Wednesday, June 7, 2023

Some random items after a long period of inactivity

The first two miniatures are the androsphinx, Kamaljiori (Monsters of Exandria Set 1 #2), and an Adranach (Monsters of Tal'Dorei Set 2 #1) from the Critical Role Miniatures line.

Sphinxes from the Critical Role universe have both lion and eagle tails, but I'm not a fan of the design choice. However, as it turns out, the unwanted tail feathers were a perfect fit for the Reaper peryton that I bought 8 years ago.

The next miniature I've been working on is the Reaper Graveyard Golem (Bones 77526).

The miniature consists of five pieces in the newer Bones plastic. One of the parts was short shot, but I didn't actually notice until I was already finishing up with painting.

One of the things I didn't like about this sculpt was that it didn't have a right hand, so I did a bit of modification to make it fit my vision of the figure.

I was thinking about adding some crows perched on the "wings" of the golem, but it didn't feel quite right with the new, more action oriented pose.

The final miniature is Azael the Unfaithful from Rackham Miniatures. I think that in the Confrontation lore she is supposed to be some sort of undead, but I thought she would make a good fallen angel, so I decided to add some wings to the figure.

I based her look somewhat off of Nanael from Queen's Blade, with one withered wing, and one normal wing.

The right wing is from the Radiant Idol (Eberron: Rising from the Last War #32) from the Icons of the Realms Miniatures line.

While the left wing comes from a Deva (Snowbound #15) from the Icons of the Realms Miniatures line.

Thursday, May 4, 2023


Pazuzu is a Mesopotamian underworld deity personifying the west/southwest wind, and ruler of the lilû.

Louvre Museum, MNB 467

A statue of Pazuzu appeared in the 1973 film The Exorcist, which apparently garnered enough popularity, that it has received bit roles in various forms of media ever since.

The Exorcist, 1973

Adèle Blanc-Sec -
Le démon de la Tour Eiffel
, 1976

Legend, 1985

The Simpsons -
Treehouse of Horror XXVIII
, 2017

Godzilla: King of the Monsters, 2019

Spider-Man: Far From Home, 2019

House of Ashes, 2021

A couple of miniatures of Pazuzu exist, but the one I have is from the Citadel Demons Box Set from their RuneQuest line of miniatures.

An insert gave the gaming statistics for the various demons, with some notes on their combat strategies, but there wasn't much in the way of background provided for them. Some additional information appeared in White Dwarf 48, where the demons were given AD&D statistics.

The miniature vaguely fits the description of the mythological Pazuzu, but doesn't much look like the statue from the movie. I think I'm going to attach a scorpion tail to the miniature to align it closer to its appearance in Mesopotamian mythology.

British Museum 86263

Sunday, April 9, 2023

Topsy-turvy rabbits

Mikhail Bakhtin used the term "carnivalesque" to describe a literary style in which expectations and heirarchy are turned topsy-turvy. He linked the term to celebrations in medieval Europe, such as the Feast of Fools, the Feast of the Ass, and Carnival when chaos ruled, and the established order was turned on its head.

This type of inversion is also found in the marginalia of medieval manuscripts, the most famous examples are the so-called "killer rabbits".

Rabbits were viewed as innocent and vulnerable in medieval symbolism, with tapestries and illustrations often showing them being hunted as food by humans.

The marginalia subverted these concepts, and switched the roles of the rabbits and humans.

Skull & Crown Miniatures did a Kickstarter campaign a few of years back to turn these rabbits into miniatures. I was intrigued by the project, but didn't end up backing it.

Anyway, a couple of months ago, curiosity finally got the better of me, and I ordered a bunch of the rabbits. They're definitely big, but they're still shorter than the average 1/72 scale human, and don't seem too far off with respect to the apparent size of the typical killer rabbit shown in marginalia.

The first group of rabbits are from the Kickstarter Set (KR01). The set includes a separate heater style shield for one of the rabbits.

The next group is from the Hunting Party Set (KR02). The spear and crossbow poses are identical to ones from the previous set.

Whimsically, a snail rests on the gauntlet of the noble rabbit.

The next set includes another creature that is commonly encountered in marginalia, and is the Rabbit Mounted on Snail (KR06). The set includes an extra snail that I think was part of the 250 backer stretch goal of the Kickstarter campaign.

The miniature is based on a composite of two different illustrations.

The Rabbit Command Set (KR14) includes the same bagpipe pose from the Kickstarter Set, and the same mounted noble pose from the Hunting Party Set.

I also was able to get some figures from the Rabbit Trebuchet Set (KR17), Castle Siege Set, and Rabbit Ecclesiastical Set. Normally, the sets come with MDF architectural pieces, but Crown & Skull was kind enough to find some loose miniatures for me.

There is also a crossbow rabbit with the Trebuchet Set, but I didn't bother including one in the photo, since it is identical to the ones from the other sets.

It would have been nice if the Ecclesiastical Set contained all of the poses in the illustration on which it was based.

The final image is of the Wing’d Dog and Pilgrim Set (KR11). I ordered it because I liked the winged dog, and was curious about how tall the hounds were.

To conclude, I have to say that I really like these miniatures, and they are quite faithful to the illustrations found in medieval manuscripts (although the awkward 2D style rendition of the crossbow and crucifix are not ideal).

One thing I do want to mention is that the miniatures are cast in a very soft metal, making me wonder about the lead content in them. During flash removal they left a dark residue on my fingertips, which I washed off with soap and water afterwards.

This is something that I often observed in the past after handling old lead minis. If you are concerned about this, you might want to consider wearing gloves to handle the miniatures until after they are painted.

Saturday, February 18, 2023

Il Gigante

Michelangelo's David has been a subject of controversy over censorship since it's original unveiling in 1504. From my point of view, rhetoric both past and present contain various forms of supposition, bias, and misconception that only serve to muddy the issue.

Galleria dell'Accademia
Not the
Accademia di Belle Arti

Modern sources typically repeat a claim that a girdle of 28 copper leaves was initially used to give the statue some modesty, but according to Franca Falletti in a guest post on the V&A Museum blog, it is not clear whether the "ghirlanda" of leaves was worn around his waist, or as a laurel crown.

Many of these accounts will also state that the "garland" adorned the statue until the mid-16th century, and I find this interesting, because it was around this time that the Council of Trent (1545–1563) proclaimed that religious imagery should not contain elements that they considered profane.

If the garland was indeed draped around the statue's waist, was it merely Florentine contrariness that lead to its removal during this time, or did the powers that be decide to replace the garland with a singular fig leaf?

In any event, a fig leaf was added at some point, and not removed until 1912 according to unconfirmed Internet hearsay (I've also seen c.1890).

From what I can tell, replica statues at the Piazza della Signoria (installed 1910) and the Piazzale Michelangelo (installed 1873) seem to have been displayed in their natural state.

Piazza della Signoria, 1918

Piazzale Michaelangelo
L'Illustrazione Italiana N. 5
4 febbraio 1877

The statue of David that I have is an accessory from an action figure set by NECA for the film The Goonies.

The statue in the film is a small ceramic replica that suffers an unfortunate accident.

That's my mom's most favorite piece!

Exercising their own bit of censorship, NECA produced the figure in its post-accident, pre-repair state.

The real statue stands 17' tall, which means that it should be 71.9mm in 1/72 scale, but the NECA figure is 67.3mm in height, which is a full scale foot shorter.

The math makes the figure out to be around 1/78 scale, but I think it might be closer to 1/76 scale (or somewhere in between) because I feel there is some discrepancy in the height of the base between the real statue and the miniature.

Anyway, the size is a bit off, but the figure is still a usable scenic feature. I'm up in the air about whether to do some sculpting to restore the figure to its intended form.

Michelangelo's Dave

Friday, January 27, 2023

Frogs and Fairies

Ida Rentoul Outhwaite is a 20th C. Australian artist who drew fairies as one of her main subjects. Among her illustrations are many that depict frogs alongside fairies.

I am Kexy, Friend of Fairies.
from The Little Green Road to Fairyland

They Stood in Front of Her.
from Fairyland

A less amicable relationship between frogs and fairies is found in Touhou Project, with the ice fairy Cirno who has the rather cruel hobby of freezing frogs.

The fairy had this to say about
playing by freezing frogs:

Interview from「東方文花帖」

With the introduction out of the way, I'll segue to the miniatures for this post, which include new grung miniatures and various fairy (pixie) miniatures.

The prepainted grung miniatures are from D&D Icons of the Realms. The Grung Warband (WZK96123) consists of six figures. The first image shows a Blue Grung, an Orange Grung Elite Warrior, a Purple Grung, and a Green Grung.

The second image shows the remaining two members of the warband, a Red Grung Wildling and a Gold Grung Elite Warrior. The final figure is Chief Yorb (Tomb of Annihilation Set 1 #7).

The unpainted Grungs (WZK90415) are from Nolzur's Marvelous Miniatures.

I really like the series of grung miniatures produced for D&D, but the prepainted miniatures are definitely on the expensive side.

For the fairies, I'll start with four figures from Critical Role Miniatures. On the left are three unpainted Wisher Pixies (WZK90558), followed by their prepainted leader, Mystic Iotha (Monsters of Exandria Set 1).

I apologize for the quality of the image, but the clear wings and light primer just made them really hard to photograph.

The assembly of the unpainted miniatures was rather sloppy, with dried glue caking the joins, so a bit of clean up is required before painting. The middle unpainted figure stands higher than the others because I stepped on the figure by accident, breaking it from its base. I reattached the figure by gluing the stand to her coattails instead of her leg, since I felt they should hover near human eye level.

Iotha is painted messily, and looks as if she regularly visits spray tan salons. I don't care for her purple outfit either, so a repaint will be in order.

The next two fairies come from D&D Icons of the Realms. The first figure is a Pixie (Wild Beyond the Witchlight #24), followed by a Healing Spirit (Fey) Spell Effect (Mighty Conjurations #4).

The paint job on the Icons Pixie is better than that of the Critical Role Pixie, but the eyes are out of register, so the face needs touch up.

All of the figures are roughly 13-15mm in height, with wings that resemble those of butterflies.

I'll be looking to see if I can reproduce the wings so I can create additional fairies using some N scale figures that I have as a starting point.