In the amateur division, we have a gallery of minis painted by Michael Mallen to represent the PCs in his 4E D&D campaign. These minis not only look great, they show how you can improve the look of your paint jobs by learning a few simple techniques.
Michael, who runs brand new gaming blog The Id DM provided a ton of great info on the minis, the PCs, and the painting. There are some interesting philosophical discussions on DM technique at Michael’s blog, and he actually analyzed D&D podcasts to gather data about combat length. I’ve seen published research papers that were less thorough.
Brother George – Human Cleric
Reaper Mini: Unthar Godshand
I set about the task of painting a mini for each one of the PCs in my D&D 4e campaign; Brother George is my first effort. I used Reaper Master Series Paints for all of the figures. The cleric’s god is Pelor, so I wanted to use bright colors such as red, orange and yellow. I mixed in some metallic elements for the emblem on his sheild. As you can see, I had trouble with the small details on his face, but my player was happy with him, and continues to use the mini to this day.
Lyla – Elf Ranger
Reaper Mini: Deladrin, Assassin
I have a dual-wielding ranger in my party, so I wanted to find a mini that fit that setup. This figure seemed perfect, and since I had some practice with the first figure, I think I improved in some areas (you can be the judge of that!). During this time, I also purchased an OttLite with 2x magnification to assist with the small detail work. I still had some trouble painting details on the face and gave up on the eyes. I played with different shading ideas for the cape. Overall, I was happy with it and my player enjoys it.
Krackus – Human Fighter
Reaper Mini: Black Legionnaire
This was a fun one to paint (partially because I didn’t have to worry about a face!). The guy that plays this character in my campaign is a classic, “Let’s kick in the door and fight, and ask questions later” fighter. He is a rabid football fan of Texas A&M and the Houston Texans (we’re in Houston). I decided to keep the armor basic but I used the Texans’ colors for his smock. It felt basic, but I like how the final product turned out, and the OttLite helped me with some of the small straps and other details. My player continues to use the mini and is happy with it.
Lelu – Elf Ranger
Reaper Mini: Alistrilee, Elf Archer
Another player runs a ranger with a bow, and I fell in love with the pictures of this mini painted on the Reaper site. I knew I couldn’t come close to that level of awesomeness, but I gave it a shot. It took a long time to find a color scheme that worked. After much trial and error, I landed on the very Prologue-esque Lord of the Rings design. The bow also went through a few color changes, but I decided on a metallic tone rather than wood grain. I couldn’t figure out how to make it look like wood instead of a blob of brown, and since the armor and clothes featured a great deal of earth tones already, I used this to mix it up. This was the first mini I painted where I felt really pleased with the face. I was able to paint some eyes and lips, which was a huge leap for me. The player continues to love her mini.
Morgoth – Tiefling Wizard
Reaper Mini: Damien, Hellborn Wizard
This is the last mini I painted, and I finished it several months ago. I spent so much time on all of these that I gave myself a break. My free time lately has been devoted to playing Dragon Age Origins and preparing to DM. Morgoth was a really fun mini to paint because he has so much personality, and the style completely matches how the player roleplays him in my campaign. He is not afraid of any challenge regardless of the odds. One of these days, that just might get him into trouble! I went with red skin, and tried to do a better job of shading his body, but it turned out a bit flat. However, I was really happy with his staff, jacket and facial details. I was able to paint cool demon eyes and a fun combination of purple hair and gold horns. Again, I think I improved over time, but the process of painting continues to take a very long time for me. It’s enjoyable, but I needed a break. I will get back into it sometime in the future.
Great job on all of these Michael — the improvement is evident, Lyla especially looks fantastic. Thanks!