One of the local game stores was dumping all of their minis for this game, so I picked up a few cheap. The necromancer came with 2 heads and 2 left arms. I chose the undead head and arm. The others are “living” versions. I like this guy’s tattered robes. They were either tailored this way, or he’s been though a blender.
When I painted the elf king’s shield, I thought it would tilt the other way when it was attached to his arm. So unfortunately the shading has the reflections and shadow opposite where they should be, which looks a little odd. But, of course, I wasn’t about to redo it, so… His armor is pretty fancy, and I like that there isn’t actually any eye-slit in the helm. He must be a Jedi.
In D&D, dark elves (also called Drow) are evil, live miles beneath the surface of the earth, and worship Lolth, the demon queen of spiders. Those who displease Lolth she transforms into half-Drow/half-spiders. Thus the Drider. This unfortunate Drow was apparently merged with a tarantula for his offenses. Ill spring him and his buddies on my group if I ever get to run them through the DQ portions of the GDQ series; Descent Into the Depths of the Earth, Vault of the Drow, and Queen of the Demonweb Pits.
He was missing his original right hand and crossbow, so my friend Mike (Mikemonaco.com) helped me find a replacement.
This cleric has some unusual styling. The helm and shield in particular, along with the bedsheet-like robe he is wearing over his mail armor. The wands and staffs of many of these early minis often didn’t have any particular design or motif, just weird lumps and twists, such as this one.
Here are three more from the Grenadier Action Art – Monsters set. For being a “monsters” set, I’d be disappointed in the quantity of non-monsters included.
The first is the “Thief Assassin.” The sculpting of her face makes her look old. In my mind that clashes with the clothes she’s wearing, which don’t strike me as the clothes of an old woman. Maybe I’m being sexist. Anyway, I painted her as though she were young, and hopefully on the tabletop no one will notice her hollowed out cheeks.
Next is the “Bug Bear.” It should be “bugbear,” but the editor of the “how to paint” booklet must not have known that. The suggested colors for this guy said to make the shield brown with blue design. The design is a cow or bull head. So I think this guy is a member of the Blue Cow clan, mortal enemy of the Red Bull clan.
The title of “Super Orc Fighter” can be interpreted so many ways. Does he have super powers? Is he great at fighting orcs? Is he super because he found a suit of antique armor and now he’s acknowledged by his tribe as the coolest member even though he hasn’t figured out how to properly hold an ax? Why is he still choosing to swing an ax instead of the sweet sword he found with the armor? Does he have any idea how to activate the awesome powers of that shield? So many open questions…
Last Christmas, my great friend Jim ran a day long D&D game of the classic Ravenloft adventure. In it, I played a halfling paladin, Maurice Chevalier, who rode a magical St Bernard wardog named Hambone. After that game, I was so fond of the character, I had to paint him. I used Reaper minis 14208: Garr Wardog, 77165: Hellakin Goregutter, Halfling Rogue, and 02532: Dobbin, Halfling. Dobbin is the standing sword and board version. Hellakin is the riding version with the lance (the lance graciously supplied by my friend Mike, find his stuff here: Swords and Dorkery.) I switched out Hellakin’s knife for a lance, painted his leather armor like metal, and trimmed his base and cloak so that he would straddle the dog. He is removable so that the standing version can fight alongside his dog.
Part of the haul of minis that my friend Amanda gave me a couple years ago was a complete set of Action Art figures. The Painting Guide was even included. I’ve started working through that set lately, and this Thief Assassin and Drow Captains are the first ones to completion.
I’ve painted the thief as recommended in the Guide, and I really like the result. I was expecting garish color combinations, but this one turned out well I think. He is quite small, even compared to other Grenadier human minis of the time. The base he is standing on is 1” across. So he is only a little more than an inch tall.
The Drow captain I’m not as crazy about. Again, I stuck to the recommended colors, as I will with most of the minis from this set. But the drow’s armor is not well sculpted, and it merges with the dangling cords of his belt. As with many of these old minis, there’s no telling what the helm ornament is supposed to be. The guide said to make it white, which I couldn’t really wrap my head around so I just kept it metal. It looks to me like some elephant-like head. I’d like to have a collection of Drow minis all painted up in case I ever get the chance to run the Drow and Queen parts of the AD&D “G-D-Q” adventures (the G is for Giants.)
More from this set to follow over the next few weeks.
In Dungeons and Dragons, the good-aligned dragons are metallic colors: gold, silver, brass, bronze, and copper. The evil aligned dragons are colors: red, blue, black, green, white. I think it was a failure of imagination not to name the evil aligned dragons after gemstones: ruby, sapphire, emerald, onyx, and opal.
This dragon’s scales are sculpted as overlapping plates but I’ve painted them up to appear to be gemstones, and I’m pretty happy with the effect. In the photos, it’s difficult to tell that they weren’t sculpted that way. Dragons are my very favorite creatures, so when it comes to painting them, I feel like it’s sacrilege not to do them the credit they deserve.
I’ve painted his face as though he’s about to let loose with a torrent of fiery doom, with his mouth, eyes, and nostrils glowing with heat. Some idiotic “adventurers” have wandered into his volcanic lair.
These are two more oldies that I’ve rebased and added some fire effects. The first is from a 3-pack of sorcerers from RAFM 3808 Sorcerers. The second is from Metal Magic’s Dwarf range; C1008n Leader, Armored.
The sorcerer’s baton or wand or whatever it was supposed to be broke off, of course. I drilled out his hand and super glued a piece of paperclip in it. I held the mini upside down and dabbed hot glue on the end of the paperclip. Then I painted the stick silver and flame orange and yellow (let’s call it an everburning torch.)
For the dwarf, I used an Xacto knife to cut two small slivers of balsa wood, glued them together, and painted them brown. Then, again, I held the wood bits upside down and dabbed four bits of hot glue on the ends. This one was more difficult; the hot glue was very stringy and didn’t break off. So I had to cut the strings off with clippers. Then I painted the flame with some blue, orange, yellow, gray, and black. Clearly, he is taking a breather after all the pillaging and plundering he’s been up to.
I saw a nifty tutorial on how to make wireframe trees on YouTube, so I thought I’d try my hand at making some as scenery for the tabletop. I’ve also been thinking about making some tents and peasant huts, so maybe I’ll have more terrain pieces here in the future.
Three of the trees have moss stuck to the branches with hot-glue. The other has Woodland Scenics vegetation. They look nice to me, but I worry that they would obstruct the view of the tabletop and make it hard to move minis around without knocking over the trees, which would knock over other minis, etc. I’m tempted to make more and just leave them as bare wire. That gives them a cool winter or dead tree look and they obstruct the view much less, with the disadvantage of getting pricked by the wires every time you handle them. Shrug.
Here are the tree experiment results:
I think this guy came in a really early “Learn To Paint” type box set. I can’t find the mini in any of the catalogs though, so I know know who made it. If I find it, I’ll edit this with the info.
He originally came with spear or banner or something. That’s long gone, of course, so I made him a lance. My sculpting skillz are sub-par though, so you can see where the Green Stuff that I molded around the toothpick isn’t seamless with the toothpick.
I was also tinkering with scrolls and banners, and put a long streamer on the lance to see if I could get a “blowing in the wind” effect. If I were more inspired, I would have painted something cool on the banner…
This is an old Ral Partha frost giant. It’s quite different than Boerogg. This one is from before things got quite so cartoony in D&D art. Early versions of D&D had giants conceptualized as extra large humans, with frost giants modeled after vikings, like this guy.
The snow is washed out in these photos, sorry. But that’s just as well; I didn’t get he snow mixture quite right here. It was a little too thick, so it didn’t self-level well and had some bubbles in it that show in real life.