Thursday, October 27, 2011

Painted: Dungeon Dwellers Giant Rats & Centipedes

Among the many challenges a DM has starting an AD&D campaign is gathering an assortment of monsters that the adventurers stand a chance against. Enter the giant rat. This creature should be in every miniatures collection from the beginning but even as the party gains level the giant rat will remain essential because what dungeon doesn't have rats in the walls? Whether or not they pose an obstacle to the PCs they need to be there for proper ambiance. I should note though that while rats they die in droves and can be beaten back fairly easily should the party not wish to engage them, they also pose added risk in terms of the disease they often carry. It's worth remembering even the softy monsters are not as soft as they might first appear.

But if you want to up the stakes a little lot higher you need only through in one or two of the second monster here, the giant centipede, which, as everyone should know, is save or die when you're bitten (at +4, but all the same this strikes true fear in the hearts of players). While perhaps not as common as rats, centipedes are a staple of the dungeon and prodding around in dark corners and piles of crap is a sure way to find them, as the party in my current campaign learned early on. The threat of centipedes and their ilk keeps adventurers on their toes, and unlike rats they are "aggressive and rush forth to bite their prey."[1]

Get the flash player here:

Manufacturer: Heritage Miniatures
Line: Dungeon Dwellers
Catalog title: Giant Rats & Giant Centipedes
Catalog #: 1267
Release date: 1979
Painter: Spooktalker
Date painted: 2010

These Dungeon Dwellers figs have a simple, utilitarian quality, but are nontheless a lot more true to life than more detailed offerings of some other companies. They are also 25mm scale, which is rare (the integral bases they are mounted on are 1/2" square). They are fairly collectable and don't come cheap on ebay, but I lucked into a bargain at a local con.

These are actually the fourth set of giant rats added to my collection. The others, Necromunda mutant rats, Warhammer fantasy giant rats, a number of these Reaper ones sculpted by Bob Olley. These last ones wouldn't be too bad in D&D, actually, being just a bit too "heroic," and I may have painted them up for D&D had the Dungeon Dewllers ones not turned up. These smaller Reaper swarms were also a consideration. Note that having four sets of giant rats does nothing to curb my desire for these other Reaper ones by Sandra Garrity or these swarms from Pardulon.

I saved two more of these Dungeon Dweller giant rats to make press molds of so I can make up a couple swarms of rats based on larger bases like those linked to above in the same style as these single figs. That way when the group encounters a large group of rats I can have the swarms represent however many rats I like and break off the single rats to do battle as needed.

As always you can view these and all the rest at the the painted miniatures archive on Flickr.

  • Gygax, Gary (1977) Monster Manual. Lake Geneva, WI: TSR.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Necromunda Redemptionists Pt. 1

I got a couple requests for Necromunda figs from people remembering the Cawdor I shared on my studio site,, on Frothers and on Warseer. I'm flattered and nothing is dearer to my heart than Necromunda, so I dug up some pics I've been meaning to share for quite some time.

These Redemptionists I've got for you today were actually painted before the Cawdor, at least the first wave was, but for whatever reason I've never shown them off in detail on the web. This first batch of eight is the contents of the box set and was painted circa 2003. As happened in the course of my Cawdor gang's career, the redemptionist gang received new, often converted recruits over time as I modeled the kits that I needed for the game. The gang is actually still in progress even now, and around five figs that have languished in WIP land for, what—years now.

This first batch has a rougher finish than my current offerings, but looking them over now I see a lot I like about them. I wasn't afraid to make the skin tones especially jaundiced by way of yellow highlights and blue undertones, the red robes have a nice rich hue and the rough finish lends them a gritty quality.

Get the flash player here:
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Pardon me for no group shot this time. Will have at least one for the next batch of redemptionists. I've also got a first wave of scavvies done, and nearly every other gang sits in a box in the closet awaiting their turn with the brush. I'd also like to share terrain at some point.

Btw you can also view these and all my pics on flickr.

And let me know if you have any feedback for me in terms of how these PictoBuilder pics are working out for you.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Painted: Custom Cast Wood Elf

On display today is one of my oldest and one from the box of lead that started my D&D miniatures collection. Actually, this one is from the venerable unofficial Lord of the Rings miniatures line from Custom Cast, Der Kriegspielers Fantastiques if we want to get technical. This figure is representing a half-elf ranger named Leofwin in my current AD&D campaign.

I'm also using a new tool called PictoBrowser to showoff the pics. Please let me know what you think of it and how it compares to the way I did these previously! Personally, I think I prefer seeing a single angle of the figure at a time.

The only downside is that each set of pics I show here requires I make a set on Flickr, which essentially means a set for each figure. While this will clutter up my sets view, I much prefer users view my pics via the collection view or tags view anyway. Sadly, on the other hand the grim reality is Flickr forces the photostream view on viewers by default, which is probably the worst way to view my pics, and I bet few visitors will try any of the other views.

Get the flash player here:

Manufacturer: Custom Cast
Line: Der Kriegspielers Fantastiques
Catalog #: 1045
Title: Elves of the Woodlands with Fair Countenances Elven Bows and Spears (6)
Release date: 197?
Date painted: 2009

Hmm, another consideration of the PictoViewer is that while it's cool to have the figure metadata in an on-demand overlay (hover over "notes") and it's even cooler that if I edit the flickr description the notes are updated here as well since they are pulled in in real-time, if I don't include these details in the html here as well those few people who might be looking for a pic of this figure via Google won't have a chance to see it. It's a bit redundant to show it twice, but what am I going to do.

Anyway, about the figure. I like this elf quite a bit despite it being a little rough around the edges. Great hair(!), pose, and I dig the intregal bow-string. Those ears—would you believe I cut them down considerably with a knife and file? The face also required a little massaging with the file to get it looking right to my eye.

Wouldn't mind having a few more of these elves but for now this is one-off elf best suited to represent an adventurer. The elves I'm using for my encounter group are the Grenadier Elves of the Sylvan Forest variety, although I have three dungeon dweller ones I wouldn't mind expanding to encounter size either.