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!

A return to painting & hobby plans

The house move is done, and we are pretty much set up and settled in. There continue to be little things that need to be fixed up in and outside the house, and a few things we’ll probably move around until we are happier. The old house is finally on the market to sell. If all goes well next month, I may treat myself to a new board game, and/or some more miniatures (if I see something I really want).

From the hobby perspective, I’ve been finding time to read, think about RPG’s, play some games and in the last week – paint!

In terms of figure painting, 2022 has been the worst for figures completed since I re-started painting in 2013. The figures I’m currently working on will more than double this years output. There are good reasons that contributed to this – Covid, planning to move & moving house, more writing RPG material earlier in the year than playing RPG’s or painting, and so on. I’ve also painted the majority of my figure collection now, so unless I either buy more figures (which I’d prefer not to do) or push to complete the remainder of unpainted ones, painting will remain less.

This isn’t a bad thing… after spending a lot of time on painting Zombicide: Black Plague (2016-2017, and really enjoying it) I considered a target of 100 figures a year to be something worthwhile. I got to 93 in 2017, but I’ve only averaged 70 a year over the previous 5 years, not looking at 2022. When I paint sets of figures (Zombicide, all my Orcs / Skaven / Star Wars, or some board game figures, etc) I tend to have a greater output, and I’d say I enjoyed it more. All in all, I was considering that a target of 50 would be more likely, but I think I’m better off not setting a target at all and being happy with whatever I achieve.

So… I would like to complete the GW Beastmen I have that aren’t painted (about a dozen), and dig through my figure boxes to see what else is left. I’m also thinking of making some terrain. I’d be starting with some plants for Gamma World, that might also be useful for a fantasy setting, and considering some walls and ruined buildings. Early next year I should have the Witcher Board Game (Kickstarter by ‘Go on Board’) arrive with some miniatures that I’m looking forward to painting. I have a lot more RPG writing to complete too. More than that, who knows! I’ll see what happens!

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.

Star Wars painting finished!

It’s taken me three years to finally have all of my Star Wars boxed figure sets painted. (3 boxes of 10) I started with Stormtroopers back in June 2017. Of course, I’ve owned these figures for just over thirty years! This weekend I decided to just get the last few finished, regardless of anything else happening. They have been on my desk/painting tray for way too long.

From the 1988/89 25mm figure sets released by West End Games (sculpted and cast by Grenadier) here are:

SW25 Zardra (Bounty Hunter from ‘Tatooine Manhunt’ adventure)

SW28 Boushh (Leia in disguise from ‘Return of the Jedi’)

SW29 Rebel Merc

SW80 Kid

and…. I have absolutely no idea who the male with a blaster is. He’s not actually meant to be in any of my boxed sets! His base says Ral Parth 1988. He fits in perfectly with all my Star Wars figures and I hadn’t realised until today he wasn’t one. I guess someone gave him to me at some point. My best guess is shadowrun. If anyone has an idea, I’d like to know!

EDIT: A friend helped find him! #20-963 Battletech, Dropship Crewman – Marik.

Most of these sat around because I didn’t have an idea of how to paint them. Boushh was easy and finished back in July, but I couldn’t come up with a colour scheme for the others. In the end I went with simple stuff and haven’t fussed about detail. They aren’t aliens, and if they are used in any of my games it’s likely to be as NPCs standing around in the background. So, no fuss, no highlighting, no eye detail, done. I did enjoy doing the female rebel merc, once I decided to paint her in camouflage. Hers is the only figure I spent a lot of time on.

This leaves seven figures on my tray, but I expect to double that once something arrives in the mail this week. This will also mean the tray is full of stuff I want to paint.

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.



Painting – Owls

For most of this year I’ve been looking out for an owl miniature to represent “Summer”, the owl companion of my wife’s hunter (a druid-ranger hybrid) in my Pathfinder campaign. Last month I noticed an “owl basing kit” on one of the website of one of my usual gaming suppliers. I got four owls from this, two of which are perfect for gaming. The remaining two owls are even smaller than the ones I’ve painted, so may never use them.

My wife wanted a bright coloured owl and I like to copy real life with my animal miniatures, so I used a picture of a great horned owl as my main reference.

2019-05-12 Owls-3

The larger owl has the feather tufts of the horned owl, and while the small owl doesn’t have them I’ve used the same paint scheme.

2019-05-12 Owls-1

White undercoat and brown ink to start, then a light yellow ochre over most of the body. More browns followed, each darker – burnt sienna, “expresso”, and burnt umber with some spots of black. White around the eyes, orange, then black pupils. The mottled effect on the feathers is better than I’d expected to get. Since I took photo’s I’ve also gone back and spotted a few dots of white down the neck/breast feathers.

2019-05-12 Owls-2

The larger owl is on a 25mm base. The actual figure from the kit is just the owl on the book – the rest I built to support it. I regret not getting the column flat on top, but I noticed that after everything was glued and I didn’t want to risk damaging anything pulling them apart. Thankfully its not so obvious just looking at the figure. For the flying owl, I’ve taken a stand from a Warhammer Quest giant bat. As it happens the giant bat has been a ‘stand in’ for the owl for quite some time. It’s really nice to have a proper figure for Summer on the board – this owl has a reputation in the game as much as any player character, which started in an early session where the owl took down a fleeing goblin all by itself.

The ‘owl basing kit’ came from HQ Resin.  I’d never heard of them before, but they have some very interesting pieces “for modelers and wargamers, who create stunning dioramas and wargaming tables. Ideal for use with 28mm-32mm scale models.” They have a varied range of product that includes some figures (mostly townsfolk and a great looking 32cm high earth titan), but is mostly “terrain”. [I have no affiliation with the company. I’m just very happy with my owls!]