Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Prepaint Repaint D&D Green Dragon

Painted: Wizards of the Coast Green Dragon

Showin' off what knobrot can look like if treated like a lady. This is from The War of the Dragon Queen set from 2006. Not all prepaints of of this quality but there may be enough lurking amidst the chaff to make it worth your while to sift through them.

And as always here's a shot for scale:

Manufacturer: Wizards of the Coast
Line: D&D Minis
Set: War of the Dragon Queen
Figure: 38/60 R Large Green Dragon
Release date: 2006
Date painted: 2011

Two tips on repainting prepaints

  1. Use a fresh exacto blade on the mold lines and plan to dull it quickly. Factor it into your cost of the figure. You can sand/file it as well if you take great care, but rely on the blade for the bulk of it. It takes some time but is actually quicker and easier than cleaning up a typical metal figure of the same size. I filled a few gaps as well but again, it comes pre-assembled so this was also quicker than a multipart figure would have been.
  2. Once you prime, don't worry if the figure winds up tacky. Put it in a box and try to forget about for literally a week or two. That's how long it took this figure to dry out and lose the tackiness. But eventually it did dry and it painted up really nicely after that. I usually put a thick clear coat on my figs before a dullcote and I also skipped that step for this. The paint seems to be firmly affixed and a thick coat unnecessary.

On the D&D prepaint Dragons and this one in particular

There is lots to like about them generally speaking. They are fairly dynamic as they are multipart kits designed in innovative ways in terms of the parts makeup to ensure they lock together tight with no chance of anything falling off. The proportions and anatomy are often a lot more pleasing than metal figures, and I really like having a huge range in sizes. I have a half-dozen or so and most are about this size, which is smaller than average even in 25mm scale going by the numbers in the 1st ed Monster Manual. Which is little ironic given the name Large Green Dragon this one is given and it being intended for a later edition where everything tends to be super-sized and in a range that's nominally 30mm "scale."

If you've seen this figure in a catalog you'll note I just copied the scheme they used on the paint master. Dunno, just really like it, and I have so many thousands of opportunities to get creative I don't mind following others' guidelines now and then. I saw the catalog pic and thought, I'll have one just like that, thanks.

Here's a before shot so you can compare.

And a few in progress shots so you can see what the unpainted figure looks like and the basecoat. I used a mix of P3 Coal Black (this is warm, dark blue and not at all black) and Citadel Dark Angels Green (mine is twist-cap era). Like all my bases this is a laser-cut ellipse base Fenris Games cut for me. It's got magnets embedded in it for easy storage and transport and the texture is Sculptamold.

Several last comments. On my cast (and yours, I bet) the eyes are not at all symmetrical. Don't know if bad sculpting or a molding mishap. But I cut out the right eye, enlarged the socket and reset the eye so it lined up with the other. Took about ten minutes. I'm also think painting the tiny horns on the nose bone color may have been a mistake. Not sure what I was thinking there and I may go back in a touch those up. Or I may not worry about it.

And as always, the collection can be viewed in its entirety at flickr.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Monster Brains and Escaping Leviathan Shout Outs

Blogroll add and Indiegogo plug

I sat down to mention this Indiegogo campaign for an old school weird fantasy module called Escaping Leviathan by Monster Brains blogger Aeron Alfrey when I realized Monster Brains isn't in my BftD blogroll. It is now though!

What I have to say about Monster Brains is that all hyperbole aside it's been my favorite blog for some years and has provided me inspiration and entertainment in quantities hard to measure.

About the Indiegogo campaign, I left a comment to this effect on the campaign but I'll say it here too that I'd be happy to donate to Monster Brains just in thanks for the good times. But this one also has the promise of a cool adventure down the throat and into the bowels of a great beast.

I'm a little sad and surprised the campaign isn't doing that well given Monster Brains's massive following. Just 10% of the way there with one week to go. But it makes more sense given that this is part of a series of modules for Lamentations of the Flame Princess and LotFP decided to launch campaigns for each and every one of them separately, at the same time, with a short end date, high base goal and few perks to speak of. The way I see it the books are essentially competing with each other and I don't really understand the strategy behind LotFP's choices.

Oh well, I was happy to contribute and given this is the internet there is still time to pull out the win. I wish Leviathan and LotFP the best. Also looking forward to funding/buying more indie pdf modules and to this end I have just purchased a beast of a laser printer so I will never have to pay for shipping or toil in the treacherous swamps of inkjet land again.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Let Start the Face-stabbings—Enter the Bugbears!

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.

Otherworld Bugbears Otherworld Bugbears Otherworld Bugbears Otherworld Bugbears

The Chief gets a spin-around:

Get the flash player here:

And if you want to see a pics of all of them launch this slideshow or see them on flickr. Didn't want to overdo it here.

Bugbear Miniatures

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.

Otherworld Bugbear Chieftain

In the size-comparison pic here you can see these are meaty, hulking bastiches in 25mm. Just right!

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.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

In the Shadow of Lead Mountain: Too Many Projects!

Blah, that was an unintended break I took from the blog that grew and grew. It wasn't because I didn't have anything to post or the will to do it but just the opposite. I have way to much. Too many projects, too many pictures to sort and crop, too many miniatures to catalog, too many lists of post ideas and partial drafts. Too many little things to obsess about. I have some of my best work from five years ago I've never posted anywhere and most of the stuff so far has been done at least two years ago.

And that's just the blog stuff, saying nothing of how crazy the idea of painting all the miniatures I have in front me, finishing all the terrain projects I have going, and running all the adventures I have lined up. If this is the first time I'll say it it won't be the last, that the blogosphere is a hobby within a hobby, and painting figures another hobby, and making maps one, and writing adventures, etc. ad infinitum. When I have a window of hobby time in front of me just the idea of which hobby today can slow me down all by itself.

This just to say it can be too much. It's highly likely this is a familiar story, especially if you're a blogger yourself. I know I'm in good company and I'm sure there are many who are biting off more than I am. Balancing spending time with friends and loved ones, doing professional development, other creative and intellectual pursuits, etc, comes with the territory, I know. Rather than complain let me take a moment to acknowledge the hard work of the bloggers of the blogs I follow do and how easy you all make it look.

What am I doing about it. Well, one of the main reasons I started the blog was to help me organize my projects for myself. Another was to make my collection meaningful. An uncatalogued collection is something of a liability while a cataloged one is an asset. Anything you don't where and what it is and what state it's in is useless. With that in mind I've spent this Independence Day morning sorting through pics and post ideas and I now have over forty posts lined up with pictures already taken, etc that shouldn't be too hard to bang out. In the past few weeks I've also been tackling physical organization of the stuff and am making some inroads.

I also think I'll make a few posts on this topic itself, about workflow, organization and project management, and maybe we can share some ideas and help each other out. Despite the occasional creeping chaos I've made some recent strides that are worth putting down in the blog.

And for now, if you're up to your neck in projects or conversely you've done some things to get organized lately sign off below.