Saturday, March 10, 2018

Talisman Druid, Pilgrim and Scout

How about the Druid, Pilgrim and Scout for today's Talisman post.

Talisman Pilgrim
Talisman Pilgrim
Talisman Pilgrim
Talisman Pilgrim

In western Europe in the middle ages it was common for people of all stripes to make pilgrimages at certain points in the their lives or others, and we can imagine it to be similar in the Talisman setting. The Talisman Pilgrim, though, seems to have made it his calling, and there's a more specific term for these individuals: palmer.

I'm reading Edmund Spencer's The Fairie Queene and the palmer character therein is the perfect inspiration for roleplaying this particular figure.He follows a knight called Sir Guyon, and takes it upon himself to guide him on the path of temperance and away from such perils as a group of flirtatious nymphs seeking bathing companions.

In short, wonderful, clear inspiration to bring this miniature to life in games (as a follower, rather than PC)! I can see the GM of my Talisman-inspired games providing the same sort of incessant moral guidance, perhaps in the service of some Monty-Python-esque burlesque.

In terms of painting the painting, we are looking at a limited palette of off-white, brown, gray and flesh. The main base color is P3 Trollblood Highlight, a favorite light neutral of mine. I washed it with faint wine-brown made with P3 Sanquine Base before highlighting up to white.

I don't like how his sign turned out. It's supposed to be a piece of cloth or paper stuck to his staff and depicting a black heard. But the size of the nail leaves a cramped space for the heart beneath, which is made worse by a little notch on the bottom of the sign. In hindsight I should have sliced away the nail and puttied over the notch at the bottom, and maybe even enlarged the sign a bit, then added the nail back much smaller at the top. As it is, it looks almost as much like a fuzzily-rendered spade symbol. Maybe I'll fix it.

Talisman Druid
Talisman Druid
Talisman Druid
Talisman Druid

On to the Druid. Here's a character I've always felt a kinship with. The key to the scheme is the periwinkle  robes, and this is set off by the blue sleeves, red belt, and green mistletoe. Thankfully I have the perfect periwinkle, Vallejo Shadow Grey. This is equivalent to the old Citadel Shadow Gray now made by Coat'd'arms and called Shadow Grey there too. The highlights are warm. I can't remember exactly, but they may be flesh tones.

When it came to painting a white beard, I looked at reference pics as a I usually do and noted in photographs a white beard shows almost no definition or shadows. A white beard is generally brilliantly white. Journeyman painters will often apply the same degree of shadow, mid-tones and highlights to each thing on a figure, and in my view this is a trap that painters will have to grow out of to achieve the next rungs of our craft. Understanding the reflective properties of the different materials one is trying to depict is one of the cornerstones of mastery. To get the beard right here didn't take careful shading, it just took conviction and five extra coats of pure white.

Talisman Scout
Talisman Scout
Talisman Scout
Talisman Scout

The scout was a quick one. I think an old GW Dark Angels Green and P3 Ordic Olive were two main greens I used, among several others. Photo reference is a must for me when I paint feathers.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

On the Workbench: Scratch-built Violet Fungi / Shriekers

There are a number of nice violet fungi/shrieker minis old and new, but I was set on having a large collection of many different sizes as described in the Monster Manual, and the available figures are all of a single, large size. So, some years back I started sculpting these.

I thought about trying to sell the sculpts to a company, but even though they are sculpted with a mix of Super Sculpy and Super Sculpy Firm (except for one done with Terracotta Sculpy), I still think they may be a bit fragile to cast given the deep undercuts, or at least the the molds would tear easily. I thought about filling in all the undercuts with greenstuff, but am pretty sure at this point they will be one-offs.

I stalled out because the next step is to make these stubs along the bottom, but sculpting them in greenstuff or Milliput seemed like a pain and I didn't see an easy way to sculpt them out of Super Sculpy, since they are already baked as shown here, and glued to bases that can't go back in the oven. I think I have it figured out, though. I will sculpt them in Super Sculpy right on these figures, then put them in the freezer and pop them off onto a bit of foil that will go in the oven. I will number the shrooms and put the nubs in piles starting with one, two, three, etc from the top left. Once baked I'll glue them in place and putty any joins that need it.

I like the process I made for the tops, which was to do them in two halves on a ceramic tile an then glue them together. To have them match up I need to sculpt one half and bake it, then sculpt the other half on the first half, put it in the freezer and pop it off, etc.

Saturday, February 10, 2018

On the Workbench: Myconids

Another WIP D&D encounter group from the workbench. Part of the impetus for sharing is to start holding myself more accountable for the projects I start, keep the projects "in sight," as out-of-sight, out-of-mind, etc., and find encouragement to finish them.


The Monster Manual II tells us Myconids range in size from S to L and from 1-6 hit dice, with only the king having the full 6.

My 1HD small myconids are Ral Partha purchased from Ral Partha Europe. The castings are squashed along the mold axis to the point I had to greenstuff all the caps to make them round again, rather than oval. Really nice sculpts, though, and true to the D&D illustrations and description

I plan to scratch-sculpt the Myconid king, and perhaps a few other tall ones. If I ever put in an order with a company like Hasslefree or CP that makes good Myconids I will probably get a few of those to add.

As you can see, I'm converting some Reaper Bones mushroom men as well. The sculpts leave something to be desired and aren't a very good match with the MM description, and I'm modding them as you see here. I carved away a surprising amount of what I thought was excess mass. One advantage to Bones, though, is you can carve them up with a box cutter without a second thought. I just kept carving off chunks of them from the stomachs, legs, back until I could get them as slim as I could. They are still a chunky type of Myconid, but I figure that will be balanced out by some more slender ones to follow.

I was inspired by this fungoid print by Skinner that I own.

That's all on Myconids for now!

Thursday, February 8, 2018

Talisman Halfling, Satyr and Witch Doctor

Three more of Aly Morrison's Talisman figures.

Talisman Halfling:
Talisman Halfling

Talisman Halfling

Talisman Halfling

Talisman Halfling

Not much to say on the halfling.

Talisman Satyr

Talisman Satyr

Talisman Satyr

The Satyr here is a nice figure although I think there could have been a way to capture in the sculpting some of the dancing skip motion of the illustration, with the pipe lifted at an angle. I chose a more sunny complexion as the paleness of the illustration didn't make sense to me for a creature of nature.

Talisman Witch Doctor:
Talisman Satyr

Talisman Witch Doctor

Talisman Witch Doctor

Talisman Witch Doctor

I had a lot of fun painting the Witch Doctor and am pleased with how he turned out. I made one small change to the sculpt and added the ends of the knot that ties his cloak around his neck. It makes sense why they were left off as they would have been problematic or impossible to cast on a one-piece figure. I had one shot at getting the facepaint stripes right and saved that step for the first step on a an evening I was still feeling sharp after work. Did several practice strokes holding the figure at different angles to make sure the stripes either side would follow the forms of the figure and be symmetrical. I think I got it. Also worked to achieve an overall brightness or glow, emphasized by the yellow gold, yellow suede of inside of the cloak, and yellow bone. Have an old and trusty pot of Citadel Spearstaff Brown which makes a good base for yellow, and W&N Sunshine Yellow ink to make it pop.

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

On the Workbench: Scratch-built Stirges WIP

Sharing another project I'd like to finish. Stirges are an iconic D&D monster from the Monster Manual somewhat like a cross between a mosquito and vampire bat. They feature in a few AD&D modules I'd like to run and will probably want these in campaign sessions pretty soon.

For that reason, I just did a session with them recently to move them forward to the state you see here. I'm pleased with how they are turning out.

And here's an older pic as it shows the scale, and I forgot to put a figure in the above one.

I sculpted the body and face on a glazed ceramic tile, then brushed the parts with vaseline and made press molds. The assembly line process is to glue the two pieces together, then sculpt the head hair, then sculpt the stomach with four segments and make holes with a pin for the legs. The legs are very thin copper wire I got by unbraiding a bit of insulated wire from trash electronic device. I just glue them in the stomach holes and cut to size after. The probiscus is slightly thicker brass wire and I drill a hole for this, snip and then carefully file the end smooth with a sanding block and fine grit sandpaper.

You can see I'm testing out round vs square bases. I don't have enough of the round, and didn't want to hold up production until I get around to my next laser-cut bases order. Meanwhile, my giant centipedes and giant rats are Dungeon Dwellers on their square, integral bases, so there is some precedent for those. The GF's opinion helped tip the scales over to the square bases. They are mounted on fabric/clothing pins.

I scratch-sculpted these as the limited choices on the market or from yesteryear are either oversized (as in 54mm or even 70mm scale by the looks of them)  and/or not that good a match for the MM illustration and description. These I've made are exactly the stirges I want.

Saturday, February 3, 2018

On the Workbench: Harpies Encounter Group

Here's where I am with my harpies for D&D. The Grenadier harpies by Sandra Garrity and the Ral Partha AD&D harpies by Bob Olley mix very well together, with the Olley ones looking older and more crone-like. Here are the first five and I have more should I wish to expand the group, though five harpies seems like a pretty tough encounter for any adventurers in my campaign.

I like both sets of sculpts a lot but had to change the breasts, as they had no sag or believable weight to them and were covered up with fig-leaf-like feathers. I cut them off and sculpted them again with green stuff, using reference pictures of women having gone their life topless.  The one on the far right also has it's mold line down her center as she faces forward, and her face was a bit squashed because of it, so I filled it out with greenstuff.

I did the modifications a few years ago and started painting them here in 2018. Nearly done!

Monday, January 29, 2018

WIP Talisman and Friends-of-Talisman Minis

Here's a view into the painting process for my Talisman figures, and preview of some to come. Although I have enough Talisman figures to keep me busy for awhile, I couldn't help but adding some other figures to the Talisman family, as some just call to me as being the same kind of archetype.

Talisman WIP: Front row L-R: Itenerant Scholar, Witch Doctor, Sorceress, Pilgrim, Barbarian; Middle row: Sea Captain, Halfling, Ninja, Falconer, Saytr; Back row: Sprite, Dwarf, Gladiator, Rogue
Sprite, Swashbuckler, Witch Doctor, Druid
Thief, Ghoul, Dwarf, Scout
Archeologist, Alt Elf, Gipsy, Prophetess, Footpad or Alt Assassin

 The Priest, by Aly Morrison, with embellished hat
The Amazon, by Aly Morrisson

The Spy, by Aly Morrison, telescope replaced with aluminum tube
The Itinerant Barber/Scholar, by Aly Morrison, Citadel Miniatures Fighters range

Falconer, by Aly Morrison, Marauder Miniatures, either a Noble or a follower who competes for his lord or lady

Alt Assassin, by Aly Morrison, though I think I will call him the Footpad

 The Hunter, by Alan or Michael Perry, Citadel Miniatures, one of my favorite figures

The Sea Captain, by Michael Immig, Metal Magic

The Warlock, by Bob Murch, RAFM

The Landsknecht, by Werner Klocke, Das Scharze Auge

Size comparison showing Citadel fighter, Metal Magic Watchman by Michael Immig, Das Schwartze Auge Landsknecht, Foundry Perry Landschnecht