Painting – The eyes have it!

All 26 of them! Yesterday I finished a bunch of Beholder-kin. All the figures here are WizKids Nolzurs/Deep Cuts.

I’d started with the pair of “Gazers” (or eyeballs) as they were both small and pretty simple. The size did mean a bit more care in painting, trying to get detail that is suggested by the sculpt. They don’t truly have an open mouth or teeth – just a depression. They came out better than I’d expected.

Next the Spectator – a smaller, lesser beholder with four small eyes, who is typically a neutral guardian. The gazers came in a pack with this guy. I started by cutting out his tongue, which I think makes the mouth more distinct and the bite look nastier. [/Begin rant/ Why a long tongue? It’s not like the tongue does anything, not even in 5th Edn which is where this sculpt comes from. Apart from being able to bite, it’s the eyes that are important! /End rant/] I didn’t care for the green colour of 5th Edn either, so the paint scheme was a basic mid-brown. I’m very pleased with this guy too.

Then the main beholder. Back when I painted the undead beholder, I decided I wanted a blue colour if I got hold of this figure. Purple seemed a good shading colour – done well by Scent of a Gamer. Cobalt blue as a base colour, then an Army Painter purple ink. I had planned to then start with a darker blue and lighten as I went, but the ink provided better shading than I’d expected. After drying, I got the ink out again to pick out lines and spots where it hadn’t settled in. Then I went back to my blue to touch up tentacles and scales, then steadily lightening it with some white in stages, to pick out edges and the spikier bits sticking out on the sides. The mouth was done with a ‘fushia’ and ‘native american’ flesh. (This dark red flesh makes a great colour for inside mouths on a lot of my figures.) Some brown ink around the mouth, teeth picked out in white and some more purple ink and blue to shade/highlight around that. I’d planned a yellow/orange eye, but saw a different beholder figure done with red-orange-yellow and somewhat mimicked that. The iris is actually cut into the eyeball on this figure, with lines/ridges sculpted into it. Trying to actually paint the markings there was very difficult, so I mostly ended up trying fine lines of yellow and orange to mimic the actual sculpting.

So that’s one busy week of very enjoyable painting! I also finished two wild boars last weekend, but hadn’t taken pictures at the time. They are simple figures (with a reasonable amount of detail) and I wasn’t planning on being fussy with them.

PS: To my players…. Yes, now that they are all painted, there’s a fair chance you’ll see these in Fals’Krag. You have already met a Gazer, I just didn’t know a figure existed at that time.

Nolzur’s Minis: Beauty is in the eye of…

I finished this Nozlur’s Marvelous Miniatures “Beholder Zombie” last week, but I wasn’t happy with the colour/lighting. Today photography has worked out better and I included a standard mini in one shot for scale. Mold lines weren’t much of a problem with this figure, and the pose and detail is great.

I bought this figure planning to paint it as a standard (ie living) beholder, and then while looking at images on-line I decided to stay with the undead version. Dr Faust’s Painting Clinic was my inspiration for this figure, although I went with a different colour scheme.


I had a lot of fun painting this figure. I don’t think I’ve put as much work into a single mini since I was painting the Zombicide BP Abominations. Being a large figure certainly makes things a bit easier. This (and the other Nolzur’s Beholder) come with replaceable eye-stalks (4 on this one) that are the same but with clear resin ‘spell effects’ protruding from the eyes. I’ve kept those for other projects and a little glue made sure the ‘normal’ eyes stayed in place. Since undead beholders are meant to have damaged and/or non-functioning eyes, I did a little extra damage to the figure.

Overall, I feel this is a great mini and I’m really happy with the final product. I also look forward to getting the other Nozlur’s beholder to work on now. Lastly, here’s some home-made beholders that I created a decade ago. They aren’t happy with the idea of being replaced!

Next project: Genestealers!

Q: When is a Beholder not a Beholder?

A: When Wizards of the Coast designates it “Product Identity”.

On Saturday night my gaming group got together to continue our Pathfinder D&D Campaign. Our characters had travelled into an area seeking a DracoLich’s phylactery. By the end of the night I think we’d forgotten why we were there. [Side note to Von if you’re reading: We have one woman playing – my wife. She runs a rather zealous Paladin and helps to keep us from getting sidetracked by rampant & irrelevant stupidity or Monty Python. She has also played WoW.]

The first main cave chamber turned out to hold cattle! A closer look was quite dangerous. One gorgon is fairly nasty – a very large metallic scaled bull that breathes a large cone of petrifying gas. We faced eight! I’m quite impressed that by the end of the combat, we only had two (out of 8 characters/NPC’s) that were statues.

My character is a Dwarf Cleric/Wizard/Mystic Theurge. He’s not known for his melee combat. (He might be known for his generosity, his drinking and total disdain for copper pieces.) He has 68 spells to cast each day, and then there are scrolls and wands. I like my wide range of offensive, defensive and miscellaneous magiks! I’m not happy if I can’t use them and even less so if I don’t understand why I can’t.

During the stampede of the Gorgons, the Warmage and I found many of our spells being cancelled. We also started getting attacked by spell effects from a source we couldn’t locate. Things like Charm, Slow, Stun and Disintegrate! In my long history of D&D, these are classic hallmarks of a Beholder, except that two of us were still flying, previously cast defensive spells were still operating and magical items appeared to be functioning normally. Also, a Beholder can’t use it’s eye rays in it’s own anti-magic field. The next thought was multiple invisible casters but I couldn’t see any of those either. (Before people think of lots of stupid responses – I can see invisible.)

DIGITAL CAMERAIt turns out that we were fighting Glaring Tyrants. These are Pathfinder’s answer to the Beholder – ten eyes that fire different ray spells and a large eye that issues a spell-casting disruption cone.(They initially were in an upper chamber, firing rays through a connecting hole.)

Why can’t we fight a “real” Beholder?

Because, because, because, because, because…

It’s the way that Wizard’s of the Coast has defined it’s SRD (System Reference Document) and OGL (Open Gaming License). A bunch of things like certain book names, the planes, and a bunch of monsters that include the beholder, displacer beast, githyanki, mind flayer, and umber hulk are all designated Product Identity and as such cannot be used, copied, modified, etc in Open Game Content. [Full list and legal info can be found on Wizards site, or by web search.]

Actually, we mix a heap of 3rd and 3.5 edition D&D stuff in with our Pathfinder anyway, and I don’t think our campaign/gaming sessions can be defined as bound by the OGL/SRD. (We did buy all the books too!) So a “real” beholder probably could enter our games, but it was a extremely memorable night and quite impressive of the DM to throw something new at us. (Thanks Orez!)