Painting THAT Dark Elf

I should have finished this one last weekend, but I got distracted… wanting to work on a dragon I had been given. That mini is coming along nicely, but this morning I made an effort to get the last of the detail and highlights down on Drizzt Do’Urden.

This is a single part metal figure by Ral Partha, 1988 for TSR “10-550 Drizzt”. I probably bought it on its own in a blister-pack way back then, and most likely because it was a figure with two swords, rather than for the character himself. I do have a lot of the novels of the Icewind Dale / Dark Elf / etc series that date from the late 80’s so I should have known ‘who’ I was buying.

The figure has been in a figure box for so long that when I picked it out for painting I took it for someone’s copy of Drizzt and not a licensed production until I went searching for some details.

I have a separate bunch of drow figures, and was more interested in this now for the two swords… so not painted as Drizzt. I’ve been playing a lot of Lord of the Rings Online recently, so I looked at images of the rangers from the game, picking a palette of mostly browns.

I really enjoyed painting this, once I worked out my colours. It was also great trying to do more work with highlights. I’m pretty comfortable with shading and washes, but getting the fine lines for good highlighting can be a struggle based on a combination of sculpted detail, focused eyesight and holding a fine brush steady. The sculpting on the figure itself helped a lot in this case. I’m also impressed that I didn’t just get the hair and the eyes right, but even managed eyebrows!

Painting Infantry

My first painting for 2023. I base coated both in 2022, but its only been in the last few days that I’ve really paid them serious attention and worked out what I was doing.

These are plastic Pathfinder Deep Cuts (WizKids) “Infantrymen”. (Blister pack of two)

They had very few mold lines and I like the pose, and the details.  I really like the pack and bedroll on one (although there is only half a shoulder strap sculpted; I had to hand paint the rest), the shields have handles/straps on the back, and each has a scabbard of the right length for their sword! The pack art shows the guy on the right with the shield symbol on his surcoat front… this would have been nice to paint, if it was flat. It’s textured, so I decided against it.

The other difficulty was that the guy with the pack. His shield is quite close to the body and its very difficult to get even a fine brush in between to paint. That bit isn’t as good as I’d like it to have been, but its not something most people will see. Their faces are also a little small, so painting eyes was a chore, mostly because of the low helmets.

It’s nice that while most of what they have (surcoat, shield, boots, pouches) matches, but they have different helmets, and obviously one has a pack. This isn’t the same figure in a slightly different pose. If there was a second Infantrymen pack (with different poses/gear), I’d happily buy it to have a small group of men-at-arms / soldiers.

The images haven’t come out quite as I hoped – they’re a little dull. I think I need to make a new light box (the old one had deteriorated and didn’t move house) and/or find the right spot in the house for taking pictures.

2023: Into a ninth year of blogging

Another year over, and a week into the New Year. Covid certainly made a difference to most of my hobbies (and everyone else’s) though the last month or two have felt a lot more “normal” than things have been for the last two years.

So what was 2022 for me?

Painting: My total for 2022 was 8 figures, and some assembly (minimal painting) on 12 plants. This is way down on past years, but I’ve nearly painted every single unpainted figure that I own. Unless I bought a lot more, I was never going to exceed 2021’s total of 81 figures. There are exceptions: I do have unpainted walkers, fatties, and runners for Zombicide, and  there’s orcs and gretchen in Space Crusade. If I’m desperate to paint something I could start those!

Gaming/RPG’s: My gaming group hasn’t returned to my Fals’Krag mega-dungeon, but we did manage to get nearly everyone together and play a one-shot Call of Cthulhu based on Gilligan’s Island, and another night a Shadowrun one-shot based on the “Olympus has Fallen” movie set in Canberra’s Parliament House. There’s been about half the group available on other weekends and we’ve played board games – notably Lord of the Rings Risk (twice – team play is really good), and a New Year’s Eve of Zombicide: Black Plague.

Board Games: We’ve played a bunch of other board game’s with one mate (this started with Covid restrictions on the number of people together, and how far you could travel) – those have mostly been Alhambra, Kingdom Builder, and different versions of Ticket to Ride.

Computer Games: I’ve been playing a lot of Lord of the Rings online, some World of Warcraft, occassional World of Tanks, and a fair run late in the year with Freelancer. Freelancer’s single player game is something I run through every few years, this time I found a HD version to update the graphics.

Other Stuff: I’ve been reading a lot! I’ve spend lots of spare time writing one-shot RPG games for different systems that my group may not have played before. I’ve combat-mapped a large area ready for Fals’Krag, and need to finish detailing what’s in those locations. My wife and I moved house and cleaned up the old house to sell. It didn’t sell, so there’s been preparation for it to now be leased. All of this, and both setting up the new house, fixing things, gardening, building chicken housing, etc have taken months. My work has stayed very busy all year, and though I keep considering retirement, while I’m happy to keep working I will.

Plans for 2023:

I have three figures on my painting desk to finish. I have thirteen Citadel beastmen that I think are worth doing. Then its probably time to dig through all my figure boxes to see what I might have missed. I have more plants to work on, similar to the previous set and I’m considering some trees or bigger plants. It might be a good year to actually build some proper terrain – walls and basic ruined buildings.

The next RPG is likely to be a one-shot Conan adventure (using Conan d20 rules), but I expect that we’ll restart Fals’Krag this year, and play one-shot’s when a few players are not available. I hope to finish three other one-shot adventures: Battlestar Galactica and Star Gate (using StarGate 5E rules) and one Eclipse Phase adventure. All these needs maps before I can finish adventure detail.

I’m reading through my collection of Barbara Hambly books now, then I have a fair number of trilogies to read (for the first time!), having purchased the missing book/s last year. I’ll continue playing LotRo on the computer, and I was gifted Rome: Total War for Christmas so that will be something new in the near future.

Final image: These are my bookcases set up for painting, gaming and most of my collection of dragons. The first is next to my computer/painting desk, the other (only 30cm away) is next to our large dining table where we play games. This is much better than stuff in boxes and multiple bookcases, in different rooms, that I had before we moved house. There are a few more board games on top of another bookcase in the lounge. The green bag is my travelling bag – it has a large figure box to hold whatever figures, terrain, etc that I’ll need for a RPG, and smaller boxes with tokens, dice, dice-tower, cards, maps, PC miniatures, etc.


This guy is probably a very appropriate mini considering Christmas and New Years just past. He was completed on the Christmas weekend, but he’s only been taken outside this morning for a varnish where the bright sun and 30 degree heat (celcius) probably won’t do his hangover any good.

I was looking through mini boxes for some other figures and found him mixed in with painted figures that were being used in a D&D campaign run by a mate a few years back. He got my attention over the other three figures (started but not finished) on my desk.

I’ve done a bit of searching but can’t work out the manufacturer or anything on this specific dwarf. When he was chosen as a character to play, I filed the base flat taking off all the interesting things like names and dates. I’m sure that I’ve had him for at least thirty years… so he should be 1980’s, or early 90s. One piece metal with a round base. I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s a Citadel Bugman’s dwarf, but he’s not cluttered with detail like I expect from most of their figures and should also be slotta-base. I’m guessing Ral Partha.

Painting was fairly easy, and straightforward and not fussy like the two soldier figures I’m still working on. To give him more balance on the table top, the original base is glued to a 25mm thin round, with a little bit of extra stone decoration. I like the figure, and he certainly looks much better painted than as dull metal. This is very likely the only figure I have holding something as simple as a tankard, and not some weapon or magical device, etc.

Happy New Year!