The last of the devils and demons

lastdevilswip

It’s been a while since I’ve had a chance to paint any miniatures. But on New Year’s Day I had some free time and decided to finish up the devils and demons in my collection. As you can see in the picture, I have a Reaper Bones marilith, a Reaper Bones female devil, a Grenadier efreet, a Ral Partha “gremlin,” a demon or gargoyle of unknown vintage (recast in plastic by WizKids for Mage Knight), a Ral Partha efreet, and two Heritage avenging angels. Apart from an incomplete figure or two, and some Mega Minis figures that look more like random monsters than demons, those are the last of the demons & devils.

The marilith is still not done. But the rest are finished. I didn’t take quite as much time as I sometimes would, such was my enthusiasm to get a category of minis finished.

Apologies in advance for the image quality — new phone, too much gloss in the sealant, and still figureing out the flash.

First up, the efreeti. Actually these were both figures I painted decades ago but stripped to repaint a bit more aesthetically. The Grenadier efreet is the last version they made for the Tomb of Spells set (I vastly prefer the older sculpt based directly on Trampier’s illustration but this guy is ok). The Ral Partha efreet I purchased some time around 1983 when I was on a family vacation to Baltimore. The three things about that trip that stand out are visiting the aquarium, paddling around the harbor with my brother (where we found a number of dead seagulls floating on the waves), and the incredible hobby shop in the mall on the harbor that had glass cases filled with miniatures from every manufacturer I knew of and many I never heard of. Any money I had at the time was spent there. I’m not sure what other minis I might have bought but I recall my brother getting an ogre and troll made by Castle Creations. I used the efreet as a half-ogre for a while. (all photos, click to embiggen)

efreeti

Next up are a trio of devils. The crouching figure may or may not be an original sculpt for WizKids’Mage Knight line. The guy with the spear is a very old Ral Partha. I couldn’t figure out a way to straighten his spear without removing it entirely and replacing it so I left it alone. The female devil is by Reaper.

3devils

The avenging angels are pretty unusual. I couldn’t find any painted examples in my googling, and they may be fairly rare. They were made for the Knights & Magic line, and would have come in a blister pack with one each of an angel with a flaming sword (like these), a spear, and a bow. I picked these up second-hand from a toolbox full of old minis at hobby shop that has since gone out of business (or at least gone online-only — Spellbinder’s of Kent, Ohio). The odd thing was there were only two wings, and when began assembling them I realized they were both the right wing. So one angel has plastic wings clipped from a plastic toy bird (the neat rounded feathers on the right) while the other took some reconstruction. I bent one wing into shape and added some Liquid Nails to the top edges so they look more symmetrical. They almost look like they were meant to be this way. I love the raggedness of these wings too — it seems like something out of a Terry Gilliam movie. (Actually, the bird-wings could be out of Brazil and the original wings out of The Fisher King, maybe).

angels1

Unrelated, but not appearing here before, I had a couple more minis that I painted over the summer and never photographed. They are a Reaper fire elemental and a very old Grenadier cleric. The cleric (who I always think of as Cedric the Cleric) lost his mace long ago and I replaced it with a somewhat oversized morningstar from the plastic Zvedza Orks kit.

clericandelemental1

Published in: on January 5, 2017 at 9:53 pm  Comments (3)  
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Die Geburt Krampuskind

nat-der-kra-2

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!

Amen!

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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Quick minis update

I took the day off to see an assembly at my kid’s school and get some chores done, and while I was waiting on the laundry I painted a Reaper Bones mini, probably as quickly as I’ve painted a mini (well not counting assembly-line painting of armies or 1/72 plastics which I mostly don’t shade or highlight). The mini has pretty shoddy detail, really, and I decided to cut off the goatee on the sculpt and paint him as a half-orc, as I’m playing a half-orc ranger in a very occasional 3.5e game with my brother-in-law and his friends. I also finished up a mage, which I’d been meaning to use for a PC in a now-defunct campaign.

wr-fronts

The ranger’s mail was just a plain undergarment with no texture, but I used some of the Heritage “Chainmail” paint I acquired a while back and the little flakes of metallic whatever made even the plain surface look reasonably close to mail. I really need to try it more. The milky stuff on the ranger’s base is varnish which isn’t quite dry. I’m hoping it will eventually dry clear.

And from behind:

wr-backs

The keys to making this one a super-fast paint job were: 1) not priming at all (Reaper claims you don’t need to prime Bones plastic minis; I found that the paint rubbed off pretty easily before sealing); 2) keeping the color scheme simple; 3) combining shading and lining by using a thick black wash to line the boundary areas and pulling it into the deeper crevices for shadow; 4) just adding white to the base colors and highlighting very heavily, since I wanted a weather-beaten look anyway for the ranger. The mage has more traditionally subtle shades and highlights but at arm’s length the ranger looks more striking to me. The mage is a Ral Partha; I’m not sure which line or date but he was definitely in lead, not zinc (er, “Ralidium”). I think he is probably a Julie Guthrie sculpt.

Also, I finished painting Orcus some time ago and forgot to photograph him:

Orcus

He’s a late Grenadier sculpt, but still in line with the 1e version as opposed to the muscle-bound 3e/4e version. I’m still not sure about the eyes, but the sculpt has really deep pupil slits and showing whites made him look bug-eyed, so I guess this will be it.

Published in: on March 27, 2015 at 7:19 pm  Comments (1)  
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Treasure

treasures1

Treasure chest miniatures are usually worth using, but I am not so sure about loose piles of treasure.  The problem is that usually show some explicit items — swords, helmets, scrolls, whatever — and your literal-minded players (who have perhaps been conditioned/spoiled by the fact that I often can throw out a mini that exactly mirrors what I described) assume that they are there in the treasure.  Even so, I have acquired or made some loose piles for variety.

Here’s a pretty humble treasure pile, I think from Reaper:

reaper-treasure-pile

Here are a couple of loose piles of gold coins (in this case glitter) with some random objects.

glitter

On the left, a crude scroll made of paper, a buckler from a 1/72 Italieri Saracen, a sword from a Rafm customizable fighter kit, and a tiny twig standing in for a magic wand. On the right, a wooden bead “urn”, a plastic Skaven shield, the helm from an MPC AD&D orc, another wand, and a pebble. The coins are gold glitter.

Next up some gold bars.

bars

These came in a Grenadier Champions set, but the pile of gold bars mini was in production for a really long time — all the way back to their Wizzards & Warriors days, at least.

These chests see a fair amount of use. The one on the far right was the “open” chest from the Grenadier AD&D Thieves set, but for reasons I can barely fathom now, I closed the chest, filing off the treasure that was in it.  For a while the chest was part of a portable war altar for a Warhammer army. The other two chests are plastic pieces from a “Weapons & Warriors” game.

chests

The big hoard of gold is another plastic piece from the MPC AD&D set. It is a pretty accurate but scaled down copy of the treasure pile that the Grenadier dragon lair had.

hoard

Lastly, a pair of golden urns and a pretty bitchen dragon idol, both scratch built by a friend I haven’t heard from in a while. (I hope all is well, Scottsz!)

idol+urns

I dig the candles on the idol quite a bit. The urns are wooden beads, and the dragon idol appears to be some wooden blocks with a tiny metal dragon on it. I’m guessing he used Testors enamel paint to get that smooth, shiny gold effect.

Published in: on March 3, 2015 at 12:00 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.

adventurers-gr

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.

gnomenhalfling

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.

thiefwpole

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.

bard-1

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.

sucubusandimp

jjj

Published in: on February 3, 2015 at 12:15 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Morlocks and more

I already use some classic wight minis and some plastic “beastmen” from Descent as morlocks, but when I was in the Columbus convention center for something work-related, I noticed a small games & comics shop nestled among the shops near the food court.  Inside I found a box of clearanced HeroClix figures, and I couldn’t rest getting a few.  A couple (Ulik, and The Abomination) I’m leaving as they were, but the rest looked like they could be pressed in D&D duty. The first batch are small horde of morlocks made from the Marvel Comics “Morlock” and “Moloids“.  The moloids were a little more suited to conversion, so I added weapons to them in place of the stalagmites they were holding. Then I repainted them all. These guys all have very good detail for plastics, and washes and drybrushing really bring them out.

Morlocks (which could equally serve as ghouls, wights, or morlocks)

Morlocks (which could equally serve as ghouls, wights, or morlocks). I don’t think he represented a particular Marvel character, just a generic trooper for the “Morlocks” — underground-dwelling mutants occasionally featured in the X-Men comics back in the 80s.

 

Morlocks-1-molemen

Moloids repurposed as small morlocks. The bugged eyes are a little goofy (the minis have goggles or visors) but what the hell.

A molid would also stand in pretty well for Gollum.

Morlocks-comp

Side-by-side, the moloids are about goblin-sized and the morlocks slightly taller than the typical 28mm human.

One other item I painted about the same time is this Reaper Bones gravestone with a swarm of bats:

Reaper Nones bats

Reaper Bones bats

I was tempted to take them off the gravestone and just put them on a more generic base, suspended on a piece of wire. Still might.

Published in: on December 14, 2014 at 7:50 pm  Leave a Comment  
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C’mon, internet, show us yer owlbears!

I decided to paint this Reaper owlbear I picked up really cheaply a year or two ago (it is from their “PB” line of retro lead/tin castings, so it was cheaper than the modern lead-free metal version, and moreover the FLGS had it 50% off!).  I found some pictures of other people’s paint jobs which I used for ideas.  Once I was done with it, I thought I ‘d repaint my TSR owlbear.  Back in the early 1980s, TSR, in a fit of hubris, decided to tank the AD&D license from Grenadier, give it to Citadel (though I never saw any Citadel AD&D minis anywhere in the US, maybe it was a UK-only deal?), and finally in 1983-1984 they produced their own line of minis which were pretty uneven in terms of quality.  I only had a few of these, including an owlbear that came in a blister with a rolly-polly polar bear.

Anyway I looked, in vain, for a painted example of this guy and came up with nada.  I did my best to make him match the Reaper owlbear’s colors and markings, though really he looks a bit more like a vultureracoon than an owlbear.

tsrowlbearThere he is in all his glory.

Below, the Reaper owlbear, looking much more obviously owly and beary.

reaper-owlbear

Look at that glorious plumage!

owlbear-plumage

Even accounting for the puffed up plumage, the Reaper mini is a good deal bigger, so maybe these are a mated pair.

owlbear family

In which case that weird Grenadier hawk-goat thing would be a an owlbear cublet.

Sadly, owlbears are getting to be as rare as hen’s teeth due to the fad for owlbearskin rugs.

owlbear-extinction

My only regret is I forgot to put any feathers on the rug.  Maybe I’ll touch up that some time.

I did recall seeing a painted TSR owlbear in an ad once, in a Dragon magazine, and by chance I found it in the first issue I checked (#62).

owlbear ad Not a bad paint job at all.  I would like to point out that their painter noticed the racoonish features too and put bands on the tail.

The rest of the ad has some of the character minis and you can see that the hand on the right has a spiked leather bracer. \m/  I guess TSR was feeling threatened by the Grenadier ads of the same period which featured a dude in full armor sitting at a table with their competing line of minis.

Do you, or did you, own any owlbear minis? Leave a comment and/or post a link if you’ve got something to show off.  Or draw an owlbear.  C’mon, internet, show us yer owlbears!!!

 

Published in: on April 3, 2014 at 9:10 am  Comments (9)  
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Heritage paints, part one

Some time ago one of the guys who used to make molds for Heritage Models sent me some pots of paint from Heritage’s paint line.  Many of them were dried out beyond recovery, but a few were still usable.  He’d added some water to them before he sent them, and they seem a bit thinner than the paints which came in the Paint & Play sets (which were the only Heritage paints I had back in the day).  However, for my purposes that works fine, as I wanted to try out the “stain painting” method described in the painting guides Heritage published back in the day*, which call for watered down paint applied directly over the white primer they sold (& which I am 90% certain was just white gesso).  So here are a couple of shots of my first step, applying the watery but still very intensely pigmented paints to a couple of Reaper minis.

A wood golem, or animated Tiki; behind it a bottle of 30+ year old paint and a bottle of new gesso.

A wood golem, or animated Tiki; behind it a bottle of 30+ year old paint and a bottle of new gesso.

You can see that the paint settled in like a very dark wash.  The next is a giant(ish) centipede, also by Reaper, painted with some crimson paint from the same line.  I see now that a couple of spots were missed.

heritage-crimsonThe idea is that crevices and relief get slightly different densities of paint, darker in the recess and lighter on the higher ground.  The next steps will be to add details in other colors and black line the borders.  I’ll post more WIP pictures as I continue.  Drybrushing and additional washes for shading are also recommended, but for a base coat, this is isn’t bad and I can see skipping those steps if you’re painting an army.

My impression so far of the Heritage paints though is that they are very good — the pigment seems extremely finely ground, the colors are very intense, and as thinned as they are, they remain fairly opaque.  It could be that the crappy craft paints I use have just set the bar really low, but I remember using PollyS and Armory paints back in the day and these seem to be as good or better.

=======================================

*The stain painting method was promoted, and probably invented, by Duke Siefried though Heritage staff artist Dave Helber wrote some of the guides and maybe added some additional tips.

Published in: on February 16, 2014 at 8:51 am  Leave a Comment  
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Devils, demons, and the mushroom king

A-june29groupThis weekend I finished up some guys I’d been working on intermittently.  I have just a few demons and devils left to paint now!

So first, a plastic miniature.  This was made by Wiz Kids for the MageKnight line, and is a copy of a Ral Partha sculpt.  Apparently Wiz Kids got a number of Ral Partha sculpts into its line, which I suppose was a consequence of RP going “out of business” after FASA bought them.

B-plastic-demon-1Left, a Games Workshop Lord of the Rings figure (he’ll be several of these pictures for scale).  Center, the Wiz Kids figure, and right, an original Ral Partha demon in lead.  He came in a set of three devils and you could choose from four heads for them.  The head he got seems like the most obvious choice (the others were much smaller horned heads and a goat-head).   Apart from having no integral base of his own, the plastic guy is a little smaller and his left hand is in a different position.  It’s harder to see here but their knees and legs are in slightly different positions too.  I’m not sure if there was actually a variant RP sculpt or if Wiz Kids just needed to alter him a little to fit into a mold (lead and metal figures are cast in soft rubber molds and can have a more complicated shape; plastic is usually cast from metal molds so the figure has to have no contours that would get caught in the mold).

The next guy is a really old Heritage devil, which was sold in a boxed set (as well as in blister, I think, in the Knights & Magick line).  I got mine second hand somewhere.

C-heritagedevil2I like the armor, which was uncommon in older devils, and the integral fire on his base.

D-heritagedevil

Next up, a Ral Partha demon.  This guy was sculpted by Tom Meier, and released as a “Ral Partha Import” in the USA and as a Citadel miniature in the UK. With the whip and sword, he’s obviously referencing Tolkien’s Moria balrog.

E-rp-balrogHere he is next to a Games Workshop Lord of the Rings figure, for scale.

F-RP-demon1

I have two of this casting.  One I bought ages ago; the other was given to me along with a bunch of other old lead and pewter minis, and is the one the one I finally painted here.

G-2-rp-demonsI kind of like the contrast here; sort of positive and negative.

You might be thinking, “yeah, but why would you want two balrogs?”  You’re right, of course.  You’d really want four to give a party a good challenge!

H-balrog-class-of-84Left to right, a Grenadier Type VI demon; the “gargoyle” from the HeroQuest Milton Bradley/Games Workshop game, and the two RP/Citadel demons.

I-2-grenadier-demonsThe last two demons are from the Grenadier “Action Art” Fantasy Fiends set.  I had them painted sort of randomly before, with greenish fur on one and grey on the other they didn’t really look like demons so much as mutant bears or something.

J-pack-of-gren-demonsI was lucky enough to get a third copy of this guy, heavily converted by Scottsz.  He added a tail, built up the nose and arms, and covered the weird ridge on its back with fur.  Here’s the backs:

K-pack-of-gren-demons-rThese three should be the stuff of nightmares.  Those claws would be 2 feet long in scale.

Now moving on from the demons, here’s a banshee made by Rafm.

L-rafm-bansheeAnd finally, I’m pleased to say the mushroom men finally have a leader.  No more directionless wandering and disorganized assaults on villages.  Behold the mushroom king!

M-mushroomking2He’s a Reaper mini, and nicely made with a lot of little details.

N-mushroomkingAgain for scale with a human.

And finally the grand procession of myconids:

O-rollin-w-shroomies

Published in: on June 29, 2013 at 7:12 pm  Comments (3)  
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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!

mummies

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

wraiths-r

Same guys from behind

reaper-wraith

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.

id-2

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

id-1

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

golem-f

A Ral Partha clay golem

golem-r

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

templar-s

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

templar-f

cauldrons

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.

troll-nosed

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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