Why I Made All the Miniature Pallets — MM34

It’s Mini Monday, where I share customizing, scratch building, kitbashing, and miniature painting projects for your roleplaying and tabletop gaming. This week I’m talking about miniature pallets and scatter terrain.

Mini Monday Logo

I found this great miniature pallet tutorial on Terra Genesis before going on holiday. So I took my hobby knife, steel ruler, glue, and enough coffee stirrers and matchsticks to fill a veritable warehouse to the inlaws, then got crafty.

Miniature pallet for tabletop gaming.

But why make so many? Well, I’m glad you asked! (And I’m going to tell you even if you didn’t.)

Scatter Terrain

They make great scatter terrain. Keep a bunch handy to scatter around the table to make your wargame table or RPG map more interesting. I keep a bunch of model train trees for the same purpose.

Other Builds

Use them in other builds. I could add barrels and boxes onto a few, or stick the miniature pallets onto piles of rubble. They’re so versatile that you’ll easily blast through a pile of them if you regularly build terrain. It’s a little extra detail for very little extra effort.

Weirdly Modular

Stack them into towers of pallets to hide miniatures behind, build walls with them, or make bridges. If you think about all the uses people find for life-sized pallets in real life, then it’s easy to see that the possibilities for using these are endless. Because of their uniformity, this can be taken to a whole other level, just by using matchsticks between the slats to join two pallets together.

And that’s it. A slightly weird one today, I know, but I wanted to point you to Terrain Genesis’s great article and hopefully inspire you with a super easy terrain project. I hope you enjoyed it.

Our Plans for 2021

So, what’s on the cards for 2021?

I’ve got way too many terrain projects on the go, which are sure to feature here. I’ll also be putting more work into my Angels Encarmine and Goff Orks, which will feature too. Those are all a given, barring anything major that life might throw in the works (touches wood vigorously).

I’ll probably focus on getting more fantasy minis painted, drawing heavily from the minis that came in the Dungeons & Dragons Legend of Drizzt Board Game and the Dungeons & Dragons Castle Ravenloft Board Game.  That first one is 10 years old this year, but both games contain a good range of monsters that most fantasy players will want to have, even if they buy miniature incarnations of them from a different manufacturer.

So expect to see new posts, from me, every second Monday.

Have a great 2021 and I hope you build and paint awesome creations!

Happy New Year from Rising Phoenix Games

Happy New Year from all of us here at Rising Phoenix Games. We hope 2021 is a fantastic year for you and your loved ones.

New Year's Message from Rising Phoenix Games

Keep safe and have an awesome 2021.

We’ll be back from the 11th, so see you then.

Don’t forget that our solo sale is still going on at Drive Thru RPG until the 11th too, and that you can find last month’s RPG Blog Carnival roundup, right here.

When the Bad Guys Win – Blog Carnival Roundup

This December, at the end of a year that’ll stand in infamy among years, we looked at “When the Bad Guys Win“. Here’s a roundup of all the articles submitted as part of the carnival, and what a carnival it was!

Image credit: Publisher’s Choice Quality Stock Art © Rick Hershey / Fat Goblin Games

When the Bad Guys Win

Tom Homer of Plastic Polyhedra — the hosts of January 2021’s RPG Blog Carnival — asked (When) is it okay to TPK? He looks at some of the pitfalls of common solutions for rescuing a campaign from a TPK and suggests that TPKs might be unavoidable, but can have negative consequences. Understanding this is an important part of being a great GM.

I want to build stories around the PCs, so what happens if all of those PCs suddenly die?
— Tom of Plastic Polyhedra

Steve Rakner of Roll 4 Network wrote about creating the ultimate boss battle. Steve brings more ways to up the ante in a boss fight, all of which have little to do with power levels or adding buckets of HP to the boss. Follow his advice and your players are sure to remember the Big Bads of your table for years to come.

Gonz at Codex Anathema wrote about The Darkest Hour — how to deal with a Total Party Kill (TPK). There’s life for your campaign after death, and Gonz reveals how you can go from a TPK to a memorable campaign that builds on the legacy of characters that have come before.

Image credit: Yuri_b

Tony Bro001 at Roleplay-Geek posted about the bad guys winning, and looks at it in terms of Campbell’s Hero’s Journey. He also looked at a number of well-known movies and stories to highlight the importance of beating down the heroes, and how an NPC can be a useful proxy for the PCs.

Timothy S. Brannan of The Other Side made Skylla, a 7th level witch for Dungeons & Dragons 3.5. Pathfinder 1e fans will find a link to her stats for that version of the game, in the post.

Here, at Rising Phoenix Games, I talked about upping the stakes for memorable encounters in When the Bad Guys Beat Christmas. Similar to Steve, we looked at ways you can put the pressure on the player characters to create encounters that they’re invested in.

And that, as they say, is a wrap!

Thank you to everyone who took part, as well as to Scot Newbury of Of Dice and Dragons, who herds cats to keep the RPG Blog Carnival alive and growing. If you’re an RPG blogger, do consider joining us on our adventures.

Rising Phoenix Games is 10!

The last day of the year marks the anniversary of the founding of Rising Phoenix Games. We’re looking forward to bringing you more exciting games in 2021!

Happy 10th Birthday Rising Phoenix

Have a Happy New Year and stay safe everyone!

When the Bad Guys Beat Christmas

“When the Bad Guys Win” is our RPG Blog Carnival theme for the month. Be sure to check out all the other posts, and the month’s summary at the end of the year.

‘Twas the night before Christmas
And all through the tower
Not a hero was stirring
They’d been sapped of their power
Knocked out cold on the stair
Beaten by goblins
And left sucking for air

Image credit: Publisher’s Choice Quality Stock Art © Rick Hershey / Fat Goblin Games

Up the Stakes!

What a great mantra for adding spice to a game (or story). If things are getting stale or boring, add conflict. Add danger. Add risk. This simple rule keeps fresh blood pumping through your story. It keeps players (or readers) invested.

So how do you add conflict to an evening’s adventure? Add more encounters?

Well, sort of. Encounters, by themselves, add only short-lived conflict and some risk.

We’ve all defeated a random monster in a dungeon and then forgotten about it. To make an encounter work, it has to connect to the narrative. To make it sing, the encounter needs high stakes. It needs real risk.

And I’m not talking about the chance of a TPK. Total Party Kills are not fun. The risk that they might occur is a powerful motivator, but let’s, for the moment, assume the player characters are invincible or, at the very least, we don’t want them to die.

How’s this idea?:

The heroes enter a dungeon. As far as the players know, this is a randomly generated map. They’re level one, and they encounter some goblins. Heck, the party might even just have come from the tavern, where they all met for the first time. It’s all very vanilla.

But things are about to get serious.

They manage to drive off the goblins, but not before one of the green skins shouts a curse.

“Death to the humans!” It declares, before taking a crossbow bolt to the chest. Other goblins take up the chant, and some of these manage to escape.

When the party leave the dungeon, they find their village, including the once-cozy tavern, burned to the ground. Corpses litter the streets. Worse still is the number of missing people. There are signs that goblins have rampaged through the village, and they’ve left a corpse riddled with their black-shafted arrows hanging over the village well. A clear sign that this was an act of revenge.

But there are survivors, and they lay the blame for this squarely on the party.

If the party didn’t care about the village before, then standing on the sidelines is no longer an option. They must leave or take up the villager’s cause.

The goblins have won this fight. Now they’re a significant enemy, and the choices the party will have to make do matter.

Up the stakes!

Santa’s Solo Sale is Here!

Until the 11th of January, 2021, get 30% off any of our solo RPG titles.

Merry Christmas!



Plan to Win with a Painting Plan — MM33

It’s Mini Monday, where I share customizing, scratch building, kitbashing, and miniature painting projects for your roleplaying and tabletop gaming. This week we’ll look at what a painting plan can do for your next painting project.

Mini Monday Logo

I feel like I’ve come a long way since I painted my first Adeptus Astartes some 20 years ago, but I also feel like I’m just scratching the surface of what we might call the basics of miniature painting.

For the Emprah! My first Space Marine.

Below are some of the Space Marines I’ve painted since my very first. While painting the ones on the left I learned about varnish, brush selection, dry brushing, edge highlighting, and making my own transfers. And that’s on top of learning better brush control. Now we’re going to talk about something that will improve your painting, save you time, and help you assimilate everything you’ve ever learned about model painting: writing up a painting plan.

Get Organised with a Painting Plan

Abraham Lincoln is often quoted as saying “Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the ax.” Drawing up a plan puts this wisdom into practice. A plan sets out your paint scheme for a mini, while breaking it down into steps. It can also guide you when batch-paint many models at once, so that you can have a table-ready army in less time than it would take to paint each miniature individually.

My plan for my Angels Encarmine has evolved with each model I’ve painted so far, and now looks something like this:

  1. Clean mould lines.
  2. Glue fine beach sand onto the base.
  3. White base coat, with a spray can.
  4. Red coat, with a spray can.
  5. Black parts.
  6. Balor Brown (was Snakebite Leather) on base and scrolls.
  7. Skin tones.
  8. Hair.
  9. Red touchup.
  10. Silver dry brushing.
  11. Edge highlight grey on black.
  12. Dry brush skin tone over the top of the base.
  13. Flesh wash on red and skin.
  14. Freehand company and squad markings.
  15. Add transfer for chapter markings.
  16. Glue on dry tea or flock.
  17. Glue on banners.
  18. Final touch-ups.
  19. First coat of matt varnish.
  20. Second coat of matt varnish.
  21. Do the dance of joy.

I have a painting plan for my Orks, Genestealer Cults, and for fantasy races like drow. But you don’t need to follow the plan step-for-step every time. The plan’s more like a set of guidelines, and breaking the rules is often a great way to improve your plan.

Guidelines GIFs | Tenor

Do you use a painting plan, or do you like to do it off the cuff? Let us know in the comments!

Christmas at Aurora’s

Christmas is almost here, and Aurora has a whole emporium full of goodies for your Dungeons & Dragons 5e party.

You can find Aurora’s Whole Realms Christmas Catalogue on the DMs Guild.

Aurora's Whole Realms Christmas Catalogue

Aurora's Whole Realms Christmas Barbarian Gifts

Until next year, keep improving!

Hobby Momentum — Mini Monday 32

It’s Mini Monday, where I share customizing, scratch building, kitbashing, and miniature painting projects for your roleplaying and tabletop gaming. This week let’s look at hobby momentum and why it’s important for your hobby, and maybe life.

Mini Monday Logo

This weekend I banged out three new bits of scenery. What’s more, I was only home for half of the weekend, so I surprised myself with just how quickly it all came together. The magic ingredient was momentum.

What’s Hobby Momentum?

Hobby momentum is progress that rolls onwards, lends motivation, and helps you get bigger projects done. It builds up from working consistently and frequently at your hobby.

I’d been banging away on my scenery for over a year now, but in the week leading up to the last, I finally painted five of the buildings I’d been working on. I’ve also managed to complete a heap of other small projects, including making decals, custom Space Marine banners, a new Ork Weirdboy, painting some spiders, and finishing off the first of my Angels Encarmine heroes. Seeing these completed must have motivated me, because I got cracking on the three new terrain bits on Friday night. By Sunday all I needed to do was paint them.

It felt like the whole thing took little effort, and that’s all because of hobby momentum.

Life Without Forward Momentum

On the flip side, I recently finished a project that seemed to have stalled for ages. Things only progressed when I managed to break the project down into small enough pieces to get some momentum back.

The Terrain

All of these terrain projects incorporated older terrain projects that I’d not been very happy with, two or so years of collecting bits, and lots of browsing Pinterest. That certainly made these projects quicker, but the push came from hobby momentum. Having finished a bunch of terrain provided clearer inspiration for this build.

Barrel Pile

Luke tries to force push, but the hot glue is strong with this one.

This model terrain consists of a styrofoam base, milk box lids, some wire wrapped around a small thread spindle, and some silica gel containers from medicine bottles. I made cardboard toppers for the green containers to hide the logo on them. I hot glued this onto the base and then added more sand and dirt with wood glue.

The red fits my colour scheme, which is red and grey.

Water Tower and Barrel Dump

Another styrofoam base, onto which I hot glued more of the barrels I cast for my Grot Oiler. I built the tower from a toy army barrel, some thin dowel sticks, bits of plastic, and wire mesh.

I originally built the base as a hill for my Old Egyptian DBA army, which means it has sat in a box for twenty years or so. Turning it into a dump made so much sense and fits with the factory terrain I’ve built so far.

Broken Wall

This was one of the first bits of terrain I built for Warhammer 40,000. Like so many of my terrain projects from years ago, it was a single piece that didn’t match anything else on the table. I figured a little effort could update this and help it fit with the set.

Broken wall from 1999
Mmm, look at that dust.
Broken wall updated
Nothing like rebar to bring your construction together.

I added rebar with bits of bent wire poked into the styrofoam, then added more gravel around the base. Done.

I really am getting too happy with this spray can.

You’ll have to come back to see these painted up, which is a project for another Mini Monday.

RPG Blog Carnival @ Phoenix HQ

Why not check out the RPG Blog Carnival, which is happening here, at Rising Phoenix Games, this month. Our topic is “When the Bad Guys Win.

rpg blog carnival logo

You’ll find new articles on the topic in the comments, as they come in. If you’re a blogger, you can also submit articles of your own. Details on the page.

RPG Cyber Sale — Get 20% Off Supplements

From now until Friday you can get 20% off great RPG games and supplements in our RPG Cyber Sale! Just use the coupon code “CyberSale2020” on the Rising Phoenix Games Store.

RPG Cyber Sale

Aurora’s RPG Cyber Sale

It’s Cyber Sale week at Aurora’s Whole Realms Emporium, and Aurora has a massive collection of gear on sale now, perfect for your Dungeons & Dragons fifth edition adventures.

Auroras Emporium of EverythingAurora’s items are purpose-built to add flavor — without complex, campaign breaking rules — to your campaign. You won’t find earth-shattering magical items or expensive gear, only goods inspired by the Forgotten Realms, the practical needs of adventurers, and a world of imagination. The bundle also includes the Manual of Masks and Undersea Sourcebook: Feats & Equipment, so you’ll be well equipped for any adventure.


Aurora’s Christmas

Christmas is coming, but what do you get the barbarian, bard, cleric, druid, monk, paladin, ranger, rogue, sorcerer, warlock, or wizard in your life?

Never fear, Aurora’s Whole Realms Christmas Catalogue is here!

Aurora's Whole Realms Christmas CatalogueThe catalogue contains loads of gift ideas for each of the core classes from the Dungeons & Dragons Player’s Handbook, as well as more ideas for celebrating this special holiday in character, such as Christmas treats, scented candles, confectionaries, and even magical stockings.

Here’s a peek inside:

Aurora's Whole Realms Christmas Barbarian Gifts

Aurora’s Legacy

Aurora’s Whole Realms Emporium has a legacy extending way back to AD&D. You can read more about the history of Aurora’s Emporium and our part in extending the legacy here, on the blog.

RPG Blog Carnival

RPG Blog Carnival kicks off tomorrow, right here on the Rising Phoenix Games Blog. Our theme for December is “When the Bad Guys Win.” Be sure to tune in for loads of interesting articles from RPG bloggers from around the world.

Have a happy holiday season everyone!

When the Bad Guys Win — RPG Blog Carnival

Great trials. Horrific encounters. Epic adventures. Glittering prizes. Victory. These are all a part of being a hero in the fantasy worlds we explore in our games. But what happens when the bad guys win?

Image credit: Publisher’s Choice Quality Stock Art © Rick Hershey / Fat Goblin Games

RPG Blog Carnival

This month’s RPG Blog Carnival is all about “When the Bad Guys Win.” We’ll be putting links in the comments below that cover the topic in all sorts of ways, so be sure to check back here often. At the end of the month we’ll compile all the articles into a list, so keep an eye out for that too.

when the bad guys win — rpg blog carnival logo

The RPG Blog Carnival is a virtual, traveling, monthly event that moves from blog to blog, covering interesting topics related to our wonderful hobby of tabletop roleplaying games. It’s a great way to see what many talented RPG bloggers are up to, get some ideas, and expand your horizons. Enjoy!

Calling All Bloggers

If you’re a blogger, why not join us?

Write a post on this month’s topic, then post a link to the article in the comments below. How you interpret this month’s topic is up to you, but here are some ideas:

  1. Talk about running a game where each member of the party is a dastardly villain.
  2. Give us ideas for cunning, recurring NPC enemies.
  3. Stat up some diabolical monsters.
  4. A fiction piece where the heroes lose the fight.
  5. Paint up some diabolical enemies and share your tips.
  6. Teach us how to roleplay a great villain.
  7. Throw some ideas at us for dealing with character death.
  8. Devise some cunning traps.
  9. Share some great sources featuring villains.
  10. Check out the RPG Blog Carnival Archive for even more ideas.

Be sure to check out what others are writing about and keep boosting the signal as we head into 2021.


Get Started Painting 40K Vehicles — MM 31

It’s Mini Monday, where I share customizing, scratch building, kitbashing, and miniature painting projects for your roleplaying and tabletop gaming. This week we’ll get started painting 40K vehicles.

Mini Monday Logo

I’ve learned loads since getting back into miniature painting, but painting vehicles, especially pretty Space Marine vehicles, has always been intimidating to me.

Until now.

Here’s a very easy way to get started with painting your Warhammer 40,000 vehicles, and you won’t need an airbrush.

Get Started Painting 40K Vehicles
Get started right with a few coats of spray paint. All this guy needs is some detail work with a brush.

1. Prep

Clean your mould lines, like you would with any other mini. You can assemble as much of the vehicle as makes sense. This Land Speeder came to me fully built, so I prepped it for painting as a whole. You could also paint the vehicle on the sprue or paint each piece, bit by bit. Whatever makes the most sense to you.

One of the cool things about mini painting is that they’re your models, you can paint them however you want.

2. Undercoat

Now undercoat/basecoat the whole vehicle with a spray can. White, black, grey, whichever makes the most sense for your colour scheme.

Zenithal Land Speeder underside (in black)
Death from below.
Zenithal Land Speeder top, in white
Death from above.

This guy will be sporting Angels Encarmine colours, which I interpret as a darker take on the Blood Angels paint scheme. For this project, I wanted to try a zenithal undercoat, so I hit it with black on the bottom and white on the top. It seems to have blended well enough in the middle, but some people hit it with a grey coat in the centre of the vehicle for a more gradual blend.

3. Primary Coat

Lastly, I hit it with two coats of the primary colour. Let the mini dry properly between coats, and you’ll end up with a decent looking vehicle that only needs detail work.

Angels Encarmine Land Speeder
Now to pimp my ride.

It’s really that simple, and you don’t need to get fancy with an airbrush. Two thin coats, with a brush, will get you where you need to be from here.

We’ll be back to help you get started painting 40K vehicles in a bit, so see you again in a few weeks.

Aurora’s Black Friday Sale

It’s Black Friday week at Aurora’s Whole Realms Emporium. Be sure to check out the mountain of gear on sale now, perfect for your Dungeons & Dragons fifth edition adventures.

Auroras Emporium of Everything


Ork Runtherd Black Orc Kitbash — MM 30

It’s Mini Monday, where I share customizing, scratch building, kitbashing, and miniature painting projects for your roleplaying and tabletop gaming. This week I’m kitbashing an Ork Runtherd from a Black Orc.

Ork Runtherd

#Orktober Progress Report

Only a few days left of #Orktober, and I’ve finished 9 models out of 31, buuut I’ve built another weirdboy aaand started on an Ork Biker/Gaslands kitbash I think you’ll like (inspired by 5header on YouTube). That second project is probably going to get sidelines until I can unstick my fingers and finish off those Ork Kommandos I promised.

Orktober on Rising Phoenix Games

Orktober has been great though. My Orks got a lot of love that they hadn’t gotten since the start of lockdown. Things are actually done. Progress has been made. It was awesome.

Mini Monday Logo

Black Orc Ork Runtherd

My brother gave me this little guy when he got him in the Warhammer, Shadow of the Horned Rat box. Remember that game? I think it might just be the toughest game I’ve ever played.

The mini has been sitting around in a box for years, and my plan was to turn him into a banner bearer. Remember those?

Choosing to turn him into an Ork Runtherd was a much better plan.

Grabba Stick and Grot Lash

I removed his swords, then drilled through his right hand to fit some wire. The top of his grabba stick is a bit of plastic from a nose spray. You know, that bit that stops you from accidentally spraying it. I wrapped some fine jeweller’s chain around it for detail.

The whip was made with modelling epoxy, which is very brittle. If I remake it, I’ll use wire with only a little modelling epoxy on the end.


His sidearm is a pistol from a Dark Eldar mini. I stuck bits of plastic card to it to bulk up the holster and added a single link of chain for decoration.


Meh, probably not one of my best paint jobs. But, you know what, he’s done and I can move on. I’m very happy with how he turned out, I learned a bunch, and I had fun. That’s all that matters.

Make Good Games