could bring them up to my current standard.

It's worth noting that I didn't strip the original paint or fix any of the bad gluing I did back then so you might notice the arms don't quite line up and there is some gapping but I still think the end result was pretty good despite this.


I used the following paints and products.

  • Formula P3 Gravedigger Denim

  • Formula P3 Jack Bone

  • Formula P3 Menoth White Highlight

  • Formula P3 Menoth White

  • Formula P3 Borgin Brown

  • Formula P3 Hammerfall Khaki

  • Formula P3 Radiant Platinum

  • Formula P3 Morrow White

  • Formula P3 Thamar Black

  • Citadel Contrast Volopus Pink

  • Citadel Contrast Space Wolves Grey

  • Citadel Contrast Skeleton Horde

  • Citadel Contrast Gore Grunta Fur

  • Citadel Contrast Basiculum Grey

  • Citadel Contrast Medium

  • Citadel Runefang Steel

  • Citadel Auric Armour Gold

  • Forgeworld Pigments Dry Mud

  • Forgeworld Pigments Aged Rust

  • Forgeworld Pigments Light Rust

As always I list the paints I used for completeness feel free to substitute colours and products with your own preferred manufacturer.


To begin I painted the front of the model with P3 Jack Bone and the back with P3 Gravedigger Denim. At this stage I'm working with my large drybrush and I am aiming to get paint into all the recesses.

Next I am going to work on the seam between the underbelly and the darker skin. Again I'm working quickly using a large drybrush and not really cleaning the brush between coats. I start by applying more Jack Bone to my brush, and then wiping off most off the paint until I can see the brush is only leaving a very light coat. At that point I apply it to the model brushing horizontally across the join the between the two colours.

As I work I add more Jack Bone to the brush but always making sure to only apply a very thin coat. If I brush too far into the blue I'll correct that by adding some more Gravedigger Denim to the brush. Eventually I have a seamless blend.

At this stage I wash my brush, I want the brush to supple. Again I start by adding a light brushing of Jack Bone but this time I start to lighten it with P3 Menoth White Highlight. Here I'm mainly attempting to hit the breasts, the belly, the face and the feet. If the brush begins to feel sticky as I work I wash it and dry it before apply the next layer.

Finally I start to add a layer that is pure Menoth White Highlight. Again this is a really thin coat applied with many many strokes and aiming to hit the highest points leaving the colour we have established in the recesses.

Next I start work on the blue. Adding some white to the Gravedigger Denim I hit the back, shoulders, knees and forearms with a light drybrushing to bring out the detail but leaving the darker colour in the recesses.

Adding some more white to the mix I then try to hit just the upper edges of the model to act as a highlight.

Next I mixed up some Jack Bone and Menoth White Highlight and switched to my detail brush. Here I'm adding some highlights to the face and a few around the breasts, nipples and belly button.

I followed that up with more highlights using just Menoth White Highlight focusing on the lips and eyelids. I also used some Skeleton Horde Contrast to shade the eyes, the area under the breasts and the belly button.

Finally it is time to finish the details of the face. I applied Volopus Pink to the mouth and then after it had dried picked out the teeth in Menoth White Hightlight. The eyes were done with with white and the pupils picked out in black. Then, using my pointed clay shaper as a brush I added some stippled dots to the top of the head in pure Gravedigger Denim and then Menoth White Highlight.

Next I added in the nails on the hands and feet. The base colour is P3 Borgin Brown, then I added thin lines in Menoth White and then highlighted with Menoth White Highlight.

Using P3 Hammerfall Khaki I base coated the loin cloth, while with P3 Radiant Platinum I picked out the collar, chain and hammer.

I washed the loin cloth with Arggos Dunes Contrast and later would pick out the straps with some Menoth White Highlight. The chain and collar were washed with Basiculum Grey Contrast. The chain was then highlighted with Runefang Steel.

Next I applied Space Wolves Grey contrast to the back, legs and forearms of the mini, using Contrast Medium to thin the paint out as it reached the lighter areas of the skin giving a nice blend.

Finally I finished the hammer by adding Gore Grunta fur to the handle and picking out the studs in Auric Armour Gold. The hammer was then hit with some weathering powders, a little dry mud, followed by aged rust and light rust before being drybrushed again with silver.

And that's it. The whole paint job took just over an hour to finish and is a vast improvement on my first attempt 19 years earlier.

From this...
To This...

Until next time, keep on painting...

The Duke


With around 2000 Lord of the Rings miniatures in his collection the Duke is worried he might have bitten off more than he can chew by starting to repaint them!

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