Ice trolls

Dennis Mize did some amazing sculpts back in the later 70s/early 80s. These trolls are from the Children of the night line.  I have to admit I’m not a fan of Mize’s later work, especially for the Personalities line in the 1990s and the AD&D line.  Those monsters are still nice but the humans look awful, IMO.  Big stupid hair and stiff poses.

Anyway my original two trolls were supplemented by several donations to the Galloway Memorial Home (thanks Khazan!), and I decided to strip them all and repaint them as ice trolls.

Ice trolls

I think the simple layers of drybrushing show off the excellent detail of these rangey ape-like trolls.  The next picture with the flash turned on gives a better sense of their blue & white coloring.

Published in: on December 6, 2011 at 12:00 pm  Comments (7)  
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Rehabbing some old minis

Over the years, a lot of my miniatures broke, either through rough handling, poor storage conditions, or simple wear and tear.  Unfortunately, a lot of the time the bits that broke off — most often weapons, but sometimes feet and bases, and other larger parts — were lost.  But generally speaking I held on to the remains of the minis in hopes of some day repairing them.  As I became somewhat better at conversions and repairs, I also began to pick up bags of spare parts, broken minis, and such at conventions (mainly Origins, the two times I went) and later I also got some minis in need of some care from generous blog readers who contributed them to the Bruce Galloway Memorial Home.

This guy is a Heritage thief, and I got him, broken, so long ago that I am not 100% sure where he came from.  I think it was from one of buddies who flirted briefly with D&D back in the early 1980s but  didn’t really get into it.  He had a number of Heritage minis which were beat up and badly painted but even back then I couldn’t turn a mini away.  Missing an arm and his weapon, I used this guy as a zombie for a long time, to fill in the ranks of a hypothetical Undead army for Warhammer (3rd ed.!).  But since then I stripped him and began to repair him.  The new sword is a bit of florist wire and Liquid Nails*. I just drilled a hole and glued in the wire with super glue, and then once dry I dipped the wire in some Liquid Nails and shaped the blade with moist fingers.  The arm is a spare from a Zvedza set for their fantasy game “Ring of Rule.”**  I should probably add a loot bag to the hand at some point.

A noble, maybe? Ral Partha 1992

The next guy is from one of those bags of broken minis I got at Origins.  Someone lopped of his right arm very crudely, leaving a big crease in on the shoulder.  He’s a Ral Partha mini, and probably fairly late given his scale (about 28mm).  I don’t know what he originally held in that arm but I thought I’d just use him as a young noble/civilian type, so I used another Zvedza arm on him.

These gnomes have been broken since my brother had them confiscated in 6th grade and returned at the end of the school year (1982).  The sword is wire and Liquid Nails; the spear is from a Zvedza pilum, and the axe  is from another Grenadier mini, probably an orc.

Here’s another Heritage thief or bandit, whose legs broke off.  I could not find them, but made new ones (very crudely)  again with wire and Liquid Nails.

Holy symbol aloft, and vial ready in the other hand, he’s ready for some undead bashing.

Here’s a Heritage cleric, which Scottz sent me.  Poor guy lacks both hands (he was holding an ankh and had his other hand open like he was fencing).  I have one specimen in better shape so instead of giving him a new ankh I thought a cross would be a good symbol for this fearless vampire killer.  Both hands are spares from the Zvedza set mentioned earlier and the cross is a bit of plastic sprue.

My, what big hands you had.

Next up, a skeleton which was a MageKnight figure I got for pennies at Origins (about 2004, I think).  He was missing a bow so I took the one from a Lionheart mini I’d earlier decapitated for use in a larva.  A little big but it could be a glove once it’s painted.

“I got something to axe you.”

Here’s a Heritage Knights & Magick mini.  His axe head broke off long ago, and for a while I had him painted with the haft painted as if it were a sword, but since I stripped him anyway, I thought I might as well make him an axeman again.  The axe head is oversized by Heritage standards but still within reason for a bardiche or Danish axe.  It came from the Zvedza orc set.

Here’s a Grenadier thief, who broke off at the ankles and I lost the feet and base.  So, for him the lower legs and feet are entirely wire and Liquid Nails.  In process. Not pretty but it’ll do.

Grenadier horse, Lionheart arm, RAFM shield, and GW or Marauder body!

This guy is cobbled together from (I think) a GW undead rider,  who lacked his shield, arm, and mount.  A Galloway Home donation provided a spare undead steed (Grenadier) and I added a spare Rafm shield (from a ‘build-your-own something or other kit) and an arm from a Lionheart mercenary.

Evil jester or old school goblin

Here’s my oldest goblin — bought in a bag of bits at a BASHCon in 1999 or 2000.  He’s one of the old Minifigs guys, and was missing his sword, and was broken at the ankles.  Wire/Nails sword.  It always feels good to restore something really old.

Would you believe, an owlbear cub? Toucangoat? I give up. Lab escapee, for sure.

This freak came as the draft beast for the Grenadier Orc Beer Wagon.  I used a Ral Partha giant boar to pull the wagon instead, and this guy’s been laying around for over a decade, unused because of his yoke and tackle.  So the other night I fired up the Dremel and removed them as best I could.  I’m fairly certain they were just added as an afterthought & this guy was released sans tackle around the time of the Monster Manuscript series; I’ll need to check.  I just roughed up the areas where the extra lead was ground off to look more fur-like and I think he’ll paint up fine.

This guy is a Heritage fighter (maybe a berserker?).  His sword is laying partly over his shield and broke off at the shield edge.  He was the first one I tried the wire & Liquid Nails blade reconstruction on, and it turned out pretty good.

This one is a Yaun-Ti, and another Scottsz donation.  His sword was pretty close to being broken off when I got him so I flicked it off and replaced it with more wire & Liquid Nails.  I wonder if Swords & Dorkery can get a sponsorship from Liquid Nails if I type that one more time. Liquid Nails.


These two are from one of the first AD&D Grenadier boxed sets me & my bother ever got: the Halflings.  They may look like human dwarfs with overgrown arms but I love them. The javelin thrower (who seems to have a strap on his javelin, which is something that was common in ancient times — it helped the thrower add spin, and thus accuracy) had a broken javelin right out of the box. So he’s waited like 30 years for this repair!!! The other guy had his sword hacked off and replaced with a very crude spear some time back, and after seeing Belched from the Depth’s awesome halfling fighter I had to restore him.  Now he has a spare sword from the Zvedza skeleton legion.

Saving the goofiest for last, this is a Lawful Evil cleric from a Grenadier Action Art set (I think this is another Scottsz donation).  His shillelagh*** was broken, so I made a goofy rod topped with the head from a 1/72 plastic Greek mini (an Atlantic mold, recast by Nexus).  I’ll probably paint it metallic, as a funky mace.

Right now there are several more figures in need of TLC: several Saurus lacking their arms; a GW black orc also lacking an arm; a Reaper flying ape lacking wings and an arm; half of a WotC Abyssal Maw; a headless GW Chaos knight; a legless Citadel baboon; and few other odds and ends.  These will require serious epoxy putty work, or a new home.  Some could become casualty markers.   As a last resort: melted down for more home casting.




*FWIW, “Liquid Nails” is an American brand of construction adhesive, sold both in caulking tubes and smaller foil “toothpaste” tubes.  I like it because it dries fairly fast and is very strong.  Better modellers would probably use an epoxy putty, but Liquid Nails are a good “quick and dirty” alternative if you don’t have any on hand or just need a tiny bit. <Update — Liquid nails now has a new formula, at least in the small tubes, and it is much thinner and not very useful for sculpting. Sigh.>

**The Squadron was liquidating their Zvedza fantasy minis a while back, and I got the orc set and a boxed set with medieval  humans vs.  skeletons in Roman legionary uniforms.  All are nice but the skeletons are incredibly complicated to put together (separate skulls, helmets, torsos, shoulders, arms, hands, legs, feet, shields, weapons…!!!) and the orcs are really ogre-sized (which is ok — they can be some other species, I have tons of orcs anyway).   Best of all, lots of spare parts, like the OLD Games Workshop kits which gave you spare heads and weapons and stuff.

***I believe this is pronounced, “shill-ale-ee”.  My mother had a shillelagh, passed down from relatives on her mother’s side.  In the olden times they even hollowed out one end and filled it with lead to hit harder, but this was more recent specimen, just used as a walking stick rather than a cudgel.  I think my sister ended up with it, which makes sense since she married a Irish-American.

Published in: on September 30, 2011 at 6:00 am  Comments (13)  
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Some more little people for the Bruce Galloway Memorial Home

So I’ve been getting some old lead minis from generous donors who share my appreciation for the golden age of Heritage, Grenadier, Ral Partha, etc.  I’ve been calling this the Bruce Galloway Memorial Home for Wayward and Convalescent Lead Figures, not that Bruce Galloway was all that into minis but more because he deserves some kind of gaming-related memorial online to counteract all the sniping by internet trolls regarding his Fantasy Wargaming book.  At some point I do hope to find new homes for any minis I don’t expect to use, but as it is I’m kind of behind on my painting lately.

Anyway  Scottsz of Old School Jump/Sorcerers of Doom/The Cold Text Files sent me yet another shipment, mostly of Grenadier:

The goblin is Heritage and the sea-troll is TSR, but all the rest are Grenadier, from the AD&D line.

Scott is entirely too generous, not that I’m complaining.

The dwarf with the sword and dagger is easily my favorite dwarf thief ever cast. The orc in Aztec regalia is one of the more interesting designs Grenadier came up with too. I wish they’d done all the guys in the Orc Lair box as Aztecs. I can really see orcs performing barbaric sacrifices of prisoners of war.

In fact, that sounds like a pretty straightforward adventure seed: rescue the villagers from the orcs before they sacrifice them at solstice, which is just a week away! That should give the party barely enough time to scout out the orc’s temple complex (Chitzen Itza would be a nice template) and plan and stage their daring raid…

Published in: on April 5, 2011 at 10:00 am  Comments (1)  
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Russ effing Nicholson!

So I mentioned a while back that my idea for an illustration for the LotFP:WFRPG was selected to be used, and I was stoked about the prospect of a free boxed set.  Now I’m even more stoked because I found out that the artist who did the illustration was Russ Nicholson!  I first saw his work in the Fiend Folio.  Since then I’ve come to appreciate his work even more, although I always loved the FF illustrations.

Mr. Nicholson now has a blog so you can see some of his stuff there.  I can’t wait to see what did with my suggestion.  I’m honored that idea was picked at all, and even more honored that someone as talented as Russ Nicholson created an illustration based on it.  One more thing to look forward to in the “Grindhouse edition” of the game.

And now for something completely different: I realized that it has been a long time since I posted any minis pics, and that is largely because I have not been painting much lately.  But I did finally finish the seven (!) Grenadier lizardmen generously donated to the Bruce Galloway Memorial home.  They will reinforce my lizard folk nicely.

I painted all my old Grenadier lizardmen blue and think of them as Troglodytes.  The few metal implements they cary are bronze, as it would be both a more “primitive” material than steel or iron and less prone to rust.  Realistically the bronze weapons should be corroded rather than bright and shiny but maybe they oil their weapons.  With human fat.

Published in: on March 29, 2011 at 6:00 am  Comments (3)  
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My year in dorkery: the wages of blogging are rich and NSFW

2010 has been a pretty decent year for gaming for me!

Although the C&C game I was playing in has gone on indefinite hiatus, I finally took the plunge into DMing and it has been much easier than I’d thought it would be, although I’m still far from satisfied with how I’ve been doing it. I’d love to spend more time planning dungeons and the town and NPCs but I’ve been scooting along by the seat of my pants, and it’s still been fun. I’d like to get more painting in too, but overall I’ve been fairly productive and am getting back into the groove of painting decently. The feedback I’ve gotten here on DMing questions and house-rule ideas has been really helpful.

The blog has probably taken up more time than it should, since I still find myself using it as crutch to procrastinate. Every minute typing this could have been spent painting another henchman or detailing another encounter, but the positive feedback I get from the blog is kind of nice and I notice that my daily hits this month have been greatly exceeding the monthly hits I was getting this time last year, so maybe I’m doing something right. I can’t tell you how tickled I am to find my blog on the blog rolls of sites I respect and sites I’ve never heard of. Eighteen months into this blog, I’ve had 66,000 visits, which seems pretty good, even if the preponderance are random surfers who were just looking for images of Breugel paintings and Black Sabbath album covers. I’ve got about eight or ten people subscribing by email to the blog, which is chicken feed for an OSR game blog but it’s humbling that even that many people are interested in this stuff.

I’ve put a number of free pdfs up on the blog and Scribd, so I guess I’m giving back in my way. I was able to piece together a little bit of the history of the hobby when two contributors to Fantasy Wargaming (and/or its progenitor, Leigh Cliffs) agreed to answer my silly questions, which I think is important. I guess most importantly I’ve made a few people smile with stuff like the flail snail and the occupational outlook series on hirelings. (I still haven’t gotten around to the third in that series. Someday.)

I’ve also gotten some stuff in return — apart from enjoying all the great ideas and writing on other blogs, two people have sent me boxes of old minis for the Bruce Galloway Memorial Home for Wayward and Neglected Figures, not to mention Scottsz’s awesome Moathouse map; I got a nice mask to give away in a contest (which also netted me some cool Halloween recipes); I was privileged to be able to playtest a Vornheim dungeon; and and it looks like I will be scoring a free copy of LotFP:WFRP grindhouse ed. The latter two don’t really have anything to do with my blog, but if I weren’t blogging I probably wouldn’t be paying as much attention to the blogosphere as I am. (last minute update: I also won something or other from Roleplaying Tips by entering a number of suggestions for his “Tips” column that had to do with using miniatures in RPGs. Sweet. BTW The minis are the rich wages mentioned in the title above, and the LotFP game is NSFW, apparently)

So I guess I’ll keep S&D going for another year, even if it is sometimes a drain on my time. Thank you to all my readers, especially the ones who leave comments, and I hope everyone has a great New Year.

Published in: on December 31, 2010 at 6:00 am  Comments (9)  

4e crap for old lead: Mission accomplished!

Monday night I found another package waiting for me. I knew Scottsz had just sent the minis he’d offered for my 4e books, and the address label confirmed it was from him! I’d already gotten email with images and a listing of his stuff (and two follow-ups as he found yet more figures).

They were all “buckled in” with heavy plastic ties. Scottsz was very concerned that they would get dinged up worse they already are in the mail, and came up with this way keep them all in place. Only the Yuan-ti was loose in the box, so it worked pretty well.

Here they are (sorry for the grainy photo taken on my phone!)

In the upper right, you’ll notice the thief with 10′ pole (broken to about 7′ — every example of this figure I’ve seen since BITD has his pole broken off at the hand). I NEEDED this figure badly, because it is damn cool and old-school and because my copy is lost. Similarly the Heritage barbarian woman in the lower right replaces my badly broken copy from the Caverns of Doom game. Score! There are also several Grenadier blister-pack figures: lizard men and a bugbear, which I’d never hoped to get to complete my collection in those areas… the Cockatrice variant #1 (I had variant #2, with a separately cast wing that never fit quite right, this one is one piece)… a drider from the blister pack to match my other drider from a boxed set. There is the lamia figure that was missing from my Tomb of Spells box! About 1/2 of these guys are “New” to me, and the of the rest, the “duplicates” either replace ones I lost or bolster the ranks nicely. It’s ok to have a third Umber Hulk, right? Also, with Khazan’s donation, I now have THREE Grenadier giant snakes. That really gives me the freedom to experiment in painting them up, or perhaps realize my mad dream of joining two together into one GINOURMOS snake!

There is also a nice Citadel troll (no base but clearly slotta-base era) and what I am tentatively identifying as a Minifigs giant of some kind (near the center, primered gray).

The “bonus” he sent is pure awesome, though, and I hope it is OK to mention it, as I know Scottsz has some secret projects in the works. Just as I’d been creating add-ons for the old Heritage dungeon crawl games, Scottsz had been tinkering with adapting old TSR modules to the same solo/GM-free rules, while adding his own interesting modifications to better simulate the RPG experience. He sent me a hand-drawn adaptation of the Hommlet moathouse dungeon (complete with awesome key and extra copies of the charts!) The whole thing is drawn on poster-board sections about the size of a standard letter sheet. NINE of them! Assembled, it looks thus:

This is about as big, or a little bigger than,the larger Tomb of the Pharaoh/Sorcerer’s Crypt map I did on on a single sheet of
foamcore last year. I will have to try this out soon!

Published in: on August 18, 2010 at 3:00 pm  Comments (4)  
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The Galloway Memorial Home for Wayward and Convalescent Lead Figures

My two 4e books are in the mail, and I expect to receive the first shipment of Wayward and Convalescent Figures from the hardest workin’ man in the OSR, Scottsz. I think he’s planning to give my books a viking funeral or something. But his minis, mainly Grenadier figures, will be getting a nice Simple Green bath and a fresh coat of paint so they can get back to killing and being killed by adventurers like God intended. Excuse me while do my happy dance.

But seriously. If you know of any minis old lead D&D type minis that are languishing somewhere in box or drawer, neglected because they are broken, covered in thick coating of gunky paint, or pygmied by scale creep, drop me a line. The Galloway Memorial Home is here.

The Galloway Memorial Home for Wayward and Convalescent Lead Figures was established in memory of Bruce Roderick Galloway, 1952-1984, editor/compiler of Fantasy Wargaming.

Published in: on July 25, 2010 at 11:26 pm  Comments (9)  
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