Tree trolls

The late Bob Blanc (owner/operator of the company Castings, miniaturemolds.com) sold a number of silicone rubber molds for homecasters that reproduced classic old school fantasy miniatures. According to my sources, he did this under license. Gravity-casting or drop-casting simply does not create castings as highly detailed as the spin-casting used in commercial production. But I enjoy the hobby and picked up some of the molds before the company was shuttered by his passing. One of my favorites is definitely the Broadsword “tree troll” — a sort of sawed-off ent. Interestingly, the catalog image I’ve seen of this particular figure has four digits on each hand, but it is a drawing, not a photo…)

Anyway here are some I made for my collection. I already have bunch of metal and plastic treants shown in this much old post.

The one in the middle was slightly mis-cast (I didn’t pour enough metal to fill in his base, but fortunately his “feet” were cast ok, so he’s just a few millimeters shorter than the others).

For variety, I gave some tops. These are from cheap trees from a crafting store. I added “apples” to two and replaced the foliage with autumn-colored flock on the one.)

I missed one of the unmodified ones — he got autumn colors too.

Painting these was a breeze. White primer, Citadel contrast paints (two of the brown shades) and detailed in regular paint.

Published in: on December 10, 2019 at 7:00 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Monsters–another pass at stain painting

I haven’t had a lot of time for painting lately, and the fact that I’m having someeye trouble hasn’t been an incentive either. But I did manage to get a few things painted a couple of weeks ago. The stain-painting technique (prime white, apply thinned paints just pick out details with full-strength paint) has allowed me to be productive in a few minutes here and there.

First up, a Heritage models dragon.

I think this was exclusive to the “Cavern of Doom” boxed game. There were two variants, one with the body cast in two pieces and athis one, with the bod in one piece and just separate head, wings, and tail. I’m not sure which was the first version but imagine they re-tooled it for better casting. If you click on the image, you’ll see just how crude the sculpting is. The scales were probably just the end of a small tube, like the ink reservoir of a pen, and there were lots of joints to fill in with putty. I have another copy of this, from back in the day, but somehow the head, wings, and tail were lost, so I had to reconstruct them with epoxy putty and miscellaneous junk. I was never happy with the result, so I’m glad I was able to trade someone for this complete model.

Next up, a Rafm night gaunt (from their Call of Cthulhu line). I though it would make a passable ice devil for D&D, so I painted it light blue instead of flat black.

Third, Grenadier ghost. This figure came in a small lot of figures I got from a thrift store. There were several recognizable copies of gaming miniatures, including this one. The Grenadier logo and copyright are still partly visible on this one’s base, though the others were Citadel miniatures with square metal bases replacing their “slotta base” tags. So they must be “pirated” copies. There were also a bunch of junky animals I’ll melt down for my own casting operation.

Next up, my favorites of this batch. A pair of Citadel Nurglings, using pennies as bases. I really love the worm emerging from the first one’s mouth. I’m not sure if they had any stats in Warhammer or were just for decorating the bases of larger Nurgle troops. But they make great imps.

Lastly, some zombie dogs from a Zombies!!! game expansion set. I bought a bag with like 100 of these, but only kept a handful. They are mounted on pennies as well. They were a breeze to paint.

 

Published in: on November 21, 2019 at 6:30 pm  Comments (1)  
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The triumph of death, again

I’ve always like the Bruegel painting “The triumph of death.” I was pretty happy to find some miniatures clearly based on the design there, and relatively cheaply. Getting them gave me the impetus to also paint a handful of skeletons from the Valley of the Four Winds line, made by Minifgs in the 1970s. All the images can be clicked to enlarge, but unfortunately that will also make some of the defects of my painting more evident.

First up though, some Skull and Crown skeletons. The majority are armed with “war darts” rather like the fellows in the lower left of Bruegel’s painting, including the coffin-lid shields.

I got my Skull & Crown figures second hand, and had to supply some different weapons for the marching pose.

There were also some “command” figures — musicians with a horn and two hurdy-gurdies, a pair of champions with laurel crowns, swords, and hourglasses, and three torch-bearers.

These were not the first figures to be inspired by Bruegel. The Minifigs “Valley of the four winds” line had a whole army of skeletons mostly based on Breugel (along with other monstrosities from Bosch, but I don’t have any of those).

My Minifigs skeletons also came second hand, and had to have a few repairs made.

Unfortunately they are “true” 25mm scale, perhaps closer to 1/72 scale, while the newer skeletons are in the modern “heroic” 28mm scale.

I also painted a few more ornate Games Workshop skeletons I bought a couple of years ago.

 

Great detail, especially considering they are plastic.

One last skeleton, not so triumphant — a Ral Partha “wounded skeleton”.

And as long as the dead are walking about seasonally, here are a few mummies. The center one is an old Citadel figure, flanked by two Grenadier mummies. On the right, the original sculpt for the “Wizzards & Warriors” line, and on the left the resculpt of the figure for the AD&D “Solid Gold” line.

Published in: on October 17, 2019 at 6:00 pm  Comments (1)  
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Beastmen and goatkin

No telling if I’ll be able to follow through with this, but my master plan is to start getting the vast backlog of unpainted miniatures painted by tackling one type at a time. Here is the result of trying to get all my “beastmen” finished. (I do have a bunch of other animal/human hybrids yet to do, but the beastmen are all vaguely goat- or bull- headed humanoids.)

All images are clickable to enlarge.

 

First up: some beastmen from the Battle Masters game (jointly produced by Milton Bradley and Games Workshop back in the early 1990s). The guy on the far left was one I painted years ago. The others were languishing unpainted until I got more inspired and swapped out some of their weapons.

I used a variety of thinned down paints, including some GW “contrast” paints. The idea was to just prime everything white and paint in thinned colors using the old Heritage Models idea of “stain painting.” The GW Contrast paints are simply paints thinned down with some kind of flow enhancer added to help the pigment pool in the recesses of a sculpture and form “shadows” of more intense color, so that you don’t need to shade or highlight. It really speeds things up. Mixing my own cheap craft paints with some water and a couple of drops of Liquitex flow aid gets similar results. I used the stickers that came with the Battle Masters game for their shields.

The next group are Grenadier “goatkin warriors”. They were sculpted by John Dennett, who did some of the best monsters Grenadier produced in my opinion. The white ones were painted at least twenty years ago, so I touched them up a bit to cover spots where the paint had worn off, and also to correct some sloppiness.

The last group are a random collection: a figure from the Descent board game, a satyr (a WizKids recast, for MageKnight, of a Ral Partha design), and a Citadel “ogre.” The citadel model was another I’d painted many years ago, and touched up. I bought him through Wargames West, an mail-order service from the pre-internet days that published huge newsprint catalogs. I bought several figures through them, even though they did not have illustrations, so it was a bit of a surprise.

Finally, another Citadel figure, meant to represent a beastman champion. He came out a little better than this blurry photo suggests.

And here’s the whole set (including a figure I did not photograph separately because he was done a long time ago and needed no work).

I used a lot of beastmen in the D&D campaign I ran a while back, because I wanted something a little different from the usual orcs. More recently they have been standing in for gnolls in a game I play in. I do have a box of gnolls to paint some day too…

Bonus: another Dennett sculpt, the Vi-Perdon!
I like the animation in this one.

Published in: on October 6, 2019 at 6:00 pm  Comments (1)  
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Devouring Gourd

This time of year you may be seeing small, ornamental gourds at the grocery store. Get one, carve a maw into it, and voila! A terrible folkloric monster. You’re welcome.

Read all about devouring gourds here: in the Book of Creatures. If you didn’t know about BoC, it’s a great place to visit and will be time well squandered.

Source: Devouring Gourd

Published in: on October 2, 2019 at 6:00 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Denn die Todten reiten Schnell

Admittedly one of the weirder miniatures now in my collection, this is a “Corpse Cart” from Games Workshop. I found the kit in a discount bin so how could I not? There were a few extra bits for alternative assemblies and customization. It’s not my neatest paint job, but I’m happy with it.

As you can see, it’s a cart pulled by a team of zombies who have apparently been nailed to, or impaled on, the yoke. The corpses in the cart don’t all look dead, and they are being munched on by a handful of giant rats (some of them are tunneling through the bodies).

The ghoulish driver might be a vampire, or some kind of necromancer. I have no idea how this thing functions in a game of Warhammer, but I imagine it either spreads terror through the opponents’ ranks, or rams into them like an Achaemenid Persian scythed chariot. Maybe your necromancers can use it to raise additional zombie forces. In that case it sort of goes with the Skeleton recruiting party.

I do like how the cart mimics a rib cage.

The blood splatter was accomplished by taking an old toothbrush, loading it with a bit of paint, and running my thumb across it so it splattered the model when I nearly finished painting it.

While I was waiting for various parts to dry, I worked on some vampires, which I’ll photograph eventually. Here’s a Grenadier “Blood giant,” which I suppose is what happens when a giant or ogre gets bitten.

I was still having fun with the gore effects. The fuzz near his feet is meant to suggest a cloud of fog or smoke. His left foor was not fully formed and there was a suggestion of liquid or gas welling up around him, so maybe he’s emerging from, or disappearing into, some fog.

Here a few other odds and ends I painted recently.

The first is one of John Dennett’s Grenadier figures from the Monster Manuscript series. Maybe inspired by the Mi-go of H.P. Lovecraft.

Next up, a Superior Models wizard. Very clearly based on the description of Gandalf from the Hobbit; his eyebrows really do come out to the brim of his hat! I like the face in the staff too.

Lastly, three serpent folk.

The oldest is a Grenadier “Wizzards & Warriors” medusa. It’s a rarity, being male. His expression makes me think of “Little” Steven van Zandt. The arms are very disproportionate. It’s obviously one of the very early monsters from that range, when Andrew Chernack was still developing his skills.

The other medusa is from German “Metal Magic” line. It’s pretty standard looking but nicely sculpted.

The last one I’m not sure about. His left arm probably had another “sword” originally, but it had been cut off when I got him. He’s holding a shield from the Zvedza “Orku” set. I got that figure in a lot with a bunch of broken or incomplete figures sold as scrap metal on ebay.

Published in: on August 7, 2019 at 6:30 pm  Leave a Comment  
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2019, minis painted to date

I’ve had a handful of productive days painting, in spite of everything.

On my birthday, I finally painted the infamous Ral Partha three-headed troll!

It is a bit of a testament to Tom Meier’s skill as a sculptor that when I uploaded a photo of this on Ye Faces Booke, I was asked to tag Curly and Larry!

I decided to also paint a Ral Partha AD&D ettin. I already had one from many years ago, so I painted this one red, after the fairy tale Red Ettin (which had three heads, but who’s counting?)

And here’s a group shot all the ettins I’ve painted to date. The tan ettin has the oldest paint job, though the green one (Grenadier) is my oldest and was repainted when I was in college some 25 years ago.

Next up, a Grenadier dragon. He came in a lot of old minis and needed a new passenger side front claw. A spare bit from a GW cold one sufficed. Because the color scheme is so simple he hardly took any time to finish.

That same lot had a bunch of really old dungeon dressing, mostly from Grenadier’s old Wizzards & Warriors line.

Two small statues that reminded me of Tikis:

A couple of thrones or chairs. I believe they’re from the same “temple” set, but have what I can only assume are Indic naga figures on the backs.

A pair of altars. Scale creep is real. On the left, a Reaper Bones altar; on the right, the Grenadier W&W altar. The demonic figure behind the small altar is a bit shorter than a typical man-sized 25mm miniature.

Next, a few piles of bullion from the Grenadier W&W treasure room set. I have a another pile that came as a “bonus” in a set of supervillian villains from Grenadier.

And these are pretty cool. On the right, an iron maiden (also Grenadier W&W) and on the left, a mystery figure that seems to have been a “bonus” mini in certain Grenadier “Encounter …” boxed sets. Several other pieces from the Encounter at Lloth-Komar were in the lot, and a FB group member asserts he got the same piece in his set, so maybe it’s just in that one.

This next piece is a hammer from the board game “Dark World” mounted as a Spiritual Hammer spell. That spell has often featured in our D&D games so it will be nice to have a way to keep track of it.

Another quickie paint job is this Reaper silver dragon. This too came it a big lot I bought online, and luckily with all its pieces.

Back to the scenery, here’s a Minifigs Valley of the Four Winds figure: man impaled on tree. The VFW line is pretty great, and this one — from 1978 — is pretty unsettling. The humans in that range tend to be either in baroque armor from an Ian Miller drawing or 19th century finery. This chap has a high collared jacket and spats!

Also from Lloth-Komar: a dragon statue.

Next up a couple of fun items scavenged from bits and parts. Inspired by the 1980s Michael Caine thriller “The Hand,” I took a bunch of spare hands from a plastic kit and made a swarm of hands.

I also found an unidentifiable pair of hands that probably go to a scale model. The other hand holds a gun. But the clenched fist screams Bigby’s Hand spells, so I painted it up as one.

For scale, next to the wizard form last update.

The greenish paint you may have noticed on the spells is a GW “technical” paint I bought on a lark. I decided to try it on some spirits I recently acquired. On the left, a Grenadier ghost. There is another version with a less fluttery cloak and base, and I have a few of those, so I decided to put this one on a wire like it’s floating. Next to it is a Minifigs Sword & Sorcery line ghoul.

On the far left, a Wizzards & Warriors wraith. The other two are later versions of the wraith/ghost. They don’t really lean to the side, that is an artifact of taking a photo close up with my phone. I have a lot of ghosts and wraiths painted various shades of grey, black, or white, so I figured I’d add a little color.

I was really pleased to find this tree man (“Tree with arms and face”) from the VFW line. His companions are a couple of tree stumps made out of polymer clay, and will naturally serve as casualty markers for ents.

These two were fun. On the left, a toilet mimic, made of soft rubber and probably from a gumball machine. I inserted a wire for stability and painted a few layers of Mod Podge on it to make it a bit more stable and keep the paint from flaking off. The chest is just a plastic piece from a Weapons and Warriors game. I keep finding components to the games I picked up on clearance when Kay Bee went under 10 or 12 years ago.

These are a couple of pillars from Citadel’s Fantasy Specials line. You never can have too many pillars.

Another mini that somehow took me about thirty-five years to paint is this table from the Grenadier AD&D “Wizard’s room” set. Next to it is a scratch-built flying carpet made form epoxy putty. There’s a 1″ x 1″ flat space on it for a mini to occupy. I meant to eventually make all the possible sizes of flying carpets from the DMG but never got inspired.

I especially like the little lizard behind the skull candle holder.

Lastly, a ballista which I am unsure of the origins of. The lot it came in had both Roman and Orc crew from Grenadier, and a catapult, so maybe Grenadier. It’s quite large though, so maybe some other company. I added the string (a bit of thread).

Published in: on March 9, 2019 at 9:34 am  Comments (1)  
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2019? Impossible

It’s been quite a while since I’ve posted anything, and I’ve had a lot going on. I did manage to paint a few more miniatures. Some of the photos include a penny for scale since I posted the pics to social media where not everyone knows what the hell these are.

Click pix to embiggen.

First up, some undead rising. I had a bunch of spare parts from some kits so I cobbled them together with gravestones made of bits of matte board. I’ll need to flock the bases some day.

Next up, some barbarians. The two on the left are plastic, from board games, while the two on the right are metal. The big guy is a spoof of Thrudd the Barbarian (himself a spoof of Conan), while the little guy is a VERY old Ral Partha sculpt from when 25mm scale meant 1/72 scale. He’s now sold as a “young barbarian” and still in production! I had an older casting from a box set but it was one of the many lost in a tragic incident I’ve mentioned before.

Next up a couple of plant monsters from the TSR line of AD&D minis.  I don’t remember what they are called but they sure were easy to paint.

Nextly, some GW Horrors of Tzeentch. They should only be pink or blue per the Warhammer fluff but I thought I’d mix em up. A couple needed tails, which a cheap plastic dinosaur donated (one has the actual tail and the other has a leg as a tail). A WotC “ravening maw” is crashing their party too.

The “musician” is easily my favorite. Very Boschian.

Ole Birdy is cool too.

Gotta love Pinky and his asymmetrical eyes.

The maw was missing an arm, but a plastic dinosaur supplied a replacement.

Finally, some random minis — a Reaper succubus, yet another plastic barbarian, and a really old Ral Partha necromancer.

The ole Schnozzola!

 

Published in: on January 4, 2019 at 10:21 am  Leave a Comment  
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Bards and stuff

I’m still not painting as regularly as I’d like, but here’s a few I did in the past month. All still need their bases finished.

First, a bard that I’ve had for about 35 years. He came in the “Woodland adventurers” box.IMG_20181004_231821841

Here he is with the rest of the band. The harpist is another Grenadier AD&D bard (from the “Specialists” box) and the lute-player is from one of the MPC “Action Scenes” kits, which had hard plastic figures based on the Grenadier designs (her lead counterpart is a mirror image though and less ape-like in appearance).

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The two horn-players are (left) a plastic Zvedza musician and on the right a Ral Partha trumpeter. Not exactly bards but I kind of like the idea of bard with a huge horn like that.

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Here they are announcing a Chronopia bronze golem.

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The white orbs should probably be painted as gem stones, which I might do later.

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And two Reaper Bones selkies.

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Published in: on October 30, 2018 at 12:05 pm  Comments (1)  
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Ogres, ish

Three “ogres” I painted for my nephew. For his seventh birthday he wanted me to paint some ogres for him. How could I say no? So I finally got some painting done after a much too long hiatus!

I picked up some Reaper Bones minis that looked like they’d fit his idea of an ogre (green, big, & strong). The biggest guy is actually supposed to be a hill giant and the trollish guy a troll. I really like some of the details on the true ogre — his club has a screaming face on it, and his armor looks crudely thrown together from whatever he could scrounge.  Click pictures to embiggen. Sorry about the lack of focus, still figuring out my newish phone.

I’m hoping that being plastic they won’t break too easily. I decided not to go crazy with the detailing since he’ll probably smash them up playing anyway.

Published in: on September 28, 2018 at 4:16 pm  Comments (1)  
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