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 painting the Pathfinder Battles: Deep Cuts Familiars, produced by WizKids and NECA.
Deep Cuts is my favorite RPG mini range right now, because the detail, variety, and price are spot on. The Deep Cuts Familiars blister contains a badger, bat, and a fox, which is a lot of value, even if nobody in your party is keeping a familiar around.
For all of the Deep Cuts Familiars, finding good references really helped. Look for quality photos of real animals. It may sound obvious, but when you spend most of your time painting fantasy creatures, the chance to refer to nature is a rare treat.
The Key to Fur
The trick with fur is to get the countershading right.
Countershading is the tendency animals have of having a darker coloration on their upper side and a lighter coloration on their underside, like this fox with his lighter tummy. Our badger friend is an exception, but only in that it’s flipped around for him, with his lighter top and darker underside.
You can paint countershading in a number of ways, but the important thing is to know where the graduations are and where there’s a sudden change in color. Look at how the orange fur under his eyes suddenly becomes white, while on his forelegs the change from black to orange is more gradual.
Priming is already done for you, so we can dip right in. The stone was painted gray, then dry brushed with a lighter gray. The bat was painted a chocolate brown, then I mixed in a little white for the dry brushing highlights. Lastly, I washed the stone with a black wash.
I painted him the same gray as the stone on the bat mini, but then dry brushed white on the top and painted the muzzle white. I touched this up with gray over his eyes to form the distinctive patterns on the badger’s face. Paint the legs black.
For the badger’s stone, I had painted it gray, but there wasn’t much contrast, so I went back over it with a dark brown, then light brown highlights. This made all the difference.
This might be my best paint job yet. See, I’m learning!
I painted the whole fox orange, then dry brushed a lighter orange over that, with white over the tail. The nose, eyes, and mouth were all painted black. Also note that foxes have black inside their ears and on their forelegs. Getting the patterning right is half the battle, but so satisfying when you get it right.
The base was painted dark gray and then dry brushed light gray.
The last thing to do it varnish them and stick them on their bases, then you’re done. I knocked all three out over a Saturday, so they don’t take much time at all.
You can get the Pathfinder Deep Cuts Unpainted Miniatures: Familiars on Paizo or at most good hobby gaming stores.
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Rodney is a writer and editor of tabletop RPGs and a painter of Orks. He is worryingly fond of mill decks in Magic: the Gathering and a self-confessed Japanophile.