Saturday, November 8, 2014

Lighting Fires

 So this is Reaper's large fire elemental that I got in the first Bones Kickstarter.

Turns out the bottom part is hollow.  Hollow enough for the LED from a tea light, anyway.
 This is a D&D Miniatures fire elemental, probably listed as some synonym for "really big fire elemental".  Unbasing this guy was a pain - there are several pegs involved.  Easiest way is to drill several holes in the bottom and break the base in half.  He isn't as nice a technical sculpt as the Reaper model. but the light can go a lot further up and the orange is more convincing than the Reaper red.
With The Lady in Red for scale.  They're not little in comparison, but the table footprint is the same as it would be without me hiding lighting infrastructure in a juice lid.  These are from the Simply brand.  Their Apple juice is really tasty if you like that sort of thing.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Beaky Beast

So Chinasaurs have a certain charm, mostly based on childhood nostalgia.  The printing said "Hong Kong" back when there were two Germanies.  Turns out that Magic Sculpt will stick to this plastic quite readily, making them excellent armatures/conversion fodder.  He looks big enough to be threatening without getting into kaiju territory next to this 25mm Grenadier figure.  Bigger than a Destrier, smaller than an elephant.

 I was kind of at a loss as to how to paint him - ended up with a scheme inspired by an online picture of a box turtle assaulting a strawberry.
I really need to add a Godzilla roar when this one gets clicked on.
Gamewise, he usually just gets the same stats as a Stegosaurus or a giant lizard, although Dragon Turtle wouldn't be so very far off if we needed a breath weapon critter.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Idol of the The Keeper of Portals

So Dollar Tree had "Monsters, Inc." figurines.  I figured it was worth a buck to give the group a giggle, although the technique would be entirely valid if I'd wanted to throw Cthulhu or something on top of the juice lid.  If I had it to do over I would have put a fake emerald where his iris goes, because Edwardian doggerel is fun:

The Green Eye of the Yellow God

by J. Milton Hayes

There's a one-eyed yellow idol to the north of Khatmandu,
There's a little marble cross below the town;
There's a broken-hearted woman tends the grave of Mad Carew,
And the Yellow God forever gazes down.

He was known as "Mad Carew" by the subs at Khatmandu,
He was hotter than they felt inclined to tell;
But for all his foolish pranks, he was worshipped in the ranks,
And the Colonel's daughter smiled on him as well.

He had loved her all along, with a passion of the strong,
The fact that she loved him was plain to all.
She was nearly twenty-one and arrangements had begun
To celebrate her birthday with a ball.

He wrote to ask what present she would like from Mad Carew;
They met next day as he dismissed a squad;
And jestingly she told him then that nothing else would do
But the green eye of the little Yellow God.

On the night before the dance, Mad Carew seemed in a trance,
And they chaffed him as they puffed at their cigars:
But for once he failed to smile, and he sat alone awhile,
Then went out into the night beneath the stars.

He returned before the dawn, with his shirt and tunic torn,
And a gash across his temple dripping red;
He was patched up right away, and he slept through all the day,
And the Colonel's daughter watched beside his bed.

He woke at last and asked if they could send his tunic through;
She brought it, and he thanked her with a nod;
He bade her search the pocket saying "That's from Mad Carew,"
And she found the little green eye of the god.

She upbraided poor Carew in the way that women do,
Though both her eyes were strangely hot and wet;
But she wouldn't take the stone and Mad Carew was left alone
With the jewel that he'd chanced his life to get.

When the ball was at its height, on that still and tropic night,
She thought of him and hurried to his room;
As she crossed the barrack square she could hear the dreamy air
Of a waltz tune softly stealing thro' the gloom.

His door was open wide, with silver moonlight shining through;
The place was wet and slipp'ry where she trod;
An ugly knife lay buried in the heart of Mad Carew,
'Twas the "Vengeance of the Little Yellow God."

There's a one-eyed yellow idol to the north of Khatmandu,
There's a little marble cross below the town;
There's a broken-hearted woman tends the grave of Mad Carew,
And the Yellow God forever gazes down.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Fluffy Rex


So I have some thoughts on feathered dinosaurs.  The ones that come to the backyard feeder are considerably more temping to the cat.  But the environments that they can live in are pretty much anywhere that you'd find a mammal.

 Weirdly, these Dollar Store toys are about the right scale for D&D type miniatures (25-32mm):

Tyrannosaur scale chart

They're also absolutely fabulous armatures for the money.  I had to do a couple of unsavory things with a knife and a couple of wedges to get him to stand like a proper theropod,  but otherwise that's just a texture layer.  Y'know, the fun part.  Well, besides plunking him down on the game table.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Man's Best Friend

Julie Guthrie is a better sculptor than me.

Meh.  I've drunk out of worse.
So I went to the trouble of making this dog out of Fimo.  And I figured that maybe an adventurer's best friend deserves better than to be a 25 gp bit of disposable equipment.  Plus this. So here's an NPC class, ala Swords & Wizardry:
Faithful Hound: NPC only, XP and Saves as Fighter, HP and Tracking as Ranger, only surprised on a 1, doubled movement rate, all armor (natural AC 7/13), no shield, no weapons, cannot use magic items.  +1 to hit, damage, and AC per level (the last one only when fighting in a fur coat, i.e. sans armor).  Always does full damage to skeletons, bone devils, etc. because it's funny.  This is a Lassie/Rin Tin Tin type henchdog, so he can pull levers, open unlocked doors, laboriously climb ladders, etc.

It seems a little overpowered, but henchmen are running on half XP.  He can't activate magic items, although if he came across a passive item like a collar of fire resistance, or if someone let him lap a potion out of their helmet, I'd allow it.  There could also be a Paladin's Hound, as an alternative to the Paladin's Mount.

Thursday, September 4, 2014


So these are the livestock for the Mouslings  of SWMBO.  Buggalo milk naturally occurs as a wobbly sphere about the size of a cabbage that can sustain one person for one day.  Buggalo yogurt and cheese (especially cheese) often have magical properties similar to potions.

The miniatures are made out of Durham's water putty, poured into a press mold made out of uncooked Sculpey from a Magic Sculpt original.  So I could theoretically start up production again if I decide that I need an enormous stampede.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Dracolich on a budget

So I picked up a 3-pack of dinosaur skeletons at some dollar store or other.  Turns out that they're made of the same type of PVC plastic as the Reaper Bones miniatures.  Thought I'd do some pinning just to test out the material.  Those are the pterosaur wings on the dimetrodon  body (yeah, I know, the upright knees aren't right for dimetrodon).  The neat thing about this stuff is that works sort of like the rubber in self-sealing tanks.  So when you pin it it tries to clamp back down around the hole  Which is a whole lot of words to say that you just need to sharpen the ends of a bit of florist wire and shove the whole thing together and you're done.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Saddle Cat

Grey Carousel Cat

So, it's clearly a part of the zeitgeist.  Or at least was.  It probably still should be, what with YouTube being one giant shrine to Bastet.  So yes, it should be okay to have your character to tie a feathered mousy to the end of his lance and ride into battle upon a couch leaping, yarn chasing, cheezburger hazzin' giant kitty.

The Good:

  •  Talk about riding a jumper.  Saddle cats are capable of leaping twice as high and twice as far as a light warhorse and can charge their regular move distance straight up a masonry wall or wooden palisade.
  • Causes abject terror in ratmen
  • No need to dismount to be sneaky
The Bad:

  • They can only be ridden 2 hours a day - they choose which 2
  • The fish bill.  Oh dear merciful Bastet, the fish bill.  Seems they'll go through a barrel of salted fish every couple of days, plus hard tack, jerky, and whatever the local farmers would prefer they not catch.
  • Prone to dragging grooms around in their mouth without provocation.
The Ugly:

  • Lock up the Familiars
  • Occasionally fall through ceilings
  • Dragging the groom around means it's *your* turn to clean the enormous litter box

In game terms, I'd just give them the same stats as a cavalry horse, but with twice the movement capability (jump or charge), twice the damage, no endurance, and enormous upkeep costs.  They should also be capable of stealth and very hard to surprise.

Friday, August 8, 2014

Column Tutorial

This is the lid from a bottle of Dole juice.  SWMBO is fond of the orange-peach-mango variety.
This is a 2-1/4" disk (I've got a circle stencil) of paper grocery bag.  Attach it using the old 19th century poster technique of saturating both sides in Elmer's glue.
Pretty self explanatory.  Gesso makes paint stick to plastic.
Gesso goes on pretty thick.  Don't dilute it.
It shrinks a lot as it dries.  This takes at least 24 hours.  They mean it - it'll peel if you try to paint before a 24-hour cure.

FolkArt Artist's Acrylics "wrought iron".  I like it better than black because it's plenty dark without being artificially sharp.  Real shadows are never black.

No need for a palette.  This thing's about the size of one anyway.
The FolkArt regular acrylic is slightly translucent.  This works in your favor.  Use a palette this time.  A medium gray would work just as well, I just like the slate blue effect.
The Dove Gray goes on as a drybrush coat.
Since you're going to game with them, sealing is recommended.  I like brush on sealers because they're thick, non-toxic, and can be used at my desk.
With The Lady in Red for scale.
What it looks like on the table.  For 2.5-d we usually let anything climbing the column like a squirrel on a tree just set on top and have cover.  It also obviously makes a good plinth for big statues.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014


This is Crayola Air-dry clay.  It is intended to be a material to keep children busy attempting to make ham fisted art.  It is cheap and non-toxic.  It cleans up easily with water.  The tub is really good at keeping it from drying out.  The internet arts and crafts folks hate it.  They hate it because it frustrates anyone attempting to use it as one would polymer clay.  Because it's real clay, and the rules are different.
This is ham fisted scenery made from Crayola Air-dry clay.

This is roughly half a tub worth of terrain.  Or about $3 US worth.  Turns out that damp paper towels make a great armature for simple cones.  Wrap a sheet of clay around them, thwack it in layers with the side of a broccoli base, and wait about three days for it to dry.
You can see my thumbprint above the zombie's head.
It's fairly dense when it dries.  Not as heavy as a real ceramic, but it doesn't wander on the table.  I also coat it with Elmer's glue (PVA) after it dries as a moisture barrier.  This would actually be a hell of a lot easier with a polymer clay like FIMO or Sculpey and a foil armature.