Saturday, February 23, 2013

Great Wolves of the Night

Painted: Dire Wolves for D&D

Dire Wolves / Great Wolves of the Night
Dire Wolves / Great Wolves of the Night

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Manufacturer: Ral Partha
Line: Wizards, Warriors and Warlocks
Figure: E691 / W691 Great Wolf of the Night, without rider
Base Markings: RAL PARTHA 1976
Release date: 1976
Sculptor: Tom Meier
Painter: Spooktalker
Date painted: 2011

Wolves Miniatures for AD&D

I have an awful lot to say about wolves miniatures, but I think I'll save what I started on the subject for a dedicated post. In brief, these aren't my only or favorite wolves, but happened to be what I got around to first. The Monster Manual presents four types of wolves—common, dire, worg, and winter—and the plan is to eventually paint up packs of all four. These are the dire wolves. In our own world dire wolves are not much bigger than common wolves but are heavier set. These figures definitely have the heavy-set, and they are among the smaller wolves in 25mm scale, even though they are far too large to be common wolves of the size we have in our own world. I don't have to have my AD&D dire wolves match the real world counterpart, though I do think of it as a bonus that these figures do so. I like that these figures have their eyes firmly fixed in the front of their head, but I'm not so fond of the lack of neck and would have preferred to have two additional poses. Still, for a single pose figure, the pose was well-chosen to look good en-mass. Speaking of which, I have another ten of these to paint. Oh, and they were originally sold with and without goblin rider. I do have one rider, but only one.


I did these in an evening and am pretty happy with them. As with just about everything I paint I used photo reference. I painted them over a dark gray primer layer and first wet-blended several P3 neutral colors to lighten the understide like Cryx Bane Highlight, Menoth White Base, Hammerfall Khaki and Menoth White Highlight. I then came at them from the top with various mixes of a dark brown, black, GW Bestial Brown, GW Snakebite Leather. Many of these were mixed with khaki when I blended where the light underside with the dark top. Then a number of glazes and some final highlights. The eyes are metallic gold. I recommend emphasizing black gums on your wolves.

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


  1. Pretty happy with them? I think they are stunning. I used to have these figures (painted gloss black...the happy days of innocence) and they aren't exactly realistic, but you have really brought them to life.

    1. Many thanks! :) I like black wolves quite a bit and the worgs will definitely be black when I get to them.

  2. Having gamed with these miniatures as a teenager, it's inspiring to see them now so beautifully painted. My own dire wolf minis have long ago lost their tails from years of rattling around loose in a box of other metal figures. Did you mention in a previous post about texturing the bases? Do you add material to roughen up the base a little? Thanks for posting all of your amazing work. It really ignites the magic in my mind again.


    1. Thanks for the kind words! I texture the bases with a plaster/paper mache combo product called Sculptamold. It's $7 for a big box from the craft store. I put a tiny pinch on a plastic lid and mix with a few drops of water and one drop of white glue, apply a miniscule amount with a toothpick and smooth it with a damp brush. It's a great filler too if you glue the integral base to a larger one and want to smooth the join. Started using it for terrain after reading a book by train guy Dave Frary. I have some hills I made from it I intend to share here soon.

    2. I'll have to go out and get a box... I've been using Magic Sculpt epoxy putty for the joint filling. It dries like steel, but isn't ideal for the texture work you desribe. I appreciate the tip! I'm also going to try to adopt your mindset - your process-oriented approach to modeling - reveling in the fine detail work, as opposed to wanting to jump to the finished product. You work the way the Dalai Lama would (if he painted dire wolves).