So a couple of weeks ago, the party I’m running a short D&D campaign for came across a captured brown bear in a cavern they were exploring. Needless to say, Winnie wasn’t too happy about being cooped up but thanks to my abysmal DM rolls, the party made pretty quick work of her. It got me thinking about a Kickstarter by EC3D Designs that I’d found one day a couple months back and backed, that I had a whole bunch of minis yet to print up and paint, and I remembered there being a bear that looked quite good, so I printed it up and this is the result of a couple of short evenings of painting. Not bad for a simple, quick paint job. The camera doesn’t really pick it up well, but when you look closely at that cut on her left eye, it’s glistening with good ol’ Army Painter Glistening Blood and looks quite realistic. The fur was done quite easily with a base coat of Vallejo Chocolate Brown, then drybrushing multiple layers of lighter browns (think four or five total) getting more precise with each one…
It was nice to do something “non-humanoid” for a change, but next up will either be one of the Angels from the D&D Monster Manual for my alphabetical MM project, or a human priest that I really liked the sculpt of from STL Miniatures…can’t decide yet…I’ll just let the paint brushes guide me haha!
Let me start off by saying this was definitely a fun one. One of the Patreon sculptors I’m following now – Broken Anvil – had an older set that I just had to purchase after getting a free dwarf brawler. Their sculpts I find are very “World of Warcraft-esque” which I really like.
I had fun layering the stone look, starting with a base of Army Painter D&D Dungeon Stone and a Citadel Nuln Oil wash, then going back with another coat of Dungeon Stone to brighten it back up. Then it was drybrush time…first with Army Painter Orc Skin (a lighter grey), Citadel Pallid Wych Flesh and then a very careful and final touch-up on the sharpest edges with Vallejo Dead White.
I based this mini as if he was standing guard outside Mithral Hall in Icewind Dale (for all the Drizzt/ R.A. Salvatore fans out there). Also, even though I would use him in a D&D campaign, I left him as the Broken Anvil 32mm scale (D&D typically is 28mm) so that he’s a bit more ominous when placed on the map near my party’s characters!
OK, so I’ll admit…before starting this D&D Monster Manual Print & Paint project, I had no idea what an aboleth was…this “fun little project” is already becoming a learning tool for finding out more about the history and lore of some of the creatures that inhabit the Dungeons & Dragons worlds!
I found it very interesting that aboleths essentially pre-dated almost all living creatures, and as other life-forms evolved, the aboleths reached out with their minds to seize control making them all their slaves. This dominance made them like gods.
When the real gods appeared, they destroyed the aboleths’ empire, and freed their slaves.
The aboleths have never forgotten…thanks to their eternal memories that they pass down from generation to generation.
I’ll just say that I don’t think I would ever want to come across an aboleth lair…for a creature I’d never heard of, they are definitely worth their Challenge Rating of 10 (I think that is understated).
So my rendition of the aboleth is a self-printed design by none other than mz4250 who is an awesome sculptor of all things D&D (and some even more “fanciful”)! My shameless plug for him is simply if you have a 3D printer and want some great minis to feed your hobby needs, give him a look and support his great work!
I actually found this one harder to get good paint results than I’d thought…nothing against the model at all as I do think it’s very true to the Monster Manual artist’s rendition above…I just had trouble getting the shading and texturing I wanted…didn’t help that couple of my key Citadel paint pots had dried up due to non-use over the past couple of years…guess it’s time to make a curbside pickup order at Forbes Hobbies here in town and replace some older paints!
Even though I’m not that happy with this one, if on the off chance I ever had the opportunity to challenge a party in a campaign…hey, I’m ready! Definitely won’t be using this guy in any painting contests though LOL!
Thanks for the look and read…stay tuned for the third installment that will be coming up, and that will start into the Angels section of the Monster Manual…starting with the Deva! Stay tuned!
This is hopefully going to be my next D&D character if and when we get to our next campaign. Dimble is a Forest Gnome who is on his way to becoming a Conjuration Wizard.
The miniature was designed on Hero Forge and at one point when they had a sale on .STL files (for 3D printing yourself) I ordered a few different character possibilities. At the time I did not have a 3D printer of my own, but a friend who had one was willing to print it off. Due to COVID we never really got around to it, but fast forward to 2021 and I picked up my own Elegoo Mars Pro and started getting used to printing my own minis, and after many failed prints, some more learning, and subsequently more successful prints, it was time to bring Dimble to life.
Painting was done over an evening and a couple of hours this afternoon to finish him off. I didn’t quite get the purple trim on the robes the shade I wanted, but overall I’m happy with him. I will say I do like the attempt at the runes in his spell book.
Next up is his mounted version (my Hero Forge rendition below) and then the next installment of my Monster Manual “Print & Paint” project – Aboleth is the 2nd monster in the list for that, so that should be an interesting subject. I’m studying up on the Aboleth lore to help me decide how to paint it up.
So this is post #1 of my new project, which is going to entail me printing as many of the 5th Edition Monster Manual creatures, thanks to the amazing sculpting work of mz4250 (if you have a 3D printer and play D&D, by all means check out his Patreon linked).
I am starting with avian/ humanoid creature that is known as the Aarakocra. This was a fun afternoon project that aside from printing (approximately 5-6 hours on my Elegoo Mars Pro), today I spent about 4-5 hours giving this guy a paint job.
I use mostly Citadel and Army Painter paints, so all very easy to use and full water clean-up and if you do any mini painting, you probably already know how well they go on…a couple of coats on the base colour and then the rest just built up nice and easy! I will note that I do use a Privateer Press Wet Palette and love this as a palette, given you can close it up and come back hours later to still-wet paint blobs! One more comment on the paints to note is I find the Citadel paints do better thinned a bit (naturally with the wet palette) and in comparison the Army Painter line seems to be thinned out of the bottle so I’m careful how “wet” a spot on the sheet I dab the Army Painter colours.
As this is my first full mini paint job in probably a couple of years, I’m pretty happy with how it turned out. I have a long way to go, of course, especially in the eye department – I really need to research some better painters on YouTube or in some of the online communities on some eye techniques.
I’d love to hear your comments and thoughts on this project (be gentle) and meet some other D&D miniature-painters/ 3D printers out there!
Not sure if anyone’s still following or checking out the site, but it was definitely an extremely busy winter with work and managing through pandemic with lockdowns, etc. in our region.
I have, however, gotten into a new hobby that is extremely satisfying – 3D resin printing! I decided to pull the trigger on an Elegoo Mars Pro 3D Resin Printer a couple months back to print my own miniatures for D&D and such, and WOW, have I been having a blast!
I think what I’m going to do, is work my way through the 5e D&D Monster Manual and try printing and painting each creature and showcasing here, maybe with some comments on printing challenges, settings used, etc. in the printing process, and then the types of paint used, etc. I’ll likely throw some player-type characters in there too from time to time as our groups’ adventures progress and change!
I’m hoping to get a bit of a community following going, so will promote it a bit once I get the first one done! May also feature some Patreons, Kickstarters and designers that I like. I likely will not get into sculpting much on my own as my brain-space probably wouldn’t allow for it LOL
Watch here soon if you’re into printing and/ or painting fantasy miniatures! Look forward to meeting some folks!