How to paint Games Workshop miniatures - Tutorial 43: the Watcher in the water

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How to paint Games Workshop miniatures? In this tutorial we will show you different painting techniques for decorating your Citadel miniatures. In this new guide we will see which steps to follow to assemble and paint the Observer model in the water

Welcome back to Techigames Painting Workshop! After the last tutorial on the Troll of Mordor, which you can view on this page, here we are with a new guide in which we will illustrate how to assemble and paint your miniature of theObserver in the water with very simple techniques using colors Citadel and be able to expand your collection of models Games Workshop than undertake the Strategic Battle Game in Middle-earth.



We remind you that the miniatures, the colors and all the tools for modeling are available on the website www.games-workshop.com.

Tutorial 43: The Watcher in the Water - How to paint Games Workshop (Citadel) miniatures

The Watcher in the Water is a monstrous creature that lives in the deep waters near the Western Gates of Moria. Not much is known about this being, but what is certain is that those who come across the Observer rarely manage to survive. The Fellowship of the Ring meets him just before entering the immense realm of the Dwarves and luckily all nine friends manage to escape safe and sound. As a result, the Watcher unleashes all his wrath by destroying the entrance to Moria and forcing the Company to continue for four days in the Mines, before reaching the Eastern Gates. 

If you are interested in more information on the Observer in the water, we refer you to Wikipedia page.


To know the different basic painting techniques, useful for all Games Workshop miniatures, we recommend that you visit This Page.

The Watcher in the Water by Games Workshop

Phase 1: Cleaning and Assembling the Observer in the Water | How to paint Games Workshop (Citadel) miniatures

Before starting to paint the Observer in the water, the first step is to prepare the model: remove all the numerous components from the box, as illustrated below.


  • Main components for base and body

  • Tentacles and legs of the Observer in the water

At this point, use a cutter to separate all the components from their respective plastic frames, then gently remove the excess material residues, due to the molding process, with the help of a cutter. 

Once this is done, assemble the rocks on the base and the main components of the body, using the plastic glue. As for the six legs, follow the numerical order as shown in the figure. For the tentacles, on the other hand, you can choose the configuration you prefer, but you should do some tests before gluing them, in order to also obtain a symmetry of the model. Once the assembly is complete, use the green stuff to fill the cavities of your miniature and thus create continuity of material.

Phase 2: Observer base color in the water | How to paint Games Workshop (Citadel) miniatures

Once you have assembled the model of your Observer in the water, you will need to give a background of color to have a base color to work on and to adhere well the shades that you will apply in the next phases. Always remember that the important thing is to evenly cover the material your miniatures are made of. To get a homogeneous layer of color use Citadel Chaos Black spray, as the Observer is characterized by rather dark shades. Be very careful when using the spray and be sure to apply this technique in well-ventilated areas. But be careful, because it is better to paint the Observer and the base separately, and then join them at the end.


Spray Citadel Chaos Black

Practical tip: to ensure that the color reaches even the most hidden areas, fix the model on a sheet of rigid cardboard with repositionable glue or double-sided tape, to be able to remove it easily after painting it; while using the black spray, rotate the cardboard, so as to apply a uniform color base all over the miniature.


Alternative: if you don't have Chaos Black spray available, use Citadel Abaddon Black in a bottle; shake the jar well to mix the color correctly, then use the brush to put a drop on the palette and add a little water to dilute it slightly, as too thick a color would be difficult to apply and ruin your miniatures, covering the details . If the color is too liquid, add a little more to thicken it.

  • The Observer base in the water after the black primer

  • The Watcher in the Water painted by Chaos Black

Step 3: Paint the Watcher's Skin in the Water | How to paint Games Workshop (Citadel) miniatures

To decorate the skin of the Observer in the water, apply Castellan Green as a base on all areas, except for the inside of the mouth and the streaked area of ​​the tentacles. The latter two can be painted with the Cadian Fleshtone. At this point, shade the described parts respectively with Nuln Oil and Reikland Fleshshade, then let dry. We advise you to use a larger brush for the green areas, in order to reduce the working time and obtain a better result at the same time. Once this is done, highlight with a dry brush: for the green areas, use Loren Forest first and then Nurgling Green or Ogryn Camo, depending on the effect you prefer, while for the flesh-colored parts you can lighten with Kislev Flesh. .


Citadel paints to decorate the Watcher's skin in the water

Also, for a touch of class, apply some Kislev Flesh with a dry brush between the lateral ridges behind the head. The teeth and eyes, on the other hand, can be decorated with Administratum Gray, in order to take advantage of the light gray to make them stand out.


The Observer in the water with painted skin

Step 4: Paint the Observer Base in the Water | How to paint Games Workshop (Citadel) miniatures

To decorate the base of your Observer in the water, we recommend starting with the rocks, which you can paint with increasingly lighter shades of gray, starting with the black base made previously. Then apply the Mechanicus Standard Gray, the Eshin Gray and the Administratum Gray, all with the dry brush technique. Also, since these are quite large areas, we suggest you use a larger brush than traditional ones.

Once this is done, you can paint the remains of the dwarves, killed by the Observer over time. The goal is to obtain not too bright colors, both because, thinking about the film, the scene at the Gates of Moria takes place at night and because in any case the models are in the shade, being located under the Observer's belly. Then use Leadbelcher and Warplock Bronze with a dry brush for the metal areas, while the rags can be decorated with Rhinox Hide as a base, shaded with Nuln Oil and lightened on the surface with colors of your choice such as Khorne Red, Doombul Brown and Tuskgor Fur, so as to recall the typical fabrics of the Dwarves of Moria. Alternatively, you can also use shades of blue, but don't overdo it, as keep in mind that there will be the lake to paint and it is better not to use the same colors as the water. The bones can be decorated with the drybrush Ushabti Bone, while for the dwarven shield first use Kantor Blue as a background, then shade with Nuln Oil and finally highlight the metal with Brass Scorpion. The wood, on the other hand, should be painted with Rhinox Hide and lightened with Gorthor Brown and Baneblade Brown.

The water should initially be painted with Kantor Blue: this will be the darkest blue color. To give a more realistic effect, make the waves using a fine-tipped brush and then gently spread a mix of equal parts of Kantor Blue and Fenrisian Gray, as if you wanted to draw an "s", then repeat the operation adding some Adminatum Gray to the compound. Remember to paint the lighter waves near the rocks, in order to simulate the water against the rocks.

For the rocky area opposite the water, you can apply Citadel Texture Stirland Mud, so you will create a very realistic rock effect. After drying the material, apply a coat of Nuln Oil to create a minimum of shadow, then lighten the reliefs gently with the Baneblade Brown dry brush. Once this is done, add a few tufts of grass, available in the Clod of Mordheim or Middenland kit. Finally, paint the edge of the base with XV-88 or Mournfang Brown.

Citadel Texture Stirland Mud

Clods of Mordheim and Middenland

  • The base of the Observer in painted water

At this point, you can glue your Observer in the water on its base, paying particular attention not to overdo it with the plastic glue, otherwise you risk making the gluing points evident. For this operation, dose the glue in small drops, applying them under the legs of the miniature.

With that done, your Watcher is ready to defend the Western Gates of Moria!

How to paint Games Workshop (Citadel) miniatures - Tutorial 43: The Watcher in the water

This tutorial from the Techigames Painting Workshop dedicated to decorating Games Workshop miniatures (eg Warhammer or Lord of the Rings) also ends here. For any questions or requests we are available via the comments box below!

Have fun!

We remind you that the new tutorial will be released in 14 days, so don't miss it!

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