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Buglips and Guindyloo paint DHL 02017: Scorpius Rex Dracus

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Alright, so continuing on with highlighting the skin, doing the same method of jabbing it with my paint brush to create a bazillion little dots...


I mixed up my next highlight layer by adding a little bit more MSP Ghostly Moss to the Scale75 Joryldin Turquoise.


Straight Turquoise is top left, straight Ghostly Moss is top right, previous mix is the blob in the position of a nose and then the mouth of the paint face I inadvertently created is the new highlight mix.


So same method. A bazillion little dots later...






Two things to note here - First of all, even though I am not highlighting via layering, I'm still applying the same principles as layering where you want to make your lighter highlight colours in progressively smaller areas the higher up you go. Secondly, I'm making a bazillion dots individually with my brush. You could save time and bother by using a brush that splays out a bit to make multiple dots at once. I'm not doing that because I wanted to have more control and less accidental blotches. And also because I obviously hate myself. :lol:

I do let the wings become blotchy, however, because it's such a wide open space that I felt like blotchiness looked better than dottiness.


Next I did another highlight layer of a bazillion more little dots with straight Ghostly Moss.




I do want to do at least one more highlight on the skin, possibly even 2 more, but I was tired of making little dots so I switched gears a little bit to start to basecoat the wings and belly. I used Secret Weapon Old Mud for this.


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10 hours ago, Guindyloo said:

Next I did another highlight layer of a bazillion more little dots with straight Ghostly Moss.


How long did each of these layers take you? 


Also, it looks awesome so far! 

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29 minutes ago, TheMandolin said:


How long did each of these layers take you? 


Also, it looks awesome so far! 

Oh gosh, I don’t know....it’s hard to say...if I had to guess, if I take out all the times that I stopped to mess with my phone or take a break or look up at my screen, etc. Probably somewhere between 30 and 45 minutes. 


And thank you! ^_^

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Do you have a special brush you use to make the dots?  I cringe at the thought of using a kolinsky sable brush to stipple...  (I actually cut the point off of an old synthetic 2/0 brush to use for abusive tasks like dry-brushing.)  

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I don't post as much as I should lately, because of life and adulting. I love that the two of you are doing these. Love watching your work progress. I am also a big fan of Reaper's back catalog. I've often thought of trying to start a challenge to paint an old miniature that doesn't have a painted example in the store. I would love to see all the mega skilled painters on here slinging paint on those old Guthries, and Ridolfi's, and Garrity's, etc.


Keep up the awesomeness. 

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1 hour ago, LittleBluberry said:

Do you have a special brush you use to make the dots?  I cringe at the thought of using a kolinsky sable brush to stipple...  (I actually cut the point off of an old synthetic 2/0 brush to use for abusive tasks like dry-brushing.)  

Sorry, I’m afraid you’ll have to continue cringing, I’m totally using a kolinsky sable brush. ::P: I tried a couple of different brushes and I didn’t like the results I got from trying to use something synthetic or splayed. It didn’t look right to me and I knew that it would be even less controlled than I wanted as I tightened things up for the highlighting. 

Keep in mind, however, that I am not in any way mashing the brush or putting it through any unneeded abuse. I’m very lightly tapping and that’s why it’s slow and tedious. 


I know, y’all are thinking “Why would you use a good brush and take 5 times as long to do something when you could just...” I get that, I respect it and I think it’s perfectly valid. This relates right back to what Buglips and I have said many times about there being no “right” way to go about things. 

In the same vein, someone could ask “Why not just drybrush on the highlights?” Or “Why not use a wash to shade it?” There’s nothing wrong with doing any of those things. They’re faster, they’re easier and they give you a decent result. But that’s one way of doing it and it’s not the way that gives me the result I’m looking for. It might seem insane, but if I have to sacrifice a few extra hours and a nice brush just to get the result I want, then that’s what I’m going to do. 

If you can get the result you want 5 times as fast with a junky brush that you dedicate to stippling, that’s awesome and I’m jealous. Hell, I’m jealous every time Buglips finishes one of these and I know I’ve still got several days worth of work to go. But that’s the difference in our methods and that’s ok. 

I’ve already cut my painting time down from about a month for one figure to about a week. Speed can come with different methods or with practice.

In my opinion, easier, faster methods are wonderful for the shortterm. They’re going to get your figures on the table faster and they’re going to get a lot of figures painted for you. But in the long term, going through the motions of the harder, slower methods is going to serve your skill set better overall. (I should probably point out at this point, in case it wasn’t already clear, that I’m speaking to the generic “you” here.)


I want to articulate this properly because I don’t want this to come off as “I spend more time so that automatically makes my painting better” because that’s not what I mean at all and that’s not true. I know that there are people who look down on techniques like drybrushing and I want it to be really clear that’s not what I’m about. What I mean is that if you avoid doing more refined methods and instead do less refined methods all the time, then you’re cheating yourself out of valuable methodical practice. Your speed at the slower method will never improve and maybe that’s a minor point to you. That’s fair enough. However, you’re also not getting that practice of placing a single dot exactly where you want it. Muscle memory is so important to painting well but I think it’s something that people take for granted. 

For example, people have asked me many times how I got so good at painting eyes and it’s 100% due to practice, but not just the practice that I’ve put into eyes themselves, it’s the overall practice of putting in the time to hone my brush control and build good muscle memory. 

Those skill sets are more important to me than finishing something quickly. 


But again, that’s just what works for me. If something different works for you, do that. For some people, putting a bazillion individual dots on something would kill their motivation and I’m not going to lie, it killed mine too. I’ve put about 2 hours worth of work into this guy in the past 2 nights, not because I didn’t have the time, but because painting all of those little dots was a tedious motivation killer. And that would be enough for most people to choose a different method and for them that would be the right answer. Certainly maintaining motivation is a good enough reason to not use a tedious method that has little to no benefit to the end result over a much faster method. But, hi, my name is Guindyloo and I am stubborn as all hell and sometimes I do terrible things to myself because it’s the right way to go about it for me. ::P:


Ok, that’s enough rambling. I just realized that from the direction of the questions today that I should have explained my madness better than “I’m doing it this way because I obviously hate myself.” ::P:

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So back when I did Takhisis, especially her wings, I wound up with a really nice effect that looked like it was airbrushed on.  It looks really cool.  The problem is... well, I don't know what I did.  I was just sitting and painting and it turned out that way.  Since it was pretty neat, I always look for new opportunities to try the basics of what I did and see if I can get (and remember) the same result. 


So the first step is to paint a dark basecoat of barbarian leather mixed with reaper brown liner.  While the application will be different, these colours will be the same as what I use on the belly scales.  I like to try and match those.  I always thought that was an old school way of doing it, but most art I've seen actually doesn't usually differentiate underwing areas.  Or even, sometimes, belly scales.  But for some reason I've always done it like this, so I guess it's just old school in my head. 




The wing basecoated, the next step was to thin some coat d'arms barbarian leather and layer it on.  I tried to consistently start at the apex of the triangles near the top and drag the brush downward.  I'd lay out some rough strokes all along one wing, then the other, and then go back to the first one and repeat.  It's subtle, but this helps give it a bit of a creased textured look... sort of like wrinkles from being used.




Next I took some barbarian leather and mixed it about 50/50 with some coat d'arms dusky yellow:




Mixed it up and thinned it 1:1 with water (four drops):




This is to keep it thick enough to be useful but thin enough to not look powdery, because this next step is some good old dampbrushing.  For this I prefer to use a synthetic, because a sable hair brush will soak up and hold on to too much paint.  I want to be able to unload most of it easily.  Also, this technique is bad for brushes.  I have a go-to brush for the task, it requires one a bit on the puffy side and still soft:




I just jab it into the paint and then stroke it up and down (it's important to get it off all sides of the brush) right-to-left until it's pretty clean.  (I go right to left because I'm left-handed, so if you're a righty it might go the opposite)




Then I very gently stroke this on, trying to keep it more towards the center than the previous straight barbarian leather.  A soft touch is crucial, the brush should caress the model and not smear into it:




I worked that up until satisfied, and then I started to add some white into the mix.  For this I used reaper pro paint dragon white.  Because the other two constituent colours of the mix are coat d'arms, which tend to have very rich pigments, they will tend to overpower any non-coat d'arms paint I add in.  This is a good quality here, because it lets me control the amount of lightness more easily without accidentally going too far with it.  So, adding a little more white each time (and equal parts water to however much white I add) I worked up to a nice, pale effect:




That's not bad, but it's not quite the result I got with Takhisis.  This had me puzzled for a while, until I realized that the big difference here was that these wings have much deeper sculpted texture.  It still looks cool, but for it to do what it did on Takhisis it will work better on a smoother type of wing.  I'm not sure if I would have done it any different even knowing this, but it's something new I've learned that I can file away for future use.  There will definitely be a time and place where it comes in handy.


That finishes the wings for the moment, so next I'll get to those belly scales.


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27 minutes ago, Guindyloo said:

Sorry, I’m afraid you’ll have to continue cringing, I’m totally using a kolinsky sable brush. ::P: I tried a couple of different brushes and I didn’t like the results I got from trying to use something synthetic or splayed. It didn’t look right to me and I knew that it would be even less controlled than I wanted as I tightened things up for the highlighting. 

Keep in mind, however, that I am not in any way mashing the brush or putting it through any unneeded abuse. I’m very lightly tapping and that’s why it’s slow and tedious. 



Okay, I'm not really cringing, I suspected that perhaps you were just painting dots and not literally jabbing the point of your brush violently on the hide of that poor dragon.  ::P:  I just wanted to get clarification so that any newbies wouldn't ruin their brushes.  Sometimes doing tedious things the long way is really relaxing, so definitely whatever works for any individual is the way to go.  


It's an awesome thread as usual!  You guys rock for doing so many of them already.  ^_^ 

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Sorry about the sporadic updates. It's been kind of an off week.

So even though I got home from work almost 2 hours later than usual :zombie: I was determined to sit down and get some decent progress made.

First of all, one of the big issues that I knew I was going to have due to assembling fully prior to painting, was the belly scales. There's a lot of little nooks and crannies and with the base in the way, it's really complicated to get a brush in there. 

But as you can see, I managed it.


Because the area underneath is fully in shadow, I used Brown Liner for that area. I also used that to line the underside edges of all of the belly scales.

I did not actually use witch craft to get into those areas, though I did consider it. I realized halfway through that I had just the right tool for the job. It happens to be something that I don't actually remember buying, which is why I only remembered it halfway through.



Your eyes do not deceive you and no, I didn't break a paint brush and glue it back at an angle, it came like that. This is the Loew-Cornell 7670 "Tight Spot" brush and it is indeed as awkward to use as it looks like it would be, but it's also really useful for getting into, well, tight spots.


So with that done, I decided to move on to highlighting the insides of the wings and the belly scales. So I started out by mixing Secret Weapon Old Mud (top left) and Secret Weapon Handle Wood (top right.)



Rather than drybrushing, I decided to use the method "sidebrushing" where you load your brush as usual, though you don't want to overload it so you might want to touch it to a paper towel to take off the excess paint, and then drag the side of it along the raised edges of something with a lot of texture. I use it for painting hair especially and it's the same method you'd use for any kind of edge highlighting. The key is that instead of going up and down with the brush over the horizontal texture like you would with drybrushing, you want to gently slide your brush back and forth horizontally with the same direction as the texture. This will stop your brush from going down into the recesses of the texture and will generally give a little bit of a cleaner look than drybrushing as well as being far more controlled than drybrushing is.

However, as you can see, that colour was too light to really show up very much.




No worries, I just went back over it with straight Secret Weapon Handle Wood.



That showed up much better.


I also wanted to show you what I was doing with the belly scales. Since I'm going for a very textured look on the overall scales, I also wanted to bring some texture to the belly scales. So I did so by making very thin little vertical lines rather than typical layering.


You can also see the oopsie little line of Brown Liner really clearly there on his knee that I'll need to fix later.


Next I wanted to bump up the highlight a bit more so I took MSP Golden Skin and sidebrushed over the wing membranes and did some more of the same little lines over the belly scales, I just started my lines about halfway down the scales for this round of highlights.




I wanted to go just a little bit brighter, so I also took MSP Golden Highlight to do one more round of highlights. I tried to tighten this up a little bit on the wing membranes and started the lines on the belly scales really just at the tips.



Now, honestly, I didn't really like how the wing membranes looked at that point. They were just too uniform so I decided they needed some shading. I approached this by putting the figure on the back of my desk, about an arm's length away from me. You might recall that I did the same thing with Thanis to get a proper perspective on how shadows were realistically falling on her. I think it's really important to get different perspectives and angles while you're painting because we tend to hold the figures really close to our faces and just see one view of what we're doing and that can give you kind of a very zero-ed in view of it that can cause you to miss things that are going on from a different view. So I try to remind myself to occasionally sit back and look at my figures a little bit differently. Most often I hold them off to my side so that they're out of the bright spotlight of my lamp so I'm getting more of a realistic view of them. This is especially helpful to do if you struggle with contrast. Everything looks very bright under our lamps, so remember to get a glimpse under regular lighting and I think that'll help to remind you to take your highlights a little bit higher. 




See where those natural shadows are falling? The expected ones are directly under the highest raised areas, but there are some that aren't necessarily where you might've initially thought to place them. So with that in mind, I took Secret Weapon Rust Shadow, which has really become a new favourite paint of mine. It's a really dark olive sort of green and it's a pretty translucent paint, but it's got a great colour payoff. I've been experimenting with it a lot lately. I am yet to use it for rust. ::P: But as an aside (I know, everything I write is an aside,) I think it's really important to not get bogged down by the names of paints. Typically if something's named a specific thing, then it's probably going to be really great for that specific use but no paint is a one trick pony. You just have to look past the name and pay more attention to the colour itself and the different properties of the paint. 


Where was I? Right, so I took Secret Weapon Rust Shadow and although it does have a lot of translucency to it, I thinned it to a glaze or wash consistency to make sure that it wasn't too strong. Usually when you glaze you want to be really careful about dabbing most of the moisture off of your brush, but in this case I didn't do that because I was ok with it running into those deep recesses a bit. But unlike a wash, I very purposefully placed the colour, I didn't just sweep it over the entire wing membrane.



So now that's given a lot more variation to the wing membrane. And here's the other wing which I, of course, used the same method to do.



I also used the Brown Liner that was leftover on my palette on the base, but I didn't take a picture of that.

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It's interesting to see that where our Bugbear WIP was broadly similar, this one seems to be evolving into opposites.  Both Guindy and I used methods to avoid straight drybrushing, but she chose sidebrushing horizontally and I chose dampbrushing vertically.  I did my lightening from the edges toward the center, where she placed her shadows more carefully and so the center membranes are shaded more.  In this instance, given the position of the wings upward, either method would look satisfactory (though hers is more technically correct).  But we also both decided to brown/tan our wings and belly scales.  You just never know where one of thse threads is gonna go.  ^_^


Since belly scales seem to be the hip thing now, I continued with mine.  I was eager to finish this part because once completed I could liberate his tail from the clutches of the vile clamp.  So the colours are pretty much the same as I did on the wings.  Again I chose to go the opposite way from Guindy, she added texture with vertical strokes and I chose to go horizontal.


So here's coat d'arms barbarian leather:




And then my 50/50 barbarian leather plus dusky yellow:




And then I added white to it slowly until it looked right:




That done, I could finally mount him.  I just glued him onto the already finished base.  As he connects at three points (foot/foot/tail) and is not under stress from weight I didn't bother pinning.  It should be plenty strong just glued on.  Now I can work on the main body as if it was a normal figure. 




Since I will have to put primer and paint on the tail part that was in the clamp, and since they should be dry enough by now, I flipped my wings over so I could work on the other side.  I'm using blue tack here, the less sticky kind, and only barely pressed the wings into it.  I only need to stop them moving, not get stuck fast.




So that I can start working on his head, which I have so far neglected, I need to do the inside of the mouth.  I did this here because I'll be using some washes and they might be messy.  So the first step is to take some very bright old pro paint pink (more of a hot pink than a pale pink) and coat the inside bits:






Next I took some coat d'arms flesh wash plus some coat d'arms chestnut wash and mixed them together to make a rich dark reddish colour:




And slobbered it on:






That tints the pink to a more natural colour and adds some definition.  Very little of this will be visible on the completed piece, but what can be seen should look like natural and proper monster mouth.   (essentially this is the long way of doing what you can do with MSP Monster Maw, which I don't presently have)



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Really sorry the updates on this one have been so sporadic. It's been an atypical week. I've only really been able to work on him for 5 of the 9 days since starting the thread. Buglips has also had an atypical week, causing his own delays. Y'all know how real life gets in the way of these things sometimes.


So I decided to go ahead and tackle the fins that he has and also the hair. I'd been thinking for a while about what I was going to do with them and at first I thought that I might paint them all the same colour as his belly scales and wing membranes but I decided that I wanted to bring a little bit more colour to him.

So I started out by basecoating with MSP New Copper which is not a metallic colour in case you didn't know. It's more of a peachy salmony matte colour.


Now I actually really like this colour combination but obviously it's kind of jarring so my original intention was to take MSP Clear Blue, which was what I used to do the shading on the body, and shade the New Copper with that as well. Now I've had good success in the past with basecoating with a light colour and then taking a very different and much darker colour and creating a transition between the two colours either by slowly glazing or using a 2 brush blending method. Unfortunately, those methods are quite tricking to pull off in very small and varying textured areas. They work much better for larger, flatter areas, or at least they do for me at my level of experience with such methods. It wasn't too bad on the fins, but it was not working whatsoever on the hair and ultimately I decided that I didn't like how it was looking. Now I have to apologize because I thought that I had taken a picture of that stage, but unfortunately I had not. *insert sad trombone.wav here*

I apparently didn't think to take a picture until I'd done a heavy glaze of MSP Clear Blue over everything I'd previously painted.



However, since I did like the look of the New Copper and thought it was really just the technique I'd failed at, I figured I'd go about it via a more traditional route of layering. So I started out by mixing a very small amount of the New Copper into the Clear Blue.


Y'all know how this goes, I left the pure colours up top there.

Seriously though, a very small amount. The thing about Reaper's Clear colours is that there's no white added to them to make them opaque so when you introduce any other paint to them that does have white in it, it's going to lighten it very quickly. I thought this made a really pretty very dark cornflower blue sort of colour. So I took that and rebasecoated.


A situation like this is a really strong argument for working with thinned paints. Had I gone in and basecoated with New Copper straight from the bottle without thinning it a bit and doing 2 thin coats, I could already be running into issues with having to re-basecoat it in a different colour. So it's always something to keep in mind.


Next I added just a wee bit more New Copper to the previous mix.



And I'm going to very slowly work my colour up in smooth layers.



A little bit more New Copper added to the mix.




And a little bit more...




Remember when you're layering that you just want to very gradually decrease the surface area of the next lightest colour.

So a little bit more New Copper added to the previous mix and now we've reached a more traditional cornflower blue colour which I think is really quite lovely.




And a little bit more New Copper to the previous mix and you can see the pink pigment's starting to dominate the blue now but it's still harmonious because I've mixed it so gradually.




Then a little bit more New Copper to the previous mix and you know I really love mixing paint in a gradient like this. It's not the right choice for everyone. I am genuinely "wasting" a bit of paint like this... but honestly, it's so pretty and soothing that I don't really care. ::P: Have you seen those paint mixing videos from instagram? If you haven't, artists take paints (usually heavy body artist acrylics) and just record videos of them mixing the paint on their palette. They do really widely varied colours and there's at least one artist who actually puts paint into silicone molds and freezes them to present these really interesting objects and then she chops them up and mixes them. When I first heard about this, mind you, I was told that it was really soothing to watch and I scoffed at that because it sounded like a huge waste of paint to me, especially with freezing it, which destroys acrylic paint so you can't even use it afterwards. Then I actually watched some of the videos and you know what, it was totally soothing. ::P: But actually seeing it in action changed my mind about it being a waste of paint. If the paint is serving a purpose, and in those videos, it's serving a purpose of creating visual art so even if it can't be applied to something later, it served its purpose so it wasn't wasted. Creating these gradients on my palette makes me happy so it's serving a purpose even if all of the paint isn't going to be used on the figure. Maybe I'm just justifying a questionable habit but hey, that's life, isn't it?

Anyway, with that bit of rambling out of the way, here's the actual picture. :lol:


So lovely.



Lastly, I took just a touch of straight New Copper for the final highlight.



I definitely think that this was a much smoother and less jarring approach for the fins and hair.


And you know what I realized while I was typing up this post? I forgot about the fin on his tail. *double sad trombone.wav*

But, hey, at least this will create a good opportunity in my next post for me to discuss how I go about re-mixing up paint colours when I realize later that I needed more but either the paint has mixed on the palette (the wet palette will release enough moisture into a gradient like this to completely mix all of the paint together) or I've changed out my palette paper. I know that mixing paint on the fly like I do is kind of scary territory for some people for exactly this kind of situation so it's not such a bad thing that I'll get to demonstrate how I tackle it.

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Wonderful Dragons!


As for the inside of animal mouths, I use Vallejo Heavy Warm Grey, which is actually a great soft pink, looking quite natural.

Maybe this can be of use.

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1 hour ago, Glitterwolf said:

Wonderful Dragons!


As for the inside of animal mouths, I use Vallejo Heavy Warm Grey, which is actually a great soft pink, looking quite natural.

Maybe this can be of use.


That's an interesting and useful colour.  There's a certain look, somewhat difficult to describe, that is in my head that I'm going for.  The pink and inks method is close to it, but I think what I really need is Monster Maw plus flesh wash.  That's an experiment I've had in mind for a while, but I forgot to add Monster Maw to my cart when stocking up before winter.  Before the year is out I intend to do the metal version of the Reaper Purple Worm, so as that one has a rather prominent mouth it might be a useful test of this combination. 


I think basically what I'm going for with monsters, on account of them not usually using toothbrushes or mouthwash, is a real ripping case of gingivitis.  Nobody ever talks about what a beholder's breath smells like, but I'd bet it's so nasty it could almost count as a breath weapon.  :zombie:

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6 hours ago, buglips*the*goblin said:

I think basically what I'm going for with monsters, on account of them not usually using toothbrushes or mouthwash, is a real ripping case of gingivitis.  Nobody ever talks about what a beholder's breath smells like, but I'd bet it's so nasty it could almost count as a breath weapon.  :zombie:

I'm sure it's fine.............:



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    • By Disciple of Sakura
      WIP thread here: http://forum.reapermini.com/index.php?/topic/79164-trakzul-as-red-dragon-and-treasure-hoard/
      I picked up T'Raukzul to be my colossal Great Wyrm Red dragon, and spent a lot of time putting together the pieces for his base. I used the resin treasure hoard from Reaper (though they never seem to have it in stock, so I had to get it from a third party seller) and the pewter treasure piles in the parts referenced above. I also used a Bones 3 vampire warrior as a marble statue, some bits and pieces from the weapons sprues (including a sword in the stone), a random elephant necklace I had lying around, and aquarium terrain. The WIP thread shows a lot of the building blocks being put together. I also mounted a thread of LED lights into the aquarium terrain and did some minor work trying to make it glow when I turned the thing on. Despite my best efforts to seal up the gaps, some light leaks through, but it sort of works as magma veins. The photos of the lights on are harder to get, as they get drowned out by too much other lighting. Overall, it took me about 5 days of work, off and on. I tried to get some variety in the treasure hoard, painted up a vase to resemble a Ming vase, tried to have lots of bits and pieces scattered around. I'm pretty satisfied with the results, though. It's a pity I probably won't have too many encounters where I'd be able to use him, but I look forward to putting my players' characters in jeopardy at least once. 

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