Slow night…

So, I spent most of the evening buying a new car, so no new miniature, terrain or gaming post tonight.

Instead I’ll discuss some idle thoughts I had while taking my lunch walk today.

1. Three new miniature ideas:
– Vine swarm. Pretty cool idea I think, a mass of animated vines which can squirm around like an ooze or knot together and form a solid plant-creature like thing. The miniature would be sort of like a “Man-Thing” made of knotted vines. Could be cool.
– Predatory flying fungazoid. This is a direct ripoff of the flying fungus from the novel “Ox, Orn and Omnivore” by Piers Anthony. I’ll have to spice up the mini though since in the novel it’s described as a sort of flying triangle with a single blobby foot. I’ll work on a compound sort of single eye in front of a B-2 bomber shaped fungus with a malleable “foot” and with tentacles coming out of the ends of the wings. Should be an interesting creature which will likely fly in packs.
– Chain golem. Yes I know that Wizards introduced chain golems, but theirs are pretty lame. My chain golems are more like animated spiked chains which can attack with reach and can trip, entangle and constrict targets. But the truth is I just think the large humanoid made out of chains sounds like an awesome miniature.

2. Bought some more materials for making miniatures. Found a box of “sparkling ice” on the wedding aisle at a Walmart, along with some flowers from the floral aisle. The flower petals look like they will make awesome fairy wings and the sparkling ice has already provided me with a collection of ice elementals of small and medium size. Plus I’m gluing some together to make some large ones. I also picked up some discounted plastic army soldiers which I can’t use as is, but I can cut off heads, arms or legs and use them in various ways…

3. I’m working on a colossal dragon (or is it gargantuan? I always get those two backwards…) which I am making from a very nicely detailed velociraptor miniature. I’ve already used some Apoxie sculpt material to add horns and bony ridges along the back, now I just have to make the wings. If it works out as I hope it will, it will be by far my most detailed and impressive dragon.

4. Bats, bats bats… I’ve been on a quest to find a cheap supply of bat miniatures of various sizes so I can have a steady supply of el cheapo dragon wings. If I can find some I could turn out a dozen dragons a day using dinosaur or lizard miniatures that are dirt cheap themselves. But everywhere I look I’m told that bat miniatures are only stocked during Halloween. So I suspect I’ll be raiding the local supermarkets on November 1 for discounted packs of plastic or rubber bats….

Anyone who has any ideas for how to make cheap miniatures, just let me know. I’m always open to clever ideas…

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Lots of armies…

I was looking to increase my miniature collection and to specifically come up with some armies that were tied to some of the major geopolitical elements in my campaign, so I looked around and found this guy on eBay from Hong Kong who sold unpainted boxes of miniatures sets of early historical armies, plus some fantasy figures like orcs, elves and undead. So I spent about $70 plus shipping from Hong Kong and got 367 minis that I then had to remove from sprues, paint and mount on bases. It took me a solid week to do them all, and this is a photo of all of them.

Here is a closer view of the “adventurers” set.

The woodland cottage

I don’t do nearly as much terrain as I would like. This was a very short and simple experiment in using a can of nuts as a form to create a round woodland cottage. I basically got a big wad of Sculpey clay and coated the can, then used a stick to score the outline of stones, and then cut out the door and windows, then baked the clay to harden it, and then painted it. The roof is supposed to be a sod roof, it’s made of foam with a plastic insert to fit over the top of the walls. I thought it came out pretty nice and it looks like I’ll be using this sort of technique again.

After painting it I glued on some floral lichen to create the overgrown weeds/ivy look. It looks better in real life, the harsh lighting of the camera flash really exaggerates the paint job and shadows…

Repurposing…

I’ve already posted some of the dragons I modified from the “bucket o dragons” from the “How to Tame Your Dragon” movie. I modified them mostly to add front legs. One type of dragon from the bucket already had four legs plus wings, and I painted a couple of others without modding them. A ‘dragon’ with hind legs and wings, but no forelegs is what I call a “wyvern.” Wyverns are related to dragons but not nearly as formidable. So what we have here are a couple of wyverns and a couple of dragons.

Mythical creatures

I keep my eye out for anything I can use to make miniatures. (And I mean “anything” you would be surprised by what I think will work for making or modifying miniatures.) There is a company that produces a range of miniature figures and packages them in “toobs”. I’ve bought four or five of the toobs, including a bug toob, a tree toob and this, a “mythical creatures toob”. The toob included a unicorn and a wingless dragon, but I frankensteined the unicorn (I gave it a bigger horn) and I added wings to the dragon, so they aren’t in this picture. These six figures were only lightly painted and/or dipped in varnish/stain to improve their shadowing and protect their finish. The only one of these that is somewhat problematical is the mermaid, in game terms she’d be a giant mermaid, but seven usable minis for less than seven bucks isn’t a bad deal.

More frankensteining…

Still cutting and slashing my poor miniatures and sticking them back together. Someone on one of the miniature making message boards I post on asked me what I thought of Sid from Toy Story due to my tendency to hack toys apart and stick them back together… I guess he has a point.

On the left we have a creature that was prominently featured in stories by the noted sci-fi writer A.E. Van Vogt. One of his creations was a feline creature with tentacles coming from its shoulders which sucked potassium from its victims. D&D appropriated the creature years ago and calls it a “displacer beast”. The original Van Vogt creature had front legs twice as long as its back legs, but I took the lazy way out and used a standard cat mini.

The thing on the right is an “owlbear”, which is an iconic D&D monster that is a mutated hybrid of owl and bear. It might sound silly but an owlbear is a highly dangerous beast in the game. The only reason I have one is that I cut the wings off an owl miniature to make a pegasus and ended up with a wingless owl. So I put some bear arms on it, cut off its tail and painted it, and presto, owlbear. It looks nothing like the owlbear paintings in the rule books, but who cares, it’s clearly an owlbear.

In the middle I have an “in progress” miniature that I have since finished. It was originally going to be a manticore but I didn’t have a human head that was scaled to fit the lion body, and I decided a human head wasn’t as fearsome as a lion head anyway, so just stuck with a lion head, but added the eagle’s wings and scorpion’s tail (I made the tail from epoxy putty). The wings are actually from a duck, but they are close to eagle wings. I have since completed the paint job on this and it came out pretty dang nice. One of my best minis actually.

More hacking and slashing…

I’ve started to enjoy what I call “frankensteining” creatures. Usually that means I’m cutting creatures into parts and then recombining them in different ways. Or I’m using epoxy putty to make new parts for existing animals. Both techniques are represented here.

So I was on Facebook and somehow “The Wizard of Oz” came up, and I started thinking about the flying monkeys from the movie and figured I could make those… but I had no monkey miniatures (a lack I’ve since addressed) but I did have some gorillas. So I figured if flying monkeys were nasty, flying gorillas would be much worse. So I got some epoxy putty while watching a movie and put some wings on a gorilla and then painted it.

I’ve had a couple of crab miniatures for a while. Originally I thought I’d just use them as is, but then I decided my campaign is not close enough to the sea to use giant crabs. So I decided that giant spiders with crab claws would be pretty nasty since they would have the grabbing of crabs coupled with poisonous spider bites. Plus I just wanted to see how it would look. Came out pretty nice I think.

The centaur is just a horse mini with one of my least favorite Mage Knight miniatures frankensteined together. The end result was much better than I expected. I’m going to make more.