The good, the bad, and the not-so ugly…

I recently bought a second group of WizKids Nolzur’s/Deep Cuts Miniatures. I think they are getting better! My complaints the first time around were about mold lines and obscured fine detail. The detail has generally been very good, but something like a medusa’s snake hair with mold lines is ridiculous. Cleaning up the mold lines is fairly easy, but not when you risk damaging some feature of the figure. The mold lines on this set are mostly in places that are easy to clean up without messing up detail. On the cage and pillars, they are all on corners. Once I’d cleaned them up I wanted to start painting…

Azazel painted a Deep Cuts cage a while back, which sent me looking at the new range. I’ve wanted a cage like that for a long time, and now I have one, plus a bunch of pillars, two air elementals and two Yuan-ti malisons (snake men). I should have bought two cages, one to look shiny and another rusted. (Maybe next order?) I got one other figure that isn’t in the shot above. Considering that my players aren’t likely to see it in use for at least another 2 months, it probably isn’t worth keeping it a secret. When it’s painted, I’ll want to post it anyway! The pillars are a set of four, a broken pillar, and four banners that socket into the standing pillars. I can’t see myself using the banners, so I’ve filled the hole in each pillar. If I change my mind it will be easy to blue-tack a banner on when I want it. The snake men will be a great addition to my two reaper snake men, and I’ll paint the snake parts with the same colour scheme.

One of the snake men surprises me. It’s got great detail with the scales, but its a five part figure stuck together; torso, two arms, and a two part tail. I don’t think I’ve seen more than two pieces to other Nolzurs figures. It’s a pity there’s a mold line right along the tail, but it doesn’t marr the scale effect much. I’m more concerned that the joins aren’t the best, but a little filing, filling and paint should cover those up. I’m very happy that the mold line across the head goes from side to side (not through his face) and that he has no hair. The lighting on the pic is a bit bright, but it does make the gaps more obvious.


Coronavirus and lock-downs haven’t had any direct effect on me up to this point, except that my D&D group hasn’t been getting together. I’ve still been going in to work every day while two-thirds of the staff work from home. The newest lock-down here in Victoria (Australia) has had an unexpected effect of making something I was going to be doing next week much more complicated and now I’ll be spending nearly all next week at home. Since I can only do a small part of my normal job at home, I’ll have more time to write and paint. These figure arrived in perfect timing in a sense. I really want to paint these (and finish the last few Star Wars minis) and I have time to do so!

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.