Saturday, November 3, 2018

Unknown Painter: Ral Partha AD&D Chimera

I use the Unknown Painter tag on posts of figures in my collection I'd like to share with you, but didn't paint myself. I'm always on the lookout for offerings of figures that meet my standard and fit my style, figure needs, and budget, but they seem as rare as hens' teeth. I might come across one or a group from the same seller every three to five years. This chimera was one such I gladly plunked down for, though, even though I have one of my own to paint one day (that I've had since adolescence), as well as three more from Reaper. I wasn't disappointed.

Ral Partha AD&D 11-414 Chimera

I did take the liberty to make a few modifications. I replaced the base with an ellipse base to fit with the rest of my D&D collection. I would have preferred to do a dungeon style base rather than outdoors, but this figure has one foot resting on a bush and I didn't feel like going in with cutters and Dremel or modeling dungeon debris over it. I also modified the mane, which was the same color as the rest of the fur. I glazed it with richer honey tones and dark tones after some photos of lions found online.

Overall, I really admire the painting. Note the details such as the purple dots in the wings, the eyes and mouths, the treatment of the horns and the highlights on the blacks. Also the nice balance of the black top of the wing and goat head against the red underside of the wing and dragon head.

I was lucky enough to win a few more figures painted by this painter including a sabertooth cat, some cavemen and a group of fantasy pygmies with stone idol, all by Reaper. I'll aim to get pics of them to share as well.

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Talisman: The Orc

Got another orc done for Orctober.

Talisman Orc

I painted him in the bright style of my other Talisman figures, with bright yellow-green flesh and yellow gold. A shield from the nineties plastic orc boyz kit matched the illustration perfectly. At first I wasn't crazy with the shield design I chose or the execution, but I guess it's fine.I tried to match the fur of the illustration closely with mauve and light gray, and like the result.

Saturday, October 27, 2018

Orctober: Avatars of War Orc Shaman

I ♡ orcs, but this is the first year I've managed to sync up and get one painted to show before the month ran out. Look at me, I'm participating! 😆 Here's a bit of a departure from my usual figure preferences, an orc shaman by Felix Paniagua for his Avatars of War range.

Avatars of War Orc Shaman

It's funny to me that I consider this a "new school" figure, even though it was released circa 2004 (if memory serves)! If you can believe it, I bought the figure when it was newly released and started painting it right away, and it's another figure I finally finished after well over a decade of life on the workbench. 😮

What's to say about the paintjob? I used a variety of browns, some more yellow base and some more red-base. The flesh was painted straight dark to light and I don't think I used any glazes.

The OSL magic-effect is the obvious focal point, and something I think the figure demands (but surprisingly, when I did a Google image search nearly all I saw didn't go for it). Back in 2004, the OSL potential was the main reason I went for it to include in my portfolio, and one of only a few remaining items cover when I returned to it last week. It's a bit of a hasty job but does the trick.

I like the great variety of materials and items and downplayed most of them, but added a few key details like the treatment of the potion, and the wood grain on the staff-idol.

I bought the figure to create my initial portfolio back when I was starting commission painting, and was busy with actual commissions before I finished, and they pay a lot better than random figures put up on ebay. He doesn't fit well into any of my too-numerous fantasy milieus, another key reason he never got down.

This is a rare example of the style of orc Brian Nelson popularized done well. I tend to like this style of face but loathe the gorilla anatomy that usually goes with it (the plastic GW orcs from the late nineties being the most cringe-worthy, IMO). GW seems to be taking baby steps away from that anatomy with orc (and ork) releases in recent years, but IMO the whole orc range should be superceded the way the primaris marines did the old marines. Meanwhile, this guy here could be added to either an iron jaws AOS band or one made from Gamezone orcs.

Saturday, October 20, 2018

Talisman: Rogue, Hobgoblin and Troll

My Talisman project continues to coast along at an easy pace. In addition to what I show here I've got three more almost ready to show after these, just finished cleaning and basing another seven, and I just won a lot on ebay that completed my Timescape set, which will likely follow in 2019. Today, though, you get the Rogue, Hobgoblin and Troll.

The Rogue

Talisman Rogue
Talisman Rogue Illustration

The rogue here is one of my favorites. The illustrated figure has a malign, liquor-infused expression, enhanced by the shadowy rendering and mangy head. The miniature is one of the most faithful to the art.

An obvious personal touch I made was to add hair and beard made from static grass. I took a risk and did this with super glue and tweezers. Would not have been hard to go overboard or slip and get glue where it didn't belong.

I happy with the rendering of the browns, which were built up with scratchy, transparent highlights, dotted with black show wear and lend the pen-and-ink quality, and washed and glazed to bring the right saturation. Love me some Windsor & Newton inks, especially Peat Brown and Sunshine Yellow. Also, glazes made from the classic GW Snakebite Leather.

The Hobgoblin

Talisman Hobgoblin
Talisman Hobgoblin Illustration

The hobgoblin is another favorite illustration of mine, coming at you like an enraged muppet. I like the green and orange palette the texture in the green.

Everything is just right about the miniature, except the face, while fine in its own right, is a significant departure. I resisted the urge to re-sculpt it.

Top objectives in the painting were to get the texture of the green cloth and brown pteruges right, the horns right, the sunny orange skin color right, and add a touch of interest with a a gloss coat on the black of the helmet.

The Troll

Talisman Troll
Talisman Troll Illustration

The illustration of the troll shows a hunched, hulking creature with a huge club that has survived many a beat-down, while the figure has more of a lanky quality, and the club is a tree branch with the bark still on it, so comes off as an improvised weapon. I accepted the difference in body-shape but took action on the club. A good club is made of heartwood. I drilled the end and put a wire sticking out of it, and then enlarged the club with green stuff and worked in many knobs.

The rocks are ceramic. Long ago I had access to a kiln, and made these rocks by rolling out a sheet of bisk with a rolling pin, breaking it up when dried, before firing.

Many green paint and ink pots were opened by the time I was done, and not a few yellows. A little black lining under the warts was a good move on my part.

Sunday, September 2, 2018

D&D Werebears, Satyr and Unicorn

Ral Partha 01-118 Giant Werebear
Back-view of the Werebear
A second copy of the same figure

First up today are a pair of werebears or great grizzly bears sculpted by Tom Meier for Ral Partha in 1979 for their first fantasy line. I first painted the one on the left, and since my girlfriend liked it so much, and I had one to spare, I painted her the one on the right. That's why they have different basing, mine to go with my D&D collection and hers with more of a display base. On the surface the painting looks very similar, and that's what I intended, but if you look closely at the high-res pics you may notice the underlying technique is substantially different, with mine being done almost entirely with thin washes over a great-then-white-primed figure (the way I painted the stone giant shown awhile back), and her with something much closer to my usual technique. There was no particular reason for the difference, just different approaches I took on the particular days, months apart, probably entirely unconsciously. Goes to show you can arrive at the same place taking different routes, I suppose.

I believe the figure is still in production at Iron Wind Metals and Ral Partha Europe.

Two Ral Partha werebears
Provoking these bears is ill-advised
McEwan Miniatures MO-9 Unicorn

When collecting D&D figures, I try to limit myself to no more figures of each monster type than the max number appearing listed in the Monster Manual entries, and to have the figures be similar enough to be compatible with one another on the tabletop. Owlbears and goblins are my most notable exceptions to the rule but unicorns are perhaps third-most notable. I'm not sure if this Ewan Miniatures casting is the oldest in my collection, but it is the most naively sculpted. I like the silhouette quite a bit and especially the treatment and placement of the hair, which lends it a dynamism, but less-so the face, the eyes in particular.

Some further random notes on it...

  • It saw use in a game for the first time a few months ago in a game of Talisman.
  • I painted it with the P3 Everblight colors, Underbelly Blue and Frostbite (and lots of White, of course, pure White in this case).
  • My casting was missing the horn and I sculpted the replacement from greenstuff. I hadn't identified the figure at the time or I would have sculpted it more like the original.
  • The figure is still in production at, where you can see the original (or see it at the Lost Minis Wiki.
McEwan Unicorn and Ral Partha Satyr
Ral Partha 01-033 Satyr (Pan)

Last up is a Ral Partha satyr, also by Tom Meier, released 1979. The Lost Minis Wiki identifies this as a second version of the figure.

I want a full encounter group of satyrs very much, but finding 25mm satyrs in numbers is difficult. I also want them to be cavorting and adhering to the classical descriptions rather than neutered and ready to fight, as most satyrs are these days. This Ral Partha one is probably by favorite, but is small and scarce, and would look awkward having duplicates of the same pose, but neither would it lend itself to conversion. In hindsight, I wish I would have picked up a handful of the Metal Magic one from Mega Miniatures when they had it in production, and used that single sculpt as a basis for conversions. Eureka make some in 28mm and I wonder how they would fit with 25mm figures. They might do. They have weapons, but you can buy the individual poses, of which there are many, and I could convert them.

Certain illustrations of yesteryear, and notions I have of the early days of tabletop wargaming, compelled me to paint the base in this new green-hued style. If I hadn't painted the unicorn already I would have done it in this style also. I like it, and will probably keep going with it for woodland figures. But let me know if you think this is a mistake.

Ral Partha 01-033 Satyr (Pan)
Satyr and adventurers for size-comparison

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Pig-face Orc Shaman

Another long-WIP figure finished and exposed to the light of day. I started this orc shaman back when I was painting the rest of the orcs but got momentarily hung up on freehand pattern designs I wanted to add to his jewelry and put him aside...for 8+ years. Now that I'm playing D&D again it was as good a time as any to get back to it.

I'm pretty pleased with how he turned out, and it was especially satisfying finishing him off by slapping on some Tamiya Red Clear over the bloody heart and making blood spots, and giving his lapis lazuli diadem a glossy gleam with Future. Also satisfying that I added an orc from the Grenadier Dragon Lords Orcs of the Severed hand box set to the band, as now I've got no fewer than five generations of Grenadier orcs represented!

"Foremost among the orcs is a leering shaman-type garbed in fur and finery, a blue diadem shining from his forehead, a bloody fork in one hand and proffering in the other a bloody, throbbing heart!"
"Roll for Surprise!"

Like the other orcs, this one has a pig snout added, made from green stuff/brown stuff, but is otherwise stock. It's a great sculpt by John Dennett that strikes an imposing figure beside the other orcs. The painting of the blue and gold bands was inspired by photos of real-life shamans and is meant to represent cords made from cloth and gold thread. The cloth of his garment is meant to be something he took from a royal or at least noble personage and conveys his charisma, showmanship and sense of self-worth. Lastly, you've got to love his heart-extraction fork.

Pig-face Orc Shaman from the Grenadier Dragon Lords Orcs of the Severed Hand Box Set
Pig-face Orc Shaman, rear view

Saturday, August 11, 2018

Unknown Painter: Malifaux Lilith and Collodi Crews

I did not paint the figures in this post but thought readers might be interested. I don't play with unpainted figures and didn't want to rush my own, so bought some painted figures to play with in the meantime.

Malifaux Mother of Monsters Set (Lilith Crew)
Malifaux Master of Puppets Set (Collodi Crew)

I got the two sets in the same eBay lot and the as I set my bid just for the Lilith lot, the Collodi crew was a free bonus. The Collodi figures are the older, metal figures, which are fine and good, but it was the characteristics of the plastic 2E figures which got me on board with the game.

I all but expected breakage even had the seller been careful, but they were badly packed along with another heavy metal figure, and the damage was considerable. Didn't seem to value their own work. A number of hours went into repairing what should have been ready to play with. The cherub and young nephilim are now a lot more sturdy than before, with metal pins holding them together. The young nephilim in particular are so fragile I would have been more surprised if they had shown up in one piece, and it was the other figures I was unhappy about. Oh well, in the end a nice group of figures and I can loan them out for demos once I have my own painted up.

Malifaux Lilith, Mother of Monsters
Malifaux Barbaros
Malifaux Terror Tots and Cherub
Malifaux Mature Nephilim
Malifaux Young Nephilim

Saturday, August 4, 2018

Malifaux WIP on the Workbench

Here are some Malifaux works in progress. More unfinished projects exposed to the light of day!

Malifaux Tooth and Claw Box Set (Marcus Crew)
Malifaux Vengeful Spirits Box Set (Kirai Crew)
Malifaux The Plague Cometh Box Set (Hamelin Crew)
Malifaux Molemen
Malifaux The Drowned
Malifaux Black Blood Shamans


  • I said it before but I love these figures! Yes, the bits are fiddly and skill is required, but I love the experience of putting Malifaux figures together and the finished figures are so satisfying as you see zero-undercut parts transformed into a dynamic figure seeming to have as many undercuts the design requires.
  • I prefer Proxie Models bases to those they come with. I glue the figures with plastic cement to bits of .01" plasticard because the base lip leaves a depression and because I fill the depression, I need the figure's feet to be at least as high as the top of the lip. It may also give a bit better purchase for figures with a small amount of feet surface area.(And the Shaman's don't have white plastic bits as they aren't glued yet.)
  • It was hard to commit to putting the smaller figures on 30mm bases and these were held up because of it. I prefer figures on the smallest base they look comfortable on, but using a different base size is a sure way to test your opponents patience if you are playing with the rules the game was intended for. In my cases, I wanted them to be ready for my own games but also ready to play with the Malifaux community. You can see I still haven't based the rats and still may go with bases that fit within larger bases for these, though the spindly legs put them at risk of breakage the more you need to fiddle with them before a game.
  • I'm going with an "empty lot" theme with the bases. Generally speaking I like my bases minimal and unobtrusive, and depicting one of the most common environments the figures would find themselves in. A quick look at the Malifaux map confirms empty dirt would likely cover the most area of various terrain types in places where encounters would take place. The empty lot theme also gives room to be less minimal when I choose, and you can see I've chosen that way for some figures above
  • Bricks were an element I thought was important to sell the empty lot scene. I made a bunch out of Sculpey clay pushed through a clay extruder tool and chopped with a razor blade. I'm using these sparingly and it's actually hard to spot them in the pics above.