Thursday, May 24, 2012

Dwarves by Reaper Miniature

A Drove of Dwarves
 (OKay, so maybe eleven dwarves does not a drove make)

Recently we received a small order of dwarves, from a new customer, manufactured by Reaper.  As you well know, I love working with Reaper figures; they are detailed but not excessive.  These dwarves are a perfect example of how so much character can be built in a miniature without the need for over-the-top baubles and bits.
The following is not so much a tutorial on how I painted each figure, but why I made the choices I did.

Overall I realize that I could have gone the route of the dingy dwarf; dirty, dark, disheveled....but I'd rather reflect the Gimlis and Bruenors of the dwarf world, those that drink and fight and fight and drink, yet still remain classy <<chuckle>>.

Dwarven Brewmeister set (2+1), Nord Kegbreaker
The Dwaren Brewmeister set was cute.  The keg was already going to be a big block of brown on the figure so I wanted to balance it out with other pops of color.  Because the keg is riding on back of the one dwarf I opted to make him a bit brighter with the blue over-coat and blonde hair.  His cap, looking more like a knit than a leather or fur, is striped to add that bit of whimsy.  Serving himself a drink, the dwarf with the copper mug changes things up from the standard silver tankard.  He wears a grayed purple and green, more subdued than the keg-carrier but still enough to counter the weight of the brown keg.  In terracotta and grayed green the stand-alone-figure maintains color without being too bold.

Nord Kegbreaker also gave me a chuckle.  I didn't want him to look 'evil' with his skull adornments so I chose a bright sky blue robe with white fur trim to balance out a darker, duskier cloak.  I typically go by the rule that the longer the beard the older the dwarf so Nord must be older, therefore he gets a darker, gray beard.

I think that people make the wrong choices in how they paint because they aren't considering the balance of the figure.  Take that stand-alone with the tankard, leave his outfit the same color and imagine him with a brown beard - WRONG - that brown beard blends in too much with the hat, face, gloves, tunic - now it just looks like a brown blob.  Give him the blonde beard, just one little difference, and it separates his upper half from his lower - it makes you look at his face and the glisten of his tankard.  If you study art and painting, they teach you the same concept about paintings; that's what makes some of the greats The Greats!


Below, Brag Ironballs is wearing primarily chainmail - gray (or gold if you so choose).  That leaves him as a sink of gray/silver so I wanted something to balance that out, brighten it up - I chose ochre.  Another reason I chose the ochre was because I was going to give him a dark beard and hair and didn't want it to blend in.
Quimby Copperthumb needed a red beard to go with his surname.  As for his clothes I used an olive green to compliment his beard and the gray cloak is meant to neutralize.  I didn't want to go with a brownish cloak because he already has that sack over his shoulder which I wanted brown like a burlap or canvas. 
Brag Ironballs, Quimby Copperthumb, Gord Ironhead, Brock Battlebow
In the turquoise is Gord Ironhead, cloak flailing behind him.  I said I wanted to brighten things up but also keep them natural, the turquoise on Gord is bright enough so his padded vest is a neutral beige.  His cloak is burnt orange with a brown fur trim; like red, orange goes well with turquoise.  Originally the cloak was more orange and a little too bright, I washed it in chestnut in order to tune it down.
Last in the grouping is Brock Battlebow.  I'm not sure what to say about him.  Nothing really inspired me about this figure.  Nothing really leaped out and screamed "paint me this color" like a lot of figures do.  I think I went with the bright green shirt because very little of it was exposed which makes the usage of it tolerable.  All his brown leathers help to tone it down, plus I like the way green balances with red and I typically make the fletching of arrows red.  That also goes for his gem-ed belt buckle, I love red gems and the fire that they produce, so green is a good option.


There was great debate in this household about Spike the Warmaster; Bob felt that all his spikes should be metal, I thought that they should be horn/claw.  If you look closely there is actually a compromise; I painted some of them horn and some metal additions.  His armor is actually a greenish-gold color which I felt made it seem like it came from some great, horny beast to which Spike would have added more metal spikes.  What little is exposed of his tunic is bright blue, adding just enough color.

Next we have Odum Rumblebeard, the wizard.  The only thing that took thought on this figure was his potion belts; I couldn't identify anything.  Turns out there are numerous potions, some pouches, an hourglass, etc.  His robe appeared to have scales on the back and the sides looked like lizard flesh so I went with a baby, red dragon hide.  I thought that the rams head staff was very cool so I gilded its eyes and the runic symbol.  My favorite part, of course, is the scroll; I love doing little tiny detail work on scrolls and books.  This one has a glowing dwarven rune that actually fades into the back of the paper.  No, the scroll doesn't actually say anything, I mean, it is just scribble - but let me tell you - I have gotten pretty good at scribble that looks like writing. :-)

Spike the Warmaster, Odum Rumblebeard Dwarf Wizard, King Norin Silverbeard
Lastly, King Norin Silverbeard.  As his surname states, that beard must be silvery and so it is.  I think his armor is a no-brainer, he needs to be clad in kingly gold with lots of gems.  End of story.

Yes, I do usually allow the names to inspire me.  Why not?  Take advantage of something that is already available to you, the people at Reaper put those names on the package - do something with them.  This is how I make D&D characters too; I go to The Toy Soldier Gallery hobby shop in Ligonier, pick out a Reaper mini, come home and paint it and then roll the dice.  I try not to over think things, if I can help it, if I can help myself.

With Love, 
Notice the scroll.  Obviously it doesn't say anything, but I feel like it helps when I say words in my head as I'm writing - I think it influences my strokes.  Plus, I write upside down.

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