Saturday, 29 November 2014

Dungeons & Dragon's Adventurers

Over the last few weeks i've been working on some miniatures to make up the adventurers in my upcoming 5th Edition Game. I'll be running the game for seven of my friends next weekend, and it seemed like it would be a missed opportunity if I didn't use miniatures for the game!  

I'll take some photos and share how it went, until then I can't share which monsters i'll be using (as those friends read this blog) but you can see here the Adventurers here.  From right to left they are, (Back Row) Human Wizard (Sage), Human Barbarian (Outlander), Wood Elf Cleric (Soldier) and (Front Row) NPC Oswald the Overburdened (The Fighter's servant), Dwarf Rogue (Charlatan), Human Fighter (Noble) and Half Elf Bard (Spy).

Avatars of War Barbarian

I've taken a break from painting Bones miniatures, I still have a ton to work through but unfortunately there wasn't a figure that I felt represented this particular player's character.

Originally I wanted to paint Scibor's Extremely Barbaric Barbarian but Wayland Games couldn't get one even after weeks of trying so I had to come up with an alternative.  I didn't want one wearing a lot of armour as this is supposed to be a Level 1 Dungeons & Dragons character and one of the features of the class is 'Unarmoured Defense'.

I searched for quite a while to find the right model and finally whittled my options down to the Avatar's of War Barbarian and the Hasslefree's Akos the Scorned.  I was so tempted to get the Hasslefree miniature, its got a fantasticly dynamic pose, is of exceptional sculpting quality but in the end I felt Akos didn't fit in very well to the rest of the party.  I'll still be getting the Hasslefree miniature when I can though, its just too good a miniature to pass up.

This miniature has a lot of skin and I mixed a base coat of 50/50 Elf Flesh and Dwarf Flesh and built up layers of progressively lighter flesh tones over that.  I was tempted to paint the metal parts in a Non Metal Metallic technique but decided to keep it simple.  One trick I used which worked very well was with the eye.  I painted the white (only one eye is visible) and put the black pupil in the side of the eye.  This makes him look like he's suspiciously looking to his left.  If I had put it in the middle he would have looked a bit unfocussed I think.  

I hope you like him!

Sunday, 28 September 2014

Reaper Bones Anirion aka Raistlin Majere

This isn't Raistlin Majere from the Dragonlance series of books and adventures. Honest.  He just looks quite a bit like him!

This is actually Anirion from Reaper but he holds such a resemblance to the complex magician from the Dragonlance books I couldn't resist painting him to match.  I didn't quite go as far as giving him pale gold skin but he has similar robes and shares the same white hair and crystal topped staff.  I did a lot of blending on the robes both on the red and blue sections prior to adding the gold runes.  It started with quite a dark Scab Red then progressed through Blood Red all the way up to Lava Orange, needless to say there were quite a few layers between the three colours.

Once the blue hem was finished I debated whether to add the gold runes or not as I was a bit concerned I'd mess it up and ruin all that blending work but I think it worked ok.

Games Workshop Plaguebearer

Over the last couple of days I've been working on two more figures for my upcoming Dungeons and Dragons 5th Edition game.  If you haven't had a look at the new version I highly recommend it, they have managed to capture the feeling of adventure with some straightforward rules that encourage role-play and simplify combat without making it boring.  Anyway enough about that.

For my players, STOP READING NOW!!!

For the rest of you, this miniature is a plastic Games Workshop Plaguebearer, now I don't like Games Workshop much for various reasons but sometimes they have the miniature that fits the role I need filled and this is one of those occasions.  I needed a new one eyed monster called a Nothic and the choices were very limited.  
I could have bought one of the D&D Miniatures but they are difficult to find and expensive compared to the cheap Plaguebearer.  Its also much more scary I think and for the encounter it'll be used for that's going to be important.
I used Citadels Technical paint, Nurgle Rot for the first time on this model and like all the other Technical paints I've tried this was excellent.  In fact these technical paints are the best thing Games Workshop have done in the last ten years in my opinion. 

I used Rotting Flesh as a base with a Blood Red wash over the boils and intestines which were painted a light pink.  The Nurgle Rot was then layered over the open wounds and boils to build up a real gloopy mess.  It dries slightly translucent and very shiny and looks extremely unhealthy.  I love it.

The sword I wanted to look like chipped Obsidian so a black base with a sharp white highlight seemed to do the trick, I might gloss varnish the sword to make it look more glassy.

Overall I think he looks like you might catch something nasty just by looking at him.

Thursday, 25 September 2014

Reaper Bones Halbarand the Cleric

This is another character for my upcoming Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition game.  I've painted him as a Tempest Domain Cleric. 

I tried a new technique of basing the armour with Kommando Khaki building up successive layers of white, unfortunately the photos don't really show this very well.  My only available time to photograph my miniatures at the moment is during the hours of darkness (which sounds much more sinister than it is) and its messing with the lighting quite a bit.

The cloak and surcoat come out ok although they are a bit shiny even after a coat of Anti-Shine.

I'm waiting for a delivery of my next character, a Barbarian from Scibor you can see in the photo, i'm going to base him on a regular 30mm base for tabletop and i'll paint the giant head as a display base for when he's not being used. 

So while i'm waiting for him to arrive i'll be painting a Chaos Plaguebearer next for a secret mission!

Tuesday, 16 September 2014

Bones Oswald the Overladen

Have you ever had a real look at your Dungeons & Dragons character's equipment list?  The spare sword, the two winter blankets, the cooking pot, half a dozen torches and a lantern, all those extras that every self respecting Adventurer (aka Mobile Murder Machine) needs to survive in style?

Well if you have you might want your very own Hireling to follow along after you carrying your possessions, who knows he could do your laundry and cook your meals too if you needed him to. 

With that in mind i've painted my latest Bones Miniature, Oswald the Overburdened.  I used to have a Citadel miniature similar to this one many years ago who was holding a torch and even had a kitchen sink tied to the top of his pack, I might have to see if I can get another.  I rather like the idea of my adventurering party being followed around by a gaggle of peasants like in Monty Python's Holy Grail.

Anyway, painting wise he was fairly straightforward, individually each part of the model is simple but the sheer volume of different items to paint really put a strain on my pallette.  I only have so many browns afterall and this fella has a ton of pouches, barrels, wooden handles etc.  Overall i'm happy with him, I hope you like him too.  

Monday, 15 September 2014

Bones Turanil, Male Elf Paladin

I took to calling this one the Pretty Boy Peacock Elf while I was painting him, the shield design is so different to most that you see it was a bit intimidating to start with, but once I began it was really easy to paint the peacock and deceptively easy to just keep adding more and more highlights.

I wanted to echo the peacock colours of vibrant blue green and gold in the rest of the model but the green was too much and made it look a bit undefined,  I like to keep my colour schemes fairly simple as I think they have more impact that way.  I free hand painted the wood grain on the inside of the shield which worked out better than expected and the gems on the sword came out nicely too but the face didn't translate too well into the Bones material and some of the detail was lost, not enough to affect the usefulness of the miniature though.

Actually, this is another character for the 5th Edition D&D game i'm going to run so the player will have to be happy with it too I suppose.  With his large shield and longsword and heavy armour he's clearly a Defensive Fighter,  so will add some much needed control to the battles i'm going to throw them into.  I have to dmit i'm really looking forward to having the whole group of seven heroes painted and together for a group shot.   

Thursday, 11 September 2014

Bones Galladon, Male Wizard

I'm going to be running a Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition game in December and am getting some Player Characters ready in advance. This is the first, Galladon the Enchanter of Emberwood.  I didn't want him to look like Gandalf so went for a blue theme and tried out illuminating the first letter on the scroll like in ancient religious manuscripts.  I think it worked ok.

I'm going to have seven players for this game and I don't hink any of them have played 5th Edition yet so it'll be a bit of a challenge but the system is really good and i'm sure they'll enjoy the adventure I have planned for them.

Originally I intended to run a humorous game and have the players play Goblins, Orcs or even an Ettin (the Ettin was going to be played by two players who would argue over what to do each round) but when I put some thought into it I realised that the funniest encounters have never been written to be funny but became that way due to the players themselves.

With that in mind, the seven characters i'm making up will be fairly stereotypical and hopefully the players will breathe life into them.  

What do you think?  Are deliberately funny adventures more amusing than the serious ones that get derailed by crazy players?

Saturday, 5 July 2014

Bones Oxidation Beast and Bones Battleguard Golem

Deadly Enemies

I really enjoyed painting these two, they were painted as a pair but I wanted to base them separately so I could use them for other purposes than just as display peices.
The Battleguard Golem was a bit of a challenge, I didn't like the model that much, the proportions seem a bit off and it never really inspired me to paint it.  But when I was looking for a model with a lot of metal to be the Oxidation Beast's victim this one stood out, not only is his armour at risk of being consumed by the monster, he is his armour so his very existence is in jeapody.

I began with a base coat of Boltgun Metal with a wash of Nuln Oil to bring out the details, on the right side he then got successive layers of Runefang Silver, washes and finally a layer of Gloss Varnish over the bright silver to make it really shine (a trick I picked up from Hendybadger, thanks mate!) this contrasts well with the very matte finish you get from the Ryza Rust and Typhus Corrosion.  The Sword was painted with the same colours but different washes and with the addition of a Burnished Gold hilt and an ivory pommel.  I wanted the sword to look quite different to the armour and I think it worked ok.  The gem on the blade, they eyes and the gem on the back of the armour started with Temple Guard Blue, a little Nihilakh Oxide (Technical Paint) for the glow and a point of pure white at the top.

I wanted it to look like the Oxidation Beast's attack was creeping up his body from his left foot and hand up through his body, so over the base coat I layered Typhus Corrosion and Ryza Rust with a little Runefang Silver on the edges, i'm really happy with the effect, these Technical paints are very very effective.

The Oxidation Beast (or for us old D&D players, The Rust Monster) started to go wrong but i'm happy with how it turned out in the end.  
I took my inspiration from real world Millipedes and started with a sandy beige colour with layers of Agrax Earthshade, Army Painter Strong Tone Ink and Reikland Fleshshade and
it was starting to look like a Facehugger from the film Alien, it just didn't look right.  In the end I layered Vallejo Parasite Brown over the central body sections and forelimb armour plates and highlighted the edges of the side armour with a pale mix of white and Bubonic Brown.  At first I thought this was too light a shade but it's grown on me and now I think it was the right choice.   

Mobile Painting Desk

Like a lot of painters I don't have the luxury of a permanent studio area to paint in, to get around this I use a mobile paint station.  This has evolved and changed quite a bit since I got back into painting and I thought an update would be a good idea.

You might notice the doorbell on the bottom right. This is to summon my 15yr old son when I want him to come down from his room, usually to make me a cup of tea.  I know, i'm a bad parent, but he doesn't have any other chores.

The desk itself has a raised shelf across the back, a large painting area, a pull out keyboard shelf which is handy for keeping tools on and plenty of space underneath for storage boxes (mainly filled with half painted minis).  You can pick these up on eBay for under £10.

I'll run over how I use this space and what some of the additions are.  Across the top shelf I have two three-teired nail varnish display shelves (£8 each from ebay, let me know if you want the details) which hold 33 Vallejo 17ml bottles or a combination of Citadel bottles.  These even fit the now discontinued but excellent six sided bottles they used to make.  In front of the stands I have another row of bottles and the Technical paints and washes I use a lot.  Finally attached on the left is a magnifying desk lamp with a daylight bulb, I use this mostly for the light but the lens comes in handy sometimes.

Covering the painting area I have a large non slip self healing cutting mat, these are great and really cheap at about £5.  From left to right on this shelf I have a small bench vice I picked up from a junk shop, this is fantastic for modelling and I recommend picking one up if you see one (one tip, get one with the square flat anvil area behind the vice, its really useful).  I also have a desk clamp with a magnifying glass which come sin handy for holding models together while glue dries.  

On the right I have a water jar and a brush holder, this is full of mostly old brushes which get used to metallics, drybrushing, pva glue.  I have a second pot I keep my Winsor & Newton Series 7 brushes in (bought for me by a good and very generous friend as a thank you for painting a wedding cake topper for him) along with a precision craft knife and my pin vise drill.  I also have a couple of Games Workshop's mixing palettes which I use all the time, normally i'm not a great fan of GW's accessories but these are fantastic because they are slightly slippery and can be washed clean really easily. Some of the palettes i've used in the past are a real paint to clean and built up old paint holds dust which can make the mix you use over the top gritty.

The pull out shelf is generally used as more space for tools like pliers and craft knives and I use it when i'm putting together larger models and need more room.  Under this shelf i've got four sets of storage boxes with pull out draws, these hold basing materials, spare paint and far more half finished miniatures than i'm comfortable to admit.

The real advantage to this desk for me is that I can use my computer while I paint, watch TV and be sociable with my wife while she watches TV but I can wheel it into another room when i'm not going to be painting for a while or need the family room tidy for a party.  The disadvantage is I can't really use an airbrush as I think it would make too much mess and noise and i'd really like to try one out.  

Wednesday, 2 July 2014

Reaper Bones Orc Chieftan and Scibor Mad Dayn

This week I decided to get my act together and do some painting, to kickstart it I treated myself to a resin miniature from Scibor and while I was working on that I finished off the Reaper Orc Chieftan that had been stalled for ages.

I'm pretty sure this is a problem common to many painters, a long line of miniatures that have been started and not finished, in some cases just primed and based and in others close to finished.  I have far too many of them to be comfortable with and have decided to make a concerted effort to get them finished.  We'll see how well that works!

Ok first the Scibor Dwarf.  This is the first Scibor miniature i've painted and one of the few resins  i've ever bought.  The sculpting is very clean although not as imaginative as I had thought, a few more details like a belt knife or some more detailed boots would have been nice but the pose is fun and I can't complain about the quality.

I tried some free hand tartan on the trousers which sort of worked but they came out a lot darker than I think they should have.  The problem was of my own making, I made the shirt too dark and lighter trousers looked weird so I had to darken them.  I also tried out the Citadel technical paints 'Ryza Rust' which I love.  The trick is to use a stiff stipple or old dry brush, wipe most of the paint off onto a tissue then dab the area that should be rusted until a deep enough layer has formed.  The edge is then picked out with Runefang Silver to make it look like that's the only part that gets any action.  

The Reaper Bones Orc Chief had been sitting staring at me from among his half painted friends for quite a long time.  Long enough to have hatched numerous evil plans for my demise from the look on his face!  However, those Technical paints came to the rescue again and motivated me to use the 'Typhus Corrosion' 'Ryza Rust' and 'Blood for the Blood God' versions to make him look really grungy.  The Typhus goes on first which makes the metal look really grimy like the inside of an oily engine, over this patches of rust are allied then  the same Runefang treatment to sharpen the edges.  On the axe the Blood for the Blood God is then applied, its pretty gloopy but not as good as the other technical paints I don't think.