Forgotten Heroes 2024: Grendel

Grendel, created by Matt Wagner, is a complicated character with a rich comic history. Rumor has it they recently filmed most of a Netflix series only to pull the plug last minute (which is a dick move).

There have been many people to assume the mantle of Grendel, starting with billionaire author-turned-bored-guy-turned-assassin-turned-criminal-kingpin Hunter Rose. Rose is unquestionably not a hero. He’s more of a sociopath who does things for no apparent reason–like take over the criminal underworld or adopt a child–simply because he can. He’s able to use much more of his mental capacity than most normal humans, and he’s an extremely skilled combatant and acrobat whose favored weapon is a two-tined fork of his own design.

To make the Hunter Rose version of Grendel, I was at a bit of a loss, as Rose is pretty lightly-built, and most superheroes are jacked. Since I knew I couldn’t very well sculpt one from scratch, I chose this version of Daredevil, mainly for the pose but also because I thought I could work with it best. I rebased him first, then covered the DD on the chest and his lips with some Vallejo White Stone landscape paste, filed down the horns, clipped off the billy-club holster, and completely repositioned his arm. I tried to make his clothes look more loose-fitting with some green stuff. I made the fork from plasticard (once again, my old health insurance card) and the handle of a Mantic dwarf warhammer. Then I painted him up.

Here he is. Like I said, he’s a lot beefier than Hunter Rose, but he’s unmistakably Grendel.

You can still see the DD on the chest if you look hard enough, but otherwise, I’m ok with him.

I added the head-ties too. Forgot about that.

I have one more submission for Forgotten Heroes planned, but no idea whether I will get to it in time or not. I’m definitely doing it, though; even if it has to come in early July. With six days to go, I should be ok.

Forgotten Heroes 2024: Judomaster

My first Forgotten Heroes submission this year is none other than:

I was going through my comics the other day and was surprised to find this, as I don’t remember buying it. I’m a sucker for kung-fu comics, so I guess I’m not surprised after all. This is the only Judomaster comic I own and I’ve never heard of the character, so that’s “Forgotten Heroes” enough for me.

I looked up his story: Judomaster was a sergeant in WWII in the Pacific theatre. At some point, he saved a girl. The father of the girl he saved taught him judo as thanks. That’s it.

The character was originally a Charlton comics character, and most of those ended up owned by DC comics. DC never did very much with Judomaster before killing him off in the Infinite Crisis storyline by having Bane break his back. Judomaster is no Batman, so he died.

You figure he’d be tougher, since he’s apparently REALLY good at judo:

They don’t give costumes like that to just anyone, after all.

To make Judomaster I used Iron Fist as a base miniature. Can’t really do better than this.

Rebased and repainted, he looks like this.

I somehow overlooked the fact that Judomaster wears a black belt (of course he does), and I didn’t want to sculpt one after I painted him, so I just painted the belt on.

I hope to do at least one more miniature this year, possibly two. I do so love this challenge!

Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom

Before diving into Forgotten Heroes, I thought I’d post an update on the TSR Indiana Jones miniatures I started back in April. I’ve finally completed the set, having painted all the characters from Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom. I’m actually quite proud of that, as completed projects are a rarity in the Angry Piper’s basement.

Let’s start with the bad guys. L-R: a Thugee cultist, Mola Ram, Chattar Lal and the Mine Guard.

Kind of a lame bunch. Chattar Lal was the quickest miniature to paint in the entire set, for obvious reasons.

I’m pretty happy with Mola Ram, the cultist and the guard. Chattar Lal I could take or leave. He’s a pretty shitty miniature.

Onto the heroes: Indiana Jones (painted back in April), Short Round and the insufferable Willie Scott.

I hate the Willie Scott miniature, and not just because I hate Willie Scott. It’s a terrible facial sculpt. I’m certainly not happy with the paint job, but underneath the paint that’s her face. It looks every bit as puffy and misshapen bare as it does with paint on it. This miniature was by far the miniature that took longest to paint, mostly because she sat on my desk untouched for weeks, but also because I kept trying to fix her face until I realized I can’t; and I hate the miniature anyway, so why bother anymore?

Short Round’s jacket is painted navy blue, but it looks black here. Weird. Anyway, he was a quick paint job.

I’ll likely never play with these miniatures, but I figure there aren’t too many people who have a fully painted TSR Indiana Jones miniature set, and I’m one.

Now, onto Forgotten Heroes. I am scrapping my original idea and moving on to something else. Now I just need to comb the ‘clix boxes to see if I can find a suitable base miniature.

Monster May(hem) 2024: The Wrap-Up (and The Red Terror)

Monster May(hem) 2024 draws to a close, and if you’ve been keeping up with the blogroll, you’ve seen some pretty great submissions from everyone who participated. I planned on doing three separate monsters this year, but fate (a.k.a. the “Honey-Do” List) has conspired to make that impossible. But, as the immortal Meatloaf reminds us, two out of three ain’t bad.

For my second (and final) submission, I painted a Tyranid miniature I didn’t even know I owned: The Red Terror! I got this miniature in a big bag o’ bitz I purchased from some guy off Craigslist. Turns out it had all the parts necessary to make this miniature, so…score, I guess.

Since he’s so…red…I wanted to have a bit of contrast between the model and the base. I think I achieved that, but I also hate the way it looks. I’m considering removing the Tyranid bits from the base and just going with a more traditional base. What do you think?

I painted the Red Terror to look like the rest of my Tyranid army, which is straight out of the 1990’s (which is the last time I actually played them, I think). Not a great photo, but I’m not setting up the army again to take a new one.

Here’s the list of this year’s participants and their submissions. Keep in mind there may be some late ones trickling in over the next few days (there always are), so I’ll keep this updated as I become aware of any.

  • Simon, from Fantorical, is working on some big Laputian Robot Troopers;
  • Dave Stone, from Wargames Terrain Workshop, completed a Balrog, a Mumakil, and scratch-built the man-eating plant from Little Shop of Horrors (he also did a ton of other, non-Monster May(hem) stuff this month, all of it awesome!); and because he’s THE Dave Stone, he also submitted a last-minute MM entry:at the 11th Hour: a wooden dragon gifted to him by his children some 20 years ago. It looks wonderful, and fulfills both the Monster May(hem) AND Year of the Dragon challenge in one fell swoop! Swoop, Dave! Swoop!
  • Jon, from Jon’s Hobby Desk, did a bunch of Japanese-themed Yokai miniatures from the Cool Mini or Not game, Rising Sun. I’m a huge fan of Yokai, ,and I have to say my favorite miniature Jon’s has to be the River Dragon, followed by the Yurei. Jon did a dragon, so he met the criteria for the Year of the Dragon challenge, too. Way to go, Jon! Check out all his miniatures at his blog!
  • Snapfit, from Da Green Horde, did an awesome and terrifying Brutgoth (a big monster that orcs ride);
  • Matt, from PM Painting, painted a female daemon of Nurgle, called “The Cultivator”.

And these folks from Instagram:

  • Tom, @The_Goodground, did some miniatures for Legion Imperialis: a Tzeench Lord of Change and a kitbashed miniature, “The Phoenician” (sorry, Tom, I know nothing about LI, but the minis look great!);
  • Malcolm, @mdcampbell_dunwichcreatives, has completed a Gloranthan Dragonsnail and a Tidal Lurker, and also waxed philosophical about one of the first miniatures he painted, the dreaded Mimic;
  • James, @spoontasticminis did a pair of Tyranid Carnifexes, including an old-school, all-metal screamer-killer, and they look friggin’ fantastic;
  • and finally, Sabrina, @Uthwulfsminis. not only rose to the Monster May(hem) challenge, but also the Year of the Dragon challenge by painting THE Dragon: Vermithrax from the film Dragonslayer! Way to bring your A Game on your first MM, Sabrina!!!

Be sure to check out everyone’s blog/website/account and lend them your support! Thanks to everyone who took part. I am always inspired by everyone’s creativity, which is one of the reasons I host this challenge every year!

So, what’s next? Well, June is traditionally the month for Forgotten Heroes, hosted by the legendary Carrion Crow; but one has seen nary a feather from our avian friend here on the blogosphere for quite some time. Most likely, he is on Barsoom again, bounding across the red dunes towards a willowy Martian princess (or possibly two, we all know the Crow has appetites), wearing only a sword belt and slippers, his thick, bronzed thews glistening in the Martian sun. Could it be he has forgotten about Forgotten Heroes? If so, will anyone pick up the torch and host the challenge? I, for one, will be carrying on in spirit!

Monster May(hem) 2024: Wampas!

Or is it Wampi? Wampae? Who cares.

I figured Monster May(hem) is as good a time as any to return to my Imperial Assault project, which, like many of my projects, I seem to have forgotten about for a while. To be honest, I’ve been playing a lot of Star Wars video games lately (Jedi: Fallen Order and Jedi:Survivor), so I have the galaxy far, far away on the brain. Time to paint another boxed set, and I chose Return to Hoth, because t contains Wampas.

Sadly, these two Wampas are the only two “monsters’ in the box, so the rest will have to wait for some paint for a bit.

Now, I could have chose to paint the Jabba’s Realm box instead, as it contains the Rancor, but I couldn’t bring myself to paint the sets out of order. Because I’m sick like that.

Anyway, 11 days in, and this is all I’ve painted so far. In that time, Dave Stone has already painted a Balrog and a frikkin’ Mumakil, and both look amazing, as per usual for Dave. Check out everyone else’s blog/IG account and lend them your support!

This year’s participants are:

And these folks from Instagram:

I have at least two more entries planned, one being a Games Workshop miniature I didn’t realize I owned, and another a miniature I sought out on the secondary market purely for its name. Stay tuned!

Let the May(hem) Commence!

It’s May 1st, which makes it officially Monster May(hem)!!! Gentlefolk, paint your monsters!

Griffon, from the first ever Monster May(hem), 2018

This year’s participants, as of today, May 1st (or as you Brits would incorrectly say, 1st May) are as follows:

Also, some friends from Instagram have returned for another year:

And, for joining MM for the first time, some Instagram friends who previously participated in Forgotten Heroes:

Don’t see your name here? That’s because you haven’t told me you want to participate this year. It’s certainly not too late (it never really is), so if you want in, let me know in the comments below, drop me an an email at angrypiper@angrypiper.com, or PM me on Instagram @angrypiper. I will add your name and website/IG account (if applicable) to the blogroll forthwith! If you don’t have either of those and still want to take part, no problem! I’ll host your images here on this very site.

My Discord server has been a bit barren lately since I stopped running RPGs, but I plan on making every effort to be in The Paint Pit this month while I work on my monsters. That’s usually between the hours of 5:30-7:30 PM (EST) on weekdays here in the States, and anytime I can get to myself on the weekends when I don’t have errands to run or surprise plans or projects that aren’t my projects suddenly becoming my projects (IYKYK). Can’t promise I’ll be there every day, but if I’m not, feel free to hang out and meet some of the other participants, if so inclined. Don’t have an invitation to my Discord server and want one? Read this first, and then contact me.

Now what the hell are you waiting for? Go paint some monsters! There’s only 30 .5 days left (less if you’re in Europe)!

Lo! Monster May(hem) 2024 Doth Approach!

Venom Troll from Monster May(hem) 2022

It’s only a few more days to the start of my sixth annual Monster May(hem) Painting Challenge! Do you have your monsters picked out yet?

Does the Alien Queen count as a monster? You bet!

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, something big and mean. I mean something truly beastly; like a cockatrice or a byakhee or a giant, mutated zombie bear. Your monster(s) doesn’t have to be strictly a fantasy miniature, and it may be any scale and from any manufacturer. 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!

How many monsters you paint is up to you. The minimum is one, of course; but feel free to do as many as you like. The only caveat is that they get painted sometime in May.

Blacksting the Wyvern, from Monster May(hem) 2021

But wait! There’s more! 2024 is also the Year of the Dragon, and in celebration of my nonexistent Chinese heritage I am hosting yet ANOTHER painting challenge all year long. You guessed it! It involves painting at least one dragon over the course of the year. Dragons are monsters, so if you paint a dragon miniature in May, it counts for BOTH challenges!!

So, who is down for some Monster May(hem)???

Indiana Jones: Sands of Adventure

I picked up this board game not too long ago, and I decided to paint the miniatures as part of my “Paint 100 Miniatures You Already Own Before Buying Anything New” challenge to myself. As of my last post, I had only painted two miniatures so far this year. Pretty dismal output, but hopefully that’s on the upswing.

As you can see, these miniatures aren’t too bad. They’re about 40mm or so, but don’t quote me on that as I didn’t actually measure them. The game is based on the first (and best) Indiana Jones movie: Raiders of the Lost Ark. You can play as Indy, Marion, Sallah, or Marcus Brody (who else were they gonna choose, Jock?).

Here are my painted versions.

I’m mostly happy with them, except I might need to tidy up Indy’s raccoon eyes a bit. The astute among you may notice this game (which I haven’t played) comes with some kind of apparatus for tipping the hourglass, which presumably contains the eponymous Sands of Adventure. I plan on painting this too, maybe as part of the Season of Scenery.

But wait! There’s more! Not one to miss an opportunity, I decided that while I was painting these, I could paint their smaller counterparts, i.e., these old Indiana Jones TSR Miniatures from 1985. After all, I was using the right colors already…

As you can see, most of these miniatures suck. They’re also made of that shitty metal TSR used in their miniatures line. I have railed about this shitty metal before, that it’s prone to metal rot and seemingly defies paint. The miniatures I have are actually rot-free (so far), so I wasted no time in priming and rebasing them.

Anyone else notice Indy can tie his shoes without bending over? Look at the arms on him!

The boxed set contains miniatures from the first two movies. I decided to paint the Raiders miniatures first. I’ll get to Temple of Doom soon. The first three were conveniently also part of the Sands of Adventure game, so I painted them right alongside each other.

Some folks will never have their face melted off for gazing upon the true face of God, and then there’s these three: L-R: Colonel Deitrich, Belloq and Toht. I lost count of how many times I re-primed and painted Toht’s hat brim. Damn thing just didn’t want to accept paint at all.

This little project brought my total painted miniatures this year from 2 to 12 (so far). Still not a great output, but I’m on my way. In other news, I’m also challenging myself to “Read 100 Books You Own Before You Buy Any New Books”. I’m on book 22 so far, and I’m reading stuff that’s been on my to-be-read shelf for years (in some cases, decades), so I seem to be doing better at that.

The Adventures of Indiana Jones RPG; or, I’ve Officially Lost My Mind.

Folks haven’t seen hide nor hair of me around here (or anywhere else on the Internet) for almost three months. I’d like to say it’s because I’ve been busy painting miniatures, specifically a dragon or two, but I can’t say that, because I have painted a total of four miniatures this year, and none are dragons. Instead, I have been mostly playing Red Dead Redemption 2 (at last), and writing scenarios for RPGs I will likely never run or play. Case in point: The Adventures of Indiana Jones; published by TSR in 1984, which is when I bought it at the tender age of 11.

The TSR Indiana Jones RPG has a bit of a reputation, and it’s for being a piece of dogshit. I find that assessment a tad harsh, but it is not a good game by any means. It’s got some serious problems, most infamously the lack of a character creation system. Players take on the roles of Indiana Jones and his friends. Since the game was published shortly after the second Indiana Jones film, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, Indy’s friends are made up of his companions in the first two movies (sadly, no Henry Jones, Sr.). Marion Ravenwood and Sallah from Raiders of the Lost Ark, and Willie Scott and Short Round from Temple of Doom. I guess TSR thought five characters wasn’t enough, so they also included statistics for Jock Lindsey, the pilot from the beginning of Raiders (“There’s a big snake in the plane, Jock!”) and Wu Han, the waiter from Club Obi-Wan who gets shot amidst a cacophony of champagne corks almost immediately in Temple of Doom. Both these characters have maybe three lines of dialogue and less than two minutes of screen time in their respective films, but either one of them is preferable to playing the insufferable Willie Scott.

Herein lies the problem. The question rapidly presents itself: who wants to play a game about Indiana Jones and not play as Indiana Jones? What person is going to want to devote an evening of roleplaying to playing Willie Scott? Not too many people, judging by the dismal sales of the game at a time when both TSR’s boxed games and the Indiana Jones IP were both extremely popular. There was even a TV commercial about them.

The game had a few published adventures, but two of them were just the first two movies adapted as RPG adventures. (How fun!) The game was designed with miniatures in mind, and both the core box and all the published adventures had cardboard, trifold miniatures of characters, NPCs, and even scenery. There was one box set of metal miniatures released as well, and they’re pretty hard to come by (I have them).

So what are the other problems? Well, in addition to no character creation, there’s no character development, either. Indiana Jones and friends will always have the same statistics and know the same languages and skills no matter how many adventures you play. Skills are pretty basic, yet there are skills in the book that no player character has. There’s no mechanic to learn a new skill or language, or use one you don’t have (unless you roll a Lucky Break, which is a 5% chance of success).

The boxed set contains a rulebook, a character dossier booklet (the cover of which doubles as a battle map for miniatures), and a GM screen. You can get away without using the battle map or the miniatures (we never did), but you need everything else to play the game. Several important tables only appear on the GM screen and are not printed in the core rulebook (who knows why?). This means, of course, that if you’re looking for this game on the secondary market, it will be unplayable unless you have a complete game. No getting away with just the rulebook.

So what’s GOOD about it? Well, not much. I recall running it a few times, but with only one player (who played Indy, of course).The introductory adventure is meh and somewhat problematic (it takes place in Africa and features a villain named Solomon Black who is, of course, Black; as well as some questionable depictions of tribesmen), but it does a good job of teaching the rules. It’s designed for one player and one GM and is presented in chapters throughout the rulebook, each one focusing on the preceding relevant rules section. There’s also a pretty interesting chase mechanic in the game that uses a chase flow chart to simulate random twists, turns, dead-ends and hazards. I don’t think we ever used it, but I’d give it a go now, maybe even for use in another game. That’s about it.

TSR lost the license to this game fairly quickly and the game didn’t last long. Nothing was released after 1985, and I don’t think it was ever supported in Dragon magazine. No (legal) PDF exists, and the game isn’t available for download at any of the usual sites. It’s a dead game–until now. Last week I dug out my boxed set and had a look through it. I even found one of the old adventures I wrote as a teenager (Indy goes looking for an old Spanish galleon). Then I got inspired, and for the past week and a half, I’ve been writing a NEW Indiana Jones adventure for use with this game.

To be clear: no one I know (besides me) still owns this game. No one I know (besides me) is producing any content for it. No one I know (besides me) likes anything about it, if they know anything about it at all. And finally, no one I know (besides me) actually wants to play it ever again. No one is asking for this. And yet I’m still working on it, and loving every minute of it.

There’s one word for that: crazy.

2024: The Year of the Dragon

According to the Chinese zodiac, 2024 (technically, February 10th) begins the Year of the Dragon. That’s a pretty cool name for a year. I, myself, was born in the Year of the Rat. Contain your surprise.

Anyway, this year I thought I would start a new painting challenge: Paint a dragon miniature sometime in 2024. Paint at least one. Paint more than one if you feel the urge. Take as long as you like. You have 366 days to do so. It’s a leap year.

Now, those of you in the know know that I host a painting challenge in May called Monster May(hem), in which the goal is to paint monsters in May. I am a big believer in efficiency. If you paint a dragon in May, it not only counts for the Year of the Dragon, it also counts for Monster May(hem). It’s a win-win. I have several dragon miniatures awaiting paint. Some have been awaiting paint for decades, some for merely a few weeks. I’m not making promises on which dragons or how many dragons I will paint this year. But I promise I will paint at least one, barring unforeseen death.

So, paint a dragon, why don’t ya? I might paint this classic Ral Partha Sandra Garrity sculpt I have had hanging around since 1990.

I may paint the new Epic Encounters Red Dragon I bought as a doorbuster on Miniature Market’s Black Friday sale. I may paint a Reaper dragon (they have a lot of good ones), or an old-school, metal Grenadier miniature. Or maybe I’ll order one of the thousands of 3-D printed dragons available on Etsy. Maybe I’ll paint them all.

Or maybe not. Maybe I’ll paint just one.

Now, lest you think I’m limiting this to “true” dragons, I’m not. Wyverns, hydras, dragon turtles, dragonnes, drakes, pseudodragons; even undead dragons count. Dragons from the Orient are likewise encouraged. I might paint one of those, too.

Just paint a dragon sometime in 2024, an you get to mark the challenge as done.