Category Archives: Mini Monday

Adventurer’s Guide to Fey Magic

The Adventurer’s Guide to Fey Magic is an introductory guide featuring advice, treasure, charms, and other rewards for your journeys into the Feywild. Written by David N. Ross, the PDF clocks in at 26 pages, with the OGL and credits taking a page of that, together.

From the Back Cover

The homes of the fey — in the Feywild or in enchanted regions of the mortal world — offer power and danger for local heroes and intrepid interlopers alike. Many seek their fortunes there for good reason. Any adventurer might quest for the otherworldly power of the fey courts, or even aspire to become an archfey, in the right circumstances.

Part 1 of the guide helps adventurers orient themselves among the fey.

Part 2 provides a variety of unique fey rewards for adventurers to seek out.

The Adventurer’s Guide to Fey Magic is available on the DMs Guild.

The Adventure Begins

David, who has many writing credits, particularly for Paizo, came to me with an idea for a series of books on the Fey and Feywild of Faerûn, and the ball got rolling.

Now, we’d like you to join us as we plan for the next book in the series. What would you like to see David and I unpack with book 2? Let us know, in the comments below.

Magic Life Lessons and Mini Monday

I’ve decided to put our two blog series on hold for now, so that we can focus on producing more exciting RPG content. If you enjoyed Magic Life Lessons or Mini Monday, please leave a comment on one of the posts in the series and let us know. Your feedback means a great deal to us.

With MLL and MM out of the way, we’ll be able to focus on our free fiction. The first release, First Contact, is on the blog.



Mini Monday #13: Level Up Your Painting in 2020

It’s Mini Monday, where I share customizing, scratch building, kitbashing, and miniature painting projects for your roleplaying table. This week I’m playing it lazy and sharing an excellent video from Midwinter Minis that will help you level up your painting in 2020. I’ll also add in a few of my own tips.

Mini Monday Gargoyle

Guy and Penny from Midwinter Minis share great painting and scenery making tips on their YouTube channel. They’re one of the top mini painting channels, in my opinion, and their 23 Free ways to get better at painting models video (below), is worth checking out.

Rodney’s Tips

Here are a few of my own tips:

1. Paint with a Pal

Painting with others is a great way to learn, make time for painting, and keep motivated. Kim Frandsen (writer of Heaven & Hell) and I chat over Google Hangouts while we paint. We talk about the industry and all sorts of things, and we share our progress live or by sending photos of our work. Kim used to work at a games shop, where he also had to paint minis, so I’ve learned loads from him.

2. Finish Models, Keep Painting

Mini Monday is all about keeping motivated and getting through that pile of plastic. After 20 years, I got back into painting and found it to be a great (and even cheap) way to clear my mind and relax. But why had I given it up for so long? I loved the hobby, and even made it into a career, but I’d started collecting prepainted minis and my grey plastic ones were collecting dust. I realize now that the pile of unfinished models was intimidating.

Now I pick my battles and get models done, and that keeps me motivated.

3. Batch Painting

Batch painting really sped up my painting. By painting squads or groups of similar miniatures, I can turn each step of the painting process into a production line. That way, the minis are ready for the table at the same time and I don’t have to switch tools or paints often. You can literally do your whole army like this, as Brent from Goobertown Hobbies did with his 100 goblins (another YouTube video).

level up your painting
I painted four drow together, before finding four more that needed the brush. Doh!

May 2020 be a great year for you as you level up your painting!



Mini Monday #11: Basing Basics

It’s Mini Monday, where we share customizing, scratch building, kitbashing, and miniature painting projects for your roleplaying table. This week we get down to the basics of miniature basing. It’s Mini Monday #11: Basing Basics.

Mini Monday Gargoyle

I’ve been tinkering with this basing method since I started painting Warhammer 40,000 figures, and have refined it into a simple method that gives great effects.

Mini Monday #11: Basing Basics
The Gretchin on the left has sand from my garden. Sam, on the right, has a larger grain of dirt. You could paint this grey or brown to look like gravel, but it’s good enough for gaming, and that’s the point.

Remember, the main thing you’re looking for when basing your army or figures for roleplaying is consistency. You can differentiate heroes from the rank and file with special bases, but generally, you want a process you can apply to all your figures, to give them unity.

1. Preparing the Miniature

Paint your miniature and glue it to its base. Leave the base for now.

2. Texture

Get sand from your garden and sieve it. You can cook it in the oven for 10 minutes to ensure it’s free of life, then let it cool. I keep my sand in small plastic containers. Mix PVA or wood glue with water, in a 1:1 ratio. Paint this on the top of the base and then dip the base into the sand. Leave to dry.

Homemade Sand - Mini Monday #11: Basing Basics
“Homemade” sand sieved and ready for use. Costs nothing and you can get tons of it.

3. Glue it Again

You can use the same mixture again over the sand when it’s dry to ensure it stays down, otherwise it might come off when you’re painting it. You can also spray the PVA and water mixture onto the base, but I find an old brush works well if the glue is dry: start at the edge and work your way inwards.

4. Paint

When this is all dry, paint the textured base. There are a few options for this. I like to paint the whole base in Warboss Green, from Citadel Colour. Some people like to paint the edge of the base black, or you might choose a sandy tan colour — it’s up to you.

5. Flock

Use small bits of flock to represent scrub and bits of vegetation. Stick this on with PVA glue.

6. Varnish

When it’s dry, varnish the whole mini. Sprays are great, but if you don’t have a spray, you can paint it on using an old brush.

That’s it. This technique is cheap and easy, and really finishes off a model. Doing batches of miniatures together makes waiting for things to dry less of an issue.

You can support the blog by purchasing a gargoyle mug from our store.

Gargoyle Mini Monday Mug
Paint brushes, water, or regular ol’ caffeine, whatever it holds, it does so in style.



Mini Monday #10: Good Enough

This was supposed to be a post about getting 18 miniatures painted in 18 days. I needed to finish 18 Orks to finish my battalion detachment, and I gave myself 18 days to do it in. ‘Easy,’ I said. And that’s why today’s full title should be Mini Monday #10: Good Enough and the Power of Being Satisfied with the Chance to Try Again.

Mini Monday Gargoyle

It’s Mini Monday, where I share customizing, scratch building, kitbashing, and miniature painting ideas for your roleplaying table. This week we talk about mediocrity, the value of arbitrary goals, and being satisfied.

Mini Monday #10: Good Enough

Here’s my kitbashed Ork boy with rokkit launcha. He’s the only figure I finished in the 18 days.

Mini Monday #10: Good Enough

I’m very happy with the kitbashing I did with him, but not with the paint job. But, you know what, it’ll do. It’s better painted than unpainted.

The 18-day goal was arbitrary, but it was still good for a few things.

Just Your Average Geek

For one thing, it was good to remind myself that I’m no pro painter. This blog isn’t about me teaching you. It can’t be. The only thing I have to give is passion and the determination to keep learning. Rather, this blog is about sharing my discoveries and, hopefully, encouraging you to go make your own, paintbrush in hand.

Flinging Paint on Plastic

I still have 17 minis to go, but the 18 days meant I got closer to finishing them. How long will that take? Who knows!? All I can say is that whatever time I spend painting is progress. If I want to get through that pile of plastic, the only way to do it is to sit down and paint.

Got anything to say? Slap it in the comments below and let’s talk about painting, kitbashing, and the benefits of more dakka!



MM #9: Smoke Grenade Objective Markers

It’s Mini Monday, where I share customizing, scratch building, kitbashing, and miniature painting projects for your roleplaying table. Today we’ll look at making smoke grenade objective markers for your games of Warhammer 40,000 or Kill Team.

Mini Monday #9: Smoke Grenade Objective Markers
Smokin’

These were easy to make, but before I break it down, I need to point out that the best part of these, the bases, were a lucky find. They are from a line of Steamboy collectables, and I had six of them in my box of D&D minis, so I used them instead of gaming bases. Games Workshop has some excellent bases that would be a great substitute, such as their Sector Mechanicus Industrial Bases.

1, 2, 3, 4, 5, Once I Caught an Ork Alive…

I used a kid’s stencil to create an outline for my own numbering stencil, and then painted the numbers on in white. I then painted the outline of each number in black.

Smoker’s Corner

The smoke is cotton wool, pulled apart slightly to make it more whispy. I left mine white, which made sense for a smoke grenade, and glued it down as is, with PVA glue.

Grenade!

The grenades were the most fun to make. You’ll need a thin, hollow plastic rod and a paper clip. I used the stick from a lollypop and a single paper clip for the six grenades, so these are really cheap to make.

Cut the rod into six 5mm segments. Using the end of a pair of needle-nosed pliers, bend the paperclip so that it makes a small D shape. The left part of the D should be 5mm long, so that it fits into the small segment of rod. You’ll need six of these D shapes, and they should pinch the rod segment when inserted inside them. This is your basic grenade.

Fill the top and bottom of each rod with PVA or wood glue. When it dries, this makes the rod look like a solid, closed-off container and they’re ready for painting.

I base-coated my grenades black, then mixed green and black for the body of the grenade. I then painted the striker lever of the grenade silver, but a dull metallic dry brushed on would work better.

Glue these so that the top of the grenade is sitting in the smoke. Varnish everything except the smoke and your smoke grenade objective markers are done.



Mini Monday #8: Expanding Your Toolbox

It’s Mini Monday, where I share customizing, scratch building, kitbashing, and miniature painting projects for your roleplaying table. This week we’ll look at expanding your literal and figurative toolboxes, so that you can achieve more with your miniature projects.

The Figurative Toolbox

As you tackle and complete more hobby projects, you’ll learn and practice skills, building your repertoire. The important thing is to keep challenging yourself and learn new things. Find better ways to paint or scratch build, find out what doesn’t work, and master useful skills. That will build your figurative toolbox, allowing you to achieve a much wider range of things with the hobby.

The Literal Toolbox

This includes all the tools you use to work with miniatures, like paint, brushes, cutting boards, files, hobby knives, glues, and everything else you use to cut, shave, sand, or paint a miniature. Collecting these tools can prove expensive, but you can build your collection of tools up over time. This gives you a chance to learn how to use those tools before you become inundated with stuff.

When I got started, I bought a Citadel Colour Paint Set (which I still use), and an extra brush. I got some hobby knives for a birthday and an old emery board (nail file) from my mom. That was enough to get me started with cleaning and painting minis. Later I got more brushes and spray cans, which stepped things up a notch. I kept collecting tools and built up the collection I now have.

Here are some of the most essential tools you’ll need to get started:

Cutting Tools

A variety of cutting tools is useful for tackling different jobs. Extra blades and a clean, tough cutting board is essential. Sharp blades make a big difference, and don’t forget to cut away from yourself.

Cutting Tools for Miniatures and Kit Bashing
Snip snip.

Filing Tools

Different grits and types of sanding tools, like files and sandpaper, give you more control over how you finish a surface. You can glue sandpaper to a popsicle stick to make your own sanding sticks.

Sanding tools for miniatures and kit bashing.

Painting Tools

Paint, brushes, and a pot for water rounds out the collection. I recommend getting a starter set unless you have a very good idea of what you’ll be painting. Even though you might never use all the colors in the set, it’s good to have a wide range of colors to pick from. Don’t worry about getting an ultra-fine brush; go for two cheap, medium-sized brushes and build your collection from there.

Citadel Colour Paints
My 20-Year-Old Paint Box

If you’re just starting out, then you’re in for a great journey. Take your time, enjoy it, and you’ll learn loads. It’s a very rewarding hobby.

Rodney Sloan
Rising Phoenix Games

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MORE DAKKA — Mini Monday Ep 7

It’s Mini Monday, where I share customizing, scratch building, kitbashing, and miniature painting projects for your roleplaying table. This week we’ll scratch build and kitbash weapons for Warhammer 40,000 Orks. Because everyone needs MORE DAKKA!

I’m busy converting a bunch of old Warhammer Orcs into 40k Orks, and kitbashing two Deff Dreads. The hardest part has been making weapons, and here are a few lessons I’ve learned so far.

Ammo Belts

You can make great ammo belts using cable ties. Cable ties come in so many sizes that you’re bound to find one that matches your model’s weapon.

Ammo Belt — MORE DAKKA
The gun is from a Mech Warrior Clix figure.

 

Rocket Launchers

Method 1: I used a cylinder of sprue to form the main body of the “launcha,” then added bits from other weapons to make it look more like a weapon. For mine, I used a handle from a Dark Eldar weapon and two disks from a Gundam kit on either end. I drilled into the ends to finish it off. Really, it all depends on what your bits box has to offer. You can see this “rokkit launcha” in the last image, below. He’s the second Ork from the left.

Method 2: I used the caps from small medicine vials, which I glued together onto plastic tubes. I added greeble from sprues and bits of bent plastic to make this monster-of-all-rokkit-launchas. They look great on my chibi-style Gundam Deff Dread, and when they’re painted will look like they’ve got rockets loaded and ready to go.

Rocket Launcher / Rokkit Launcha - MORE DAKKA
Lots of things that go “BOOM”

Grot Lash & Grabba Stikk

Here are my custom Ork Boys and Runtherd, which I hope will inspire your own army of green-skins.

Scratch built and kit bashed Ork weapons.
More custom weapons.

I want to call out the Runtherd’s grot lash and grabba stikk. He’s the third from the left.

The grot lash was made with modeling epoxy clay, which I rolled thinly. I drilled a hole into the Runtherd’s hand, then glued it in. This guy’s not going under any bridges, but it gives him a dynamic look that the rest of da boyz are missing.

The grabba stick is a bit of wire attached to a plastic stopper from a nose spray. Yes, lots of medical waste here. Again, I drilled a hole into his hand to take the pole, then I finished it off with a bit of fine chain.

We Gotz MORE DAKKA!

Scratch building weapons can take a lot of playing around with bits of plastic until things fit, but the Orks — with their bashed-together aesthetic — are a very forgiving army to work on. Oversized weapons are never out of place in the Waaagh, and a wide range of weapon designs adds visual appeal to your forces.

Rodney Sloan
Rising Phoenix Games

Check out our store, subscribe to our newsletter for monthly updates, and visit us on our blog, our Facebook page and on Twitter.



Quick Terrain Projects — Mini Monday Ep 6

It’s Mini Monday, where I share customizing, scratch building, kitbashing, and miniature painting projects for your roleplaying table. This week we take on two quick terrain projects, which you can bang out in an evening.

Quick Terrain Projects of a stalagmite and road sign.

The first project is a stalagmite, those naturally forming spikes of rock that you find at the bottom of caves.

For mine, I used paper clay, but any type of clay should work. I drilled a hole through it and threaded a bit of chain through the hole to create some visual interest. I dripped super glue down the chain, which keeps it stiff. To paint the stalagmite, paint with a dark gray then dry brush with a lighter gray on the raised edges. The chain is painted black and then painted with a metallic color. Done!

The road sign is a bit of chopstick and popsicle stick, shaped and stuck together with wood glue. I used paper clay for the base, and you need something that is heavy enough to keep the sign upright. I then painted it brown and edge-highlighted it with a tan brown. I didn’t paint a name onto the sign, because I wanted to be able to add names to photos with Photoshop, as I’ve done above.

Both of these projects are simple and quick enough that you could turn out several in an evening, and they’re great projects for beginners. Besides being cheap, you can get a lot of reuse out of each bit of scenery. My little stalagmite has appeared in every prison and dungeon I’ve run since making it, and fills an inch square nicely.

Is there anything you’d like to see me paint or build? Let me know in the comments below.

Rodney Sloan
Rising Phoenix Games

Check out our store, subscribe to our newsletter for monthly updates, and visit us on our blog, our Facebook page and on Twitter.



Mushroom Miniatures — Mini Monday, Ep 5

It’s Mini Monday, where I share customizing, scratch building, kitbashing, and miniature painting projects for your roleplaying table. This week I’ll show you some easy mushroom miniatures to make with clay, to decorate the subterranean caverns of your RPG table.

Mushroom miniatures and a drow in the Underdark
badger, badger, badger, Mushroom, MUSHROOM!

Badgers love mushrooms, everyone loves mushrooms! On pizza or in the dungeon, mushrooms add a touch of class that’s hard to beat. These mushroom miniatures give your players something interesting to fight around, a refreshing change from the ubiquitous grey walls and stone tombs found below.

I made these mushrooms with air drying clay. I added gills underneath with a sharp tool, by drawing lines outwards from the stem.

When they were dry, I painted the stems with white mixed with a touch of green, which gives a sickly tint to them. The mushroom caps were painted purple, and I used two shades. Lastly, I varnished them with a matt varnish, and they were done.

I molded the mushrooms by hand, and there’s nothing inside them to give them more structure, but you could use toothpicks or wire as a core — a good idea for longer stems. If you’re making bigger mushrooms to take the weight of a miniature, then use a tightly pressed core of aluminum foil as the core. It’ll be lighter and will dry quicker than a hunk of solid clay.

I didn’t base them, so they’ll fit anywhere, but you could make up mushroom forests on a large base, or myconid figures or shrieking shroom markers on smaller bases. You can find rules for myconids in the Player’s Companion.

Rodney Sloan

Rising Phoenix Games

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Set Sail in a Miniature Ship — Mini Monday, Ep 4

It’s Mini Monday, where I share customizing, scratch building, kitbashing, and miniature painting projects for your roleplaying table. This week we’ll build a miniature ship to go with your Ghosts of Saltmarsh campaign or Undersea Sourcebook inspired adventures.

Wind Runner Ship Complete
“Yo ho ho, a pirate’s life for Smee!”

This little boat is very easy to make, looks great on the table, and is highly customizable. I’m planning to make a small armada for my undersea pirate campaign, which won’t take much time or break the bank with this technique.

Wind Runner Miniature Ship
“Arr, tis a ghost ship!”

Building the Ship

I used foam board, which I marked out to be an inch wide and 5 inches long. I then cut it and shaped the bow and stern.

For the gunwales, I used cardboard strips, which I glued to the sides of the foam board. The prow and rudder is made from balsa wood, and the tiller is a match stick. The deck was left plain, except for four struts, which are used to mark the squares off for models to stand on. The mast is a bamboo skewer, with thick yarn glued around the bottom of it.

I then undercoated the miniature ship in white, and painted the hull and prow a dark red. The rest was either painted dark brown to resemble wood, or light brown to resemble rope.

When the paint was dry, I rolled up a thin strip of linen and tied it to the mast. I then glued it in place and painted the yarn. To finish up, I painted the whole thing, including the sail, with matt varnish.

Full Stats Coming Soon

The wind runner, which this is a model of, will appear with full stats in our forthecoming Undersea Sourcebook: Feats & Equipment, which includes two new ships, two submersibles, and an airship.

Rodney Sloan
Rising Phoenix Games

Check out our store, subscribe to our newsletter for monthly updates, and visit us on our blog, our Facebook page and on Twitter.