Merriods from Descent 2E

Sharks are scary. Sharknados are scarier. Walking sharks with tentacle arms that have mouths and claws on the end are even scarier. All a merriod lacks to be truly terrifying is frickin’ laser beams attached to its head.

This monster poses a serious threat to the heroes of Descent. They roll a relatively powerful set of attack dice, have a respectable defense, are able to attack from two spaces away with Reach, and have the ability to Immobilize heroes (Descent revolves around action economy, so any limitation can be very problematic). To top it all off, the Master’s Flail ability allows a single attack to target two heroes at once. These guys are not to be taken lightly.

The Act I monster card for the Merriods

Unfortunately, the miniatures representing these nightmares have a few problems. Right out of the box, there are some pretty nasty gaps where the legs, arms, and tentacles attach to the huge lump that is the main body. I did my best filling and blending these gaps, but inevitably they are still somewhat visible. Much like the Shadow Dragons (Shadow Dragons from Descent 2E), the sculpts were primarily large open spaces with little to no detail. This makes sense, since sharks are little more than sausages with teeth, but it makes for somewhat boring painting. Lastly, my minion had a mess of glue running from its right tentacle down the cheek and onto the belly (leftovers from the factory assembly of the multi-part casts). I cleaned it up as best I could, but it’s still visible.

As usual, I wanted to make the minion and master appear markedly different. I chose to paint the master according to the reference art, and to model the minion after a real life shark. In order to bring some visual interest to an otherwise dull color palette, I decided to incorporate the distinctive stripes of a juvenile tiger shark. In the end, the minion proved a bit more difficult than the master, as the blending of monochromatic gray tones was a bit unforgiving. I decided to leave some of the contrasting values a bit starker than normal in an effort to give a wet sheen to the skin.


For the master, I loosely followed the character art. I used some blue tones that were a bit more vivid, again mimicking the coloration of the real life mako shark. I decided not to attempt the translucent barbing along the tentacles, but I did paint the eyes a bright, glowing yellow, which contrasted nicely with the blues of the skin and the flesh colors of the mouth. While the black, dead eyes of the minion successfully emulate the disturbingly expressionless eyes of real sharks, the blank glow of the master’s eyes look pretty creepy in their own right.


Being “land sharks” as well as being one of the few monsters in Descent possessing the “Water” trait, it was obvious that the bases needed to represent the Merriod’s amphibious nature. I reversed the portions of the base that contained the water in order to create more contrast in the overall presentation. The blue water works well under the bland, gray body of the minion, but the earth tones of the beach help the master’s blue to form pop.

Base Back

Base Front
The bases reference both of the monster’s traits: Water and Wilderness

So, that’s one more monster group from the core set complete. Slowly, but surely, the set is coming together. While these two miniatures may appear uncomplicated, it was satisfyingly challenging to blend realism and fantasy while balancing visual interest and monochromatic color palettes. Despite these shortcomings, I think I still managed to pull off some interesting miniatures. But let me know what you think by leaving a comment.




Gray Minion


Base coated with VMA USAF Medium Gray (71.275). Minimal areas of shading were added with the addition of some VMA Ocean Gray (71.273). Highlighting of the upturned surfaces was kept relatively subtle by adding very small amounts of Dead White to the USAF Medium Gray in two to three layers. The stripes along the back were done with USAF Medium Gray mixed with a very small amount of Ocean Gray.


Base coated with Vallejo Surface Primer USN L. Ghost Grey (70.615). Layers were added with the incremental addition of Vallejo Model Air (VMA) USAF Light Gray (71.276) followed by the addition of Vallejo Game Color (VGC) Dead White (72.001).



Blue Master:


The base coat of the skin was an approximately 1:1 mix of VMC Prussian Blue (70.965) and VMC Grey Blue (70.943). Layers were built up with progressive additions of Grey Blue, pure Grey Blue, and then progressive additions of VGC Electric Blue (72.095). Pure Electric Blue was used for point highlights.


This area was based in a 1:1 mix of VMC Grey Blue and VGC Electric Blue. Layers of pure Electric Blue, followed with the incremental addition of VGC Dead White (72.001). Finally, point highlights were added with pure Dead White.

Common Areas:


The inside of the mouths was basd with VGC Rosy Flesh (72.100). Some shade was added around the “throats” with a mix of Rosy Flesh and VMA USAF Medium Gray. Highlights were created with the incremental addition of VGC Pale Flesh (72.003), with point highlights with pure Pale Flesh. The teeth were picked out with pure VGC Dead White (72.001).


A base coat of VMC Black Grey (70.862) was applied, followed by highlights of VMC Neutral Grey (70.992) to the claws and a point highlight of VGC Dead White (72.001) to the eyes.



Base coated with a 2:1 mix of VMC Flat Earth (70.983) and VMC Iraqui Sand (70.819). Several layers of stippling were added with the addition of more Flat Earth, followed by the addition of some VGC Ger. Fieldgrey WWII (70.830)


The areas of vegetation were base coated with Vallejo Panzer Aces Splinter Strips (348). Next, a layer of pure VMC Golden Olive (70.857) was roughly stippled, leaving a border of the darker color around the edges. A final stippling of a 1:1 mix of Golden Olive and VMC Flat Yellow (70.953) was applied to smaller areas as a highlight.


The water on these bases was done in a manner similar to that of Verminous’s base. The base coat was actually the lighter tones, with a mix of approximately 3:1 VGC Dead White (72.001) and VGC Steel Grey (72.102). Layers were added with incremental additions of Steel Grey, followed by pure Steel Grey, and finally Steel Grey mixed with a small amount of VMC Dark Sea Blue (70.898). By working lightest to darkest, I was able to work away from the coastline, which helped to protect the earth that I had already painted. Final thin highlights of nearly pure Dead White were added along the leading edges of the ripples.



Orcs from Classic HeroQuest – Part 1: The Butcher Boys

Ever since I started painting my copy of HeroQuest I have been fearful of beginning this monster group. Including the miniatures from the Kellar’s Keep expansion, there are a whopping sixteen Orcs in a full HeroQuest set. Like the Goblins, there are a variety of weapons wielded by the Orcs. Knowing that it would take me several months to complete all sixteen monsters, I decided to post each time I finished a particular weapon group. I find that it is beneficial to my morale to tackle smaller, more manageable goals.

Orc Card
Orc monster card (Thanks to

The group that I chose to work on first are the four Orcs carrying cleavers. I was incredibly excited to attempt some non-metallic metal work on those huge, flat blades. With the intent of painting each weapon group with different colored clothing, I thought it would be fitting to paint these four with some white tunics, making them look like they might be Zargon’s kitchen staff. It is popularly stated that white is one of the more difficult colors to paint, due to the fact that once you have painted something white, there is no lighter color with which to create highlights. I read several tutorials and watched a few videos on the subject to prepare.


I think both the metal and the white tunics turned out rather well!

With two other groups of “greenskin” monsters (Goblins and Fimirs), I felt it was important to develop different skin tones for each species. The Goblins were painted with more of a standard green tone, the Fimirs were painted with more of an olive coloration, and I stumbled upon a pretty interesting bluish-green scheme for the Orcs. I really like the way their skin turned out, being not only unique among the figures in my game, but rather different from any of the other Orcs I’ve seen online.

Another technique I tried to employ with these guys was to incorporate a common highlighting color in different areas of the miniature. In this instance, I used Vallejo Model Color Green Grey in my mixes for both the skin and the leather. While the leather looks somewhat strange by itself, I think the result works very well next to the skin. I plan to try this technique on some other miniatures as well, as it seems to help create some tonal harmony.

Well, that’s about all there is to say about this foursome. I have the first couple Orcs of the next group primed and ready to get underway, so hopefully it won’t be too long until I have more pictures to post. Please leave me a comment to let me know what you think of the work so far.


The base coat consisted of an approximately 1:1 mix of Vallejo Nocturna (VN) Deep Forest Green (74.009) and Vallejo Model Color (VMC) Green Grey (70.971). Layers were added with the incremental increase of Green Grey. Highlights were done with a mix of about 1:4 Deep Forest Green and Green Grey, with final point highlights of pure Green Grey.

White Cloak:
These areas were base coated with a mix of about 1:1 VMC Khaki (70.988) and VMC Iraqui Sand (70.819). These areas remained the darkest shadows. Layers of pure Iraqui Sand were added to the raised areas, followed by the gradual addition of some Vallejo Game Color (VGC) Dead White (72.001). Final highlights of Dead White were reserved for the very tips of the most exposed areas.


The belt, bracer, and boots were based in VGC Beasty Brown (72.043). Medium tones were created with the addition of some VMC Green Brown (70.879). Highlights included the addition of some VMC Green Grey (70.971) to the Green Brown, and accentuated with point highlights of pure Green Grey. In a few areas, slight shading was done with a mix of 1:1 Beasty Brown and VMC Black Grey (70.862).

Chainmail and Bracer:

These areas were rather simple. A base coat of VMC Black Grey (70.862) was applied, followed by a 1:1 mix of Black Grey and VMC Green Grey (70.971). Very tiny point highlights of a 1:2 mix of Black Grey and Green Grey finished the black metal.

Cleaver and Skull Belt Buckle:

A standard non-metallic metal application was performed using VGC Black (72.051), VGC Cold Grey (72.050), and VGC Dead White (72.001).


The small exposed handle of the cleaver was painted with a base coat of Vallejo Model Air (VMA) Golden Brown (71.032). Some shade was added with a selective wash using a 1:1 mix of Golden Brown and VMC Dark Grey Wash (517). Two layers of highlights finished off the wood; first with VMA Light Brown (71.027) followed by VMA Sand (Ivory) (71.075).

HeroQuest Box Art

Verminous from Descent 2E

Having bested the brutality of Bol’Goreth in the Trollfens, our adventures in Descent were destined to lead us next into the Shadow of Nerekhall campaign. This expansion contains several new features for the game, not least of which is four additional Lieutenants. Ever since I saw the reference art for Verminous, the filthy-looking rat-king of the city’s sewers, I couldn’t wait to get him on the painting table.


While there were many aspects of this character that I loved, there were still a couple issues that concerned me a bit. First, the color palette is rather limited. With only off-white, brown, flesh, and some minimal dull red, there wasn’t a lot of visual interest to the reference art.  The face of the miniature is also incredibly asymmetrical. This is not necessarily a bad thing, and may in fact have been intentional, but it also may have been a sculpting or molding flaw (the miniatures of the SoN expansion are widely considered to be the worst all the Descent expansions). Whenever I tackle a miniature that has large areas of fur, I get concerned about the placement and severity of mold lines, as it is very difficult to remove the flash without also removing the fur detail in the process. This can lead to noticeable “bare patches”, which are usually more of an eyesore than the original mold lines. Unfortunately, the extent of this potential damage is difficult to judge prior to attempting the removal, all to commonly leading to the great frustration of making matters worse while attempting to “correct” a relatively minor flaw.

With that being said, I was actually very pleasantly surprised when I began prep on the miniature. The mold lines were surprisingly subtle, and most of the detail was crisp. I adjusted the color palette slightly, increasing the contrast between the different colors. I made the fur a little less yellowed, the skin a more standard rat-flesh, and the red sashes more saturated. For the overcoat/cloak, I really wanted to create a wet, greasy-looking fabric that was obviously different from the leather armor. I think I did a pretty good job of making this guy look visually bold, but rather disgusting at the same time. But you be the judge…



I am particularly proud of the non-metallic metal work on his rapier. The reference art really makes this sword look scratched and dinged, more like the cheap, tinny metal of a fencing saber rather than a finely crafted steel weapon.

According to his character history, Verminous is a “sly and dangerous monster that haunts the sewers and alleys of Nerekhall is a phantasm, a bogeyman invented by mothers to make their children behave.” To this end, I intended the art on his base to suggest the floor of his sewer kingdom. I knew this would include some water, but I did not think the “pond water” effect I had created for Bol’Goreth would read correctly for this model. The effect I created here is much more stylized, but I think it reads well as a dark, underground stream.

Verminous Base
The dank, mossy floor of the Rat-King’s home.

Overall, I could not be more pleased with how Verminous turned out. I am especially happy with the base, the rapier, and the rat-flesh. There weren’t all that many versions of this guy painted-up on the web, so I didn’t know exactly what to expect from the sculpt, but I think I managed to create a very impressive villain, full of character and interest. He will definitely be a pleasure to see on the board. As always, I appreciate any comments or feedback you have to offer. Until next time…



Base coated with a mix of 3:1:1 Vallejo Model Color (VMC) Green Grey (70.971), Vallejo Game Color (VGC) Black (72.051), and VMC Buff (70.976). This mix was remixed with incrementally reduced amounts of Black for several layers, before mixing in VGC Dead White (72.001) for several layers. These layers were placed in progressively smaller areas with near-dry brushing over the tips of fur that extended into the darker areas. A final point highlight was placed with straight Dead White. In several places, the Dead White was painted in thin lines where no texture was available.


Base coated with a 1:1 mix of VGC Parasite Brown (72.042) and VGC Heavy Skintone (72.140). Some slightly darker lines in the deep shadows with the addition of a little VMC Mahogany Brown (70.846). Layers were added with the original mix and the addition of VGC Dwarf Skin (72.041), followed by some VGC Cadmiun Skin (72.099). Point highlights with pure Cadmiun Skin finished off the brightest areas.


The base coat was a mix of 2:1 VMC German Fieldgrey WWII (70.830) and VMC Leather Brown (70.871). Layers were added with the addition of VMC Neutral Grey (70.992) followed by progressive amounts of VMC Sky Grey (70.989). At times, additional Leather Brown was added if the mix became too unsaturated.

Leather Leg Armor:

Base coated with a 1:1 mix of VMC Leather Brown (70.781) and VGC Beasty Brown (72.043). There were some small areas of shading with the addition of some VGC Charred Brown (72.045). Layers and highlighting with the progressive addition of some VMC Khaki (70.988).

Gloves and Leather Trim:

The base coat was a 1:1 mix of VGC Beasty Brown and VMC Khaki (70.988). Slight shading was done with a dash of VMC Leather Brown. Layers and highlights with pure Khaki, followed by the addition of some VGC Bone White (72.034).

Red Sash:

Base coat consisted of 1:1 mix of VMC Khaki (70.988) and VMC Vermillion (70.909). A shade was created for beneath the sash with the addition of some VGC Charred Brown (72.045). A layer of 1:1 Khaki and VMC Amarantha Red (70.829) with final higlights adding just a bit of VGC Bone White (72.034).

Knife and Rapier:

Non-metallic metal work done with VGC Black (72.051), VMC German Fieldgrey WWII (70.830), and VGC Dead White (72.001).


This followed a very similar process to that described in the Cave Spider post, found here: Cave Spiders from Descent 2E

The only difference was that some VGC Steel Grey (72.102) was mixed into the greys in order to give a darker, more bluish hue to suggest the subterranean sewer environment this character is said to inhabit.


A base coat of VMC Sky Grey (70.989) mixed 3:1 with VGC Steel Grey (72.102) was applied to the entire area. Several layers of VMC Dark Sea Blue (70.898) were glazed over this color in somewhat random parallel lines. Some lines were progressively darkened with further glazes, while some areas were lightened back down with the original mix. The resulting effect gives the impression (I think) of dark, flowing water with some ripples.


Bol’Goreth from Descent 2E

Of all the expansions in Descent Second Edition, the Trollfens was the one I was most excited to crack open. Not only did the expansion contain the Plague Worms, which are one of my favorite monster sculpts (hopefully soon to be painted), but the featured Lieutenant is the hulking troll brute named Bol’Goreth. I was impressed with most aspects of his sculpt, although there were a couple problem areas which I will discuss shortly. But overall… well just look at this guy!


Character art for Bol’Goreth

Cobbled together from the shields of his vanquished foes, Bol’Goreth’s armor was a great opportunity to work on various non-metallic metal effects. His dirty loincloth was well sculpted and dynamic. Although a majority of the figure is bare skin, which can sometimes lead to a boring and tedious palette, his unusual coloration and well defined muscles made the task much more enjoyable.

But, as I already stated, there were a couple snags. First of all, there were several molding defects in the various ropes that hold the shields down. Some of the strands just withered away to nothing and others were just completely absent (most notably, the strand that connects his shoulder piece to the kite shield on the left breast). I did my best with some Aves Apoxie Sculpt, thickening the weak strands and adding a couple in places I felt made sense.

Secondly, a mildly nit-picky complaint, perhaps, but there was mud sculpted on his feet. While this makes sense thematically, the detail was not particularly inspired. It could be mistaken for a hairy hobbit foot or just very poor molding. Again, I did what I could with the paint, but this is one area that continues to draw my eyes critically.

The last problem area is also the worst. One of the interesting features of Bol’Goreth is his  very unusual flail made from the decapitated head of a statue. This plays into his special action, Rampage, making for a truly fearsome ability, as shown below:

I loved pulling this off in-game, imagining this beast charging towards the group of heroes with his chains swinging wildly. Unfortunately, those same chains must have been difficult to mold, making a terrible eyesore when viewed from the back. What should be empty space between the links is instead solid, flat plastic. While I understand the practical necessity for such a limitation, it really does diminish the overall sculpt, in my opinion. Regardless, I did what I could in minimizing the impact of that area.

Well, judge for yourselves how I did…



I really think I did a decent job of selling the non-metallic metal, especially on the kite shield and the shoulder piece. But I did not want all the shields to be simple hunks of metal. In order to break up the monotony, I decided to paint some designs on two of the shields which are also easter-eggs of sorts. The yellow and blue shield over his belly is a simplified version of the emblem for the Daqan Lords, the heroic human faction of Terrinoth (the world shared between Fantasy Flight’s BattleLore, RuneWars, RuneAge and Descent games). Also, the blood-fly design on his left elbow acts not only as a logical family sigil one might expect to see in the marshlands, but it is also a simplified version of the expansion icon used to identify components of the Trollfens box. Both references can be seen below:

Lastly, I tackled the base. As with my previously posted Lieutenants, I tried to make the base appropriately themed for the character. In this case, my goal was to create a wet, swampy look. I’m pretty satisfied with the look of the ground and the translucent effect of the pond water, but recognize that the plants probably come off as somewhat cartoonish.

Bol'Goreth Base
Swamp base

Still, overall I am quite satisfied with the finished model. I’m pleased with the non-metallic metal work, and feel that I have succeeded in doing justice to one of my favorite characters from the game thus far. Stay tuned for more Descent miniatures shortly, including one that I consider to be my best work to date. As always, please leave comments and criticisms.



The skin was based in a 3:1 mix of Vallejo Nocturna (VN) Cold Flesh (74.014) and VN Pale Flesh (74.015). Shading was added with pure Cold Flesh, and the deepest shadows mixed in a small amount of VN Frozen Flesh (74.010). The highlights were built up using the original mix with progressively more Pale Flesh, eventually reaching pure Pale Flesh. Selected areas received a final point highlight of Pale Flesh mixed with a small amount of Vallejo Model Color (VMC) Ivory (70.918).

Teeth and Claws:

The claws in VMC Green Brown (70.879). Striations were added with a mix of Green Brown and VMC Buff (70.976), with a second layer of striations with pure Buff. The points of the claws were picked out with Buff mixed with a small amount of VMC Ivory (70.918). The teeth were done by the same process, only skipping the pure Green Brown base.

Gums and Tongue:

Although a very small area, the gums and tongue were an area of concern, as I feared to make them too pink or attract too much attention. I avoided this by simply mixing the pink color, Vallejo Game Color (VGC) Rosy Flesh (72.100), with a splash of the VN Cold Flesh. This dulled the pink and helped tie the color into the other skin tones.


The base color was a 1:1 mix of VMC Leather Brown (70.871) and VMC Khaki (70.988). Shading was accomplished with a mix containing more Leather Brown. Highlights were built up progressively with increasing amounts of Khaki to the original mix, eventually reaching pure Khaki. Some small point highlights were added with a mix of Khaki and a small amount of VMC Buff (70.976).

Ropes and Skulls: The base color for the ropes connecting the shields and fetishes was VMC Green Brown (70.879). This was mixed progressively with VMC Iraqui Sand (70.819) to build up some layers, eventually ending with pure Iraqui Sand for point highlights.

The skulls were painted in the same way as my HeroQuest Skeletons, first basing in VMC Khaki (70.988), adding progressive amounts of VGC Bonewhite (72.034), with final point highlights of Bonewhite mixed with a small amount of VMC Ivory (70.918).

Wood: The plank of wood on his right shin was painted following the step-by-step included in Vallejo’s “Wood and Leather” paint set. Base coat was applied with VMC Flat Earth (70.983). Two washes were applied, first with VMC Smoke (70.939), and secondly with Smoke mixed with VMC Black (70.950). Grain lines were added with a mix of Flat Earth and VMC Dark Sand (70.847). The wash with Smoke was reapplied, and final touch-ups were done with some mixes of the same colors in areas I felt were too dark/too light.

Marble Statue Head: Base coat was a mix of VMC Green Grey (70.971) and VMC Green Brown (70.879) in an approximate ratio of 4:1. A shade was applied to the lower 1/3 of the head using the base color with a dash of VGC Black (72.051). This was blended into a smooth transition with the base color. Highlights were added to the upper raised portions of the shaded area with the base color, and then to the raised portions of the base color with the addition of some VMC Ivory (70.918). Finally, some pure Ivory was added to select areas of the upper surfaces.






Mummies from Classic HeroQuest

I thought painting skeletons was bad…

In HeroQuest, the mummies represent the strongest of the undead monsters. These slow, shambling enemies hit harder and take more damage than the Skeletons and Zombies. Only the Chaos Warriors and the Gargoyle are more fearsome! In addition to having better stats, those monsters have something even more important that the mummy lacks…


The card for the Mummy

The one saving grace with the mummies was that the core game and Return of the Witch Lord expansion only require a total of six of these monotone monsters. Now, a mummy may appear rather simple at first glance. Base coat it white, do a brown or black wash, call it a day, right? Well, that’s just not good enough for my taste. Instead, I spent far too long blending layers of off-white bandages.

While I think the effort paid off, it was much more difficult than I expected to achieve matching levels of contrast and brightness between the six different models. This actually became something of a blessing in disguise, as I like to have some variation between the individual figures (as seen with the goblins’ shirts, the skeletons’ scythes, and the fimirs’ gems). I decided to use the inconsistent levels of contrast as part of that variation, along with differences in skin tone. I reasoned that mummies with lighter, brighter bandages would have died more recently, so their skin should be more pale and undead in appearance. Thus, the “youngest” mummies have bluish-green skin, as shown below:




The middle-aged mummies have the same skin tones, but their bandages have begun to age. Although the pictures may not show the difference all that well due to white balance, there is darker shading and a more brownish tone to these figures, as opposed to the slightly yellowed appearance of the previous group.



Finally, the oldest, meanest mummies have a more realistically colored skin tone. I have read that the skin of real-life mummies takes on a deep brown sheen, similar to that of polished wood. In addition, the wrappings of this group have been stained by decades of putrified seepage, resulting in a cruddy, discolored look.



The color variation is more accurately demonstrated in the group picture below:

I prefer the brown skin tone to the bluish-green skin, although I think the wraps of the middle-aged mummies have the most attractive level of contrast. Overall, I am mostly satisfied with how these baddies turned out, but I am really looking forward to moving on to some more interesting subjects. The next focus for HeroQuest is going to be one small set of orcs (there are a whopping 16 orc figures), followed by the zombies, and then back for some more orcs.



The different levels of contrast all used the same colors, simply starting and stopping at different levels of brightness.

The darkest wraps started with an approximate 4:1 mix of Vallejo Model Color (VMC) Chocolate Brown (70.872) and VMC Buff (70.976), creating the darkest lines between the bandages. Individual bandages were then picked out with increasing amounts of Buff, and blended up to highlights of pure Buff.

The brightest bandages started with a 2:1 mix of Chocolate Brown and Buff, jumping straight to pure Buff. Highlights were added with the incremental addition of VMC Ivory (70.918), with spot highlights of pure Ivory.

The medium bandages fell between the other two, being based with a 3:1 mix of Chocolate Brown and Buff, and ending with highlights of Buff mixed with Ivory (never reaching pure Ivory).

Blue Skin:

Base coated with a 1:1 mix of Vallejo Game Color (VGC) Steel Grey (72.102) and VGC Dead Flesh (72.035). The medium tone was a 1:2 mix of Steel Grey and Dead Flesh, highlighted with the addition of VGC Wolf Grey, and finally some point highlights with a little VGC Dead White (72.001).

“Mummy Brown” Skin:

Base coated with VMC Mahogany Brown (70.846), then layered with the incremental addition of VGC Plague Brown (72.039). Highlights added with the addition of a little VMC Dead White (72.001).


HeroQuest Box Art



Zombicide Black Plague – Component Storage Project: Part One

Although it may not be apparent to those who have visited my home, I have a bit of a fascination with creating storage solutions which are attractive, compact, and above all functional. My philosophy mirrors that of George Costanza’s; “Important things go in a case. You got a skull for your brain, a plastic sleeve for your comb, and a wallet for your money.” I feel certain that fantasy miniature board gaming would have made his list if it had been as popular in 1998 as it is now.

That being said, I have finally taken the first step in improving the storage of one of my group’s favorite games. This will be a three-stage undertaking with the ultimate goal of greatly reducing the number of boxes required for storage, while at the same time keeping all necessary components grouped and within easy reach. And I do mean all components.

With the imminent release of Zombicide Green Horde (the second season of the Black Plague medieval setting, which was recently Kickstart[ed] by Cool Mini or Not Games), the number of miniatures and cards will more than double. Luckily, many of the other components (such as tokens and figure bases) will merely be duplicated rather than increased. So the current plan is this: Stage One – Cards, dice, tokens, and figure bases; Stage Two – Tiles; Stage Three – Plastic terrain and miniatures.

Now, without further ado, my solution for Stage One…

We start with a simple, partitioned drawer. Like the rest of the box, the drawer is made out of solid black walnut, solid white maple, and some maple plywood. The maple ended up having some amazing striped figuring, which was not obvious until planed and sanded. This gives a beautiful reflective quality, much like that see on old-fashioned hologram trading cards. The mitered corners are reinforced with walnut splines, which also add a bit of additional flair.

Drawer Overview
Component drawer with walnut wedges for the figure bases.
Drawer Side
The sides of the drawer, displaying the maple’s figuring and the walnut splines.

The left section will hold two layers of twenty-four dice, for a total of forty-eight dice. While this is surely overkill, there are a surprising amount of special dice available for this game, so they add up quickly. The center section can potentially hold ninety-two standard sized figure bases, although I have reserved the fourth possible row for large sized figure bases and spawn tokens. The smaller figure bases are held in place by the three walnut wedges, which act somewhat like wheel-chocks to keep the round bases from rolling around. The right side holds all of the currently necessary tokens. From top to bottom: door tokens, dragon bile/flame tokens, vault door tokens, first player/rotten/crown tokens, objective tokens, rubble tokens, and noise tokens.

Drawer Organized
The drawer neatly holds all of the currently necessary dice, tokens, and figure bases, with a good bit of room to spare for future expansions.

The drawer fits very nicely into the lower part of the storage box proper, as seen in this photo.

Drawer in Place
The drawer sliding into place on the front of the box.

The second layer of the box also has three sections. The left and right sides are sized to accommodate the two decks of sleeved, smaller cards: the enemy spawn deck on the left, and the various equipment decks on the right. I intend to add some tabbed organizers to aid in storage, so that special enemies, starting equipment cards, and vault weapon cards can be easily grouped for storage. I also intend to develop some cardboard spacers to help keep the decks upright, which I can trim down as more cards are acquired. Currently, the box should hold about 4 times the number of cards released with Black Plague, so I’m hoping this will be plenty of room for future expansions. The middle section holds the survivor ID cards as well as the colored plastic pegs for the survivor dash boards. (For those not familiar with Black Plague, each survivor has a plastic dashboard which organizes their equipment, ID card, and experience/health/skill counters. The colored figure bases snap onto the survivor miniatures, and match the plastic pegs which are used for tracking health and skills on the dash board. A very nifty design by Cool Mini or Not Games.)

Cards In Box
The enemy spawn cards, survivor ID cards, plastic pegs, and equipment cards stored in the upper section of the box.

The inside of the box lid contains the same three compartments, allowing it to double as a convenient spot to place discards while playing the game.

Discards In Top
The discard sections built into the underside of the lid.

The lid slides snugly over the extended maple sides of the box, keeping it secure during storage. But the most satisfying part of the lid is not functional, but purely decorative. In order to add some visual interest to the box, as well as to easily identify it once it is surrounded by as yet unbuilt storage boxes for my other games, the top is crowned by the distinctive “torch” design that separates the medieval Zombicide games from their modern cousins. The torch was cut by hand with a scroll saw using some leftover scraps of walnut.

Lid Detail
The Zombicide Black Plague “torch” design, clearly identifying the contents of this box!

While there are certainly some flaws in the craftsmanship, I am still very proud of the final piece. I think I have succeeded in producing a beautiful item that will also make setup and storage of this game much easier in the future.

Box Overview
The finished Zombicide Black Plague (and expansions) component storage box.

The next step in this project will see the creation of a storage box for the 30 cm square tiles. Stay tuned for more!

Zombicide Logo

Shadow Dragons from Descent 2E

Finally, another large monster from the core game is complete!

I had very mixed feelings on approaching the Shadow Dragons. On one hand, they are large miniatures which get an awful lot of use in the game, and have a really nice pose that fits their threatening nature. On the other hand, there are some really large gaps around the shoulders and right leg, a really bad mold line along the ribs on each side, and overall there just isn’t much detail – I have heard some other painters refer to the Shadow Dragons as “a blank canvas”. Whether that is meant as a compliment or a criticism depends on your point of view, I suppose.

I began work on the minis by using some Elmer’s PVA glue to fill in the aforementioned gaps. I simply put some glue on the palette, brushed some into the gap, let it dry, and repeated until I felt the gaps were suitably corrected. A rather simple method, and much less messy than trying to use putty (although it is wise to use an old brush).

Like most Descent monsters, there was limited reference art for the dragons, but at least there was a full body shot to work from. The color palette of the dragon appears to be a greyish-purple, as shown below.


I decided to attempt this tone, and I feel I was rather successful. I struggled a bit with the base design, as I wanted to incorporate the “Dark” monster trait as well as the greenish cloud depicted in the art. I’m not really sure what the green is supposed to be: possibly the “Shadow” ability, or given the green color of the mouth, possibly the “Fire Breath” ability of the master. Regardless, I ended up with the base design as shown. Kind of makes it look like a space dragon, I guess, but oh well. It’s dark and has some green, what more do you want from me???

While I was very happy with the purple coloration, I felt that it would be a little boring to simply repeat the process on the Minion. I also like to try to change things up a little between the Master and Minion monsters, but being “a blank canvas” the only real option here was to change the main color. To that end, I substituted a very dark blue for the purple. The goal for both miniatures was to evoke a sleek, dark appearance similar to that of a panther, in which the muscles glisten a bit while the color itself is most apparent in the shadows.

And the two of them together:

Dragon Pair
A really bad day for the heroes!!!

Unfortunately, I must say that I actually prefer the look of the Minion to that of the Master, but I am happy with both of them for what they are. Let me know what you think.



Base color was a mix of ~40% Vallejo Model Color (VMC) Black Grey (70.862), 40% Vallejo Game Color (VGC) Bonewhite (72.034), and 20% VMC Blue Violet (70.811). Shade was created adding slightly more Black Grey and Blue Violet, while highlights were made adding more Bonewhite incrementally.

The bluish dragon used a similar technique, starting with 30% VMC Black Grey, 30% VMC Dark Sea Blue (70.898), 30% VGC Bonewhite, and 10% VGC Imperial Blue (72.020). Highlights with progressive additions of Bonewhite.

Spikes and Claws:

Based in VMC Black Grey, highlighted with VMC Basalt Grey (70.869).

Tongue and Eyes:

Initially painted white with VMC White (70.951). Based in VMC Flat Green (70.968) mixed 50:50 with VMC Flat Yellow (70.953). Shaded with straight Flat Green, highlighted with incremental additions of Flat Yellow.