Saturday, January 28, 2012

Painted: The Goblins

Plenty of commentary for you today, but first some pics:

Grenadier Dragon Lords Goblins Grenadier Dragon Lords Goblin Command Grenadier Dragon Lords Goblin Warriors Grenadier Dragon Lords Goblins Grenadier Dragon Lords Goblins Grenadier Dragon Lords Goblins

Metadata:

The command group of three are from a blister pack:

  • Manufacturer: Grenadier
  • Line: Dragon Lords
  • Sub-line: Second Series
  • Catalog title: Goblin Command Group
  • Catalog #: 022
  • Release date: 1987 or 88
  • Sculptor: William Watt
  • Date painted: 2010

The three w/ shields below them are also from a blister:

  • Manufacturer: Grenadier
  • Line: Dragon Lords
  • Sub-line: Second Series
  • Catalog title: Goblin Warriors
  • Catalog #: 042
  • Release date: 1987 or 88
  • Sculptor: William Watt
  • Date painted: 2010

And the ten following are from a boxed set:

  • Manufacturer: Grenadier
  • Line: Dragon Lords
  • Sub-line: Battle Lords Fantasy Armies
  • Set: Goblins, Army of the Blood Forest
  • Catalog #: 1604
  • Release date: 1988
  • Sculptor: William Watt
  • Date painted: 2010

And individual shots:

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And lastly a shot for scale:

Grenadier Dragon Lords Goblin vs. Fighting Woman

Btw, you can also view these in flickr if you prefer.

When I started my D&D collection, the older the miniatures the better, and I set an arbitrary cap at 1983. But soon I won some lots of random assortments of figs off eBay that had newer figs along with the ones I was after. And some of them were cool figs, and it was a slippery slope to the present situation, where the collection spans some thirty-five years. It was right when I was starting to break down and let a few exceptions in when these goblins I’m showing off today came up on eBay, and, as they date from 1987/88, it was some tough back and forth before I clicked in the bid (and won them for a song).

No regrets for that, because these some mean little dudes, but that wasn’t the only resolution I let slide with this project. I haven’t been sharing too much of the typical kind of work I did before I got the 25mm D&D bug, but you can see some over at coolminiornot or my studio site, Null Horizon. Painting was always a pull-out-all-the-stops-I-can kind of operation for me, and might not the 25mm stuff be a fun way to relax between more serious projects. I was grooving on the old Judges Guild art and the original paint jobs done in gloss enamels of figs I was winning on ebay and I wanted to get some of that garish naivete in my figures.

But when these goblins were finished and I was sizing up I realized I’d totally spaced on the naive style idea done them in my usual style and with usual application of effort. So this idea that I was going to bang out these figs in this new garish style as an act of reclaiming artistic innocence was a bit of a sham. Maybe more of this in the future. It’s an idea I haven’t fully given up on.

That said, I can’t say I’m sad the way these goblins wound up. In fact I'd happily put them alongside my best work. I went pretty much all out and give them the full service, and spent the time to make the faces lear and render the eyes completely. You get a mix of canonical skin tones and the weapons have just the effects I want. I’ve got a subtle“torchlight” effect in play on the metals, with purple in the shadows. Happy with the shields too, especially buddy w/ the mace's.

Grenadier Dragon Lords Goblin Faces Details

Now about the sculpts. For many of the monsters in the Monster Manual, you're lucky to have any figures you can use to represent them. You can't even count on officially licensed D&D miniatures matching the descriptions and illustrations. And then there are goblins. No matter how small the range of fantasy figs, goblins are in there somewhere. You are spoiled for choice as to what sculpts to use.

But why settle for one breed of goblin? I collected them seven times over so far and I doubt this is the end:
  • Custom Cast Der Kriegspielers Fantastiques mountain goblins
  • Grenadier Wizards & Warriors/Solid Gold Line
  • D&D-style pre-slotta Citadel
  • Citadel Red "Orcs" (more like goblins than orcs imo)
  • Asgard/Viking Forge "Orcs" (also definitely goblins, not orcs)
  • Nick Lund's Chronicle and Fantasy Warriors goblins
  • And first and foremost, several hundred by the Goblin Master Kev Adams and several score more by Aly Morrison

But today you get the first ones I've done up for D&D. These are latter-day Grenadier Dragon Lords figs by William Watt. I like some Watt figs not so much but these a whole bunch, their expressions foremost, with malice written all over their grinning faces, and the costumes, a successful mix of believable medieval garb, no nonsense chainmail and 80’s heavy metal leather straps.

They have one really bizarre trait I get hung up on, though, in that several of them are wearing one shoe. This was probably intended as some sort of “you kooky goblins, you” kind of whimsy but it fails more and more the more you try to come up with an explanation for it. At least me. The “One-shoe Tribe” just doesn’t have the same bite to it as, say, the “Babies’ Blood tribe.” As I said these were painted when I was trying to let loose a little and not sweating the small stuff was implicit in the goal. So I left the feet alone. But I might just go back and add the missing shoes one day. BTW if you can come up with an awesome explanation for why one shoe, I will send you a prize made of lead. Anyway, you might not have even noticed had I not pointed it out to you.

So you got a story this time. I tend to read blogs in the twenty minutes I have after eating at lunch time and appreciate “writing for the web” on blogs when I can get it. So let me know if I should cut it shorter next time.