Advent Die Geburt Krampuskind

Just noticed my #shamelesscommerce in the last few posts is being frustrated by the fact that the publisher’s site is down (though you can still cop a pdf at DTRP). Anyway here’s another seasonal repost. <Update — new site to buy it in hard copy>

nat-der-kra-2

In just eighteen days we’ll be celebrating the nativity of the Krampuskind!

Left to right we see a manger animal (Reaper Miniatures), an angel (Ral Partha), Krampusjoseph (Heritage Models), the Krampuskind (Dollar Tree),  Krampusmary and two magi (all Metal Magic), and a third magi (Grenadier).

Krampus gloriam in excelsis!

Amen!

Click the image below to embiggen…

nativity der krampuskind

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Published in: on December 7, 2017 at 2:56 pm  Leave a Comment  
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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.

 

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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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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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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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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Skeletons and Lemures

It’s October, so what better time to paint some more undead. Click to embiggen.

The first set here are figures from the D&D “DragonStrike” board game. The detail on these guys is kind of shallow. Some of the DragonStrike figures are pretty clearly based on Ral Partha designs, but as far as I know these are not. They are pretty unique really — scythes, which are commonly associated with skeletons in the Warhammer world but not so much in D&D, and headgear that sort of recalls the art of Brom that was associated with Dark Sun. I decided that with the partial bandaging they might be at home with mummies and the Eureka skeletons I posted last time, so I made their metal all bronze. Otherwise a very simple color scheme. Their red garments and brown weapon hafts were painted with some Heritage Models paint that is more than 35 years old!

These four skeleton swordsmen painted up really fast. On the left, two Ral Partha models, on the right, two Heritage skeletons — one is from the Cavern of Doom set, and the other from the Crypt of the Sorcerer. Both broke long ago and I’ve replaced the sword on the leftmost with a bit of paper and wire, and the the far right one has the hand and scimitar from another RP skeleton.

Lastly, two Reaper Bones lemures. It was really quick to paint these too, basically just a Caucasian “flesh” base coat followed by a red wash and some pink highlights. These guy are much more bloated than the old Monster Manual illustration and if anything, more gross. Lemures are sort of the bridge between the undead and devils, being confined to the nine hells, but liable to be promoted to wraith or spectre. There was always ambiguity in the Monster Manual about the exact status of certain creatures, and I kind of prefer that to the stricter taxonomy imposed by later editions of D&D, where everything has one or more tags that define them as specific types.

Published in: on October 11, 2017 at 4:13 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Eureka!

These are probably the only minis from Eureka that I own. I picked them up quite a while ago, partly because skeletons are among my favorite subjects and partly because they were super cheap affordable. It took me a while to get around to assembling them — the have separately cast arms. While I admire the flexibility of poses, I couldn’t help noticing how incredibly thin the arms and legs are. For the arms, I made sure their weapons or shields had some point in contact with the base or the figure itself, but the for the legs I couldn’t imagine them withstanding even gentle handling so I added a metal post running from the base up their “skirts.” I’ve done this to repair other figures over the years, especially skeletons. It’s not ideal, aesthetically, but it does make for a fairly solid repair.

The equipment is recognizably Egyptian in style, though not necessarily strictly historical. The sickles are certainly fantasy, and the scale armor (which might in fairness also have been leather rather than bronze) would be unusual but not unknown. The spearmen have typical “kilts” with a a heavy fold in the front that at least some sources claim served as groin protection, and the padded head dresses would offer some protection at least from cuts. Their main defense would be the shield of course. Their spears seem reasonable to me, and the shields look right for later periods (earlier Egyptian troops would have larger cowhide shields; these rimmed shields would be later, lie the “New Kingdom” period. All in all, I would have rather seen swords (kopesh or straight) or axes (either the narrow hatchet type or larger mace-axes) instead of the sickles. I do dig the Powerslave vibe their skull faces give though. I tried to freehand an “eye of Horus” on their shields.

About the same time as I painted these, I painted a few other skeleton types that were gathering dust.

Oh, hello Mr. Bones, I dropped by to pick up a reason

“Mr. Bones,” was part of a Reaper Kickstarter. I didn’t contribute to it, but a friend sent me some of the minis from it he wasn’t planning to use. He could be a good addition to the Skeleton Recruiting Party, or just serve as a “crypt thing” out of the Fiend Folio.

This poor soul was also a gifted miniature I got several years back from a guy I don’t even know but who was moved to find a good home for his neglected minis (The Galloway Memorial Home for Wayward and Neglected Miniatures is accepting lodgers BTW). I had one copy of this that broke many years ago (though he is based lying down for use as dungeon dressing). It’s a fun miniature, and oddly enough Ral Partha also released a skeleton “casualty” around the same time. It’s a pretty simple figure but the pose is good and the detail is sufficient. The flash on my phone at this range really washed out the shadows though.

Thirdly, this lich was always one of my favorite minis, probably because my original copy was stolen long, long ago. Another online friend sent me this — I can’t remember if we’d traded something or this was just a gratuitous gift. I was reluctant to paint him, but finally went ahead and he came out a little more colorful than my original plan, but as I painted him and touched up some other liches, I decided that they should be relatively fancy, considering they were once wizards or high priests. I always thought the medallion he’s wearing looks like a nose, and was tempted to paint it flesh tone. But maybe it’s a gilt false nose like Tycho Brahe wore?  I also tried to put a crown on his bag, because there was no way I could write out “Crown Royal” at this scale.

And here he is with three other Grenadier liches I touched up. I have a few more that still need some work. The second from the left was painted by someone else a long time ago, and had no shading, so while I kept the color scheme for most part (adding blond hair since the original paint job had his hair and the fur on his cape all one color) I added a lot of shading with a wash. The one to his left had the bones left primer grey, so he’d look more like a dusty, desiccated corpse.

I couldn’t help but re-evaluate some of my older skeleton minis while I was at this and decided to touch several of them up too. Many were painted in my “everything gets a heavy black wash and no highlighting” phase so they mostly needed highlights added, which was also convenient because the same areas were most prone to having had the paint rub off over the years anyway. The guy on the far right just had his face and horns painted white but is otherwise I painted him in the late 1980s. I’d just discovered that the Polly-S “Oily black” paint, if left unmixed, was a great black wash and over-used it on tons of minis. There are a bunch of Grenadiers, and a couple of Denizen (the only Denizen minis in my collection AFAIK — but I just found out they’re still in production!), as well as a couple of Ral Partha. The halberdier and the short guy both have wire reinforcement between their legs, like the Eureka mins above, because they broke off at the ankles long ago. Shorty also has a new arm made of a scrap of lead sprue with an axe made from the axehead from another broken mini and sliver of toothpick. Although he’s been touched up many times over the years, he deserves recognition as the VERY FIRST mini I ever painted, maybe in 1982. His mail still has some blue visible (I painted steel blue and gold yellow because I didn’t have metallic paints — I’d later leave metal bare  of swords and armor for many years as I slowly accumulated paints). Anyway I decided to try painting him because he looked easy (his arm was originally aloft with a short sword) and he turned out well enough for me to decide I wasn’t “ruining” my minis by painting them. Though that’s still debatable. 🙂

Published in: on September 27, 2017 at 12:00 pm  Comments (1)  
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More knights & men at arms

These are all Heritage models. Sort of. Left to right, the first guy is from the “Chivalry” line, produced under the brand name Custom Cast, while the rest are from Heritage’s Knights & Magick line. But the the first three were all cast more recently by Classic Miniatures, which is strenuously trying to reproduce all of Heritage’s lines, in so far as masters can be found to create new molds. The website is still down but you can find them on Ye Booke of Faces. I especially like that Classic Miniatures is bothering to actually get secure the rights/licences required to recast. I understand a certain Italian company that bought out Grenadier’s molds is not respecting the fact that some lines belong to their original sculptors and have been ignoring cease & desist letters for years. 😦

ANYWAY the guy in the center with a greatsword is really nicely done. The plume or favor attached to his helmet supports the blade of his sword, so I think he’d have survived from the old days even if he weren’t a more recent casting.

The last two, on the far right, are men-at-arms. I really need to do better with shields. For nor I just try respect the convention that metals (white, yellow) and colors (the remaining possible colors) must always be separated. (You shouldn’t have blue on red, say, or white on yellow, but always color of metal or metal on color). I actually do have a few books on heraldry I should consult for better designs.

The guy with the axe was an early favorite of mine, but the original casting my brother got ages ago broke. This recast makes it pretty clear why — the axe head is kind of badly sculpted, and slightly crooked, so you’d be tempted to bend it straight, but the point of connection is rather thin and it would break. I’ll leave this one a little crooked. Here’s the old one, with a replacement axe, I posted a while ago, next to another man-at-arms:

 

The next two are somewhat more recent. On the left, a plastic officer from the Zvedza “Ring of Rule” line (a short-lived fantasy venture by a company that mostly does soft plastic 1/72 historicals). The Ring of Rule sounds like a Tolkien rip-off, but actually referred a circle of wizards in the background materials for the wargame. The setting had Orku, orcs that are seven or eight feet tall in minis scale; a Cursed Legion of undead Imeprial Roman types; a late medieval human kingdom this guy was from; and elves that had some bitching hippogriffin cavalry. So somewhat Tolkien, but probably more of a Warhammer ripoff.

Anyway he’s just a little big for 25mm but not the “heroic” 28 to 32 mm scale you see today. I think Zvedza made these in the early 2000s, when 28mm+ was already de rigeour which is maybe why they didn’t do so well. The last guy, I’m thinking, is a Julie Guthrie “Personalities” figure from Grenadier, or possibly something she did for Ral Partha? He has an extra active pose, though, which I don’t usually see in her work, so maybe I’m wrong about. <Update: two minutes after posting this, I checked Partha’s site and yes, he was Ral Partha, paladin with sword and shield. He’s now “DF-159” but I’m not sure what range would have been originally, or who the sculptor is.>

Published in: on September 21, 2017 at 12:00 pm  Comments (7)  
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Sick day painting

I left work a bit early Friday because I need to get over a cold ASAP because I have bunch of things starting Sunday for work. I rested up, woke up in the middle of the night, and decided to paint to kill time. So in a few hours I finished some figures I’d primed a while ago, and also repaired a couple of broken skeletons. I sealed them all this morning and will probably finish their bases with some texture and flocking tonight, but I photographed them with my phone with unfinished bases.

The main group are some Grenadier halberdiers. I had one from BITD, though he broke long ago. I found three more for sale for a buck a piece at a games store in a box with a lot of really old and badly bent or broken figures (the balrog from a few posts back is from the same batch). I hadn’t realized Grenadier made two variants of the halberdier. The Lost Minis Wiki shows the bearded variant as part of the set but my version had the mailed one. (I don’t think the mailed variant is rare, but both DnD Lead and Lost Minis only show the bearded one).

As all were broken, only one has an original halberd head (I just realized the two variants had some differences in the halberd head too; technically mine is on the wrong guy). The rest have plastic halberd or spear heads from a Zvedza “Ring of Rule” set which had lots of extra bits. They spear heads are huge, but might pass as ox-tongue partisans. The plastic halberd is also pretty outrageously large, but this is fantasy. Their leader is a later Grenadier fighter with a poleaxe (really a pole hammer).

It’s kind of interesting to note that the mailed variant has roundels on the polearm haft, like a poleaxe might have (though honestly I’ve never seen two roundels like that, and question how helpful the rearmost one would be).

I went pretty fast through these, just painting to the old “wargame” standard, with very little highlighting and shadows mostly accomplished with one dark wash.

At the same time I worked on a couple of spear men — one Grenadier, one Heritage. The Grenadier guy is another from the fighting men set, and I replaced his repeatedly bent and broken spear with a plastic javelin from another Zvedza set. I think his original spear head ended up on the Heritage model, as he too had broken long ago.

Finally a couple of skeletons. The halberdier is Ral Partha. I bought a small boxed set of skeletons long ago and to my surprise it had two each of the halberdier and the double-armed swordsman, but no axe-man. My experience with Grenadier led me to think all miniatures companies were pretty slipshod about the contents of the boxes and I never bothered to try to correct the omission. I painted both of these many years ago, when my technique was just to paint everything as neatly as possible in solid colors and apply a black wash. I touched up a few spots on these guys but mostly left them alone.

The swordsman is Grenadier. He originally had his arm raised and sword pointing straight up, and was presumably one of several variants made by adding armor and a shield to the basic skeleton model they made. Those upraised arms always bent or broke, and in this case I replaced it with yet another bit from a Zvedza set (in this case the Cursed Legion, a set of skeleton Roman legionaries).

None are my best work at painting but I’m satisfied they’ll finally see some use.

 

Published in: on September 9, 2017 at 6:58 pm  Comments (2)  
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