After a week away for work, I came back just in time for the long Easter weekend and had quite a lot of time for painting. I spent most of that time finishing off my Reaper Bones frogmen and working on Mudcroak the squog shaman, so I hope I’ll be able to post a photo of them all together next week. I also did some quite quick paint jobs on three old Citadel Miniatures – one for Shin High Terror, one for my Sidequest of Chaos, and one just for fun.
April is shaping up to be a really busy month. This weekend my in-laws visited, next weekend an old friend is in town after a couple of years in Iraq, I’ve got a weeding to attend at the end of the month, and right now I’m in a hotel in a rather run down area of Vienna where I’ll be working for the next few days. So, I have made progress on neither drawing nor painting, and I think the next few weeks will be much the same. Still, I managed to squeeze in enough time to finish the details on two old Citadel Miniatures to a standard I’m happy enough with.
The results are in from r/minipainting’s ‘Tint Your Tribe‘ competition. I won in the novice category with my mini ‘Rule Britannia’. Over the past few months I’ve tried get the basics right and push myself to try new techniques. I’ve had some really positive feedback from the community at r/minipainting and the Oldhammer Forum, and it’s an amazing boost to win a competition. And of course, there’s a prize: more minis, contributed by the excellent Westphalia Miniatures, Rain City Hobbies, and CK’s Wood.
Thanks to everyone who organised, participated, sponsored and voted. I’m looking forward to the next competition in June.
It’s the end of the month of Marsh, the season of mists, when the Oldhammer forum turn their collective attention to the Fimir and other bog-dwelling fiends. I painted my only Fimir back in 2016, and I spent most of the last month working, studying, and finishing painting the Fellowship of the Ring. But I did make a little progress on some of my most swampy minis: a troll, some fantasy frog-men, and a few undead.
A couple of weeks ago Mierce Miniatures had a two for one sale on monsters. They’re big, they’re amazingly detailed and full of character, and they’re produced by an independent British company. Consequently they’re also quite expensive at regular retail price – the smaller monsters start at around £30.00 but the really big guys are significantly more, so a two-for-one offer is a rare opportunity. So even though I definitely don’t have time to take on any new projects, I bought four of the medium-to-large sized monsters from their ‘Darklands’ range – a bargain, and at the speed I paint enough to keep me going for a few months or more.
A wizard is never late, Frodo Baggins. Nor is he early. He arrives precisely when he means to.
Gandalf, The Fellowship of the Ring
Unlike Gandalf, my artwork often arrives late. These nine tiny men have been in my painting queue for over ten years, but they have roots that go back much further. When I got the 1991 Citadel Miniatures Red Catalogue, one of the first minis I ordered was Gandalf from their Fellowship of the Ring set. My dad helped me to paint it. But since it – sadly – didn’t survive to the present day, that’s not the subject of this post.
It’s competition time! I have entered the novice category of r/minipainting’s Tint Your Tribe competition. The rules are simple: pick a theme which represents my country of birth, and convert, paint, and post a mini which represents that concept.
Maybe your country conquered Gaul once upon a time and you want to recapture the long gone glory of your ancestors! We encourage it!
The prize is a set of five halflings and a fencer from Westfalia Miniatures. There’s no limit to the options for British miniatures: there are historical figures from Warlord Games Boudica Triumphant! to WWII soldiers; bowler-hatted steampunk professors to the vast ranges of British fantasy and science fiction miniatures of the last few decades. But the most British miniature I know of is Rogue Miniatures’ Britannia. The very personification of Britain.
An owlbear’s screech echos through dark valleys and benighted forests, piercing the quiet night to announce the death of its prey. Feathers cover the thick, shaggy coat of its bearlike body, and the limpid pupils of its great round eyes stare furiously from its owlish head.
D&D 5E Monster Manual, p.249
Inspired by a cheap, plastic toy dinosaur manufactured in China and sold in discount shops throughout the US and UK, the owlbear is one of the most emblematic creatures of the D&D bestiary. We haven’t encountered one yet in Shin High Terror, but they’ve been mentioned a couple of times – first by a grizzled old mercenary who lost his eye to one in single combat, and second when I started making explicit checks to see if any were around. Obviously I had to paint one.
After a long hiatus I’ve finally finished another drawing for the Majeena sequence. The illustration depicts the character ‘Carer Hades’, who is described as a sort of ethereal, faceless, spider-like creature, found in the depths of a mountain stronghold:
A slithery figure cloaked in a black robe fluttered in through the door, clinging to the roof. It’s long fingers seemed glued to the ceiling, though it moved across the room like it was carried by a breeze.
When I was maybe ten years old I a won a copy of Ian Livingstone’s Fighting Fantasy game-book The Island of the Lizard King, which has quite recently been re-released as a smartphone app by Tin Man Games. I don’t recall if I ever finished the book back then, but the detailed monochrome line drawings had a huge influence over my drawing style – and of course, preferred subject matter. Although they suffered from poor quality printing on worse quality paper, I remember thinking that the best illustrations were impossibly great works of art, which I couldn’t even aspire to replicating.
It’s no surprise that one of the background characters in my illustrations for Majeena, by Michael P. Adams (available for Kindle) last year took some inspiration from Russ Nicholson’s Rhino-Man, mixed with some of John Howe’s Rhinoceros Armour. More on that below the cut.
Nicholson’s rhino-man illustrates an encounter in Steve Jackson’s The Citadel of Chaos. From the title, to the eclectic and anarchic list of creatures, to Russ Nicholson’s perfect illustrations, the whole book is gloriously evocative of the fantasy genre in the 1980s. Even 25 years later the book seems to be filled with original, imaginative and quintessentially chaotic characters, and very few stale tropes. So I’ve decided to embark on a side quest: to paint one miniature for each of the creatures encountered in the citadel.