Painting: A few more adventurers…

I finished these three a while ago and I’d have two dwarves done as well if I hadn’t spent most of the last week with an annoying cold. I’ve spent most of my time reading or watching TV, or simply going to bed early. I’m determined to get the dwarves completed this weekend!


Wizard, Sorceress, Barbarian

These three figures are all from very different sources.

  1. Citadel Wizard – Plastic figure from Warhammer Quest. I finished the elf and barbarian from the same set two months ago, having done the dwarf warrior nearly three years ago! I wanted bright colours for this mini and had a lot of fun painting it. The staff originally had a very large ornate top with “wings” that I thought was way over the top, so I cut it back to something much simpler.
  2. Reaper Bones – “Juliette, Female Wizard”. This was my first ever bones figure and I’m happy to do a few more after this. I’ve seen other paints of this figure and if I have some time, a very fine brush and a steady hand I’ll come back and do some touch ups to bring out the vest/belts detail more. By the looks of things there is slightly better detail on the metal version of this figure. My figure also suffers slightly from a not well shaped hand (extended) and a face that’s not smoothly formed – apparently common problems to this miniature. The hand once painted looks okay, and with a knife and file I was able to smooth out the face a little – at least the fault isn’t obvious unless you hold the figure up close.
  3. Barbarian – I don’t recall the manufacturer of this metal figure. I’ve had it for a very long time. It’s a nice pose and reasonable detail. The figure is a bit smaller/thinner than the majority of my figures, so he looks like a “young” male, rather than the typical brawny adult.


Rear view


Coming soon… my two Citadel Warhammer dwarves… mostly weapons and jewellery to be finished.

Back to the Blog

It’s been nearly three months since I posted anything! I’ve been busy on an assortment of things but just haven’t got around to posting any details. Here’s a summary of what’s kept me busy in my spare time and I’ll follow this up with more detailed posts on each subject.

  1. My custom-made d20 Gamma World got a play-test session that went very well. I then spent probably two weeks adding the d20 Modern Classes in, and expanding my feats and class abilities. I’d previously adapted two of the Modern classes to fill gaps that my four base classes (from WotC/Sword & Sorcerys d20 version) didn’t cover, but I’ve now scrapped those two in favour of the whole six base modern classes. This also meant reworking the original four. That’s all pretty much done now. I’m impatient to move on to mutations.
  2. My 3.5 D&D campaign has moved on following the dramatic conclusion to the Giants – Demonweb saga. I’d picked out two adventures from old Dungeon magazines and reworked them to suit the current party level. This also gave me the idea for two short adventures to start the party off in the right direction. We’ve played four session now I think and they are halfway through the main Dungeon adventure.  The aftermath of the giant invasion of Sterich has meant that most of the patrols and troops around Keoland are reduced in size and frequency and this has led to greater numbers of thieves and bandits preying on merchants and travellers. The party has been travelling around the southern border of Keoland trying to draw attacks, as well as escorting a fake merchant caravan.
  3. Zombicide – Black Plague: I received my Knights Pledge and Wulfsburg packs at the beginning of July. After six months of irregular games with only six survivors it was fantastic to suddenly have fifty to choose from. I have close to 200 figures now! My wife has been really enjoying this and in the last three weeks we have gone through the second half of the original quests and most of the Wulfsburg ones. I really want to finish painting the figures on my desk and get onto painting necromancers and abominations!
  4. Miniature painting: I’ve had ten figures on my desk since February. I’ve now completed four and done more with the rest.

I’ve been reading a lot, watched a few movies and played some of my usual online games. The ‘Legion’ invasion prelude for World of Warcraft got a bit of attention over the last month, but now that Legion has launched I don’t see myself doing much on WoW until Christmas. I’m always at least one release behind and I only play seriously (paying for a months subscription) once or twice a year. Most of what I was busy with last time was Cataclysm/Pandaria related.

Here’s my most recently completed miniatures. These are all Citadel figures, collected when I was playing Warhammer Quest. The Orc was very overdue to be finished – he was originally undercoated and had his armour mostly done 18 months ago! I should do a little bit more with the Elf – ink on the cloak brought out the edges, but should be cleaned up slightly.


Citadel Black Orc and Halfling Thief


Orc and Halfling – Rear View



Elf and Barbarian – Front


Elf and Barbarian – Rear

Painting – An assortment of figures

Over the last two weeks I’ve been doing some painting, mostly in between battles in ‘World of Tanks’ of an evening.

I’ve got ten figures that have all been re-based and I’m steadily working my way through painting them. Mostly I’ve picked a colour and used it on a few figures, and occasionally focussed on one figure. They are mostly Citadel figures – predominately Warhammer and Hero Quest. I’m painting my first Reaper Bones figure here too! Four metal, six plastic. Most are general adventurers/heroes, but there are two that stand out – one Orc (a Black Orc Lord/Chief from Warhammer) and a ‘Snotling Team’. This pair of snotlings isn’t an available figure… I took two small humanoids (presumably snotlings) that were extras from something else I had (Citadel Warhammer), cut them free from whatever else they were with and stuck them together on a base. This was done a few years ago for a friend who decided to play the Snotling Team in one of our Hero Quest games – based on a fan constructed Hero class. They may never actually be used again, but I’d like to have them painted!


This group is nearly the last of my unpainted heroes/adventurers. Future projects? I have a set of Dungeon Quest heroes (I think its a dozen) that I’d like to paint at some time.  I’d like to move onto some of my Orc/Goblin/Skaven leaders, and I’ve also plans to paint the survivors for Zombicide: Black Plague.

Prepainted Mini’s – Repaint and conversion

Recently I obtained a Paizo prepainted mini – their Snake Demon (or Marilith). The actual figure looked better than most images I’d seen, but one thing that had bothered me was the sword blades. Two bright green, one yellow, one black, two silver/grey? They all look the same – except where some have bent slightly. I thought I’d repaint them.

The figure is impressive in size and it’s a nice sculpt and pose. The image doesn’t show the colours for the body accurately – it was actually silver with dark blue detail on the back of the tail. I wasn’t greatly taken on the pale purple hair and the more I looked at it, the more I decided to change. I’ve done a complete repaint to something closer to the early 1st-2nd edition D&D images of a Marilith – pale flesh, green body, red-brown hair. I added yellow highlight to the upper snake tail scales and kept with the dark blue inlay on the rear scales. The sword got different metallics for the hilts and gunmetal on blades. For some subtle variety, one blade got a touch of silver, one gold, and the others coloured ink.


I spent time yesterday converting my annoying Gnoll figure – the one wrapped up in his flail. I’ve wanted to do this for a very long time and it ended up being fairly easy to cut away the flail head and chain and trim/file the body to cover up the alternation. I turned up what looked like a bell on the end of a piece of chain and with a little filing, I had a flail head and chain to attach to the handle the gnoll holds. This took a little mucking around to get the chain end to slot into the handle – I don’t want it to break the first time someone drops the figure! Glue, and later some careful repainting of the addition and back of the gnoll. I think I’ve done a good enough job that you wouldn’t know I made changes unless you were already familiar with the figure.

Here’s both the original pictures and then the altered figure:


2016-02-07 Gnoll

Painting: Goblins at last!

My last set of Citadel “Lord of the Rings” figures has been completed! Back in the middle of last year I started to clean these six figures in preparation for a complete repaint. They didn’t get much further than that until last week.


“Orcs of the Red Eye” and “Snagga: Goblins”

They will primarily be used in D&D games so I wanted to change their skin tones from green (Warhammer influence back when I first started painting) to a yellow/orange more in keeping with D&D goblins. They were in such poor shape that repainting them entire seemed better than touch-ups. The three on the left are “Orcs” and the three to the right are “Goblins”. Two of the “orcs” have slightly thinner bodies, and the “goblins” seem to show more teeth. Apart from that, size, clothes/gear are all alike, and they are obviously sculpted in the same style. If I didn’t have a visual reference for the original sets, I’d never pick which were from which set.


Rear view

Their skin colour is oriental flesh which came out well after a second coat and some brown ink at the end. Their chainmail is antique copper and clothes mostly in browns, greens and a touch of red. Weapons, helmets and (metal) shields mostly gunmetal and black ink. I tried bright bronze on a small shield and a helmet. The shield has been dulled to suggest wear and the helmet looked so out of place it was redone with silver and then also dulled down. Two of the “orcs” have small eyes (of Sauron) on the front of their helms and the third (left-most archer) has an eye-outline marked on his shield – half covered by his cloak and not very visible in my photo. I found a “eye” decal in my warhammer bits and a touch of red paint on that has made a nice shield decoration for one of the sword weilders, in keeping with their LotR origin.


“Capture those hobbits!”

I’ll use them as elite goblins for D&D – they are a bit small for orcs. They are slightly bigger and bulkier than a typical WH goblin and a little smaller than a WH orc. Here’s a size comparison. An orc and a goblin from Warhammer, one of my Citadel “goblins”, and Frodo and Boromir from the same range.


That’s all of my Citadel LotR collection painted, except for one piece. When I first posted my idea to work through them all, I didn’t know what to do with Sauron’s throne. Azazel gave me some suggestions, then stated “Damn. I want to paint it myself now.” So gave it to him. Considering how much he complains about what is already on his painting desk, this was probably a mistake – so I think it’s time I got it back. With his suggestions and a site I found on painting marble effects, I should come up with something worthwhile.

Miniatures in Dungeons & Dragons, and not meeting expectations

Way back in High School, when I first started playing Dungeons & Dragons, I loved most of the fantasy figures that I saw and was pleased to be able to collect a few. I had figures for all the characters in my main campaign during University, but they weren’t used for much more than decoration, or with tokens in a few major adventure finales. Speed, position and things like flanking weren’t important in early editions.

It wasn’t until 3rd edition and d20 that my D&D games went much beyond drawing a general map for the players to show where they were going. I started using altered copies of the DM maps (easy access to printers and photocopiers never hurt) and marked pins to aid our games. Then about 2008, I discovered the Wizards of the Coast range of minis and started making card floor plans and collecting figures. I’d already been into Warhammer Quest in a big way and had plenty of figures for that, so I already had a good set of basic humanoid monsters and some undead to use as well.

I now have over 500 monster figures – that’s not counting PC or NPC figures. They are primarily Wizards (some Paizo/WizKids) plastics and whatever figures I’d previously collected from various sources. Some of my early figures look great, but weren’t to any proper scale. The best thing about the Wizards DDM figures to me was scale – both a specific base size (1″ = medium, 2″ = large, etc) and a figure height that was mostly accurate to the creature descriptions in rule books. Occasionally a mini doesn’t come with a great paint job, but if it really bothers me then I can touch up the figure or repaint it.

With so many years of producing minis (2003-2011 for the original DDM) it is such a disappointment when a mini comes out that just doesn’t look right for some reason.

  1. Here’s a lesser example: the Celestial Giant Owl from Unhallowed.

Giant Owl 2


This figure has outstanding detail and comes on a 2″ large base. I have a blog post before when I said I didn’t actually expect the Owl to be this large. My problem with this figure is that it’s mounted on a very short post. The stock image used all over the internet (above) looks nice, but on my figure the owl’s tail hit the base and pushed the whole figure forward. There was no way my mini was going to “stand” straight without clipping the tail feathers and trying to straighten the column. I solved this by cutting off the base and column, drilling a small hole and fixing a metal rod to the owl and a new base. (The thread on the rod is obvious in the photo but not so obvious when looking at the mini on a table/shelf.) My owl is now tilted slightly forward and much higher off the ground which I think looks so much better!


Celestial Giant Owl v2

2. Large Blue Dragon, Deathknell.

Blue Dragon 3

This is meant to be a “large” dragon, which means a 2″ (50mm) base. The size of the figure itself is correct and I like the sculpt and colours. For some strange reason, this mini is produced on a 40mm base. It makes the dragon look a bit bigger – until you put it next to something else, but why the smaller base?? Every other large figure I’ve bought is on the proper 2″ base! This has bothered me since I bought the mini – I’m slightly OCD. Over my January break I took the large base from the Giant Owl and glued the two together, then added some more rocks, sand, etc and repainted it. I could still tidy it up a little before varnish. Like my Dracolich, I think the larger base with extra detail is a great improvement over the original.


3. Gnoll Sergeant, Giants of Legend.

Worst saved for last! I have two other Gnoll minis (in multiples) and this sole figure was bought to add some variety and be a leader for the others. I’ve laughed over it many times and since my group use Paizo’s gamemastery cards for criticals and fumble, I maintain that this Gnoll has just fumbled his flail attack. It’s a nice sculpt, colours are okay, but the chain of his flail goes over the shoulder, flat across his back and takes a right angle to stick out at his waist. WtF? What happened to quality control? Surely this isn’t the approved concept that went to the factory for production!



One of my next projects is likely to be this guy. I want to cut off the chain and flail head, and either give him an entirely new weapon, or attach a new chain to the haft and flail head and let that hang loose or glue it in an arc over the shoulder.



Touching up some prepainted figures.

I’m slowly getting back to some painting… this weekend I finished the last of a number of pre-painted miniatures that have been sitting on my desk that needed some extra work.

Rear (L-R): Earth elemental, Horned demon, Earth elemental; Front: Berbalang, Red Hand war sorcerers.

At the back are two Earth Elementals (Wizards) that I’ve mentioned before. They have a distinct gap across the back from joining two parts that has now been neatly filled and is probably only going to be recognised now if you are specifically looking for it. They both got a little extra grey and light brown paint and then some ink to bring out the protrusions. The Horned Demon (Paizo) is a new addition that will stand in for an Occulus Demon in my Demonweb campaign. He got some ink to bring out the detail on the horns and a little bit of white on his teeth. The Berbalang (Paizo) is a much nicer and more detailed sculpt than the Wizards original (which I’m now glad I never bought). He got some dark green on the wings to make them stand out a little – the change isn’t so obvious from the picture. I also cut out his large protruding black tongue. He now looks like he’s speaking or going to bite someone. I think this looks much better! I don’t have a use for this figure now, but he’ll be a great stand in for any winged humanoid/demon/devil.

The “Red Hand War Sorcerer’s” (Wizards) I got recently at a very low price. I’m always happy to add a few more figures to my groups of humanoids – hobgoblins in this case. These figures have a nice pose, and great detail on their robes. It’s such a pity that the figure comes with dark grey robes, with the only other colour being a silver belt and the red “hand”. One had some blue and bright bronze added, while the other got light grey and red.

Painting – Horse bones with eyes aplenty.

No soft white plastic here! This metal Citadel figure is the mount for my Mouth of Sauron figure that I painted quite a while back. This is a great, well detailed miniature that really deserved the work that I’ve put into it over the last two weeks. I’ve also been watching a lot of Grimm (Season Four), and producing floor plans for D&D (final stage of Expedition to the Demonweb Pits).

Yellow Ochre for a base colour all over, then some careful white paint over the bones. AP ink (Strong tone) over that to darken the gaps, holes, lines, etc… then white again, with a touch of flesh in some spots, and another run of ink. More white highlighting, and a bit of black paint in the eye sockets. Burnt Sienna on the reins with black ink (AP Dark Tone) to detail the eyes on those. A light grey (Field Stone) on the hooves, followed by black ink.

The horse got re-based about this stage – glued to a 40mm round base, then some moulding paste, sand and a couple of small stones. Once dry, painted mostly with Burnt Sienna, and touches of Hull Red and black. A little brown ink to make sure the gaps were “filled in”.

I wasn’t sure what to do with the barding, and I’d initially painted all of that black. I went over it later with a dark grey, then (as I started to have some ideas) used AP Green Tone ink and a hint of silver. This gave me a nice dark metallic green look to the armour. Some black ink shaped the eyes and I wasn’t sure about colouring them like I’d done on the Mouth of Sauron. Then I decided to try gold instead of yellow – found an Antique Gold that came up nicely, then a bit of crimson in the middle of the eye. Black ink over that has filled the lines and makes the eyes stand out a little more than otherwise.

The weather was great this morning, so as well as putting out washing to dry, I was able to take the horse out for a coat of spray varnish. You may look at the pictures and wonder what is going on with the horse’s tail – after curving down to the back legs, it widens a little and ends in a barb or sting just between the rear hooves.

One finished horse

Tonight (after a few more episodes of Grimm), I should be back to the goblins and orcs (that are my remaining creatures in the Lord of the Rings figures to paint) in between a game of Talisman!

From the other side


Not quite eyes in the back of the head…

Painting – Frodo, Frodo, Allies and Enemies!

“If you must know more, his name is Beorn. He is very strong, and he is a skin-changer. He changes his skin: sometimes he is a huge black bear, sometimes he is a great strong black-haired man with huge arms and a great beard. I cannot tell you much more, though that ought to be enough.”

– Gandalf, from “Queer Lodgings” in The Hobbit, J.R.R. Tolkien.

Lord of the Rings – Frodo, Frodo, Beorn, Beorn and only one Troll.

I didn’t check the book before painting any of these. Most (if not all) of my Lord of the Rings figures are likely to be used as non-specific heroes and not as the characters that they are meant to portray. I painted Beorn’s bear form in dark brown without considering other colours. I can get more visible “texture” to show the detail on the figure with a range of browns. I can’t do this with black, although I’m sure other painters can use highlighting to bring out the fur. I probably would have done the man-form with black hair, but I’m not going to repaint it now.

Both hobbits are Frodo. The one holding the One Ring and wearing a mithril shirt, is the more distinct Frodo figure, although I feel this is more like my idea of Bilbo than Frodo. The other is a more general hobbit figure (more like Sam), although I really like the hair on the bare feet!

I’ve been very impressed by the (Angmar) “Troll with Cleaver”. I really like the figure – nice pose, clean moulding and good detail, although I think the face could have been done a little better. I’m watching out for the second Angmar Troll (with morning star) from this series now – I’d love to have the pair of them! Most of my figures are used for D&D games, and I’m looking forward to using this one as an “enlarged” Orc (or half-Orc), or as a half-Ogre. (Does anyone remember Ogrillons?)

I had all of these finished last weekend – but Melbourne has been so cold and damp that I wasn’t going to spray them. Today is cool, but sunny and so they were out and spray varnished this morning.

I’ve nearly finished the skeletal horse – I’m hoping to base it this afternoon – but probably won’t get final details done as I’m expecting a bunch of friends over in a couple of hours to play D&D/Pathfinder!

Painting – An “old” set of Adventurers

“Ten” Adventurers:

These miniatures are some of the first I ever purchased, all metal. The bulk of them can be easily dated to 1985 and most of them would have been painted in the following five years. Being done so long ago and not varnished, they have all required substantial repainting to bring them up to my current standard of figures. Most I have kept very close to the original colour scheme. The assassin still has a broken dagger that I’ll do some repair work with – I’m sure I can find a blade in my “bits” that can be reworked.

Ten Adventurers

  • Citadel “Talisman” (1985)
  • 1: Druid
  • 2: Assassin
  • Citadel “Lord of the Rings” (1985)
  • 3: ME-1 Aragorn (Fellowship Heroes pack 1)
  • 4: ME-1 Gandalf (Fellowship Heroes pack 1)
  • 5: ME-2 Legolas (Fellowship Heroes pack 2)
  • 6: ME-62 Saruman the White
  • Prince August “Fantasy Armies – Characters
  • 7: CH4 Hooded Thief/Assassin
  • 8: CH9 Armoured Cleric
  • 9: CH12 Druid
  • 10: CH26B Elf Girl

Citadel “Talisman figures” – Druid and Assassin

Druid and Assassin – rear view

My Lord of the Ring’s figures were never intended (or expected) to be used as LotR characters – so painting schemes went with whatever I felt like at the time. Aragorn and particularly Legolas (more than the other two), have seen regular use in my D&D games.

Aragorn and Legolas

Rear View

My “Saruman” is simply intended as a general wizard and the contrast between the black and yellow appealed to me. I did paint my “Gandalf” figure just as he is first described in The Hobbit (p15) – “He had a tall pointed blue hat, a long grey cloak … and immense black boots.” I wanted more variety than different shades of grey – so his robe is white, but “dirty” or travel worn. I continued the blue onto belt and under-tunic. I suppose I’ve got a transition between Gandalf the “Grey” and the “White”. I love the pipe tucked into the hat. Army Painter dark tone really picked out the beard/hair detail.

Gandalf (the Grey) and Saruman (the "White")

Gandalf (the Grey) and Saruman (the “White”)

The Wizards

I really like the sculpts for the Prince August figures. They have good poses and plenty of detail. They are well moulded too – almost no visible mould lines, and I don’t remember ever cleaning off flash or over-cast. They all came as a one-piece metal figure on an oval base, but have now been glued to 25mm rounds.

Thief in studded leather and Cleric in full plate mail.

Rear view

The “Elf Girl” came in a pack of 3 Poses – sleeping, standing, fighting. I had originally painted these as “Silvara” – the Silver Dragon/Kargonesti Elf from the Dragonlance Saga (insert from “Dragons of Mystery”, Larry Elmore) because the figure matched the images I’ve got in “The Art of the Dragonlance Saga”. (Although I did the fighting pose in blue, not red.) I gave the standing figure to a friend, and kept the others. I’ve repainted the hair this time, and the blue clothing to purple. Of the two figures I have, only the sleeping figure shows a pointed ear – otherwise there is nothing that distinguishes the figure as elven.

Druid and Silvara

Druid and Silvara

I find great interest in this figure because I’m not aware that Prince August had a license for Dragonlance at any time. Ral Partha produced a large Dragonlance range for TSR, and it looks like TSR produced some themselves. I have two A4 colour reprints of Larry Elmores paintings (Art of the DL) as well as sketches. The only feature my figure shows that isn’t in the artwork are the dagger and sword!