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…
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.
Here are nine more oldies I painted ages ago.
The first group I left with the bases I originally gave them. They include:
- RP 11-007 Elf Magic Users (Male)
- Grenadier 2001 Wizards box set Enchanter (2001 is not the year, just the set number.)
- RP 11-012 Halfling Fighter Thieves (Female)
- ??? Dude with unicorn on his head
The second group I’ve spruced the bases up a bit. The second group includes:
- RP 61-002 Wizard with Staff
- Games Workshop (Female Fighter)
- RP 61-003 Cleric with Mace
- Harlequin (Female with Bow)
The last mini I have not modified; it is my first attempt at a snow base. I used cotton, which you can see is now discolored. I was also shooting for a frosted armor appearance. He is from 1994 Games Workshop, like the female fighter above.
Way back in 2008, I was paring down everything I owned to just the bare essentials. I gave away my entire mini collection to my great friend Jim.
I went to visit Jim a couple weeks ago and he gave me all my old minis back! What a guy.
They had seen some rough treatment over the years (Jim plays a lot of D&D!) Many of them were never put on proper bases. So I gave them just a little TLC to cover up some of the chipped paint, and then gave them some more interesting bases.
Back when I painted these, I was tinkering with adding colors to silver to make colored metal. Thus, the two axe fighters here have reddish armor. The red was the least satisfactory color to mix because red + silver comes out a bit pink. Other minis, that I’ll post later, have green or blue steel armor
Most of these are from Ral Partha packs that each came with a male and female pair. From left to right:
- RAFM 3808 Sorcerers who came in a 3-wizard pack (one is getting repaired, the other is lost),
- 11-030 Fighters in Plate Mail with Axes,
- 11-006 Dwarf Fighters (I lost her male counterpart long ago),
- 11-001 Fighters with Swords (his female counterpart will be posted next), and
- 11-007 Elf Magic Users (her male counterpart is still getting some more touch-up.)
Another of the right-hand-raised undead from the Monsters box set. White, black, and red are probably the hardest colors to paint well. The shading is so sensitive; white is had to avoid making muddy, black is hard to make not look gray, and red is hard not to make orange or pink. So this guy took some work, and obviously I still need practice.
Nearly done with the undead from the Grenadier Monsters box set. Right hand raised? Check.
It took three tries to get this guy done. I originally had him black but didn’t like it so stripped him back down and tried red. I didn’t like that, either, so I stripped him down again. Then, my friend Mike over at Swords and Dorkery, painted this mini in purple, which looked great, so I did likewise. Hopefully Mike will remember that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery…
Another undead from the Grenadier Monsters box set. This guy is the only undead of the set that doesn’t have the right-hand-raised feature.
I cut off the original broccoli base and put him hovering over a marble-like floor. He’s supposed to be glowing from inside his hood and sleeves. I think I should have pushed the glowing effect a little more, as in these photos it comes of too dim.
This is yet another of the undead from the Grenadier Monsters box set.
I attempted to do something a little more interesting than the usual plain pale tan or sand colors for the bone. I’m not sure if the various colors come through in the finished piece. This mini continues the theme of the undead in the set having their right hands raised, though with the sword, it makes a little more sense for this guy. I put this guy in some soggy wet mud, which I kinda like.