Sculpey and stuff

Found some older pictures I meant to post a while back. This was all stuff my wife & I made to sell a festival last Fall at my kid’s school. (The 8th graders used to make and sell clay animals to sell for their class trip, and our Daughter always looked forward to seeing them at the festival, but in the last few years they’d stopped doing that, and we decided to fill in the gap.)

Almost everything sold, though I did keep one of the monsters and priced the box high because I realized I wanted it as a dice box.  🙂

I got suckered into making a photo-op cut-out (another parent did a nice job painting it).


The box is kind of a mimic. The eyes are clear glass beads, with the whites and pupils painted underneath so they follow you.




That’s more or less how the illusion works on paintings and statues too.

The rest of the picutres are little creatures, bits of scenery for fairy gardens, and so on.  My wife did most of the gnomes and aliens; I did some monsters and things.  I also made a bunch of Greek mythological beings but did not get a chance to take pictures.

SGWSChildrensFest SGWSChildrensFest2 SGWSChildrensFest3 SGWSChildrensFest4  SGWSChildrensFest6 SGWSChildrensFest7

We have an oak tree that was going crazy with acorns last year, and when my daughter started saving twigs with acorn caps attached I got the idea to make clay faces in them. I am not sure why anyone would pay a dollar for them, as they have to use whatever, but they were kind of cute.


Published in: on February 26, 2015 at 12:00 pm  Comments (2)  

Flail snails again

Some time ago I made the flail snail on the right; more recently I made a second, more naturalistic flail snail.


Click to embiggen … at your peril!


The new one, on the left, has a real seashell for its shell (lightly washed with dark brown), and the body is made of polymer clay.  The flails were also polymer clay, formed around some florist wire so they’d be less likely to break, and to give them an easy way to attach.  The older one, on the right, has a shell from a cheap plastic animal, a body of epoxy putty, and the flails are wire with mace-heads from cheap plastic knight toys.


While I have no doubt that others have made their own flail snail minis (this lovely one came up early in a GIS), I do find it odd that no miniatures company ever made them.  They hardly require much skill, though I guess as one of the infamously “dumbest monsters of D&D” lists, and an example of what’s so terrible about the Fiend Folio,  the poor flail snail is subject to too much ridicule to get a fair break.

Published in: on September 27, 2014 at 8:00 am  Comments (6)  
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I recently posted a Reaper centipede I painted; in fact I also made a bunch of low-resolution copies in Sculpey so that I’d have a nice swarm of centipedes, because who ever encounters just one?  Here they are:

centipedesI got the idea from an earlier project I did, replacing a lost Heritage giant rat with a Sculpey copy.  In that case I had a few nice decent lead and plastic rats to begin with.

rats-1Upper left, a Reaper rat; lower left, three Heritage rats; upper right, three rats from the HeroQuest game.

I decided to try making a copy of the flattest rat — the one in the extreme lower left.  Here is what I ended up with:

rats-2And finally the whole lot of rats, metal, plastic, and Sculpey:

rats-3I also picked up some toy ants a while back and made an encounter’s worth of giant ants from them, just painting them and mounting them on bases.

ants-1Here’s another picture from a lower angle:


Published in: on February 20, 2014 at 8:55 am  Comments (2)  
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Them bones

Them bones…

warning-bonesThese are a bunch of random bits — the back row, far left, is from a Grenadier “Action Art” set, while the back row far right is an idol from the Grenadier AD&D blister “Hill giants”; the two smaller piles in the back row are troll bones from a Warhammer boxed set that included several really cool items of scenery.  The dragon skull is from a Grenadier box of swamp monsters, I believe it was the Fantasy Lords or Dragon Lords set that replaced the AD&D swamp monsters set.  These are all nice warnings that could be left out by monsters or cultists or whatever, warning adventurers to stay away (or more likely luring them in).

When I got a recast of the Minifigs skeleton cart, I was really conflicted about whether to use the bone pile or the coffin as the cargo, and hit on the idea of making an extra copy of each out of Sculpey.  In the end I made a lot of coffins loosely based on the original, both open and closed, and also some copies of the skeleton that goes in the coffin, as well as piles of bones.  The copies came out pretty poorly, which is fine, since my goal was just to get something useful for placing on a battlemat when the adventurers happen to be in a crypt, tomb, or catacomb.


Closed coffins — the grey ones could be stone sarcophagi.


“Opened” coffins, with bones inside. The center one in the back row has his arms folded across his chest. I realized when I was almost finished painting them that I could repose the skeletons by selectively painting them.


And some plain skeletons to lay about on the ground. The dark grey one is actually the first mini I ever bought. At one time he held a sword aloft, but his arm repeated broke, and his legs broke at the ankle, and now he is casualty marker for fire-ball victims or just a dusty skeleton. The guy next to him is from the Tomb of Spells, and also broke at the ankles many times so he’s now lying down. I added a few bits and bobs to the base so looks like a dead adventurer.

I already posted some completely scratch-built sarcophagi, but my favorite one is the plastic model from HeroQuest, which I painted to help bring out the details:

HQ-tombI made some copies of the top to use as effigies.  Here’s one more shot of the original:

HQ-tomb-2And the four copies I made out of Sculpey:

effigiesThey can lay on top of the stone coffins above, or sit on the floor as crypt-covers.  My duplication process (which is just pressing the object into one lump of Sculpey, then baking it, and then using that as a “press mold” for more copies) leaves some detail out, which gives a nice wear & tear effect.

Published in: on February 19, 2014 at 10:30 am  Comments (5)  
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Green devil face


I’ve been messing around with Sculpey for a while now, mostly making little animals and gnomes for kids, but I saw this and in the spirit of onedownsmanship decided to try my hand at a green devil face too. 



The “wall” is a bit of matte board covered in balls of Sculpey, and the base is a big metal washer to keep it from falling over.  I had to add a mound of Sculpey to hold the wall on it, but it is reasonably inconspicuous painted black.  The whole thing is a little big, but still within reason.


For Egg’s sake, don’t touch it!

Then I saw another great idea here.  My version is definitely a lot cruder, but was fun.


Published in: on February 13, 2014 at 12:00 pm  Comments (3)  
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An elf and I don’t know what

So here’s the elf from the Milton Bradley/GW Heroquest game.  I originally painted him a god ten or twelve years ago, but did his hair grey, which ended up looking very blue.  All that timehe’s been a bench-warmer.  No-one wanted use a blue haired elf as thier PC, and I really can’t blame them.  so finally I repainted his hair as blonde, and maybe someone will put him in, coach!

heroquest-elfIf I had another copy of this figure, I’d definitely give him a pointed cap, like Zelda.

The other thing I photographed is a column I made out of Sculpy a while back.  I keep buying bricks of Sculpy and thinking I’ll do a bunch of cool terrain or monsters and instead I let my daughter make koalas and stuff out of it.   But one time we both worked on projects and I decided to make a sun and moon idol.  I think I was definitely plagarizing John Blanche’s moon faces from his GW work.  I’m not quie sure what I’ll do with this; it could be an idol used by humanoids, or the ancients; it could equally well be some sort of magical trick or trap.

The sunny side

The sunny side

An angry moon

An angry moon

pillar-sideThe nice thing about stuff like this is takes almost no time to paint.  Just a bunch of dry-brushing over black paint.


Published in: on February 5, 2013 at 1:00 am  Comments (1)  
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A while back I picked up a couple of loose myconids made by Wizards of the Coast.  They are nice and just a little creepy:

I decided I really needed a lot more than two myconids if I’m ever going to use them for D&D.  So, I decided to make a few more out of Sculpy, and while I was at it, made some giant mushrooms to go with them.

The mushrooms were easy.  I had recently been reading a kid’s book about mushrooms to my daughter, who was very interested in them last summer and fall, and it had some nice color photos for reference.  They were all glued down to small (3/4 inch or so) glass tiles left over from one of her craft projects.  This gives them a fairly heavy base and makes them stable.

The myconids turned out to be a little trickier, because I learned that Sculpy gets sort of soft in the over before it hardens.  Next time I’ll try ‘Super Sculpy,’ or at least use an armature.  I didn’t mind my myconids being a little simpler and even cartoonish, since I was whipping them out pretty fast (all the ‘shrooms and ‘nids were done in about an hour, plus baking time).

My first one has a very silly look and reminds me of the ‘blob fish’ or maybe a McDonaldland burger dude.

For most of them I went with a face more like the WotC minis.  I think these guys look a bit like the dancing shrooms in Fantasia, now that I think of it:

This guy was the skinniest myconid and completely fell apart in the oven, after slowly drooping, so the best I could do to save him was to make him crawling:

The Myconids are mounted on steel washers or electrical box punch-outs I scavenged, and these are equally good as ballast.

Published in: on March 31, 2012 at 4:24 pm  Comments (6)  
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Been on a monster tear lately

That makes 1819!

So there’s the scorpion men I already covered; a black pudding made from Sculpy:

Just Sculpy that had a couple of pens pressed against it, baked, glued to a washer, and painted.

A MegaMinis harpy (originally Metal Magic?)

And a flesh golem — a repainted MageKnight mini:

As much as I love some of the henchmen and men-at-arms I’ve started, I’ve been motivated to paint monster lately, under the assumption that I could conceivably finish them all this year.  Monsters are A LOT easier to paint than people & humanoids, IMO, since they have less stuff.  Also, I find that about 5% of the adventurer minis ever get used; everyone always likes the same bitchin’ elf or fighter.  I should post my favorite “benchwarmers” some time — the minis I love but who always sit out on game night. 🙂

But monsters pretty much always get a chance to shine, at least once.

Published in: on April 30, 2011 at 6:00 am  Comments (5)  
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The worms crawl in, the worms crawl out

So it turns out I have three copies of Grenadier’s larvae miniatures. My first came in a boxed set of dungeon monsters. (I painted the worm-ends green and the faces in regular flesh tones. I very scrupulously avoided reading the Monster Manual back then so I painted my monsters all the “wrong” colors.) The other two came later — one I think came from Scottsz and the other I picked up second hand at Spellbinder’s in Kent, during the brief period when they had a a really good downtown location and tons of space. Anyway I stripped them all and began repainting them, then kind of shelved things until Scottsz’s minis came last fall.

A couple of months ago I broke them out to represent some hallucinations in a one-shot playtest adventure, and I realized I still hadn’t painted them all. Anyway when I threw some grub-sized larvae into my regular game, I decided I needed to get the minis finished for use. I figure that any minis I’ve been “saving” had better get used because who knows if I’ll ever get to run another D&D campaign, right? So I thought about the logistics of using these minis where three larvae are all in one “space.” Suppose one is killed…do I place a little marker near it, or say” this one is just two larvae now” or what?

Obviously I needed more larvae.

I considered sawing apart one or both of the spares to get some “singles” but then it struck me that these would be really easy to make from scratch. So I rolled out a “worm” of Sculpy, with indentations to suggest segments, and I was going to sculpt some ugly little heads but then I remembered a large box of 28mm plastic minis from the “Lionheart” board game, and decided it would be much faster to use their heads. I ended up using just one of each of the troops in the Lionheart game (skipping the heavy infantry in full helms).  So I just sculpted the worms and baked them, and then glued on the heads with Liquid Nails.  (Liquid Nails is great stuff for conversions and scratch-building, because it dries hard but slightly flexible and can be sculpted a bit before it dries if you use fingers and tools that are wet.  It dries faster than epoxies and less brittle than super glue, and less toxic than either.  I’d still use epoxy to superglue for metal-to-metal joins, and when assembling models, though.)  I maybe should have sacrificed more peasants to get bare-headed larvae but I really like the idea of having a mob of peasants. And in the end the helmeted larvae look pretty messed up too.

I especially like the idea of crowned king reduced to … this.

So anyway when I was looking them up again in the Monster Manual (after having painted them pale yellow/white like maggots) I was happy to see I got the color right and delighted to see that Gygax had established a whole economy of larvae. They can be made into imps and quasits by devils and demons, respectively, and there is a bustling trade in larvae.   They are often harvested by night hags who use their supply to help keep their home plane of Hades under their control by selling or giving them to demons and devils. Larvae in the Monster Manual are the souls of the most evil humans, so night hags seek out evil people to slay and steal their souls.

In my setting I’m making the human soul a composite of two parts (the Gimlé soul and the Urth soul; they are normally bound together, and together they are both “immortal” like the gods themselves. In this state they can abide in Valhalla and other godly realms. But separated, the Urth soul grows into a larva and can be easily destroyed. The Gimlé soul, it is thought, could ultimately ascend to Gimlé (“High Heaven” in the Norse myth), but the soul is only supposed to be broken down into the two parts after Ragnarok. So what’s going on with the souls of those killed in Telengard? What happened to the Gimlé souls of the adventurers whose Urth souls were discovered on the stairs to level two?

Click to embiggen

BTW the title of this post refers to a morbid nursery rhyme sometimes called “The hearse song.”  There’s some interesting stuff about it here and here.  I bet larvae get tired of singing that.

Published in: on January 18, 2011 at 9:29 pm  Comments (3)  
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