Saturday, September 26, 2009

Beholder Cloning

The Beholder is one of the classic D&D monsters, and necessary for any collection of fantasy miniatures. I own two old school Beholder miniatures. The first figure is my favorite. It is from Grenadier's Dwellers Below boxed set (2012). It looks exactly like the Tom Wham illustration of the beholder from the AD&D Monster Manual. The smaller Beholder is a 15mm Beholder made by Ral Partha for the AD&D Battlesystem line. This particular figure was from the Chipco Evil Army set. I'm almost positive that it is the only Beholder in 15mm.

I wanted to take the Grenadier Beholder and mount it on a flying stand, but the miniature is so heavy, that it would have tipped almost any stand over, so I resorted to the Dark Art, and created a duplicate in resin.

I painted the clone as close to the original as possible, but afterwards I wondered why my past-self selected the colors that he did? I looked in the Monster Manual, and found nothing saying that the Beholder's eye was green and orange. Then I remembered this:

Which contains the following passage:

Well, the appearance of my Beholder is probably not what Gary Gygax had in mind, but at least I know where the color scheme came from now.

Friday, September 25, 2009

More Conversions

To save some effort in doing height conversions, I've started playing around with using pliers to lengthen limbs when only a minimal increase is required. To use this technique, I first find an area that does not have a lot of detail, and then squeeze the metal with narrow jawed pliers until the desired length is achieved. Kneadatite is then used to restore the shape of the limb.

I have found that I can perform height conversions much faster using pliers, than by cutting and pinning. The only problem I've encountered with this method is that sometimes I have ended up severing a figure's limb by weakening the metal too much. I'm not sure if this is related to the fact that I am using pliers with serrated jaws, but if I can find some smooth jaw pliers I'll have to test this hypothesis.

Of the figures below, I only used the compression method on the BRF Amazon and minotaurs. The rest were modified using the cut and pin method. The thick limbs of the minotaurs allowed more length to be squeezed from the metal before getting too weak, so I was able to add quite a bit of height to them. The charging minotaur looks pretty good, but the legs of the other minotaur look kind of strange.

I also thought that perhaps I made the maiden guards a little too leggy, but now I'm not so concerned.

I'll probably cast the midsection of this lizardman so I can just do a cut-and-paste job when converting the rest of my lizardman figures.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

The Dead Shall Consume

Here are the Elhiem zombies I mentioned in yesterday's entry. The first lot are Female Zombies (TDSC03?). Most of these are Alix Elder sculpts, which are fairly chunky. The proportions are okay, and most have that shambling zombie look about them, but the cheerleader zombie has her right arm in a raised position that is awkward even for a zombie, while the schoolgirl zombie has an abnormally elongated torso. The last two figures are sculpted in a different style, being nice and slender with good proportions. I'm not sure, but I think that these may be by Ian Mountain.

The next batch of zeds are Elhiem's Ragged Zombies (TDSC12). One of the zombies had his head snapped clean off (courtesy of zombie-killers at USPS), but there was a duplicate of the pose. The Ragged Zombies are - well, pretty ragged. They are rotting, mangled, missing various body parts, spilling entrails, etc. In other words, your typical zombie. The poses are nice, and the figures are well proportioned. Hopefully we'll get more zombies like this from Elhiem, except in a less decomposed state.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Pulp Miniatures

I recently placed an order to Syr Hobbs Wargames, and the package came in the mail yesterday. The box looked like it got some rough handling, but fortunately only one of the zombies I ordered was damaged. Included in the package were some of the 1/72 pulp horror miniatures produced by Elhiem Figures.

Press firmly indeed!

I'll start the review with a couple of figures that I received in a previous order. First up is the icon of modern pulp adventure - Indiana Jones. What line of pulp miniatures worth its name would ignore producing a not-Indiana Jones?

The first figure is Elhiem's American Adventurer (P18). He holds a .45 revolver and machette, so I'd say he was based off of a Temple of Doom Indiana Jones. The machette is held rather awkwardly, and his neck looks too long, but it is otherwise not a bad sculpt. My only other criticisms are that the hat is more of an Akubra slouch hat than a fedora, and he does not have a whip. Next to the Elhiem figure, is a plastic version of Dr. Jones from the Indiana Jones Micro Machines Set by Galoob (74822) in 1/76. This is a Raiders of the Lost Ark version, complete with a tarantula on his back. The final figure is a 15mm not-Indiana Jones from the Brigade Games Adventurers Pack (BG-G15MCP01). I like the way his hat is shaped, though the brim makes it look more like a boonie hat. He has a revolver and whip, but is wearing a duster instead of the iconic leather jacket.

I decided that I liked the Brigade hat so much, that I did a head swap with the Elhiem figure. While I was at it, I also clipped off the machette so I could replace it with a whip.

I bent his arm to a less awkward pose, and made a bullwhip from Kneadatite. I also filed down the collar of the jacket because it was just too high. I also adjusted the brim of his hat to give it a more proper look.

The next figures are the Rabbi and Clay Golem (P19). The rabbi wears a long kaftan, and a hat of some sort.

The golem miniature is based on the Golem of Prague which is typically depicted in a terracotta color, so that's how I painted it.

The next group is a comparison of the Elhiem Octopoid Priest (P24) with a mind flayer and a not-mind flayer.

The tall fellow in black is a 25mm Mind Master from Grenadier's Subterranean Terrors boxed set (2012). I really like this miniature. The elongated head is more squid-like than a typical mind flayer, and tentacles protrude from under the robes suggesting that the creature is more than just a man with an octopus (or squid) for it's head. One of these days I'll have to create a 20mm version of it. Following the Mind Master, is the Octopoid Priest. It's head is covered with a lensed hood, and the figure comes with a separate tentacle for the right arm. It too, has a tentacle protruding from under it's robes. Very creepy. I think I'll graft a regular arm on the figure though, and convert it to a mind flayer. Last in line is a 15mm Mind Flayer from the Ral Partha AD&D Battlesystem line. This particular figure came from a Chipco Evil Army set. It is a classic example of an old school mind flayer, and one of two 15mm mind flayers produced by Ral Partha.

The next miniature is Elhiem's Cultist Leader (P24). He's a bit on the chunky side and the dagger he holds will need to be replaced. It is too small, and just looks like it's in the wrong position in reference to his hand.

And last, but not least, is Mz Whip (P34). Nice.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Fall Cleaning

I spent the weekend trying to get my garage cleaned up and go through my mountains of plastic and lead to catalog everything and see if there was anything I could bear to let go.

In the process, I discovered a cache of old paint that has apparently been traveling up and down the coast with me for several years. Most of the Polly S paints were dried up, but there were actually a couple of the bottles that looked like they might be saved. I understand that by adding some matt medium and water, semi-dried water-based paints can be brought back to life. I'm just not quite sure if it's worth the effort...

I don't remember ever using these Citadel paints, but from the looks of them I apparently did.

Most of these Pactra paints have separated into a layer of pigment, and a layer of semi-gelatinous ooze. I'm going to see if I can reconstitute them with a bit of laquer thinner before tossing them. Or not. Some of the caps are on so tight it's like they're welded to the bottle.

My contribution to global economic recovery.

Okay, enough self indulgence. I promise that the next entry will be on some new miniatures that I should be getting in the mail any time now.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Dark Alliance Orcs 2

The latest set of orcs from Dark Alliance (PAL72002) are very similar to their previous group of orcs. There seems to be a few more of the smaller Moria orcs in this set, and indeed, the sculpting of the facial features for them is more goblin-like than for the larger orcs. The figures have some granular flash on them not found in the previous set, but it is easily cleaned up for the most part.

Also included in this set are two archer poses.

A comparison of plastic orcs in 1/72.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

散香 Mk.B

The Sanka B is the J7W Shinden look-alike from Mamoru Oshii's film, The Sky Crawlers. I purchased this pre-made model (Kotobukiya AM-05) at AX back in July, and have finally decided to put the thing together.

The anime is visually stunning, and there are some excellent dogfighting scenes, but like most of Oshii's animated films, it left me rather cold. The film is a criticism of modern existence with the dark philosophical overtones typical of Oshii's works, but I was practically dozing throughout most of the film. Frankly, I don't think animation is a very good medium for what he wants to accomplish. Anyway, enough film criticism, and on to the model.

The model comes with three sprues of parts. A flight stand in black plastic, and sprues with gear bay doors supplied in wheels up and wheels down configurations.

It also comes with two sets of identical decals. Markings are for the aircraft of Yūichi Kannami and Naofumi Tokino.

I decided to display the model in the wheels down position. The wheels and bay doors were glued to the struts even though they fit fairly well without glue. The wheels will need a bit of touch up paint after being clipped from the sprue.

Some other pieces included are a separate drop tank, base, and boarding ladder. All in all, a nice little model. I'll have to find one of the discontinued Bandai versions to build up as well.