Cheap fantasy minis!


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Now in attractive BLOG form! Please stop by and comment if you are interested in hearing more about this topic.

New edit for July 2013: This is an old thread, but if you want to see my newest projects, just go to the last page. I always update here whenever I finish painting something. Thanks!

Spurred on by Kris' thread from a couple of years ago on the subject of 1/72 scale fantasy miniatures, I've started a project to build a convincing roster of fantasy miniatures as cheaply as possible. I plan on using plastic minis whenever possible, cheap craft store paints and "magic dip" (i.e. furniture polish mixed with black stain), and keeping everything in the neighborhood of 1/72-20mm scale. The goal here isn't to produce the most fantastic, award-worthy minis, but to get them as cheap as possible while still looking pretty good. My goal is to pay less than $.50 per mini, and while I'm sometimes over my goal, I'm usually well under it.

I more or less completed my first batch a few weeks ago, and I just got around to photographing them. The photos turned out kind of bad, and I may retake and replace them [edit: new photos!], but I wanted to get them up for ENWorld to check out. Everything you see is either an Italeri (Itl) Barbarian miniature, a piece from Eagle Games' Age of Mythology (AoM) game, or an Arcane Legions (AL) booster figure that's been repainted. I had painted figures before, but this was my first time in several years, and my first time painting fantasy minis at all.

First, some monsters (Sven the Viking-guy shown for relative scale):


These are AoM trolls and cyclopses, with some simple reposing. They make pretty good bugbears or similar monstrous folk.

Some giants, dwarves, and a deathknight:


The dwarf with the fur hat is an AL figure; the rest are from the AoM Viking set. The giants aren't particularly gigantic, but they were good for practice. Like the monsters above, they look a little grimy because I was keeping too much of the dip on. By the time I got to the dwarves, I was getting the hang of how much dip to keep on the figures for the best effect.

Amazons and Vikings:


The first figure is an Itl Barbarian, the second and third are AL boosters, and the last two are AoM Viking figures.



Naturally most of these guys are Itl Barbarians. The two guys yelling and raising their shields on the right are AL figures. Sven is on the right, of course.

Last, magic-users:


From left to right: an Itl Barbarian, an AoM Egyptian priest, and four AL figures, with Sven on the right again. It's hard to tell from the picture, but the third figure is summoning flame, which I thought came out particularly well.

Let me know if you have any questions, or if you'd like to see more. I'm currently working on some Caesar Miniatures orcs and goblins, so I may post those when they're finished.
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Great to see someone else getting into 1:72 scale minis :)

Spurred on by Kris' thread from a couple of years ago on the subject of 1/72 scale fantasy miniatures...

I also posted a couple of pic's of a few other creatures on my blog around the same time ...which can be found HERE if you'd like to check them out:

Oh ...and I'd love to see how the Caesar orcs & goblins turn out.


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New photos added to the OP. Turns out my wife's camera was simply better at snapping miniatures.

Orcs and goblins coming in just a nonce!


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I've got photos of my next batch of minis coming up, but this is a good time to give a quick description of my technique. After initial prep work (trimming from the sprue, cleaning flash, and making any modifications I might want), I wash the figures, then -super-glue them to appropriately-sized fender washers (most of these figures are on 3/4" washers). I then glue the mounted figures to 2" framing nails, which not only give me a good handle while I paint, but are also useful for dipping. I prime with white Krylon plastic primer and begin painting with cheap craft paints. I mostly use Delta Ceramcoat, but I use even cheaper paint for black and white. I paint one color at a time over a batch of figures, after which they come out looking something like this:

orcs predip.JPG

Not bad, if I may say so, but they still look a little plastic-y. I could use ink washes like mini-painters of yore to give the figures a little more depth, but I started using the "magic-dip" method. The "dip" is combination furniture polish-stain, in my case Minwax Polyshades Classic Black Satin. I attach the nail the figure is attached to to an electric drill, then dip the figure. I spin the drill inside a cardboard box to loose most of the excess, blow any large globs off that might be stuck between arms or other places, and use a paper towel to soak or dab any excess. I let it dry for a day and spray on some matte finish, after which the figures look like this:
orcs postdip.JPG

I let the matte finish dry, then simply pry the mounted figures off the nail. And that's it!

Here are some orc specials, with Sven the viking on hand for size comparison:


These are mostly Caesar Miniatures figures. The crone is a modified Arcane Legions figure, and the drummer is a head swap with a Hat Industrie "Jungle Adventure" figure.

Here's the rest of the orc horde:


Apart from removing some weapons and other bits, these figures are as they came in the box.

Finally, some sample goblins, also from Caesar Miniatures:


These guys have even fewer modifications than the orcs.

The hordes face off!


My next project is centaurs and kobolds. It will probably be a while before they're ready, so let me know if you have any questions in the meantime!


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Progress on the centaurs and kobolds continues. I'm also slowly building and basing some Warhammer Skinks to be used as lizardmen. Most of these guys are crew from Games Workshop's Stegadon kit that I got from an online bits store. They were above my 50-cent-per-figure limit, but they weren't too pricey, and it's hard to find lizardmen champions and magic-users otherwise. They're a little cartoonishly proportioned, especially the weapons, but they match Sven in height pretty well. Most Warhammer stuff doesn't work with 1/72 scale, but since skinks are supposed to be small critters, they appear to be around normal size in a smaller scale. I've got a Skaven kit that I'm going to use as human-sized ratmen on the same principle.


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