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.

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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Sea monsters

When I was painting up all those pirates and swashbucklers over the summer, I also tried to pull together all the aquatic monsters in my colleciton. It turns out there weren’t all that many unless I count plastic and rubber animals which could be giant crabs, octopodes, sharks, and that sort of thing. Here’s what I did have to paint.

A Reaper marsh troll, a TSR scrag, and Grenadier sahuagin. I spent the most time on the sahuagin, since he’s got a lot of gear, and the Monster Manual description mentions that they are lighter in front, and dark in the back, which makes sense for a fish-man; really almost all animals are lighter on their bellies/undersides and darker on top, as camouflage in the water. I think land animals might retain that as a leftover from evolution. The eyes are described as shiny and black (dead eyes like a doll?) so I just put a couple of dots of white to suggest a glint. The troll I painted similarly.  I believe I read that sahuagin leaders are larger, so the marsh troll is especially suitable on that count, though he should maybe have some equipment.

Before doing those guys, I also painted a pair of mermaids (clear plastic drink hangers), a merman (some kind of rubbery gumball machine toy) and another scrag.

Not sea-related but I also repainted a MageKnight figure that I assume is some kind of night hag on a nightmare. I think that’s some kind of organ she’s hurling. A little big for a heart … maybe it was supposed to be a fireball?

 

Published in: on November 28, 2017 at 5:00 pm  Comments (1)  
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Minotaur, ettins, more sneaky hobbitses (We hates them forever!)

On the left, an Asgard halfling; right, a Reaper minotaur by Sandra Garrity. The only thing these two have in common (apart from being painted the same night) is that both were purchased at conventions. The halfling was purchased at Neovention, a fairly big convention that used to be mostly held at the University of Akron. I went to it once or twice in the late 1980s with my brother and some friends, and vaguely recall buying some loose miniatures including this halfling and some furniture that might have been old Citadel stuff. The minotaur I picked up for a buck (!) at Origins maybe ten years ago. The same vendor had some old TSR miniatures (I bought a bunch of them) and various other clearances figures.

Here’s another view of the minotaur next to a Heritage man-at-arms for scale.

Next up two Grenadier ettins. I painted the green one maybe 10-15 years ago. Green because he’s a bit short for an ettin but reasonable for a two-headed troll. He’s also one of the few figures I tried stippling on, to increase the depth of his relatively smooth limbs. The other one I painted more recently. He looks a lot more stooped because I never tried to straighten him out — the green one has had his ankles broken and reglued many times because I tried bending him and the leas just snapped. A lot of Grenadier castings were fairly brittle. I’ve read that they used lead from a lot of sources, including printer’s type, and maybe that had something to do with it.

Finally, two more sneaky hobbits! On the left, a halfing from the Kenzer & Co.’s Hackmaster line (now produced by Ral Partha/Iron Wind). On the right, a halfling sniper from the Grenadier Woodland Adventurers box.

Almost all of the Hackmaster minis I have I bought another time at Origins. The Kenzer booth had loose minis relatively cheaply (I bought one of every type of PC they had; no monsters at that time). The guys also gave me and my brother free copies of the Hackmaster PHB; I think Tom bought the DMG.

The Woodland Adventurers were a Christmas gift in 1981 or 82. There were a few repeats of figures in other sets, I think, but overall a great variety of elves, gnomes, and similar.

Published in: on November 21, 2017 at 5:01 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Nagas, mushroom men, hell hounds, and a thingthing

Am I still painting a lot? Oh hell yeah. As usual, quantity takes primacy over quality.

First up, two nagas from the Descent board game.

They follow the old Monster Manual illustration pretty spot-on. Though I didn’t apply the mascara.

D&DNaga.JPG

For scale, here’s a Grenadier wizard I probably didn’t post already. He should have had a skull on his staff but the one I traded for was broken. The round orb is just the end of a stickpin.

Interestingly, Way back in the early 1980s when Dimensions for Children released a series of fantasy playsets and action figures (Dragonriders of the Styx), one of their designs was based on the Monster Manual illustration too. TSR sent a cease & desist letter (I’m not clear on how a sculpture can violate a copyright on drawing; it certainly wasn’t a patented image, but then again who wants to go to court?) and soon the toy naga was appearing with the face completely removed. Original on left, later version on right!

Image result for naga monster manual dfc

I managed to score a later naga in a trade some time ago, and painted him (her? it?) up thus:

Anyway I also finished the last three Descent hell hounds I have:

Here they are with the same wizard and the three I painted earlier:

I was really on a roll with the plastic monsters; here are three Reaper Bones fungoids/mushroommen/myconids or whatever they’re called:

I already had a metal version of the big guy, and I’d say he’s an almost exact replica. Maybe a slight loss of detail on the staff and cap.

Finally, I painted the last of the demons from the MegaMinis monster box I bought some time back. It’s a weird insect-like thing, and while he looks ok from the side, he suffers from the same flatness of other demons originally made by Metal Magic.

They call it a demon, but I’m not really convinced. I’d call it more of an alien. Or a thing. Or a thingthing.

Published in: on November 7, 2017 at 12:00 pm  Comments (4)  
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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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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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Some more plastic dragons

I posted a few plastic dragons before — the MPC knockoff of the Grenadier AD&D dragon, the Dark Tower dragon and two Descent dragons, and a pair of dragons I got from a dollar store.

Here are a couple more.

The first is from a toy set — a knockoff of the DFC “Dragonriders of the Styx” set made by Toyco. The spine in the center of his back, which is spaced out a bit from the rest, was actually a peg for the rider to fit on, but I didn’t have a rider (which would have been a 54mm scale “knight” that looks a lot like the Michelin man — I got this in a trade and the rider was MIA). I slipped a bit while trimming it and cut my thumb pretty badly.  The paint job is pretty basic but I was surprised at how detailed the skin is.

The second dragon is a fairly small figure that was made of a rubbery soft plastic and I think came out of a gumball machine. It originally had a small loop on its back that a parachute was tied to. My daughter gave it to me when she lost interest in it (the parachute never worked properly anyway). For what it is, the detail is not bad.

Lastly a non-dragon — I finished painting a Reaper Bones mimic about the same time.

Who doesn’t love a mimic?

Published in: on June 26, 2017 at 5:00 pm  Leave a Comment  
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The skeleton crew

Still anticipating a swashbuckling game some time in the future, I painted all the undead pirates I picked up on clearance a few years ago and a couple of ghosts someone sent me gratis (Thanks Scottsz!). I spent a little less time than usual painting these, knowing that they would not see a ton of use and having so many to get through. A nice dark wash cures many sins and makes the undead look suitably grotty, though I regret some of the hamfisted highlighting I added on the bones which came out too heavy and covered too much of the shading.

 

Mostly Reaper, except for one stray Citadel plastic skeleton from the 1990s. The one in the red coat was painted some time ago but I added a little detailing on his coat now that I have a better sense of how the cuffs and lining can contrast with the rest. The two zombies and the plastic skeleton got a rust effect on their weapons (orange and brown mixed into the silver) but I wasn’t completely happy with it and did not do this to the others.

These guys were a lot of fun. The violinist was a musician for some fantasy army but makes perfect sense to me for a ghost ship. The jolly spirits are Rafm. The skeletons, Reaper.

Last yet more Reapers. The one on the far left has no jawbone, which makes skeletons so much more creepy IMO. The guy in the blue coat behind him is not shown at a very flattering angle but he has a crow perched on his shoulder and his face came out pretty good, honest.

Some day all the pirates and swashbucklers will get better basing — maybe sand or if I get ambitious, wooden planking to suggest a deck. I also thought about adding seaweed draped over some of them but haven’t thought of a good way to accomplish that.

Published in: on April 6, 2017 at 12:00 pm  Comments (1)  
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