The white dragon from the official AD&D line of miniatures is one of the highlights of this painting project. It has always been one of my favorite dragons, and this one is taken, look and pose, straight out of the original Monster Manual. So this is really as much a photo gallery of my work than a blog post, but I am really excited about getting these miniatures painted. Tonight I will describe round 2 of my painting method, which is the bulk of the actual painting. I have selected a dozen or so miniatures out of the pile I was given. See here for a few shots of this batch of miniatures straight out of long term storage, and the steps I took to prep them for the painting. If you want to delve a little deeper, you can go back here to my post where-in I describe my methods used to paint the miniatures from my Castle Ravenloft board game.Before we get started with that, there was one issue I needed to solve, and that was finding bases for the miniatures. The old metal minis have strange and often small bases which tend to leave the miniatures unstable. This, coupled with the importance of base size in newer editions of D&D, led me to search for a way to get better bases. A few options were available, such as buying plastic 1” bases, using coins (penny was too small, a quarter too expensive, I was eyeing the nickel) or, as one helpful commenter pointed out, by using 1” washers found at any hardware store. Sudden inspiration, however, led me to choose the cardboard tokens I have accumulated through 3 seasons of Encounters. The fancy tokens from Red Box and Monster Vault are too nice to use for this purpose, even though I have no intention of ever using them for their intended purpose. The glossy surface of the fancier tokens also had me worried the glue wouldn’t stick as well.
The tokens also alleviate one of my concerns, which was weight. Now, these babies are going to sit on a shelf somewhere, so there isn’t too much issue with weight, other than a washer or coin, doubling what is already much heavier than their plastic cousins. Whether the cardboard tokens were a good choice or not remains to be seen. Being cardboard, if they get wet they can be damaged, and with a weighty miniature glued to them, I could see the edges getting bent, scuffed, and eventually failing to keep the miniatures standing at attention. If that happens, short work with an X-acto knife, glue, and a new base will solve that problem. One last shot of the white dragon, next to his kin, the large green fro the 4e starter pack, and the large black lurker, from Demonweb if I recall. He stands up well, the rigid lil devil. The stand comes courtesy of the Red Box starter set, which supplied a large white dragon base. I went against my rule of using the dull finished tokens, but the coincidence was too good to pass up.
Glue consisted of Gorilla Glue (white) whih can be seen to excess on the bases. It really bubble up. There is no better glue I have found however, and I used it on the white dragon, whom I named Bohemian, in my honor, to good affect. I used it with superglue in a two-part process, since it takes gorilla glue 30-60 minutes to dry. A dab of superglue will hold it while the other sets. And really, it does expand, so be prepared to trim away huge bubbling sections. For careful gluing, like the dragons wings and tail, it was important to get it right. I had to do the tail twice.
Here we have the bulk of the first set all primed, using a white/black mix of all purpose acrylics. I like the lighter color, and tending closer to just using pure white, or some type of off white for a primer. I should look into finding a good premix. The lighter shade helps bring out subtle details and the consistency is good too. It seems to really give a good grip for future layers of paint, even the flimsiest thin metallics. When applying the coats of paint, I would go though an assembly line method. I would pick my color, and the brush I planned to use, then go through the miniatures one by one, applying that color where needed. If I was on a roll, I might have a spread of shades of that color, and just dab amongst them as I was going, doing a quick mix on the tip of my brush. It can get muddy with too much mixing.
My four dwarves, these chaps are a favorite. Sorry about the terrible focus. I will get better for their final shots, I promise. And that is only a few steps away. The drummer is great, a whole character concept. I am going to use these four dwarves as the Bronzebottom Brothers, a family of dwarven merchants known to the heroes of my campaign game, D Erte. They were ripped from a podcast game with Chris Perkins, and from a Dragon article about a similar set of dwarven brothers. I dont know where these miniatures came from. They were a very dull gray, almost like they were pre-primed. They have great details, and I love the non-traditional use of spears, it gives them an old-school wargame look, like they are a unit of dwarven spearmen, with drummer.
The ladies. The hair looks pretty bad now, but I am hoping with a good wash and some highlights, it will really draw the color out, nothing I can do about the style though. I think I am going to give the red head on the left a crimson unitard. There is a propensity to show plenty of midriff in these and mot minis. I have found, through play, that it is often the male players drawn to the bare-assed midriff showing harlots for their player characters rather than the women role players. For this reason, I try to show to paint the women in as appropriate attire as possible. To be fair, when I am reaching for a lady villain miniature, my fingers are drawn to the same bare-assed harlots. And as a dm with more ladies at the table than men, I can attest that this kind of stuff can become important. Bottom line: provide mix of slatern doxies and noble dames, and my own favorite mix, the slummin’ princess.
Here we have a few mighty heroes of the set, a brawny warrior, a wily magic user, and the lone member of the light elf infantry. I love conan, he is perfect in every way except that he does not wield or carry a broadsword. I must somehow rectify this, perhaps Gorilla glue willhelp me out here too. The wizard spell is my favorite. I intend to shade and highlight the hell out of that demonic summoning. Im mixed about the elf. He looks blah, I wonder about metallizing the green armour. Maybe I am metallic-crazy. The green armor seem rather heavy and yet weak, He needs work. perhaps the miracles of dry rushing will bring his inner infantryman to the fore. But dont expect miracles, as Im really not very good. See above, or below for proof of that.
Blazing skeletons, no, the bohemian halbardier wields a halberd, or possibly a voulge-guisarme. Here are a few loose ends. Two of which come from Ravenloft, finally got around to painting them. I am really happy with the dragonborn, although I cant say I really get the pose. Mid leap, perhaps. I am also happy with the flaming skeleton. Finding some way to keep the blue translucence was a challenge, and I think it does well.
I will end this post with a mystery. I am unable to tell what type of dragon this is supposed to represent. I am almost convinced its a gold or platinum, except for the evil glare. Maybe it actually is meant to be blue, though it is missing the distinctive snout-horn. If I had to guess, I would go with a black, with non-traditional backwards-pointing horns. They might be tied-back.