Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Aberrations and Apparitions

Howdy! I wasn't able to paint as much as I would've liked this week, so my horde of giants is just a hair's breadth from completion. In the meantime though, I finished basing the grell and painted a green Bones figure.

I've always enjoyed DMing aberrations. Part of it is definitely due to Robert E. Howard's use of aberrations throughout his Conan stories as gods and horrors inhabiting any number of lost cities. Part is definitely due to Lovecraft. The thought of an alien being or culture beyond human comprehension inhabiting the world next to humans has always fascinated me, and is one I've always played up in my games. Other than beholders and illithids, few aberrations have appeared in fantasy literature to any extent, and therefore not even a well-read player will have many preconceived notions about them. This leaves plenty of room for a devious DM to surprise his players with strange, startling, and shocking behaviors and cultural aspects. Grell happen to be one of my favorites. These figures are Ral Partha's AD&D 11-525 Grell. The color scheme was inspired by an illustration in the 3.5 Ed. Lords of Madness supplement.

I decided to base one as if it was floating through a cavern, the other as if floating over underbrush in a forested area. I like to use grell as inhabitants of old ruins and have them regularly patrolling forestland and cave systems around their abodes.

The other figure I finished was Reaper Bones 77099 Nightspectre. I liked the idea of the clear plastic and wanted to play with painting the figure while leaving large areas of the plastic unpainted.

I simply did a wash of black ink and then dry-brushed gray and then white on the edges. Finally I outlined the outer-most edges with some Ral Partha Glow in the Dark paint, which has proven to give the figure an eerie cast when the light is out. My next step is to drill a hole in the base up into the figure and to install a LED tea light, for a bit of internal lighting. The idea for that came from Chris Palmer's blog All Bones About It and his large Bones fire elemental. This figure is a bit smaller than the elemental and I'm hoping the light carries through most of the figure when done.

So next time, I'll definitely have some giants/ogres and maybe a character or two. My players are all over me to paint up their PCs.

'Til next time.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Howdy! Not a lot here mini-wise this time. Been off work on disability, and have finished several figures that are ready for pics. However, I plan on buying a new camera next week when I'm in Colorado, I figured I'd just hold off on most of them 'til then.

I'd like to welcome several folks. First, Lee of Goblin Lee's Miniature Blog. A lot of classic lead there, especially Citadel and Grenadier, and some very impressive armies. Next J.D. of J.D.M.L. Miniaturas. J.D. also has some classic minis and is working on a diorama I'm looking forward to seeing. Finally, Darcy at Hits To Kill. Again, some old lead, including some classic Grenadier, as well as some great pics of games in progress.

And a pic of a special supporter, Gigi "Wormsbane", the Office Turtle of Death...

She came to me several years ago. She eats worms, turkey, chicken and any red vegetables or fruits. She needed a home after recovering from a confrontation with a fearsome automobile. She's missing her right rear foot and has a notch in her carapace. Gigi probably could have been released, but legal circumstances prevented it. She's one of two critters who keep me company in the office while I'm painting. The other is often unwelcome, as fur and paint don't go together.

So my offerings for minis tonight are a DeeZee Miniatures platybelodon...

and a coupla spiders that I painted years ago, manufacturer unknown. 
These spiders were painted to match three AD&D ettercaps. The ettercaps, however, are going to need some refurbishing. Like the ettin, time was not kind to their paint jobs.
Coming soon, AD&D grell and some hill giants.
'Til next time.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Revenge of the Pink...Ettin?

Howdy! First I'd like to welcome Blackwarden and point ya'll toward his blog Blackwarden, fittingly enough. Great old school stuff there!

Next, yup, that's right, the title does say revenge of the pink ettin.

I honestly don't know when the idea for pink ettins was planted in my head, how the seed was planted, or where (if anywhere) I first saw a pink ettin, other than my paint table. The only ettin I had painted, until recently, was Ral Partha's AD&D 11-410 Ettin. Years ago, I was featuring an ettin as the leader of a raiding band of goblins, bugbears, and ogres plaguing the country side, and I wanted to make him stand out a bit. I started with baby pink paint for the skin and finished with beady red eyes, and by the time I was done, I thought the guy looked flat-out creepy. Looking at his skin made me itch! My players agreed. When I placed the figure on the table, the ranger asked if he was contagious and the cleric bemoaned he hadn't memorized any Cure Disease spells. Since then, pink ettins have just been the way to go in my book...

When I unpacked a few months back, I found this guy with his arms fallen off and his paint chipped up in spite of the bubble wrap, foam and individual box he was in, so I ended up stripping, reassembling, and repainting him. I attempted to stay pretty close to my original paint job. I always liked this figure, and since his style is rather unique, I never expected to find another that was similar enough I could make a convincing pair. But then...
... I saw this guy at the local gaming store.
Reaper Bones 77103 Nor'Okk, Ettin. He was of a size and shape that I knew instantly he'd make a great compliment to my RP ettin, and impulsively I bought him. The minute I got to the truck, I thought, "Why did ya do that, Ivan, ya didn't even check to see if there was a metal version on the Reaper site!" (there is a metal version, BTW, Dark Heaven Legends 3137 Nor'Okk, Ettin). Regardless, once painted, the two make quite the pair.
I'm definitely happy with the result. In spite of the difference in age and manufacturers, when painted they match up rather well.
Another figure I dug out recently, painted years ago.
The first version of Ral Partha's AD&D 11-411 Owlbear. Later, this figure was replaced by a standing version with prominent ear tufts like a great horned owl and large feathered arms spread wide for big bear hug, under the same product number. I need to touch up the flocking, but he fared far better over the years in the move and storage than the ettin did. I like this style better myself. I used to have a module (B2 Keep on the Borderlands, maybe?) that had an illustration of a very similar owlbear fighting a party of adventurers. If anyone recalls exactly, feel free to chime in.  
Work will continue on the hill giant horde, some miscellaneous figures, and a few PCs from my recently started D&D campaign. Still at a creative standstill on my "fyrsnaca".
'Til next time.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Howdy! I'm back, after three weeks of illness followed by extreme busy-ness at work, a brief stretch of painting ennui, and a frantically calculated period of experimentation with photography and backgrounds and lighting. Never intended to have two months between posts, but I really don't know where those two months went. I'm planning on much more frequent posts, now that I've figured out a thing or two.

First, I want to say hi to my new friends, Michael from 28mm Victorian Warfare and Dave from One man and his brushes. I've been following Michael's blog for several months now, ever since I discovered we have a common love for dinosaurs when I googled 28mm dinosaur miniatures in a search for reference pics for several DeeZee, HLBS and Acheson Creations critters. I'm newer to Dave's blog but definitely enjoy his work. If you've stumbled onto my little blog here and have never visited either of their blogs, I highly recommend that you do.

Speaking of "dinosaurs", I didn't mention it originally, but I have a fair collection of animals and prehistoric critters in 25/28mm ranging from the Devonian through the Jurassic to the Oligocene and Miocene to present day. And they by no means take a back seat to my fantasy or historic figures. A zoologist by education though no longer by profession, I've had a fascination for living critters of all types as long as I can remember...and that has followed right into my two hobbies: painting/collecting miniatures, and aquariums.

I found my self struggling and getting frustrated with smaller figures, after a long time away from the hobby, and decided to get back to practicing the basics on several larger figures. The end results were a DeeZee miniatures brontotherium...

and a Steve Barber crocodile.
I was really happy with the algae effect on the head and scutes of the crocodile. It came out much better than I had hoped. Still have some things to work out with the lighting, as neither set shows the  colors as well as I'd like, but I'll get there. I have a full table with works in progress...
...ogres, ettins and giants from Ral Partha and Reaper, two D&D grell from Ral Partha, a Grenadier beetle and intellect devourerer-type critter, a Reaper assassin, and the Bruise Brothers from Ral Partha. The grell, intellect devourer, and Bruise Brothers simply need to have the base finished. The Ral Partha wyrm is in there as well, on hold, as I kinda hit a brain freeze on how to finish him.
'Til next time.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

So, messing around the past coupla days, I realized several things. First, my eyesight ain't what it used to be, and I'll need to look a lot closer when cleaning flash and such. Second, after nine years and a coupla mini-strokes, my hand ain't as steady as it used to be. Last, I need a better camera.

Still, thought I'd go ahead with some WIP pics:

First, an old Ral Partha dragon/worm from the early 1980s. Just starting past the base coat on this bad boy.

This fig reminds me of the fyrsnaca, a worm/dragon critter that first appeared in the TSR Expert D&D module XS2 Thunderdelve Mountain, a solo adventure. I've always liked the fyrsnaca as an underground antagonist, and when I saw this figure on eBay a few years back, I jumped all over it.

Next a coupla RAFM worms.

When looking at these guys after painting is when I realized bifocals ain't the best for close work and cleaning minis. Not gonna strip and repaint them any time soon, though. Just gonna finish the bases and call it good for now. These figures came in the RAF02955 Crypt Ghoul blister with a ghoul exiting a crypt. Looking on their site, it appears RAFM only offers the front worm in the set today.

Next, a Games Workshop wizard.

This gentleman is Ian Crookstaff, archmage and ranking wizard in the Fraternity of the Pointy Hats. The Fraternity of the Pointy Hats is a mage guild in my campaign who distinguish themselves by, you guessed it, wearing the traditional iconic wizardly, wide-brimmed, pointed hats. :)

I've picked up a few Bones the past coupla months. I much prefer metal figs, and will mostly limit my use of Bones to simple figures such as spiders, vermin and such. But couldn't resist this storm giant. Since I can't find him in metal on the Reaper site, I assume he's a Bones only release, so picked him up.

The sword has been a pain in my behind to straighten. But he is massive, and the detail isn't bad. Won't start painting him too soon, but thought I'd add him for some flavor.

And a preview of things to come. I've had this box set for quite a while, and it's on the top of my list of things to paint when I get a bit more back into practice.

Anybody who gamed in the 1980s should get a little nostalgic about this one. I can't say how many times I picked up the latest issue of Dragon and flipped straight to the cartoon section to read SnarfQuest. I'm not quite ready to start on these yet, though I'll post them when I do.

I probly won't have a new camera yet, but the iphone didn't do too bad for WIPs and I need to come up with a background. Comments and constructive criticism are welcome, as well as plain old BSing.

'Til next time.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Howdy, from Wonderful Windy Wyoming!

This first post is more of a test, as I haven't the foggiest idea what I'm doing. As a primer, I plan on exhibiting miniatures, some new, some old. I just restarted painting again after nine years away, and I'm quickly getting back into the swing of things. As long as the result isn't too embarrassing, many (most) of the figs will be painted. Some simple conversions. I may throw in a "battle report" from the latest D&D session I've ran here and there, and occasionally I suspect I'll find myself posting some unrelated tidbit that has caught my fancy.

But mainly, it'll be about the miniatures. I guess I'd be considered "old school". I have a fair amount of unpainted Grenadier and Ral Partha lead, quite a bit of it actually lead. A lot of Reaper, as well. Of the "newer" companies, Center Stage and Otherworld have both caught my fancy and I'll be supplementing my collection with figures from both of these. Fantasy and ancient historical figures make up the basis of most of my collection, but, well, there is the occasional pulp, sci-fi or other miniature in the mix. As a painter, my skill level is generally table top quality. But occasionally I finish and say, "Wow, did I really paint THAT?" as I reach for the Pine Sol to start stripping the durn thing, and other times I finish and say, "WOW, did I REALLY paint that?" as I make room at the front of the shelf to display it. 

'Til next time.