Sunday, September 25, 2016

One Hero, One Monster: Part I

I wanted to try and routinely make a post describing one hero and one monster that I have done so far (eventually I will run out of heroes and there will only be monsters to talk about, but whatever).  Unlike the female barbarian construction post I did, I don't plan on actually putting these guys together.  I already have them finished.  But I will show all the parts and give hints or discuss errors I made to help anyone who wants to give it a go on their own.

One Hero, One Monster:  Human Wizard & Orc Warrior

 Hero:  Human Wizard
I always try and get inspiration either from a movie character, or a drawing of some type (I'm a big Erol Otus fan!) but in this case, I really liked how the wizard was drawn in the "Torchbearer" rpg.  So I used him as inspiration for this figure.
The head is a rounded top plug (I think it is 1/2"), milk bottle (a little tougher to find, I get them at Michael's) for the body.  The standard 1" thin precut circle is used for a base, and again that comes in a big bag of several different sizes of thin, precut circular shapes at any craft store.  His magic wand side satchel is just a scrap piece of tile spacer cut to the shape and thickness desired.  The strap is actually painted on the body.  You'll need three 5mm tile spacers for the arms (they are a little thicker in their shape than the 1/8" ones).  Instead of cutting them I've instead blacked out the parts of the spacer that you would not use, showing you how to cut them with your knife to get the shape to match what I have.  In the picture, the arm on the far right is actually the figure's left arm (the one extended straight forward), while the two pieces more towards the middle make up the figure's right arm.  The top part is the shoulder down to the elbow cut on a 45 degree angle, and the bottom piece is the forearm and hand with the back part of the arm also cut at a 45 degree angle so that it will join with the upper arm piece.  One important construction point here is that whenever possible, especially with the tile spacers, if you can make it one piece instead of gluing together several pieces you are better off.  For example, I could have cut the right arm of the figure straight across making a sleeve, and then cut a hand and glued it on.  Far too fiddly and not nearly as strong as making the arm and hand one piece.  Also notice the angle cut close to the hand, giving the appearance of a large sleeved robe.  One final point, and this is easiest to see in the second photo above, instead of gluing the plug so that it is totally flush with the "bottom" side of the milk jug, which you could do because the diameter of the flat side of the plug and the "bottom" side of the milk jug are roughly the same, I shifted the plug forward a little bit so that it creates a "chin" look to the figure, as if his head is slightly forward sticking over his chest (which is the way we are!).  It also creates a back that sticks out more to the rear than the back of his head, which is also anatomically correct for a human.

Paint as you desire, but the general way I do it is to follow a similar procedure to how I paint regular miniatures.  With regular miniatures, I use three coats, a dark, medium, and light, but for these figures to stick with the simpler approach I use only two colors (a darker base coat and then the actual color I want on top of that, leaving a little of the darker base coat showing through).  So for his hat, there is a dark cream and then a lighter cream (this is hard to see in the photo), for his flesh there is a dark brown base color and then a lighter brown over top of that, leaving the darker color showing through in some places to show depth (easiest to see this with his hands, I didn't do it with his face because he has a beard so there is very little skin tone showing on him anyway on his face anyway).  Easiest to see the dark orange for his robe with the lighter orange on top, with darker showing through at the folds, and also his blue shoes.  For the eyes, I either do what I did in this case, which is paint black ovals on the face and then two white dots  allowing the black to show all around the edges (this look is good for monsters and also good for more "grizzled" heroes like this human wizard!), or I paint a white oval and then put a black dot in the middle.  Both work great, the second option is best for creatures like elves or more "young" looking heroes.

One Monster:  Orc Trooper
It took me a while to get the "humped back" look for this figure that I wanted.  Obviously, I'm inspired by the LotR movies for these figures.
The body is a shaker peg (I like the mushroom topped ones for armored orcs like the one in the picture), and the head is an axle cap.  You can't see it in this picture but the axle cap is actually somewhat hollow on the other side (so that it fits onto an axle).  Makes it very easy and perfect for gluing it onto the shaker peg and getting the head bowed forward look, creating a hunched back looking guy.  Same 1" thin precut wood piece for the base, and although I have the sharpened stick here for the sword, I actually cut a piece of scrap tile spacer into a blade shape and then cut part of it at a 45 degree angle on both sides creating a tapered blade look.  You can't really see it in this picture, but that's what I did.  It is easiest to see on the axes I do, and I'll be talking about them in a future entry.  But you could certainly use a thin sharpened stick.  This figure has two arms made from 6mm tile spacers, one bent and one straight.  Have some fun with this.  I have some orcs with two straight arms, two bent arms, arms glued on different angles to create different looking figures, etc.  The back of the head and the taper of the mushroom cap creates a nice little "socket" to hold the tile spacer arm at pretty much whatever angle you choose.  Again, I've blackened out the parts of the tile spacer that you would cut away to make these arms, using the white part left behind as the arm.  I tend to cut the spacers off straight where the figure's hands are because it makes it easier to glue on weapons, and even if I don't do that, you can paint a "fist" onto the figure much better.


  1. Great stuff. It would be interesting to see a unit of orc spearmen.

  2. I will see what I can do tonight about posting pictures of a unit. I have some for wargaming that I did in the past, and they are essentially the same figures, but they are mounted two figures to a square base instead of individually for "dungeon" rpg play. But that is a good point, they are essentially the same figures except for the mounting, so this would allow people to see what they look like massed.




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