Classic Lord of the Rings Hobbits and Ringwraiths

It’s Christmas time, so enthusiasm for the ultimate Christmas films – The Lord the Rings Trilogy – has enveloped Ninjabread towers.  While binging on DVDs and mince pies, I’ve painted a breakfast (that must be the collective noun) of vintage Games Workshop Hobbits.

Citadel MERP Hobbits Lord of the Rings

Left to right: BME1 Pippin, Frodo, Sam and Merry.

These are the four Halflings from the BME1 Fellowship of the Ring boxed set.  They’re wonderfully characterful – Frodo with a troubled expression, gazing towards Mordor, rings of his Mithril shirt peeping out from under his sleeves.  Sam looks very much the bimbler.  Merry and Pippin are the pint-sized action heroes jumping in to defend Frodo with their Barrow-blades.

Since 2001, Games Workshop’s highstreet stores have sold minis based on the movie trilogy – buuut these aren’t them.  In 1985 Games Workshop were selling minis to support Middle-Earth Role Playing (MERP) game.  It was a range of a few hundred figures which includes most of the major heroes, villains and troops.

Citadel MERP Ringwraiths Lord of the Rings Nazgul Ringwraiths

ME-63 Witch-king of angmar leading a the ME-64 Black Riders.

I’ve also painted up a selection of Ringwraiths to chase those pesky Hobbits around the countryside.  I’ve gone for four repeats of the same pose so they look like they’re advancing in unison, performing a ritualised Hobbit-slaughter like the movie’s Brie and Weathertop scenes.  In my mind it works, but in photos they come across a bit dance troupe.  More Lord of the Dance than Lord of the Rings.  Oh well.

Citadel MERP Ringwraiths Lord of the Rings Nazgul Ringwraiths

“I can’t believe you started the conga without me.” – Witch-king of Angmar

The lines between the Lord of the Rings and Warhammer ranges was blurred, with many Lord of the Rings figures appearing later as part of the Warhammer range after the license expired.  I was really excited to discover the Ringwraith miniatures were modified and rereleased as Warhammer Fantasy Empire Wizards.

Citadel MERP Ringwraiths Repurposed

Wrecycled Wraith Wizards in 1991’s Citadel Catalogue 2.

I’d like to find these figures and paint them as the Witch-king of Angmar and the sorcerers of the Second Age as they appeared before Sauron gave them their magic rings.  Or maybe as the ghostly forms Frodo sees when he puts on the One Ring.  Or maybe actual Warhammer wizards.

Citadel MERP Ringwraiths Lord of the Rings Nazgul Ringwraiths
The Hobbits defend themselves from Ringwraiths in the ruins of Weathertop.

I’ve enough Ringwraiths and Hobbits for several scenarios from the first half of Fellowship of the Ring now, and will spend Christmas recreating the Hobbits getting repeatedly stabbed in various locales of Middle-Earth.

Patreon Painting Tutorial

These Ringwraiths are a great miniature to teach how to paint black cloth with, as it’s 98% of the miniature.  Over on Patreon right now is the detailed stage-by-stage write up of the paints, techniques, theory and secrets that you let you learn how to paint black cloth to this style and quality.

Nazgul painting tutorial step by steps

If you become a supporter today you’ll get access to this in-depth masterclass tutorial, and also the back catalogue, which covers last month’s Golden Demon winning entry, two varieties of Space Marines power armour, and human flesh.  Thanks to everyone that ha signed up so far this year.  Thanks to this month’s new patrons: Liam, Claudia, Daintist, Craig, Dan, Jason, Andrew, John and David.

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I think next I’ll work on some more prey for the Ringwraiths based on the early chapters of the Fellowship – probably the ME-25 Rangers of Ithilien reimagined as the Dunedain secretly defending the Shire, or a Gildor once I’ve worked out a suitable vintage Warhammer Elf.  Watch this space!  Merry Christmas everbody!


Curis has painted for Games Workshop, Forge World, Warlord Games, Mantic Games, Avatars of War, Wargames Foundry, Studio McVey and many others. He's won at Golden Demon and Salute. He publishes monthly painting tutorials on Patreon.

8 thoughts on “Classic Lord of the Rings Hobbits and Ringwraiths

  • December 24, 2018 at 3:12 pm

    Classic and fantastic !! The early LotR range have a lot of charm, perhaps because I’m nostalgic of the era (^_^) Well painted as usual. Bravo amigo !

    • December 24, 2018 at 4:53 pm

      Thanks Nico! Yeah, there’s a lot of gems in the range – I particularly like the Bilbo carrying a book that has “There and Back Again” actually sculpted onto the cover. And Tom Bombadil with his tray of flowers. See if I can do an Orclord and get them all painted.

  • December 24, 2018 at 7:30 pm

    Fantastic set shot. This tutorial couldn’t have come at a better time, in January I’m going to be starting on an Undead army and i have quite a few robed apparitions to paint.

    • December 25, 2018 at 1:13 pm

      Thanks Sean! New or old Undead? Working out this recipe for the Ringwraiths really makes all the new Nighthaunt stuff appeal from a painting perspective.

    • December 31, 2018 at 3:15 pm

      Thanks Warburton! I really enjoyed powering through these, and am fired up to work on the mounted versions now.

  • December 28, 2018 at 5:35 am

    I’m trying to come up with a turn of phrase that simultaneously praises your amazing painting techniques and also uses the phrase ‘touching cloth’. Like maybe ‘your painting ability is so great it makes me think twice about ever touching cloth’…

    At any rate you are so talented that I’m crapping my pants with jealousy anyway so that joke doesn’t work. Merry Christmas!

    • January 5, 2019 at 4:50 pm

      Thanks! You should check out the British crime drama “A Touch of Cloth”. It was real. It existed. I didn’t dream it. It has three seasons and everything.


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