Category Archives: Fantasy

A Hound, A Mound, and a…uh… a Carrion Crawler

Monster month was a bit underwhelming this year. The first half of the month was taken up with work problems that, to put it bluntly, fucked up my hobby focus.  After that, I took a much-needed week off, during which you would think I would double down on my painting. However, when I paint, my mind wanders, tending to fixate upon things that vex me (like work). So instead, I played Spider-Man on PS4, which allowed me to “check out”, and not think of anything not related to being Spider-Man for a few hours every day.

Nevertheless, I managed to paint a few more monsters to finish out the month. I’m considering making this an annual event over here at Dead Dick’s Tavern, and perhaps soliciting participation from other hobbyists, much like the imminent Forgotten Heroes challenge hosted by Carrion Crow, starting in just a few days!

First: a Reaper Bones Hell Hound. In AD&D, Hell Hounds are the dogs from the plane of the Nine Hells. They’re emaciated, rust-brown dogs that breathe fire, and they’re often summoned by sorcerers with less-than-good intentions. (This miniature was an impulse buy; I saw him and realized I didn’t own any Hell Hound miniatures.) My first cursory look at the unpainted miniature made me think his back was on fire, but upon closer inspection it’s fur and spines, not flames. I painted him mostly in Vallejo Red Black and Reaper Rusty Red. Not much else to say about him except I’m not thrilled with his base. Oh, well…

Next, this big fellow is a Shambling Mound, from Nolzur’s Marvelous Miniatures. You get a pretty hefty chunk of plastic for his $4.99 price tag; a real bargain! You can get a sense of his scale compared to the human-sized skeleton in the foreground.

From the AD&D 3.5 SRD: Shambling mounds, also called shamblers, appear to be heaps of rotting vegetation. They are actually intelligent, carnivorous plants. A shambler’s body has an 8-foot girth and is about 6 feet tall when the creature stands erect. It weighs about 3,800 pounds. This miniature is scaled much bigger than it’s description would indicate. Despite its AD&D origins, I will most likely get more use out of the Shambling Mound as a minion for either Plant Man or Poison Ivy. I’m pretty happy with how he turned out. I basically used a ton of green and brown paints and washes before finally highlighting with some yellow wash.

And finally, another classic AD&D monster: the Carrion Crawler. From the Forgotten Realms Wiki: carrion crawler was a burrowing aberration that scavenged the dead and occasionally preyed on living creatures.  Carrion crawlers were large, pale yellow, and greenish aberrations whose appearance was akin to a three- to four-foot-long centipede. Crawlers possessed eight long tentacles protruding from the sides of their heads, allowing them to stun prey.

This is another Nolzur’s miniature that I bought specifically for Monster Month. I based the carapace in Coat D’Arms Goblin Green, then highlighted up to Vallejo Green Sky, washing him with Citadel’s Agrax Earthshade. His underbelly was based in Army Painter Necrotic Flesh, washed with Citadel Seraphim Sepia, then highlighted with Reaper’s Moldy Skin. The base was given a layer of Citadel’s Stirland Mud for texture.

Here’s a picture of him with a 28mm Privateer Press Cygnar guardsman for scale. Once again, Nolzur’s doesn’t seem too bound by the descriptions of these monsters, as, much like the Shambling Mound, this particular Carrion Crawler is a lot bigger than the standard size given in the description.

That about does it for Monster Month this year, although I may have a few stragglers still to come. Next month is Forgotten Heroes, over at Carrion Crow’s Buffet. This will be my third year participating and I’m very happy to take part!

Insanity Pile Progress:

Miniatures Purchased: 58

Miniatures Painted: 120

Total: +62

Behold! The Eye-Beast!

May is Monster Month, and I’m getting a bit of a late start because I’ve had a hellish few weeks at work. (I had to finish painting some more cowboys, too.)

But enough about that. I bring you…the hideous BEHO-uh…the EYE BEAST!

Ah, who am I kidding? Anyone with even a passing familiarity with Dungeons and Dragons can identify this handsome fellow as a beholder, no matter what Reaper calls him. (At least I assume it’s a him. I don’t claim to understand the gender identity of beholders.)

From Wikipedia: The beholder is a fictional monster in the Dungeons and Dragons fantasy role-playing game. Its appearance is that of a floating orb of flesh with a large mouth, single central eye, and many smaller eyestalks on top with powerful magical abilities.

I was going to paint him last May, but I didn’t get around to it in time. After priming him black, I added a layer of Vallejo Red-Black, followed by highlights of Privateer Press’s Skorne Red and Citadel’s Wild Rider Red before applying a glaze of Citadel’s Bloodletter. The eyes were undercoated in Reaper Vampiric Skin, with various colors for the irises.

The focal point of the model is its mouth and big, pointy teeth. The mouth was painted with Citadel Daemonette Hide and highlighted with Bugman’s Glow, then a final highlight of bright pink. The teeth were undercoated with Citadel’s Steel Legion Drab before getting the full Reaper Ivory triad treatment. The main eye’s iris was done with yellow ink. I’m not really thrilled with how it turned out; I feel like something’s missing.

I gave the teeth, mouth and eyeballs a coat of gloss varnish to look wet, and that’s about it.

Insanity Pile Progress

Miniatures Purchased: 58

Miniatures Painted: 117

Total: +59

Classic Dragon Lords Dwarfs

In keeping with my 2019 Resolutions, I recently painted more old school miniatures! This time, it’s a classic Grenadier Dragon Lords boxed set: Dwarves of the Gold Mountain.

As anyone even casually familiar with me or this blog knows, I have a disturbing obsession with all things dwarfish. These stocky fellows were sculpted by Nick Lund, venerable artisan and famed sculptor of Dwarvenkind. Mr. Lund is my second favorite sculpteur des nains (Bob Olley is number one, IMO), so I was happy to finally paint up this set.

These fellows have uninspired names, i.e. “dwarf with spear, dwarf with warhammer”, etc. Unfortunately for me, my “dwarf with mace” is an annoying miscast, so without him, this is only a 9 dwarf set. Bummer.

These Dragon Lords sets came out during the later Grenadier heyday, so they’re not quite as old as the “Gold Line” boxes I love so much. I think one of those is next in my “old-school” painting queue. I just need to decide which one…

Insanity Pile Progress

Miniatures Purchased: 53

Miniatures Painted: 109

Total: +56

A Little Something on the Side…

Or perhaps, “Some Side Action”.  Either “double entendre” title would work.

For my last post of 2018, I thought I’d share what I did in December, which is clean up “the side pile”: that group of partially-painted/assembled  miniatures that collects in the corner of my workspace over time; things I plan on getting to, but for whatever reason shunt them aside in favor of other projects. These sad miniatures collect dust and stare at me in silent accusation, wondering why they are neglected. Not having any other project slated for December, I decided to devote my entire month’s efforts to these orphaned miniatures.

A couple of these miniatures were supposed to be painted for my failed AD&D campaign, which ended back in 2012. Some of them have languished in the side pile for longer than that!

First, an old-school fantasy ogre, made by RAFM. I’ve had this guy for decades. RAFM still makes a variation of this miniature, but this particular guy is out-of-production. He was originally supposed to return as a member of the Cudgel Gang, that group of highwaymen that plagued my gaming group throughout the campaign. Length of time in side pile: 8+ years.

Another miniature intended for the AD&D campaign, this is Finari, from Reaper. This is the metal version; she’s since been reissued as a Bones miniature. Length of time in side pile: 10 years or so. Yes, 10 years. Easily.

Next is Kjell Bloodbear, another metal Reaper miniature. I really had no idea how I was going to paint him, and I have to say I’m pretty pleased with the end result. It was a long time coming, but he’s finally done. Length of time in the side pile: 7 years or so.

This is Duke Gerard, yet another Reaper miniature, this time a Bones version I got from a guy who bought into the Kickstarter. Apparently, he has a weird back banner-thingy that I didn’t get, which is ok, as I like him better without it.  Length of time in side pile: 4+ years.

This is Herryk Aesir, a dwarf that has a back banner-thingy I actually like. He’s another metal Reaper miniature (they make a Bones version, too). He’s been in the side pile the least amount of time; I intended to paint him for Dwarvember two years ago, but didn’t get around to it. Length in side pile: 2+years.

These snipers are from Demonblade Games for their Shockforce post-apocalyptic skirmish game. I didn’t play the game, but I liked the snipers. They’ve been primed and ready for a long time. Length of time in side pile: 7+ years.

Last but not least, some Reaper Toolbots, from their Chronoscope line. I don’t remember why I bought these guys. I think I wanted to use them for some Retro sci-fi gaming I never really pursued. They’ve been primed and based with a gunmetal silver for years. Once I decided to change them to this yellow color, I painted them in no time at all. I just couldn’t get motivated to paint them until I made that switch…strange how our minds work. Length of time in side pile: 6+ years.

That’s closes out the year. I thought I’d have one more side pile miniature done before the ball drops, but it’s not happening. As it is, I cleared out a fair bit of space and put paint on some figures that have been waiting far too long for it, so all’s well that ends well.

Bring on 2019!

Zombtober Week 4: Repaints and a Classic!

Zombtober comes to an end, and I present my final submission: a group of repaints and a classic Ral Partha miniature!

First up are the repaints: two Horrorclix zombies and two Indy Heroclix miniatures, repainted and rebased for use in the apocalypse. From L-R, a Horrorclix Zombie Patient, a Cheerleader Zombie, an Indy Clix Abbey Chase, and an Indy Clix Tiger Lily.

I like the patient zombie a lot, but the cheerleader is kind of silly. She’s using fistfuls of guts for pom-poms. I am not familiar with Tiger Lily or Abbey Chase, so I had no misgivings about repainting them completely for use as modern survivors. The Abbey Chase miniature could also work for a pulp heroine. Tiger Lily looks like Peter Criss without the armor. Repainting her face was easy, but what was kind of annoying was her T-Shirt. It has some design on it that I couldn’t make out, so I just painted the broken heart over it and I think it looks ok.

But Zombtober isn’t about REPAINTING zombies; it’s about painting zombies. Thus I present some old-school love: a classic Ral Partha zombie I’ve had since the mid 1980’s. He has never seen paint until now, so if nothing else, Zombtober has enabled me to get some long-overdue painting done!

 

Here’s the blogroll  of all the participants in Zombtober 2018!

Brummie, our Zombtober Host!- Brummie’s Wargaming Blog
Pulp Citizen- Eclectic Gentleman Tabletop Gamer
Rob Bresnen- Four Colour Super Minis
Kieron-Cheaphammer!!!
Terry Silverthorn- Miniature Mayhem
Ivor Evan- Saturday Mornings
Bryan Scott aka Vampifan- Vampifan’s World of the Undead
Colgar6- Colgar6 and the Infinite Legion of Toy Soldiers
Clint- Anything But a One!
Phil Curran- Dizbusters Gaming Ephemera
Dai- The Lost and the Damned and the Stunted
The Wargames Addict- The Wargame Addict
Dick Garrison- Rantings from Under the Wargames table
myincubliss –Dead Lead Project

 

Insanity Pile Progress

 Miniatures Painted Thus Far: 43

Miniatures Purchased: 13

Total: +30

Saga’tember Coda: The Remaining Heroes!

Between some small projects of my own and my participation in Zombtober this month, I’ve managed to finish up all the miniatures from Dungeon Saga: The Dwarf King’s Quest. (Of course, I still have all the dungeon furniture and doors to do, but those can be done here and there as time permits. The main thing is all the miniatures are officially done!)

There are four heroes in Dungeon Saga: Orlaf, the Barbarian; Madriga, the Elf; Rordin, the Dwarf; and Danor, the Wizard. I painted Rordin already when I painted the undead Dwarf King and his Revenants, so that only left the other three.

Here is Orlaf. I really didn’t like this miniature much until I painted it. For whatever reason, I just wasn’t impressed with the sculpt or the overall character concept. Now he’s grown on me somewhat. I painted him close to the “official” look, with only minor differences.

Next is Danor. I completely scrapped the “official” paint scheme for this model, as I hate the way it looks. This is the only model in the entire set that I primed grey, as I knew early on I was going to paint him predominantly yellow. I based him with Citadel Tau Light Ochre, then highlighted with Averland Sunset, Yriel Yellow and finally, Mold (a light yellow from Reaper). I was going for a similar yellow/white color scheme to Merlin, the wizard from the Gauntlet video game of my youth. At the very end I decided to paint his belt purple for some contrast.

Last, we have Madriga. I considered painting her completely different from the classic “elf ranger with a bow” green and brown. I was toying with painting her cloak a deep orange and going for an autumn color scheme, but I said screw it and just painted her as you see here. I wanted this project to be over.

Here’s a shot of all three.

And here’s a shot of the three plus Rordin, the Dwarf.

Onto other things. I need to get my first Zombtober stuff ready to post this weekend, as I’m already a week behind!

 

Insanity Pile Progress

 Miniatures Painted Thus Far: 34

Miniatures Purchased: 1

Total: +33

Saga’Tember’s end: Zombie Trolls and Shaman

It’s the last day of Saga’tember, and I managed to get three more miniatures in just under the wire. This time it’s the undead trolls and the troll shaman, Hoggar.

I must admit I was a bit daunted by the zombie trolls. They’re big miniatures and they will draw a lot of attention on the table, so I didn’t want them to look crappy. I was unsure what color to paint the flesh, but I decided to YouTube it, and I came up with Como Pintar’s method. I ended up deviating from it considerably, but he gave me the basics. His video is in Spanish, but if you don’t habla Espanol, don’t fret. He was nice enough to include English subtitles.

I should say that I followed his instructions, but I got a very different base color than he did. I opted to highlight with Rakarth Flesh before the final highlight of Bone. Also, I discovered a new favorite paint: Citadel’s Nurgle’s Rot. This is a technical paint that simulates greenish putrescence very well; it basically looks like yellow-green snot. It dries shiny, so it looks appropriately gross.  I used it on the flesh around the open wounds on the trolls and Hoggar and I think I’ll use it more often when painting things that are, well…rotting.

Here’s Hoggar, the zombie troll shaman and the last villain in the base set. I don’t know what the hell is up with the picture, but he looks a LOT better in person. I’m actually really happy with how he came out, but looking at this picture, it seems I just slapped some paint all over him and called it a day. I didn’t.

Lastly, a group shot.

That brings an end to Saga’tember. All in all, I did pretty well. I managed to paint 23 out of the 26 miniatures in the box. All I have left are 3 more heroes, and of course all the doors and dungeon scenery. I should easily be able to finish everything long before Christmas, which was my goal. Still, without this month’s challenge project I doubt I would have painted any of them!

Insanity Pile Progress

 Miniatures Painted Thus Far: 30

Miniatures Purchased: 1

Total: +29

Saga’tember: (Mostly) Dead Dwarfs!

For my third group of miniatures for Dungeon Saga: the Dwarf King’s Quest, I decided to focus on the dwarfs.

There are two dwarf revenants in the game, basically undead dwarf warriors who serve their undead Dwarf King, for whom the game is named. I decided they would likely be clad in similar raiment, as they are soldiers, after all. I opted for green.

Then there is the eponymous undead Dwarf King himself, Grund (not a very dwarflike name, but whatever). I’m pretty happy with the way he turned out. I really like the miniature, too; much like beards, big blocky hammers just seem to go with dwarfs.

Here’s a shot of the king and his soldiers. Speaking of beards, I think it’s great that dwarfs keep theirs even after death, when the rest of their face is just a skull. It’s also worth noting that only after death would a dwarf EVER tolerate rust on his weapons or armor.

Finally, I completed my first Dungeon Saga hero: Rordin, the Dwarf. I don’t have a problem with the miniature per se, but it’s not that exciting a pose. Also, his hammer head is bent, and even though I tried to straighten it about 6 times, it went right back to the bent position. Annoying, but not really the end of the world, considering how much I’m likely to actually play this game.

Up next: (undead, not Russian) Trolls! I’m hoping to get them done by the end of the month, which will leave only the remaining 3 heroes and the dungeon scenery left to paint. Wish me luck!

Insanity Pile Progress

 Miniatures Painted Thus Far: 30

Miniatures Purchased: 1

Total: +29

Saga’tember: Zombies and Necromancer

It’s 2/3 of the way through the month, and I finally have my next batch of Dungeon Saga miniatures to post. At this rate, I’m unlikely to get the whole set finished by month’s end, but I won’t have much more to do and I should be able to finish the base set by the end of the year, in between my other projects.

This time around, I decided to focus on the zombies. There are four regular zombies, and two wearing armor.

I have to say that I’m really not a fan of most of these Dungeon Saga miniatures. Not because they look particularly bad, but because they’re fragile. Many are misshapen, and despite many attempts at reposing them, they tend to stay that way. Thankfully, Mantic seems to be aware of the problem, so only one foot is attached to the base. This allows you some measure of control to reposition the model before gluing the other foot down. This straightens the model’s posture, which is a good thing. But it doesn’t help with bent weapons or arms at all.

In addition to the zombies, I painted another bad guy: Mortibris, the Necromancer. Once again, I ignored the “official” Mantic paint colors in favor of my own classic necromancer color scheme that harkens back to the days of my old-school Warhammer undead army. I like how he came out, but I wish the picture was a bit more in focus.

This week, I didn’t buy any more miniatures, but since I’m keeping a year-to-date total (or at least a running total since I decided to start keeping track), I’ll include my earlier purchase. That miniature will be painted soon, hopefully by the end of the month…he’s just too cool to put off.

Up next, however, I’ve decided to focus on one of my favorite painting subjects and the namesake of this game: Dwarfs!

Insanity Pile Progress

 Miniatures Painted Thus Far: 26

Miniatures Purchased: 1

Total: +25

Saga’tember: Skeletons and Spirits!

Well, it’s officially Saga’tember, and I’m the last of the three caballeros (the other two being Dick Garrison and Blax the Kleric) to post my progress in painting Dungeon Saga: The Dwarf King’s Quest by Mantic Games.

I decided to keep things simple for my first outing. I concentrated on the skeletons and the ghosts, two of the easiest groups to paint.

As a lifelong fantasy miniatures painter and a former Warhammer Undead player, I’ve painted many a skeleton in my day. I figured I had this in the bag. But I am far from happy with how these skellies came out.

I love Mantic dwarfs, but Mantic skeletons and elves are really skinny and small, or as my British friends would say, weedy. My eyes aren’t getting better with age, so they were tougher to paint than I thought they would be. Also, I decided to try a different skeleton painting method than is usual for me. Typically, I prime my bonies black, then highlight using Reaper’s bone triad (Bone Shadow, Aged Bone and Polished Bone) before giving it a very light drybrush of white. Works great.

This time, I used GW’s method, which is to prime white, wash with Agrax Earthshade, and highlight up with Ushabti Bone and white. I hated how this turned out, so I ended up using my method after all, which resulted in about 3 unnecessary layers of paint on the models. I mean, they don’t all have to be masterpieces, but it just irks me…

Unlike my comrade Dick Garrison, who is painting his models to match Mantic’s paint jobs (and doing an amazing job of it), I have no such desire to do so. I want to paint as many of these models as I can in September, however; so I decided to go with GW’s quick and easy method of painting ghosts: prime white, coat with Nihilakh Oxide, wash the recesses with Coelia Greenshade, and drybrush with white. I did both ghosts and one of the bosses, Elshara the Banshee, in about 30 minutes.

Also, this is the first time in months I have painted something that isn’t a Gaslands conversion or a Heroclix repaint, so it marks the return of my Painting Progress queue. I have been VERY good, and I haven’t bought any new miniatures in months…until last week, when I had to buy a miniature that was too good to pass up…but I’ll be painting it very soon. Anyway, the updated progress for this year is:

Insanity Pile Progress

Miniatures Painted Thus Far: 19

Miniatures Purchased: 1

Total: +18

 

Up next: “BRAAAAAAAIIINSSSSSS…..”