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.
I got a hill giant, frost giant, and fire giant a while ago as a way to sort of memorialize the D&D campaign I ran in which the players went through the Slavers series and Against the Giants series. The three “Giants” modules pit the players against hill giants, frost giants, and fire giants, so…
I worked on this guy off and on for darn near a year I think. I got side-tracked by playing World of Warcraft. Also, the paint I was using for his skin was the Reaper Pale Flesh triad that had the clotted highlight color, which I posted about a few months ago. All the nooks and crannies in this guy were tiresome, too. There might be such thing as too much detail…at least for lazy me.
Most people these days make frost giants’ skin blue; a visual cue that the guy is cold-related. I don’t really like that. In my mind, giants are really just extra large people who live in certain habitats. So this guy is up in some muddy tundra somewhere, getting angry.
I agonized over the colors, of course. A continual problem I have is in getting realistic colors that aren’t drab. This guy is pretty drab. The mini painters I admire most are able to paint with bright eye-popping colors while still getting the overall tone come across as muddy and drab.
Anyway, this guy has a sword made of bone strapped to a huge hunk of slate. He wears polar bear fur that’s been dragged in the mud a bit. I’m happy with the way he turned out. He’s obviously a collector of trophies, and he’s got quit a few strapped to his arms, chest, waist, and hands.
I wanted to do some work on a couple frost giants last week. I wanted to start highlighting the skin and was using Reaper’s Golden Skin triad. But the highlight color was all gritty. I emailed a video of the paint (same as below) to Reaper and asked what was wrong with it. I bought it in January 2016, and one or two of the other paints I ordered st that time had the same problem. The response was that it looked like it had been frozen, and to wait for warmer weather to have anything shipped to a cold climate.
They also said that no paint is more than 2 months old when it leaves their factory and should last 10+ years with regular use.
So, buyer beware.
Here is Tuilin, from Reaper. My wife, daughter, and some folks on Facebook all chimed in on the color scheme. I started with the white dress and then started asking opinions about what to do with the trim, staff, gemstones, and the rest of the fiddly bits. My daughter specifically requested that yellow flowers be in the grass. Who am I to disappoint a 5-year old?
This is my biggest attempt at painting white clothing, which is difficult to pull off without it reading as gray, blue, or dirty. Also, this is my first attempt at black hair, which I’m happier with than the dress. The key is making the highlights tight enough to avoid making the hair read as gray, white, blue, or just splotchy. The blending of the shades in the dress folds is not as smooth as I’d like it. I didn’t have the patience to keep blending and blending.
This is Reaper’s take on the D&D Gorgon. I kept him steel plated, rather than brass. He was quite simple, not many colors on this guy. I used a thinned smokey ink glaze over top of the metal colors, which I like a lot. It makes the creature look less shiny and new. I also like the fade from black to silver on his horns and hooves.
My brother and his family bought me some scratch-off lotto tickets for my birthday. Waddya know, I won $25! So I used the money to buy three giants, inspired by an old D&D campaign, in which the characters raided the homes of hill giants, frost giants, and fire giants in rapid succession.
This guy was lots of fun to paint. Clearly, my photography skills are not A+ as these photos are a bit washed out. The vegetation on the base are various kinds of actual moss.
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.
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.
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.
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.