Category Archives: Insanity Pile

Dark Lord

It has been a hellish couple of months, both personally and professionally. I have had little time to do anything hobby-related; but hopefully that’s behind me now. One thing I have managed to keep up with is my Character of the Month for my buddy Tom’s #paintanadventuringparty challenge on Instagram. It’s a good thing it’s only one miniature a month; because that’s about all I’ve done in September.

This old-school miniature comes from Superior Miniatures, from their Wizards and Lizards line: Dark Lord (a.k.a. “Wizard with Dragon”), sculpted by Ray Lamb. I purchased and painted him long ago (in the 80’s, in fact), but stripped him of his Testors enamel some years back, always intending to repaint him, And now I have.

There’s no way you could make this guy look like a good guy; so I’ve decided he is a good representation of a Warlock, a magic-user who gets his power from a pact with something infernal. I decided on a pretty simple palette, since everyone knows bad guys wear black.

This is one of my all-time favorite miniatures. I absolutely love this sculpt, and taking a new look at Superior’s line has really opened my eyes at how good these miniatures are. I have quite a few of them (another may be showing up here soon), and I count myself pretty fortunate.

Hopefully this marks a return to more regular posts; and an overall return to the blogosphere. I’ve missed you guys.

Bard with Bagpipes

For my Character of the Month, and for my submission to Tom’s #paintanadventuringparty challenge on Instagram, I chose to do a bard: specifically, this old-school Grenadier “Bard with Bagpipes”, sculpted by the great Andrew Chernak as part of one of the original Grenadier AD&D boxed sets.

Sadly, I don’t own the boxed set; but I picked this guy up loose on eBay a few years ago, since he was, up until then, a bagpiper miniature I did not own.

This guy has some bizarre fashion sense: a conquistador helmet, billowed sleeves, hose, toe shoes and some weird diaper-thing. I decided anyone who would dress like that would be looking for attention, so I painted him up as a troubadour in garish colors. A friend pointed out that his highland bagpipes have the traditional three drones and that his hand positioning on the chanter is pretty good–two things that are often sculpted incorrectly on bagpiper miniatures. Chernak did it right!

Only four more character classes to go until the end of the year (did that fly by or is it just me?): Monk, Wizard, Warlock and Paladin.

Apologies to all who have noticed my conspicuous absence from this site and from the blogoshere this month. Some family health problems have occupied my every waking thought lately; and I am way behind on hobby stuff. Still hoping to get something done for Dave’s Summer of Scenery by the end of the month, although it won’t be the AMT Deep Space Nine model as I originally planned. That turned out to be a bigger project than I anticipated.

I hope to be back in full form soon.

“He ain’t a hard man to track. He leaves dead men wherever he goes.”

Time for another entry in my Year of Pop Culture. The Outlaw Josey Wales is, of course, one of Clint Eastwood’s classic Westerns; one I have seen many times and one I return to often. It’s the story of a Confederate farmer whose family is murdered by Union troops, so he joins a militia to kill Northerners. Eventually, the militia is convinced to surrender. Josey refuses, of course, and his fellow militia men are all massacred after laying down their arms.

Josey becomes an outlaw; the target of bounty hunters and the duplicitous Union regiment known as the “Redlegs” that was responsible for the massacre of his men. He finds a woman, settles down on a ranch…but only for a little while. Eventually, the Redlegs arrive and lay siege to the ranch in a bloody climactic battle.

The Outlaw Josey Wales has some of the best lines in bad-ass movie history, from “You gonna pull those pistols, or just whistle Dixie?”, to the iconic “Dyin’ ain’t much of a livin’, boy.” It’s one of my favorite Westerns of all time, and if for some reason you haven’t seen it, you should.

Reaper does this “Jeb Lawson” miniature in their Chronoscope line, and it’s a pretty good likeness, almost as if they did that on purpose. It’s sculpted by James van Shaik.

Here’s my paint job.

And that’s one more for the Pop Culture theme of 2022.

I guess that’s a good thing, because I haven’t done shit on my Deep Space Nine model for the Season of Scenery yet…

Mistress of Darkness

Not to be confused with the Mistress of the Dark who recently made an appearance on Roger’s site, this is an old (1989) RAFM miniature that is no longer in production and doesn’t seem to be available anywhere anymore. She is my Character of the Month for Tom’s #paintanadventuringparty challenge over on Instagram. I’m calling her a sorceress.

Here’s a secret: I didn’t paint this miniature: I REPAINTED her. Way back in 1990 or so, I painted her using those wonderful Testors enamels I still have nightmares about. She actually didn’t look too bad, all things considered.

I remembered to snap a picture of her before I repainted her; but not before I added her to this base.

As you can see, I went with a more “Egyptian” theme to her this time around as opposed to the Frazetta-style in which she’s so obviously sculpted. I was likely inspired by all the Egyptian goings-on in The Old Ways Podcast’s Masks of Nyarlathotep game.

Only five more character classes to go for the year: Bard, Monk, Wizard, Warlock and Paladin. Which one will be next?

Guess what? I know the answer to that.

Droogs

Continuing the Year of Pop Culture (thought I forgot about that, huh?), may I present Alex and his three droogs: Pete, Georgie and Dim; the protagonists of A Clockwork Orange (the book) and Clockwork Orange (the film). Clockwork Orange is best known to the general public through the infamous 1971 Stanley Kubrick film starring Malcolm McDowell as Alex, a role that would forever typecast him as a psychotic villain (although Caligula didn’t help his career much in that regard, either). Erudite folks like me have also read the novel by Anthony Burgess. Watching the film is difficult for many people as it originally received an X rating due to the violence and strong sexual content. Burgess himself seems to have hated it; I can only speculate the reason may be because there was not enough distance between the character and the audience. We were able to watch, in graphic detail without the shielding of words, every horrific act Alex and his friends visited upon others. Despite Burgess’s feelings, the film is quite faithful to the book; at least to the version of the book that was, until about 25 years ago or so, the only version available in America. Until then, to the rest of the world, A Clockwork Orange ended quite differently. Now the American versions contain the elusive “twenty-first chapter”, which finally offers the complete tale of Alex.

In an unspecified future just around the corner, Alex and his small band commits acts of astounding depravity and atrocity on a nightly basis: rape, robbery, assault and battery are all activities they enjoy. They’re really not nice guys. Eventually, their crimes lead to murder, and Alex is sent away to prison, where he undergoes aversion therapy to cure him of his savage impulses. Alex is given a slow-acting drug in his food and then made to watch pornographic and/or violent films depicting the kinds of things he enjoyed; i.e. rape, beatings and general mayhem. The drug makes him severely nauseous; soon he begins to associate the sickness with the activities he watches on film. After a while, Alex can’t even think about the things he used to enjoy without becoming sick. He is pronounced cured, and set free.

The weird thing is that although we (hopefully) deplore Alex’s behavior, we eventually come to care about him and identify with him. Alex actually becomes likeable; no mean feat considering his character. And so, after his release, it’s with something like sympathy that we watch the “new” Alex receive his comeuppance at the hands of those he has wronged, powerless to fight back against they who would have their revenge.

The question at the end of both the book and the film is, “Is Alex cured?” The Kubrick film leaves that open to speculation, but the clear implication is no. The complete book, on the other hand, gives a definite answer. If you’ve only seen the film, you haven’t got the whole story.

The appearance and outfits of Alex and his droogs differed a great deal between the book and the movie. In the book, the gang wore black outfits with white cravats, and each one wore a unique novelty codpiece. In the film, they wear white boiler suits with unique hats. In addition, three of the droogs wear some kind of makeup: Dim wears lipstick, Pete wears eyeshadow under his left eye, and Alex has his iconic false eyelash on his right eyelid.

These miniatures by Crooked Dice are clearly representations of the character depictions in the movie, and like most Crooked Dice miniatures, they’re awesome. Painting them was very easy, as you might expect. Prime the boiler suits white, wash black and highlight. I I tried to include the makeup as well.

Despite the subject matter, Clockwork Orange is one of my favorite films with one of the greatest soundtracks in movie history. I first encountered it in college as a Psychology student; I had to watch it (and other highly controversial films, like Titticut Follies) while studying aversion therapy and negative reinforcement techniques. I’ve probably seen it about a dozen times, with the most recent viewing a little over a year ago on Netflix.

Up next: More Pop Culture!

Half-Elf Ranger

For my Character of the Month and for Tom’s #paintanadventuringparty challenge on Instagram, I decided to do this half-elven ranger, sculpted by Dennis Mize for the Ral Partha AD&D Adventurers collection back in 1989.

Another old-school, metal miniature from yesteryear that’s been sitting in my pile of shame without a drop of paint on him since the day he was purchased.

I’m really happy with the way he came out, and I’m glad I chose yellow as the prominent color. I hate painting yellow, but for some reason I thought it would look good.

True to form, I waited until the last possible day to finish him up, but that still counts!

This month has been fun. Make sure to stop by Carrion Crow’s Buffet for the Forgotten Heroes blogroll and check out everyone’s fantastic submissions. Next month here at Dead Dick’s Tavern starts with a major gripe session, followed by more pop culture miniatures, another character of the month, and…oh, yeah…a little thing called the Season of Scenery, hosted by Mr. Star Wars himself: Dave Stone! This year, I have decided to merge both the Season of Scenery challenge and my own Year of Pop Culture and work on something that will satisfy both.

Monster May(hem) 2022 Roundup!

Well, another Monster May(hem) has come and gone; and once again, I am so happy to welcome everyone who participated, both out here in the blogosphere and on Instagram! After a glacial start to the month, I managed to crowbar in a few more monsters at the eleventh hour. Not the way I like to work, but it’s what life dealt me this month…

It was a Nolzur’s kinda year for me, as 75% of my submissions this year came from that exceptional (as far as monsters are concerned, anywway) line of miniatures. I posted my Manticore previously; but since then, I’ve completed three more miniatures, starting with this Cave Bear.

What’s that? Not a monster, you say? Merely an animal? Well, my Lamentations of the Flame Princess players might disagree with you, as they recently came face-to-slobbering-face with one of these, which happened to be rabid, to boot! That could have ended in a very different way, but they managed to drive it off in a hail of black powder and lead bullets!

I used mostly Citadel paints on this. The bear was primed black, then painted Mournfang Brown,, highlighted with Deathclaw Brown, then washed in a 50/50 mix of Agrax Earthshade and Nuln Oil, then drybrushed with Vallejo Ivory. A final wash in the recesses with some straight Nuln Oil and it was done. I used some Woodland Scenics leaves on the base and I think he looks ok (although not as fierce as the one in my game, perhaps).

Up next, this Venom Troll; the submission of which I have the most pictures, but the least to say. I actually bought this months ago because I thought it would look good as a boss zombie. I was going to paint her (?) with mottled, zombie-like flesh; but I decided to go with a standard-looking greenish troll instead.

Her skin tone was achieved by using two types of Vallejo greens washed in old GW yellow wash, then the recesses were done in Athonian Camoshade. Her gross pustules are dripping GW’s Nurgle Rot, but you can’t really see it against the skin. Oh, well.

Finally, I repainted a Wizkids factory paint job on perhaps my favorite Lovecraftian monster: The Great Race of Yith. Why should Matt hog all the Mythos monsters?

Here is what it looks like out of the box. (Of course I didn’t take a picture of my actual miniature first; but this is what they ALL look like.) Big surprise: the miniature is great, the paint job sucks. Pretty bland, and a far cry from Lovecraft’s description, which is: They seemed to be enormous iridescent cones, about ten feet high and ten feet wide at the base, and made up of some ridgy, scaly, semi-elastic matter. From their apexes projected four flexible, cylindrical members, each a foot thick, and of a ridgy substance like that of the cones themselves. These members were sometimes contracted almost to nothing, and sometimes extended to any distance up to about ten feet. Terminating two of them were enormous claws or nippers. At the end of a third were four red, trumpet-like appendages. The fourth terminated in an irregular yellowish globe some two feet in diameter and having three great dark eyes ranged along its central circumference. Surmounting this head were four slender grey stalks bearing flower-like appendages, whilst from its nether side dangled eight greenish antennae or tentacles. The great base of the central cone was fringed with a rubbery, grey substance which moved the whole entity through expansion and contraction.

I didn’t have the time to do much about the four slender stalks surmounting the head, but I could sure do a better paint job. Here it is, with a Pulp Figures reporter (a.k.a. hapless Mythos investigator) for scale.

I fell back on my old-school Tyranid scheme for the body. For the snakelike appendages, all I had to do was give him a thorough wash of Agrax Earthshade and Nuln Oil. The head was colored with Yellow Wash and the eyes painted black and given a coat of gloss varnish. I painted the claws black and drybrushed them crimson, and added some highlights to the pink trumpet thingy.

Inscrutable, isn’t it?

This is technically a repaint, but I’m calling this a submission, because it’s my challenge, so nyah nyah.

Here are the wonderful hobbyists who took part this year, along with a list of their impressive achievements. I will update this list over the course of the next week or so as the inevitable straggling entries make their way onto the web.

Jeremy, aka Carrion Crow; from Carrion Crow’s Buffet, has finished his Straw God from Crooked Dice miniatures! It looks smashing and boasts some impressive base work. Jeremy is hosting his own challenge this month, one I look forward to every year: Forgotten Heroes! Drop by his blog to check it out and join up! It’s a blast!

Roger from Rantings From Under the Wargames Table, sculpted Jason Voorhees from scratch; then did an amazing job and lavished much attention on the bony growths of a “Generation 1 Mutation” from Deadzone. I was unaware of this figure, but it’s awesome. I don’t play Deadzone, but I’m already thinking of a ton of uses for this beast in Supers or Scifi games. Well done, Roger!

As usual, I found it impossible to keep up with Matt from PM Painting. The guy never stops painting monsters (at least not in May). In order, Matt completed a Queen of Hell, an avatar of Hastur, some Hell Hounds, a Tomb Tapper, a Rock Troll, a swarm of Muccins, a Chaos Dragon Ogre, a Reaper Bathalian Centurian, an old-school Chaos Slaanesh rider and a Keeper of Secrets. I can’t say enough good things about them here, so I’ll just point you in the direction of Matt’s blog. Trust me, every one of them is worth a look. And a hearty thanks to Matt for really rolling up his sleeves (as he does every year).

Edit: Not content with letting his impressive tally stand, Matt also completed another submission after zero hour: a possessed Chaos Dreadnought for Warhammer 40K. It’s both a paint job and a conversion; Matt turned an old-school Space Marine Dreadnought (and I mean OLD SCHOOL, i.e. Rogue Trader-era) into a demonic war machine. It looks so cool!!!!

Azazel from Azazel’s Bitz Box is another inspiring overachiever; he started with a Burrowing Horror; then moved on to a Byakhee, some Earth Elementals, a Spawn of Ungoliant ( I love this one), a couple of Yetis and some Citadel ogres from one of my favorite sculptors, Bob Olley! He also managed to find time for a Chaos Minotaur and a Mordor Troll; but not before he did some incredible work on some Ghostbusters stuff: Gozer, Slimer, the Demon Dogs and yes, the Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man. (Jeremy, if you haven’t checked this out yet you’ll love it!) Thanks, Azazel; for showing up again this year and for really bringing it!

“Mr. Star Wars”; a.k.a. Dave from Wargames Terrain Workshop (I think that might stick, Dave) once again displayed his sculpting skills to great effect this year. Last year’s Krayt dragon was so incredible it deserves another mention here; but this year Dave scratch-built a TON Star Wars monsters (not in order): a purrgil (space whale); a blurrg, a sand ape and a sand bat, all from Tattooine; and a krykna (giant space-spider) that I think I saw on The Mandalorian. He also scratch-built and painted Ziro the Hutt, Jabba’s somewhat effeminate cousin who sounds like he’s from Louisiana. (I hear it, anyway.) And that’s just what he sculpted himself. He still found time to paint a pair of Wampas, gibbering horde and a chaos spawn. Dave: as always, lovely and inspirational work.

Tom from over on Instagram was back for a second year, contributing several monsters from various miniatures games: a “corrupted were-deer”, a werewolf, a gibbering mouther, and a (really disturbing) bug person. Check out Tom’s Instagram account; he’s another guy who never stops posting miniatures!

Thanks to all the newcomers this year! Jon from Jon’s Hobby Desk painted a big, gross Nurgle-thing called a Glottkin, and surprised us with a half-dozen giant spiders! That’s NINE monsters for Monster May(hem)! Think my math is wrong? Go visit Jon’s blog!

Simon, aka Blax the Kleric, from Fantorical Wargaming, completed a bevy of cool Crooked Dice miniatures, further rubbing my nose in how unfortunate I am to live in a country with no Crooked Dice stockist! In between various other projects, Simon painted a massive Mighty Simian, the popular-with-good-reason Straw God, and two Harryhausen-esque Bronze Titans! Lovely work, Simon! please come back next year!

And finally, Malcolm, also from Instagram, painted a Reaper basilisk and a Nolzur’s wyvern. Malcolm is a gaming buddy of mine who lives in far-away lands (i.e. the Midwest). I have a feeling we’ll see him around these parts again…

Please support these hobbyists by visiting their sites (or IG accounts; you don’t need an account to have a look) and leaving a comment or two. I count myself fortunate to know so many talented and welcoming people in our hobby!

So, what’s next here? Well, if all goes as planned, June will include a return to Star Trek to find out the fate of Lieutenant Barclay, as well as more Pop Culture. Oh, yeah…and there’s one more thing…

Forgotten Fucking Heroes.

I’m giddy. Giddy, I say!

Adventuring Cleric

For my Character of the Month, I decided to do a cleric. This is an old TSR miniature from the “Heroes” set, released in 1983.

I have made my derision plain regarding this era of D&D miniatures. There’s very little to like. Most of the TSR miniatures look stupid; scale is an afterthought; and they are made of a strange metal that does its damndest to repel paint. In short, they suck.

The Heroes set is the best of the TSR D&D boxed sets, though. Most of the miniatures in the set manage to not look completely like ass. I actually like this cleric, which is why I chose to paint him.

I’m not at all sure what that thing he’s holding is supposed to be, so I painted it like a candle or a lamp. Could be a weird holy symbol…who knows?

Back, foul thing!

Anyway, that’s for Tom’s #paintanadventuringparty challenge over on Instagram. My next post will be the rest of my Monster May(hem) efforts, as well as a round up of everyone else who contributed!

Monster May(hem) 2022: Manticore

Well, I finally got something done.

This is a manticore, from Nolzur’s Marvelous Miniatures. I really like this sculpt.

As my friend Jon, creator of the Tale of the Manticore podcast, is about to bring his first epic quest to a close; I thought I’d dedicate this miniature to him. I’ve hyped Tale of the Manticore on this site before (and likely will again). It’s an old-school rpg/dark fantasy podcast that’s not really like anything else. The perfect blend of storytelling and roleplaying, and it’s great to listen to when painting miniatures. You can find it anywhere you find podcasts.

Although I’m reasonably happy with the paint job on the manticore, I’m pretty meh about the base. I was in a hurry ( I had to get SOMETHING done, for Christ’s sake), and I didn’t put as much attention into it as I would like. It needs something, like the bones of a victim, perhaps…

Monster May(hem) continues apace, with many talented contributors both out in the blogosphere and on Instagram. Here’s the blogroll:

Jeremy, aka Carrion Crow; from Carrion Crow’s Buffet, has begun work on his Straw God from Crooked Dice miniatures. (Jeremy, you should absolutely check out Azazel’s work on those Ghostbusters devil-dogs! Link below.)

Roger from Rantings From Under the Wargames Table, has sculpted a wonderful Jason Voorhees from scratch, and painted him in his typical adroit manner! Ch-ch-ch-ha-ha-ha!!

Matt from PM Painting started things off with a Queen of Hell, then moved on to an avatar of Hastur, then to some Hell Hounds, then a Tomb Tapper, a Rock Troll, a swarm of Muccins and a Chaos Dragon Ogre! (He’s really lagging behind this year…)

Azazel from Azazel’s Bitz Box has completed a Burrowing Horror, a Byakhee, some Earth Elementals, a Spawn of Ungoliant that has to be seen to be believed; and those cool demon dogs from Ghostbusters! Way to go, Azazel!

Dave from Wargames Terrain Workshop (aka “Mr. Star Wars”) started with a pair of wampas and a Tattooine sand ape, then scratch-built a purrgil; then switched it up and painted a gibbering horde and a chaos spawn. Then he went back to Star Wars for a Tattoine sand bat, a scratch-built blurrg and (my favorite) a scratch-built Ziro the Hutt! Outstanding!

Tom from over on Instagram painted a “corrupted were-deer”, a werewolf, a gibbering mouther, and…something else… (a little help here, Tom). It’s a CMON miniature and it looks like a mosquito man…

and a few newcomers to Monster May(hem) this year:

Fellow Super Mission Force enthusiast Jon from Jon’s Hobby Desk, has begun work on a Glottkin, a big Nurgle-beastie!

Simon, aka Blax the Kleric, from Fantorical Wargaming, has completed the Straw God from Crooked Dice (that same one Carrion Crow is also working on), and has also finished another Crooked Dice miniature: the Giant Ape!

And Malcolm, also from Instagram, has painted a Reaper basilisk and a Nolzur’s wyvern! Cool stuff!

Please check out all these wonderful hobbyists. Visit their sites, drop them a comment or two, or just introduce yourself and say hello. The main reason I host this challenge is because it’s fun; but it’s also a great way to show support and inspire and showcase the work of other people!

I’m still hoping to get at least one more monster miniature done by the end of the month…fingers crossed!

Monster May(hem) 2022 Begins!

Just a short post to let everyone know that Monster May(hem) 2022 has officially begun! Here is our list of participants this year, in no particular order:

Jeremy, aka Carrion Crow; from Carrion Crow’s Buffet

Roger from Rantings From Under the Wargames Table

Matt from PM Painting

Azazel from his eponymous Azazel’s Bitz Box

Dave from Wargames Terrain Workshop

Tom from over on Instagram

and a couple of newcomers to Monster May(hem) this year:

Fellow Super Mission Force enthusiast) Jon from Jon’s Hobby Desk,

and Simon, aka Blax the Kleric, from Fantorical Wargaming!

And me, of course. As usual, I will update my blogroll as I post my own contributions, to point the way towards everyone’s great work! I have a few miniatures planned; but I’m not certain how many I will get through!

It’s not too late to join if you’re on the fence. Here are the rules, such as they are. Just let me know if you’re interested and I will add your name to the roster of painting heroes, and link to your site/account/ blog (ass appropriate).

Happy painting!