Miniature Monday – Companion Animals


This week, we had a great variety of animals to paint, which was quite fun for us to do, and gives us a proper zoo to display here  🙂

(Posting by Antonia)

Since we had the chance to paint many variations of animals (the sculpts allow for different species of felines, e.g.) Dirk & I did some brainstorming first to decide which animals we would represent.

All except one are (more or less) “real” species, but als old D&D GMs we had to include at least one “magical” variant:


Here we have (from left to right):

  • A badger, which looks surprisingly good, although the mini has a very short muzzle unlike a real badger, but the characteristic stripes help to sell the idea
  • A raven, rather simple black with grey drybrush, but ubiquitous in RP settings
  • A (rather large) wild cat, or something similar patterned. Face needs some more work.
  • A pale wolf, similar to the arctic species
  • A celestial bear, which we imagined in blue, silver and white, living in a heavely plane – cloudy white obviously  😀

For the second round some exotic patterns:


  • A dhole (Indian wild dog) – Very similar to a fox, but larger and therefore better suited for a wolf sized mini. These animals are Mowgli’s adversaries in the second of the Djungle Books, at least in the books, I don’t know if they ever made in into one of the films
  • A wolverine – I was surprised to see wolverines aren’t black, how they are often depicted, but rather a variation of browns. You live and learn   😀
  • A Jaguar – painting all the spots was annoying at first but fun later, when I dotted the second layer of yellow in the middle of the dark spots and the result came out quite well. A lot of work but worth it  🙂 For the base I used a piece of wood which the cat is crawling down, I hope I can at least finish this base one day  🙂
  • A “cinnamon” bear – a variation of black bears (or brown bears) where the fur is just a pale brown, all the fur war nice to paint with washes and drybrushing, but it looks still too uniform for me, so perhaps I’ll have another round of painting with it.
  • A kestrel – I like how colorful these birds are, esp. the males. I could  spend much more time with the pattern and all the tiny stripes and dots, but for the painting marathon we had I’m quite happy how it turned out.

Jim managed to paint all five minis too:

Jim Bones Animal Companions IMG_3487.JPG

Very classic choice of colors, I really like the shading of the wolf and the pattern of the hawks wings! Did you put some flocking on the bird’s base? The close-up is a good way to show the details, but unfortunately the bases in the background are obscured a bit.

About the species: I think painting the feline as a cougar is spot on for the cat’s built, and it fits in the variety of Northern American animals.

Did you like one of the minis best? Which was a pain to paint?

After some time off, I’m happy to see one of this site’s long-time-contributor again – Kylie! She sent a picture of her beautifully painted bear:

Kylie Bear Companion Collage.jpg

Great work on all the details – you even got the inside of the mouth and the tiny eyes ! And as always, a wonderful base! I love base-fu, and am a bit sad that we didn’t manage to do proper scenic bases  for all the animals.

Anyway, glad to have you back! And if you have other minis to show here, feel free to send them in, we can update any time  🙂

Arjen painted the wolverine and the bird of prey intending to use them as summoned animals, e.g. for a druid in a game of D&D:

Companions Arjen S. jpg.jpg

I love the subtle color variation on the feathers and fur, great work with the hawk’s wings!  The lighter brown in the wolverines face really shows the details in the tiny face, well donne! Looks really natural  🙂

You wrote you had some lighting problems due to the days becoming shorter, and I understand too well! I also had to take pics only with artificial light, and I definitely missed the sun  😛 If you find a working setup, please tell us, we’ll be thankful  🙂

Overall, what did everyone think of the minis? I like how many different species can be portrayed, perhaps not all of them biologically accurate  😉  but still.


Kylie sent in a WIP of her snow leopard

Snow Leopard Preview.jpg

Snow leopard! What an awesome idea, I wondered the whole time which type of feline could be portrayed,  with a stocky build and a long bushy tail – and now I see not just cougar, but also snow leopard are a perfect fit  🙂

Kylie wrote she is not completely happy with some details which she would do different next time, but to us this cat still looks awesome, great use of secondary spot coloring in the middle, that’s something I forgot about the Jaguar, it always adds a deeper level of realism.

You said you’re still in the process of basing the mini – what did you use for the ice? Some kind of water effect or perhaps just clear acrylic paste? And the the base itself – is that wood? Cardboard? I always like to learn new tricks on basing  😉


This week’s gallery:


Coming Next:

10/24/16 Stone Lurker, classic dungeon monster (Core Set)

A very strange creature for sure. Could be a stone beas, a plant monstert or some exotic alien perhaps?

Want to participate in next week’s post? Email the pictures of your minis until 10/23/16 to

–>  new address:  (It’s a .de domain, in case emails are bouncing)

10/31/16 Kar Drakir, Reptile Warrior (Core Set)

11/07/16 TBA – maybe Baby break

11/14/16 TBA – maybe Baby break

11/21/16 TBA – maybe Baby break

This entry was posted by Antonia & Dirk Vogel.

5 thoughts on “Miniature Monday – Companion Animals

  1. Thank you for the warm welcome and the compliments on my bear. I have sent a WIP of my feline to share.

    I really love seeing all the choice everyone makes when it comes to painting the same miniature. Especially when it comes to the more simple models like animals. There always ends up with so much variety!

    Dirk & Antonia – your badger looks amazing and I I think its really creative to use the wolverine like that. I thought the celestial bear was really interesting and different too! The jaguar has some awesome details and I love how the kestral adds some colour to the miniature. Id love to see them all based up 🙂

    I had been considering getting a second lot of the animal companions and your paint jobs have really convinced me that it would be worth while!

    Jim – I agree with Antonia’s comments, your shading on the wolf is really great. I also love how your bear and hawk turned out. It reminds me of the Kites we get near my parents place (the bird not the toy), here in Australia.

    Arjen – wow has your painting come a long way since you started submitting your shading on both animals looks awesome. Really awesome work.

  2. Kylie: Welcome back! That’s a great mushroom. The bear in the background came out pretty nice, too. JK! Thanks for the kind words, too.

    Antonia & Dirk: That’s quite a menagerie! Kylie’s quite correct; I, too, love all the variety and creativity. For some reason, I think I like the badger best. I am fond of badgers, however, so that may explain it.

    Arjen: Both really well done, especially the hawk.

    I have to apologize for the quality of my pic. I had a few to choose from and now I think I made the wrong choice. It’s too dark and the rear minis are obscured. Live and learn!

    These were really fast paint jobs (2 nights for all 5) so I think some improvements could be made, but I’m still happy with them. I actually spent more time deciding how to paint them than actually painting this time around.

    I went with North American species and ones that I have either encountered or live in my area:

    Grizzly Bear (Ursus arctos horribilis) – The “grizzle” was a little lost after a wash and my pic. I may go back and re-do it a bit. This is probably my favorite of these sculpts. It’s realistic, has good action, is stable enough for the table and looks like an animal, not an evil monster.

    Mountain Lion (Puma concolor) – I just had to go with a cougar. My paint doesn’t do the species justice. The left eye area is a little wonky.

    Gray Wolf (Canis lupus) – I used the same color scheme as my recent warg. Good mini with no major flaws.

    Wolverine (Gulo gulo) – The stripe fades out in the pic, but looks better in real life. This ended up being my favorite mini once painted. A very interesting little animal that I never realized was almost identical across it’s entire range.

    Swainson’s Hawk (Buteo swainsoni) – So many hawks to choose from! Definitely my least favorite sculpt due to the lack of detail (where are the feet?!) but fun to paint. You could really go crazy with feather detail if you were so inclined. The base is flocked and is actually sitting on a little bench/stool just to get it above the level of the wolf’s back.

  3. Thanks for sharing my snow leopard and for the compliments.

    As for the base it is made the same way I do most bases – cork & 2 types of sand (a super fine sand and a coarse sand that is orange (its for flower arrangements & fish tanks). There is a layer of PVA glue over the sand to seal it which is what you see there – the fine sand & glue give it an almost ice like appearance.
    After this I painted it like stone and then applied “snow” to it – to make the snow I mix bi-carb and pva until its about the same consistency as tooth paste. My plan is to try something new and coat the snow with gloss varnish to make it appear wet. I havent tried that before.

    I am also considering doing some test batches where I skip the pva completely and make the snow up of modge podge (the varnish I use for water on bases) and bi carb. But I have already done the snow at this point so I wont be able to use that idea on this model.

    A note about Bi-carb for snow – it works great just dont try using baking powder in its place. Baking powder has an extra ingredient and for some reason really ruins the effect. That has been my experience.

  4. I love that snow leopard. The eyes, the bit of yellow-brown on the cheeks,,,all marvelously done. Welcome back, Kylie.

    From the Dirk-Antonia team I like the Indian wild dog: very original choice and very versatile for D&D and the like. Nice blending on the head.

    Jim, I like how you brought out the fur texture in your wolverine better than mine. Did you use washes, or rather thin paint?

    • It’s really just dark brown with a 2 step highlight and a brown wash overall. The stripe was then added by drybrushing a much lighter brown and another 2 steps of highlight/drybrush. The mask was done with straight black, essentially drybrushed heavily to get the dark face.

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