Great Eagles

Abaddon Black
Rhinox Hide
Skrag Brown
Tau Light Ochre
Zamesi Desert
Mournfang Brown
White Scar
Flesh Ink Wash*

* GW now longer make ink washes but you can get Coat D'arms Ink Wash - Flesh (133) which is the same thing.

He swept up into the air, and immediately two of his guards from the rocks at either hand leaped up to follow him. They circled up in the sky and looked down upon the ring of the Wargs, a tiny spot far far below. But eagles have keen eyes and can see small things at a great distance. The lord of the eagles of the Misty Mountains had eyes that could look at the sun unblinking, and could see a rabbit moving on the ground a mile below even in the moonlight.


The Great Eagles were said to have been "devised" by Manwë Súlimo, leader of the Valar, and were often called the Eagles of Manwë. They were sent from Valinor to Middle-earth to keep an eye on the exiled Ñoldor, and also on their foe the evil Vala Morgoth and later his lieutenant and future Dark Lord, Sauron.

In the Third Age, Thorondor's descendants Gwaihir and Landroval lived in an eyrie to the east of the Misty Mountains in Wilderland.

These Eagles helped the Elves of Rivendell and Radagast in watching the land and in gathering news about the Orcs.

A group of Great Eagles rescued Thorin Oakenshield and Company from a band of Wargs and Goblins, flying them to the river Anduin, and later assisting in the Battle of the Five Armies fought near Lonely Mountain.

Before and during the War of the Ring, Gwaihir rescued Gandalf the Grey from the top of Isengard—having been dispatched by Radagast—and again from Zirak-Zigil. The Eagles aided troops of King Elessar at the Battle of the Morannon at the Black Gate. The Eagles arrived in time to overthrow some Nazgûl, including Khamûl. Gwaihir, with others of his people, rescued Frodo Baggins and Samwise Gamgee from Mount Doom in Mordor after the One Ring had been destroyed.

The Base Coat

Begin by assembling and preparing the models in the usual manner, removing any mold lines and filling gaps with Green Stuff. Undercoat the entire model in Abaddon Black and once dry apply a base coat of Rhinox Hide.

Do not make the mistake I always do when it comes to models that are applied on a clear base. Always paint the model before gluing on to the base otherwise it makes it harder to paint as you have to be careful not to get paint on the base. Also you will not be able to use spray paint to undercoat the model.

The Feathers

Starting at the back of the wingtips and working forward, a mix of Rhinox Hide and Skrag Brown was drybrushed on. This mix started at approximately 40% Skrag Brown to 60% Rhinox Hide. Next more Skrag Brown was added to the mix and this was applied starting from the next layer of feathers. More Skrag Brown was added to this mix and once again starting from the next layer of feathers drybrushed on. This process continued for each layer of feathers. This gives a nice affect where the feathers get lighter in tone from back to the front.

The process was also applied to the body, head and tail feathers of the model.

In places apply some Dawnstone on some feathers leaving some of the basecoat showing through. Over this drybrush some White Scar. You can use movie shots or pictures of real eagles for reference.

Do this on the top and bottom of the wings and on the tail feathers.

The Legs and Claws

The legs are given a basecoat of Mournfang Brown and then an equal mix of Mournfang Brown and Zamesi Desert for the hightlights. The claws where left Abaddon Black with a highlight of Abaddon Black and Dawnstone.

The Beak

The beak was given a basecoat of Abaddon Black and adding increasing amounts of Zamesi Desert to this, each time blending the paint towards the back of the beak. This can be easier if you apply each layer before the last one has dried.

The Eyes

The eyes were painted using Skrag Brown and then once dried given a wash of Flesh Wash.


For Gwaihir you can use photos from the movies as reference. I found some great behind the scenes shots that give us a good look at him.

Using these photos I noticed that Gwaihir has a bit of white around his head so painted this on to my model as well as using the pictures to decided where to paint the white on the rings.

The Other Great Eagles

The other Great Eagles where painted in much the same way but using different patterns of white on the feathers.