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Darcstaar's Completed Miniatures 1984-Present

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Hi everyone.

I was asked a few months ago to show exaples of my work.

I'm choosing to post up my whole chronology, as I don't have THAT many complete figures.

I'll also try to include the names/company/sculptor if possible, and any interesting (in my mind) stories about them.

I think it's very nostalgic to see where I have been, and how I got where I am now.  Hopefully it inspires people just starting out to realize that as you add techniques here and there, you really do get better.  Probably much faster than I did.


So, without further ado...





These were my ?Third and Fourth? figures ever?
Circa 1986 (though online catalogs suggest they were released later than that).

They are Citadel/Games Workship Space Marines called "Terminator Honours and Bolter (1 and 2)."

I called the top one Sarge and the bottom one Captain.  They were supposed to be from the Salamander Chapter.

The mark above their eyes were their rank insignia.  The skull and lines on the Bolters were supposed to be kill tallies.

As you can see, no basing, no figure cleanup, no putty, lots of dings (30 years old?).

I think they were painted with Testors paint, for God's Sake!


Techniques used: Basecoat, Drybrush, Freehand.  And is it perhaps one of the earliest documented attempts at NMM?  (See those yellow crosses and eagles?).


My friend who got me into miniatures said "Why did you paint that yellow?"  My reply was "It's supposed to look like cartooney gold."  He said "You're supposed to use gold paint!"  So, that was the last of my NMM attempts until current day.


I was like 8 or 10 years old when I painted these.  I was SOO happy with the shoulder pad free hand, that I entered them into a contest at a modeller's convention (airplanes and such).  I didn't place, and  was very dumbfounded... Surely the judges had to appreciate the level of skill it took to paint that free hand?  A lot more han gluing together and airbrushing an F-14 Tomcat?  Oh well, that was the end of my painting contests until this year!

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Next, we have Czarchon, Witch King of Chaos.

Ral Partha, Mounted Heroes line. 01-405.

A friend gave this to me to paint (a different one than the one who got me started into miniatures).




Circa 1988-89

Technique: Basecoat, Drybrush, Shading (darkened the red of cloak with black, watered down, painted into recesses)

and Maybe OSL (you'll have to take my word for it that I painted the eye-slits of the visor red)


As you can see, my gold is now Testor's metallic gold.  The gems in the crown were metallic paints too.

He's kind of glossy and BEAT TO elf!  My older sister brought him to school without telling me as part of a shoe-box diorama.

She forgot all about him, so he sat in her backpack unprotected for a few weeks.  It is a testament to Testors enamel just how much of the paint survived!

At the time, I was very, very proud of this guy due to the depth I thought he had on his cloak.  Also, the figure just looks like a badass!



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Then we come to High School.

High school meant Hero Quest and M.U.S.C.L.E.

None of the MUSCLE men survived my flaming WD-40 and Pellet Gun.

But here are a few of the Hero Quest.






Figures from the Hero Quest game, Citadel/Games Workshop, 1989.

Painted Circa 1991-1994

Techniques: Basecoat, Drybrush, Paint Mixing, and Shading.

Paints: Polly-S and Testors.


I loved Hero Quest.  I haven't played it in over a decade.

I painted this Chaos Warrior gold to set him up as a captain: The others are just silver.

I particularly liked the 3 tones of green I mixed for the elf, and for a while, he was one of my cleanest figures.

Finally, anyone who knows me, knows I love the Ultima Series.  In Ultima VI: The False Prophet, released by Origin Systems in 1990, gargoyles were Red!

So I painted my Hero Quest gargoyle as an Ultima VI Gargoyle.  He moved ahead of the pack as my new favorite miniature, and I showed him off to whomever I could.

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Off to College and Med School.

These two mini's were when I "got back into painting."


Heartbreaker Miniatures 138: "Black Orc Champions 2-Pack"





Circa 1996

Techniques: Basecoat, Flesh Wash, Dry Brush, Free Hand, Shading, "Matte" Sealer (yeah right, I'm looking at you Armoury Sealer!)

Paint: Games Workshop


This was my discovery of green wash for the orc skin.  Everyone said how amazing it would be, but I really didn't enjoy using the wash.  I thought it was too opaque, intense, and dark, and I had to work to hard to lighten up the skin again.


Now, I don't know what drove me to think mounting them on foam-core and then a slotta-base was a good idea, but you'll see that in my mini's from this phase.  I was measuring it out to 1 inch due to our game mat...


I loved these guys so much, they made the rounds with me on both my med school AND residency interviews:  I figured that if I could show them I had such good motor control, I could be a heart surgeon, right?  Well, it worked.  To this day, my old Surgery Dept Chief remembers me bringing these mini's on my interview.  Luckily, I opted to go into a different subspecialty of surger than Heart Surgery... that would be too painful...


The axe orc is part of the "Blood Fist Clan" and the sword orc is part of the "Demon Skull Clan."

These guys have seen a ton of use on and off the gaming table.

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More of the 1998-2000 miniatures.





The sand on the base of the dwarf is a recent addition.

I think I'm going to just have to break him out of the foam core, and onto a new base.  I liked his red hair and beard, just drybrushing.

His eyes came out well, but not in the picture.


The skeletal knight was the recipient of a very pebby primer, as was a whole batch of minis still not painted.  So, he was a true speed paint, but is a dead ringer for a baddy in a module I've run a few times, so he's found a lot of table top time.  His is the first time I tried a rust effect.  His sculpt is with pitted armour, so it was a no-brainer.  Just some reddish-brown paint applied as a wash.  The primer job makes him look even more weathered, so it was OK.


Circa 1998-2000

Techniques: Basecoating, Drybrushing, Wash

Paint: Partha Paint, Games Workshop


The Dwarf is Heartbreaker's Earthdawn 304 Dwarf Weaponsmith B.

The skeleton is Heartbreaker Fantasy Sculptors 6509 Skeleton Champion by Phil Lewis.

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This next set of minis is a bit of a transitional period.

This was late 2001, early 2002.  When The Fellowship of the Ring came out in theaters, an Games Workshop released their LOTR tabletop game.

I received the basic FOTR boxed set of Numenoreans, Elves, and Goblins.  In it was a book.  In that book was the typical 'Eavy Metal techniques for speed-painting.

That introduced me to Blacklining.





I tried a little blacklining on the Dwarf Helmet.
He also had a nice freehand shield design of an arm holding an axe.

I pushed the blacklining to most of the model on the gnome.  It really does set off various parts of the mini, so overall it is pleasing to look at.


Circa 2002

Techniques: basecoat, drybrushing, shading, blacklining, freehand

Paint: Partha Pants, Games Workshop


The Dwarf is Heartbreaker's Earthdawn 304 Dwarf Weaponsmith A.

The gnome is one of the Ral Partha "3 Stage Adventurers Pack) Gnome Illusionists: 01-334 by Tom Meier.

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An epiphany:


So, I looked at the blacklining, and thought it looked really unnatural.

I thought back to days with a coloring book and remembered it wasn't the black lines of the pictures that made good crayon-weilders good: It was those that drew a heavy line of crayon next to the black line that produced the best results.  So, I decided instead of "Blacklining," I wated to try "Darklining."  I personally consider this a level up to anyone stuck blacklining.




Circa 2002

Paint: Games Workshop

Techniques: Basecoat, Shading, Darklining, Glazing


This is another of the Ral Partha 3-Stage Adventurers, 01-334 Gnome Illusionist by Tom Meier.

I think the darklining makes the figure pop, without looking un-natural.
I got lucky with the yellow, it looks good in hand.
Also, I still haven't been blending paint at this point.  Again, I'm going by the 'Eavy Metal team, and White Dwarf magazine at this point so I'm using the

"Step 1 Basecoat, Step 2 Shade/Line, Step 3 Highlight, Step 4 Glaze it all together" system they preached.  This is most obvious on the linear highlight of the pouch.  I also spent more time on the skin highlights and shadows of the face, see the difference compared to the earlier gnome?


From far away it looks nice.  From too close, the transitions are too stark/forced.  But nevertheless, I consider this my pivotal miniature that catapulted me into becoming a better painter.  These two gnomes were literally painted one after the other, and I hope you'd agree it is a drastic improvement.  It just goes to show, if you keep thirsty for improvement, and open to trying out new things, you'll get better.

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Now to the period of 2004-2006.

I was getting back into regular D&D Sessions.

The internet was proving invaluable for improving my painting.

And, duh, Reaper Miniatures!


First is DHL 02681 Tolzar, Cleric by Sandra Garrity.




Techniques: Basecoating, Blending, Conversion (swapped his mace for the hammer from DHL 02607 Bjorn, Dwarf Warrior by Werner Klocke), and Washes.

Paint: Games Workshop, Vallejo Game Color


I was still trying to figure out what to do with skin.  This was just a wash over a basecoat.  Also, still not taking the leap on basing.


Speaking of Bjorn,

DHL 02607 Bjorn, Dwarf Warrior by Werner Klocke




Techniques: Basecoating, Blending, Conversion (See above), and some Freehand (on the Tabard).

Paint: Games Workshop, Vallejo Game Color


This figure was my attempt to stick my toe into the cold pool of basing.  Just some static grass, but it was enough to break the shell, so now I try to base all of my figures.

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Two other figures I finished during 2004-2006 were for my players' PC's.


First up, DHL 02637 Marcus Starsong by Sandra Garrity.



Techniques: Basecoating, Blending, Additives, Basing

Paint: Games Workshop and Vallejo Game Color


I was particularly happy with the cloak.  Now I look at it and think "Add more contrast," and "it's begging for some freehand!"

The player who I let borrow it was very happy to use it, and thought it a good representation of his character.


Next is DHL 02393 Shaedra of Vestoria by Sandra Garrity



Techniques: Basecoating, Blending, Freehand, Drybrushing, Washes, Additives, Basing

Paint: Games Workshop and Vallejo Game Color


The player for this character described "Ruby" as a dark-skinned African girl with a two-handed sword.

This was my first attempt at non-caucasian skin.  It is very flat and lacking, so I definitely need to work on that some more.

She was happy with how this came out.

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Almost out of minis!

Next is my only "big" miniature, monster.
It's an ogre.

Heartbreaker Miniatures, Earthdawn line, 338 Ogre A




Techniques: Basecoating, Blending, Lining, Additives, Basing, Drybrushing

Paint: Games Workshop, Vallejo Game Color


So, I had this figure primed in black for at least 8 years before I got around to painting him.

I tried to make his fur cloak look like a wolf pelt.  The little tail trophies were supposed to be a fox, and raccoon (you can't see that one) and wolf.

I used some Army Painter Battlefields Highland Tuft on the base, and it looks like he's wading through some Yucca plants.

Originally, I had intended for stripes on the pants, but got bored with it so moved on.

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Finally, the last mini I'll post here.

It was kind of a fluke.  I got it as a free-bee in a Reaper order.
I thought that was so cool, and I liked the sculpt:
DHL 02541 Darbin the Deadly, by Werner Klocke.




Techniques; Basecoating, Blending, Additives, Basing

Paint: Vallejo Game Color, Reaper Master Series


One of the miniatures I'm most proud of.
I like the blue of the cloak.  The white with its subtle gray shading, and the pop of the design on his apron.

Finally, his eyes came out pretty good, and he has a mystery hiding in the depth of his hooded face.


I hope you have all enjoyed my walk down memory lane.  You can see improvement brought about by slowly at first from practice, then more rapidly by reading magazines (White Dwarf, "Eavy Metal inserts into the LOTR Boxed Set), and even faster by the internet and great forums like this.  Hopefully the newer painters can look at this and realize it doesn't take that many finished models to get better (even if it took me 25 years), you just have to ask questions, look at how others do it, and sit down and paint.


Thanks for your time, everyone.



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