Friday 16 November 2012

Grenadier Wizzards And Warriors W53 Giant Tick (variant?)

Next up, a bit of an oddity. I got this miniature as part of a job lot from a certain auction site. It was quite badly painted - an entire tin of black gloss seemingly applied with a decorating brush! Once I'd got the paint off, there were no manufacturers mark to help identify it. After a lot of searching and some help from the guys at RalParthaMinis: Collecting Ral Partha Miniatures, I think that this is a variant Giant Tick from the very early Grenadier Wizzards And Warriors range:
It's a very simple, quite naive figure, in keeping with the rest of the early Grenadier sculpting. For the paint job, I wanted a combination that would automatically make you think "yeucck", hence the lurid pink and brown. I was actually very pleased with the way the brown came out - a suitably mottled effect!

The only base that the figure would comfortably fit on it left several "gaps" on the corners, which I've got around by adding the skull and bits of pieces of broken weaponry. I've also sprayed it with a gloss finish, rather than the usual Dullcote varnish; somehow the sheen gave the figure a more sinister look!

I had quite low expectations of this figure, and I'm actually very pleased with the way it came out. I can imagine it would have quite a lot of use in DnD games as a generic dungeon beastie to terrorise low level characters!

Wednesday 7 November 2012

Asgard Fantasy Monsters FM91 Knight Of Chaos On Foot

The accompanying figure is the Chaos Knight on foot. Whilst the mounted figure was OK - the photo really didn't do it justice, and I'll probably put up another pic soon - I wanted a slightly more "grubby" look, which I attempted here: 

I was a little bit happier with the paint job this time - primarily Citadel Tin Bitz, highlighted with dull gold, and with a green motif for the trimmings on the figure. Not too happy with the shield, though;  not one of my better efforts, and the flash on the camera did it no favours! As with so many of the Asgard range, the figure suffers from real proportion issues - the head and upper body are far too big for those skinny legs! I think it has got real presence though - you could imagine the figure being regularly utilised as the guardian of some dungeon treasure.

Tuesday 30 October 2012

Asgard Fantasy Monsters FM92 Mounted Knight Of Chaos

Next from the lead mountain was an old Asgard figure from the early 80's, although I vaguely remember getting mine in recent years from Viking Forge  ( As with a lot of the Asgard figures, it is very coarsely sculptured, especially when compared to equivalent figures of the era from Ral Partha and Grenadier:
The paint scheme was fairly simple - predominantly red, green and silver, then lots of washes and highlighting - and the base is just simple flock. As with so many figures from the Asgard range, it is weirdly out of proportion - the head of the Knight is far too big for the rest of the figure, and the entire Knight figure itself looks far too big for the horse! It's difficult to see who would have bought this particular figure - it's not really suitable for role play, and there were far better Chaos cavalry sculpts from Citadel/Games Workshop at the time. Combine that with the coarse sculpting and you can see why it wasn't a huge seller. The paint job didn't turn out quite how I wanted, either - in hindsight I should have perhaps gone for a darker, dingier effect. There is an accompanying  Knight of Chaos on foot figure, so I'll try that style with that figure next.

Thursday 25 October 2012

Grenadier Fantasy Lords 500 Series 504 Pet Dragon

First up out of the lead mountain for the new painting technique was this beastie from mid-80's Grenadier:
The paint job was a base coat of black, then a highlighting coat of sand primer, then another highlighting coat of white primer. I have to be honest and say that I didn't care for the effect that the sand primer gave, and in future I'll just stick to a base black coat plus white primer for highlights. After that - base colours of red and yellow, and then lots of washes followed by highlighting.

As with many Grenadier sculpts of the era, it is a slightly strange figure - obviously aimed at the role-playing contingent, as it is a "Pet Dragon", presumably for a sinister necromancer who wanted something more exotic than a chihuahua or a white cat ("I've been expecting you, Mister... Conan...?"). As such it could probably be regarded more as dungeon dressing, though I can imagine it getting a limited amount of play use for selected scenarios where you absolutely need a pet dragon. No wings on the sculpt - is it really a dragon? - and I do like the pot belly on it... it suggests it is a very well fed creature ;)

On the whole, quite pleased with the way the first figure using the new technique turned out - it's slightly "grubbier" than my usual paint jobs, especially on the yellows, which is always a sod of a colour to paint  anyhow - but on the other hand it does have greater depth in shading. Definitely something I will experiment with on future figures!

Saturday 6 October 2012

Minifigs Aureola Rococo Spirits And Wizard ARW5 Wizard Of Goodness

Bonus post this time round! I stumbled across a posting featuring some fantastic figure painting here:

- and I thought I would try the same technique with an old Minifigs sculpt I had lying around waiting to be passed on to a certain auction site:
Minifigs were one of the earliest fantasy miniature manufacturers, and they weren't very well sculpted or detailed. However, I was very pleased with the way that the figure turned out using the same technique - black primer, then a light sand coloured spray at approx 60 degrees angle, then a white spray from the same angle, followed by base colours thinly applied, washes and highlights. And it is quick - the figure you can see took about 45 mins to apply!

I'm going to be experimenting with the same technique for future posts to the blog; if they don't work out, then back to the tried and trusted approach...

Grenadier Fantasy Lords 1st Series 106 Skeleton Cavalry

The next nugget to be mined from the the mountain of lead was... another Grenadier. I remember reading somewhere that Grenadier was the largest producer of fantasy miniatures during its time, and may well still hold the record for amount of fantasy miniatures produced.Judging by the number of Grenadier pieces still hiding in the lead mountain, I'd have to agree!

The miniature is a two piece sculpture - a skeleton warrior, brandishing an axe, mounted on a skeletal horse:
It's a good sculpture I think - a very dramatic pose for the horse, though you could argue that the warrior is a little stiff in his posture. The figure was fairly easy to paint - black undercoat, then white drybrushing, then brown and dark red for the shield and barding, followed by the usual washes and highlighting, and I'm quite pleased with the way it turned out.

As with many of the Grenadier figures of the era, it is actually a very strange figure. When you consider that  fantasy wargaming was still in its infancy in the mid-80's, and that very few people would have had the money to buy a complete Skeleton cavalry unit, and that the majority of fantasy figures produced were for use in RPG's... it's difficult to know exactly who it was targetted at. I suspect it would have had limited value as a figure for RPG's, which may be why it was swiftly replaced by a single one piece sculpt for the Fantasy Lords 2nd series. Fun figure though!

Sunday 23 September 2012

Grenadier Fantasy Lords 1st Series 124 Dwarf Hydra

I haven't posted for a while - a combination of holidays and a new job have taken up a lot of painting time - but I've finally picked up the brushes again. Out of the box this time was a splendid but rather strange creature from the Grenadier Fantasy Lords 1st series: 
It's a strange figure in lots of ways - for starters, it is long, almost the length of two 45mm Games Workshop cavalry bases. In fact, that's what the base is, two plastic 45mm bases glued together and filled in with Milliput! After doing this there was a gap on the base at the front of the figure,  hence the addition of a couple of plastic skulls. Another thing that's not visible from the picture is that it is a very lopside figure - it originally came in two parts, and the necks+heads on the left hand side had to be attached to the main body, giving the impression it might just be ready to topple over.

The figure was fairly simply to paint - green base, then a green wash, then multiple highlights. The yellow scales were the worst bit; they had to be picked out and then highlighted without touching the green scales of the main figure. The base is just gray gravel from a model railway set! 
I'm quite pleased with the way the figure turned out, though I am still puzzled as to why it is a Dwarf Hydra. Does this mean that Grenadier meant to produce a bigger, "normal sized" Hydra? Or that the figure only attacks Dwarves? We shall never know...

Thursday 16 August 2012

Grenadier Fantasy Lords 2nd Series 047 Winged Warriors (3 of 3)

An earlier posting showed one of the Winged Folk from the Fantasy Lords 1st Series; I knew that there were different versions of the same figures for the 2nd series, and lo and behold they turned up on a certain auction site:

The main difference between the sets are the weapons carried:

1st Series: sword+net, bow, bolas
2nd series: sword (no net), crossbow, net

I'm quite pleased with the way these figures painted up; as they part of the same set I used a consistent colour scheme, mostly Games Workshop paints and washes. I'm still on the lookout for the swordsman+net and the bolas thrower from the 1st Series set, so I'll keep looking!

Saturday 14 July 2012

Grenadier Dragon Lords Fantasy Boxed Set 2009 Wizard's Chamber - Cauldron Spirit

And so on to the accompanying piece, the Cauldron Spirit. To my mind, this is a great sculpture - extremely atmospheric and sinister. It's hard to believe that it is part of the same set as the wizard:
The figure was very simple to paint - a base coat of light green, followed by GW washes and then highlighting. The cauldron is just matt black highlighted with Tin Bitz; the cobble stones at the base of it are just Milliput, painted dark gray and then highlighted. I was really pleased with the way this turned out! And finally - a shot of both figures together:
It's nice to see some of the older figures from the 80's paint up so well (although I still have my doubts about the proportions on the Wizard). I'm still scouring auction sites for the other parts of this set, and if I acquire them I'll revisit these figures.

Wednesday 4 July 2012

Grenadier Dragon Lords Fantasy Boxed Set 2009 Wizard's Chamber - Wizard

And still staying with Grenadier... next out of the box were a couple of components from a boxed set. Unfortunately I don't have all of the pieces - the fate of so many box sets from the 80's - but I do have the the two main pieces, the Wizard and the Cauldron Spirit. First up was the Wizard figure:
I was quite pleased with the way the figure painted up, although in hindsight I wished I'd used a red rather than burgundy for the robe. The floor tiles on the base are just Milliput, painted up grey. The figure itself is typical of Grenadier of the early 80's; quite coarse, and with real sculpting issues - just look at the hands, especially the one cradling the crystal ball! The proportions look wrong as well - that raised arm looks far too long for the rest of the figure, especially the legs. Perhaps what we have is the original Wizard Librarian from Terry Pratchett's Discworld novels, just before he mutates into an orangutan! Next up will be the Cauldron Spirit, and I'll also take a picture of the two figures together.

Wednesday 13 June 2012

Grenadier Julie Guthrie's Personalities 880 Wraith

Staying with Grenadier, the next figure out of the box was this wraith:
Initially I wasn't enthused; it seemed quite a dull figure, and unpainted the eyes looked like two clumsy pins stuck inside the hood. It was only when I started painting that it came to life (a bit ironic for one of the undead). This was an easy paint job; dark gray base coat, then a Devlan mud wash, then several highlighting coats before painting the eye stalks a vivid red.

The mist at the base of the figure is simply cotton wool, held in place with DullCote varnish, and I think it works pretty well! One thing struck me about this figure whilst painting it; it is small, especially when placed next to other figures from the same range. I puzzled over this for a while, before reaching the conclusion that it was deliberate, and that the figure is supposed to represent a female spirit - possibly an elf? That would explain the small stature and slenderness, and also some of the curves amongst the gray folds! It's a strange, slightly eerie figure, and I've very pleased with the way it turned out.

Sunday 27 May 2012

Grenadier Fantasy Lords 1st Series 179 Armoured Balrog

And back to Grenadier. They were by far the most prolific of manufacturers in the 1980's, which is why their figures are comparatively easy to pick up. In my opinion this figure is one of their best from the mid-1980's:
I think it's a fantastic figure - a Tolkein-esque Balrog, kitted up with breast plate, leg guards, shield and a flaming sword - definitely a "boss" figure for any dungeon! In particular, the sculpting on the face is terrific - it is quite monstrous IMHO. You could quibble about the scale of the wings in proportion to the rest of the figure, but let's not forget it's fantasy, eh? And besides, if a bee violates the laws of aerodynamics, who is to say that a Balrog can't ;)

The figure was basically done in Citadel Blood Red, then shaded with Carroberg Crimson wash, then lots of highlighting. I wanted the base to look like it was walking on red hot coals, so it's basically some grit effect material from a railway modelling job, drybrushed with red and then orange.

Very pleased with the figure and the way it turned out!

Friday 4 May 2012

Garrison Sword And Sorcery SS84 Horned Lizard

And now for something completely different. Garrison were amongst the earliest of wargaming miniature manufacturers, and also produced fantasy miniatures for the RPG market in the late 1970's/80's. Most of the Garrison figures from that era are still available to buy today; this figure is an original for the 1980's:
Initially I thought the sculpting was quite coarse, with not much detail, but I was pleasantly surprised at how well it painted up for such a simple figure. I'm not too sure how much use it would be in a RPG setting though; to honest it looks as though the worst thing this figure could do is give an unwary adventurer a nasty lick. The colours are based on pictures of iguanas found on Google, and the paint job is simple acrylics and inks, with a standard flock base.

Saturday 14 April 2012

Grenadier Dragon Lords Folklore Creatures Of The Night 2014i Ghost

Grenadier miniatures are readily available in the UK via certain auction sites, hence their high representation in the blog so far. This figure was next out of the plastic storage box:
The sculpting of Grenadier figures really improved throughout the 1980's, and I think this is a fantastic figure - compare it with the much more naive Grenadier Djinni posted earlier in the blog.

The figure itself was very simple to paint - undercoat of white, then Games Workshop Rotting Flesh, inks, then highlighting, The base is just some railway gravel from a model railway kit! It's a great figure, and I'm fairly happy with the way its turned out.

Tuesday 10 April 2012

Grenadier Fantasy Legends 3107 Troll

Next out of the box was another Grenadier figure; again, when I took it out I wasn't enthused, but it seemed to brush up quite well:
The two main issues I had with this figure were the weapon, which looked a bit flimsy for such a menacing creature, and the original metal base. I don't know what it was with Grenadier, but some of their figures - like this one, and the Talos figure I painted earlier - had monstrously thick bases, almost the thickness of a 2p coin! In the end I disguised it beneath a layer of Milliput, and then added sand/gravel on the top. Due to the shape of the original Grenadier base, I eventually ended up gluing it to a 45mm plastic cavalry base, but once on it the figure looked a bit lost! To try and fill in the spaces I added the boulder on the left hand side, which was a pebble from the garden, whilst the pile of skulls on the right was an unidentified metal casting that was acquired as part of a job lot from a certain auction site. I think it makes a splendid trophy pile for the fellow!

I tried a slightly different painting technique with this fellow - standard base colours, then a wash of Games Workshop Devlan Mud, then highlighting. The Devlan Mud gives him the grimy look I wanted to achieve. The pile of skulls were base coated white, then given a couple of washes of Games Workshop Scorched Brown, then highlights of white/cream. On the whole, quite pleased with this figure!

Friday 16 March 2012

Grenadier Dragon Lords 2027 Encounter At Crimson Citadel Well Spirit

This figure came as part of a job lot - unfortunately the rest of the figures from the box set weren't included:
Like many of the early Grenadier figures, it's slightly naive - but I think that just adds to its appeal. It's well sculpted, and has lots of movement - you can just imagine it seeping out of an underground well to startle the unwary adventurer!

The spirit was simple to paint; blue undercoat, ink wash, and then gradual highlights. The bricking of the well was done in the same way but with blacks and grays. Pleased with this one!

Saturday 3 March 2012

Grenadier Fantasy Lords series 1 120 Winged Folk (2 of 3)

These two fellows came as part of a job lot that I acquired from a well known auction site:

I'm very pleased with the way he's painted up; the figure is well detailed, even if the posture is a little stiff. The outfits are vaguely reminiscent of the Hawkmen in the dreadful 1980's "Flash Gordon" film, although fortunately the figure doesn't have the bulk of Brian Blessed, who played the leader of the Hawkmen... how did the producers ever expect anyone to believe that something THAT size could ever take flight! 

There are two other figures in this set - a swordsman and a bolas thrower - but unfortunately I don't have them yet. Back to the auction site...

Sunday 5 February 2012

Grenadier Monster Manuscripts Vol X MM81 Talos

In Greek mythology, Talos was a giant man of bronze who protected Europa in Crete from pirates and invaders, by circling the island's shores three times daily. This is the Grenadier take on him, circa mid-80's:

As with many of the Grenadier figures of the period, it's quite crude - the pose is slightly unnatural, but then I am guessing that was the intention of the sculptor.

The figure was fairly easy to paint - Citadel Tin Bits, then a black wash, then highlights of gold. Due to the height of the figure, the base was a one solid plinth of metal, which I've tried to disguise with stone blocks made out of Milliput, inked and highlighted.

From a gaming perspective, I think its a good figure - it makes an ideal metal guardian for stalking any number of dungeon corridors - but ultimately it suffers from comparison to the classic Ray Harryhausen animated Talos from the 1963 film Jason and the Argonauts. Now a scale figure of that by Grenadier would have been something to behold!

Saturday 28 January 2012

Archive Mythology 602 Young Male Centaur with Bow

Most of the figures I've got are stored in in a pile of plastic boxes; when I want a new figure to paint, I go to the top box of the pile, close my eyes, and pick a figure at random from the box, then put that box to the bottom of the pile.

This time, I picked a really old figure manufactured by Archive in the late 1970's. I have to be honest, when it came out of the box, my heart sank. It wasn't even a figure I'd actively gone looking for; it had come as part of a job lot of other figures I'd won on an auction site. Still, once out of the box it was a case of doing my best with it:

I'm not happy with it on lots of levels. The horse parts are OK, but the human part is incredibly coarse - just look at the proportions and moulding on that arm, and the face! And  check out the cord on the bow - you could use that to fire a ballista! Figure sculpting has come a long way since the late 1970's. The figure was also on an integral plinth-like base, which has been disguised with standard flock and Milliput boulders.

I'm still not especially happy with the paint job - although the horse parts painted up quite well, none of my usual shading/highlighting techniques seemed to do much to conceal the basic faults with the human parts of the figure.

The other thing I was thinking whilst painting this was, "why was this figure produced?" I'm guessing it would have been for use in ancient Greece-like D&D adventures, but I couldn't think of too many scenarios where you'd want/need a teenage centaur - surely you'd use a more generic war-like adult centaur. This one looks and feels more like a toy rather a serious gaming figure.

Anyhow, rant over. Figure done, and consigned to the painted pile (and probably bound back to the auction site from whence it came!).