Saturday 31 May 2014

Grenadier Fantasy Lords box set 6004 Monsters of Mythology M1 Chimera

The Chimera was, according to Greek mythology, a fire-breathing creature composed of the parts of three animals – a lion, a snake and a goat. It is usually depicted as a lion, with the head of a goat arising from its back, and a tail that ended in a snake's head. 

Next from the Lead Mountain was this gem by John Dennett. Initially I was a bit underwhelmed - it looked a bit ridiculous to be honest, and I have always thought a Chimera was a weird idea for a monster anyway. You can see why a lion or a snake would be feared, but a goat!?!

As soon as I started to paint this up, I appreciated what a well sculpted figure this is – lots of detail, which really came to the forefront with a wash and then highlighting. The figure itself was a pleasure to paint – yellows and browns for the lion, a red and yellow design for the snake, and grey with white highlights for the goat. Simples!

I was really pleased with the final product – it’s a great figure, one of Grenadier’s best IMHO – very dynamic, and for once it gives an idea of how the Chimera might work as creature in D&D. You have the fire breathing lion with claws and teeth to drag down and savage adventurers, whilst the snake watches out for any one trying a stealth attack at the business end of things!

And the goat? The goat acts as a lookout whilst the lion and snake sleep - as soon as it sees or hears anything, it bleats and wakes them up!

Very pleased with the way this one turned out!

Sunday 18 May 2014

Grenadier Fantasy Lords 500 series Classics 532 Iron Golem

As soon as this came out of the Lead Mountain I thought WOW – what a great figure! This is a serious piece of metal, both in size and detail – I’ve posted a picture of a Grenadier Wood Elf druid next to it, and later Grenadier Elf figures were a decent size, but this simply dwarfs it (if you can ever dwarf an Elf… interesting idea ;))

The figure itself was a joy to paint – I used gray car primer as the base coat, then a coat of Army Painters Dark Tone all over, followed by lots and lots of highlighting with silver. The base is simply modelling sand.

I think this is a stunning figure – everything about it, the detail, the pose, just works. Imagine your party of adventurers wandering around a wizard’s treasure room and then finding this chappie guarding it! This is one of the best Grenadier figures cast IMHO. 

Very pleased with the way this turned out!

Hinchcliffe Fantasy (FA) Range FA10 Armoured Centaur

And next up – another relic from the late 70’s/early 80’s. Hinchcliffe were only of the earliest figure manufacturers – pre-Asgard -  and went through several changes of ownership. I believe they’d owned by Hinds now. As with all of the very early manufacturers, the quality if the sculpts often left a lot of be desired – they were primarily designed for wargaming use, with intention that you had lots of units looking pretty much the same, and keeping them simple to paint. When D&D became popular, Hinchcliffe took the same approach with their Fantasy range – a lot of their figures were very crude and not very detailed. 

When this sculpt got extracted from the Lead Mountain, I was NOT enthused. I mean – look at the back legs – it looks more like a grasshopper’s legs! And the length of that sword arm – has the centaur been stretched on a rack?!?! Ah well, out with the brushes…

I have learnt that the trick with painting a lot of the early mini’s is to keep it simple. With that in mind – dark brown for the horse body, leather for much of the webbing and the basic armour, red for the cloak and plume, silver for the sword and helmet, followed by soft tone wash. So good, so far. It was only when I started to highlight the figure that a lot of detail really came out – I was pleasantly surprised at how well it turned out. The base is simply green flock.

I still have major issues with the figure though – I mean, LOOK at that tail! Shouldn’t that be dangling off the back of a werefox or something? I can’t see it getting too much table top time – I have other centaur figures more suitable (mostly as part of a HOTT Wood Elves army), but I am quite pleased with this one – I really didn’t think it would turn out as well as it did.

Asgard Fantasy Monsters FM75 Giant Spider

The sun is out, and that means – I can varnish my figures! The weather has been foul over the last couple of weeks – just day after day of damp, misty weather that means any attempt to varnish would just end up with the figures looking as if they have frostbite. I have been painting in the period, and completed several figures – it’s just that I’ve not had an opportunity to varnish them.

First up, a giant spider from Asgard. This is a splendid figure with an unusual pose; I don’t think I’ve seen any other spider sculpts with the front legs reaching up and out, as if to tap the back of an unwary adventurer. It’s a decent size too – certainly big enough to scare even latter day sculpts – and the quality of the sculpt is pretty good for something from the early 80’s!

The paint job was surprisingly easy; base coats of yellow and brown, Army Painters Soft Tone wash, then dry brushing for highlights before picking out the white spines on the back. Nice and easy! The basing proved slightly problematical; the base of the figure was round, and too big for a 25mm square base, and too small for a 40mm base. In the end I compromised with a laser cut MDF round base, and then used sand to cover it. The skull is simply a GW plastic skeleton head added for scale.

Pleased with the way this turned out!