Planted Aquarium

Will insert photo of current tank here…




  • Anubias
  • Dwarf hairgrass
  • Ammania gracilis, Ludwigia arcuata, or Rotala macandra (red stem plant, don’t know which)
  • Hygrofila deformis? (something bushy and green that I can’t identify…)


  • Cardinal Tetras
  • Sterbai corydoras
  • Otocinclus catfish
  • Snails…millions of snails…I hate them.  They came in on some of the plants I bought and (stupidly) didn’t dip in bleach solution before putting the tank.

Assorted Adventurers

Most of these guys were donated to me by Mike Monaco when I was getting back into painting a couple years ago.  Mike has more minis, by far, than anyone I’ve ever known.  And astonishingly, they are almost all painted.  How he does it, I’ll never know.  But he cranks out painted minis.  His blog, Swords and Dorkery, showcases a lot of his work.

Painting these minis reminded me how fun painting is and got me re-hooked on the hobby.

The dwarf here is standard dwarf fare; armor, helm, axe, shield.  I was just trying to make a clean look.  The ranger is meant to be concealing himself in some tall reeds or swamp grass.  His colors were meant to be hunting colors, so he’s pretty drab.  The female is shown completed in the next set of pictures.

On this pair I was focusing on shading clothing and highlighting hair.  I went with a monochrome blue on the male’s robe and cowl.

On several of these early photos, I still hadn’t figured out how to take photos of such small things, so many of them are blurry.  This one’s blue background throws off the colors of the mini. It looks much less saturated in real life.  There is a blue ribbon tied to his right leg, indicating he has won a tourney or something.

The wood plank base and the striped bandana were the fun parts to do on this guy.  More camera difficulties has washed out the color in these photos.

I spent a lot of time blending the pale yellow into orange on this girl’s clothes.  The little silver dot pattern on the cape and the hair highlighting are also features I was proud of when I finished this mini.

This guy’s pose was difficult to make sense of.  I figured he was winding up to make a backhand strike at something.  I was trying to bury the original base with basing of my own, but got the mix of grain sizes WAY off, so it ended up looking much more chunky than I intended.  I just tried to make it look like rubble and put a clump of moss in front of him like some plant creature rising up in front of him.  His shield is also unusual in that I rarely see shields with this kind of dramatic distinctive sculpting.

I don’t like minis with big helm decorations like this guy has.  I almost never know how to paint them realistically, and still don’t.  I did take the opportunity to do some freehand work on the shield that came out pretty well.  Experimented with some sculpting paste on the base, didn’t work as I intended.  It looks too droopy and gloppy.

This ninja is intended to be torch-lit from above and to his left.  This is typically called Object Source Lighting (OSL), but for this mini the “object source” is not part of the mini, just implied.  The shadow on the ground on his right isn’t a real shadow, it’s the original color of the base before I painted on the torchlight color.

Orcs by Tre Manor

These are Reaper minis sculpted by Tre Manor.  One orc is never enough.  Four orcs is never enough.  But I’ll never have the patience to paint 20 or 30, so this will be all I paint for the foreseeable future.  I like Tre Manor’s stuff a lot.  He has his own mini company now, Red Box Games, and all the stuff there is really nice.

77056: Orc Sniper, 77059: Orc Berserker, 77051: Orc Stalker, 77045: Orc Hunter

77043: Eye Beast

This is Reaper’s version of the D&D Beholder.  The Beholder is an iconic Dungeons and Dragons monster.  The name is even kept as IP by Wizards of the Coast, which is why Reaper has to call this model “Eye Beast” instead of Beholder.

The original base is kind of   crummy, so I cut it off and sculpted one with Green Stuff, complete with some green slime dripping down the walls.  It’s intended to look like he’s hovering in a tunnel deep in the Underdark somewhere.  I modeled the color scheme on Eric Louchard’s Nautiloid Chrysalid from AnitMatter Games.

77325: Bone Devil

The characters in our AD&D campaign had to fight lots of these guys.  They were quite a challenge.  The ability of devils to summon more devils makes things difficult.  Their magical at-will abilities to cause fear, fly, and create illusions, along with their strength-sapping attacks and poisoned tail spike give the characters fits.

I gave this Reaper mini a base of skulls, and then added a bit of blood so things didn’t look quite so…dry.  He came with a pair of raggedy wings that I decided to leave off.

03553: Kallaguk, King of the Trolls

I’m really happy with how this Reaper mini turned out.  I tried a glazing method described by Eric Louchard of Antimatter Games.  I was a bit more patient with this mini than I am with most, so my blending is smoother than usual.  The original mini’s face is angled down, so it isn’t easy to see.  I built up the front of his base to tip the mini up so that you can see his face better.  I think it works.

77183: Frost Wyrm

This is the Reaper’s version of the D&D Remorhaz.  The creature dwells in cold climates, hence the snow base.  The back of the creature gets furnace-hot when it is agitated.  I sculpted a pair of eggs out of Green Stuff that mommy is protectively coiled around.

In our Against the Giants campaign, when the characters found this creature at the bottom of the Glacial Rift of the Frost Giant Jarl, they purposely woke it and then ran away.  The remorhaz crawled out of its lair, stretched it out across the chasm floor, tucked in its legs, and steamrolled down the length of the rift, flattening and frying about a dozen winter wolves, ogres, and giants.  Good times.

77016: Rats

This set of small rats from Reaper was painted for a D&D introduction for my niece and nephew.  The “Bones” plastic that these are cast with rounds out detail, so I’m sure the originals had more detail depth in the fur that didn’t come out in the final minis.  That’s typical of Reaper’s “Bones” figures.  These also suffered from the Armory matte sealant, so the final colors were dulled by the final spray.