Here we have the Gelatinous Cube. The D&D monster that eats you, instead of vice versa!
It’s a pretty nifty mini from WizKids. It could have been a simple transparent block for $7.99, but they added some nice surface details and another little surprise.
The Gelatinous Cube is described as being transparent, and adventurers have to make a roll to see if they happen to notice it. I guess it’s sort of like walking around the corner into a wall of glass, though in this case it’s a Jello cube that swallows you whole and eats you via digestive acids.
Oddly enough, it’s not pictured in the original Monster Manual. I scoured a bunch of the old books and this was the earliest image I could find. If anyone knows of an older pic, please let me know.
Okay, so we have a mini and it’s transparent. All done, right?!
It looked fine out of the box, but I thought it needed something more. It reminded me of how I’ve been wanting to tackle the transparent bits that show up on some of the WizKids minis (usually transparent spell effects they have added). I just wasn’t quite sure how to approach it. A few videos, and a post from Azazel showing how he painted up a transparent fire bit, and I was on my way.
The main considerations were finding the right paint. Applying the paint. Protecting the paint. Also, making sure the paint was translucent enough that we can see the “surprise” in the center. Yes, we’ll be getting to the “surprise”.
Finding the right paint proved to be easier than I thought. People have tried a few different approaches to this, but I happened to recall Azazel mentioning a thin paint called “Ghost Tints” a long, long, long time ago. So long that I don’t even remember what he used it for or why there was a talk about it.
So fast forward to me receiving the paint in the mail, and I promptly try it out on a little transparent spell effect on a WizKid mini. Yes, always try on little things before big things! It worked like magic, simply brushed on. Onwards to the Gel Cube!
How to apply the paint? Brush didn’t seem like a good idea and most people seemed to be using an airbrush. So, I went with that approach. I used two colors, Green and Plasma Fluid. I started with the Plasma Fluid, thinning it down quite a bit, but it didn’t work so well. It often left little spray dots which you might be able to make out on the top view. It kind of gives a ‘things floating in a cell’ effect, so whatever. The green however, went on swimmingly and I was pretty happy with it.
So, inside there is this piece. It represents the floating leftover remains of bones and metal that the creature can’t digest. I thought it was pretty cool that they include that in the mini.
I just had to make sure that the inner piece had enough contrast to show through the outer transparent shell, I painted the interior of the floating mass with some Nighthaunt Gloom to up the background contrast. Nighthaunt has been sitting around for a good long while, and this seemed like a decent excuse to try it out.
There’s a gap in there, just big enough to place a medium sized mini. So you can ‘trap’ someone’s mini in game, I guess. Interesting idea and I wasn’t sure if I’d just glue everything down to the base or not. I was also very careful to use the glue sparingly and make sure it was well ventilated to prevent any hazing of the plastic.
I marked off a guide for the centerpiece, glued it on, leaving plenty of air around it. Checked. No hazing, so far so good.
Then I added small magnets to the base and small magnets to bottom of the cube. Drill, glue, no hazing, all good.
Magnets are strong enough to hold up the base with a mini inside. Even if I don’t ever use it like that, it’s still kinda neat to have that option.
All in all, not bad. I think it looks more translucent in person, than it does in the pictures. I probably could have still gone less, for a ‘just noticeable tint’ that would have been truer to the monster. But I can live with it.
The hardest part was probably getting coats of gloss varnish applied (Pledge Floor Gloss). I painted several layers, one side at a time. The Plasma Fluid started to run off with floor gloss each time. So there is something definitely different in the composition of that paint versus the green.
Either way, it’s another iconic D&D monster done. I now have a Mind Flayer (early painted mini), the Beholder, Green Slime, and a Gelatinous Cube. I’d like to get a Rust Monster painted up someday. I have the mini, so I imagine that’s on the horizon.
Up Next: The Quick and the Dead.