Some old and new

Not great photos, but good enough I guess. To be fair the paint jobs are kind of simplistic too — very mono-color, but this gets them done faster.

The first two were featured earlier in the “Plastic Surgery Disasters” posts I did a while back.

Skeletor is mostly made from parts for GW Chaos Mauraders; his head is from the Frostgrave cultists set. The limited color pallet for him was intentional, of course — following more or less what I found in images of the cartoon. I never cared for Masters of the Universe as a kid. I was slightly older than the target demo anyway, though I still played with Star Wars and similar action figures well after my peers probably did. I think I was in third or fourth grade when MotU appeared.

The spearman’s arms, head, and torso are also GW Marauder, while his legs are from a Battle Masters thug, his shield is an old Citadel plastic shield for their Chaos Warriors, and his spearhead is from a Zvedza set (the dagger meant for a giant orc).

These two are much older and made of lead/tin.  On the left, a Grenadier knight with a poleaxe, from the period after they lost the AD&D license. Andrew Chernak’s sculpting showed some marked improvement. He’s from a set of knights and men-at-arms, I think (I got him separately not too long ago). That box shows a slightly different variant, with a crest on his helmet. Next to him is a Heritage “Dungeon Dweller” fighter. Way back in the 80s I traded figures a bit with my friends, and one friend I think traded me all his figures (a bunch of Dungeon Dwellers) for cash, comics, or maybe records. I don’t really recall what now, but he had lost interest in figures, and I ended up with a bunch of fighters and elves.

These all still need to get their bases flocked, but I’ll wait until the next batch is ready (more knights!). I have finally begun to give some attention to bases, and you can see that the two metal guys have had their bases built up a little (with grout) so the cast-on bases are less noticeable. I hope the flock will help improve the look too.

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Published in: on September 20, 2017 at 12:00 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Another (new to me) artist and a couple of sites for researching such things

I picked up the Budos Band’s “Burnt Offering” at the library, mainly because I liked the cover art and had heard one of their songs on the Cracked Podcast. In some idle time before work I decided to see who the cover artist was. All that’s on the CD case was a monogram of the initial BP, and I didn’t see any matches on here (which is really better for older artists, and I don’t know of any really good resource on illustrators, maybe because the art worlds looks down on illustration) so I checked the Discogs page for the album and found the name — Brian Profilio, who also happens to the band’s drummer. Maybe this is all common knowledge for fans of the band. Anyway his art page has some great stuff, and I thought, this looks like a D&D player’s sketchbook when I got to the pencil sketches, and of course the last page was a miniatures gallery with a lot of Games Workshop stuff but also a few older minis well, mostly in cool dioramas. Small world. Here are couple of the images from his site; go check it out.

 

The Budos Band is sort of a funk band, with some Ethiopian and heavy metal influences. The mix of sounds, and size of the band (there are nine members on Burnt Offerings) reminds me of 1970s soundtracks, but better.

Published in: on September 18, 2017 at 12:00 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Sick day painting

I left work a bit early Friday because I need to get over a cold ASAP because I have bunch of things starting Sunday for work. I rested up, woke up in the middle of the night, and decided to paint to kill time. So in a few hours I finished some figures I’d primed a while ago, and also repaired a couple of broken skeletons. I sealed them all this morning and will probably finish their bases with some texture and flocking tonight, but I photographed them with my phone with unfinished bases.

The main group are some Grenadier halberdiers. I had one from BITD, though he broke long ago. I found three more for sale for a buck a piece at a games store in a box with a lot of really old and badly bent or broken figures (the balrog from a few posts back is from the same batch). I hadn’t realized Grenadier made two variants of the halberdier. The Lost Minis Wiki shows the bearded variant as part of the set but my version had the mailed one. (I don’t think the mailed variant is rare, but both DnD Lead and Lost Minis only show the bearded one).

As all were broken, only one has an original halberd head (I just realized the two variants had some differences in the halberd head too; technically mine is on the wrong guy). The rest have plastic halberd or spear heads from a Zvedza “Ring of Rule” set which had lots of extra bits. They spear heads are huge, but might pass as ox-tongue partisans. The plastic halberd is also pretty outrageously large, but this is fantasy. Their leader is a later Grenadier fighter with a poleaxe (really a pole hammer).

It’s kind of interesting to note that the mailed variant has roundels on the polearm haft, like a poleaxe might have (though honestly I’ve never seen two roundels like that, and question how helpful the rearmost one would be).

I went pretty fast through these, just painting to the old “wargame” standard, with very little highlighting and shadows mostly accomplished with one dark wash.

At the same time I worked on a couple of spear men — one Grenadier, one Heritage. The Grenadier guy is another from the fighting men set, and I replaced his repeatedly bent and broken spear with a plastic javelin from another Zvedza set. I think his original spear head ended up on the Heritage model, as he too had broken long ago.

Finally a couple of skeletons. The halberdier is Ral Partha. I bought a small boxed set of skeletons long ago and to my surprise it had two each of the halberdier and the double-armed swordsman, but no axe-man. My experience with Grenadier led me to think all miniatures companies were pretty slipshod about the contents of the boxes and I never bothered to try to correct the omission. I painted both of these many years ago, when my technique was just to paint everything as neatly as possible in solid colors and apply a black wash. I touched up a few spots on these guys but mostly left them alone.

The swordsman is Grenadier. He originally had his arm raised and sword pointing straight up, and was presumably one of several variants made by adding armor and a shield to the basic skeleton model they made. Those upraised arms always bent or broke, and in this case I replaced it with yet another bit from a Zvedza set (in this case the Cursed Legion, a set of skeleton Roman legionaries).

None are my best work at painting but I’m satisfied they’ll finally see some use.

 

Published in: on September 9, 2017 at 6:58 pm  Comments (2)  
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Amazon’s recommendations never let you down

I’m just loving Amazon’s recommendations lately. That is all.

Published in: on August 28, 2017 at 4:07 pm  Leave a Comment  
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The best D&D movie of the year

It’s no secret that movies intentionally based on D&D tend to suck ass. But there have been some great movies and TV shows that take bits and pieces from the game and make really entertaining stuff. Dave made a maze manages to capture what a dungeon should be like: filled with perils and wonders, and somehow animate and malevolent. The maze which is the location of 90% of the scenes is simultaneously silly and scary. Logic and physics are just guidelines there. The maze clearly has a mind of its own and is hostile. In an early scene, someone cuts their hand and the blood is absorbed — drunk? — by the cardboard floor of the maze. There are a number of traps and tricks that would do any old school dungeon proud, and while there not many monsters, the main baddie is suitably scary.

The film is ultimately a comedy, and the characters are not heroes but bunch of thirty-something hipsters, artists, and slackers. The visual effects (which seem to be mostly practical) are stunning and the writing and acting are pretty good. It’s actually considerably better than the trail suggests. The writers/director might be the next Charlie Kaufman/Spike Jonez.

Although this does not appear to have an MPAA rating, it got CA-14 in Canada so that’s basically PG-13. There is some strong language, extremely cartoonish violence, and some adult sight gags. You can stream it online or purchase the DVD, but if it’s an option, find it in a theater!

Published in: on August 19, 2017 at 9:01 pm  Comments (1)  
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The toof mouse

So some time back I was driving listening to NPR and someone brought up the “tooth mouse.” The tooth mouse is basically the tooth fairy in other countries — particularly Spanish speaking countries, as well as France, and according to the commenter I heard also in former colonies of France or Spain. The tooth mouse supposedly takes the teeth to build its house, in one version of the story. In any case it usually leaves some small gift. My daughter Riley happened to be in the car and while she stopped believing in fairies and such in first grade or so, she had a loose tooth and suggested she’d leave it for the tooth mouse. Ever since, she would leave her teeth on her dresser, or on a banister by her door, and I’d write a silly thank-you from the tooth mouse (who has terrible spelling and grammar and just signs things “the toof mous”) and some trinkets like glass beads, sea shells, and some coins. The tradition fell by the wayside eventually but this week she lost one of the last three baby teeth she has, and the next day casually commented that the tooth mouse didn’t find her tooth. Riley’s going into seventh grade this year and I know there may not be a lot more of these kinds of moments. So, knowing how much she still loves hunting for toads when we go on hikes, I thought I’d paint the tiniest toad possible for her. It was so small it took only a few minutes really, and I couldn’t get my phone to focus very well on it. But here it is, based on a penny:

I tried it without the flash, not much better.

Honest, it looks pretty good in real life. It’s from the set of familiars Julie Guithrie sculpted for Ral Partha. Somehow I ended up with two of the sprues, so I still have another toad/frog like this and third slightly larger I think from Reaper.

Anyway here’s the card too, front, inside, and back.

Published in: on August 14, 2017 at 9:41 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Zombies!!! and that balrog

Haven’t been doing a  ton of painting lately but I did manage to paint the wingless Ral Partha “Armored Balrog” I posted about earlier, and also some zombies. All the photos should let you click to embiggen.

I started off painting his skin completely black, but it seemed a shame to cover up all the detail in the sculpt. Grey highlights would make him look too cold, so red it was.

Ral Partha Armored balrog with missing wings and sword/sword hand replaced 

I might have spent more time on the flaming mane, but the contrast was good enough IMO to get the idea across. He was just a side project while painting up the zombies anyway.

The zombies are part of a larger set I started working on some time ago. The “Zombies!!!” game is a good beer & pretzels kind of boardgame, but what sold it for me was of course the 100 zombie minis. Over the years I’ve picked up a few “Bag o Zombies!!!” sets, though I wish you could get them in smaller quantities. Anyway because the poses are pretty limited, I started making minor conversions to some to see if I could achieve some more variety. Here’s the first few, based on two male zombie poses, the female zombie, and the zombie kid, as well as a couple of zombies from the Doom boardgame. The paint jobs are pretty simplistic, and I used a pale green skin tone to make them more immediately recognizable as undead. I had in mind the crummy colorized verison of “Night of the Living Dead” that you used to see on VHS in dollar stores.

First up, some boy souts and their scout leader. In hindsight the red bandannas look too much like more gore.

Next up, a bridal party. I still need to figure out how to do a flower girl. The guy had tails added to his jacket to suggest a tux and the girl had her dress extended, a veil added, and the severed head normally in the pose’s hand removed.

 

Two bikers — the big guy is from Doom, the skinny guy is from another Zombies!!! set.

Some miscellaneous people. A punk rocker with mohawk (Return of the Living Dead!), a surgeon (just added a mask and cap), a farmer (head swap from a cowboy), and a security guard (Doom again).

And of course you need a zombie Santa. His right arm was pinned back to hold a sack, and the sack, hat, belly, and beard were all added with some Liquid Nails (the older thick formula which I can’t find at the hardware store anymore).

I still have a lot more of these to paint, and some ideas for more variations, but that may have to wait a while.

Lastly a weirdo monster that I can’t really identify. I believe it was from a HeroClix set — I picked up a bunch of HeroClix stuff from a bin in a hobby shop a few years ago to use for conversions. Some kind of alien critter. This one had to have his two hind legs replaced, but for $.25 you can’t go wrong really. I stayed pretty close to his original color. He seems to have two tails and two tentacles in addition to four legs. If you recognize this from the DCU or MCU let me know!

Published in: on July 28, 2017 at 12:00 pm  Comments (4)  
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Some more plastic dragons

I posted a few plastic dragons before — the MPC knockoff of the Grenadier AD&D dragon, the Dark Tower dragon and two Descent dragons, and a pair of dragons I got from a dollar store.

Here are a couple more.

The first is from a toy set — a knockoff of the DFC “Dragonriders of the Styx” set made by Toyco. The spine in the center of his back, which is spaced out a bit from the rest, was actually a peg for the rider to fit on, but I didn’t have a rider (which would have been a 54mm scale “knight” that looks a lot like the Michelin man — I got this in a trade and the rider was MIA). I slipped a bit while trimming it and cut my thumb pretty badly.  The paint job is pretty basic but I was surprised at how detailed the skin is.

The second dragon is a fairly small figure that was made of a rubbery soft plastic and I think came out of a gumball machine. It originally had a small loop on its back that a parachute was tied to. My daughter gave it to me when she lost interest in it (the parachute never worked properly anyway). For what it is, the detail is not bad.

Lastly a non-dragon — I finished painting a Reaper Bones mimic about the same time.

Who doesn’t love a mimic?

Published in: on June 26, 2017 at 5:00 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Plastic surgery disasters III

As promised here are my flagellants. The Warhammer version of these are loosely based on the real flagellants of history, who make an appearance in my book. The real flagellants were fanatics who thought the Black Death was punishment for the world’s sins, and that people needed to be baptized in their own blood to wash away these sins. If you happened to meet some on the road, they might try to force you to join them, or beat you to death trying. But at other times they simply demonstrated their rites and were applauded by locals. At times they also went on pogroms against Jews and massacred them. The temporal authorities were understandably annoyed with them disrupting trade and travel and bands of knights would sometimes go patrolling to find and kill bands of flagellants, but this was unusual. Eventually the Church condemned them as heretics and many were burned at the stake. In Warhammer, they appeared as special Empire troops that are fearless and subject to frenzy like Norse berserkers, fanatically seeking out the taint of Chaos.

The GW box only had 10 bodies, but lots of extra heads, arms, and accouterments. So naturally I wanted to create some extras.

First, here are the figures I assembled with the bodies in the box.

These guys are really extreme, compared to the original lead flagellants made for Warhammer back in the day. I couldn’t readily find any images, but they were just unkempt monks with flails, whips, and clubs. These newer versions use massive flail weapons (some of which I scaled back, like the second guy in the bottom row, whose weapon originally included a flail head in addition to the bell). I like their scourges, but the real standouts are the guys with flaming hair and the pilloried guy.

Anyway with the extra bits I modified a few Lionheart peasants:

And also a few Zvedza soldiers. The guy with the back banner in particular was modeled on Lancelot at the end of the movie Excalibur. The others are presumably also knights who have lost their minds.

I’m really looking forward to painting these at some point.

Published in: on June 22, 2017 at 5:00 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Plastic surgery disasters II

Here are few more works in progress.

First, a pair of leg swaps — the marauder on the left also has some additional conversion to change the position of his arms, which normally attach pretty close to the body, and I used one of the standard-bearer arms to give him a spear. His shield is an old Citadel chaos shield but I didn’t think to take a head-on shot. The angle of the photo makes his new legs look even shorter, relative to him, than they are. Maybe he’s part gorilla. The guy on the right has a nice pose IMO even if he seems a little long-legged.

For the next guy I used one of the elaborate shoulder pads included in the marauder kit as a skull mask. His head underneath is from the cultist set, as they are slightly smaller than the bare-headed option in the marauder box.

The Frostgrave cultists box is really a kitbasher’s dream, with a ton of extra heads and arms (though I wish there was more variety to the bodies). Anyway, one option in the box is to convert about half of the figures into zombies or skeletons. I gave this guy a zombie head and arms and he’d make a nice ghoul or wight. I’m tempted to give at least one thug a withered undead arm too.

The last one also more ambitious. I wanted to make an inquisitor or executioner with a sword, and the armored body from a Zvedza soldier gets a cultist head, a scroll from the flagellants box, and a sword made from a pin and a toothpick.

Published in: on June 20, 2017 at 5:00 pm  Comments (3)  
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