Thursday, January 12, 2006

Priest of Gond and a Volt

I got my enormous package from my friend at Reaper, Matt Clark. I now have nearly 50 pounds of minis and paints in my workshop in the basement in addition to everything I already had.

I've been very busy building terrain features for the upcoming module I'm running my players through, Doom of Daggerdale and prepping the minis I will need for that adventure.

I've also been reading lots of posts on various miniature based boards, especially Reaper. One of the most common threads on such sites is "What minis do you want to see made?"

I really want to see some priests of specific Forgotten Realms particular I needed a priest of Gond for one of my players. There just ain't a figure out there, new or old, that even comes close. And if they did make one, I bet it would be a gnome.

Soooo, among the things I ordered from Reaper was Green Stuff and Brown Stuff to start working on making the minis myself that I can't seem to buy out there.

The first one I worked on was creating that Priest of Gond for my player. I had searched the internet far and wide, as so far as I could tell no company anywhere, ever, had made a miniature of a Priest of Gond. In the Forgotten Realms book they are pretty specific. Fat, happy, clad in yellow robes with a bandolier of tools and...a gigantic yellow hat.

I vaguely remembered seeing a miniature that might work as a scratch built base in the Reaper catalog my friend Matt had sent me. I had lost it, though, so I searched through the whole Reaper on-line catalog page by page and until I found a mini that might work as a base, from a really nice set called 02950 : Townsfolk: Clergymen. The figure is a pretty straight forward medieval monk.

The next thing I did was take the base off one of those plastic trees that people use for model railroads scenery and used my dremel tool (a thougthful gift from my wife!) to hollow out the trunk/stump area from the underside to fit over the figure's head in order to make the base for the "big yellow hat". It took a while to get the hole just the right size, but trial and error eventually yielded good results. I toyed with the idea of making the hat removeable, but decided that only invited a lost hat and more work to replace it. Gluing it on his head saved me some trouble in the future, I'm certain.

I then cut around the edges to make it round and sanded it down to get rid of the grooves that were there to represent roots. Then using my "Brown Stuff" I made the point and rim of the hat, also the holy symbol, sash and tool belt for the character as depicted in the Forgotten Realms Adventures book. I tried to get the sash to look like it was caught in the wind, but it kept drooping and I decided that even if I did get that wind-blown look it only meant they'd snap off in game play. I decided to let them touch the robe.

Lastly, I painted the mini once it all cured and dried. I'm not the painter I used to be and I'm having a little trouble re-learing the new techniques they describe for the Reaper Master Series paints, but with practice I'll get better. At any rate, I've got what is likely to be the best miniature of a Priest of Gond I'm ever likely to see. He's standing on some of that terrain I mentioned. There will be more details on that in a later post. I fight the temptation to torment the player using this miniature by having him encounter a curious little kobold named George.

With the left over brown stuff, I made another mini entirely from scratch based on a monster in the original TSR Fiend Folio, the Volt.

My friend, Matt, wanted to see the original artwork for one of my favorite monsters from the original Fiend Folio--the volt.

The volt is one of my absolute favorite monsters. I know that once upon a time, long long ago, someone made a miniature of it because it used to be in my friend Matt's collection. It was a tiny little think that sat on top of a very thin wire that stuck up out of a base. Matt doesn't have the miniature any more and nobody either of us have talked to remembers who might have made it. I could kill him for refusing to sell it to me when I bought most of the rest of his collection ten or twelve years ago.

My sculpt is much larger than the one Matt used to have back in the late seventies, early eighties. This was my very first attempt at sculpting anything. I think it came out extremely well. These things are supposed to swarm, so I'll eventually have to make more of them.

This was a pretty easy monster to make, but my very first original sculpt so it wasn't without difficulty for me. I rolled out a small line for the body, two balls for the eyes, lots of little tiny lines for the hair, then mounted it on a pin...squishing everything in the process and having to start over again. I used a needle to dig out the mouth and add detail to the eyes, then stuck the pin in some more brown stuff to make the base. I should have checked the illustration more often because I almost forgot the horns!

The tail kept succumbing to gravity and drooping, but Routunious the Priest of Gond was able to help me hold it up and under hot light it did eventually cure to the point that it held.

At any rate, I now have a volt. And I've also got the sculpting bug. If none of those boards are going to listen to my pleas for the old school monsters from MM, MM II and FF, I'm just going to have to make them myself.

So there.

If you have comments, I'd love to hear them. If you remember the original volt miniature, who made it, and where I might be able to get one--I'd really like to hear it! Googling "volt" or doing an eBay search for "volt" render extremely unsatisfactory results!

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