As the title implies, I decided to print myself a Drogon for the CMON Song of Ice and Fire Miniatures Game! I absolutely love the game, but as of yet, there are no dragons. I got a hankering to rectify that situation and took to the interwebs to find a 3D model. I was not disappointed! gambody.com had an exquisite 3D model, sculpted by Xander3D. I bit the bullet, and purchased the stl files, despite being a total and complete 3D printing noob. This was going to be a challenge of epic proportions.
To wrap it all up, I built up the base further with some stones and rocks. I then drybrushed it with different shades of grey, and then added some sand in assorted colours to break it up. I covered the remaining exposed surface of the base in the same sand I use to base my armies. I glued Drogon to his base, and then gave the whole thing a good coat of Testos Dullcote, my favourite varnish for all hobby needs. I finished the base with some small tufts of grass. I would have added some flock as well, but didn't want to commit this theming to either warm or cold climates (since in the show he was in both environments).
I included Roose Bolton in one of the photos to give you a sense of scale with the other models.
His finished size is 15" tall, a whopping 24" from wing to wing, and around 11" from front to back.
Drogon, pictured above taking on some Lannister Halberdiers!
Because I'm crazy, just building this model was not good enough. I wanted to play with it! So I set out to make in-game rules for him. In consultation with my wonderful boyfriend/arch-nemesis (he's a Lannister player... enough said lol), I wrote up a set of stats and special rules. He is 40 points, the cost of an average army. Seems fair lol... He hasn't been fully play-tested yet, I hope to do so in the days to come. I expect his rule set to change and evolve as he gets play, the goal being as balanced a profile as possible. To further demonstrate my obsession with this game, I built a custom Unit Card Template and formatted his rules properly. I even hunted down the same font used on the real cards. Had to play a little fast and loose with the spacing of the text because his rules required so much explanation. Now for the fun part... WE PLAY! :D
3D Model - Xander3D on Gambody.com
3D printing, model building, painting and finishing - Aelia Petro
Digital Painting of Drogon - ertacaltinoz on deviantart.
Celtic Dragon Art for the borders - Kevin Dyer.
Dragon stats, rules, and profile by Aelia Petro
A Song of Ice and Fire Miniatures Game by CMON
This project is completely not-for-profit. It is entirely for fun.
I finally did it... I assembled and painted Smaug. I've had the model for months, but have been too intimidated to give it a go. With a 1000 point all-hero tournament coming up, my ever helpful boyfriend suggested that I break out this beastie. I immediately loved the idea, and hated the fact that it would force me to work so quickly (for me, that is a VERY short timeline). Probably for the best, since otherwise this model probably would have been completed in spurts over the course of months lol... and thus, with 16 days to go before the event, I got to work!
FYI.. Games Workshop states on their website: "This miniature is not recommended for children under the age of 14. Advanced modelling skills are required". This is no joke. I've been painting models since I was 2, and modelling for decades, and this guy was a serious challenge. If you want to do him justice, there can be no short cuts, and he is not beginner friendly. You'll need a shape blade in your x-acto, a couple of solid glues, a metric crap-load of filler (Milliput or Green Stuff, or what-have-you), and a great deal of patience. He will surprise you. He will test you. He will break. You will break. But with perseverance, you will wind up with an unbelievably gorgeous centerpiece to your collection.
Next I assembled the head and filled the gaps in those pieces. I followed by gluing the head to the neck, and filling the gaps that followed. Then the neck and tail were attached to the body. Gaps aplenty. The texture stamp I created was helpful for maintaining the scale pattern in the newly sculpted areas.
More repairs and texture matching in progress. There was a massive space between the end of the wing and the side of Smaug's body, which had to be bridged.
Belly scales were next, and the pressure was on! I wasn't expecting to be so happy with the outcome of the air brushing, so getting the belly to a place I was happy with was difficult. I used a combination of airbrushing, dry-brushing, washes, and edge highlights to get to this point. Several shades of tan and brown were blended using dry-brushing, blending into the red of the body. Both Agrax and Nuln washes came in handy.
Holding Smaug proved to be one of the biggest challenges. I didn't want to paint in pieces and assemble afterwards because matching the blends to fill the gaps would have been impossible. It would have made some things a great deal easier however... getting a grip on him to access different parts was difficult and sometimes painful. You can see some of the little dents in my hand from his spines above.
The mouth was a lot of fun to paint, I used a variety of shades of purple for the tongue and gums. The teeth were first painted brown, then a tan, then white, so that they looked suitably aged and shaded. I picked out a lot of face scales by hand with a liner brush, but it's difficult to see them in the photo. The entire dragon was varnished with Testor's Dullcote (my personal favourite varnish), and then I glossed the eyes and mouth to make him a little more life-like.
The finished base! I painted in several shades of grey, and then added some natural sand and stones to vary it up. I also added flock.
Here's the finished Smaug on his custom base!
Dice Dragons have been on my to-do list ever since I sculpted my first dragon! I wanted to wait until I had more experience with the anatomy and textures before giving it a shot though. Here's a quick walk-through of the process!
Since I intended for it to hold a D20, I made a D20-sized ball of tin foil to use to get the pose right. With a great deal of fiddling, I had a pose I was happy with. Then I began working on the details, using very small tools. The hands were a particular challenge, so they were adjusted and readjusted dozens of times before the sculpt was finalized.
Below is a gallery of photos of my first 3 Dice Dragons! I am beyond thrilled with the way these have turned out, and look forward to making them in more colours :)
Another hobby project! This time a Games Workshop model, Radagast the Brown on Great Eagle. Looks relatively simple, yes? NO! As if VERY poorly fitting pieces weren't enough, I had to way over-complicate things for myself. Allow me to explain.
The terrible, horrible, no good, very bad fit.
WHY GAMES WORKSHOP, WHY?!?!
This resin model kit has some truly appalling joins. I mean seriously. The unintentional gap where the neck meets the body is almost as wide as the intentionally made hole for the wings! WOWZA. There are also huge gaps where the wings meet the body, and along either side of the body between the wings and tail. Just awful. A bit of hot water was able to warp the two body halves into fitting together well, but the rest were beyond the powers of hot water. Milliput required. MUCH Milliput.
EDIT: GW did send me a replacement for the warped pieces, their customer service is super helpful. It's still not a great fit, so be prepared for that if you purchase this kit. They are super helpful though, and their support was much appreciated! Buy with confidence that they'll make it right.
Let's make it complicated
In for a penny, in for a pound. I HATE mounted models that can't be removed from their mount. In a game where riders dismount voluntarily or otherwise, it's annoying, and I might want to use the eagle without the wizard. Radagast unfortunately doesn't sit very well on the Eagle on his own, he will always fall off. Ugh. Since I want the option of using the Eagle without Radagast, and don't want to have an alternate Eagle to use if/when Radagast dismounts, gluing him onto the eagle was a hard pass. I also hate using pins because then when you remove the rider there's either a hole or a pin, and that's ugly, so no. I opted to try something new (to me), using magnets. But I did NOT want the magnet to show on the Eagle, because that'd be even worse than the pin. The plan was to drill a hole large enough for the magnet, but deeper than required so that I could sculpt a thin layer of feathers on top of the magnet, concealing it. Above is a photo showing the neck gap, and the hold I dremelled for the magnet. It almost killed me to drill into the sculpt, and I worried I wouldn't be able to match the feathers, or would ruin it... but I proceeded.
I started filling the gaps with Milliput and sculpting new feathers to blend the seams. You can see some of the gaps, and the Milliput used to fill them in the photos above.
Some progress photos showing the sculpting process. The gaps have all been filled.
The sculpting is finished, and all base coated. I was pretty pleased with how the sculpting worked out.
The painted Eagle and rider!
I used my typical assortment of craft acrylics to paint up this piece, and will seal it shortly. Still planning the base.
And just because I'm SO FREAKING HAPPY with the way the magnet solution turned out, here's a video. IT WORKS and I. IS. HAPPY.
It’s been WAY too long since I blogged here, so I decided to dive back in with a passion project I’ve been working on… a Games Workshop Lord of the Rings 25mm Legolas and Gimli figure! This mini is one of my all-time favourites in the LotR line, in no small part because the Legolas/Gimli dynamic never fails to crack me up.
I begged a hand from my boyfriend who prised apart the two pieces for me. I cleaned off the green stuff, and reassembled using 5-minute epoxy glue. I then filled the gaps in the horse using milliput (a two-part epoxy putty like Green Stuff, but with a longer working time), and sculpted new details on the left side, to complete Legolas’ and Gimli’s waists where the two pieces fit together. Also resculpted a portion of Legolas’ bow, which was split in half for molding. The arm was the most difficult part. I used a hand and forearm I had from a “Breaking of the Fellowship” Legolas, attached it to a pin to extend it to the right length, pinned it to the shoulder, and then sculpted the upper arm and shoulder from scratch. I also wound up having to sculpt some of the bracer on his forearm.
Once the sculpting and filling was complete, I gave it a quick base coat in grey to see how the details were shaping up.
I began painting with the skin (I like to start my models from the skin and work my way out, layer by layer until I reach the outermost layers of clothing and weaponry). I’m just going to say this, I HATE PAINTING WHITE. It’s the worst. Single most challenging colour to get right. I know Arod, Legolas’ horse, is white/grey, and I was sorely tempted to paint it brown instead (because I actually enjoy painting brown horses), but wanted it to be as accurate as possible. I decided to go with a grey/white. Starting with a medium grey base, I used thinned paints in many layers to slowly build up colour, getting lighter and lighter until it was almost white. I did the same thing along Arod’s legs, but getting darker and darker grey. I hit the mane with a nuln oil wash to darken it, and then used thinned black paint to add the gradient effect on the mane and tail.
After that I began painting the dwarf and elf skin, which involved a flesh base colour and Earthshade wash. Later on I built up the colour on the skin in several layers with a very fine brush. I even painted the eyes (which I avoid like the plague on 25mm figures, because their eyes are so unbelievably tiny, and it’s difficult not to make them look bug-eyed) using an 18/0 brush. A trick I like to use for painting such tiny things is to hold my breath, pay close attention to my heartbeat, and actually stroke the brush between heart beats so that my hands are as steady as possible. A bit of a pain, but it helps! Used the same trick for painting the hair. I’d tell you how I did the blonde hair, but I honestly couldn’t say. I painted and repainted it so many times in so many layers that I completely lost track over what was still showing. I almost ripped out all of my own hair in frustration, but ultimately reached a colour I could live with. Each bunch of hair was painted individually with the 18/0 brush.
The finished model used several different shades of brown for clothing and accessories, as well as reds, greys, and greens. I couldn’t for the life of me find a paint colour in any brand that was the right colour for the Elven cloaks. Those cloaks are something between a grey and a green, in a natural shade that is apparently impossible to acquire. I broke down and mixed a custom colour, two actually. The base colour was a 50/50 mix of dark grey and green paint, followed by a nuln oil wash, followed by a 50/50 mix of medium grey and green as a highlight. I opted to use natural stones for basing because I like the random and realistic look it adds. A quick spray with Testor’s Dullcote to seal it, and it was finished!
This mini presented a couple of pretty significant challenges (replacing an arm, painting white, painting blonde hair, and painting Elven cloaks among them), but was very rewarding. It has only fueled my love for this range of models, looking forward to painting something else!
Thanks for Reading!
My newest jewelry line has officially launched!
I've been working on several new designs over the last few weeks!
These designs were created specifically to hang from the necklace as if wearing a harness, as opposed to hanging from a clunky jewelry finding.
Each design has been carefully hand-sculpted in polymer clay.
Every hair was painstakingly created by hand to give the most realistic appearance possible.
Each design is carefully cast in a durable white resin. This resin is much stronger than polymer clay, and more resistant to damage.
All designs are available for order in this unpainted white resin form. You can leave them as-is, or paint and decorate them however you'd like! Unpainted pieces can be supplied with a length of black waxed-cotton cord and instructions for tying adjustable knots so that you can hang them yourself.
After casting, each pendant is individually painted. This process can take hours depending on the complexity of the design.
Because each is created by hand from start to finish, no two are exactly the same!
All designs can be custom-ordered and painted to look however you'd like! For example, the wolf sculpt could be painted to look like your pet husky, or the big cat sculpt could be painted to look like a jaguar or golden tabby tiger.
Here are some examples of finished pieces! These are all cast in the same big cat mold, but individually painted to look like different species.
If you don't see your favourite big cat species here, it can still be painted as a custom order! Just email email@example.com to ask for a custom order.
Here's an example of how these necklaces hang when strung.
There is no metal finding, or hole carved in the animal. They hang naturally, giving them an additional degree of realism.
Each necklace is made from durable black waxed-cotton cord and tied with slip knots so that the length is completely adjustable.
If you'd prefer that they be hung via a screw eye in the back, that option is also available on request.
Help me expand this line!
I've been a bit less active online lately, and now you can see why! I've been working on an entirely new line of items, in a brand new medium... PEWTER! I've had quite a few requests for metal jewelry, as opposed to Polymer Clay or Resin, and I'm pleased to be able to offer lead-free pewter jewelry at this time. Each unique design is sculpted in clay and used to create a finely detailed mold for casting.
My favourite pewter piece so far, a Humpback Whale! They are one of my favourite animals, seeing them in the wild was one of the best experiences of my life. You can see the unfinished, straight-from-the-mold version below on the left, and the polished and finished version below to the right. I have also made full versions of a Sea Lion, Pilot Whale, and Orca.
I will be posting my first batch of Pewter pieces for sale in the next couple of days, so stay tuned!
THE CONTEST IS OFFICIALLY CLOSED AND WE HAVE A WINNER!!!
Melanie, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org to claim your prize! You have 3 days to respond before a new winner will be chosen!
Thank you to all of those that entered! I really appreciate your support for my new website!
Art by Aelia
This is a blog for my artistic endeavours... as I experiment with new mediums, styles, and techniques, I'll post here.