Gandalf the Grey – Speedpaint

Citadel Miniatures, Gandalf the Grey.

When I’m able to focus, and manage to remember, I like to participate in the odd painting challenge over at The One Ring webpage, which is a great community of Tolkien/Miniatures gaming enthusiasts. Sometimes I check their page too late, sometimes I forget for months at a time, sometimes I select a figure but just don’t finish (or start!), and sometimes I actually manage to finish the model on time. Recently, I actually managed the latter, so I’m sharing it now.

Citadel Miniatures, Gandalf the Grey.

This Gandalf is from one of the very early boxed sets, circa around 2000. I bought it back in the day, and haven’t exactly been quick when it comes to painting it. In fact, I don’t think I’ve completed any of them. Well, excepting Gandalf now. I never got around to really playing the game in any meaningful way, so most of my interaction with the LotR line has consisted of collecting them.

I’m quite happy with the outcome, especially since the model was also a speedpaint, and something a bit left field – since I wasn’t planning to paint any Fellowship-type models at the moment. I managed to get this guy done in just a bit over 24 hours from start to finish (though he was already primed black, from god knows how long ago). I rarely manage to do it, but there’s something especially rewarding about finishing a figure in a day. Or in this case, 2 days. Regardless, a lot nicer than my usual, which is months or even years to finish figures.

My previous attempt to paint a Gandalf model petered out and the model hasn’t been touched since 2010, as documented by the link…

11 thoughts on “Gandalf the Grey – Speedpaint

  1. Nice work on the Gandalf; this is one of my favourite LoTR miniatures. I also have mine sitting there undercoated for several years now.
    Like you I never managed to play the game that often. What I am doing now is using the miniatures for SAGA, which I quite like (Rohan as Scots, Orcs using Viking rules, etc.) It is all about the gaming with me, so more – ahem – historical gamers may raise eyebrows but I’m happy as I’m getting games in a system I enjoy with some miniatures I like.


    • Thanks Dave – same with me on how nice this figure is. There are some real gems in the line, especially the early Perry models based on the film designs. (though some duds as well – as Arwen can testify to!)

      Since I’ve been playing KoW and found a use to sub in my Men of Gondor as a Kingdoms of Men (allied) force, Gandalf might get some game time as a Wizard alongside the Gondor forces. (which are one of the things I’m working on in the background right now).

      I’m keen to pick up SAGA and some dice for it as soon as I find it in stock somewhere for a decent price. I bought some Gripping Beast figures a couple years ago to use as Rohirrim and Dunlendings, so it might end up with them coming full circle.

      What really matters is you’re having fun in your games, so it’s all good in my opinion. Life’s too short to get upset about how other people play with their srs bzns toy soldiers…


  2. Gandalf looks nice and smooth. My speed paint jobs tend to look scratchy because of techniques used. You have avoided that, good work.

    I find that the best thing about rapid turnaround is that it enthuses me to engage in something else, in contrast with the energy and enthusiasm sapping that occurs from staring at a tiny, unfinished and gradually-growing-more-daunting figure for days/months/years.

    I discovered late that turnover rather than quality is my biggest motivator. Quality above a certain standard has to be maintained to keep my interest of course, but not feeling that I should spend weeks painting units/armies has made me more productive and more satisfied with the hobby.

    You dont seem to be having trouble with quality or output at the moment Azazel 🙂 With one speed painted LotR miniature painted per month you could potentially chip away nicely at that Fellowship.


    • Thanks. Speedpainting something for me mostly means I don’t let myself get distracted for the day or two by side projects, or too much TV or videogames. 😉 Oh yeah, it also pretty much needs to be either a single model or a thematic pair using similar colours, and a model (or two) that I really like the look of – and yeah – something quite different to whatever I’m working on also helps an awful lot. I agree with you on turnover. I’ve got so many figures I know I’ll never paint them all before I shuffle off, so I’d rather get more of them finished and then be able to draw pleasure from them by playing toy soldiers with them and talking about them here and on forums than agonise over them for ages like I used to. I’m slow enough as it is!


    • Thanks. Gandalf is a pretty simple figure, so I went with a bluish-grey rather than the almost brownish, dirty grey from the film in an attempt to add a bit of (muted) colour and interest to the figure – also so his beard would contrast with the clothing once it was all highlighted.

      Then when I do a Gandalf the White eventually, he’ll have a super-clean beard, and a totally different robe palette.


    • Thanks! It’s pretty basic stuff, really. Basecoat, shade, highlight. One of the “tricks” that I’ve used for many, many years is to use saliva as one of my thinning mediums. It might sound disgusting at first, but a tiny, non-bubbly dollop has a really nice, thick-but-thin consistency to it, and the paint behaves really nicely – it can be almost stretched, pooled and moved about while being relatively easy to increase or lessen the amount of pigment in any given brushload. Give it a try on your palette sometime and just have a play with moving it around (I use “flat” palettes – actually the segmented “discs” that come in the bottom of a pack of CDRs – as can be seen here) so everything doesn’t pool together.
      I also use a mix I made up of 50% Distilled Water, 30% Flow Aid, 10% Drying Retarder, 10% Matte Medium for a lot of stuff, and generally as my “go to” thinner – replacing windex – but Saliva is still the best for fine transition blending. 😀


      • Never occured to me to use Saliva, even though I do use it to give my brush a good point. I shall try this. The thinner mixture sounds good, too. At the moment I am basically using tab water for everything. Might be easier to get smoother transitions with some alchemy ;).


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