Sunday, January 15, 2017

Hill Giant & Skaven!

Run for your life!  A hill giant is coming!
I thought I would hit you with the pictures first, before going on and on about the figure and eventually sounding like Charlie Brown's teacher.

So, this figure is a hill giant.  He (or she) is made out of a pretty big egg for a body, with medium sized split eggs for upper arms, small robin sized split eggs for forearms, and the quickly becoming ubiquitous tapered beads for hands.  The head is a split lady bug, the hunch in the upper back is another split robin egg, and the belt is just a bunch of the small wooden precut thin wood discs that I get at the craft store glued around the "waist" of the figure.  The only really "new" construction here is the club.

What is a hill giant without either a club or a rock?  I didn't want to do a rock, I wanted the figure to be holding a club.  But how to do this?  I will admit, next to many of the other crafter types out there, I'm not a hot glue gun fan.  I have a really hard time controlling where the glue goes when I use a hot glue gun (I even got one of those small ones with the needle tip ... still have trouble), without fail I burn my fingers at some point, etc.  But for making a rough wood club, I am very happy with the result I got with the glue gun. 

It turned out to be very easy.  I started with a Q-tip and cut one end off.  The end with the cotton is at the top of the club.  Then I took the glue gun and just kept applying hot glue to it, tapering it larger at the end and smaller as I got closer to the "handle" of the club until I got a shape I liked.  I did not go all the way to the end with the hot glue at this point.  That handle end has to fit into the tapered bead hand, and hot glue on the end of the Q-tip would likely keep it from fitting into the hole.  When I got the shape I liked, I put a little hot glue into the hole of the tapered bead and slid the club into it, thereby gluing it in place.  The beauty is that if you get a little glue poking out the top or bottom of the bead, it looks great and it makes for a better seal.  Then I put a little more hot glue on the bottom of the part that is sticking out the bottom of the hand.  Done!

Painting wasn't difficult.  I wanted to choose a color for the creature's flesh that was somewhat "dirt" looking.  For the clothes I got inspiration from a drawing I found online.

My favorite monsters from that really expensive company that makes beautiful miniatures ($40 for one ogre figure!!!) are the rat-men or Skaven.  I've been pondering about how to do a Craftee version and I finally think I hit on the solution.  One of the ironies here is that for about two years I've been trying to come up with a slumped over goblin shape that I like, and I have yet to find it.  I literally have done 5 or 6 different goblin constructions, and I honestly don't really like any of them.  I don't even like the goblins that much that I did for this current group of fantasy figures that I have.  Well, this construction for the Skaven, with a different head, would probably finally give me the hunched over goblin look that I've been after for years ... but that's for another post.

Here are the Skaven.
I am pretty happy with how they turned out, but I'm not going to lie.  In terms of my Craftee pieces which I try to be as minimalistic as I can, there are a lot of parts to these guys.  Who knew that little rat men would require so many different pieces!

The basic shape, however, is simple.  It's a 1/2" x 1/2" spool with a split spool glued on top flat side's together.  This creates the hunched over shoulder look that I like so much.  Yep, two years later, I finally stumble upon this incredibly simple, yet effective, construction.  The head is ... yep, you guessed it ... a tapered bead.  So far so good, not bad at all.  But everything else, except the toothpick or tile spacer weapons and small round wooden shields are cut tile spacers.  The arms are the usual tile spacers but these figures are supposed to be a bit on the skinny side (rats have sort of thin limbs after all) so they are about 66% thick tile spacers (thinner than usual arms).  The feet, which turned out to be key, I need to put more feet on my miniatures I think, at least the monsters, are cut tile spacers.  From the middle of the foot towards the toes I cut it at a 45 degree angle to give a tapered foot look.  You can't really see it in the pictures, but in real life it really makes a difference.  The ears are tile spacer ends (very tough to glue on I'll be honest), and the nose/teeth is a tile spacer end cut so that the bottom teeth part is thinner than the top nose part to make it appear that the end of it's nose/lips are sticking over the teeth themselves.  Finally, the tail is a stiff craft cord that I got in the leather crafts part of the store.  You could use any string here, but if you use something thinner, I suggest after gluing it in place, you coat it with white glue and shape the tail how you want it.  After the glue dries, it will more or less take on that shape.  I used a hot glue gun to attach the tail, putting some glue in the hole in the spool on the bottom between the feet of the miniature and sticking one end of the cord in the hole.  Once the glue dried I put another small dot on the cord and pressed it up against the spool at the bottom to create the "curl up" effect of the tail.

You know me, I can't resist action shots!  Our intrepid adventurers have stumbled into a room with some nice loot on the far side, but it seems to be guarded by a hill giant (don't ask why a hill giant would be in the depths of a dungeon ... just go with it).  Also, Skaven have heard the adventurers and have rushed down their dark tunnel to arrive in the room to fend off the party as well.
Hope you enjoy looking at the pictures as much as I enjoyed making the figures! 


  1. Yet more terrific figures and super action shots too.

  2. The skavens are dead on. Another great use for those strange cylindrical beads.

    I am still amazed at how well your hot glue behaves. That is a gnarly, gnarled club.

  3. You should see how I behave when it squirts onto my finger!

  4. These are so cool. Those Skaven are so dynamic and well proportioned.

  5. Thanks! I am pretty happy with the Skaven. They are sort of a pain to make, but they are very solid once you have them put together.




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