Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Homemade Paper Miniatures Photos

Here are some of my homemade gaming pieces. I was rather pleased with how they came out and I had a lot of fun making them. 

The first three were created specifically for the dungeon I have uploaded here called the Undercity of Kravekos.

They are Suul the Lizard Chieftain, Charon the Boatman, and the Imp in the study. I liked the concept of the gaming pieces depicted in Mazes and Monsters and gave it a shot using old cereal boxes cardboard and acrylic paints. Obviously they have a much larger scale than true miniatures but I felt they would be evocative when I run the Undercity adventure, particularly because I plan to use oil lamps for light in some of my gaming sessions. They are coated with a good lacquer so they will be bright but cast some neat shadows. They might look a bit garish in plain light but I think by oil lamp they will look most impressive, especially at first sight.

Actually, I thought how fun it would be to run a game where players showed up eager to see what and who would appear on the table using pieces like this!

For Suul's fellow Lizard Man warriors I intend to use some very  large and unusually large chess pieces that I have on hand--they are perfect scale for this type of game. I felt that if one were using these kind of detailed and painted game pieces, only one striking piece is truly needed to fuel the players' imagination. Suul will set the mood and allow the players to envision what his fellow warriors look like, even if they are only represented by chess pieces.

Suul took about eight hours, but now that I have a technique I could probably make these faster. Charon took only three hours, while the Imp took about two. I sketched my outline and general features on the brown side of the cereal box material, then free hand painted them. I went back with a very sharp pointed Sharpie marker and accentuated the details. The Imp I simply scanned an image of from the AD&D Monster manual, glued it to cardboard, and cut it out and painted it front and back. I ran the edge of the brush over the outside edges of the miniatures and then lacquered them.

If you look closely I used a strip of cardboard I glued on after the fact to the lower parts of the miniatures to fasten them to their bases, which I then painted to look like their feet and legs. 

If you decide to make player characters like this, I recommend having them wear cloaks as the back parts would be much easier to paint--you can simply take an image off the Internet, paste into Word, and shrink or grow it to the scale you wish and use this for your pattern. In fact, I have made several PC miniatures to this scale by simply printing such images up in color, pasting them to poster board, and cutting them out. You can then fill in the back as well as your artistic abilities allow or, if you have no desire to do this, you could write the character name, Armor Class, Hit points, etc.

Click any of the photos for a larger view.

Suul the Lizard Man Chieftain

Suul, Rear View

The other photos here show my collection of homemade Tekumel miniatures. I DM'd an Empire of the Petal Throne campaign for several months and I just didn't want to use Western European style D&D minis. This was about all I had on hand and I didn't have the cash to go out and buy new lead. So instead, I printed up page after page with very small images of Tekumel artwork I collected from the Internet, some being original art from the EPT rulebook. I soaked the sheets in tea and coffee to give them a parchment type color and when they were dry, mounted them to poster board  and cut them out in little squares. We mostly used them laid out flat but then I cut up some corks and used them for the bases.

I am sort of partial to them, homely as they are. Using this method, I now have a few hundred pieces and if I wanted I have enough that I could run war games with them. I bought a nifty little plastic tray with dividers at a  department store and they stow safely and neatly away to be transported to and from games along with the mat I was using at the time. Total investment for the paper, ink, glue, poster board and tray? Probably about $20. So while they surely cannot compare to some of the excellent Tekumel gaming pieces being crafted these days, for $20 I have all the PC's, monsters, and NPC's I would ever need to simulate combat during a game of EPT.

Anyway, just thought I'd share these ideas in case anyone can use them to build a useful array of miniatures without spending a small fortune.
A party of Tsolyani with Shen and Pe Choi Comrades prepares to engage the Old Ones!

A  very blurry Shen warrior and a Kayi. 

The denizens of the World of the Petal Throne!

Light, easy to stow and carry, and very protected.


  1. Wow---those are awesome! I especially love the imp as straight from the MM.

    Also, it would never have occurred to me to make the Tekumel figures that way--using actual images from the books. Excellent!

  2. Thanks Kesher. I actually envisioned painting figures for all of the MM creatures. I have a friend in Idaho who is a wood artist and he is able to create any silhouettes I send him, I'm thinking about doing a set in wood. But he wants 10$ an hour for the job so I'm kind of sitting on it.