Painting 2.1 – The Black Dragon

The Black Dragon has always been my favourite of these three figures. It was the easiest to assemble – two wings, one arm, horns. All slotted neatly into the “holes” in the body with little or no filing or trimming. I would have liked to have the wings a bit further apart, but that would have taken extra work that I didn’t feel confident trying.

The figure is 8cm high and 9cm long. The main body and wing edges are a standard black.  I first painted the wings with grey, then went over that with black and dark green. Scales over the spine are a mid gray, slightly darkened with black dry-brushing of the edges. Belly scales were the same grey, but then given a light purple wash. Horns and wings tips are grey, claws silver.

The two photos were taken close together – but one was in bright light and the other more in shadow. The brighter light makes the greys look silver. The texture of the scales looks great when there’s light to reflect from them.

2013-12-14 Black Dragon-1 2013-12-14 Black Dragon-2

Painting 2.0 – Here be Dragons…

In about 1987 I purchased three boxed Dragons in the “Dragon Lords” series by Grenadier.

  • 9601  Black Dragon II
  • 9602  Red Dragon II
  • 9607  Blue Dragon II

Each had a small human figure (priest, wizard, sorcessess) and an iconic chromatic D&D dragon, that was in 5 or 6 pieces. On occasion over the following years I used one or two of them – usually incomplete or partially held together with blue-tac – in a game. These are quite good looking sculpts with very nice detail. I’m sorry that I didn’t buy a Green and a White at the same time.

November 2013:

Finally I decided my next miniatures project was to assemble and paint these three dragons.

Cleaning up the figures, to remove flash and mould lines, and checking joints so that the wings in particular would fit together took a while. The red dragon in particular took extra work – on each side, the front arm/leg and wing are meant to slot into a hole next to each other with the wing edge also going into a notch along the body. Neither wing was going to sit firmly and both “hole” and joints required a bit of shaving to get the right fit. I was also very pleased to have some putty in the garage which was great for filling in the slight gaps around the wing joints.

Once glued and dried, I undercoated each one and set them aside. They already looked very good. I did note that I’d glued the black dragon’s horns on the wrong way around… but didn’t feel like trying to remove them and re-glue. I simply bent them around to the shape I wanted them in.

I spent time considering colour schemes and looking at all my rule books with dragon images. It was very interesting to see the change in appearance of these dragons (and the other colours) over the different D&D editions. These three figures show 1st and 2nd edition versions.

Painting 1.0

Time, space and the interest to start painting again finally got me putting together a new set of paints, and collecting bits and pieces to assist me. (Working in the “office supplies/stationery” business didn’t hurt either, especially for pens, markers, cardboard, knives, steel rulers, and the occasional brush – great for producing scenery, maps or dungeon floor-plans!)

April 2013.

I had an assortment of paints and had found my brushes and had a box to put everything in. I grabbed a bunch of Dwarves and a few other figures that I wanted to paint and started undercoating.

2013-04-25 Painting 2013-06-09 Painting

Funnily enough, these 11 figures included two that had been undercoated perhaps a decade earlier and that had been as far as I got.  It also included two versions of “Gimli”. Over the next month I finished them off and I’ve been quite pleased with the result. I’ll need to get them all out again, touch them up and spray them with a varnish to protect them.

2013-06-10 Painting-1 2013-06-10 Painting-2


What games do I play?

Currently – Dungeons and Dragons RPG (D&D 3.5 and Pathfinder), Kings of War (a Miniature battle war-game), World of Warcraft (online game, MMORPG), Neverwinter Nights 2 (PC), and a varied scattering of board, card and computer games.

I also write adventures (primarily for D&D), wrote (and run) a Play-by-email fantasy game, and I’m working on my own d20 version of a Gamma World RPG (combining elements from both 4th and 6th editions).

What have I played? (or still have the game/rulebooks, and expect to play again)

RPG’s – In particular I’ve played all versions of D&D (up to and including 3.5/Pathfinder), Star Wars, M.E.R.P. (Middle Earth Role-Playing), Call of Cthulhu, Champions, Warhammer Fantasy Role-Play, Shadowrun, and Gamma World.

Computer Games – Neverwinter Nights, Warcraft, WoW, Diablo, Portal, Age of Empires, Descent, Dawn of War, Civilization, Freelancer, Quake, Starcraft, Torchlight, Doom, Alone in the Dark, Nethack…

Board Games – Hero Quest, Warhammer Quest, Dungeon Quest, Talisman, Car Wars, The Lonely Mountain, Carcassonne, Sequence…

Card Games – Flux, Munchkin, Chez Geek, Unexploded Cow, Kill Dr Lucky, Mille Bornes, Frag, Spellfire, Illuminati, Magic (the gathering), Falling…

and the more traditional card games like 500, Crazy Whist, Canasta, Rummy… etc.

A History of Miniatures

Two and a half decades ago (late 80’s) I began collecting an assortment of metal figures (or miniatures) for various games, primarily Dungeons and Dragons. Some figures came with board games, or figures that got my interest in the shops (I bought three dragons in about 1987), or part of something like a toy set related to a book/movie/game, etc. The idea of using the figures with games was a great one, but rarely would I have a suitable figure to do anything with, so I just collected them. I probably had some thoughts about painting them, but time, skills and materials weren’t as suitable as I would have desired.

In the 90’s, (when playing Warhammer Quest) my figure collection expanded greatly when I started getting (mostly plastic) figures from Games Workshop. I did a little bit of painting then, not necessarily very well, and with a limited range of paints.

Late in the 00’s years (maybe 2008) I discovered the Dungeons & Dragons Miniatures – and I could start collecting pre-painted figures to represent the characters and NPC’s in my restarted (3rd Ed) D&D campaign, and more importantly – the monsters. By this stage I also had figures for board games like DungeonQuest, and for the Star Wars RPG.

I’ve also been collecting Dragons. I’ve got over 40 Dragons – in ceramic, metal, coal, plastic, resin, jade, stone, and a glass one in a bottle! They range in size from 15mm high to 34cm tall. (The largest ones aren’t miniatures!)