Monday, 11 November 2019

Strider! (Aragorn, Elessar, Wingfoot, etc.)

A few months ago, while painting one of the Rangers of Shadow Deep miniatures sculpted by Bobby Jackson, I noticed how close the miniature was to my metal image of Strider (a.k.a. Aragorn in his guise as a ranger). There were just a few issues with it. Mostly notably, I didn’t think it fit the character to be holding a severed head, but also, I thought the face wasn’t quite right, and probably he should be carrying a bow. I finished painting that figure, and promptly forgot about it.

A few weeks ago, I painted up my ideal Legolas miniature. That once again got me thinking about Aragorn, and I remembered that I had another copy of that Ranger miniature in my rapidly decreasing lead pile. I pulled it out and had a look.

I have never been a great figure converter. I generally find the process frustrating, as my execution rarely lives up to my idea. Still, since I already had a finished version of the figure painted, it seemed I had less to lose. So, I cut off his left hand (making a severed hand holding a severed head!). I then went to my plastic bits box to look for suitable substitutes. I tried a few different possibilities, and went back and forth for a while on whether to give him a bow or a dagger in that hand. In the end, I settled for a bow, as it seems more rangerly. The bow (and hand) comes from the Oathmark Elf Infantry box. I pinned it into place and used a bit of green stuff as well to hold it together. It’s not perfect by any stretch, but luckily, the extra green stuff, looks like a bunched bit of his sleeve that sticks out of the grieve.

I also glued a quiver on his back. In truth, a careful examination shows that there are no straps for the quiver, but that doesn’t bother me much.

I’m not going to lie, I was seriously proud of this simple conversion, but it also made me nervous. I now had a completely unique figure, and I fretted over ‘blowing the paint job’. Thankfully, there is something about these B. Jackson sculpts that really work with my painting style. I took it very slow, and really tried my best on every single element of the piece.

I started with the face, because that was the last element of non-Strider that concerned me. I did two things to that effect. I heavily shaded the inside of the hood, allowing the dark to just creep onto the side of his face. This had the effect of narrowing the face slightly. I then gave him a stubbly beard, which helped soften his heavy jaw. These combine to make his face less distinct, but that’s perfect for a shadowy ranger.

From there, I just picked an area and worked it, until I was happy with it. I’m usually a base, wash, highlight man, but for many parts of this figure I used five or six combinations of washes and water-down paint. The effect of this is most noticeable in the folds of his tunic.

I decided to paint him so he fit with my ‘Post Lothlorien’ Legolas. So, he’s got the grey cloak. He’s also got a green cloak clasp…the Elessar perhaps?

As a final touch, and a nod to the movie depiction of the character, I painted a little White Tree of Gondor on his left grieve. I always thought that Aragorn donning the dead Boromir’s grieves in the film was a really nice touch. My free-hand wasn’t perfect here, but it’s good enough to make me happy.

All-and-all, I think it might be my best ever miniature paint job, and I now feel like I’ve got a Strider figure that fully fits my vision of the character.

As I was doing it, I got all excited and though I would do the other 7 members of the Fellowship, but I’m not sure if I have found the ideal figures for all of them yet. So, instead, I’m not going to worry about it. I’ll take them as and when they come… of course I could also do the Grey Company…


  1. Really nice. He works well alongside Legolas. So, who's next? Boromir with his war horn might be one option, or maybe Gimli?

    1. Many thanks. I did a lot of searching around for a Gimili, but haven't found one close enough to my vision yet...

  2. Good job on those. I know what you mean about waiting to find the right minis. I own several Firefly minis but am always looking for the ideal.

  3. Cracking stuff! Even my pet peeve about floating quivers is negated by that paintjob! Really like the freehand tree on the vambrace.

  4. He's a nice looking conversion.

  5. Loving this conversion.
    Have to cobble together something similar.


  6. Lovely work and a very nice figure

  7. Can't agree more - definitely your best miniature on this blog! You've taken a near perfect miniature and actually improved on it. When I get around to picking up this mini range I'll be copying your conversion for sure.