What’s Old is New

I’ve been on a bit of an old-school miniatures kick lately, no doubt inspired by guys like the Old School Grenadier Miniatures blog (now sadly gone, it seems).

A bit about that. I first started painting minitures in the 5th grade. Since I’m 40, I’ve been at it a while. I don’t claim to be a master painter; I learn more and more every day. But back then, and pretty much right through high school, I truly sucked at it. I painted all my miniatures with Testors gloss enamel paint, which doesn’t lend itself to shading, highlighting, mixing, or just painting in general. Not that I made any attempt whatsoever at any of those techniques. Most of my miniatures looked pretty gloopy.

It wasn’t until I started playing Warhammer and 40K in college that I discovered acrylic paint. A huge difference for sure. And although I have little love left for GW, I learned a lot from their publications and my painting dramatically improved in a relatively short period of time. Since I was building armies to game with, I painted GW figures pretty much exclusively from the early 90’s -2000 or so.  Around 2003,  I took a long hiatus from both wargaming and painting, having to pack up my paints and miniatures in storage. I only started up again about 3 years ago, and now I can’t stop.

Partly because of nostaligia and partly because I look at them and cringe, I’ve decided that in between my regular projects I’ll give some of my earliest efforts the repainting they so desperately need. Here are some of them.

Everyone I know who collected miniatures back in the early 80’s had the guy on the left. He’s from the Fantasy Lords set 121: Knights. I think he’s a pretty cool miniature from that time, plus he has a bec-de-corbin. How many miniatures do you own that are similarly equipped? Unfortunately, I didn’t take a picture of him with his old paint job, which was a true atrocity. I never bothered to base any miniatures before I started playing Warhammer, and I see no reason to base them for repaints. Next to him is a Ral Partha Dwarf: I can’t find the number. If any of you can, I’d appreciate you telling me. I recall he was in a blister labeled “Conquistador Dwarf”, but I’ve also seen him referred to as a “Dwarf Champion”. This guy never had any paint on him before now, so there was no “before” picture to take. I did base this guy, because I’ll probably be using him in my AD&D campaign as an NPC. I’m pretty happy with the way they both turned out.

Here’s an example of my work back then. Note the lovely Testors glossy flesh color on the charging halberdier. Impressive, no? Now just imagine if he had a face, how good that would look, and you get the idea of the general quality of my painting back then.

These are the repaints. The miniatures are some classics from that era: Ral Partha’s Chaotic Knights of the Skull (01-137). Like many of the miniatures of this time, scale was all over the place. These were supposed to be 25mm miniatures but they’re more like 32mm. The halberdier’s legs are far enough apart that you could fit the knight in the first picture within  his stride.  Although I think they’re both kind of silly, they were easy and quick to paint in between my current projects. I still don’t like the miniatures, but I like to think my paint job has improved over 25 years.

I think I’ll keep repainting old stuff and posting the results from time to time.