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!

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.

The firbolg – A Celtic Giant?

In medieval Irish myth, the Firbolg were descended from the ‘Muintir Nemid’, an earlier group who abandoned Ireland and went to different parts of Europe. Those who went to Greece became the Firbolg and eventually returned to the now-uninhabited Ireland. After ruling it for some time, they were overthrown by the invading Tuatha Dé Danann.

First appearing in D&D in the Monster Manual II (1983) the firbolg is a reclusive giant that prefers to avoid contact with other races. Among their own kind, they live in colonies, which are usually found in forests or caverns and watched by guard towers. Firbolgs resemble humans, though much larger, and men sport great, thick beards.

This figure is a TSR – Ral Partha (1989) metal one piece figure, 11-419. I bought it decades ago along with a Hill Giant and Fire Giant from the same range. I sold the other two giants a few years back. They were good sculpts, but much too small. The fire giant was about the same size as this guy, but should be nearly twice as tall. This figure is at the right scale. It’s taken me much too long to remember it and actually decide to paint it.

Painting it was pretty easy. It’s a good sculpt with nice detail, but its simple in that there’s only the animal fur/skin, belt, boots and sword. It has a good size rectangular base, which attached well to a 50mm round base, and I added some stone to fill it out a little more. The first two images are a bit brighter than they should be – the animal fur is rather darker in normal light.

For a size comparison, here’s the Firbolg next to a WotC pre-painted Hill Giant and a post-painted Citadel Dwarf.