Boy, are these guys intimidating miniatures to paint! One of the primary problems is the complete, and utter lack of reference images. The monster card (shown below) is the ONLY image available, and obviously it shows next to nothing useful.
So, as the card states, there are four elements associated with the creatures: fire, earth, water, and air. Having looked high and low for reference art, I noticed that there is much variation in how these elements are divided and portrayed by other painters. That is a result of the second major issue with the figures, which is some confusing sculpting. It can be very unclear what the different parts of the figure are meant to represent, especially the back of the torso. I chose to interpret this as earth, mainly because I felt the lower arms, chest, and abdomen were clearly rocky texture. The back appears much more ambiguous, possibly being flowing water or fire. Looking at the way the elements are listed on the card, however, I felt it made more sense to transition more clearly from element to the next following the specified order.
As I discussed in regards to the Cave Spiders, each monster group in Descent has minion and master stats. Normally, I would try to incorporate red into the color scheme for the master, but unfortunately fire is… well red. So I chose to go a slightly different direction, making the master appear “hotter” by concentrating on more yellow and LESS red than the minion. Hopefully that, along with the red rim for the base will make it clear who is boss here!
As for the base, I waffled several times on what to do. Out of all the monsters in the core game, expansions, and Hero and Monster packs, the Elemental is one of only three monsters with the cold attribute. I felt that I needed to reference that in the base, but was conflicted because I thought some fire on the base would work much better in balancing the color distribution on the mini. I considered doing fire on ice, but that just didn’t sound pleasing. So I settled for attempting an ice floe. Not 100% satisfied with the result, but I think it evokes ice well enough and also appears distinct enough from the water element to work out well. Overall, I’m very satisfied with this paint job, but look forward to moving on to something less eclectic.
Based in Anita’s Acrylic (AA) Nautical Blue (11122), shaded with 50:50 mix of Nautical Blue and AA Azure (11179). Highlights with AA Slate Blue (12006), then 50:50 mix of Slate Blue and Vallejo Game Color (VGC) Dead White (72.001), final point highlights with Dead White.
Based in Vallejo Model Color (VMC) Neutral Grey (70.992). Highlighted with VMC Sky Grey (70.989), then 50:50 mix of Sky Grey and Dead White, final point highlights with Dead White.
Based in VMC German Camo Black Brown (70.822), first highlight with 50:50 German Camo Black Brown and VMC Neutral Grey (70.992). Second highlight with previous mix lightened with some VMC Sky Grey (70.989).
Based in VGC Dead White (72.001), layered first with VMC Flat Yellow (70.953) then mixes of Flat Yellow and VGC Hot Orange (72.009) working up to straight Hot Orange. Larger flames got a point highlight of VGC Bloody Red (72.010) topped off with small accents of VMC Smoke (70.939). (The “Hotter” master monster was done in the same way, but using more of the lighter colors and omitting the Bloody Red completely.)
Base coated the entire base in VGC Steel Grey (72.102). Used a total of five layers mixing in VGC Glacier Blue (72.095) and VMC White (70.951). Each layer was done with overlaid crosshatching, often alternating directions of the hatches in different layers.