Painted MiniaturesStan's Corner

Iron Painter 4, Round 3 Entry: Reaper Miniatures' #3071 Halfling Thief

Experiment with a "Micro-Diorama," Marble, and a Non-Standard Gem

Written and Copyright 2007 by Stan Gregory


I painted this miniature for Iron Painter 4, round 3 (theme: "Seeing Red"). I spent the better part of a week looking through my unpainted miniatures, trying to find something to paint for this round. I started with around 20 ideas (an unusually high number for me, for an Iron Painter theme), but finally went with one that required me to purchase a miniature.

This was an unusually calm round for me, as I knew that there was no way I would beat my opponent. I could have fun with the theme, and try to create something that I would enjoy having, as opposed to stressing over trying to get the highest score that I could (although, I still hoped to do that too :) ).

The idea that I went with is a scene showing the great Halfling adventurer/thief spotting the priceless, ruby skull he has been searching for, right before he steals it. Taking no chances, I used red for the object that the halfling is focusing on, and the miniature itself is wearing a red cloak.

I do not know if the phrase already has a meaning, but I am using the term "micro-diorama" in this context to mean more than a single miniature on a normal-sized base. I do not have a lot of display space, so like keeping the size of the miniatures that I paint smaller.

The Base

I used a 25mm cavalry base and a short flying base insert for the base, and I filled the slots in the base with epoxy:

The surface was too uneven, so I covered it in fake water, but that was still a little uneven. Even-so, I went forward, and primed it:

At this point, I will still have to cut part of the flying base insert before I mount the skull on it. However, the miniature for the base had still not arrived in the mail, so I did not know where to cut it. I leave that for later.

I have been looking-forward to painting a marble-looking base for a few weeks after seeing an entry in another contest, so am using this opportunity so do so. Initially, I thought that the effect did not turn-out as well as I would have liked (so I did not go into in it detail here), but looking back in this, I now am very happy with the results. I tried modifying the technique that Ana wrote an article about, but I think that I have to keep working at it:

I had also painted the pillar by the time I took that picture. The angle changed slightly at the bottom from where I tried to level the base, so I thought that I needed to do something to make it look better. I painted the ring at the base to bring the floor and the pillar together.

The Skull

As the focal point of both the thief and the "Seeing Red" theme, the skull is very important. However, I do not have much to say about the technique used to paint it. Although there were more surfaces to take into account, it was simply painted as I would any gem. The bottom part, where the light would reflect on the inside, was painted lighter than the upper part, aside from the hot-spot where the light enters the gem. I still need to increase the constrast to make it look more gem-like. I will try to get back to that if time permits.

The Halfling

I painted the Halfling itself almost as I normally would. The only new technique that I tried on the Halfling was to slightly change the colors of some shadows to be colder than the color that they are shading. I did that with selective glazes. Overall, I like the result, but I think that it could have been better.

I did the skin first, although I left the hair for later (I was still not sure what color I wanted to paint the armor, and did not want the color of the hair to conflict):

I then painted the armor and sword:

I finally painted the pants and cloak. The cloak was important as it was partially fulfilling the theme of the contest (although my main intent for the theme is the crystal skull). I finally put the halfling on the base:


I would have liked to further smooth-out some of the transitions, but ran out of time. Overall, I am happy with how it turned-out. However, I think that I should be able to do better with both the marble and the non-standard gem techniques.

You can see the finished miniature in my 2007 Gallery.