Grenadier Wight

Also from the Grenadier Monsters box set, here is a wight that I used Army Painter’s Strong Tone with. I only highlighted his hair and the bumps on his forehead. For future minis, I will definitely do more highlighting. Instead of using Vallejo Model Color’s Dead Flesh like I used with the zombie, I used a pale gray for the skin. I’m not very happy with the combination of that with the Stong Tone. Sorastro used Citadel’s Palid Wych Flesh as the skin base color, which I don’t have, so I tried to approximate it.

I added the bone that he’s licking. All the undead in this set have a similar pose in which the right arm is held up for no apparent reason. I feel compelled to add a reason. I probably should have put a headstone behind him or something, too.

Grenadier Zombie

This zombie comes from the Grenadier Monsters large box set. I didn’t spend as much time on this mini as I usually do. The only highlighting I did was on his hair. I was mainly interested to see how the Army Painter Strong Tone looked in real life after seeing Sorastro’s Zombicide miniatures painting guides.

Because zombies are usually best when encountered in huge hordes, and I take so long to complete even the simplest minis, I probably will never have a proper zombie mini army.

This zombie and his base reminds me of the opening credits of The Walking Dead where they show the lone zombie shambling across the field.

I’m in the middle of painting the wight from the same Grenadier set, and will post him next.

 

Sea Ghost

The Sea Ghost is a pirate ship detailed in Advanced Dungeons and Dragons module U1: The Sinister Secret of Saltmarsh. The ship plans in that module are quite detailed, and even include cross section and rigging diagrams.

I’ve built her from scratch out of 3/4″ polystyrene insulation board. The top two layers (main and cargo decks) are double stacked. The bottom layer (bilge) is single layer. It is scaled to the standard D&D scale of 1″ = 5′, so upper decks are each 7.5′ high. She is 90′ long, not counting the prow. After rough-cutting each deck’s shape, the layers were glue together, and the sanded down with a belt sander to the proper shape. Holding all the layers together, I then rounded the hull with the sander so that the layers all transitioned smoothly rather than stepping from layer to layer. Hull and decks were painted with acrylics (including a 1″ grid pattern) and then details added, including hatch, mast, rudder handle, prow, anchor winch, crow’s nest, mains deck doors, portholes, railings, and lanterns.

The details took a long time. The main shape of the boat and the bulk of the painting was completed with just a couple hours of work. All the little fiddley bits probably took another 10-15 hours.

 

03646: Barbara’s Frost: Pirate Captain

My gaming group is starting a new game based on pirates in 1600’s Jamaica. As a token of my appreciation for Ken, our previous game master who ran a terrific Wild West + Call of Cthulu mashup game, I’ve painted Barnabus as a gift.  Ken put a CRAZY amount of detail and work into his game for the year and a half we were playing it. He included all kinds of historical references, actual people from the 1850’s, and real places and artifacts. He must be a history buff, cuz he knows his shit.

02909: Nienna, Elf Ranger

This mini is another from Reaper. I like this sculpt very much, as it involves a pose that integrates the terrain so nicely.

I went monochromatic with various desaturated greens. At one point I had bright green on the sash, and it really jarred against the rest of the paint scheme. I’m learning that some flaw in my painting or color mixing technique makes all my colors desaturate when I shade and highlight them.  On this mini it was on purpose, but even on my other minis, I cannot often avoid it.

The sword blade is actually TMM (true metal metallic),  but I’ve mixed the silver with blue and shaded it with brown/black glaze, so it doesn’t show like typical TMM. The rest of the metals are Bronze + brown wash + bronze + gold + silver. Body armor has an added layer of purple wash to help bring out more detail.

Enchanted Fountain

Part of the Barkan-Seesholtz collection, this is an Enchanted Fountain from Grandier’s box set “Encounter at the Forest of Elvenwold.”  Seesholtz had already painted the rest of the set, this fountain was the last piece to be finished, so I felt compelled to get it done.

I picked a few earth tones for the pavers around the base, and added a neutral gray to each color to tone them down and give them similar hues.  The stonework of the fountain got some khaki, again toned down with the same neutral gray.  The water was the challenge with this one.  I was not confident I could pull off convincing water, but it was the quickest part of the mini.  The coins in the lower pool don’t show up very well, perhaps I should have made them bigger.  There’s nothing obviously “enchanted” about the sculpt, so to indicate that there was indeed something magical about it, I made the runes around the base glow with some OSL effects.

Griffon Twins

This is a pair of Reaper’s 03662 Griffons.  One will be given to a friend as a gift, the other will go in my display cabinet.

I agonized over the wings for a long time, wondering how to cover those large surfaces, whether I should do more fancy patterning on them, should I make them identical or different…  The light wings were a little too blank, so I did the dark feather tips.  The dark wings had enough detail to satisfy me with the highlighting, so I didn’t do any further detail work on them.  I was much more interested to do the lion bodies, which I wasn’t sure I could pull off well, but I’m happy with these results.

Winged Reaper

This mini was part of the Barkan-Seesholtz collection. It was made by RAFM Miniatures in their “Death Angels” series; RAFM RAF03896 Winged Reaper.  My original concept was to put the reaper in a field of tall grass at night. So the colors would all be very dark with moonlight highlighting, grass approximately 1/2″ long blanketing the base, maybe looking like it was swaying in the breeze.

When trying to figure out how to execute, I came up with the idea of using fur cloth. I got a chunk of some shaggy brown fur cloth and attempted to airbrush it black. That went ok as far as it went, but the fur fibers were too thin to look like grass, even after I gave it a haircut to trim it down to the length I wanted. There was no good way to stick fibers together the make thicker,more grass-like strands. Also, cutting the cloth caused lots of fur to to fall out around the cut edges, which revealed the cloth mesh that holds the fur. After I got the fur painted and stuck to the base and highlighted with dark blue-purple, it ended up looking more like some strange smoke, or maybe fire, but not grass. So I ripped it off tried again with another piece of fur, was dissatisfied with the results again.

There are several tutorials on YouTube about making miniature grass for dioramas, but not the tall field grass I was after. Making a field of short grass with static grass is easy enough, and making long tufts of grass (like what I ended up using in the end) is simple, but have have not yet found any scheme for making anything akin to a field of tall prairie grass.

So what I ended up with was the Reaper in a snowy field, with some tufts of field grass sticking up out of the snow.

 

Fighting Men

This group is from the Grenadier “Fighting Men” box set, circa 1980. These, along with the Wizards box set, are the minis I started playing D&D with at age 8. My brother was DM for a game in which the characters were all Knights of the Round Table, but set in Greyhawke instead of Camelot. They let me play Sir Perceval, who had a Girdle of Storm Giant Strength. Lancelot, Galahad, Arthur, and Merlin were all represented at the table as well.  I don’t remember doing much other than rolling dice, but the impression it had on me has been life-long. I think that all of us geeky D&D players are now the lawyers, engineers, programmers, physicists, and entrepreneurs that are now running the world. The jocks and burnouts who teased us way back then have fared far worse over the years, I’d wager.

My original plan was to divide these minis into two five-man groups, each with its own color scheme: the trees against the fleur-de-lis. In the end I made them all one army with matching color schemes.