About 18 months ago I indulged with a purchase of Reaper Bones miniatures.
It wasn’t a huge buy but it meant getting a few bits and pieces I wouldn’t have normally bought; a large demon, a dragon and a minotaur also a fair few smaller ‘character’ figures.
One of the smaller purchases in this was ‘Dwarf Wizard – Khael Stonekindle’.
I have a Mantic Dwarf Army still glaring accusingly at me from the shelf and Khael was the potential Magic User I’d lined up for it. I’ve since changed my mind and will probably use the Bones Dwarf Cleric I bought at the same time for the role. Khael looks a bit too “Gandalfy”.
This miniature was actually sent to me in error when I tried to order another Reaper Bones Ogre. Rather than faff about sending it back I kept it and it sat on my ‘to do’ pile for nearly 2 years.
As with all the Reaper Bones miniatures they work nicely as inexpensive playing pieces and this one – ‘Kagunk – Ogre Chieftain’ is another addition to my Frostgrave/5th ed D&D collection.
This week it’s a couple of Reaper Bones Lemures.
A Lemure is a relatively low powered Devil in D&D. They’re hardly a well known entity in the game but given the uproar in the 80s from anti D&D Christian groups about ‘Devil Worshipping’ it’s hardly suprisingly TSR (the publishers of D&D back then) gave most of the Demons and Devils from the Monster Manual a swerve in published scenarios and modules.
A quick flip through my 5th ed Monster Manual confirms they’re still part of the game but it’s probably fair to say it would have to be a high level campaign involving Baator (the Nine Planes of Hell) for the PCs to encounter them.
As I’m sure the Warhammerites amongst us have already spotted these miniatures could easily be used in some capacity as small Nurgle daemons too.
I’ve painted them as Ghoul leaders. If you want to read some fiction involving ghouls I can heartily recommend Brian McNaughton’s ‘The Throne of Bones‘ collection of short stories. I know I’ve spoken about this book before on comments sections but I don’t think I’ve mentioned it on the blog. Go check it out.
The use of the word ‘werewolf’ in the Frostgrave rulebook is a bit misleading really. The description says they’re not lycanthropes at all but an intelligent race of man/wolf hybrids.
I fondly remember the Wolfen from the Palladium Fantasy RPG back in the 1980s who fulfilled a similar role. The Vargr in Traveller are an even earlier example of the same sort of creatures.
This is a Reaper Bones miniature and is very similar in style to the Mantic werewolves I painted last year. It’s probably a bit big for the Frostgrave interpretation of a lupine humanoid so I may rethink it if I spot a more appropriately sized figure.
Since returning to gaming and painting I’ve been fortunate enough to have played RPGs on pretty much a weekly basis. I’m currently DMing 5th Ed D&D ‘Storm King’s Thunder’ so I painted up some miniatures to represent the PCs where our larger combats use a battlemat.
This is a Ral Partha miniature available from RPE as part of their Dark Eye range. The PC was originally created as male but then the player changed the gender at the start of the first play session. There’s a fair few female Elf miniatures of course but a lot of them tend to be either Magic Users or Rangers; this seemed the best Ranger type to represent a female Rogue – Elves aways have bows no matter what.
There was some discussion about gender at character generation for this one too. The player originally settled on female so I got a Ral Partha Dwarf miniature to represent her.
By the next session they had changed her to a male Dwarf so I needed a new miniature! Rather than have the female Dwarf languish in my lead pile she got painted up along with the Citadel ‘Dwarf Lords of Legend’ Uther I decided to use.
There aren’t a lot of Tiefling miniatures out there to represent this PC. I toyed with alternatives for this including various Demon miniatures and Games Workshop Ungors.
In the end I settled for this Reaper Bones Hellborn miniature. I would have preferred it in metal but I couldn’t find one in the UK.
No one wanted to play a Cleric as their main PC despite the serious makeover they’ve had in 5th Ed. Their obvious strength is still ‘Team Medic’ though so the players rolled up one to accompany them. He also serves as a PC for any occasional guest players we get. This is a Heartbreaker Miniatures Dwarf sculpted by Kevin Adams – proving he’s not just the one dimensional Goblin creation machine we sometimes think he is!
Half Elf Warlock
You’ll need to stretch your imagination a bit with this one. The player is keen on casting ‘mage armour’ on his PC so wanted a miniature with suitably impressive looking armour – even if this magic only gives him the equivalent AC of leather armour!
This is a Heartbreaker Miniatures Elf Warrior figure sculpted by Chaz Elliott. It reminds me of the Citadel Stormbringer miniatures by Jes Goodwin.There’s a definite Elric vibe to him but then Charles did have a history with this sort of thing.
A (slightly blurry – sorry!) group shot. Of course I also felt the need to use hex bases as a homage to the 1980s Citadel AD&D range.
It’s an under-reported fact that in the world of fantasy miniatures there’s a dearth of decent spider sculpts.
Whilst looking at the creature list for Frostgrave it suddenly dawned on me that in the 30 or so years I’ve been in and out of the hobby I’ve never seen a giant spider sculpt that really came close to realistically resembling a spider.
Pretty much all the metal spider figures produced by various manufacturers over the years (usually as dungeon inhabitants for RPGs or wargaming mounts for evil creatures) go down one of two routes –
Route One – overly chunky and badly positioned legs with excessively furry bodies.
Route Two – uncanny resemblance to the cheap Chinese plastic toy spiders found in the toy section of pound/dollar stores the world over with abdomen and legs flat to the ground.
I assume the reason for this general lack of realism was the difficulty in casting in metal. The finesse needed to represent proper spider leg proportions in relation to the body position would probably mean the castings would be liable to break as they came out of the moulds.
Nowadays plastic prevails as many manufacturer’s first choice material. Despite the fact it can easily cope with finer detailing there are still few spider miniatures out there. About the best modern miniature representation of a giant spider is GW’s Sherlob from their ‘The Hobbit’ range. There’s no way I’m dropping £20 on a spider miniature though, especially as I need two…
With this in mind I decided to bite the bullet in the short-term and use a couple of Reaper Bones Spiders. Although these are anatomically correct they’re a little on the small side and aren’t as imposing as I’d have liked.
These were mounted on 30mm slotta bases with paving stones cut from foam sheet glued on the tops.
The long-term plan is to revisit the Spiders. I’ll either keep looking for a more imposing pair of sculpts or finish off some scratch built versions I started.
With my usual sense of thrift the next miniature off the Random Encounters list is this Reaper Bones Ogre Chieftain, who has been promoted to Frost Giant.
Traditionally Frost Giants always seem to be giant Vikings painted up with blue or grey skin.
I’ve never been fond of blue skinned humanoids in fantasy games – the way people painted bright blue AD&D Drow in the 80s and 90s put me off for life. In my opinion the only blue skinned humanoids should be demons or Aliens. Or Smurfs.
I don’t object to grey skin tones in the same way as I do with blue and I plan to use grey for the trolls. With that in mind I went for a ‘real’ skin tone with the giant.
The moulding detail on this is the best I’ve experienced with a Reaper Bones miniature. As a sculpt it’s got just about every texture except feathers and chainmail – skin, metal, fur, wood, hair, cloth etc and all of them were crisp enough without any areas of flat detail that often occurs with smaller Bones miniatures. Clearly the material lends itself better to larger sculpts.
Pictured with 'Mr. Demented' for a sense of scale