This blog is about the world of gaming miniatures, as seen from my perspective. I've been collecting and painting for over 30 years now, and while my primary focus is miniatures for D&D, I also enjoy many other games that use minis, so we'll be covering those as well. Thanks for stopping by!

Friday, May 27, 2016

Reaper Marsh Troll (2609) by Bob Olley

This Reaper Marsh Troll is another great example of why I love painting Reaper minis. There are  always a couple of details that reach out and grab you, even if at first glance it looks somewhat pedestrian. Let me explain: OK, we have a troll moving through a swamp. He's not running, attacking, roaring, or anything dynamic. He looks like he's moving with a purpose, looking ahead, and not necessarily looking for trouble.

But check out the fish he's carrying! When I first saw it, I pictured a large, colorful Asian-style carp, and pretty much knew that would be my chance to add some color to a mini that has a decidedly monochrome look about it. The troll's claws/nails are brighter than the rest of his body, pretty much the only contrast on the troll. So I went with vibrant reds, oranges, and purple on the carp. There's even a bit of gold on it that doesn't really show up in the pictures, but it's there. And I used some nice light greens on the base to add a bit more color as well.

Here's a closeup of his face. I thought about giving him some black hair, or even bright green, but in the end decided against it, if only to stay consistent with his overall look.

Have a great weekend!

Monday, May 23, 2016

Grenadier Giant's Club Fire Giant (3501)

This is the third fire giant I painted a few months ago, and also happens to be the third Giant's Club giant I have finished in my ongoing project of painting all the GC giants. Not very pleased with some of the color choices in hindsight, specifically the green and blue patches on the pants, as well as the green trim on the shield. Probably should have gone with some more neutral colors on the pants, and maybe red or yellow on the shield trim. Ah well, he's done and I'm happy.

And here is the group shot of my completed Giant's Club giants to date:

I can't say that I'm too crazy about the fire giant's pose. It's like he's taking a leisurely stroll through The Hall of the Fire Giant King or something, sword casually resting on his shoulder. Oh well, I guess even giants get a day off every now and then.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Grenadier Fire Giant (713) by Julie Guthrie

I picked up this guy back in 2012, and it only took me what, four years to tackle him? I painted a trio of fire giants at the end of 2015 or beginning of 2016, and this Julie Guthrie model is the second of the three I am presenting today.

This is just an outstanding example of Julie Guthrie's work. To me, it captures the look and feel of the illustration from the first Monster Manual, except this brute is hefting an axe instead of a sword. The mix of plate and dragon hide armor is perfect, and I'm pretty happy with the results.

The axe is pretty plain, but if that's my only gripe about this mini, I think I can let it slide.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Citadel C28 Fire Giant aka Darth Maul

I do love the Citadel C28 line of giants. There are 9 different bodies, 10 heads, and 8 weapons according to the CCM wiki, so it offers the discerning collector a chance to mix and match to their heart's content. As soon as I had this particular C28 giant in my hands, I knew exactly what it was going to be: I give you Darth Maul, fire giant.

I mean, come on, how could I NOT paint this guy up as a fire giant with red head spikes? I briefly toyed with the notion of giving him some red face paint, but quickly decided against it. It's OK to use Darth Maul as a creative inspiration, but I didn't need to go all the way.

Darth didn't come with a weapon, so I made him a placeholder axe out of various bits. The haft is way too long, so the proportions are out of whack. But it will do for now until I am able to replace it with something more suitable (I think the C28 sword or mace would do just fine).

You can see some nicely painted C28 giants on Orclord's SOL page (along with a veritable treasure trove of giants and many, many other creatures).

Friday, May 13, 2016

Ral Partha 11-488 Cyclops repaint

I've always loved this particular sculpt from the AD&D 11-series. He's big, muscular, looks pissed off, and is about to ruin some adventurer's day with the rock in his hand. I wish I had taken a "before" pic so I had something to compare it to now, but I'll remember that down the road. I know it saw a lot of use on the gaming table, but time and a smallish base took their toll. The paint was chipped in strategic locations (the parts that made contact with the table every time it fell over) and he was starting to look quite ragged. So into the stripper he went, and then a new base was crafted to keep him stable. Look ma, no more tipovers!

I anticipate this newly refurbished cyclops will once again see a lot of use on the gaming table, terrorizing the PCs and causing mayhem, as giants are wont to do. Only this time, he won't be constantly tipping over!

Sunday, May 8, 2016

DragonTooth GI-6, Big Meg and Her Stewpot

It's been way too long since I finished a project, much less one of my favorite subjects - DragonTooth giants. Last time I finished a DT giant was back in 2012, so I'm a bit overdue. Big Meg has been sitting on the workbench since 2010, when I picked her up in a nice lot of giants. I was working on her and a repaint of my Ral Partha 11-488 Cyclops over the past several weeks, so it was nice to finish not just one but two (two!) projects. I know that's peanuts compared to some of you more dedicated painters, but it's progress for me.

What can I say about Meg? How about she's so ugly she's beautiful. Her face is kinda flat and broad, with one bug eye and a single snaggly tooth. Her limbs are thick and beefy, and Sir Mix-A-Lot would be a fan of her rear end and then some. Tom Loback was such a wonderful artist, so good at adding life and character to inanimate bits of lead. Big Meg has that "it factor" in spades, at least in my opinion.

Painting her presented a new challenge for me, as she is of course nearly naked. I don't think I've ever painted this much bare flesh on any miniature, much less one this large. Lots of creases, folds, and random dimples to deal with. I was trying to achieve a pale, pasty complexion, with dirt and grime in the appropriate areas, as I picture Meg hanging out in a cave lair. That explains why her feet are dirty, from scuffling around her cave, hunched over a cooking fire, tending her stew.

She has a unibrow. Hawt!
Why did I paint her stew green? I don't know, isn't all giant stew green? Actually, it was purely for aesthetic reasons. It was the only place I thought a pop of color would look appropriate, and the stew in Conan the Barbarian (remember the orgy scene where they kidnap the princess?) was kind of a sickly whitish-greenish glop, so that was my inspiration. The only non-OEM part on Meg is the stewpot handle. I fashioned mine out of wire, as the ones I made out of Green Stuff and Milliput both proved to be too brittle and broke.

And here's a picture with both of my completed DT giants side-by-side. I would hate to run into these two, although I could totally picture them in The Steading of the Hill Giant Chief. Such a cute couple!

Monday, May 2, 2016

The Impossible Dream

I have been a footballer (translated into 'Merican: soccer player) since I was 11. It's a wonderful sport to play and watch, and I love it so much I still play at least twice a week, sometimes more. I will play as long as my body can keep pace with my desire.

Moments ago, Leicester City Football Club became the champions of the Barclays Premier League, England's top professional league. They were 5001-to-1 odds to accomplish this feat at the beginning of the season. Last season, they had just been promoted into the Premier League, and spent most of the season at the bottom of the table (standings), and would have been relegated (demoted) if they had not gone on an improbable late season run that kept them out of the relegation zone and in the league.

Imagine if MLB demoted the 3 or 4 worst teams each season, and promoted an equal number of AAA teams to take their place. That's the best comparison I can make to paint a fairly accurate picture of the relegation/promotion system. So take my beloved and beleaguered Seattle Mariners for example. They've had some lean seasons before. Imagine them being demoted to AAA, playing well enough to claw back into MLB, play well enough to just barely stay in the big leagues, and then win the World Series the following year. Impossible, improbable, unlikely, take your pick. But it could happen!

Why do I support Leicester? Because of their goalkeeper. I am, of course, a loyal Seattle Sounders FC supporter, as they are the team I grew up with. But many football fans adopt international professional teams for any number of reasons. It always makes for entertaining smack talk at work, if nothing else. It also gives you an excuse to wake up stupid early on weekends and drink beer for breakfast if that's your thing.

In 1998-1999, Manchester United won their famous treble, taking home the Premier League title, the FA Cup, and the UEFA Champions League crown. Their keeper was Danish legend Peter Schmeichel. My friend Phil and I were along for the ride, watching the games and taking it all in. As a brother goalkeeper, I tend to get attached to teams based on their keepers. But I never hitched my wagon to United, or any other team. I guess I cheered for teams that had American born players in net (Kasey Keller, Brad Friedel, Tim Howard, etc.). But in 2014 I discovered that Kasper Schmeichel, the son of Peter the Great, was playing for Leicester, so I decided it was time to pick my Premier League team, and it was the Foxes of Leicester.

Their run at the end of the 2014-2015 season was fun to watch, if more than a bit nerve-wracking. But who would have thought LCFC would fire their manager who guided them to the Premier League and then to safety, and bring aboard a nice but not hugely successful Claudio Ranieri and then go on to win first place in the BPL? Not me, and pretty much not anyone else in the football world.

So congratulations to mighty Leicester, who dared to dream big and had the skill, courage, and spirit to see that dream become reality. Fearless, indeed.