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!

Cheers!

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!

Terrain – An assortment of plants

For what is probably a few years now, I’ve had the idea of creating some terrain for the various games I play. While a lot of ruined walls and buildings are high on the list, I’ve been thinking of an assortment of different plants for tabletop use too.

My work involves a wide range of artificial plants and plant related products. I’ve been collecting “bits” that would normally be thrown out that I thought I could utilise for a long time. Unfortunately, it looks like I threw some bits out when we moved house, but I’m collecting again.

I did have a bunch of pieces that required minimal work to be table ready and yesterday decided to finally see what I could do. I’ve completed 14 individual specimens.

Each of these is plastic (or rubber) and is a single piece – I haven’t had to assemble or glue the ‘plant’ itself together at all. All the round bases are 25mm plastic slotta-bases, where I’ve filled the slot and made a slightly wider (than the slot) hole in the middle. I had a whole lot of “second-hand” flocked bases that repainted would do for rough ground or desert-like terrain once repainted.

The flock on the bases had been a mix of greens. I glued a little sand for added texture, then gave them all a splotchy brush over in burnt sienna and yellow ochre. I have a ‘Nubian Flesh’ which is very thick and awkward to use on skin. (When thinned to a good painting consistency it looses a lot of its colour) I realised today that thinned it makes a great replacement for my Army Painter Quickshade Dark Tone, and it’s a much cheaper alternative. Finally a hint more yellow ochre and flesh, dry brushed on bits of the base tops.

The largest two plants have a short “stem” with a wire rod through the centre, that was trimmed short enough to stick into a prepared base. The others have had their wire removed entirely leaving the stem long enough to push into the base holes. All have been glued into place firmly.

The tall cactus with the pink-purple flower on top have a bit of stem still visible (though not in these shots) on top of the base. When I was taking photographs I realised that I should have used a bit more glue on the bottom of the plant, and pushed it all the way down onto the base, then trimmed the ‘stem’ that stuck out the bottom of the base. It’s not worth the effort to break the seal and rework them now… but in future that’s what I’d do if I make more. The smaller cacti with the red flower have two sizes – I made up three of each.

The main idea for all these is for use in Gamma World, where in addition to terrain, they could also be Green Folk (mutated plants) NPC’s or “monsters”. They will work fine in fantasy or other sci-fi games too.

The last image here shows the plants with the PC’s in my Gamma World campaign.

I really want a few more of the larger ‘spiky’ plant – I think that looks really good. It’s also time that I bought or created a proper saguaro cactus to do my wife’s PC justice. The one in the pic (on the left) was created from a garden twig. I’m sure I can do a much better job now.

D&D vs Warhammer 40k

I completed three figures yesterday and got them varnished today. These have been quite enjoyable to paint.

Two Mimics and a Ultramarine Terminator…

The pair of Mimics are from ‘Nolzur’s Marvellous Miniatures’. Both had almost no mold lines, and are great figures with a fair amount of detail, particularly with the transformation from inanimate object to hungry shape-changer. I’ve wanted this pair since they came out in 2020. Most of the online stores that I get figures from (and a bunch of other places that tried to get them from) over the last 18 months or so have been out of stock. One or two places had them (like eBay), but I wasn’t going to pay what they were asking. Mid this year, I checked again, and finally found places with stock at normal prices. I love the finished pieces.

The Terminator (a veteran Space marine with rare and much heavier armour than usual) has been painted in Ultramarine colours. He’ll go into my Space Crusade game box for now, since that’s where the rest of my 40k figures originate. This figure was given to me by a mate. I think he got it with a GW magazine – possibly White Dwarf. It was a multipart figure that snapped together allowing you to move the arms separately and swivel the upper torso. He’s glued solidly together now.

Painting Battletech (Part 4)

Here’s the last two of four Iron Wind Metals BattleTech mechs. I finished them just over a week ago, but I’d been waiting for some warmer weather to be able to spray varnish and let them dry.

The Dola (on the left) is quite large and was rather fiddly to assemble. A complete rethink of the basing helped made it stand up properly and I feel looks really good. The sword it holds has a fine joint between hand and blade, and bends too easily. It would be easy to break off if care isn’t taken with handling. The Gurhka was a bit easier, but I would have spent more care positioning the legs at the time of gluing if I’d realised that early that it could end up bot being entirely vertical in stance. By the time I was basing it, and realised, I wasn’t going to pull it apart and try again.

The DOL-1A1 is an Inner Sphere mech used as a skirmisher, primarily by House Liao’s Capellan Confederation. As such I’ve gone with a colour scheme used by the Capellan dragoons. It mounts a pair of medium lasers in addition to the sword.

The Gurkha, also an Inner Sphere mech, was developed by the Word of Blake. The GUR-2G is fast with good armour. It has a four-laser hand, sword and particle projector cannon. (I presume the PPC is the chest mount.)

I’m very glad to have these all done and even happier with the way they all look now. Here’s a shot with all four together:

That almost completely clears my painting tray. Of the six figures remaing, I only want to paint two of them – a Warhammer terminator and a possible Drizzt figure. (Warrior with two scimitars) Two more are old skeletons that need paint removed before I could start on them, and that’s part of the reason I’m not enthusiastic about them. Then I have a metal two-part black orc shaman, and a bones priest. I have a non-bones prepainted plastic of the priest already, and the shaman doesn’t really fit with my other orcs.

Painting Battletech (Part 3)

Two of the four BattleTech mech’s are completed. I’ve been doing a little bit each evening during the week and thoroughly enjoyed painting these.

On the left is the Roadrunner RD-1R (also called an Emerald Harrier) and the right the Lament LMT-2R.

For those who may be interested:

The Roadrunner is a Clan Jade Falcon mech, 15 tons from the Late Succession War (2901-3019, and used up to 3058). It’s a fast, lightly armoured mech with two medium lasers.

The Lament is a heavy Inner Sphere mech, 65 ton created for the armed forces of the Republic of the Sphere about 3127. (Dark Age 3131-3150) Mostly used by regiments of Stone’s Brigade. This heavily armoured mech has a heavy particle projection cannon on each arm, and three medium lasers on the upper torso.

Painting Schemes:

I couldn’t find specific colours for the Jade Falcon Clan (and didn’t look too hard) but did find many other JF mech’s painted in dark green with yellow panels… worked for me!

The Lament is painted in Stone’s Brigade spec’s, specifically following that of the 52nd Shadow Division. I’m not a Battletech nut, so I’ve ignored the “fact” that this divisiion was mostly active about 50 years earlier. I like the colours! The figure had a distinct hole/dimple in the lower right leg. I tried filling this, but wasn’t entirely successful and decided to do it up as battle damage.

EDIT: Got my colour scheme and mechs confused. Shadow Division is actually ‘Word of Blake’ which should be the Gurkha. Stone’s Brigade has a bunch of designs (not red) that were possibly beyond my skill, but I still like the red and black I used.

Here’s an outside image taken which brings up the colours differently for some comparison.

If I had decals or much better freehand, it would be nice to add insignia on some of the panels, but I don’t… so this is it. Two done, two to go!

PS: Hope you like them my friend Asmodeus!

Painting BattleTech (Part 2)

BattleTech has been around in multiple forms since 1984. The closest I got to it myself was watching Robotech (and similar anime) and playing a little bit of the Robotech RPG (Palladium 1986).

These metal figures were produced by Iron Wind Metals in 2011-2015, though I noted the Gurkha actually had Ral Partha 2002 on the frame.

Separation and clean up was pretty easy. Lots of flash and a fair number of mold lines, that meant I spent a fair amount of time with clippers, knife and file.

The Roadrunner is the simplest of the lot, but the other three are exactly what I don’t like with multi-part figures. The only advantage I see in multi-part is if it allows alternate posing or positioning.

The Gurkha is 5 parts, and could have been two. (I would think the arm with the sword is good being separate)There’s really only one way to put it together without bending the metal.

The Lament is 8 parts and the feet should have been part of the legs. You can, at least, swivel this at the waist, and with careful filing possibly tilt the arms.

The Dola mech is the best and worst simultaneously. 8 parts, almost all with ball and socket joints, do allow some potential for posing, but making sure it all stays together and can still stand upright is going to be… interesting!

Two of the figures had no bases, and I’m not using the two small thin bases that were supplied. I was thrilled to find some good sized metal hexagonal bases (and a round one that’s had some filing) in my stuff to better suit the size and weight of all this pewter!

Left to Right: Dola, Gurkha, Roadrunner, Lament. From assembled but unpainted, through varying degrees of painting.

Making sure that legs line up in three dimensions has been harder than I’d expected. I’d been mostly concerned with gluing the legs “straight” and having the mech stand properly on the base. What I hadn’t considered was doing this and having the rest of the body in a balanced looking position.

The Lament intentionally leans slightly to one side because I positioned it with one leg slightly raised as if stepping forward. The Gurkha has legs cast in different positions and he ended up with the feet somewhat closer together than they should have been giving him a bit of an unintentional lean. (I’d done him first and once I realised this, didn’t want to break or dissolve the bond to try repositioning) The Dola was last, and all looked good until I realised the arms when joined to the rear of the broad flattened torso, would make it look like it was leaning back. It is sculpted to be stepping forward, which isn’t as bad as if it was meant to be standing upright. Not the effect I wanted, but only distinct from a side/rear profile. My image from the net has the torso at a steep forward angle that I didn’t like, and this is likely the reason why that was done. I’m going to re-do the base with a slant that he’s walking down. I’ve got some nice pieces of slate that need trimming and filing/cutting.

Painting Battletech

I haven’t really had the interest to paint much this year… the summer heat, the distraction of reading, computer games, and writing role-playing stuff have all been factors. My tray of stuff to paint has been nine figures (four of them daemonettes I’d prefer to sell or give away) for months and aren’t inspiring me.

On Friday I had lunch with a friend who gave me four Battletech mechs to assemble and paint. These are quite different from my usual figures, but are interesting enough to keep my attention for a while.

These are a Gurkha GUR-2G, a Dola Mech, a Lament LMT-2R and a Roadrunner RD-1R. The first three are Inner Sphere mechs, and the last a Clan mech, all from slightly different Era’s – Jihad, Civil War, Dark Age & Late Succession War. That all means very little to me, but I’ve only started my research so that I know both what I’m painting, and how typical colour schemes should look like.

All are metal figures produced by Iron Wind Metals. Finally some painting to look forward to!

 

 

 

 

Tabletop Games for the “holidays”.

Not much painting over the last few weeks. Lots of writing, reading and playing board games!

My work has only been closed on public holidays, but that’s still given me two long weekends with chances to catch up with friends and do stuff at home. My wife and I spent one week playing Kingdom Builder (2011+), and another playing Alhambra (2003+). Both of these are great games where its hard to be sure of who’s winning till the end, and every game plays very differently. Sadly to say, when it’s just the two of us, she wins about 3 of 4 games! When we have played these with 3+ players, wins are more evenly distributed.

For the New Years weekend I dug up some of my older board games: RISK Lord of the Rings (2003, Trilogy addition), The Lonely Mountain (1984) and Talisman (1985, 2nd Edn). I think she’s played Talisman with a larger group of us once before, but not the others.

We set up RISK yesterday and ran one long game. Long, because I’d completely forgotten all the rules and so both of us were learning. Turns mostly became a case of each of us assembling one or two concentrations of forces and claimed a lot of territory, then losing parts of it when the other player did the same thing. Our biggest mistake was not defending some areas enough and over-extending our forces in attacks. My wife got a slight advantage in territories (individual areas) early on, and then regions (a group of territories) which gave her more reinforcements. I realised about halfway through that I wasn’t likely to fight my way back.

This shows the board after seven turns at the main turning point. My wife (Yellow) has reinforced her troops and is about to sweep straight down through Rhovian (yellow area on right) and take 1/2 of Mordor. With only minor reinforcements for me (and lots for her) from here on, the game only lasted about four more turns.

We swapped sides for another game today, and had a very similar game. I only held her off in Eastern Gondor for an extra turn before being wiped out.

This is quite fun, with the LotR cards adding movie stuff into the game to give bonus reinforcements, or affect battles, and scoring. I’m hoping for a three player game next weekend, which should be very different. Tonight we play Talisman.

There are 400+ figures for the game, which is far too many to paint. They are also smaller than my usual 25-30mm figures, and not so detailed. I did decide to paint the shield tokens – each represents a leader. (Gives bonus to a dice roll.) Elven shields for the good armies, and orc shields for the evil armies. All were single colour plastic tokens, that will stand out a lot more on the board now that they are painted. It was easy to miss the detail on the front (particularly on the elf shields) when they were plain colours.

More Undead

Three more undead completed yesterday. These are all Citadel metal figures – Wraith, Ghost and Zombie.

Wraith, 1985 C18 (66) from ‘Night Horrors’; “Spirit 3” of the 1999/2000 Spirit Host (Vampire Counts) and  Zombie, 1988/89 130608 “Kand-Meet”.

The wraith is a typical “death” figure but would (I feel) have benefited from either holding a sword or scythe rather than the over-size sickle. I do like the absence of hands, feet and head. Painting was very straight forward being a mid-grey with black shading and then lighter gray highlight. This goes in a slotta-base very nicely, so that only a bit of robes actually seems to be in contact with the ground. I should have glued it to its final base much earlier – painting while it was held in its old base with ‘tack wasn’t balanced or steady.

The “Spirit”, which I’ve always termed a ghost was a gift from a friend who’d bought the full 3 figure spirit host. My web-search to identify the figure brought up Azazel’s painting of these and I used his painting as inspiration – just a bit more green! Also fairly simple to paint. I went for some lighting on the base (as if the spirit glows) which didn’t come out quite like I wanted but it’ll do!

The zombie took the most work since he’s fairly detailed. The plastic shield may or may not be the one I originally bought him with, but it had a depression for the nub on his arm and fitted perfectly. The armor is marked and has holes and rents, so I did the same for the shield. I thought some battered heraldry would also suit.

I dug up three metal and four plastic Daemonettes of Slaanesh for my painting tray earlier in the month. The metal ones probably got a bit of use for Warhammer Quest a decade ago. I had 8-10 plastic given to me back then that I assembled, and then sold most of on eBay. I rather doubt I’ll ever use them… ended up selling the three metal ones on Gumtree, and I’m down to the last four plastics. I may try eBay for these, or end up painting them. It’s time to dig through my figure boxes and see what isn’t painted… I know there’s still a few adventurers, and a bunch of Citadel Beastmen.