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Back again with some spiders! I tried out Rangers of Shadow Deep last night and got to break out my spider minis. I've got a few Giant Spiders and Spider Swarms from the D&D board games Castle Ravenloft, and Legend of Drizzt respectively. I had started these ages ago but quickly became dissatisfied with the direction they were headed. A few months ago I picked them back up and went in a different direction. The giant spiders in particular were letting me down. The sculpt is pretty undefined. It took some freehand fur work to bring it to life. I also switched from a warm brown tone to a cool grey. I think the added contrast makes them stand out a lot better. I also added some used dryer sheets as webbing. It's mostly successful. The super glue turned it invisible in places which sort of works as holes in the web. Definitely will revisit this idea again in future projects. The spider swarms are less successful. I tried to keep three distinct colorations to help them stand apart from one another. But with such poorly defined details, they could have used more contrast. They work well enough. Maybe I'll revisit them, but I tend to just move on after calling something "good enough." What do you all do for swarm minis? I find that most of mine look rather drab or incomprehensible.
More Dungeons and Dragons Boardgame models today. The Wraiths and Blazing Skeletons. Both of these sculpts come in transparent blue plastic, so painting them is a little different. You really don't want to be undercoating these if you want to retain the semi-transparent look. I gave both of them a bit of a wash with dark blue ink in order to deepen the shadows, which has worked in one way and not been so great in another, as they have lost a certain amount of their transparency by doing so. The Blazing Skeletons are pretty nice models, actually - the only really "difficult" part being how the fireball is indistinct from the rest of the flames happening on the model. The Wraiths aren't bad models either. A little ham-handed perhaps, but that's hardly a new thing to miniatures. Simple enough, but overall quite effective. Obviously, the place for these figures to get more use would be in the Undead Army. What to use them for on the other hand is a little trickier. The wraiths would obviously see most approrriate use as Wraiths, but that role is more than competently taken care of both by the reams of Army of the Dead models from LotR as well as the old Citadel Spirit Host (Ghost Swarm) models that I repainted last year. Smaller numbers have any number of very nice models in LotR Barrow-Wights, Otherworld Miniatures' Wights and the like. Perhaps if the AotD get split off into a separate Army of the Necromancer or something. I dunno. Suggestions on near-term use for those models would always be welcome. The Blazing Skeletons have a similar problem - what to use them for? If I were really lazy or creative, I could try suggesting that they're stand-ins for War Machines. What with the huge blue fireballs they're about to Ha-dou-ken at their enemies. Thing is of course, that I already have some Undead Warmachines (and two more Skull Chuckers to sort out, and a TK Screaming Skull on the radar.) So, I dunno. Smush them in with Undead Archers since they're all ranged? Seems a bit ill-fitting somehow. Use them as Undead Characters/casters? While that could work ont he surface, these models don't look like interesting characters, and Undead Characters seems to be one of the most heavily-populated subgenres of miniatures available - both from older metal collections like my Citadel stuff as well as endless newer models from Reaper, Bones, etc.
Another couple of the Dungeons and Dragons Boardgame models today. The Zombie Dragon and the Werewolf. Both are decent sculpts, though nothing outstanding by my standards. The Zombie Dragon is a reasonable beast, though details are a little soft in places. It's also undersized to my eye, for a dragon at least. Dragonling perhaps, but not a full fledged dragon, undead or otherwise. A zombie dragon is, apparently a distinct thing from a Dracolich. I guess that's a Dragon who is a Lich, rather than a Dragon who is a Zombie. I guess perhaps Dracoliches can be the ones who animate Zombie Dragons. I've still got to finish painting the Dracolich that came with Ravenloft, so enough about that for now. Since this thing is (or used to be) a Dragon(ling), and also a Zombie, I went for a kind of traditional green palette, knowing I could stay dark on the carapace while highlighting the majority of the skin to a really pallid, desaturated green, so the carapace and wing membranes would provide a harmonious contrast. Of course, the other contrast that I wanted to have nice and strong was that of the blood, gore, viscera, exposed muscle and so on. The beast doesn't look like it's been dead for all that long, as there's not a huge amount of decomposition on the model so far. I mean, the details are pretty soft, so it's easy enough to go other way, but I thought the head looked a little sallow as opposed to being made up of exposed bone. This is why I painted the eyes as hollowed-out but bloodied sockets. As though the crows and carrion-eaters had picked them out of the skull, before reanimation had occurred.The midsection and exposed ribs were again a bit soft, so I used some tube-putty to create some intestines hanging out of the chest/midsection cavity, along with a relatively fresh trail of viscera and blood being left in its stride. All of the exposed wounds were finished with Tamiya Clear Red, and the trail of dripping gore was made up of the same Clear Red along with some Water Effects. The Werewolf also, is a simple figure. Again on a par with an average Bones model. Very much a 5/10 sculpt and model, in my opinion. I went for grey rather than brown, since grey rather than brown wolves and werewolves fit the pseudo-gothic-horror aesthetic of something like Castle Ravenloft for me. The incredibly awkward pose and posture doesn't do a whole lot for me, either. Interestingly, this werewolf is female. Though she only has two breasts, that are completely covered in fur, rather than six-to-ten teats. Not something I'd thought about much before. We all know that there are actually painters out there that really can make a silk purse from a sow's ear. I'm not sure if I consider myself one of them, but I know that I could have made this model look better than it is. The question, as always is whether it would be worth the time invested. In this case, I did a little with facial markings and called it good enough. In the end, these two are simply used as Bossed for the Ravenloft box. In theory, both could have a place in a Kings of War Undead army, though I've got better (Confrontation) Werewolves that I use for that game, and better ones from Citadel, Reaper, and even Mantic that I can use for everything else. The Zombie Dragon would need proxy-stats for a creature much less nasty than a proper Dragon to be of use. Obsidian Golem stats of some kind, perhaps?