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WIP: Lysander from Toscano as Tiamat, the Queen of Dragons

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So I'm DMing a group of D&D 5E where we've played the Tyranny of Dragons storyline for the last two years now. We're around session 80ish now, and my group is near the end, where I want them to encounter Tiamat herself. As I've used miniatures for all encounters so far, I need a Tiamat figue.


When I saw the amazing WIP and Show-Off threads from Sirithiliel last year, I knew I had found the "miniature" I needed. Thank you for the inspiration, Siri. The model is called "Lysander" and is produced by Toscano. It's made out of some kind of resin and is pretty fragile (especially the horns). Wasn't easy to track down the figue, but then I found it on Amazon for 65 Euros including shipping to Germany. I understand that there are versions of this figure that come unpainted. Mine was painted in a nice green/yellow tone. But of course, this is not befitting of Tiamat ;) My plan was to go a little step further than Siri and change the heads, too. My players know the D&D dragons pretty well after a two-year-long dragon themed campaign, and they should be able to identify the typical D&D dragon heads.


As of now, I am almost finished with the model. But if you like, I'll post the pictures of the process here.


Here we go:


Step 1: The figure out of the box




I couldn't get the whole figure on camera with my usual photo setup. Will change setup for later pictures




The model is about 29 cm high, has a wingspan of 38 cm and a base of about 18 cm. It's clearly not in a 28cm fantasy miniture scale like the Reaper miniatures (eyes are too big, base has mega huge tree under the dragon's claws), but it will do.



Edited by empi2k
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Seen along side the wizard Forscale, that tree doesn't look so mega huge. Big, sure, but not uncommonly so. It could just be my point of reference affecting my opinion, though.

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Step 2: Modifying the heads


Okay, I said that I wanted to change the heads a little bit to resemble different types of dragons. First, I chose the order of the heads from left to right:


1. Black

2. Blue

3. Red

4. Green

5. White


That's the same order as others in this forum have painted their Tiamats/Thakhisises. In some D&D artworks, she has the same order (3rd Edition illustration), while in others, the green and blue heads switch places (see new Tiamat miniature, Tiamat artwork for the Neverwinter game). I guess as long as the white and black heads are on the outside and the red one is in the center, everything is fine :)


I started by adding horns and spikes with grey stuff and green stuff:


Black head



I sculpted very basic horns. I'm not too good with green/grey stuff, but it will suffice.




Added some spikes under the chin and at the side of the head. Horns need to be sawed off later.


Blue head



Added chin horns and the double horn on the forehead.


Red head



Added some chin horns and changed the horns. Now they are long, curved and furrowed.



Green head



Added chin horns.


White head



First steps with the curving spine/sleek head profile



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very much looking forward to seeing this.  a little off-topic, would you recommend the tyranny campaign?

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very much looking forward to seeing this.  a little off-topic, would you recommend the tyranny campaign?



Second this as I was thinking of picking it up to convert to 3.5.

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As the Tyranny of Dragons storyline was the first of 5th edition, it has a few problems with too strong/too weak encounters. Also, it gives players very few magic items and is railroading them for the most part of the first book (Hoard of the Dragon Queen) and parts of the second book (Rise of Tiamat). I would still recommend them, if you put in some extra time to add more loot, adjust encounters or the storyline itself. I used a lot of homebrew materials to give my players more agency. There are great online resources to enhance the storyline, e.g. from SlyFlourish, Hack & Slash, PowerScore or the EN World Forums. I used all of it, and the campaign is truely epic.


This is why I want my players to really face Tiamat in Battle instead of just preventing her summoning ritual. They'll be lvl 18 when they face her, so maybe they survive :P


A quick shot of the evil cultist NPCs I used so far. I posted some of them before. But this is getting OT, if you have any other questions about the storyline, just PM me.


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and with that, I'll return to the Tiamat figure.


Step 3: Still modifying the heads


Next, I bought a small saw in a hardware store and got rid of the horns, frills and ears of some of the dragon heads. Added a little bit more greenstuff to get closer to the D&D dragons.


Black head






Sawed off all horns, frills and the ears. Then I glued on my previously made horns and sculpted a little bit around the area. Also added more spikes on top of the head. I tried to saw off as much nose as possible to flatten it (the black dragons face looks very skull-like). I also extended the spinal spikes to form the typical neck frills of black dragons.


Blue head




Sawed off the horns and small ears. Blue dragons have large, frilled ears that can be furled shut. They fully open, if the dragon is angry/excited. So I extended the existing frills a little bit to emulate this. Still needs skin between the greenstuff spikes.


Red head




Added another set of bigger horns and three pairs of smaller spikes under the eyes. This is the only dragon head where I really liked the existing nose horn and the frills :)


Green head




Sawed off the horns, nose spike, and a little bit of the frills, then added more spikes to the head in the place where the frills were. Also added long spinal spikes on the neck.


White head








Sawed off the horns, frills, ears and all visible spikes. Then added a curving spine on top of the head. Later, I added the chin spike. I also tried to smoothen the surface of the side of the neck a little bit. I could add green stuff to make it smoother, but I was fresh out of the stuff. This will have to do :)

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Step 4: Priming


With the heads done, it's time to prime. Here is the figure primed in black and white via airbrush. Never had to prime a model as big as this before. I used a friggin' airbrush and it still took about two hours. Also, my airbrush is clogged now because of the latex in the primer (Vallejo Primer). It didn't go out even after a 48h bath in airbrush cleaner.


Anyhow, here is the primed miniature, ready to receive some paint!


The black head:




The blue head:




The red head:




The green head:




The white head:





All five heads together:




The whole miniature:




And from behind:




Tiamat and her small consort. He's the dragon that doesn't share.





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Step 5: Basecoat / Head Details


Okay, this took me about one week of late night painting. Watched half of season 6 of Star Trek TNG while painting the red scales. Also, need new Vallejo Cavalry Brown ( = red basecoat). Tiamat ate it all.


But I get ahead of myself. First, I painted the heads and necks with about two to three coats.




The white one was painted with Offwhite first (a little bit of yellow in the white) and then highlighted with Foundation White. For high contrast, I used a dark grey and a little black. The D&D white dragons have this nice black eye shadow, and Lady Tiamat also needed this.




The green head was done pretty quickly. I had just painted Blightfang a couple of months ago and just did the same routine here.




It took a bit longer with the blue head, as I had to find a suitable color first. I went with Prussian Blue.




The black got a boasecoat of Dark Grey, a Grey highlighting and then a black wash. I mixed in some green for the neck frills.




And finally, I painted the rest of the scales in Cavalry Brown. After that, I took an evening for the mustard/sand colored scales of the neck front. I changed them a little bit from head to head: Yellowish for the red head, a little more sand color for the blue head, a little less saturaed/beige colored for the black head and a little lime-colored for the green head. I went with white for the white head for the moment.






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