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?
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!
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.)
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!
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).
“For no one, no one in this world can you trust. Not men. Not women. Not beasts. This you can trust.”
Conan’s father was right, of course. Blades before bros, babes and beasts every time. Sadly, he was just another wise man who was torn apart by dogs. Such is life.
The year of pop culture continues! For my character of the month, painted for Tom’s #paintanadventuringparty over on Instagram, I decided to paint a barbarian. Not just any barbarian: THE barbarian. I present: Conan of Cimmmeria, born on a battlefield, destined to wear the jeweled crown of Aquilonia upon a troubled brow.
This is “The Cimmerian (FTF07)” (also labeled as “barbarian with sword”), a classic Ral Partha sculpt from 1984. I have probably had it since then, but I never got around to painting him until now. Wish I knew who sculpted it. My best guess would be Dennis Mize.
I could have just painted him bare-chested (as is the barbarian’s wont); but I was inspired by the body paint from Conan’s raid on Thulsa Doom’s temple, arguably the coolest part of the Conan the Barbarian film (a movie with a LOT of cool parts).
One of the best things about the movie is the amazing soundtrack; which I absolutely listened to while painting the miniature. It’s so great!
I made sure to add the blood splatter from Conan’s many kills; but I seem to have forgotten to add blood to his sword. Maybe he oiled it just before the slaughter.
Here, Conan explores a temple and discovers a strange inscription. What could it mean?
So, to recap: this miniature ticks a lot of boxes for me: he’s my character of the month, my entry for Tom’s IG challenge, he’s a pop culture miniature AND he’s old-school lead!
Here at Dead Dick’s Tavern, Monster May(hem) kicks off the annual painting challenges that I look forward to most: Monster May(hem) in May, Forgotten Heroes in June, and the Summer of Scenery in July and August (Dave gives us an extra month so we really have no excuse). Participation in my humble challenge has grown steadily over the years, and last year Matt and Azazel in particular really showed us what can be done in just thirty-one days! I look forward to hosting this challenge every year!
Anyway, what is Monster May(hem)? Why, it’s the month you paint monsters, of course. Any monster will do, although it should be a proper MONSTER; no skeletons or orcs. I mean something truly beastly; like a wyvern or a shoggoth or an owlbear. Your monster(s) doesn’t have to be strictly a fantasy miniature, and it may be any scale and from any manufacturer. Wanna see past Monster May(hem) stuff? Just check the archives for May; staring in 2018. or, if you’re too lazy to do that, you can get a pretty good idea what I’m talking about by looking at this post and this post. Everyone is welcome, of course. Just inform of me your intent to participate in the comments below. I will link to your stuff throughout the month, and (if it’s not there already) add your blog/website/social media to the blogroll on the side! If you don’t have a site of your own and still want to participate, I’ll happily host your pictures here and ensure you get proper attribution!
I’ve got a few plans already for this year; but as usual I’m not sure if I’ll get to all of them.
It’s pretty tough to overstate how much of a big deal Bioshock was when it was released back in 2007. It still holds up today; both graphics and gameplay, and as for the story, forget about it. Your plasmid-fueled trip through the failed, Randian underwater dystopian city of Rapture is a tale well worth revisiting and replaying, even fifteen years and two sequels later. Scary, thrilling, darkly comic and somewhat grotesque, Bioshock is art.
Among the many adversaries you will face as you traverse the leaking, seaweed-choked halls and passages of Rapture, the most iconic (and deadly) are the Big Daddies. There is no escaping them. You will meet them, you will kill them; and you will most certainly be killed by them. Many, many times.
The Big Daddy’s sole purpose is to protect the Little Sisters, who are the main source of ADAM, the raw material substance which allows genetic alteration. In game terms, this is how your character gets cool abilities and powers. Little Sisters were once normal young girls who have been altered to reclaim ADAM from the corpses of genetically altered people. When meeting a Little Sister (after killing her Big Daddy first), you have the option to either Save her or Harvest her. Saving her returns her to normal and grants you some ADAM; harvesting her kills her and grants you a lot more.
I’ve been called heartless before; but I save all the Little Sisters. (I’m not a fucking monster.)
The Little Sisters call the Big Daddies “Mr. Bubbles”. For my “Mr. Bubbles”, I chose this “hardsuit” miniature from Recreational Conflict. It’s about as close to a Big Daddy as you can get.
After priming it black, I based it with Citadel Tin Bitz before layering on Vallejo Bronze. I didn’t like the look of it (too uniformly metallic), so I washed it in Vallejo Sepia Tone. This gave it a really nice, warm color. I highlighted up with more Bronze and finally, Citadel Shining Gold. I also used some Brown Ink to line the seams, and some Citadel Typhus Corrosion to grime it up a bit.
I fucked up on the base, though. I should have mounted him on a Tech Base, but instead I based him on a 40mm MDF disk, which I then covered in sand. I couldn’t remove him without having to assemble him all over again (screw that), so I did what I could. Big Daddies can go underwater just fine, so I added a starfish made out of Magic Sculpt (I stole the idea from Matt’s zombie shark base; thanks, Matt!). The seaweed is the remains of a Heroclix cape from a DC Hypertime Hawk model. I used the main body when making Blue Diamond for Forgotten Heroes, way back in 2017! I never throw anything away. ( Looking back on those Liberty Legion conversions, I realize I hadn’t yet admitted to myself that I can’t see shit anymore. If I was doing them today, I think they’d look a lot better, thanks to my magnifiers. Maybe I should revisit them…)
For the seashell, I took a trip to Horseneck Beach in Westport, Massachusetts. Actually, it’s not much of a trip, considering I live within spitting distance. Going to the beach just to get a shell reminded me how much I take living near the ocean for granted. Although I’ve lived here all my life, I hate going to the beach in summer, because I hate people, I burn easily, and I don’t like to swim in salt water. Horseneck Beach is also good for a great white shark sighting or two every couple of years; but just because you don’t see any on a given year doesn’t mean they aren’t out there. (They are.) I usually get bored and annoyed very quickly when I’m forced to go to the beach; but days like this, when it’s overcast and windy and I’m the only one in sight…I could get used to this.
Continuing the year of Pop Culture, I figured I’d dip in the world of Fantasy Literature; a genre that grabbed me tightly as a kid and has never once let go.
Of all of Michael Moorcock’s Eternal Champion material (and there’s a shitload of it), the only tales I read were his Elric stories. I just reviewed the chronology, and it seems I’ve read most of the main sequence of tales up until the end; but I didn’t read much of Moorcock’s later Elric works that took place at uncertain points in the main timeline. I have a weird relationship with Elric of Melnibone. I read the stories at an age where I didn’t have the maturity to fully appreciate them. I recall loving almost everything about the character of Elric (albino sorcerer with a soul-sucking sword) but hating every story he was in. I found them incredibly boring. (I think I need to reread them, but I got rid of my old paperbacks a long time ago. I just found out they’re going for $75 bucks each on eBay. What the actual fuck?!)
Elric is by far the most famous of Moorcock’s characters; the original emo anti-hero. He was angst-ridden and emotionally tortured long before it was cool. He’s the disaffected prince of a dying race who sees the end coming and laments it. He’s a drug-dependent sorcerer who makes deals with demons because…why not? Eventually, he finds Stormbringer, a magical sword of great power that gives him vitality and formidable fighting skills and feeds upon the souls of its victims. Carrying a sword like that is never a good idea, and (spoiler alert) Stormbringer is ultimately responsible for the destruction of everything Elric cares about.
I’ve had this miniature for a long time. It was in one of the first orders I made when I got back into miniature painting around 12 years ago. Bronze Age had the John Carter stuff, so I added this figure to it and it’s sat there in the blister all this time. This is the “Elf Anti-Hero”. He (deliberately, I think) looks a bit like a certain albino Eternal Champion, so that’s who I painted him as.
As stated above, he’s also only one incarnation of Moorcock’s Eternal Champion archetype, which is so fucking confusing I’ll just reproduce what Wikipedia says about it here: (The Eternal Champion is…) an appointed paladin of Balance who is bound to exist in each and every world and age of the Multiverse, so that Law and Chaos are perpetually kept in check. There are about thirty different Eternal Champion characters, and I couldn’t give a shit about any of them. I get the feeling it’s probably somewhat incomprehensible, and although I would give Elric another go to see if my opinion has changed with maturity, I just don’t have the energy to really get into anything else. To be honest, looking at the sheer volume of characters and series, I’d have to be way more of a Moorcock fan than I am (which is to say not much) to even attempt it.
Still, the fact remains that Moorcock has influenced a lot of writers who have come after; and was a huge influence on the development of Dungeons & Dragons. In fact, the characters from Elric were originally included in the very first printing of Deities & Demigods, along with Cthulhu and other Lovecraftian entities, before Chaosium got the rights to both and put out their own games (Stormbringer and Call of Cthulhu, respectively).
He’s definitely pop culture, that’s for certain.
I’m trying to publish a bit more regularly; so if you are a casual visitor to Dead Dick’s Tavern, don’t be surprised to find more than one post waiting for you on your next visit. I make no promises about how long that will last; but for now I have a few things in the pipeline to get to. Up next is likely a return to the Enterprise-D, for what I hope will be the last prose post before I actually start the gaming part…
A brief interlude from Star Trek for my Character of the Month, and to show off my mad organization skillz, brah!
For Tom’s #paintanadventuringparty challenge over on Instagram, I present my Character of the Month from Ral Partha: The Cloaked Assassin, by sculpted by Bob Charrette, from their Fantasy Adventurers range (03-058).
I’ve had this fellow for thirty years or so; another occupant of my pile of shame that I never got around to painting. He was, however, primed white, so I must have at least intended to paint him at some point. I primed him black over the white before I painted him this time, however.
I’ve never been a big fan of putting assassins in adventuring parties. In my mind, assassins should be either adversaries to the PCs or something else entirely, not a character class. Why would an assassin go on an adventure? They have a pretty limited skill set: they know how to kill people. Wouldn’t it make more sense for them to stick to what they’re good at? Garroting someone in an alley seems far safer than kicking down a door in a necromancer’s crypt and fighting his undead minions, doesn’t it?
So, let’s call this guy a thief instead. Or rogue, if you prefer the current nomenclature of D&D 5E.
This was my painting desk up until a couple of months ago. Although you can’t really see them, most of my paints sat on a pair of old spice racks. These cheap plastic racks were not designed for paint (duh), and I often had the annoying chore of picking up paints from the floor, where they had fallen between my desk and the wall after being knocked over or jostled from their precarious perches on the too-narrow racks.
Something needed to be done, so a new rack was constructed from XPS foam. This one measured the entire length of my desk and was designed to fit flush along the wall. The shelves were intentionally made wide enough to accommodate multiple rows of bottles of all different types, from dropper bottles to pop-tops to even the dreaded (and hated) old-style Citadel twist-off paint pots.
Here’s what it looks like now. Although I would have been content to just slap together some pink foam and use it as-is, my better half flatly refused to even consider such a stupid idea and wouldn’t allow it. She painted and wrapped the whole thing in adhesive shelf paper, so now my paint rack looks like it’s made of solid marble.
I love it. No more falling paint pots. Room for all may paints and then some (which just means I will fill the space eventually). Naturally I took photos because I know it will not look like this for long. So far I’ve managed to keep it tidy.
But wait, there’s more! I decided to take this opportunity to organize my gaming closet, too. So, here it is!
Thirty-plus years of roleplaying games on the left side.
Board games and RPG boxed sets in the middle.
More board games, miniatures games and terrain (including a Mighty Fortress!), and collectible card games on the right (last played circa 2004 or so).
Last but not least: the pile of shame; or as I like to call it: the Insanity Pile. Old miniatures, new miniatures, abandoned projects, projects I know I will never get to but won’t say are abandoned, projects I intend to get to one day, and projects I will actually work on. The plastic cases at the bottom hold Owen’s miniatures; the white boxes on the second shelf are mostly Heroclix, and all the shit you can’t see behind what you see here is mostly bitz on sprues and unopened armies and units for 40K and WFB. On the Naya rack is unpainted Plasticville scenery and most of the High Elf Army I’ll never get to. And of course, on the top are all my old-school miniatures, some painted, some not. The plain cardboard boxes hold various projects, including what I have left from last year’s order from Wargames Terrain Workshop!
Gotta say, I like this organization thing a lot. This stuff was all over my basement, and I got tired of hearing about it. I took these pictures to remind me what it’s like to be responsible and put away my toys.
They also make it clear that I really need to get rid of stuff.
Continuing with my year of pop culture, I decided to finally paint a set of miniatures I’ve had for at least ten years, “Action Dude” by East Riding Miniatures; from their Golgo Island line (which I now think is owned, or at least managed, by Hasslefree).
“Action Dude” is a set of four miniatures who are obviously NOT Chuck Norris. First up is Chuck as Colonel James Braddock, from his “Missing in Action” film franchise. In the first film, Braddock, a Vietnam veteran, returns to Vietnam to free POWs who are still being held captive (kinda like Rambo). In the second film, the timeline flashes back to when Braddock himself was a POW; and shows how he escapes (by killing all the guards, and beating Soon Tek Oh, the commandant, in hand-to-hand combat). The third film, Braddock returns once again to Vietnam; this time to find and rescue his son whom he unknowingly fathered while over there the first time. Here’s the trailer for Missing in Action III, in which Braddock delivers the greatest movie line ever, which is also the title of this post.
Next is Chuck as Colt, from Way of the Dragon (released as Return or the Dragon here in the US). This one doesn’t end well for Action Dude; but then again, he is fighting Bruce Lee, so that’s to be expected. Enjoy this classic fight, and remember to manscape every once in a while, lest someone pull out a fistful of your manly, 1970’s wookie-like chest hair.
Invasion U.S.A. is hands-down one of the shittiest action movies ever to come out of the 80’s, and that is truly an exceptional distinction. Chuck, as Matt Hunter, wears a lot of denim in this movie and carries twin Mac-10 submachineguns in a shoulder rig that he likes so much, he doesn’t bother to take the guns out of it while he kills people with them. The movie features Richard Lynch who really stretches his acting muscles (and injures himself terribly) when he attempts to affect a Russian accent. He’s the leader of an “army” made up of international terrorists and other assorted assholes who would, conceivably, succeed in invading the USA if not for Action Dude himself. Watch the trailer below. It looks like this terrorist army is made up of about 87 guys, against the entire US military. We’re fucked!
Finally, here’s Chuck from arguably his most famous role, “Walker, Texas Ranger”. I never watched Walker regularly, but I’ve seen enough episodes to know that they follow a pretty standard formula, much like the old A-Team or Incredible Hulk TV series. In those, there would usually be two fights per episode, and at least one of them would end up with Mr. T or the Hulk throwing someone in slow-motion over a car or into some collapsible set pieces. Substitute a patented Chuck Norris roundhouse kick for the throw, and you pretty much have the same thing. The best part of Walker, Texas Ranger is that Chuck Norris sang the theme song. If you didn’t know that, you can hear it for yourself below. And you’re welcome.
That’s a heapin’ helpin’ of pop culture for ya this time around; but I’m just getting started! The year is still young.
For Fembruary, and also for my Character of the Month, I chose to paint a Sandra Garrity classic from Ral Partha: Arianna Moonshadow, Enchantress.
I decided to paint her as a druid instead, She’s got a belt made out of animal teeth, so why not?
I have had this miniature since she was released (sometime in the early 90’s would be my guess). She been unpainted all this time, so I’m making good on my plan to use Tom’s challenge as an excuse to paint some old-school miniatures. Plus, I love me some Sandra Garrity!
It’s been a hellish month at work and I’ve just kicked off a Lamentations of the Flame Princess campaign; so I haven’t had much time to do very much hobby-wise. But expect a flurry of posts soon as I endeavor to catch up!