Painted: Otherworld Bugbears
Please welcome to the dungeon these sneaky, furry, porkypigginit, face-stabbing, dick-punching hooligans. They don't play well with the other kids (and tend to eat them), smell like wet yak and their ubiquitous dandruff harbors some fierce alergens, but they cook a mean gumbo, never shirk patrol duty and their A1-class jokes do wonders for monster morale.
The Chief gets a spin-around:
Bugbears are a D&D core monster but unlike goblins, orcs and skeletons there are not that many options out there in the old school style. I've got some of the AD&D Grenadier ones, which have their charm, as well as a few of the Dungeon Dwellers. You'll have to be patient on eBay to build up a unit of either of these, however. Ral Partha's first ones are skinny, goblin types that in plus category have big, saucer eyes but overall don't match the Monster Manual description. RP's later AD&D line ones are more-or-less human-sized, which is something of a deal-killer for me, but match the mid-to-late-80's artwork, so if you're into that sort of thing.
I considered all the options including making my own and eventually went with Otherworld's. These are big, mean dudes with some gonzo attitude and some key resemblance to the Monster Manual. In key areas like pants-or-no-pants (no self-respecting bugbear submits to the tyranny of pants!), armor and weapons, size/bulk and attidude they are spot-on. You get some fair variety in six variants of two sculpts plus a chief. In a perfect world the heads would be rounder and the eyes bigger, more saucer-like and freakily bulging out the head rat-fink style. I would have also preferred a little more difference in the variants in the armor, jewelry, accessories and poses. The castings also had some problems and these would probably have been better off done with separate heads. In particular, the mold on a few was obviously torn and there was extra metal around the neck and arms. But all told these get the thumbs up and I say your old school D&D collection would be lacking without them.
On the painting
I painted these in my usual style of rich colors built up over black and as usual I went with canonical colors per the Monster Manual. Yellow is one of those fun colors when you build it up over a rich golden-orange but I wrestled down the urge to let the yellow shine forth as it were and dirtied them up by building up over base-coats that included bits of green and grey.
For faces and skin I also varied the recipes as I figure bugbears are like people and none-two the same. The Monster Manual says the fur can be tan and I wasn't sure if that would look mean enough but I tried it out on one and it turned out great, imo.
I'm really happy in particular with the eyes on these, which are greenish-white with red pupils. Wasn't sure how this was going to look but I trusted old Gygax and it's what makes the paint jobs on these guys sing, imo. It gives them their freaky edge.
The chief you'll see has mostly red tones on him. If I was painting to please a contest judge I would probably have done at least the leather straps hanging down over the loin area and the gem in a contrasting color, but I'm painting this for myself and I trusted their was plenty of contrasting hues to compliment the red, and the red scheme sets off the green in the eyes that much more. I also eschewed a cliched glass effect on the gem and instead carefully copied some photo reference of a real precious red stone (can't recall which stone type now) I grabbed off the Web.
On the bases
The bases are made-to-order laser-cut ply ellipses that Ian at Fenris Games cut for me. Can't say enough good things about these. I embedded magnets in them by drilling holes with a dremel. The texture is tiny, tiny amounts of Sculptamold with a little white glue along with select bits of sand and Woodland Scenics talus and ballast. Painted to match the Dwarven Forge dungeon environment they'll be living in.
And as always, the collection can be viewed in its entirety at flickr.