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).

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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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The Fantastic Worlds of Grenadier Supplement

Terence Gunn is at it again, Kickstarting a supplement to his book on Grenadier Models. You can follow the link below. It looks like it will be an archive of photographs that did not make into the first book, plus some special articles, an interview with publicist Kim Eastland, and a reprint of the entire run of Grenadier Bulletins published in the 80s and 90s.

If you missed the The Fantastic Worlds of Grenadier book, you can also get a copy of that by pledging a bit more. Well worth it if you like old lead.

There’s only a week to go!

 

Published in: on May 3, 2018 at 1:46 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Mounted adventurers

Here are a few mounted characters I painted recently, all plastic. It’s been slow going but I hope to get all the figures I have which are suitable for mounted PCs done next. Of course there are way too many knights, they’ll mostly wait.

Left to right, a cleric, “prince,” and barbarian.

The cleric is just a knight from the BattleMasters game, his lance swapped out for a flail. The shield is (obviously) my crude free-hand of a lion rampant. I need to look into transfers.

The “prince” is from a set of castle-building blocks I got for my birthday one year. He seemed way too big for use with minis when I got it, long before scale creep.  Back in the 80s he would have been a hill giant or something, but now he’s pretty average. The details were pretty crude and I wasn’t sure if primer would adhere to the soft, glossy plastic, but a coat of gesso seems to have done the trick. He could be a bard, magic-user, or fancy thief. I have a handful of mounted  demihumans, but first I’ll focus on the remaining humans that don’t look like fighters. more to come.

The barbarian is cobbled together from the body and legs of a Lionheart “mercenary,” arms and head from the spare parts that came with a box of GW chaos marauders, and a horse of unknown origins that I got in a bag of spare parts at a convention. The horse is extremely barrel-chested and I had to break the mercenary’s already very bowlegged pose to fit. I tried to give him some Appaloosa type markings (dark spots on the hindquarters that only really show when the horse’s fur is wet). I’m surprised I didn’t have any mounted barbarians in my collection, though I have a dozen Rohirrim that usually serve. The problem with them is that they’re all quite similar, since they were for the LOTR wargame.

Anyway back to the castle blocks. The set was called “Exin Castillos” and had instructions in a number of languages. The box was a hexagonal cylinder. It seemed very exotic at the time and I wish I’d managed to keep together some of the parts that came in it. A few bits survive in my terrain: the portcullis found its way onto a castle, and some low wall sections I glued together for wargames, and that’s pretty much it. The princess (who, if I thought of it at the time, would have made a good giantess) was dismembered to make a prow for a Man’o’War ship. I believe there was also a ghost in the set, and I remember seeing a guard with a halberd on the box art but there wasn’t one inside the box.  A little googling turned up this excellent collector’s site (in Spanish).

 

Published in: on February 25, 2018 at 10:14 am  Leave a Comment  
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Free hugs!

I had a meeting in Cleveland so I took advantage of the chance to check out a hobby shop I’d heard about — Warzone-Matrix (no link, the website has been neglected for nearly 10 years and the Facebook page looks like it’s been hijacked by 9/11 conspiracy buffs; Google it and see the reviews and photos there). In fact I first heard about it when an acquaintance from overseas mentioned he wanted to check it out when he was passing through the States. I confused it with another shop, or else a version of it from long enough ago it bears no resemblance to what I found last month. What I thought it was, was a basic wargaming type shop with current games. What it actually is, is treasure trove of stuff old and new. It was strongest on RPGs and board games, but had a fair amount of miniatures stuff, and I found a couple of TSR blister packs. One was, sadly, showing lead rot; I got this one instead:

They’re both mounted on fender washers for stability. They follow the TSR tradition of packaging seemingly unrelated monsters together, but as both kill by grabbing you, there is a weak theme.

The roper needed a little more animation, and I bent his tentacles as much as I dared (they were all splayed straight out). He really looks like he wants to give someone a hug.

Being monsters, they painted up really fast and looked pretty good for an otherwise middling line.

Published in: on February 5, 2018 at 1:14 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Makin’ bacon : Pig-faced orcs

Pig-faced orcs (“Porcs,” as they prefer not to be called) have been having a minor renaissance lately.

OSR bloggers were talking about them for while; the most compelling look at the origins of the pig-faced orc for my money is here, but I’ve also read that there was some sort of miscommunication between writer Gary Gygax and illustrator David Sutherland which led the best know example in the Monster Manual.  Not sure where I first heard that either. Another theory holds that the Tolkien calendar for 1977 by the brothers Hildebrandt introduced pig-faced orcs, but honestly the orcs in that calendar don’t look very pig-like to me for the most part. I think Zhu is on the right track with the Disney goons (See also Telecanter’s Receding Rules;  Sword & Shield; Realm of Zhu 1 and 2 ; TOTFF; Greyhawk Grognard; Grognardia).

For a long time the only ones available would be the old Minifigs AD&D line.

But several manufacturers put them back into production — Otherworld starting the trend in 2010, which inspired several of the blog posts already linked above  (Casting Room; Otherworld; Splintered Light; and yes Minifigs has them mostly back in production too!).

I was not really a fan of pig-faced orcs back in the day, since I came to D&D after being exposed to Tolkien. But more recently they’ve grown on me, and while I couldn’t justify buying any more orc figures (I have scores unpainted and literally an army of them painted) I thought about doing some conversions on my own. But then I saw the incredible workmanship over at Belched from the Depths and got cold feet. No way am I sculpting anything near that standard. More recently I saw a simple conversion on a Facebook page (and who can ever find something again in that Book of Sand?) and I could at least copy that. So I took some plastic orcs that were unlikely to be painted any time soon and tried making snoots from epoxy putty. They are just tiny balls pressed onto the nose, with the tip flattened and nostrils made by poking the end with bit of florist wire. The only thing I forgot to do was make one an obvious leader. I have a plastic GW “black orc” that should fit the bill though. For reference here’s the basic plastic orc as I painted one some time ago:

A small, somewhat ape-like nose typical of GW.

And here are the pig-faced versions (I also did some weapon swaps from other kits for variety, and gave some shield bosses).

The yellow and purple shields will likely get decals from the BattleMasters game on their shields.

Finally some Grenadier UK plastic orcs:

For reference, here are some I painted in the usual manner, and with their shields.

Both the pig-faced spearmen had their weapons modified; a third is below:

This guy could be the shaman of the tribe, and will be the leader for now.

Lastly a couple of metal orcs (Ghost Miniatures, the fantasy arm of Old Glory Miniatures) that I painted along similar lines, though I left their noses as they were. They might be half-orcs from the tribe.

Published in: on January 24, 2018 at 12:00 pm  Comments (2)  
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Flagellants I

So I started painted some of those plastic flagellants. As I mentioned before, Warhammer took the very real phenomenon of flagellants (religious fanatics who scourge themselves and passersby in a religious frenzy) and made them a troop type for the Empire. Apart from the usual exaggeratedly massive weapons, these are not bad figures at all.

The first three are pretty much as intended by the kit — wielding massive flails or scourges (I wish there more of these provided). The bell-ringer also had a massive flail head attached but I removed it as silly. A big bell like that on a rope would be an effective, if loud and clumsy, weapon anyway. I liked blind-folded heads, which is an great idea for someone with an already hazardous weapon like a multiple-headed flail. I do wish at least one body had more tattered clothes so it would look like he’d been scourging himself, but the center guy I just added a lot of blood stains.

I would have preferred to have a few more poses that aren’t running, but the style of Warhammer plastics seems to be action poses.

The great thing about the kit though was the extras — way more heads, arms, and accouterments than you need to assemble the ten bodies provided. So I made nearly as many variants with bodies borrowed from another kit (Zvedza soldiers) and from Lionheart peasants, mixing in a few pieces from the Frostgrave cultist kit and so on.

The guy on the far left is one of my favorites. He’s basically a foot soldier from the Zvedza kit with a flagellant head and banner. I had Lancelot, as he appeared late in Excalibur, wild and fanatical, in mind. The next guy has flagellant arms and head on a man-at-arms body, and the other two are Lionheart peasants with head transplants and modified weapons.

So this is seven of the 18 or so total I’m working on. I find myself stopping a lot though, because they have so many layers of clothing and small details they are kind of a pain to work on. When I get inspired to work on them again I’ll get to them.

Published in: on January 16, 2018 at 10:33 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Manticores and minotaur

A few things from my painting desk.

These two manticores are from the first edition Descent game. For variety, I painted one in a tiger pattern and the other as a lion. They were very quick to paint — I primed them one night and did everything else the next while half-watching SNL on TV.

Wizard for scale, though in hindsight he’s a bit nearer the camera.

The theory I’ve read is that manticores were based on accounts of tigers, so the tiger striped version might be more authentic.

Next up a minotaur of unknown (to me) provenance. Comment if you recognize her. The hands and spear are wire, putty, and assorted spare bits because I got this model without the intended hands.

The minotaur is female. I would have gone with udders rather than human breasts, and given it a tail, given the cow hoofs etc. The furry butt cracks me up. But it’s the last of my unpainted minotaurs! (No counting a few pre-painted MageKnight figures I might redo someday.)

Published in: on January 15, 2018 at 8:10 pm  Leave a Comment  
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