April Challenge Painting

I started the month with good intentions, but the last few weeks (and sudden cold and wet weather) have found me preparing stuff for Shadowrun and not painting. As well as finishing off a nearly done figure, I got four more (that were only undercoated) completed, and started a sixth.

This is only five figures done out of the ten I hoped to complete for Ann’s April painting challenge, but it is more painting than I’ve achieved any other month this year!

From left to right:

Reaper 03893 “Mal” Catfolk Warrior, SW76 Mon Calamari, SW26 Bossk (trandoshan bounty hunter), SW77 Engineer, & SW27 Weequay

The Reaper figure was a recent purchase (by comparison) to be used in my d20 Gamma World game as one of the player characters. The four Star Wars figures are by West End Games/Grenadier 1988/89 from boxed sets I bought way back then. I chose colours for the Mon Cal based on typical images available online for the race, and while I checked images of Bossk himself, I decided to go with something different for his scaly skin and jumpsuit. The others were whatever appealed to me when I sat down. The “frill” around the engineers neck is a light metallic silver-blue and his face is more even in RL. My camera has lightened/darkened the front/side in the image inaccurately.

I put a lot of work into the catfolk mini – lots of dry-brushing fur to bring out the texture and detail that the figure has. The others I wasn’t as concerned with, and I’m happy with the way they look.

April Challenge: “Paint the crap you already own!”

While I have made a considerable effort over the last few years to paint the figures I own, there’s always more unpainted. I’ve done more writing over the last 12 months than painting. With my gaming on hold (due to Covid-19), and some more free time at home I decided to get painting again as well as write. I’m not working from home (not possible with my position), but by the end of the month my work may close down regardless. It’s nice being a bit lazier than usual and catching up on some computer games, but I can paint as well as do all the other things.

 

2020-04-02 Figures

 

Ann (Ann’s Immaterium) has just announced an April painting challenge that’s perfect for this. I have 9 Star Wars figures (West End Games/Grenadier 1988/89) that have been on my desk since some time in 2017. (That’s when I painted the storm troopers – it’s really been too long.)

Last week I started to look at these again – and dusted them off. The cat man in the picture hasn’t been on the desk for years (only months, I think), and he just qualifies. I did a lot of painting on him over the last week and he’s almost but not quite finished.

There is absolutely no reason I can’t finish painting ten miniatures in one month. Let’s see how I go!

Ral Partha – Dwarves

I would have completed two dwarves last weekend, except that when I set them up to take pictures today I noticed that I still hadn’t painted the eyes on one. Now they might be finished… While browsing the web to get some more detail on each figure, I saw the first guy painted with tusks/horns on his helmet. I like the look of that (instead of just spikes) and I’ll repaint my figure this afternoon, then take them outside for a varnish.

Both figures are by Tom Meier, and produced by Ral Partha in the late 1980’s. Metal figures. 01-323/03-025 Dwarf Fighter and 03-046 Dwarf Champion.

They were pretty easy to paint, and I’ve kept everything fairly simple. The champion did have a sword point sticking out of his left fist originally. This figure has seen a lot of use previously for MERP and D&D, and the tip broke off long ago. I’ve often thought about finding or making a replacement bit, but there’s a fair chance that any glued on replacement would also get broken.

 

The only complaint I have with these is the axe the fighter holds. I have quite a number of dwarves with axes like this. The axe has a large blade and the haft/handle is short. I feel this should have a much longer handle for balance, whether used one or two-handed.

It’s Snotlings, but not as you know it…

I’ve completed this group of 14 snotlings from Warhammer Quest (GW) in pretty much two days, which could be a record (for me) for painting that many figures in a short time. While the weather has been a cold mess recently, I got enough sunshine Friday morning to spray them white and let them dry outside, and again this morning to give them two coats of clear acrylic.

 

I chose these for two reasons. Firstly, I’ve been writing a section of my mega-dungeon that has a group of gremlins – rather small humanoids. I have a good batch of painted GW goblins, but no small humanoids (apart from my distinctive kobolds) for general purpose use. These are just the right size for generic small humanoids, and there’s a lot of them. Second, while they have some nice detail, each is simply holding a club and wearing a loincloth. I expected them to be pretty easy and quick to paint, and they were!

 

These have only been used as Snotlings when I was playing Warhammer Quest regularly. Now, with a standard (not-green) flesh colour, they will stand in for any small humanoid, be it gremlin, mite, or darkfolk. They are 3 feet high by D&D’s scale. I picked three colours to paint the loin cloths, so I can always use a specific colour to represent a particular group, or just throw them all in together. I also clipped off a few club spikes for a tiny bit of variety.

I’m very happy having some more painting done, especially something that will see use. Now I can go back to trying to ignore at the 12 undercoated figures on the side of my painting desk like I have for past months.

 

More Nolzur’s Miniatures

Today I got the rest of my Nolzur’s Marvelous Miniatures photographed. They were finished one or two weeks ago, but I’ve been waiting for better weather to take pictures and to put them outside for a spray varnish.

I enjoyed planning the mind flayers and while wanting a simple colour scheme for each, I’ve used both different and similar colours on each. Both have the same breastplate, shoulder armour, belts and armwraps – mostly I have the same colour used on each. The staff and the claws are the main differences between each figure in addition to the pose, and obviously while the robes are the same I choose dark but different colours there. I really like my finished figures. The only thing I would have really liked was a bit more separation between the four mouth tentacles than there is. I want to touch up their eyes – a bit more white before they get their coat of varnish.

The phase spiders were fun. Being larger (they are on 50mm bases) they are easier to paint than most of my figures and pretty straightforward. I really like the 3rd edition D&D image for these, and while I wouldn’t normally think of blue with spiders, I was ready to see how it came out.

I started with a mid blue on the legs and body and a pale grey. Then a bit of ink (blue and black mixed together) which darkened the blue and helped pick out the lines and ridges in the legs. White over the main bits of the legs and under-body and then blue again to add spots and brighten some legs and body parts. The Phase Spider is described as looking like a wolf spider. The body is right, but I wish they’d actually put the eyes in the same distinct formation as a wolf spiders – two large front eyes, four small underneath, two medium above. Instead there is a circle of six eye protrusions at the top front of the head, and perhaps a dozen more around the side and back of the head. I’ve painting the circle of six as actual eyes, and then lightly greyed the other protrusions as false eyes or other sensors.

While these are identical figures, due to the nature of the resin, and the fact that they were mailed halfway around the world, each has some legs in a slightly different position. The blue of the legs looks a bit brighter in the images than they actually appear. After all the time spent cleaning the mold lines off their legs, I’m very happy to have these finished and looking good.

Some Nolzur’s Miniatures Painted

I’ve finished four of my Nolzur’s Marvelous Miniatures – both female dwarves and the medusae. After some very cold and wet weather in which I didn’t feel like painting, the winter here has eased off and I’ve been getting a bit done. The mind flayers are waiting for some ink and then skin highlights, and I’ve started on the phase spiders. All have been MUCH easier to paint than bones figures. As expected, I didn’t get the detail on the medusae that I would have liked. You wouldn’t look at the figures and think that they have snakes for hair, just crazy hair styles!

Overall, I’m happy with both of them as tabletop figures. I tried to keep them fairly straight-forward with my paint colours and not fuss too much. I didn’t feel like spending extra time doing more shadows and/or highlights.

The dwarves were a little easier to paint, considering that most of what each is wearing is armour. I prefer to spend more time on figures that may be used by my players, since they will be seen more often, but didn’t want to get too complex. I did take extra time with both to try getting some metallic detail on their armour – mostly gold and copper – and this came out very nicely. There’s some silver detail on the warhammers that doesn’t show in the pictures too.

It’s a pity the resin for that raised sword is quite thin and a bit “soft”. If it had been firmer I don’t think it would have curved at the end. I really like that the cloak isn’t flat against the figure. Its attached across the top/shoulders and really “flows” (can’t think of a better word) away from the body. Painting under it got tricky, but most people won’t see under it without bright light at the right angle anyway.

Tonmorrow’s forecast is 18 degrees and sunny – good painting and gardening weather (too many leaves in the yard). Hopefully I can finish my spiders – I’m really enjoying them so far.

Nolzur’s not-so Marvelous Miniatures?

Nolzur’s Marvelous Miniatures – Wizards of the Coasts newish range of unpainted D&D figures. These look fantastic in all the sale images available. In most cases you get two 28mm figures at a low price, they appear to have a high level of detail, already primed and ready to paint. Each figure is made from a clear resin, they feel a bit firmer than reaper bones and the primer makes them easier to paint than bones figures are.

I often watch out for figures at a reasonable price to fill gaps in my collection. Two figures in particular: a medusa and a mind flayer have been previously released by Wizards and/or Paizo, but are almost impossible to get hold of. I noticed one of the online stores I buy from had what I wanted when I found the owl figures I recently painted. Getting packs with two different figures for both a medusa and the mind flayers was a great opportunity.

The actual product was slightly disappointing. I received five packs – a total of eight figures. I’m convinced that the promo images used to advertise/sell these images have either been – of production models used to create molds, greatly photo-shopped, and/or cleaned up of mold lines, etc, by an extremely talented person. Every figure had a lot of mold lines and/or flash to be trimmed or filed. This gets quite annoying when there’s a line running along two sides of every spider leg, along the long fingers of a mind flayer and on the snakes of the medusa’s hair. One of my mind flayers lost a finger while I tried to carefully cut out the “webbing” between his fingers. I haven’t been able to completely eradicate all the lines on some figures, but painting should hide a lot of that.

In the shot above, the male medusa has been cleaned up about as good as I can get him and had his face painted.

There’s no way I’m going to get the medusa snakes to resemble the painted images available, but thankfully after cleaning I’m happy with pretty much everything else about the figures. I’ve re-based most of them, since I don’t like the 1mm thick round plastic bases they come with. The level of detail is very high, if not as good as pictured, and one of my dwarf warriors might have been better if there wasn’t such a thick layer of primer on her face.

Ultimately – I’m looking forward to getting all these figures painted, and I will buy them again. I may think twice if the figure has any limbs or appendages that are long and thin.