Two Beowolves and sneaky hobbitses

I’m getting closer on finishing up all my barbarians (excluding a bunch of plastics), and I think this one is the oldest — the Ral Partha Beowulf, which dates back to 1978 I think. Mine had some filing on the base so I’m not positive; the Lost Minis Wiki also shows a version with a separate axe, which might be earlier or might be a conversion.

Here he is side-by-side with another Beowulf, the Asgard/Viking Forge figure.

Asgard’s figure certainly looks more like an historical Viking type, maybe from a bit later than the Beowulf story. Apart from the horned helmet, Ral Partha’s is pretty convincing for the dark ages.

I’ve been working some more on halflings, and this batch is all from the Grenadier AD&D set, except for the chubbier thief who was in the Thieves set. Not pictured are an archer who has been missing for decades, the lookouts who I posted long ago, and the lancer on a pack mule who is still not painted — I have a lot of mounted adventurers to get to some day. These guys are a little close to being finished that the Ral Partha figures posted last time, and mostly just need their bases finished and their eyes fixed. The first batch are especially bug-eyed.

 

The thief (center right) always struck me as Frodo, and the swordsman next to him as Bilbo decked out for the Battle of Five Armies. This particular one needed some reconstruction as he’d lost his sword. Because I have another of the same, I also moved his arm to different position. (I just realized I painted them both in reds and greens!)

 

I always liked the guy in the middle, relaxing against a tree stump. Painting him, I realized his pipe stem was miscast, missing partly. I just filled in the gap with some white glue, which seems to have worked. The “spear chucker” (as he’s labeled in one insert) needed repairs too — the front of his javelin had broken off. I see that his atl-atl was miscast as well, partly missing.

I’m pretty sure the halflings set was the first box of miniatures my brother & I ever purchased, probably in 1980 or 1981.

 

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Published in: on November 15, 2017 at 8:00 am  Comments (1)  
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Barbarians, halflings, and some monsters

Here’s a real grab bag.

A few barbarians I hadn’t posted yet. Two from Asgard (Viking Forge recasts):

This one sort of replaces a figure I lost … not really sure when. But at one point I had this and a similar unarmored and beardless dude which is no longer in production. Both originally came with a selection of weapons (hand axes, swords, shield, bow and arrows maybe?) but I got mine second hand so I’m not positive what was originally theirs. Anyway I had to give him a different sword than the rather chunky one that he came with, because his hands are tiny, almost Trump-like.

Next up is another Asgard/VF barbarian, fairly traditional.

This guy is a MageKnight figure, and honestly not the best in terms of pose, detail, and proportions. But he’ll work as Chaos Thug or something.

TSR’s Conan the king. The axe is a replacement. He’s probably the worst figure in the set — he came with a neat Thak the Ape (which probably was the main reason my brother bought the set) and a decent Thoth-Amon, as well as an excellent  vampiress and a couple of serpent things.

 

A couple of random monsters, both Grenadier. On the left, a Vegetation Beast, from the Fragon Lords “Horrors of the Marsh” set. This was a rather odd set — it had great work by John Dennett, but for whatever reason he must have been ordered to partly replicate the original AD&D “Denizens of the Swamp”. Both sets had lizard men, a giant snake, a troll, and plant-based monster, though they diverged from there. Anyway he’s a great and unique monstrosity. The gargoyle next to him is a bit of a cheat. The wings are not original — I got the figure second-hand with no wings, but also acquired the wings separately in a trade. I think they are Reaper — I remember them making a blister of spare bird and bat wings to customize your own angels and devils or something.

FWIW here are all my fungus and plant monsters, including slimes but leaving out the treants (hah!), in their designated box.

Two more monsters — a HeroClix villian repainted as a beastman or satyr, and a hag (night hag?) from Metal Magic (a MegaMinis recast). I’m not 100% happy with the night hag. I kind of rushed the eyes and they look like bloody sockets rather than glowing red. I can’t remember anything about the superhero/villain except that he is an alien of some kind and exiled from his planet. I don’t even remember if he is a DC or Marvel character. But he makes a good beastman.

As a break from the barbarian horde, I started looking at my halflings, who have always been under-represented on my painting desk. Here are a bunch of Ral Partha halfling militia. Don’t look too close, really need to finish them up later. They unusually petite. Here’s a couple next to a Grenadier halfling. The rest of that set (barring the archer, which has been MIA for decades) will be coming soon…

Published in: on November 13, 2017 at 4:00 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Nagas, mushroom men, hell hounds, and a thingthing

Am I still painting a lot? Oh hell yeah. As usual, quantity takes primacy over quality.

First up, two nagas from the Descent board game.

They follow the old Monster Manual illustration pretty spot-on. Though I didn’t apply the mascara.

D&DNaga.JPG

For scale, here’s a Grenadier wizard I probably didn’t post already. He should have had a skull on his staff but the one I traded for was broken. The round orb is just the end of a stickpin.

Interestingly, Way back in the early 1980s when Dimensions for Children released a series of fantasy playsets and action figures (Dragonriders of the Styx), one of their designs was based on the Monster Manual illustration too. TSR sent a cease & desist letter (I’m not clear on how a sculpture can violate a copyright on drawing; it certainly wasn’t a patented image, but then again who wants to go to court?) and soon the toy naga was appearing with the face completely removed. Original on left, later version on right!

Image result for naga monster manual dfc

I managed to score a later naga in a trade some time ago, and painted him (her? it?) up thus:

Anyway I also finished the last three Descent hell hounds I have:

Here they are with the same wizard and the three I painted earlier:

I was really on a roll with the plastic monsters; here are three Reaper Bones fungoids/mushroommen/myconids or whatever they’re called:

I already had a metal version of the big guy, and I’d say he’s an almost exact replica. Maybe a slight loss of detail on the staff and cap.

Finally, I painted the last of the demons from the MegaMinis monster box I bought some time back. It’s a weird insect-like thing, and while he looks ok from the side, he suffers from the same flatness of other demons originally made by Metal Magic.

They call it a demon, but I’m not really convinced. I’d call it more of an alien. Or a thing. Or a thingthing.

Published in: on November 7, 2017 at 12:00 pm  Comments (4)  
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Human giants

“Verbeeg, or human behemoths, are a race of human giants…”–Monster Manual II

Per the Monster Manual II, verbeeg are 8 1/2 to 10 feet tall, while firbolg are 10 1/2 feet tall.

These two were sold as Firbolg during TSR’s short-lived turn as a miniatures manufacturer, but I always thought of them a half-ogres or Verbeeg, based on their relative size. They’re pretty close in size to the Grenadier AD&D “Giants,” which could only be hill giants (and really are ogre sized at best). If I were going to quibble I’d also say that the TSR minis should be armed with greatswords or halberds, per the MMII, rather than axes.

Together with the plastic cavemen and Grenadier giants I am calling troggs, these and few other miscellaneous figures are grouped together in my collection as “human giants,” whatever that means — the MMII terminology is ambiguous. Why call them “human giants”? Are they a distinct race? Or just humans with acromegaly or some magical affliction?

I include this Grenadier ogre from the Wizzards & Warriors line:

He’s no more than 7 feet tall in scale, but looks like a shaman or witch-doctor for the tribe.

I also finally painted an Adina giant and a viking from the “Crossbows and Catapults” game. (Somehow I unede up with just one example of each of the vikings and barbarians from that game).

The Viking actually fits the Verbeeg description the best, as they should be relatively slim for giant types. The Adina giant is barely taller than a normal human, as you can see below with a Heritage knight for reference. Though he is very stocky.

I also snagged a few HeroClix figures that I thought I’d use as young giants. I think they represent a DC villain. The huge craniums make them look a bit like children.

I was pretty happy with how their animal skin togas turned out.

So here’s the complete collection of Verbeegs and Troggs:

Published in: on November 4, 2017 at 3:19 pm  Comments (3)  
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Barbarians at the gate!

This Sunday I got on a bit of a painting tear and finished off a bunch of barbarians.

The oldest ones first. The two ladies on the left are the Heritage “barbarian woman” from the Cavern of Doom set. The leftmost is in better condition; the other one broke repeatedly long ago, and I had to create a new right leg and left foot, as well giving her a new sword. The new legs aren’t quite right and she ended up looking upward, maybe fighting an ogre or giant? The next guy is Ral Partha, the “barbarian hero” from the Adventurers boxed set. I thought of him as Boromir. He bears a passing resemblance to the depiction in Bakshi’s Lord of the Rings movie. Lastly, Hercules from the Grenadier Action Art “Mythological characters” set. I’m not sure the photo captures this so well but I did some effort to get the wolfs head on Boromir and the lion skin on Herc realistically colored. Before stripping these two, my original paint jobs from the 80s had all the fur light brown.

Next up, some barbarians from Viking Forge — recasts of old Asgard minis. I never saw these among the old Asgard ads in Dragon Magazine. They must date from a bit later. I understand a company in the UK also casts these Asgard minis. They were fairly fun to paint. The sculptor went on to work for Citadel and I can see some similarities in theses and older Citadel minis. The guy on the right would make a passable druid or even a shaman for later editions of D&D.

These next two are much newer, but still older. Both are from Reaper. The clansman was fun to paint; I’d never tried a tartan design before so I went very minimal. But at this scale it is recognizably plaid. The seated figure is obviously Conan. He was last one I finished, and it was pretty late, so I didn’t realize how badly I screwed up his face. I may need to fix that.

Then a few assorted figures I did at the same time. The center figure is a barbarian — in this case a plastic Celt from a kit for the wargame Hail Caesar! I am planning to use parts of them to create some Chaos Thugs, at some point. On the left, a small creature of dubious origin that was a “bonus” (not mentioned on the package or anything) for the Grenadier “Fantasy Fiends” Action Art set. No idea what he’s supposed to be. The guy on the right is a modified DreamBlade figure. He was originally faceless — nothing but turban. And had a funky but badly bent sword.  I found a photo of the original for reference. I gave him a new face (from a severed head in the versatile Zvedza Orku kit) and his sword is from an old earring of mine from junior high, when I wore various heavy metal earrings and had a killer mullet. Painted up ok.

Image result for faceless eunuch dreamblade

As I was painting these I realized that Hercules and the whatever are both sitting on the same rock!

Anyway here are all the lightly armored berserker/barbarian types in their very own container. I probably featured some of the others here in the past. A few could use some more work but that will have to wait.

Here are the armored barbarians in another box, which will probably be the next project, as there are just half a dozen to paint:

Published in: on October 30, 2017 at 6:58 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Fimir

Games Workshop’s unique and problematic Warhammer monster the Fimir has been pretty thoroughly documented here, so I don’t have much to add. I occasionally wish I’d picked up a few more of the metal ones, and when I bought some Viking Forge recasts of some Asgard stuff, I decided the Many-Armed Skulker would be a passable addition to their ranks. I painted the metal one (a noble/hero) many years ago and he’s seen little or no use on the table, but this week I decided to finally paint the three plastic ones I got in the HeroQuest game, and the Skulker, to finally complete a squad. At some point I might make some conversions to the three plastics for variety but they look OK. Point of trivia, the Skulker is actually the first Asgard sculpt I’ve painted. I had a few barbarians long ago that someone else painted well enough I never considered stripping them to repaint, and then lost them with a bunch of others that friend’s wife accidentally tossed in the trash. Not that I hold a grudge. 😉

Anyway here are some pics:

Lots of bronze, since they’re swamp dwellers and iron would rust.

The noble has some iron though. Probly makes the plebes polish it.

 

Published in: on October 29, 2017 at 12:00 pm  Comments (2)  
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Five minis in search of a theme

The Reaper version of Carrion Crawlers (Charnel Grub) are pretty sick looking. These guys are plastic Reaper Bones version.

I kept the classic green and red look of CC for these but tried to make them look a little paler, like maggots.

I still have some work to do on the slime trails and bases, but they’re good enough for now.

The next guy is a Castle Creations generic superhero, converted to hold a shield and weapon. I used him as Chaos Thug in and the paint job is pretty old, but I had to replace his weapon so I touched him up a bit. In hindsight I wish I’d attached the shield so that the boss is closer to his hand, but I didn’t want to disassemble him. CC used some really soft lead and I was afraid he’d break if I put an stress on the arms.

Lastly a farmer and his hawk. Another LionHeart peasant, this time with a Frostgrave Cultist head. He’s nothing special and mainly there to show how the hawk works — it’s a Ral Partha “familiar” mounted on a bit of florist wire and attached to base with room for some other mini to stand on.

I used some photos of a hawk I found on Google for the color scheme.

He’ll actually be the familiar for an MU in our weekly game.

 

Published in: on October 27, 2017 at 4:00 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Another Rat on a Stick variation

Some day I’ll settle on a recipe. This year I used “Gimme Lean” again, and blended white beans, with a bunch of sage, basil, salt, garlic, and little oregano because the beans sort of watered down the sausage flavor. The resulting mix was plenty to make something like 30 or 35 rats, including five “jumbo” rats. Bucatini (not pictured) is definitely the right pasts for tails too. The sauce is just for dipping this time around.

Same old basic procedure: impale 1/3 of a cheese stick onto a skewer; wrap in mixture and form into rat; boil half the length of the pasta in colored water and break off just enough to leave a bit that you can insert into the rat; wrap tail around skewer, add details to taste (in this case, black bean eyes); bake at 350 for 20 minutes or until cheese erupts. I had to add a little flour to reduce the moisture from the white beans, and also coated them with it to form them.

Basic rat forms on well-greased baking sheet.

Preparing tails

I added the eyes while waiting for the next batch of tails to cook

Bon apetite!

They went over pretty well at the party.

Published in: on October 26, 2017 at 4:00 pm  Leave a Comment  
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More flesh for Frankenstein

Still working on Halloween-related minis, I finished two flesh golems — or rather a flesh golem and a homonculous.

The Tom Meier/Ral Partha Frankenstein is a nice sculpt although the detail on the face is kind of obscured by mold lines I couldn’t quite remove. The other guy is a MegaMinis recast of the Metal Magic original. I tried to emphasize his being stitched together by painting each contiguous part a different shade.

And here are all my flesh golems. The one on the far left I painted a really long time ago, but I was very proud of how he turned out. I can’t bring myself to strip and repaint him, but I might touch him up since the existing paint and sealer isn’t too thick. The other two I’ve posted before.

For the record, of course, Frankenstein’s monster was never explicitly described as being made from corpse parts, and my impression from the book was that he was more of a homonculous created from chemistry and magic.

Published in: on October 25, 2017 at 4:00 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Some plastic undead

I worked on some more undead — I was hoping to finish all my unpainted undead by Halloween but there’s no way that’s happening. Here’s two and a half:

On the right, a Frostgrave Cultist assembled with the optional undead hands and head. Center, a MageKnight skeleton archer. I got him super cheap and his hand and bow were broken off, so he’s got a replacement from a Lionheart archer (the same donor whose head was used for a larva). On the left, a figure I picked up at Weird Realms on Free RPG Day. I’ve been there a couple of times and it’s a great little FLGS. Of course has a place near and dear to my heart because they actually carried stock of my book. In fact I thought I bought their last 2 copies the first time I went, but my brother found a copy on Free RPG Day too (which he bought). So next time I’m there I’ll have to see if there are any more. Either they restocked or I was mistaken last time. I have also seen all kinds of OSR publications there that I thought were only obtainable online or Print-on-Demand, like The Dungeon Dozen.

Anyway the figure was meant for some sort collectible game, and had a card with him. He was cast in transparent green plastic, which would have been fine for a ghost. Nice detail. I can’t remember the name of the game or company, but I don’t see this on the Free RPG Day web site so maybe they were not part of the “official” distribution? The other minis were also ghosts and ghouls IIRC.

Funny how photographing minis reveals stuff I missed, like the spots on his base that didn’t get painted black.

Lastly these two guys might be undead, or might just be recruiters.

They were also MageKnight minis that really needed a repaint. They are kind of bulky and the detail is not very strong, but that let me give them different faces by just painting them a little differently. Their hair reminded of an old Valley of the Four Winds figure. As I painted them I noticed they have slightly different postures, presumably because either one other both were bent in storage, or maybe something to do with the molding process. I don’t think they were copied from some metal original like many early MK figures.

I would use them like the “Gravedigger” monsters in Diablo 2, who attack with their shovels when approached but otherwise just scratch at the floor of crypts. Roll each round, on a 1, they dig up a zombie or skeleton. I’d add them to an encounter in a catacomb or crypt with a group of undead that can run interference while the diggers keep piling on more cannon fodder.

 

 

Published in: on October 23, 2017 at 5:00 pm  Comments (1)  
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