Sunday, 14 August 2016

How to make a LotR online Dark-water miniature for role playing and wargaming

A sinister Dark-water from the Lord of the Rings Online MMO game

One of the things that got me back into miniatures after a long absence was (disposable cash!) getting my old role-playing group back together. It had been a few years since we had played any role-playing games due to our individual family commitments. Biting the bullet, I volunteered to Game Master some games and many years latter, we are still playing on a monthly basis.

Kit-bashed Dark-water tested for scale against two GW Elven heroes

One of the first ideas I had for a miniature that I wanted to use in our RPG sessions was a creature from the Lord of the Rings MMO game called a Dark-water.


Dark-water background
In Elven-tales, the dreadful Mornen, known as a Dark-water in the Westron language, is a creature formed from the depths and brought into being by evil spirits. Rising from the rivers and lakes of Eriador to fight the unwary, these beings of shadow and seething liquid are said to have originated in the darkness of Angmar during the reign of the Witch-king long ago. Their essence remains strong to this day, and they will relentlessly attack the Free Peoples of Middle-earth with no fear of death.

The Dark-water (Mornen in Sindarin, pl. Mernin) is a creature of water created by evil spirits bound to Middle-earth by dark powers, and as such are akin to the wights of the Great Barrows. Adventurers should take warning from the dark mist that often swirls beneath the surface of a lake or swamp before the Dark-water rises to strike with cold hands. They should be especially wary of the crowned Mernen, who rule their kind in mockery of the Kings of Númenór.

Kit-bashed Dark-water starts to take shape after many years!

In order to make a kit-bash version of a Dark-water I bought a box of GW Vampire Counts Grave Guard Skeletons and looked for a suitable upper torso to use as the upper part of the body. Next I super-glued (my hand again!) the torso to a clear flying base that I use for Star Fleet - A Call to Arms. Then (it sat there for years! No really, it did. It became the most back-burnered miniature that I had in my collection. Only got around to doing something about this the other day!) I added suitable head, arms and weapon.

Dark-water on the painting table.

Once the glue had set, I sprayed the upper body, and as a consequence, the upper part of the flight base in a flat White spray as a base coat. After this, and I recommend not repeating this mistake, I used a red ink (Citadel Shade Carroburg Crimson) over the entire model and base. Unfortunately, the colour came out rather flat. I was going to use Citadel Aardcoat on the model when I remembered that I had some Citadel Technical paint Blood For The Blood God. I painted the entire model and base again in the Blood For The Blood God technical paint and finally got the result I was after.

Dark-water eyes. In retrospect, probably should have left them dark rather than paint them.

Once this dried, I used Citadel Temple Guard Blue to highlight the eyes of the Dark-water. In retrospect however, I am not sure that doing this really added to the sinister nature of the miniature.

Finally, I had one last dilemma. How do I make the stand of the flying base look more like water that is rising up to make the Dark-waters body?

I finally settled on using a sticky craft glue that I purchased from Bunnings. This craft glue sets clear and becomes stringy if you play with it too much. Great for making spider webs, but by liberally applying it to the stand, I was able to get a nice water effect that also had lots of bubbles in it (bonus!). So you will have to experiment to get something that would suit your miniature. PVA glue wont cut it in this regard, in my opinion, so experiment a little first.

Craft glue made a good water effect surprisingly!

I've done one layer of the craft glue water effect. But I'm tempted to do a little more to build on the first layer and add to the depth of water rising to make the Dark-water body. Fingers crossed!

Anyway, after many years of wanting to make this model I think I finally have hit on the way to make it come alive on the table-top. A new nasty to throw at the player characters in role-playing or to add to my undead armies on the table-top!

"You see a dark shadow in the water. Suddenly, something bursts up through the water's surface, the shower and spray from its emergence blinding you momentarily . You blink to clear the spray from your eyes. Before you the water column coalesces into the shape of the upper body of an armoured skeleton, holding a wicked looking cleaver. Its colour, blood crimson. As you stand there astonished at this apparition, it lunges for you swinging is weapon."

Die, player characters! Dieeeeeeeeee....!