Painting – Barbarian v2.0

Quite some time ago I added a “Wulgar” D&D pre-painted mini to an order because I don’t have many figures that are distinct barbarians. I am a R.A. Salvatore / Drizzt fan and have a fair number of the novels (and have read others) but I hadn’t collected any of the related D&D Mini’s because they don’t suit my campaign and most of them are extremely expensive.

I was quite disappointed with the colour scheme of the figure I received – yes, the character in question is a northern barbarian from the “Icewind Dale” area, but does that mean he really has to be dressed entirely in the Forgotten Realms equivalent of Polar Bear skins!? I picked out three prepainted minis to do a little bit of work to. I haven’t photographed the other two, mostly since one was just added flesh paint to a face that had partially missed out on paint and the other was changing a cloak from grey to blue and added a little highlight to the edges of clothing. In Wulfgar’s case I did almost a full repaint.

Yellow ochre on the cloak, roan brown on the lower torso furs, dark brown on the boots, a mix of grey and mid-brown on the wrist furs, brown on the hammer handle and smoothing out flesh colours and painting one fist which was white. A bit more light grey on the pants to tidy up edges, then some brown ink to bring out detail in the hair and fill in the furs in a few places. I also repainted to hammer head to remove most of the “blood” and smooth out the finish.

Wulfgar

Wulfgar, the barbarian and Aegis-fang.

The insert is a typical image of the standard figure for comparison. I’m much happier with my repaint, although I could still touch up the face a little more. I spent too much time on this during the week – after doing some painting and letting it dry, I’d come back to paint some more and find that contact with the figure was rubbing off my earlier painting! I don’t know if that was caused by the plastic of the figure or whatever paint was on it before I started but it got very annoying. Hopefully the clear acrylic over the top helps it stay there now.

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Painting – Adventurer re-basing and minor improvements.

This group of a dozen miniatures was painted back in 2013 and was the start of my return to figure painting. I spent a lot of time then working on them and didn’t want to spend a lot more time now repainting or being too fussy about them. I’m happy with the standard I got them to at that time. My focus now was mostly to make some of the detail a little more distinct – which mostly was retouching weapons – and some shading on most of the figures using some Soft/Strong/Dark tone courtesy of Army Painter inks. A few of the figures on square bases got moved to a 25mm round. Lastly, spray matte varnish to finish them all off.

The first two figures are metal Ral Partha, and I believe all the others are Citadel/Games Workshop – many of them  Warhammer figures.

Zageblyn Yoruguth, Gnome Thief/Illusionist and a young Dwarf warrior.

This first figure has a history well above and beyond any other I have. Originally Ral Partha “03-049 Gnome Master Thief” produced in 1988 and quite likely purchased that year too, this mini will always be “Zageblyn” to me. One player in my first decade-spanning Advanced D&D (and into 2nd edition) campaign was playing a Gnome Thief/Illusionist. By the time the campaign was slowing down and the player moved to another state (and out of the game), the character had become a memorable personality and a 10th thief, 11th illusionist.

The second RP figure is a Dwarf warrior, but I find it to be a lot thinner than any other dwarves I have. It’s not any shorter, just not as bulky and too large for a gnome. So, maybe a “young” Dwarf. The more I look at these figures the less I like the green bases… so they’ll be done over in black this afternoon!

Human Assassin and Dwarf Warrior

The assassin is a nice figure, with good detail from the front. At the back the cloak and pants merge without an actual edge. The Dwarf is a very simple figure with a very low level of detail – shield, beard, armour, etc mostly “flow” into each other, without distinct edging. It looks much, much better painted – gives it more definition to the features.

Dwarf Troll Slayer and better armoured companion.

Both plastic dwarves. This is the first troll slayer I had painted and I have two more undercoated for future work. I spent a lot of time trying to get the mohawk the colour I wanted and didn’t quite succeed. There won’t be so many layers or colour mixing with the next two – I know what I’m doing now. The second dwarf (from the Hero Quest boardgame) wasn’t a great sculpt, but using different colours brought out the different features well.

Warhammer Quest Dwarf and LotR Boromir

Warhammer Quest Dwarf and LotR Boromir

One plastic Warhammer Quest (board game) dwarf and one metal Citadel “Lord of the Rings” (1985) figure. Both show a fair amount of detail and were fun to paint. I’d originally used a mix of silver and blue on the winged helmet but the blue faded. I went over it with silver again, then a blue ink this time – it worked much better and the ink brought out the feathers more too.

Citadel, Lord of the Rings – the Gimli twins!

Lastly, two more metal, Lord of the Rings figures. Both are Gimli. The first came blister packed with a horse, and the second (Fellowship Heroes) with Legolas & Boromir (NOT the previous figure). I didn’t like the Boromir sculpt and don’t remember what happened to the figure – sold, thrown out or given away.

Next, I’m working on ten figures originally painted at the end of the 1980’s or very early 1990’s.

They have needed a lot more work!

(D&D) Undead anti-climax!

Well, our 3rd edition Pathfinder D&D session last night went very well.

The first round against the invisible flying dracolich started off with most characters trying to work out where it was (Perception checks) and waiting (holding their action) for something to change. There were debates over trying to cast Dispel Magic at the general area or casting Raise Dead on the Dwarf Cleric. I refused to offer opinions on the basis that my character was dead and certainly wasn’t contributing to conversation. The dracolich swooped down and attacked our Ranger so we had a better idea of where it was. Fulcrum (heavy armoured Fighter) moved closer and used a magical item to change places with the wounded Ranger.  The Paladin moved into the midst of most characters and cast an area heal that was much needed.

Finally the Bard was convinced to cast Raise Dead (from a scroll, involving Use-Magic-Device checks) to bring back the Cleric (albeit with only 15hp and 2 negative levels).  My first action was to cast a major healing spell on myself. The fighter took some hits from the dracolich and everyone waited for me to be able to act again. A well placed Greater Dispel Magic cancelled the dracolich’s invisibility and everyone proceeded to start hitting/shooting it.  The Paladin charged in, declaring a Smite Evil and killed it with one very nasty blow.

We spent a few rounds healing, searching the chamber and more healing, while hoping to locate the creatures phylactery (an item or container that holds the undead’s spirit) and our Warmage found something magical in a crevice or ledge near the ceiling on one wall. (He was flying). He focused in on its location and succeeded with a well placed disintegrate spell that destroyed it just before the spirit was about to leave and animate another dragon corpse.

While being cautious about other monsters we began to search the chambers. Apart from the huge chamber we were in, there wasn’t much else but empty tunnels. We manage to collect a fair assortment of treasure and determined that their was no sign of the creature that we had originally changed into here. The portal that got us here had closed just after we arrived, so we next had to determine our location. Thankfully we found (by careful questioning and powerful divine magic) that we were still on the same plane and in/under a mountain range a bit further north-east than where we had started. Magic (Dimension door) got us out of the mountain and careful teleporting got everyone back to Greyhawk city. The temple of WeeJas was extremely pleased to hear that we had destroyed the artefacts, and said they would try to locate the creature that escaped. Finally, it looked like we have time to sort out treasure, spend money and get a long uninterrupted rest.

The rest of the night was spent eating and drinking (players, not characters) and discussing how to use our wealth. Top of the list from everyone is obtaining a portable hole! (At least one of the players is against leaving copper pieces behind, especially when there’s hundreds of thousands of them.)

Musing… on D&D, painting, writing and hot water!

Dungeons & Dragons:

Last weekend the Pathfinder (D&D) campaign that I play in reached a major climax. We have been trying to locate the cult/family that stole three powerful artefacts (of a dead god) designed to transform someone into a demi-god/powerful monster/something-really-nasty. The temple of WeeJas (a Greyhawk Goddess of Death, Magic and Law) finally found somewhere to send us… and we arrived in the middle of the ceremony to transform one of our opponents. We weren’t able to stop the ceremony, but we did kill all the undead thrown in our way and managed to survive destroying the artefacts. The “creature” escaped through a portal to elsewhere, but we were at least able to recover enough to follow.

We were lucky to get through the portal before it closed, and but I hate being rushed… major encounters when everyone in the party is wounded usually don’t go well. I/We need to balance healing with moving onward better…

What’s worse than a Dragon? How about a dead spell-casting dragon! My repainted dracolich figure got used prominently – the portal lead us to chambers with dragon corpses and then we were attacked by an INVISIBLE dracolich. (That’s why you can’t see it in the photo.) My Dwarf (and only my character) can see invisible things, and I had a spell up my sleeve that cancels out invisibility, so we killed it fairly quickly. Unfortunately, the dracolich spirit promptly reanimated one of the corpses and attacked again. We killed it again… see a pattern emerging? We started destroying (or badly damaging) the dragon corpses, but I think more healing would have been better. With a few rounds to prepare, the dracolich came back a third time and once again invisible. It seems to be a bit less powerful each time, but this bout it went straight for me… aaaaannd I’m dead. That’s my dwarf lying on his back on the upper right. Fulcrum, our powerful fighter charged across and managed to get a hit on it before it took to the air. (Still invisible!) That’s where we stopped for the night. We play again tomorrow!

DIGITAL CAMERA

Fighting an invisible dracolich!

For the curious: The play mat being used is simply for its size not features – we are ignoring the printed walls. The red discs on the table represent dragon corpses (unmangled) and the yellow discs are the destroyed corpses. I’ve made yellow “condition” cards (not pictured – such as stunned, dazed, fatigued) and green “spell effect” cards (like Bless, Prayer, Haste, and Bard performance) that we use during the game to remind us of bonuses and penalties. Flying stands are Litko, from Paizo.

Painting:

Over the last week or two I’ve been touching up figures that I painted last year. Many of them had paint that had rubbed off and some of them got some ink for shading. They all got a spray of clear matte acrylic for protection too. Now I’m working on a group of figures that I first painted probably twenty years ago. Most of them need more than just a touch-up! Four figures in this group (and three in the earlier one) are Lord of the Rings figures, Citadel 1985. I’ve decided that my next major painting project will be to work on the rest of these figures (I bought a lot) and do a blog post on them as a group. It’s a big group too – including horses and ponies.

Writing:

I really haven’t gotten much further with my novel. I’ve spent more time reading, painting and watching TV. I did finally get an understandable message from the publishing agent on my answering machine! This gave me a chance to do a little research before I phoned her back and told her that I never wanted to hear from her again!

It turned out that she was part of an American Publishing company that looks like it makes its money off “new” or prospective writers. You pay them money and they help you produce a book, with lots of options (that you pay for) along the way to aid you to spell-check, edit, format, restructure, or whatever. I found a bunch of bad reviews and no guarantee that you would actually get a published book into shops, or make any money out of the process.

I’ve got a list of Australian agents, and submission guidelines, so I’ll stick with that.

Gas:

You might not understand how remarkable I find a hot shower to be – especially as the weather shifts towards winter here!

My wife and I haven’t had gas on at home for four weeks – so no hot water, and only electricity for cooking. I had a most enjoyable phone conversion this evening, even better than expected. It’s great to call up a company to tell them you’re not going to pay their service charges any longer, but I was expecting to get someone who wasn’t really paying attention (or who cared) and to confuse them by not following the typical process of cancelling a service.  First off, I got an Australian guy (in Australia!) answer my call (as opposed to someone in an overseas call centre) and we had a great conversation. It mostly started getting fun when he asked me if I was moving house. This of course, is asked so that they can try and get the contract to charge for gas at your new address. I said “no”. Instead of continuing on with the next step, he asked me to excuse his curiosity, but wanted to know why I wanted the gas cut off if I wasn’t going anywhere. He understood, sympathised, laughed, apologised for waiting times and actually provided good customer service!

In short – my home is the second house on a large block, built some decades ago. My neighbours realised there was a gas leak and eventually worked out that it was the gas line to our house, that runs behind their house. After many phone calls, visits by plumbers/gas company, emails to gas company and council, etc we have determined that the old pipes from the gas meter to our house are very corroded, thus the leak. Being on our side of the gas meter makes it all our responsibility, and replacing (or bypassing) tens of metres of pipe to get to our house and around the garage, is both complicated and very expensive. I’m thankful for great neighbours – I dug a bunch of holes in their yard trying to track pipe and other people have been in and out. Tomorrow we shop for an electric oven & stove top. Then it’ll be a new electric hot water service. No more gas here… and solar panels sound like a great future investment!

Yet another RAFM Miniature!

Quite some time ago I painted this figure for use in our Pathfinder/D&D game. Over the last few weeks I’ve been going back over a bunch of figures that I did last year. Most of these were done when I’d just gotten back into painting and I now have a much larger selection of paints and have learnt a few new tricks. Plus, I didn’t have a can of spray varnish then!

Having recently done two RAFM Rangers, I was quite surprised to notice that this figure is another RAFM figure… only this time it’s described as “Thief with bow and sword”. (She’s being used as a ranger) Her reference code is 3906, which falls right before the previous two figures. I noted tonight from RAFM’s website that this figure isn’t available any longer, whereas the rangers are still in production.

2015-05-10 Ranger

Thief or Ranger?

The main thing I did in my touch up work was to re-base the figure – onto a 25mm round plastic base and add more rocks on the edges.  I realised when I took the photo’s that she needs a bit more work on the neck. That’s something for tomorrow.

I’ve finished another batch of figures and I’m hoping on good light tomorrow (good weather at last) to photograph them. Then I can do another post on that group.