Monday, October 26, 2009

Crawler, the Director's Mount

I'd been wondering what to do with the WOTC Gauth for a long time, since it has no resemblence at all to the TSR description of that creature. Ral Partha did a good rendition of it, and I have one of those in my collection already.

The WOTC mini does make a reasonable fascimilie of the description of the Director beholder-kin. It looks like a beholder and has only six eyestalks, so other than not being 8-10 feet in diameter it is pretty good. It even has what looks like little appendages on its chin for holding onto a mount.

The Crawler, which is the Director's mount, is a weird cross between a giant centipede and a spider. I was trying to figure out a way to scratchbuild a mount for the WOTC gauth when I stumbled over the Mage Knight miniature "Thorn Crawler" (available at Troll and Toad for under a dollar, but getting pretty rare).

This creature looks like someone had the TSR crawler in mind when they made it, and then added "thorn" to the name to avoid any cease and desist action from WOTC. It has a centipede body, spirdery legs and eight eyes with spider mandibles.


I might have to break off one of the spikes behind the head so that the WOTC Gauth can fit up there (with a superglue saddle), but since a WOTC Gauth is going for nearly $20 at the same site, I can wait a while before I need to have a mounted director.

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Saturday, October 24, 2009

Apsect of Eilistraee

I just finished my scratchbuilt Aspect of Eilistraee, the dancing woodland goddess of goodly drow.

It was a pretty simple modification from the Urban Legends Sophie available at Reaper Miniatures.
I looked everywhere for a naked 72mm female elf with a sword, and the Urban Legends Sophie is really the best miniature for the purpose outside of sculpting your own. Once you have the mini, which is a fantastic sculpt by Werner Klocke and under $25, simply don't glue on the wings or the scabbard of the sword.

I then painted her using a black primer. Once the primer was completely dry--so as to avoid getting fingerprints on her smooth features--I worked up a nice length of Brown Stuff, a varient form of the "green stuff" sculpting epoxy from Reaper which I find a little easier to work with because it isn't quite as sticky.

I rolled the brown stuff out into a suitable length and then flattened it out, attaching it to the figure to create the long white locks of the drow goddess. Once the hair was attached and had begun to harden a little, I used one of my dental picks to etch in the hair and smooth the brown stuff into the hair of the original miniature.This inclued a second length of hair that I brought in through the crooked arm to flow down from the wrist. This step wasn't entirely necessary, but I liked the way it looked and it helped create the impression of the crazy long tresses Eilistraee is known for.

It took incredible patience, but then I waited 24 hours for the brown stuff to dry and harden, before putting a coat of white primer over the entire length of hair from the crown of the miniature's pre-sculpted locks down to the end of the hair that I'd added. I wanted to have her hair really shine and be irridescent, and black primer tends to give a ruddy appearance.

After the primer dried, then I began to paint the miniature using Reaper paints. I went with the painting guide of the Sophie as depicted in the website, but with drow coloration. I liked the red leather glove and leggings, because they show up nice on drow skin and reflect the only other color of a black widow spider, one of Lolth's avatars. Then I used true silver instead of gold.

The hair was done in Reaper Pearl White, so that it was shiny and opalescent. I used Storm Grey for the lips and breast accents, and emerald green for her eyes.

I'm not a particularly gifted sculptor or painter, but I'm quite pleased with my efforts and very happy to have another god to put on my shelf.

Scratchbuilding is going to be increasingly important as 4E has radically changed the pantheons of existing worlds and most of the gods have been eliminated. I'm sorry to say that Eilistraee does not fare well in the Lisa Smedman books and WOTC isn't likely to do a lot of miniatures of deities who are not current.

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Thursday, October 22, 2009

Real Minis

Found a nice minis blog called Real Minis while searching for info on the Snowball beholder promo. It is mostly posts dealing with an online version of minis gaming, but there are older posts reviewing minis as they are released by WOTC.

I haven't had a lot of time to scroll through his back pages, but I think the blog is a great resource if his tutorial on converting the Eye of Flame Beholder to the Snowball is any indication. The online gaming stuff isn't that interesting to me, but I like the repaints he's done and the tips on painting.

Right now I'm taking advantage of a night away from the theatre while my wife is out with a friend to sneak in several hours of D&D recreation in the basement. Working on some monstrology and getting some of my backlog of minis up on the shelf.

Will try to get the dungeon cleaned up soon and snap some updated pictures of the renovation project.


Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Lensman Scratchbuild

Well, in my never ending quest to have all the monsters, I've finally finished my prototype Lensman.

I'm a sculptor by necessity not talent or desire, and this was a bit of a rush job so I could see if it would work, rather than trying to create something that would win any contests.

Step One: Buy the Heroclix White Martian. I am picking up 10 of them from Troll and Toad for .99 each.

Step Two: Cut off his head and tail, then file and sand down the bumps that are left.

Step Three: take a bit of stiff wire and after drilling a hole where the neck would be, insert the wire and glue in place. This will be the frame to support the tentacle.

Step Four: apply green stuff to sculpt the tentacle, the chest eye, and the webbed loincloth.

Step Five: Paint to limits of desire and talent.

Like I said, I'm no sculptor and a lousy painter, I'm sure any number of you folks could do this a lot better. I'm mostly posting this as a template for a Lensman mini, not bragging about what meager talents I might possess. So, no need to critique the execution, I'm more interested in feedback on the idea for creating a lensman mini.

Friday, October 09, 2009

WOTC Ultimate Tyrant

It was always frustrating converting 3E materials to 2E use, but trying to do it with 4E is an exercise in futility.

I'm no stranger to that, and really have no choice but to make some effort to do so since all the WOTC minis will be using their radically changed concepts and structure and I will need to find some way to incorporate the new figures into my campaign world.

An example is the Ultimate Tyrant mini from the Legendary Evils set. In 2E, the terms Ultimate Tyrant and Hive Mother were both used for the same creature. I can't find any mention of Hive Mother in the new 4E MM2. The mini itself looks like The Beholder Formerly Known as Prince, but nothing like the 2E description of a Hive Mother. The old Hive Mother had no eyestalks but did have a full set of eyes set into its body and a much larger mouth with a beak as well as teeth.

In my world, because this thing is so huge and of such a weird color, I am going to use it as the avatar of the Great Mother as described in the Monstrous Arcana supplement I, Tyrant.

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