Lord of the Rings: Balrog

18 Feb

Reading the topic for the last theme round on the Analogue hobbies Painting Challenge I had many ideas going through my mind. From flamethrower tanks, men sitting around a camp fire. In the end I decided to do a French Napoleonic field forge. But as they say… no plan survives contact with the enemy. In this case the enemy was life. I had to prepare a number of minis for a tournament in Hamburg the previous weekend and by spontaneous decision my better half decided we should visit her family the week before the deadline. So this left me a mere two days to paint my entry. Not enough time to paint more than 10 men, two horses and number of carts for this vignette. So something else had to be found. Looking Moria deep under my lead pile I found the first version of Games Workshops Balrog from the Lord of the Rings range and honestly… what can be hotter than a Balrog? (Yes I know… naked ladies! ;-)) So in the words of Tolkien himself:

“The Balrog reached the bridge. Gandalf stood in the middle of the span, leaning on the staff in his left hand, but in his other hand Glamdring gleamed, cold and white. His enemy halted again, facing him, and the shadow about it reached out like two vast wings. It raised the whip, and the thongs whined and cracked. Fire came from its nostrils. But Gandalf stood firm.

‘You cannot pass,’ he said. The orcs stood still, and a dead silence fell. ‘I am a servant of the Secret Fire, wielder of the flame of Anor. You cannot pass. The dark fire will not avail you, flame of Udûn. Go back to the Shadow! You cannot pass.’



The Balrog made no answer. The fire in it seemed to die, but the darkness grew. It stepped forward slowly onto the bridge, and suddenly it drew itself up to a great height, and its wings were spread from wall to wall; but still Gandalf could be seen, glimmering in the gloom; he seemed small, and altogether alone: grey and bent, like a wizened tree before the onset of a storm.

From out of the shadow a red sword leaped flaming.



Glamdring glittered white in answer.

There was a ringing clash and a stab of white fire. The Balrog fell back and its sword flew up in molten fragments. The wizard swayed on the bridge, stepped back a pace, and then again stood still.

‘You cannot pass!’ he said.



With a bound the Balrog leaped full upon the bridge. Its whip whirled and hissed.

‘He cannot stand alone!’ cried Aragorn suddenly and ran back along the bridge. ‘Elendil!’ he shouted. ‘I am with you, Gandalf!’



‘Gondor!’ cried Boromir and leaped after him.

At that moment Gandalf lifted his staff, and crying aloud he smote the bridge before him. The staff broke asunder and fell from his hand. A blinding sheet of white flame sprang up. The bridge cracked. Right at the Balrog’s feet it broke, and the stone upon which it stood crashed into the gulf, while the rest remained, poised, quivering like a tongue of rock thrust out into emptiness.



With a terrible cry the Balrog fell forward, and its shadow plunged down and vanished. But even as it fell it swung its whip, and the thongs lashed and curled about the wizard’s knees, dragging him to the brink. He staggered and fell, grasped vainly at the stone, and slid into the abyss. ‘Fly, you fools!’ he cried, and was gone.”

And it seems I was no fool and it was a wise decision to make, for it nailed me a shared second place in the theme round (second time this happened to me, the first being my Michel Ney entry. Not bad for two days work!

Anyway, it was one lovely mini to work on in the first place. I especially loved the wings, which are structured in a way, that you can actually give them an intense heat sheen through the black!

Unfortunately, the last two weeks have been so busy again, that i hardly found the time to work on the next theme round entry, which will have to start today. Why can I simply not follow my own timetable! 😦


18 responses to “Lord of the Rings: Balrog

  1. Michael Awdry

    February 18, 2015 at 19:00

    Oh well done, this was a triumph Sir!

    • Burkhard

      February 18, 2015 at 19:36

      Thank you Micheal! Although I feel slightly embarrassed for having put you in third place… I felt your entry was better than mine!

  2. aslfan

    February 18, 2015 at 21:35

    Remains one of my favourite pieces from the whole challenge, the work on the flames is excellent


    • Burkhard

      February 19, 2015 at 11:25

      Thank you! I was quite surprised it went down so well, since it is particularly hard to photograph and I thought the shots were no good.

  3. Tom Halpin

    February 18, 2015 at 22:25

    Well done 🙂 Beautifully painted figure, my friend, but Balrogs did/do NOT have wings!!!

    • Burkhard

      February 19, 2015 at 11:26

      Lol, well i can only work with the canvas Peter Jackson / Weta / Games Workshop have given me! 😛

  4. Carlo

    February 18, 2015 at 23:49

    Very nice work Burkhard.

  5. von Peter himself

    February 19, 2015 at 00:40

    Lovely work Burkhard. One would be tempted to say that the result is very hot … but you’ve already done that line!

    I’ve always wondered about the big wings on the Balrog … and how it plummets when the bridge is removed from under its feet. Obviously while looking impressive the wings on a Balrog are about as useful as the wings on a Kiwi! 8O)

    von Peter himself

    • Burkhard

      February 19, 2015 at 11:34

      Thanks vP!

      I have to admit, the lack of usefulness of the wings (in addition to what Tom already said) never really dawned on me. At times we just miss the plain obvious!

      That is to say… at least GW got a lot of milage out of these wings. They used the exactly same ones on all Fellbeasts and I think on the Balrog they did later as well. Which might explain why they are of little use to the Balrog… they were simply designed for a much smaller creature! 😉

      • vonpeterhimself

        February 19, 2015 at 11:39

        Ah the mystery (re the uselessness of the Balrogs rather Impressive looking wings) is solved. It’s all the Evil Empires fault.

        Very insightful Burkhard. Thank you. 😃

        von Peter himself

        • Burkhard

          February 19, 2015 at 11:52

          Oh yes, if only Tolkien had taken GW into account, he would have written an errata explaining, that a Balrog was never meant to be outfitted with Fellbeast wings! 😀

  6. Nysse

    February 19, 2015 at 15:10

    Nice work! The flame effect on the crevases of his skin looks great!

    • Burkhard

      February 23, 2015 at 15:54

      Thanks! This was something I really loved about this model!

  7. roemersworkshop

    February 20, 2015 at 09:54

    Love the burning embers inside the skin… very well done.

    I think I should get one for my display case but I’m being naughty and not finishing my other projects…

    • Burkhard

      February 23, 2015 at 15:57

      Thank you! As I said before… this is something I really loved about this model!

      Honestly… when has something like that ever kept a warmer from buying new stuff! 😉 Mine went into the showcase straight away, too!

  8. Monty

    February 21, 2015 at 15:32

    I love your flame and fire effects here, Burkhard! This is a superb beast. Now, who’s going to take him down?

    • Burkhard

      February 23, 2015 at 15:58

      THX Monty! I have to admit though… I painted the Gandalf that came with the set about a decade ago… so there is someone to talk him down already! 😀


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