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Thread: Curis' Dungeons & Dragons Miniatures

  1. #1

    Curis' Dungeons & Dragons Miniatures

    The Umber Hulk is the iconic Dungeons & Dragons monster, a powerful tunnelling beast with the power to confuse anyone who sees all four of its eyes at once. This confusion is a form of psychic hypnosis, rather than puzzlement over the fact it has eyes in its nostrils, and what might happen when it sneezes.



    “Feckin’ peg it!” squeed Ploppin the Halfling.

    Such a colourful shot! The red and blue lights echo the garish paint choices this Umber Hulk’s previous owner made. This miniature was a snip at £3 from the Oldhammer Trading Company and I celebrated by taking it to the pub that evening.



    The lovable four-eyed spongmonster at the pub.
    Also pictured: a Grenadier Umber Hulk.

    He came missing a finger-claw, which I replaced with brass wire and putty. I also carved him new mandibles from some random Games Workshop plastic bits.



    jazz hands /dʒaz handz/ noun: …

    The miniature has been released by Grenadier both with and without the mandibles. In the original catalogue, the photographer completely misinterpreted the mandibles as unicorn bits.

    Grenadier held the licence for Dungeons & Dragons miniatures 1980–1982, but released all sorts of suitable figures both before and afterwards. This is not actually an official Umber Hulk but an “Umberbulk”. It is still in production nowadays (without mandibles), via Mirliton.





    Original the Monster. Do not steal.

    The 1st edition Dungeons & Dragons Monster Manual states “Umber Hulks are black, shading to yellowish gray on the front. Their head is gray on top, and the mandibles are ivory coloured.” But I did mine a burnt umber colour as I got hung up on the name “Umber Hulk”. In my defence the picture of them in the Monster Manual illustration is black and white.
    Umber Hulks and Rogue Trader Ambulls

    When writing Rogue Trader, Games Workshop anticipated players would want to use their existing figure collections, and so they slipped in a lot of the iconic Dungeons & Dragons monsters as thinly-disguised aliens. Blink Dogs became “Astral Hounds”, Beholders became “Enslavers”, Umber Hulks became “Ambulls” and so on.



    Mighty Squat Hero Warmaster Gorun fighting an Umbe…Ambull, with support from the Reckoners Space Marine chapter.

    The Ambull did eventually get its own model.

    Interestingly, having been ported into space, they got put ported back into their native fantasy setting in the form of White Dwarf 108’s Terror in the Darkness scenario for Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay, where the adventurers head into a mine only to encounter Ambulls.

    That’s it for today! I’ll leave you with this photo that was meant to show the detail on the top of the head, but his pose looked like it was inviting tickles.



    Cudgy cudgy coo cooo. Cudgy cudgy coo cooo.

  2. #2

    Re: Curis' Dungeons & Dragons Miniatures

    James over at Gonzo History is running a competition inspired by Gary Gygax’s antics designing the original D&D monsters. Legend goes that young Gary, looking for fantasy monsters to populate his dungeons, got a bag of cheap plastic monsters from Hong Kong and made up names and rules, bringing Rust Monsters, Bulletes and Owlbears to life for the first time. James’ challenge is to do the same and win fabulous magic prizes.

    The competition rules I took to heart were:

    - Find something cheap and nasty and plastic. Not any of this blog’s regular finely-detailed fodder, but something entirely unsuitable for real miniature modelling. (“Did you try company X‘s miniatures?” you could snark.)
    - Reinvent it as something different. It’s a challenge about creating a fresh iconic monster. No point finding a cheap plastic toy dragon and painting it to be a … dragon.
    - It’s explicitly not a modelling or painting challenge, so don’t expect to win with technical excellency.

    Presenting the Great Wight Shark:



    Putting the “soul” in sole fish.

    This monster started life as a free gift with some CBBC kids magazine. I was initially drawn to it because of the armour-plated head, which I thought could be transformed into a cool fantasy fish-helmet. I also thought I could sculpt a samurai armour visor on top and make it into an Oriental Knightfish. But then I realised the toy was not just green but GLOW IN THE DARK. Rather than squander this gimmick under putty and paint I decided to harness it to portray a fish spectre.



    She’s a shark, and she glows in the dark.

    I added bloodsplatter to create visual interest, and also to attach it to a gaming base. There’s a steel pin running through the bark base through the bottom jaw of that I’ve disguised as blood dripping out its maw and running off the lowest point of its chin.

    Here are the stats, 1st edition Monster Manual style:

    GREAT WIGHT SHARK

    FREQUENCY: Uncommon
    NO APPEARING: 1–6
    ARMOUR CLASS: 5/10
    MOVE: 15″
    HIT DICE: 5
    % IN LAIR: 10%
    TREASURE TYPE: Nil
    NO OF ATTACKS: 1
    DAMAGE/ATTACKS: 2D4
    SPECIAL ATTACKS: Nil
    SPECIAL DEFENSES: Silver or magic weapons to hit
    MAGIC RESISTANCE: Standard
    INTELLIGENCE: Animal
    ALIGNMENT: Neutral
    SIZE: L
    PSIONIC ABILITIES: Nil
    ATTACK/DEFENSE MODES: Nil

    The Great Wight Shark is an undead giant plate-skinned fish, existing on the normal and negative material planes. They are found haunting the places where their inshore waterways once were – where lakes have dried up or rivers have changed course over time.

    Great Wight Sharks will attack if their territory is invaded, and can work cooperatively in packs of up to six to hunt prey. Their semi-material jaws, originally for punching through the thick shells of freshwater prey, can penetrate even a knight’s plate armour. Great Wight Sharks have heavily armoured heads and thick thoracic shields with an armour class of 5, though they are very vulnerable to attacks to their fleshy hindquarters where their armour class is 10.

    Commonly sighted with other aquatic undead species including Stingwraiths, Ethery Eels, Kelpie Kelp, Tadpoltergeists and Vampiranhas.



    A Great Wight Shark ambushing along the ancient path of the Garradsbane River.

    Great Wight Sharks are unable to leave the bounds of their prehistoric waterways, which will at first be indistinguishable from regular land. However, the boundaries past which the sharks can’t move can be worked out with clues such as the ruins of old bridges, old maps, or baiting them and seeing how far they pursue.
    Last edited by Curis; 03-01-2018 at 13:30.

  3. #3
    Commander Abraham Danglebreech's Avatar
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    Re: Curis' Dungeons & Dragons Miniatures

    My cousin had the GW Ambull. Pretty heavy lump of metal as I remember it. I like your paint job and repair to the original, and the action shots are a nice touch :-) Happy New Year to you and I hope to see plenty more in this plog!

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