Ral Partha “Tree Shepherds” (ES-49) and Mithril Miniatures “Treebeard and the Hobbits” (M185)

I have been wanting to have some Ents in my collection for over 30 years.  Sometimes they are called Tree Shepherds or Dryads by different manufacturers.  I just remember them fondly from the Lord of the Rings.  I managed to wrangle four of them this fall on eBay and wanted to add them to my collection.

The first one I got was a Ral Partha 1977 ES-49 that was painted but not to my tastes.  His hands looked like Gumby to me.  It was my first project at stripping paint from a miniature.  I discovered that simple green works well – though now I use a plastic food container and not a zip-lock bag (as they leak).

0 Tree shepherd on ebay
My First Ent from eBay – with a skeleton for no reason at all!


1 Tree shepherd in simple green
Blub, blub, blub – I’m losing my color!


I kept on looking on eBay, and got two more of the figures over a few months, including one in the original blister.

I also found that Mithril Miniatures had a series “Fangorn Forest” that came out in 1991. Now, Mithril’s figures are 32mm, and mine are 25mm (mostly).  But with an Ent, who cares!  It’s a huge tree!  The one that caught my eye was “Treebeard and the Hobbits” with Treebeard holding Merry and Pippin.  It was unpainted, but apparently Mithril precoated their miniatures with a base coat.  It was thick, so I used the simple green here as well and got some detail back.

2 Tree shepherds before priming
The Ral Partha Tree Shepherds


3 ES-49 in package before priming
Close up of the Original package


4 ES-49 back of  package before priming
Back of the Original Package


7 Tree shepherd bottom
Bottoms of the Tree Shepherds


5 Treebeard and hobbits
Front of Mithril Miniatures “Treebeard and the Hobbits” before stripping


6 Treebeard and hobbits back
Back of “Treebeard and the Hobbits” before stripping


6 Treebeard and hobbits bottom
Base of “Treebeard and the Hobbits”


After stripping, which I augmented with a toothbrush, and more stripping, I finally got the figures where I wanted them.  I cleaned them off in water with dishwashing soap, and dried them.  I cut 2″ hex bases out of 1/8″ plywood, and used wood glue to mount the four.  I then lightly primed them with Krylon “White Ultra Flat” primer.

I used Americana “Snow” for all of the eyes, which I then dotted with Citadel “Mechanised Standard Gray”.  Then I base coated the four with a mixture of Americana “Bittersweet Chocolate”, Armory “Leather Brown”, and Citadel “XV-88”.  I then applied a wash with Citadel’s “Agrax Earthshade”.

8 Tree shepherds and Treebeard base coated
After Base Coat


I then worked on the Ral Partha Tree Shepherd models separately from the Mithril Treebeard one.  For the Tree Shepherds, I wanted to dry brush them all slightly differently so that they could have more individuality. They also needed to be less confusing to players.

Therefore, I dry brushed one  with Craftsmart “Gray”, one with Americana “Desert Sand”, and one with Armory “Leather Brown” – becoming respectively “Graybeard”, Tanbeard”, and “Redbeard”.  I then again used Citadel’s “Agrax Earthshade” to darken them.  I then used the respective colors previously cited to highlight facial features, roots, and limbs.

9 Tree shepherds washed and drybrushed
Greybeard, Tanbeard, and Redbeard after Painting


I then painted their bases with Americana “Bittersweet Chocolate” and used Army Painter “Brown Battleground” to flock the bases.  I then varnished each figure with Krylon “Clear Glossy” varnish, followed several hours later by a second coat with Krylon “Clear Matte” varnish.  For each base, I added different combinations of Army Painter “Wilderness Tuft” “Wasteland Tuft”, and “Meadow Flowers”.  I also added combinations of 4Ground 10G Basing Materials (TSM-122 “Loose Foliage Green Leaves”, TSM-123 “Loose Foliage Brown Leaves”, and TSM-124 “Loose Foliage Copper Leaves”).  I experimented with adding some leaves to the branches, but that did not look good, and I abandoned that approach.

12 Tanbeard completed front
Tanbeard Front



13 Tanbeard completed back
Tanbeard Back
16 Graybeard completed front
Graybeard front
17 Graybeard completed back
Graybeard back
14 Redbeard completed front
Redbeard front
15 Redbeard completed back
Redbeard back
18 All 3 ents Graybeard, Tanbeard, Redbeard completed
Completed Graybeard, Tanbeard, and Redbeard

As for Treebeard, the details of the hobbits and those of Treebeard posed some challenges.  The base coating was the same as the Tree Shepherds.  For the Hobbits, I used Citadel’s “Castellan Green” for their cloaks, and Deka Lack “Dunkelblau” and Craftsmart “Gray” for their breeches.  The shirts were painted with Americana “Raw Sienna” and Armory “Prussian Blue”.  For the hobbits’ hair, I used different mixtures of Citadel “Yriel Yellow” and Armory “Leather Brown” so that there was a little difference between the two hobbits.  I then highlighted the robes with lighter versions of the “Castellan Green” mixed with Americana “Buttermilk”.  I used P3’s  “Ryn Flesh” and “Midland Flesh” on the hobbits skin, with lighter mixes for highlighting after shading with P3 “Flesh Wash”.


To get Treebeard’s face, hair, and beard to pop without seeming ostentatious, I used Americana “Hauser Light Green”, which I then highlighted with Secret Weapons Washes “Green”.  I shaded a lot of the wooden crevices with P3 “Brown Ink” and more Citadel “Agrax Earthshade”.  I highlighted Treebeard’s bark afterwards with a mix of Americana’s “Raw Sienna” and “Raw Umber”.  I then followed the same color combinations and sequences as I did for the Tree Shepherds through varnishing.  Finally, I added Army Painter “Meadow Flowers” and 4Ground 10G Basing Materials TSM-122 “Loose Foliage Green Leaves” to the base.

10 Treebeard completed
Treebeard and the Hobbits (front)


11 Treebeard completed back
Treebeard and the Hobbits (back)


Overall, I am happy with the figures, and am excited to see them on the tabletop soon.  After all, 32 years without Ents is long enough!

Author: Mark A. Morin

This site is where I will discuss stuff that I find interesting and that includes family, friends, golf, gaming, and Boston sports!

2 thoughts on “Ral Partha “Tree Shepherds” (ES-49) and Mithril Miniatures “Treebeard and the Hobbits” (M185)”

  1. Thanks, your rules had Ents covered but I never had them. I also figure that if I take pictures of the old packaging it “preserves” it in a way. I figure that they were cast to hit the tabletop, so out of the package they go. Besides, I’ve noticed that the old blisters get very brittle and I doubt they’d survive much longer in most cases.


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