And staying with Grenadier... next out of the Lead Mountain was this fine fellow. Grenadier went through a phase in the mid-80s of trying to produce figures for every eventuality, resulting in things like giant skeletons with scythes. This figure hails from the same era, and is a bit of an oddity. For starters, look at the size of it - it is huge, at least giant sized in comparison to the latest recruit to my Amazon army. I know polar bears are big but this is faintly ridiculous - what on earth is something that size going to live in, especially in frozen and/or mountainous environments? Anyhow, out with the brushes... It was actually a pleasure to paint, a base coat of white, then a wash of light blue to suggest ice and frost, and then lots and lots of dry brushing white over several nights. The paws and face were picked out with flesh tone mixed with white and just a hint of blue, whilst the eyes were done with my trademark chaotic red. The base is simply fine Milliput painted white, inked light blue and then drybrushed. I was quite please with the way this turned out, and I actually like the sculpt, but I do wonder how much table time it will see - not much call for yetis in my campaign!
Monday, 10 July 2017
Early Grenadier sculpts tended to be very primitive - crude, and often naive - but later sculpts were a lot better, especially when they got John Dennett involved. Now, not everything he did was good, but I think this is one of his better pieces. It was an absolutely pleasure to paint - just base coats of white for the skin and brown for the fur, followed by a wash of GW nightshade to pick out the detail, and then dry brushing with light blues. I really liked the way the skin tone came out on this - I wanted to suggest something unnatural living in a cave and gnawing on sheep bones, and this worked pretty well! I think this looks like something that Ray Harryhausen could have dredged up for a film about Greek mythology. Just not sure about the name though - what's that all about? It's obviously a Cyclops, and I'm pretty sure the name isn't trademarked. Very please with the way this turned out, especially when placed next to the latest recruit in the Amazon army!
Wednesday, 28 June 2017
A combination of incredibly good weather and some unfortunate family issues have meant that I haven't posted for a while... but I have been painted. Next up from the Lead Mountain was this. I understand that this is actually a Ral Partha sculpt issued under the TSR banner, and as with all Ral Partha minis it is a thing of beauty - great scale and lots of detail, though you could possible quibble about the pose, which is a bit static. It was a real pleasure to paint up - a base coat of green, then an ink wash which really bought out the detail, followed by dry brushing and picking out details such as the red spots and eyes, whilst painting the teeth and nails stone gray. The base is just Milliput and flock. Usually I apply two coats of varnish - gloss first, then matt - but I thought this figure looked good with just a gloss varnish, as it gave an impression of damp and moistness. I'm quite pleased with this beastie - it looks like it will give the latest recruit to my Amazon army a definite shock - and I can see this getting lots of table top time.
Thursday, 1 June 2017
Now here is a real blast from the past. Grenadier were one of the earliest figure manufacturers and produced some of the earliest miniatures for AD&D. A lot of the early figures were a bit suspect, especially the ones from the original Wizzards and Warriors range, but then they supplemented those figures with (slightly) better sculpts... like this one. To be honest, I think it has held up really well for a sculpt that is nearly 40 years old (and how old does that make ME feel :)) - it's well detailed, and its not a bad pose, though the moulding on the axe head on my copy is definitely suspect. So much for quality control! The trick as always with old figures is to keep it simple - base colours, then ink washes, then dry brushing before picking out detail. I was pleasantly surprised at how well this came out, although I do feel that the figure lacks an air of menace... it's bit bovine to be honest. Maybe it is chewing its cud (or part of an adventurers anatomy) before swinging that axe. Still, for its age it holds up pretty well, and as a generic minotaur for either dungeon or outdoor encounters, it will do very well - and how often can you say that about a figure that is at least 35 years old?
Wednesday, 10 May 2017
All this good weather has meant that I have been spending most of my time watering plants and hardly any time painting. I did get round to this chappie though. Now, I like Alternative Army sculpts - I see them as the spiritual heirs to Citadel, as I think they get the mix of oddball humour and unpleasantness just right. This sculpt is a great example - I mean, it is genuinely unpleasant, but it brings a smirk to my face at the thought of unleashing it on unsuspected adventurers. As with all AA sculpts, it was a pleasure to paint - a dark gray base coat, then a blue wash, then dry brushing and picking out the detail. The red really worked well, I thought. Simples! I can see this one getting a LOT of table top time.
Saturday, 15 April 2017
When you look at a normal frog, one that's only a few inches long, it's easy to forget that the docile green amphibian resting lazily at the edge of the stream is an ambush predator who is secretly a cross between a ninja with a grappling hook and a black hole. When the rare example grows to the size of a horse, however, they remind unwary adventurers that anything can be dangerous.
This is definitely a late 70s-early 80's sculpt, but it has no base (it rests on its legs and feet) and has no markings to indicate the manufacturer - any ideas? I've scoured Lost Minis and Google and I can't find any reference to it anywhere. As with all early sculpts, the trick is to keep it simple - a base green paint job, with a dark red for the tongue, and then washes and dry brushing to bring out a surprising amount of detail, following by flock and stone for the base. I like everything about this sculpt - it's very dynamic, with the lashing tongue and the raised claw giving it a real air of menace - and just look at the size of it next to a worried looking Shadowforge Dark Temple warrior! To be honest I've always though of this entry in the Monster Manual as a bit of a joke, but this sculpt has changed my mind considerably, and I can see it getting a lot of table top time in the next set of marsh/swamp encounters. Now, if someone can just identify who made it, I'll be a happy man...
Thursday, 6 April 2017
Citadel did some excellent sculpts before they morphed into Games Workshop, including some tie-ins with gaming systems such as Runequest (RQ). Now, I have to be honest and state that RQ was one of those systems that totally passed me by - D&D was and remains my RPG of choice - but I know a lot of people who rave about RQ, and it was mightily popular in the day, so much so that CItadel did several box sets of characters and creatures based on the game. This one of them. It's a lovely little sculpt I
Saturday, 11 March 2017
And next out of the Lead Mountain was this. Now, the Grenadier Fantasy Lords 1st series was very much a mixed bag - some dodgy figures from the old Wizzards and Warriors (W&W) range, plus some new sculpts to tie in with Dungeons and Dragons. This one looks and feels like something what was designed for the W&W range, but has been re-branded - does that face in the treeman remind you of the generic faces on so many early Grenadier minis? As with all early Grenadier figures, the trick is to keep it simple - a coat of brown wash, dark brown inks for detail, and then dry brushing, with just the eyes picked out in a vain attempt to give an air of malevolence to it. The base is just flock. To be honest, I'm not impressed with the figure - it's very static (but then, I suppose trees are... mostly), and there is no indication of whether it could walk or move like an Ent. And there is very little detail, other than the toadstools at the base - no leaves, or vines - just bark and branches and a face sculpted in. Oddly enough, its not even a particularly imposing treeman - look at it in scale compared to the latest Shadowforge Amazon archer, it's almost a large shrub. It's very much a sculpt of its time, and I can't see it getting a huge amount of table top time.
Sunday, 19 February 2017
I haven't posted in a while - changes in job situation put paid to that - but here are a couple of related mini's I've recently been working on. These are both from the Grenadier Monster Manuscript series, which mostly featured sculpts from John Dennett, although Andrew Chernak, William Watt and Nick Lund also contributed. First up is an Andrew Chernak sculpt, the Rhinshasa from 1509 Monster Manuscript Vol.IX. I think this is Grenadier's attempt to extend the idea of the Rakshasa (an ugly, fierce-looking and enormous creature, with two fangs protruding from the top of the mouth and having sharp, claw-like fingernails) to animals other than the usual tiger that is used, and to be honest I am not enthused. The actual idea is pretty ridiculous in the first place - a rhino clumping on two legs - and what's with the scimitar/sword it is carrying? Surely the preferred attack mode would be with the horn and then trample a wounded opponent? And the figure itself is a bit coarse, especially when placed next to the latest recruit in my Shadowforge Amazon army. Ah well... out with the brushes. It was actually a very simple figure to paint - base gray, then a wash, then dry brushing in light shades of gray and eventually white, and then picking out the horn and the red eyes. I can't see this getting much table top time at all, and this may get passed on very quickly. Moving on to its companion - NOW we're talking. This is John Dennett on top form - a really good sculpt, great detail, great pose - what's not to like? Again, simple to paint - a dull gray base coat, then a black wash to bring out the detail, then dry brushing in gunmetal and then silver. Simples! I'm very pleased with the way this turned out, and I think it looks great next to the Shadowforge figure. I am setting up a Greek based RPG, and this figure will see a lot of use in it.
Tuesday, 24 January 2017
Before they went bust, Ral Partha produced a set of minis for Advanced Dungeons and Dragons 2nd Edition that were amongst the best minis ever produced for the game - they really are that good. This is one of them. Now, I've always been a bit dubious about the concept of a Chimera in the first place - I mean, c'mon, a lion and a serpent and a goat mixed together? Why a GOAT? - but this sculpt handles the concept sympathetically and is really well done. Also, I am not a fan of winged minis - they fall over, take up loads of room, and gather dust like a dragon gathers gold - but I was prepared to make an exception for this one. The mini came in 5 parts - the lion body, the serpent head, the goat head, and the two wings - and it all slotted together really well, with just a minimum of Milliput needed around the joins. After that, out with the brushes, and the various subject matters that make up the figure dictated the colour scheme. The only choice I had to make was the colour of the serpent head and the wings, and as I'd previously had good results with red and yellow, that is what I went with. The figure was a pleasure to paint, and washes plus dry brushing really brought out the detail of the sculpt. The base is just sand painted gray, and some flock. I think this is a terrific figure - really menacing, with a great pose - imagine your tired and wounded band of adventurers finding THAT as the boss encounter. Very pleased with this one!