Die Geburt Krampuskind


In just ten days, I believe, we’ll be celebrating the nativity of the Krampuskind. Left to right we see a manger animal (Reaper Miniatures), an angel (Ral Partha), Joseph (Heritage Models), the Krampuskind (Dollar Tree),  Mary and two magi (Metal Magic), and a third magi (Grenadier).

Krampus gloriam in excelsis!


Click the image below to embiggen…

nativity der krampuskind

Published in: on December 14, 2015 at 11:15 pm  Comments (3)  
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Studies in red and green

Over the long MLK weekend I managed to get a little painting in. I’ve been kind of torn between prioritizing adventurers and monsters.  Although I have a fair number of player character types painted, we always end up using the same dozen or so for every campaign — there is a particular shortage of human rogues, rangers, druids, and bards, as well as demihumans other than dwarf fighters and elf archers. But then again we use a lot of different monsters and I get a sad sort of feeling of accomplishment when all of a given type of monster have finally been painted, sorted, and placed in a labeled box. (There might be meds that would help with that.)

Anyway for some reason I kept to a palette of mostly greens and reds for this last set.

Four adventurers: a gnome mage, a halfling fighter, a human thief, and a human bard.


The gnome is Ral Partha, the halfling Grenadier — one of my oldest minis in terms of how long I’ve owned it. My brother & I bought the Grenadier AD&D halflings and dwarfs boxes back in 1981 or so. The gnome is a much more recent acquisition — it was among those sent to me by someone looking for a better home for their old lead.


The thief is also Grenadier. Now that I see the pic enlarged I see he needs some eyelids — though I guess he could just have hyperthyroidism, or surprised.  He’s one of the minis I rehabbed a while back.


Lastly, the Groo the Wanderer “Minstrel” mini from Dark Horse. I didn’t get the color scheme quite right (his hat should be entirely yellow and the bells and belt gold) but I am happy with him. I traded for this guy though I forget from whom. 😦  I love Sergio Aragone’s work in Mad Magazine but never read the Groo comics. I still have one other Groo mini — a wizard — that I am holding onto for a former player. He left it at my place several years ago, and I rarely bump into him any more.


Lastly, two demons — a Metal Magic succubus (actually a MegaMinis re-cast from their monsters box set) and a Reaper imp.  The imp is probably mini-me to the D&D 4th edition version of Orcus (link goes to an image in someone’s Photobucket — I think it is actually art from a module cover?), what with his mini Wand of Orcus.  FWIW I prefer the older version of Orcus, bloated, grey, and decadent, to the new buff generic demon with goat horns, but that’s me.  The succubus unfortunately has a flattened nose — either from falling face-down at some point or just an imperfection in them old. So to compensate I painted her face to suggest overdone make-up and draw attention to the eyes. NSFW if you work in a fairly puritanical environment.



Published in: on February 3, 2015 at 12:15 pm  Leave a Comment  
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For the birds

For no particular reason, I decided to clear a few bird monsters off the painting table — in this case, three cockatrices.


They are two versions of the Grenadier cockatrice (the earlier one, I think, is the single-piece casting; it was later reworked to have one separate wing, which I guess enhances the three-dimensionality a little but it never fit quite right on the model.  In between them is a casting of the Metal Magic sculpt, produced by MegaMinis.

The cockatrice is one of the many mythical creatures attested to in the Bible, so I guess some sizable percentage of the US population is committed to believing in them, like unicorns, dragons, and so on. Cockatrices are often confused with basilisks, since in folkore the terms are equivalent but in D&D they are very distinct monsters. Apart from the Book of the Dun Cow, my favorite cockatrice story is probably the cockatrice of Warsaw, since it is presented as true account.

The other bird-monsters are a pair of TSR Broobies, and a cheap plastic pelican which I painted to look like them.  The shape of the head and body are pretty off, and I made a rather poor effort to reshape the bill, but for as often as I’ll use them I guess it’s good enough.  One of the Broobies I bought back when it was in production (I liked the firbolg that was packaged with it, probably) and since his legs broke repeatedly, he’s got a piece of paper clip holding him upright (you can see it pretty well in the first pic). I always think of them as axebeaks, rather than broobies, for some reason.



Published in: on September 23, 2014 at 8:41 pm  Leave a Comment  
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More figures

Here are a few minis I got around to painting recently.  Two mummies, three wraiths, a couple of cauldrons, an intellect devourer, a templar, and an enhanced troll!


Left, a Reaper, right, Metal Magic, recast by MegaMinis … kind of a blurry picture.

A Reaper mini (swapped out the standard with a sword), a peice from Trivial Pursuit: LotR, and a Metal Magic figure recast by MegaMinis

A Reaper mini (swapped out the standard with a sword), a peice from Trivial Pursuit: LotR, and a Metal Magic figure recast by MegaMinis


Same guys from behind


This Reaper figure was sold with a huge banner to hold, but I thought he’d see more use with just a sword. This sword is one of the extras I cast when I was making lots of Prince August castings from molds — I think the sword goes to an elf or barbarian; the molds might have the same sword actually.  I really like the little faces concealed in the folds and tears of the wraith’s cloak.  There’s one more on his back.


Grenadier intellect devourer. One of those minis they made WAY to big…the Monster Manual has them as very tiny; this guy is huge.


They made this guy way too big … he should be tiny, like 6″ long so in scale about 2 millimeters or less.


A Ral Partha clay golem


Lots of detail on the muscles, which doesn’t seem quite right to me, but very menacing!


A Citadel knight or paladin. He’s kind of grubby so I’d say he’s a knight Templar.



These are two wooden beads, which I think were meant to hold birthday cake-sized candles. The one of the right I tried to give a bigger mouth, but I’m not sure it was worth the effort.


This is my favorite though — a Grenadier troll that I gave a nose-job to. How regal! How noble! All trolls need longer honkers.

My unmodified version of this figure is here.

Published in: on May 31, 2013 at 6:00 am  Comments (3)  
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Crazy busy days this weekend ameliorated by some fun craft time!  I finished up most of the unpainted demons and devils I have — several from the MegaMinis monster pack, as well as a really old Efreet and a crazy-looking boar that seemed like it must be demonic.

First up is a bat-demon thing — MegaMinis, a recast of a Metal Magic sculpt.  He’s got a long segmented tail (as do most of the other Metal Magic demons from this set) but is otherwise very bat-like.


He just got a couple of layers of brown drybrushing and a pink wash on the nose and tail, with my usual white talons and teeth job.  All these demons were super fast to paint since it was mostly a matter of a few layers of drybrushing, a wash, and a few details.

Next up a devil with a strange spade-like weapon.  It’s a lot like a Chinese ‘monk’s spade,’ except they have a blade on both ends.  I know Grenadier did a devil with the same weapon which maybe this was a knock-off of?  I like the cresent moon shape of his head too.

devil1Then there are two blue demons.  They might actually be any of a number of things — the one with the raised arm might equally well be a troll or some sort of creeper in the dark like a grue; the reptillian one could also be some sort of saurian.  They both illustrate the strangely two-dimensional quality most of the monsters from the MegaMinis set have.  I wonder if Metal Magic was limited by their mold-maker, or it was just an aesthetic choice to go so flat.  They all look pretty good in profile but coming head-on they look pretty goofy.

blue-demon1The huge hands on this one remind me of blue demon minoins of Tzeench in the Games Workshop line from the early 90s or very late 80s.

blue-demon2This guy has so much animation from the profile and looks so flat from the front it is just heart-breaking.

Next up some boar-demons — one is humanoid (a starving Type II demon?) and the other is of an unknown (to me) make — he might be a dire boar?

boardemon1The three-pronged tail is odd; otherwise he might be a giant wereboar.


If anyone recognizes this boar monster, I’d love to know it’s make.  The cratered base suggests it could be a sci-fi mini.  It is lead so it must me pretty old.  I think it was among the old lead someone sent me couple years back, but it might also be from a used minis bin at Origins or something.

Now lastly, my favorite of the pack and the one I put the most effort into — a Grenadier Efreet.  I really wanted to make the flames throw some light on the bottoms of his arms and cast shadows over his shoulders and face.  The glossy finish hides this a little; I also wimped out on depicting the reversed shadowing — I really ought to have dry-brushed black over the topmost areas.  Still, he looks pretty good.

efreet1It’s a classy sculpt and based directly on Trampier’s Monster Manual illustration:

tramp-efreetNot a perfect match but darn close!  For some reason Grenadier gave him some bling.  I have one other Grenadier efreet, which is a re-sculpt, that looks terrible and will be getting repainted now that I have some practice.  The other guy has a more Neanderthal look to him and his arms are not crossed, but he’s still emerging from a pillar of fire.  I have no idea why Grenadier would discontinue the Trampier version (the resculpt was put out before they lost the AD&D license so it’s not that!).

Published in: on February 18, 2013 at 8:27 pm  Comments (6)  
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Well, snotlings technically but I’m not running Warhammer.

41 snotlings and one werewolf

So that’s what I painted this weekend.  I had started them all some time ago, and had the base coats on them.  This weekend was just all the detailing (clothes, eyes, teeth, weapons, mushrooms, etc.).  I also decided to make  all the double snotlings use two different colors, so I had more to do on them.  They are about 15mm tall, though many stoop, and mostly based on pennies.  A few are on plastic 1″ bases.

For my Telengard campaigns, I added ‘gremlins’ to the monster list.  Basically ripped off the Ultima games, except that I also decided that they will be ‘color coded’ so that, say, Green gremlins steal food, water, and potions; Red gremlins steal torches and flint and oil; Yellow gremlins steal random equipment from your inventory; Blue gremlins steal anything magical.  The Blue gremlins appear innocuous though. They happy songs sing quietly, speak a babyish dialect of Common with a weird shibboleth that stands in for almost anything, and imitate the adventurers, and ask for food or water.  Let them get too close, or catch you sleeping, and they will grab anything not nailed down.  They all also enjoy netting and clubbing unconscious any demihumans they find.    They tend to fear humans.

I love the Citadel snotling minis.  I think these are among the first designs for snotlings that were available in the USA, or at least the first I saw at a time when I was pretty into Citadel minis and frequently going to hobby shops like the King’s Crown in eastern Kansas (about 1985 or 1986). This one looks like he’s right out of Labyrinth:

The green gremlins:

Fairly militant — spears and a bow among them, as well as a net and whatever that mushroom does.

The Yellow:

Couple of dudes throwing puff balls (in Warhammer, snotlings use mushrooms and puff balls for poison).  I’d have them make an area cloud, while in it you have to hold your breath or make saves.  The clouds of spores disperse on a roll of 1 on a d6 (roll every round).  Fail one save you’re stunned from coughing.  Fail two you pass out (like sleep, but affecting any level). Fail three and you begin to die from fungal infection (1 hp per turn until cured or dead).  Humanoids slain by spores become shroommen.


Lots of spores and nets.


These are some of my favorites.  The slingshot.  The archer on his back to stretch a short bow with arms and legs. Two mini-fanatics, looking like tiny goblin fanatics.  The witchdoctor, the sneak, the complacent mushroom farmer in suspenders.

Gremlins of different sorts can cooperate.

The ‘chickenfighters’ were both poorly cast and missing the bottom guy’s right foot and calf.  I had to make new ones.

But there is some animosity among clans.

The left foot of one wrestler is missing from both of these models.  Need to replace them some time, but sculpting feet for 15mm figures sounds pretty awful.  Maybe I can dig up a donor among my 1/72 plastic ancients.

Bonus mini, a werewolf.  The MegaMinis recast of a German figure (Metal Magic?).  Looks somewhere between Nosferatu and the werewolves from a film from the 1980s.

These guys are on a 20mm base.  Note the crudely reconstructed right foot.  And the snot dripping onto the bottom guy’s head.

Published in: on September 10, 2012 at 6:08 am  Comments (1)  
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Finally painted some more minis

This weekend we got some “craft time” in, and I finally finished a few figures on my painting desk.  I am noticing that my eyesight is significantly worse than it used to be, and my ability to paint small details, especially eyes, is plummeting, although my ability to whip out a mini in about half an hour remains strong.  I think I spent four hours total painting this weekend, which accounts for the above five minis and work progressing on about a dozen others.  Of course some of the work on these guys was already done (the fighter had been started last August to give you an idea of how rarely I’ve been painting lately).

Anyway the first two are a satyr produced by Mega Minis from an older Metal Magic mold, and a TSR “korred” that I picked up at Origins about five years ago.

Black hair speeds things up immensely since I get to skip shading.  I sometimes highlight black hair but not on these two.  For a TSR mini, the korred is not bad.  He actually has a lot of character that was not evident before I painted him.

The next two are lamias.  Again there is a Mega Minis recast of a Metal Magic figure (on the right), and an older original — a Grenadier lamia that was very graciously sent to me by Scottsz.

Lamias are another monster from Greek myth, like the satyrs, but interestingly the Greek version was half woamn, half snake, while the D&D version is half woman, half mammal (I think the Grenadier one is supposed to have the lower half of a deer or elk, while the Mega Minis one is clearly half cat).

Lastly there is one of the Citadel “Fantasy Tribe Fighters” guys that was sent to me by Mike at Specter Studios.

I am not terribly satisfied by this one, but I know he’ll never be anyone’s first choice for a PC so I just did a ‘wargame’ standard paint job on him — he’s only ever going to be a NPC.  I like his pose but he’s not very inspiring for a ‘hero’.

Don’t ask me what that little maggot-looking thing on the ground next to him is.  I didn’t see it when I was photographing them.

Published in: on July 5, 2011 at 6:00 am  Comments (5)  
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Ghouls and ghasts and an undead troll

The first ghoul figure I ever owned came in the old Grenadier dungeon monster set. (All images embiggenable by clicking)

The eyebrows are a little over the top, but old Grenadier like this always reminds of the Trampier and Sutherland illustrations in the Monster Manual.  Here he is again with a later Grenadier ghoul (Dragon Lords monsters of folklore set) and the Metal Magic ghoul recast by Megaminis:

The bestial ghoul on the left and the bone-wielding ghoul seem like ancestors of the later Reaper figures.  Here is a set of ghouls generously donated to the Galloway Memorial Home for Convalescent and Wayward Minis.  They were made by Reaper:

I think the big guy on the left is a ghast, or at least a boss ghoul!

Reaper made a second set (different sculptor, probably) that is more bestial and naked, again armed with bones:

Again there is an obvious boss and two lesser ghouls.

Ghouls are great monsters because in D&D they really are very scary for lower level characters, since they make three attacks and their touch paralyzes.  A large number of ghouls poses a threat even to mid and high level characters, especially if they are fortified with ghasts or thouls.

Nom nom nom nom…

Lastly, an undead troll which I think was made was Rafm?

The bone paw on the ground there is an actual rodent skeleton part from an owl pellet I found in my parent’s back yard a long time ago.  I’m thinking it was a mole’s, based on the claws.  If you don’t have any owls puking up bones and fur in your area, you can always go mail order for those authentic parts.

Why red hair?  Contrast.  I painted this guy when I was spending WAY more time per figure than I do now.  Painting stripes on clothing? Textured bases?  Who has time for that?!?

Published in: on December 3, 2010 at 6:00 am  Comments (4)  
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Another score, but at what cost?!?

So I stopped by a FLGS (Kenmore Komics) to spend my gaming allowance this weekend and found a great deal on several MegaMinis packs that had been clearanced.  The “Monsters” pack normally sells for $24.99, but they had an older item with the old $20 retail price, and 1/2 off for ten bucks!!!  For 20 minis! That was a good deal in the 1980s!This is the image on the back of the blister pack, and although the paint jobs are mostly fine the really odd thing is that all the figures look the same size in this picture but in reality several are quite big.  All the demons and the shambling mound in the two right-most columns are about twice as large as they look here.   The blue demon in the second column is bigger too.   Because the blister is jam-packed with all the minis, it is not obvious and until I took them home & opened it I had no idea.  So that’s odd…I guess they decided it was important to show all the minis than to give  a sense of scale.  Anyway these figures (and most of the MegaMinis line) are recasts of the Metal Magic (in this case the HP/Hobby Products line).  I have to admit I was never that familiar with Metal Magic figures (I bought one nice thief in the 1990s, but it is lost now), but they are growing on me.  Only the fact that I already have a huge assortment of PCs, townsfolk, etc. keeps me from buying more MegaMinis fantasy sets.  And kudos to MegaMinis for making all those old catalogs and articles and even rules available for free at MiniMag.

Granted, I have plenty of monsters but I do like the idea of having an extra cockatrice to go with the two Grenadier models, and a harpy to go with my Heritage harpy, and so on.  It’s just nice to be able to pull out correct models for every encounter.

Still, while I was poking around I overheard the owner telling a customer that no-one buys comic books any more…at least not younger people.  The college age and under crowd just download digital copies of the comics.  His comic books customers are the same demographic as the older beardos that buy the minis, I guess (whenever I’m at Kenmore the other customers in the minis area are my age or older).

And it hit me that I’m part of the problem.  The store probably does not sell a lot of RPG stuff to begin with and to have all those Reaper pirates a couple of months ago and now these MegaMinis figures, all going at 1/2 price, which means no profit, and really a loss when overhead is taken into account…how is this FLGS going to stay in business?  So I picked up a couple of Reaper henchmen (the grave robbers) for $13 too.  At least he’s making a little on that.

Published in: on September 16, 2010 at 12:00 pm  Comments (4)  
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