Tag Archives: Old School Miniatures

Classic Grenadier Halflings

It’s been a while since I painted some old school miniatures. I decided to do yet another Grenadier TSR boxed set from yesteryear. Last time it was Wizards, this time it’s the wee folk: Halflings!

Unlike the Wizards, I never owned this set growing up. I bought it off eBay about 2 years ago. The box is in great shape. The miniatures were painted, but not well. So I stripped them down to the metal before repainting.

One of the reasons I love these classic miniatures is that they have a lot of character. There’s usually one or two per boxed set that really stand out, especially for the time. In this set, one of the miniatures that stands out most for me is the Halfling lookout team, all the way on the left. Continuing left to right, we have a Swordsman, Camp Guard, Spear Chucker, and Thief. Both the Thief and the Swordsman are pretty good sculpts even by today’s standards. The Spear Chucker, despite being equipped with an atlatl, is my least favorite miniature in the set. I’m also not overly fond of the Camp Guard, because they included a ridiculous-looking tree for him to lean on. I think it would have been a better miniature without the tree, and you wouldn’t have even had to alter the pose all that much!

From left to right, the remaining models in the set include an Archer, an Axeman, a Slinger, and a Lancer on Pack Mule. I like all these models, but I especially like the Lancer. He would be great to represent the “Shiriff” of a Halfling shire. I assumed the haft of his spear behind his hand had broken off at some point, but looking at the enclosed picture, it seems he wasn’t modeled with a full spear haft to begin with. I fixed that by making one out of some 5/64 brass rod, thus giving him a full spear, and I like the resulting look much better.

Here’s a view of some of the Halflings from the rear. I didn’t use any white flock on the horseman’s base. I think the color is due to a reaction between the glue I used and the matte sealant spray. I think it looks ok, like the last remaining frosts of the season. I’m not sure if I’ll paint over it yet.

Classic Grenadier Wizards

This boxed set was the second set of miniatures I ever bought, the first being the well-known “Tomb of Spells”. I bought them when I was in 6th grade.  Like all of the miniatures I painted back then, I covered them in Testors gloss enamels and thought I did a swell job. Many years later, when I discovered things like acrylic paints and shading, I realized they looked truly horrendous and stripped them with the intent of repainting them later. Years passed and they languished. Then came Warhammer, and all my painting time was taken getting my armies ready for the table. I wanted to paint them last year for WizarDecember, but couldn’t find the time. Now, at age 43, they have finally been repainted.

I painted these first five to resemble the Istari, the five wizards of Middle-Earth. From l-r: Pallando, Radagast, Gandalf, Saruman, and Alatar. Who are Alatar and Pallando, you ask? Well, they are the Blue Wizards, referred to by Tolkien as “lesser” wizards, of which little is known other than their names. After their arrival in Middle-Earth, they quickly “passed into the East”, where nothing was ever heard from them again.

Of course, Iron Crown Enterprises, who once held the license for the Middle Earth RPG and the Middle Earth: The Wizards CCG, did much to expand (i.e. create) the lore of these two wizards. In the CCG, players take the role of one of the wizards. Pallando is portrayed as a diviner/seer, and many of his card effects allow some sort of precognitive ability. Alatar is a very martial wizard who can dish out some heavy damage. So I chose the Illusionist miniature for Pallando and the Druid (with shield and sword) for Alatar. The others were also fairly easy choices: Radagast is a “Druid with dart”; Gandalf (Enchanter)has the big floppy hat, and Saruman (Sorceror) is holding a crystal ball (a palantir?).

I don’t normally rebase these old classics, but I decided to make an exception with this set. I considered adding a sword to Gandalf to represent Glamdring, but chose to leave him unmodified.

The remainder of the set is above. From L-R: Wizard, Cleric, Archmage with spell, Magician, and Warlock. The wizard was my least favorite miniature to paint because his detail is somewhat ambiguous; there are times I didn’t know what I was supposed to be painting. His “familiar” on his shoulder is horribly sculpted as well. I have no idea what it’s supposed to be. The Archmage comes with two “spells”; the hand shown above and  the head of something so poorly sculpted it also defies description. I chose the hand. The Cleric and Magician models are my favorite miniatures in the set, and to this day when I think of a wizard or cleric these guys come to mind. Last is the Warlock; not one of my favorites but I did what I could with him. I decided to paint him as a Bright Wizard; someone who can fling a fireball or two. I hate painting orange, but I think he turned out ok.

Painting old school miniatures like this is always fun. I think I’ll paint another Grenadier boxed set soon.

Red Dragon

I don’t often paint large models, but I’ve had this fellow on my painting table in various states of assembly and painting for a couple of years now. It’s  a red dragon from Grenadier’s Julie Guthrie’s Dragons line, circa late ’80’s-early 90’s.

Of course, nothing says I had to paint it as a red dragon. In fact, I was considering painting it a greenish-black and using it as a swamp dragon. I even went so far as to basecoat it green, but then changed my mind and went with the red scheme. I used mostly Vallejo colors (Red Black, Rusty Red, Gold Yellow) and Citadel paints (Stegadon Scale Green, Sotek Green, Scorpion Green).

Compared to some of the dragon miniatures available today (i.e. Reaper), this one is pretty small, but is perfect for representing a young dragon rather than an ancient wyrm.

I have a love for Grenadier miniatures, as together with Ral Partha they were pretty much the only game in town for Fantasy miniatures when I was young. These dragons could be a pain in the ass to assemble, and this one was no exception, requiring copious amounts of green stuff to fill the gaps where the wings join the body. Nowadays it would probably be cast from plastic, or at least the wings would be, which would make it easier to assemble as the weight of the wings wouldn’t require pinning.

For the base, I added an axe along with a bit from an Army Painter accessory pack (the helmet with the snake). I smoothed out the contours with green stuff and added sand, tufts and static grass.

 

The Uncanny X-Men

I’m gearing up to run the next Supersystem 3 game based on the old Marvel Super Heroes RPG by TSR. Up next is MSH-1, The Breeder Bombs, so I’ve been busy repainting and rebasing the X-Men. This time I remembered to take a picture of the heroclix before and after my efforts.

Above, L-R, Kitty Pryde (Shadowcat), Wolverine, Colossus, Professor X, Cyclops and Storm. These are the X-Men of my youth (early to mid-eighties), so in selecting my clix I went for authenticity and made sure I had a mohawk-sporting Storm. Kitty Pryde was known as Ariel back then, and she wore a completely different costume. So did Wolverine.

So here are the repaints, sandwiched between Nightcrawler and Rogue, who round out the post-Dark Phoenix Saga/ Secret Wars era team. I couldn’t find a Heroclix Nightcrawler that I liked (and many are expensive), and I couldn’t find a Rogue miniature that was time-specific, so I had to use these old TSR metal miniatures from the Marvel Super Heroes RPG line. They scale pretty well with the clix.

As you can see, Wolverine is resplendent in his Autumn ensemble (i.e. brown costume). I don’t remember Cyclops ever beings so light blue, so it was easy enough to darken his costume up. Rogue’s costume has changed about a dozen times over the years, and unfortunately the TSR model shows her in her “orange tunic/legwarmers” look. Although I can’t imagine using Professor X much in  Supersystem 3 (he’s way too powerful), I decided to include him for completeness. I changed his suit color and wheelchair and gave him a nice plaid blanket to keep his legs warm. I did the least with Storm, who only really needed some minor highlighting and rebasing to fit right in.

I had to change Wolverine and Ariel’s costumes completely from the original Heroclix models. I’m pretty happy with the results (although Ariel’s face could be better.) Kitty’s costume isn’t 100% accurate (she had a bigger collar and no shoulder pads), but I like it. No Lockheed the Dragon, sadly.

Here are the closeups of the TSR models. Nightcrawler isn’t too bad, but the Rogue miniature is really not all that great. Her pose is mystifying and like most of these TSR models, the facial sculpt is awful. I did what I could with her. I don’t know what kind of alloy TSR used in their miniatures line, but it really doesn’t hold paint well, even when primed. Paint rubs off easily, even just handling them during the painting process.

Now I just need to paint a certain Master of Magnetism and his cronies and we can play!

Dwarvember Week Four

The final weekend of Dwarvember has some great submissions! Thanks to all who participated in the painting challenge this month. It’s been a fun time!

Without further ado, here are the dwarfs!

First up once again is TMPs 144artist with some spectacular Mantic dwarf badger riders! I love these miniatures and didn’t even know about them until I received this submission. Great job.  Makes me want to buy some!

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I remember Grenadier had some cool bear riders back in the day. I’ll have to hunt those down somewhere.

Up next is another familiar Dwarvember participant, TMPs Black Cavalier, with more classic Citadel dwarfs.

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Throbin One-Eye,

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and Kimril Giantslayer. Here’s a unit of EM4 Dwarf Shieldbreakers. These look to me like the old Fantasy Warrior dwarfs:

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Black Cavalier also found time to finish out his Chaos Dwarf mortar team:

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On a side note, Black Cavalier is looking for some dwarf items in trade. I’d paraphrase, but why do that when here’s a direct quote?

“I’m looking to buy a chaos dwarf swivel gun, just the gun, not the crew.
Also, I have 2 of the same figures from the chaos dwarf mortar crew(the one I submitted this week), but I don’t have the other mortar crew holding the linstock (the spear thing with the fuse lighter on the end). I’d like to trade my extra unpainted guy with the mortar round for the guy I’m missing.”

Here’s a link to his TMP Marketplace post where you can see the miniatures in question. Thanks for a truly epic submission week, Black Cavalier!

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TMPs Balin Shortstuff returns, combining his apparent love of billiards with his love of dwarfs for a truly unique unit of dwarf spearmen! Balin is trying to ID the manufacturer of these figures, so drop him a line if you can ID them. Well done!

Punkrabbit returns returns with more submissions from his Frostgrave dwarf warband!

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Top and middle: some  dwarf miners and a dwarf slayer from GW’s Battle for Skull Pass. The bottom is an awesome conversion of the cannon crewman from the same set to be used as a dwarf witch lord! You can read all about how punkrabbit returns made his conversion and see more pics on his blog, over in the sidebar! Thanks again!

TMP’s CBPill offers up more Hasslefree Grymn for the challenge.

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I love the Grymn, and they’re one of those “wish I had time” projects that plague me. Nice to see someone doing them justice! Thanks, CBPill!

Finally this week, my submissions. I finished up my own unit of miners, some from Battle for Skull Pass, some not.

I used the command group from BfSP, considering I didn’t have much of a choice. Then I built a unit of miners without a command group to bulk out the unit.

The dwarf on the left is from Skull Pass, the one on the right is from a unit box of GW dwarf miners.

Well, that about wraps it up for Dwarvember. Coming next month: WizarDecember! Details to follow soon, so watch this space and get your magic-using miniatures ready!

Dwarvember Week Three

We’re past the halfway mark for Dwarvember, and this week has some of the best submissions yet. Let’s dive right in with this awesome dwarf piper conversion by TMP’s Balin Shortstuff!

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I’ve said previously that being a dwarf and a piper pretty much make a miniature the best thing it can be, and I stand by it. (Click that link to see my pre-Dwarvember Bob Olley dwarf piper, if so inclined). Balin couldn’t recall the manufacturer of this figure, but I wish we could get a shot of what it looked like before the conversion. Well done!

Returning again is TMP’s 144artist, with two Mantic Warsmiths:

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My favorite is the blond warsmith on the bottom. Great base work too! Although I painted up some Mantic dwarfs from Kings of War a while back, I have yet to play any of their games. Love the look of the figures though. Thanks again, 144artist!

Black Cavalier returns for Week 3 with two more dwarfs. First up, a Chaos Dwarf mortar crewman. Love the fangs on the old Citadel Chaos Dwarfs.

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And another Reaper dwarf: Freja Fangbreaker. Personally, I don’t have many female dwarf miniatures painted, which is something I will try to remedy soon.

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TMP’s punkrabbit returns joins us this week with some GW Battle for Skull Pass Thunderers he’s using in a Frostgrave warband. Any chance you’ll save the wizard for WizarDecember, punkrabbit? It’s just around the corner!

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You can check out punkrabbit returns’s blog in the sidebar under Tumbahelada De Punkrabbit, where among other things he discusses his decision to jump into Dwarvember this week. Thanks for the submission!

TMP’s CBPill once again joins us with an Egyptian-themed dwarf, Big Bukka Bloved of Bes, a dwarven bard.

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There aren’t many dwarf bard miniatures out there, and I’m betting this is the only Egyptian dwarf bard figure in existence. So thanks for sharing, CBPill! Remember to check out his Duelling Scrolls blog in the sidebar for more pics!

My submissions for the week follow. First up, a repaint of a recent plastic AD&D miniature, the Duergar Champion from the underdark set. Here’s the original paint job:

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Actually that stock photo shows a much better paint job than was on the miniature I had. I’m not a fan of these latest AD&D figures. The scale is all over the place, the sculpts are generally bad, and they all pretty much look like they were painted by Janice in Accounting. I saw no reason to keep him a Duergar, so I added some color and here is the result.

Also, I managed to get those Ral Partha Dwarfs painted after all. The dates on the bottom say 1986, so they’ve been awaiting paint for a while!

Next week is the last week of Dwarvember, so it’s time to start looking ahead. What say you all to “WizarDecember” next month?

 

Armies of Yesteryear: Warhammer Orcs and Goblins

I just got a brand new mat from Cigar Box Battle Mats, and I love it. To celebrate, I thought I’d photograph my old Warhammer Fantasy Orcs and Goblins on it. I haven’t played a game of Warhammer Fantasy since about 2003, so it’s been a while since these miniatures have seen battle. I’ve been using a few here and there for RPGs and skirmishes, but that’s about it.

The WAAAAAAGH is too big for me to photograph all at once, so I just took pictures of the individual units. This was my main WFB army from 1995 or so until about 2003. Previously I played Undead, but when GW split them into two different army books I never really went back. I was on a pretty limited gaming budget back then and couldn’t afford it.

Most of these miniatures were picked up in trades on Bartertown or in the boxed sets. The paint jobs aren’t terrible, but neither are they as good as they would be if I was painting them today. I tried to do a decent job as fast as possible so I could field them quickly. (I didn’t play with unpainted miniatures then, and I still don’t now.)

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First up, two units of archers. Night Goblins on the left, Orcs on the right. The Goblins came from the 4th edition boxed set. My friend bought the set for $60 bucks. It included Goblins and High Elves. He took the Elves and the rules sold me the goblins for $20. A good deal then and would still be now. The Orcs were old style Arrer Boyz, mostly plastic but a couple of metal ones too. This was the era when core troops were pretty much all the same sculpt with no variation. The armies today look better, but say what you will about the old style: at least they ranked up with no problems. Out in front are three Night Goblin Fanatics, as well as the old version of Skarsnik and Gobbla. In the back is the old Orc Rock Lobba.

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Moving onwards, here’s a unit of Goblin Wolf Riders and my main unit of Goblin spearmen (also from the 4th edition boxed set). Way in the back you can see an old-school Doom Diver Catapult.

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Next we come to my main core units of Boyz. On the left is a big brick of Orc Boyz from the 5th Edition boxed set. I forget who sold me these, but it was someone who was only interested in playing Empire. In the middle is my elite unit of Black Orcs (the old-school sculpts). This unit is one of the only ones I paid full retail for. On the right is another unit of Orc Boyz. These are mostly old Heroscape Orcs I picked up in trades. Once I had an opponent in a local tournament object to me using them, because, technically, they weren’t “purely GW miniatures”.  I took the unit out of my army and still trounced him. Then I told him to fuck off. Also in the picture is one of my Orc Bolt Throwers (which are now apparently crewed by Goblins in the newest version of the rules). More on the characters in front later.

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A better shot of the 5th Edition Boyz. In front are three Goblin Squig Hoppers. I loved the absolute randomness and fun of playing goblins. The Fanatics, the Doom Divers and the Squig Hoppers…none of them ever worked how you wanted them to, but they were just too fun not to include in the army. I don’t think any of the Hoppers ever killed anything. They always got shot before they could even make contact with an enemy.

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These guys won many a battle for me. Back in 4th-5th Edition, Savage Orc Boar Boyz were insane unit killers. I had 12 armed with spears and could usually break any unit on the charge (except for Dwarf Ironbreakers…Ooooo, how I hated them). Next to them is another Bolt Thrower, another unit of Orc Arrer Boyz (also from the 5th Edition boxed set) and another Doom Diver Catapult.

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Lastly, here’s another shot of the Orc Arrer Boyz. To the right is another Night Goblin archer unit (from the 4th edition Boxed set), a Night Goblin shaman, and a few more Fanatics.

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My Night Goblin archers couldn’t hit the ground if they aimed at it, but that’s not why I played two units of them. I did it for the Fanatics. I would always equip one of them with a Madcap Mushroom. That would be the guy riding the 8 Ball.

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A close up of one of the Doom Diver Catapults. The new model is pretty cool, but it’s also three times as big. I like the old one better.

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The old-school Rock Lobber. I was supposed to have two of these, but I got burned in a trade on Bartertown. I will always remember the name and email address of the asshole who screwed me. He lives in Healdsburg, California. So, Ben, if you’re reading this, go fuck yourself.

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A couple of character models. On the left was my Warboss. He was an exclusive Games Day miniature that my friend picked up for me. On the right is Nazgob, the Orc Shaman. He was a new miniature when I bought him. GW still makes him today. He was originally wearing bright blue, but I recently repainted him and he looks much better.

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Skarsnik and Gobbla, a very fun (but not very effective) Night Goblin team. I don’t think I ever won any battles with Skarsnik as my general;, but it was always fun to see which of my own troops Gobbla would eat. On the right is my old Warboss before I got the Games Day miniature.

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Last but not least, Gorfang Rotgut. I added some bitz from the zombie boxed set and added a shield to his shield. It was one of my first conversions. I once played a campaign against my friend using Gorfang as my army commander. My friend played Dwarfs. I got crushed. No sour grapes here, I still had a blast. But I realized that Gorfang was one of the most overpriced (points-wise) and ineffective special characters in the game.I chose him because he had a hatred of Dwarfs (believe me the Dwarfs felt the same way), but that didn’t help. In the end, my Orcs got curb-stomped by the Dwarfs. I think I won one out of eight battles.

I picked up a Battle for Skull Pass boxed set about two years ago, mainly for the Dwarfs. (I’ve always loved Dwarfs, and my friend kicking my ass with them did nothing to diminish that.) I considered painting up the Spider Riders and adding them to the WAAAAGH, but decided against it. I also thought about buying the Arachnarok Spider, but again, decided not to, even though it’s a really cool model. After all, I never play Warhammer anymore. I’d like to, but I’m not about to try to keep current with whatever version of WFB GW  is hawking, or whatever new units they come up with to replace units they arbitrarily deem obsolete.

Grom the Paunch didn’t make it to the table here because his chariot broke and is awaiting repair. Not that it matters. I never won a game with Grom as my general (Goblin generals suck), and, come to think of it, I never won a game with anyone in a chariot as my general. Chariots are huge targets for war machine and missile fire, and whenever I fielded Grom he got shot to death by turn 3, or his wolves got shot and effectively stranded him wherever they died.

More Armies of Yesteryear to come!

Some Old-School Miniatures

I went on a bit of a buying spree these past few months on some old Grenadier and Ral-Partha stuff. Mind you, I already have a ton of this stuff from my days of youth, but lately I’ve been feeling somewhat nostalgic. I present to you some of my recent painting efforts.

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Up first are these two knights. Both are repaints of miniatures I first painted when I thought using Testors gloss enamel was a great idea. I’ve been trying to identify them from The Lost Minis Wiki, but I haven’t been able to. I could have sworn they were Grenadier or Ral Partha, as I’ve had them since the early 80’s at least. For some reason I want to say the guy on the right was labeled a cavalier, but I’m not 100% on this. Anyway, they both have morningstars (or maces-and-chain, depending on who you ask), and that wasn’t so common on miniatures in those days. Any assistance identifying these guys would be most appreciated.

UPDATE: Thanks to some fellow enthusiasts on The Miniatures Page, I found out that the one on the left is from Superior Miniatures (Knight with Mace-and-Chain). The one on the right is from TSR, part of their “AD&D Heroes boxed set. And sure enough, he’s a cavalier!

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I love miniatures that tell a story and aren’t just “generic guy holding weapon”. This one is an old miniature I bought recently. It was part of Grenadier’s “Woodland Adventurers” boxed set. I don’t have the rest of the set, but I love this halfling sniper. This is not a repaint. In fact, I don’t believe this miniature was ever painted before I got him.

I’m under a pile of lead now, but I’m going to continue to take a break and paint (or repaint) some of these old miniatures every now and then.

54mm Batman

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I bought this old Grenadier figure set on eBay, mostly for posterity, since I don’t game in 54mm.  I remember when this came out. It was a set designed to go with the Batman RPG from Mayfair, which was really just a simplified DC Heroes RPG. Why they cast these miniatures in 54mm as opposed to the more popular 25mm is beyond me. Unless they were going for a collector’s market.

The set came with two miniatures, Batman and the Joker. Well, when I received my package in the mail, the Joker was missing. I contacted the seller and he immediately issued a refund. I would have gladly shipped Batman back to him, as his feedback was positive enough for me to think it was a fluke and not a deliberate attempt to screw me over, and I wasn’t trying to get anything for free. But he told me to just keep Batman. So I did.

Turns out I know a 13 year-old girl who is really into Batman. She’s the daughter of a friend, and I figured, since I have an incomplete set that’s not doing me any good, why not paint Batman up for her? So I did. And here’s what I used.

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First off, apologies for the paper plate. It’s the only white thing I had in reach when I decided to take the photo. I put Batman on a 50mm square base and applied green stuff to smooth out the contours of the base. Then I applied my first coat. Most of the colors are GW paints. I started with Deadly Nightshade for the blue, Iyanden Darksun for the yellow, and Skavenblight Dinge for the gray.

The next layers were Regal Blue, a mixture of Skavenblight Dinge/Dawnstone in a ratio of 70/30 for the gray, and a wash of Badab Black over the yellow.

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Once that was complete, I painted the base Shadow Grey and added the next layer of highlights: a mixture of Regal Blue/Mordian Blue in 50/50, straight Dawnstone for the gray, and Privateer Press’s Sulfuric Yellow for the belt and chest emblem.

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About this time I decided I would need something more on the base. So I added a 30mm RAFM sewer lid base and built it up with more green stuff. Then I did the next layer of highlights: Mordian Blue, Administratum Grey, and Bad Moon Yellow. Then I repainted the base with black Vallejo surface primer.

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Lastly, I finalized the highlights. I did a watered down layer of Festering Blue, followed by a highlight of Teclis Blue. I painted the eyes Skull White and the bat emblem with Chaos Black. I painted the manhole cover with Tin Bitz and washed it in Armour Wash. Then I applied a little MIG rust pigment to the manhole cover and put sand on the base.

A note about the sand…it’s actually volcanic sand from the beaches of Sao Miguel, Azores. Most folks probably don’t have that stuff laying around their house. But I do. 🙂

Hopefully the kid I painted this for will like it. He was pretty easy to paint, all things considered.

Someday I’ll get the complete set and paint it up just for fun.

 

Elves, Dwarves and Rust Monsters

Thought I’d showcase some miniatures I painted recently.

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First up are some Reaper elves. (Apologies for the blurriness of the photos. I need to get a tripod.) Up high is Ardynn, Elven Hero (Reaper 14046) , while down below is Baeldrinahr, Rogue Figher(Reaper 02952). Ardynn looks more like a High Elf to me. I decided to base him on snow and I’m happy with the result, although you can’t really see it. I decided to paint Baeldrinahr like a Wood Elf, so I chose the palette and basing accordingly. Both these would have made an appearance in my AD&D campaign, if I was still running it.

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It’s never hard to get me to paint Dwarfs. These are some older Reaper sculpts that actually look kind of small compared to their more recent dwarf products. On the top are two Dwarf Heroes from Sandra Garrity (Reaper 03351). On the lower left is Sturm Jagstone, another Garrity sculpt (Reaper 02236). I love these miniatures.

Oh, Crap...

Oh, Crap…

Lastly, I decided to showcase one of the all-time classic and most hated AD&D monsters: the Rust Monster! These two armored lads are about to have a very bad day.

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The warrior on the left with the ridiculous sword is Reaper’s Alustan Nightbreaker, Paladin (Reaper 03192). On the right is Kain Swiftblade, yet another Sandra Garrity sculpt (Reaper 02025), one of Reaper’s oldest miniatures, and one of my personal favorites.

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The rust monsters are a mix of old and new. On the left is Reaper’s recent “Oxidation Beast” (why get sued, after all? Reaper 03585). This one is metal (the irony!!….Oh iron-y! How doubly ironic!!!) but they make a Bones version that’s five bucks cheaper at the moment. The one on the right is a classic Ral Partha rust monster.  I really like the look of both models, and I’m pretty happy with the paint jobs.