Fantasy – Elf & Things

Fantasy – Elf & Things

Sharing a few different things that I’ve been working on. I’m categorizing this as “D&D” but it might really be ‘Generic Fantasy’. (Decided to just call them “Fantasy” and add a new category, after the fact!) I don’t really have an intention to start playing D&D, but do want to paint some Fantasy minis to have on hand for different boardgames.

I guess this is where I also give my thoughts (or ramblings) on “The Tray”.

Awhile back I was reading DaveKay’s Scent of a Gamer site, and he had posted about “The Tray”. I forget the actual dimensions, but it seems close to a cookie sheet. Essentially he puts minis on it and it helps him focus on painting a smaller set of his entire collection.

At the time, I didn’t give it much thought. I had been pretty good about getting a team of minis primed, and mostly concentrating on them until completion. After I had come back from an unintentional year long break from painting, I had started picking up a lot of Fantasy and other miscellaneous minis.

These would get prepped and primed and often start to fill up my desk as I got the whim to “start them”. A few would get some blotches of paint, but mainly they just kept growing and taking up more and more space. I found this to be a bit irritating and distracting. I started to see where “The Tray” could be a handy tool.

So, let’s just take a look at a few of these “distractions” I managed to finish, before I go on too much about Trays and things.

Female Elf

Initially I thought “I will whip these out with some Contrast Paints!”. An early experiment, that didn’t really turn out like I thought. Painting small bits with Contrast Paint isn’t that easy, and you’d have to be really careful about it. So there goes the “fast” part. I didn’t spend a lot of time on this one (obviously), and it’s a passable boardgame piece, but I’m not too crazy about it.

The WizKids minis (Nolzur’s, etc.) are a little weird. Most come pre-primed and don’t need assembly. A big plus compared to the GW stuff I’ve been working on. However, they tend to have fiddly little bits to paint, which makes them more of a challenge than one would expect from a cheap Bones mini or older metal mini. They also have strong mould lines at parts, which one would attribute to a cheap mini. So they are somewhere inbetween. Not the great, sharp detail you would find on a really nice resin mini, but not a breeze to paint either.

I also find the already attached base makes it a pain to reach the undersides of cloaks and whatnot. Oh yea, scale is certainly a bit smaller than what I’m used to with GW, so that’s another thing to contend with.

The whole thing makes me wonder whether I want to go the route of older metal minis which are simpler to paint, but not always regular in scale and possibly harder to find or these sorts of minis. Something I will be debating over for awhile. Maybe I’ll have to paint some of the metal minis I picked up awhile ago for a real comparison.


I believe some of these got shared before. But here they are, and one of the areas where Contrast Paints can really shine. Wood.

I used (from left to right) Cygor Brown, Snakebite Leather, Wyldwood, and Gore-Grunta Fur to get these nice colors. I still had to paint the metal bits, which took longer, but at least I have some more terrain to play with now. I think the main plan was to use these for Dungeon Crawlers. Once I get a good set of generic hero types, will have to give it a go.

More things

Some more stuff that was sitting around on the desk to get finished. The piles of coins would certainly be useful for dungeon crawlers. The treasure chest was a bit of a misshapen mess, so I decided to paint it as a mucked up mess. Maybe some barnacles added to it, to make it look like a sunken treasure would have been a nice touch? Oh, well.

Up Next, ‘The Tray Part 2’ as I ramble more about collecting and finishing minis.

12 thoughts on “Fantasy – Elf & Things

  1. Experimenting with new products is a good thing as it can broaden the tools in the arsenal and broadens your experience with different mediums. Sculpt wise it’s not the worst elf I’ve ever seen, and a very bold colour palette you’ve chosen.
    The chests and bits turned out well and barnacles would have been awesome on the last one

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  2. Makes a change to read your ramblings! 🙂 Having read people’s thoughts on contrast paints and trays, they are not really things I’d bother with! With smaller scale figures that don’t take too long to paint anyway, contrast paints would end up taking me longer, particularly since I’d have to touch up the inevitable unwanted overspill on to toer areas! An I maybe sort of use a tray system in that I’ve always got figures prepared and primed for painting, but I find it easier to just get out one unit at a time and paint that! Not so much a case of not wanting to try new things as more comfortable with the processes in place!

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    1. Thanks JNV! How do you store your prepped and primed pieces? Do you prep and prime them as you get them?

      Interesting that you only work on one at a time. I find it more enjoyable to focus on one mini, painting different colors as I go. Maybe it’s because I get to see how those colors will work together quicker or maybe because the mini appears to be getting finished faster? I don’t know. Batch painting is more effective for me, when I have lots of units with the same color, but it can also start to feel like “work” really quick.

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  3. I tend to plan knowing what storage boxes I have available. I tend to put one or two units/forces in a box so when I clean up and prime some figures, they go into the box so I can see how I’m doing for space! This usually means that any given box contains completed units plus the next one or two units to be painted. Have arrived at this system after years of experiment and it seems to work best for me.

    Since I paint historical figures, I virtually never paint single figures. and even when I do I tend to combine them into small groups of between six and 10 figures. I’ve found a small number like that works best for me, because I see progress being made! I know what you mean avout batch painting and, again, that;s why I limit the number being painted at any one time.

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    1. Ah “single unit” as in a group, was mistakenly thinking single figures. Thanks for the clarification!

      Depending on the detail of the mini, I usually prefer to paint 4-6 minis at a time. Right now unfortunately, I’ve got 22 going, and it’s been bogging me down. 6 are near completion, so I decided to just attack those and get them out of the way, and then start back in on the larger group. Or divide and conquer again.

      Sounds like a nice system for keeping track of things. If you ever get the chance to detail it on your blog, would certainly be interested in seeing some photos. 😀

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  4. Those chests have come out very well, I can really see the use in Contrast paints for painting wood quickly and effectively. How have you found using the tray method? I tried it for a while but it really didn’t suit me, I hear a lot of other people saying they found it very helpful though.

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  5. Nice work on these and good to see you playing around with the Contrasts as well. I have found that on terrain stuff like the chests and other wooden bits, the model really benefits from a quick drybrush after using the contrast to pick out the highlight details and tone down the pastel look that the Contrasts often give. Nice work on Lego-lass there as well. The bright blue outfit gives her a real superhero vibe! 🙂

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    1. Lol, Lego-Lass! Yea, she’s probably my least fave of the WizKids stuff I’ve done. I’ll have to try out your suggestion on the dry brush over Contrast. Thanks for the tip!

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