The Big Think

June 23, 2010

Tiny Things

Filed under: Games,Maker — jasony @ 10:56 am

I’m a builder. I love making things. All kinds things: furniture, props, models, small and large- if it can be built, there’s a good chance I want to build it. And if I can make it truly from scratch then sign me up. There’s just something about the act of taking a pile of raw materials and turning it into a finished, professional-looking product that provides me with a sense of deep satisfaction.

Several years ago I became intrigued with the process of casting. Making a part, then creating a mold from special material and then using that mold to make copies of the original part out of plaster, plastic, or even metal, is something that seems like magic to me. So out of this came my desire to make my own mold. Here’s the story from a few Christmases ago if you’re interested.

Anyway, I built another small structure (two actually) recently and decided that they needed to be populated. So I went down to our local game store (the excellent Dragon’s Lair) and bought some miniature figures. Since I was building the Inn I decided it needed to have a bartender and a couple of bar wenches, plus a small dwarf customer. I also picked up some paints and some very (very!) small paint brushes. Luckily, Hobby Lobby was having a 50% off sale on their high quality paint brushes so I was able to get some really good ones for a decent price.

I hooked up the magnifiers and got to work. These mini figures are all of about 2″ tall, and the detail can be intense on some of them, so it takes a really steady hand, great brushes, and several tries to get the paint just right. In the end, though, I was happy to see that my inexperienced hands were able to do a fairly decent job. I’ve never been the best at color coordination, but I’m pretty happy with the pallet I chose. Here are some pics that Sean took with his nice new camera. They show the figurines, the Dragon’s Inn, and some internal furniture. The figs are cast from lead and tin and the Inn and furnishings are cast from dental stone- one brick at a time. Then everything is painted by hand. I’m pretty pleased with the results.

Top down view of the inside of the Inn. All pieces are hand-cast and painted/drybrushed with several different coats of paint.

Bar wench and big tub-‘o-meade

Bar wench #2. Yes, she has pupils. Yes, they’re really small (about 1/10th of a millimeter). I had to get paint on a single strand of hair from my smallest brush and hold VERY still. Took a couple tries to get it right.


Gront! He’s about 1.5″ tall. I’m particularly happy with the way his black front armor is weathered to look worn.

Top-down view of the Inn

Peeping Tom view

Shingle Detail. The roof is covered with 4 different colors of paint with the last two coats being a drybrush detail coat.

Better view of the roof color detail. I’m really happy with the way it turned out.

Thanks to Sean for the pictures, and for hosting a great gaming day last weekend. Don’t miss his great flickr feed. The guy is pretty good with a camera.

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