Sunday, 25 January 2015

A Couple of Monstrous Dungeon Dwellers

This weekend I searched the stacks of uncompleted projects on my work bench for something interesting yet easy to knock out quickly. A Citadel AD&D Umber Hulk and Troll called out to me!

One project I am working on is painting up some iconic monster manual wackiness to use in old school style dungeon crawls. I plan to have a bestiary of beholders, flail snails, rust monsters, displacer beasts, hook horrors, and owl bears to fill this subterranean ecological niche.

Umber Hulk

This guy was obviously sculpted using the original monster manual illustration as a reference. I always imagined Umber Hulks as giant beetle-like burrowers. Though the detail of this model is quite soft, I tried to emphasize this by painting areas like an iridescent beetle carapace. This fellow might double up as a species of Ambull for 40k games too!


There is something I find unsettling about the way Trolls are represented in early D&D, their vacant black eyes, carrot noses, weird tufts of hair, and gangly limbs reminds me of a really creepy boogey-man. It's a lot more interesting than "generic muscle-bound yet over-sized orc" which seems to have become the default modern depiction.

Saturday, 3 January 2015


I've been on a bit of a fantasy kick lately, and I have had piles of orcs prepped and ready for painting on my bench for months. With the holidays I finally found the opportunity to knock some of them over.

Slowly but surely, and clandestinely under the noses of those pesky lawful-gooders (like any mad, corrupt, power hungry sorceror) I have been mustering an army of black clad vicious hunchbacks with bad teeth- no not teenage metal heads!

While this lot has hardly made a dent in the pile, at least I'm getting somewhere.

Not just any old orc will do for this army. I have been carefully selecting the models from ranges that exude the desired ambience.

The command group is from the Citadel Regiment of Renown- Throgg's Despoiling Hobgoblins of the Dark Lands. This is how orcs oughtta be- brutal, savage, and mean. These guys clearly mean business, while they seem to be wearing furs and equipped with a variety of scavenged armour and weapons, they exude an air of militarism.

Citadel ME44 Uruk Hai from the Lord of the Rings range.

 Another superb range that fit my vision is Aly Morrison's C36 Hobgoblins.

I live in Australia alongside all kinds of fascinating animals as I'm sure you are aware. I have found the exotic fur of many of these creatures to be quite inspirational. I attempted to paint this fur cloak like the hide of a Thylacine, or Tasmanian Tiger, a remarkable carnivorous marsupial which was tragically hunted to extinction within living memory (though some believe otherwise!).

The guy on the left has a Numbat fur hat, though unfortunately the picture isn't the best to show it off. The guy on the right is one of my favourite orc (or hobgoblin) figures, the arms and armour of the figures in this range combine a wide range of different "oriental" influences imparting a great "lost civilisation" feel.

These final two are from the Monster Starter Set- the Manic Hobgoblin Hero, and Vile Goblin. I think these are also sculpted by Aly Morrison.