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From the dusty reaches of yesteryear

From the dusty reaches of yesteryear

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Project Blog by horati0nosebl0wer Cult of Games Member

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About the Project

One of my old gaming friends dropped his collection of figures he had begun with back in his heyday of playing D&D on me. This is me giving some of the old figures life with paint (most of them for the very first time).

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A devil of a good time

Tutoring 3
Skill 4
Idea 3
1 Comment
Where I started fromWhere I started from
Where we ended upWhere we ended up

Ok, not really s devil but close enough for government work in most instances. I’ve managed to save a effreet figure from remaining under old paint that did it no good at all. This comes from the Grenadier box set Tomb of Spells (SKU: 5004) and, according to D&D Lead, this would have been from the first of three releases of the box. I’ve found the Umber Hulk and Minotaur which weren’t included later.

Coming out in 1980 the effreet might’ve been a bit of an issue from the press at the time.

A devil of a good time

The third release material seems like it to was taken up by Mirliton

A devil of a good time
Original miniaturesOriginal miniatures
Ones presently on offerOnes presently on offer

A damsel in distress

Tutoring 2
Skill 2
Idea 2
No Comments
Those layers be thiccThose layers be thicc

I found the druid with puma. As you can see she was in a bad state with dreaded enamel. There’s an old joke I heard from my grognard buddies that a man goes to a con and stands admiring a figure displayed in the competition case. He finds himself standing with the painter next to him and applauds what kind of detail and development there appears to have been put into the layering of paint he laid down to show such character for an ogre. The painter smiles slightly and comments “Thanks, I started with a halfling”.

Here I’ve stripped away the paint with a couple days bathing in Simple Green. I went back with a brass wire brush and dental pick to pull off what I could without destroying detail. Lead is soft and the one thing anyone of an age knows is “smoosh nose syndrome”. Dropped lead figures are well known to suffer this and there is no chance at rhinoplasty.

Just the right angleJust the right angle

For the final act we see our heroine saved from the peril of a poor paint job and reborn to be seen with greater respect for the work done by the sculptor. One noteworthy bit of info is the amount of negative space on the model. It was surprising to find the undercutting beneath the arms resting on the cat and between the pair. The actual separation between the druid’s legs and the torso of the puma is surprising given the likely difficulty of the cast instead of creating a solid piece.

Tyvek suits on order

Tutoring 5
Skill 6
Idea 5
1 Comment

Taking a dive into the background of the collected figures I’ve found more box art and listings related to figures that I have been showcasing. From DnDLead I saw that there were was a listing for the 1987 Grenadier catalog which has SKU 6008 showing knights I recognize. The box art shows copyright from 1985 so all is good in the support doccos.

So far the Knight of Terror has been painted without knowing what it was. The Knight of Chaos is in the queue and about to be finished soon. The Knight of Blood, on foot and mounted, will be a little further down the line. I might add some support to the horse, in the form of a steel rod, as it is all lead and the legs are trying to bend a the rather thin ankles. This has been a rather happy accident I’d say.

Tyvek suits on order
Tyvek suits on order

Beyond that I sifted more dust and got images of other figures that I’ve painted thus far

More additions

Tutoring 4
Skill 4
Idea 4
2 Comments
SKU: 2007 Female Adventurers + one random Ral Partha and Grenadier from the 80sSKU: 2007 Female Adventurers + one random Ral Partha and Grenadier from the 80s

I now also have a second set of figures from Grenadier that I had purchased after being moved by the love of lead and seeing these first start taking shape as a project some time ago. I think that I might have a few of the missing minis not included in my purchase in the small Pile of Overwhelming Potential I received.

More additions

In the hope of bringing more to bear with historical significance I dug into the Internet and pulled what images I could from original catalogs. Most notably my best reference has been DnDLead, that I will continue and repeatedly refer back to for the wealth of information, for things I’m putting into the project for original product material imagery.

More additions

With Mirliton getting the rights and molds to cast, sets like 2007  Female Adventurers can still be purchased as Children of Diana.

More additions

Breathing Clearer

Tutoring 3
Skill 5
Idea 4
No Comments
Breathing Clearer
Breathing Clearer
Palmtop spider detailedPalmtop spider detailed

I’ve taken my time to step away from this project and got back into the swing of things with finishing off other pieces without much care. Now that I don’t worry as badly as I might over the fact that I’m putting paint on minis I’ve turned to complete some more of the first group of old figures from the inheritance.

I’ve attempted doing editing with Photopea on my phone but layering is impossible as far as I can manage right now. I don’t see a way of multifunction keying using the QWERTY and touchscreen functionality. It might be a different direction to take the program as far as an Android app but I think I’ll stay in my lane and just comment instead of try at programming. Meh, in the meantime I’ve gotten to a pc to do proper editing for your enjoyment.

Taking a breather

Tutoring 2
Skill 3
Idea 5
No Comments

Time to chill out and set things in boxes as I beging packing for another move. I hope to relieve myself of much stress in this. I know getting closer to work should make life more bearable on the commute home through rush hour.

Hack and Thump!

Tutoring 5
Skill 10
Idea 9
No Comments
Hack and Thump!
Hack and Thump!

Continuing on with this project as I continue building and painting my other stuff, perhaps to the frustration of Tim and Gerry,  I’m happy to allow these figures to sit on my display shelf in pigmented bliss. I was inspired to make the warrior dark and foreboding with some sort of black armor but that would have made him vanish on the base. I took a cue from the armor worn in the film Bram Stoker’s Dracula from 1992 and put this together in red. The ornamentation I decided would be good as focal points and was reminded of Pre-Raphaelite paintings that did just that kind of thing; gold was the color of choice from there.

The cavebabe was a test of how many neutrals I could use without losing the figure. I think it came out alright in the end. The photo might do it more justice than I give myself credit for in person but I do hope that you and anyone else who looks at it enjoy.

Revisit previous minis with better photos

Hack and Thump!
Hack and Thump!

Seeing the results of my efforts to take better images I thought to come back to a couple of minis I featured in one of my other projects. The light was too dark to properly get details and I think that there was quite a bit lost in the color values. I hoped that these images might be better and they have been.

Making helmeted headway

Tutoring 11
Skill 15
Idea 14
2 Comments
Making helmeted headway
Making helmeted headway

Bringing some life to what might have been dead lead and surprising details created by hand at true 25mm scale. Its actually interesting to have the dwarf at approx. 15mm scale and play about in trying to draw out the character put into the work. I did actually go in and try to get the eyes but they just don’t show up from how far the helmet sits.

The sorcerer was fun to play about in getting the wand detail and throw odd color into the mix. I think he’s the leader to the color splatter I’ll build in giving some “pop” to have these figures hold their own instead of plain hues that would be assumed as adventurer garb.

Moving metal and the rest of the materials

Tutoring 9
Skill 9
Idea 11
No Comments

Moving is once again a factor in life. This fact is a pain in the rear as I just made the selection of the next dozen minis for this project. Augh!! I’m pleased to have the MDF bases from Litko that have been so useful. 25mm seems a bit big when the figures seem about 25mm “true” scale instead of the “heroic” scale (28mm) that I’ve become accustomed to with most of what I’ve worked on for some time. It does make for a better scene for the mini to ‘live in’ when doing base work. I feel like, more and more, I need to keep a mind to train modelling with regard to scale and building materials I have on hand in plastic.

Base metal lead

Tutoring 12
Skill 13
Idea 12
No Comments

After throwing on some Apoxiesculpt and some Golden coarse pumice medium I have more interesting bases for these figures. The MDF adds so much stability from the original casts that it was worth epoxying them and labeling what info I could find on the bottoms.

Sifting through layers of dust

Tutoring 12
Skill 12
Idea 12
No Comments

Digging deeper into the history of my inherited minis I’m finding a bit more about the sculptors involved. There was a group listed for the stable that included both Sandra Garrity and Julie Guthrie. Both presently have a large body of work in the offerings from Reaper minis. Mark Copplestone hails from the bunch as well and currently runs his own business offering his creations independently in different scales. Honestly, the Wikipedia article is great for a jumping off point before falling further down the rabbit hole.

I’ve trolled the Internet for a short while and come in with a good haul of info to cross reference. According to the Grenadier catalog from 1987, I’m finding figures in the collection that seem to be from the sets Female Adventurers (2018 Dragon Lords range) and Fantasy Knights (6008 Fantasy Lords range). I’ve yet to identify others but it is a work in progress.

An interesting side note is that the much sought after metal Demigorgon miniature (102 Fantasy Lords range), the centerpiece for the D&D game in the Netflix series Stranger Things which caused a spike in sale prices, was on display to oggle in black and white.

Barbarian brouhaha

Tutoring 10
Skill 14
Idea 11
No Comments

Going back over some of the stuff I “inherited” I found this guy by his lonesome. I figured it was an interesting sculpt from Ral Partha in 1979 and, after stripping off layers of enamel, found a decent figure underneath. Now I’ve given him better basing and a zenithal priming that makes this guy stand out a lot more. Seeing these old minis makes me wonder about how little some might appreciate either the craft of sculpting for the hobby or the advances in painting we now reap the benefit of over previous painters.

I’m happy to add another figure to the completed cabinet from my Hoard of Shame.

Naked as they day they were born

Tutoring 11
Skill 12
Idea 12
No Comments
Bare lead, Gerry would be proudBare lead, Gerry would be proud

They all fit in with the sculting style and the cast techniques from the era. Since both Grenadier and Ral Partha were prominent at the time on for minis it seemed appropriate to throw it all together for some fun. I’ve tried getting as much info off the bottoms of the casts with limited success. Some of the details were wanting as the amount of space for true 25mm scale was limited.

Front left to right: Ral Partha (1979), Grenadier A75 (1985), Grenadier A64 (1985)
Middle left to right: Grenadier (1987), Grenadier A81 (1985), Grenadier A74 (1985?)
Rear left to right: Grenadier(?), Grenadier A63 (1985), Grenadier G15 (1989)

As these were based so small I’ve put them on 3mm thick MDF bases at 25mm and set them with 5min epoxy. Like other figures I’ve had on my random item project entries these will get some love in the form of Apoxiesculpt and pumice medium to make them “live” in their new environment.

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