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77279 Narthrax the White

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So my players are soon to face a white dragon, and I have no suitable mini!  Therefore, I've decided to make Narthrax the White.




TADA!!!  All done.  You may all be boggled by my superlative skill now.


But seriously.  I've got this base -- a 120 mil oval seemed like a good size for this figure.  I think a standard 3 inch circle would have been a bit cramped.  I want to put a hoard on there in the lee of the rock:








This is probably the most ambitious base I've ever attempted.  Usually I use pre-made ones, and I do have a rather nice 120 mil oval one from Micro Arts studio that's been sitting unused for two years -- but it would be a TON of work to get Narthrax's perch to integrate smoothly with it, and the style of the base doesn't suit what I want at all.


This Narthrax is going to be white.  That means COLD.  It has to be a snow base, which I've never done before.  Furthermore, I want his hoard of coins and jewels to be frozen in a layer of transparent ice, peeking out at the adventurers and taunting them with the difficult of chipping those out of there one at a time.  I'm not entirely sure how I'm going to do that, but I suspect it will involve Vallejo Still Water.  The trick is 1) it has to look frozen, not wet; 2) it has to be transparent enough that you can see the hoard glittering underneath, and 3) it has to look like a comparatively natural ice formation.


As for the coins, the research I've done suggests either a thin round of greenstuff sliced into little circles and painted, or else a bunch of round gold glitter.  The glitter sounds like a lot less work, but the greenstuff may yield more believable results.  I guess we'll see.  As for gems, the one main suggestion I've found is to get one of those bake-a-suncatcher kits that come with tiny plastic beads in bright colors that you're supposed to melt into pseudo-stained-glass in the oven.  Those would be about the right size, though not particularly the right shape.  If anybody has any other suggestions on either of these, I'm all ears.


I'll also need to build up some terrain around the perch.  I could do greenstuff, I guess.  I've probably got enough. Or just heaps of PVA glue with dirt on, maybe.  Dunno, haven't done much of that before.


In terms of color, I want there to be a range of intensities of white for him, and sufficient contrast that he doesn't become one big white blob.  I'm thinking of the following for palette base coats:




Snow Shadow: for body scales and wing membranes.

Amethyst Purple: for the ridge of spiky scales running down his spine.

Palomino Gold: for his underbelly.


And then many layers of thin Solid White building up to a pure white at the edges of scales (and such).  I am undecided on what to do with the spikes that jut out of his spine, or the claws on his feet and wings.  Perhaps something much darker than the rest -- would Walnut Brown with Gloss Sealer to make it shiny be too much for those bits?


I've never painted a figure this size before.  And I've got very limited experience with painting dragons -- I did 03664, Fire Dragon Hatchling, 03651 Storm Dragon Hatchling, and the 89016 the Jabberwocky (Bones version).  I've never posted pics of any of those -- they turned out okay, but nothing special.  The Jabberwocky's base is way cooler than the Jabberwocky itself.


So I guess this will be a learning experience in many ways!

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*** dusts off a seat on the couch and settles in for the show  ***

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Okay.  Time to begin some experimentation.


First up, I decided to try the technique from Making Money.  I took some greenstuff and made a little rope, rolling it out on top of my paint case.




I didn't worry too much about getting the diameter 100% consistent.  I figured different coins would have different sizes based on different mintings and denominations.


Then I stuck it to my desk to dry.  Here it is, showcased by my lovely but unpainted helper Lonnia (02981).




And then I made three more for good measure.  (Not pictured.)  They're curing now.  I figure I can start the long, painfully slow process of slicing it into tiny slivers tomorrow.


It'll need gems, of course.  But I have not yet decided what to use for those. 


What else might you find in a dragon hoard?  Magic items and gear, naturally.  But where might I find such a thing?  I wandered the streets, pondering, until I found this helpful young lady, Ingrid (77225).  Ingrid, your gear is positively divine!  Where do you get it?


Ingrid says: I only shop at Jorgstrom's!


Jorgstom's is a bit upscale for me.  But we talked it over and a few minutes later, I had some gear to add to Narthrax's hoard.




As for Ingrid ... uh, she left to pursue her lifelong dream of joining a nudist colony in upstate New York.  Yup.


Here's a rough mockup.  Imagine a pile of coins instead of poster putty.




And I think that's it for tonight -- gotta wait on that greenstuff to cure.  Also I'm going to Gen Con, and it might be a good idea to maybe think about what I'll need to pack, or something.  Maybe I'll spend some time hunting down mold lines.  There are sure to be plenty of them.

Edited by wdmartin
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This is looking great.

Have you thought about icicles? I found they made the snow more convincing on my "the angry wizard and the mad dwarf"-piece, just a thought..

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I totally love your idea of having treasure underneath the ice!  In fact, I love it so much that I'll probably steal it.  :;): 


If you're not sure how to pull off the ice, epoxy resin works really well for deep water.  I've got some branded "Ice Resin" that I got from the jewelry section of my local craft store.  You could then frost it over just enough with snow effects and white paint to make it look frozen. 


As for gems, I'm not sure that the shape of them would be super obvious if they were jumbled up with the coins and under a layer of ice.  You have, however inspired me to try combining some of my seed beads with some greenstuff to see if I can make jewelry for treasure hoards.  You might find that seed beads work for gems as well. 


Thank you for sharing!!  ^_^

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So today I went looking for gems at Michael's and found this:




I'm hoping to excise the gems.  If it works, I'll go back and get some other colors.  It's sitting in the freezer at the moment, in the hopes that that will make the gems easier to remove.


Meanwhile, I've poured some Realistic Water into this base.




It's been in there about 20 minutes now.  If I let it set completely, it'll be perfectly clear.  So now I'm going to go spray it with Dullcote, which is known to frost up when sprayed under humid conditions.  My theory is that because the surface is still wet, the dullcote will frost up, but hopefully not enough to completely obscure stuff underneath.  Let's go do science!


Okay, the spray has been done.  I shall let it sit overnight and see if I can make out the Reaper text underneath.


This is a rock at the end of the block I live on.






It has great contrast.  I'm hoping to do something similar, but with a darker base coat.  Something like blue slate.  It'll probably take a bunch of drybrushing, which is unfortunate, since I'm lousy at drybrushing.


EDIT:  Oh, and yes, I'm planning on making icicles.  Also with realistic water, by dipping transparent fishing line into the stuff until it forms a candle-like shape that I can then glue on.

Edited by wdmartin
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I had a go at extracting gems from that bead last night, and didn't get very far.  They're pretty thoroughly attached.  I don't know what substance the manufacturer used to attach them, but freezing it didn't seem to help. 


Maybe some time in the oven on about a hundred degrees fahrenheit?  But I worry about releasing toxic vapors into my poorly ventilated apartment.

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Soo ... would this be a bad time to point out that you can buy packages of assorted crystal 'gemstones' loose?

Might be a little more expensive, but the time and aggravation saved might make up for that.


I'm liking this; looking forward to seeing how it turns out.

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@Sylverthorne I spent ages going through the packs of assorted gem stones at Michael's, and they were all either A) too big, or B) in a much larger quantity than I need.  I don't need 80 of these, or 120.  Or more like way more than that, since they didn't have any packs of mixed colors -- it was all one-color blister packs.


However, I have since learned that artbeads.com will sell you individual teeny swarovski crystals.  I may go that route, assuming I can't get any of the crystals off the bead I bought.


Question to the room: is it better to:


  1. Assemble the model
  2. Greenstuff the gaps
  3. Paint




  1. Paint
  2. Assemble
  3. Greenstuff
  4. Paint the greenstuff




I haven't done many large models, so I would be interested to hear opinions on this topic.


No particular progress since last update other than I spent a bunch of time hunting down mold lines.

Edited by wdmartin

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That's interesting. A lot of the small crystal bits that I was thinking of are only sold in small packets - usually less than twenty, occasionally as few as two - so it surprises me a little that you would have that much trouble. ... on the other hand, if your Michael's is anything like the one we have locally, they don't organize in anything I recognize as 'sane'. I usually prefer to get my beads and bits from Fire Mountain Gems (that quantity discount is /very/ shiny), but there's the wait for your order to arrive, and all the temptation to grab 'that other thing' ...


As for your question.. it depends. I usually assemble as far as I can without it interfering with my ability to get the brush into tight spots or do detailed spaces. I'm not familiar with this specific dragon, so I can't offer any specific advice; but I've found that my method works for me. YMMV.

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