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Coincidentally, I had this figure very nearly done two days ago when the sad news of Diana Rigg’s passing was made public.
It always was a tribute to her incandescent portrayal of Emma Peel in the old British TV show “The Avengers”, but now it’s a memorial as well. Requiescas in pacem, Ms. Rigg.
The figure is “Pandora King (Classic)” from Crooked Dice miniatures. Crooked Dice has a minis game based on cult TV and they’ve produced a lot of different figures suitable for that sort of storytelling.
Happy birthday, @TheAuldGrump and @Inarah. I hope you enjoy this. Notes follow after the photos.
This is Grenadier’s Hippogriff, #138 from the Fantasy Lords series way back in 1983, now sold in lead-free pewter by Mirliton Miniatures, Italy. It’s well sculpted, with securely fitting wings.
I wanted to paint something different from the common hippogriff colorings, something with a little challenge to it. So I decided to go with several black and white patterned creatures. The front end is based on an osprey, the wings on a hoopoe’s, and the hindquarters on a zebra, all somewhat modified to suit the figure and to blend where the shifts happen.
Whenever you’re going to paint a chimeric model, a creature made up of the parts of other creatures, it’s a good idea to go look at real animals to see how their colors and feathers and skins look, and also how they blend into other things. If nothing else, there are excellent visual resources on the internet.
These are two copies of the Reaper Bones Large Earth Elemental 77185, sculpted by Kevin Williams.
I saw someone, I can’t recall who, paint up, it might have been one of these, like cooling lava which I thought was lovely, so I wanted to give it a try. I painted the lava version very quickly, in a few sessions: A layer of butter-yellow intensified with yellow glazing, then laying on pure black paint rather thickly, then some washes of Quinacridone Magenta and some fiddling with that and yellow on the gems.
The rock version I painted v-e-r-y slowly, in many layers over time, often with whatever paint was left on my palette from other paintings. I’m not sure when I started it, but since I haven’t painted any minis at all for the last year, it’s been some time.
I thought it interesting how very different a sculpt can look depending on how you paint it.
Some have seen the miniature in show off forum, but I finally got around taking some decent pics of the final version tonight. I used a ring light to illuminate the front of the mini and my painting lamp from top. One set of shots on a light blue backdrop and one on a black backdrop. Let me know which one you prefer.
Judas Bloodspire has been slightly converted: New custom head, new sword, some of the skulls on the armour removed and more details added to signify that it is a fantasy version of Vlad Tepes.
I tried a few new things on this one: Two brush blending on the cloak (kinda worked ok), using a unifying purple wash in all shadows and depicting pearls with microbeads for nail art.
Hope you like him C&C very welcome as I want to push myself further with each new mini.
If you are interested here is the work in progress thread:
While I am waiting for some inspiration to finish my necromanceress and hone my painting skills with other stuff to get a grip on OSL to finish my Ghost King, I came across a basecoated Judas Bloodspire in my box of shame.
I realised why I did not finish him: I did not like his face and didn't care much for the skulls on his armour. A few minutes later is head was gone and so were the skulls. But what now? While googling I came across a copy of a portrait of Vlad Tepes apparently based on an original made during his lifetime. This picture is in the Public domain, still only a link to be on the safe side:
Portrait of Vlad Dracul. By Anonymous [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
He was a Wallachian prince that lived 1428/1431 to 1476/77. Contemporary and later sources describe him as a cruel and ruthless politician, some go so far to paint him as a sadistic monster that reveled in drinking the blood from his impaled enemies. It does not come as a surprise that Bram Stoker got inspired by this historical figure for his Count Dracula novel.
I had this idea of a fictional family graveyard of the Draculesci for the base, going even further back to the House of Basarab. This would allow to depict weathered gravestones that are a hundred years old, some tumbled over and overgrown, the walls of the graveyard in disrepair. I imagine the entire family to be cursed by the gods with vampirism based on Vlad's cruelty. Embracing this curse, or "gift" as he likes to refer to it, he may have chosen the graveyard as a resting place. He cares little for its condition and revels in the decay surrounding him.
In my case the miniatures original sword was held at such an odd angle that its point was lower than the cast-on base. Instead of cutting off the arm and adjusting the weapon I kept the angle and decided to put the miniature on the edge of some stone steps. This works also very well with his raised knee and outstretched left arm. In the end I decided to replace his long sword with a Hungarian sabre or szabla, which I carved from a two-handed sword that was part of the Northstar plastic gnolls set using a scalpel. The historical Vlad Tepes would most likely have used an european style sword, but his immortal counterpart may have adopted a saber when it became more acceptable among the nobility a hundred years after his "death".
To resemble more the portrait of Vlad I added a new head and breast armor. Turns out Vlad's hairdo and mo was pretty metal back in the day. Anyhow, I used a head of the Gripping Beast Late Romans for this conversion. One of the soldiers wears a Pannonian cap which provides a perfect base for the Wallachian headdress depicted in the portrait. I still need to add the pearls and maybe a dragon emblem on the chest piece.
There are still some elements missing:
As you can see the gap on the base will fit the graveyard wall. I think I will use a magnet to attach it to simplify transport. I also need to add the bat swarm to the background and another gravestone to the front left. This one was the bottom part of the bat swarm. I cut the Bones version in two pieces to be able to mount the swarm on some clear acrylic rod. Given the gravestone had a skull with batwings on it *cough* I decided to add some new design with greenstuff. I had a flying dragon in mind to mirror the headstone behind it. I also want to add another hanging bat to the lower branch of the tree. This will most likely be the bat from the Reaper familiar set. A nice touch could be a tumbled over statuette that was originally placed in the little alcove of the gravestone on the front right. I'll see what my greenstuff skills can produce. Here are some pictures of the base without WIP Vlad. If you are interested in how it was constructed head over to my blog, where I wrote a detailed step-by-step tutorial:
Unrested souls - How to make a graveyard themed diorama base