Spider Queen, Late Progress

Naneth Fuin, Spider Queen of Dol Guldur

 

 I have decided that the Elves of Thranduil's Halls have named this, the greatest of all spiders living north of the Ered Lithui, Naneth Fuin, the Dark Mother.   She is nearing completion.  I have a little more highlighting to do on the Queen and then several layers of protective dull-coat to apply.  Her base is also mostly finished. I need to add some appropriate foliage to the tree (still deciding what kind I want), some grasses to the base and perhaps some web and/or a victim.  I don't want to go overboard on it as it needs to be playable above all, but I want to be sure she stands out well both on the table and for the September painting challenge at on One Ring.

 

As before, I ask forgiveness for the image quality...we're still waiting to replace our camera so these are taken w/ my mobile.  Thankfully I've gotten a little better, eliminating most of the blur, but I'm still not thrilled with the quality.

 

 

As mentioned previously, she's a mix of two Games Workshop models:  Shelob and the Spider Queen.  In both the Strategy Battle Game and War of the Ring game systems, the Spider Queens are decent selections (maybe even under priced in their point value) but are "generic" models.  You may have as many of them on the table as you can afford within certain army-building guidelines.  What I wanted though is something that can represent an ancient horror that has actually spawned those "lesser" Spider Queens and they in turn breed the Giant Spiders that plague Mirkwood.  And so I took a Shelob and Spider Queen model, cut them each roughly in half, and attached the back of the SQ to the front of Shelob, using Shelob's legs as well.  I am really pleased with the results.  You can see the early stage after being primed in my Spider Queen, Early Stages article.

 

From there I painted the whole model with a heavy dry brush of Scorched Brown.  This covered most, but not all of the primer.  I applied a drybrush of Scorched Brown mixed with a little Chaos Black into the areas that will have the darker colored patterns.  This was followed by a series of drybrush layers of Snakebite Leather mixed with Scorched Brown, gradually lightening to just Snakebite Leather.  At each stage the dark pattern was emphasized by keeping the mix about 2-layers darker (first couple included a little Chaos Black, for example).  I also gave a wash of Delvin Mud every layer or two to help with the blending.  A wash of Black was applied to the joints on the legs to help define them.

 

The mouth as well as the decayed-tissue area on the head were each painted with Dark Flesh mixed with a little Chaos Black, then highlighted Dark Flesh followed by a final highlight of Dark Flesh with just a little Tanned Flesh.  A very watered down Black wash was applied between layers.  The eyes are Chaos Black with the largest of the eyes having a tiny dot of White as a reflection.  I want to step away for a couple days and look at it again before I finalize it.

 

In the pics you can't pick out some of this too well yet since it's relatively dark.  In person it does stand out more but I was also specifically going for a dark brown scheme with as realistic of appearance as possible.  This doesn't always lend itself to "impressive" paint schemes, but then again I'm not that kind of painter and can't really pull off that same style.

 

I'll reserve details of the base for another post.

 

And in closing, the last thing a Wood Elf ever sees...

 

 

 

 

Spider Queen, Early Stages

Spider Queen of Dol Guldur

 

As noted in my last post Spider Queen, References the Spider Queen I'm creating for the September painting challenge at on One Ring is to represent a mightiest of of foul creatures that lived for hundreds or even thousands of years in the deep caverns of the Mountains of Mirkwood.  After the coming of the Necromancer to Dol Guldur she has been drawn forth by its evil and has been seen openly hunting the depths of Mirkwood as well as the more remote reaches of the Mountains.  Her spawn, the lesser Spider Queens and their Giant Spider brood have taken dominance of many parts of Mirkwood and have become a constant threat to travelers and the Elves of Thranduil's Halls.

 

(please forgive the image quality...we're still waiting to replace our camera so these are taken w/ my mobile and I'm not very good with it for close ups).

 

The model I am using is a mix of one of GW's Spider Queen models and their Shelob model.  As such the legs are those that are modeled after the creepy pose of Shelob, one of the things that drew me to this combo.  Even so, I still had to modify them slightly to get the pose I really wanted.  It was delicate work as the legs are so fragile that more than a minor tweak can cause a break (speaking from experience...I broke a rear leg early and had a bear of a time repairing it).  Also, it's very important that any bends I did make were on the joints of the legs only and didn't create any new curves in the leg segments which would totally ruin the appearance.  SI used the joint of the leg to the body combined with some minor leg joint adjustments to get the action stance just right.  Though the model will be posed climbing around a tree on its base, here is a shot of the base coated model just standing flat with an unsuspecting Rohan archer for scale.

 

 For her base I have formed an old tree from twists of heavy gauge wire and covered with Green Stuff.  It took some tweaking to get the shape just right to match up with the leg positioning.  The wire tree is mounted thru the base so that several of the wires come out a hole in the bottom and spread out to grab.  Other wires were shaped for roots and the rest covered with Green Stuff and glued down to give a solid structure.  Some rocks and bark mulch were positioned around and then it was covered with some stone and sand.  A few dried potato eyes were glued in as large, distorted fungi.  I am currently researching how to produce willow-style draped foliage and may even add a victim or two hanging from the tree if I don't feel it's over the top.

 

Here are some shots of the Queen as she will be positioned on the tree.

 

 

As I am a gamer as much or more so than a painter/modeler it is critical that she be playable.  So while designing the tree and the Queen's position on the base I did about a dozen "test fits" of warrior and cavalry models as well as those in WotR movement trays, around her base.  I wanted to be sure that for the average model the tree did not prevent a typical positioning over models against her.  It's fine to do a small turn of the base of one or the other model to ensure contact but you don't want a low-hanging tree branch creating such a dead zone in one segment of the model that it's more frustrating than anything else when playing.

 

Here is a pic of that same poor Rohan archer standing bravely for the last couple seconds of his life.  It was an end worthy of song though none around lived to sing it.

 

 

 

 

Spider Queen, References

Spider Queen of Dol Guldur

 

I've been making progress on my Spider Queen for the September painting challenge on One Ring.

 

Creepy Warning:  The following post has a number of pics of real spiders that I'm am drawing on for inspiration and some may find them a bit too "close for comfort"...you've been warned.

 

My concept for this Spider Queen is that she is a direct descendant of Ungoliant, and therefore a sister of Shelob, or perhaps one of Shelob's greatest spawn.  It is doubtful that Men or Elf will ever know for sure.  But what is known is that she is among the greatest terrors dwelling in the darkest parts of Mirkwood.  The lesser Spider Queens living there are her brood and the countless Giant Spiders that haunt the woods descend from them.   It is believed her first home was in the Mountains of Mirkwood, but after the coming of the Necromancer to Dol Guldur she was drawn by his evil to dwell in the thickest and darkest parts of the woods near the Hill of Dark Sorcery.  But it is as likely that she uses the woods or a network of caves below them to move about as there have been reports of her still in the mountains.

 

To help have her look "real" as possible while keeping to the menacing fantasy that Peter Jackson gave us in the Return of the King, I am drawing on both the film and real life in her paint scheme.  Shelob, as shown in the films, large, fast, grotesque and terrible.  Her face is covered with old growth and scar tissue, her body bloated and her colors dark.  As the front half of the model I have made uses the Shelob model from GW I will naturally be painting these same features.

 

 

 

However, I want to be sure mine stands out and doesn't look like Shelob.  So even though my first instinct was to make my model black I feared it would fall short by doing so.  Where we live we have a lot of spider varieties.  Funnel Web spiders are very common in our shed and rock walls (and even the garage and basement if you don't keep up with them).  And we have a very healthy population of Wolf spiders in our fields and woods, our wood piles and sometimes in the house.  When we go slow in the field or forest in the early summer we often see the females with the egg sacks, and have even been lucky enough to see them loaded up carrying their young a couple times.

 

As the Spider Queen model and game concept includes her transporting young on her back and these spiders are supposed to be dwelling in the deep woods of Mirkwood, I decided I'm going to base mine mostly one the Hunstman and Wolf spiders we see locally.  The following are pics I've collected from the web (hah!) that really capture these amazing creatures well.  I haven't had a chance to try to get any pictures locally this good but these will be my inspiration.

 

 

Work in Progress