uruk hai berserker


“Do you know how the Orcs first came into being? They were Elves once. Taken by the dark powers, tortured and mutilated. A ruined and terrible form of life. Now… perfected. My fighting Uruk-hai”.

[The Lord of the Rings - The Fellowship of the Ring]

Character: Uruk-hai Berserker
Cosplayer: Gabriele de Franchi
Ph: Eros Mancini
Co: Studio Laboratorio 51


Uruk-hai Berserker

I got this awesome Uruk bust as a gift from Sten a couple months ago and it’s been a real pleasure to work on!

The sculpt and cast was amazing and even though I didn’t get the name of who actually sculpted it, I’ve been told that it was sculpted and cast in a limited number by some mysterious Swedish guy that no one seems to know. If anyone has more info on who sculpted this please let me know!

Now, the painting part of this project was great fun! I spent a lot of time going through the Weta Workshop documentaries and production photos from my LoTR trilogy box set. I studied the Uruks, and their berserkers especially, in as much detail as possible. I have so much respect for the hard work, imagination and conceptualization that Weta put in to the designing of Middle-Earth and it’s creatures. There was tons of relevant info that really made a difference to how I went about painting this bust! After hours of research I decided on colors and set to work. After my first couple base coats I added a mottled pattern with Devlan Mud and Ogryn Flesh, I then continued to glaze over the skin to tone down the effect but also to work up the contrast more by using cold colors for the shaded areas and warmer in the highlights.

Working on a miniature of this size (1/11 which is slightly larger than what I usually paint but still pretty darn small) I chose to tone down the highlights a bit working off of production photos I tried to make it look as “real as possible” without making it look to flat and boring. The helmet was kept really dark with the help of some good ol’ Citadel Black Ink.

In the documentary Richard Taylor talked about how the Uruk Berserkers filled their helmets with blood before placing it over their heads letting the blood spill down the neck and throat forming a crest of sorts around the shoulders. The idea was that as it spilled out covering the berserker the smell of fresh blood would help whip it into a frenzy, bringing out the manic berserker rage that we see in the films.

After finishing it I decided to add some arrows. They’re made out of thin plastic rod with card paper for quills cut and painted to match Rohan arrows. As the Berserkers were sent up first on the siege ladders I felt it only fair to assume that they would be the focus of many an archer on the parapet.

And there you have it! I loved immersing myself into the amazingly detailed world that the Weta guys have created and it was a lot of fun trying to translate it into this bust. I’m pretty happy with the result, I think maybe I could have pushed the contrast of the skin a tiny bit more but, all in all, I like the way he came out looking in the end and learned a lot in the process, so I’m happy! :)