Miniature Monday: Death Dog
It’s miniature tuesday again, since Dirk & I have been working at a “christmas art fair” the whole weekend plus monday, but that doesn’t stop us from checking who of our readers let the dog(s) out, and which kind 😉 and it’s some really cool variation this time!
(posting by Antonia)
The quality of the “death dog” miniature is quite nice overall. Between the two heads my piece had a small gap, and a bit of flashing on the left paw, but that was easy to fix (I used liquid greenstuff to fill the gap in the neck and even add some rough texture as mock-up fur). The detail was good and I liked a little thing about the base: The relief-printed info on the bottom of the mini is in a slight recess so glueing it on a larger round base was no problem (before, you’d often have to cut or scratch off the elevated text or the surface would be too uneven to get glued properly). Maybe that’s a feature of all the Bones III minis? I’ll keep an eye on that.
Dirk chose a “realistic but imagined” fur color and made his dog a magical beast:
Dirk said: “I wanted some kind of fur pattern instead of a monochromatic wolf, but as this beast is an aberration, I didn’t want to copy a real pattern. So I chose colors that look real, but went freestyle with the distribution of stripes – actually I hadn’t a plan for this but just painted on the run, even the two heads got different stripes.”
I went all ghostly this week:
When I first thought about painting this mini, I wanted to do an infernal version. Like half of my minis seem to be infernal versions of something *lol* (I probably just like the reds and fiery yellows). But after priming the mini with Reapers “Red Liner” paint I realized that I wanted to go another route with this, offered the red dog to Dirk and tried something blue with the other one instead. I got inspired by the idea of a ghost dog, a bit like the “Hound of Baskerville” with dark fur, but a ghostly appearance. For this I gave the mini a light blue base coat and carefully drybrushed black on that, to make it look like the light was coming from within.
To make the effect work better, I also added a larger base, a bit swampy maybe, just to have a surface the blue light would shine on. I’m quite happy how the whole thing turned out!
Arjen sent us an demonic (or infernal? 😉 ) dog in dark reds:
As he wrote, he didn’t spend much time on this and went for the overall effect rather than details. I like the color combinations of red, pale pink and the orange eyes, it seems quite unusual. Did you get your inspiration from an existing critter or monster, or did you make that one up?
Jim got his inspiration from a classic:
He used D&D’s Fiend Folio as a reference which shows the Death Dog as a large, black, two-headed canine, which works quite well! Nice how you managed to pic out the eyes and fangs so cleanly, with my design I could fortunately avoid too much fine brushwork (beside the busy weekend we also had a sleep deprived one because our little son didn’t slept well and kept us awake most of the nights).
Since you painted it like directly from a D&D adventure, do you plan to use the mini somewhere, e.g. for an RPG campaign?
Michael used this mini for a very personal piece:
Since I found his inspiration for the mini quite touching, I’ll cite from Michael’s email (I hope that’s okay for you, just tell me if you feel otherwise and I’ll change that):
“So, this mini ended up being really special to me. It’s not a death dog, but a celebration-of-life dog showing two boys who are dear to me, the brothers Sunnie and Shadow. These lab-chow mixes were members of my wife’s family when I met her – they kind of were my nephews’ dogs (it was a weird situation), but they also ended up being kind of just my nephews. Unfortunately, Sunnie passed away in September at the age of 13, but old man Shadow is still hobbling around begging for treats. It is my plan to make a terrain display of their yard to put this mini in, featuring a large cypress tree model I bought online, but I didn’t get very far with that yet.”
I thinks that’s a really wonderful idea, Michael! I never thought of using minis as commemoration pieces, but why not? It’s even more “real” than photos etc. Great work with your changes on the mini too, like heating the ears to make them floppy and adding a tongue with greenstuff. So you in fact painted two minis in one, the blonde and the dark one (and you are sure that this concept isn’t from a book or movie? It really could be!). Anyway, very touching story, please give Shadow a pat and maybe a treat in my name next time you meet him!
This week’s gallery:
12/18/17 Bones II Friar Stone, Monk (B2 Core)
01/01/18 New Year’s Break (Really! But you can prepare for the next minis while sobering up, of course 😀 )
01/08/2018 Bones III “Dashing through the snow”: Yetis (Shaman, Warrior, Shredder, as many as you like!) (B3 Core)
01/22/2018 Bones III Aeris, Female Elf Ranger (B3 Core)
02/05/2018 Bones II Infernal attack: Fly demon and/or Blood Demon (B2 Core)
02/19/2018 Bones III Giant Cobra (B3 Core)
03/05/2018 Bones III Lendil Blackroot, Wizard (B3 Core)
03/19/2018 Bones II TBA
04/02/2018 Bones III TBA
04/16/2018 Bones III TBA
Well I had no idea what a death dog was, so I looked up “two-headed dog” and found out the original is Orthus, brother of Cerberus, so a kind of hell-hound. Red was an obvious choice, but because I wanted the eyes to pop out it had to be dark red rather than bright. In the end, after highlighting, it wasn’t really dark anymore except round the eyes-these minis take on a life of their own. Must do something about that ugly seam, but lack of time….
I like Dirk’s version, as it doesn’t look like a doggie anymore, it gets an alien, more boarlike quality and it looks like there is lightning energy pulsing through its spine.
Antonia- the lack of detail on the head would be fine for a ghost, but your dog with its black shell seems to me too solid to be a ghost. If it is glowing with inner energy, maybe add white light pouring out of its eyes? or a very bright blue version of Jim’s eyes? I am just thinking out loud. I like the semi-ghost look, as if it is crossing dimensions, and the moor base with the light shining down on it.
Jim- those eyes are amazing. Is it white with a rim of dilute red around it or how did you do it?
Michael- there is a lot of dept to the fur of your light colored dog. Did you do something special (washes)?
Release the hounds!
Dirk: I love that coat pattern. It reminds me of some pleistocene dire creature. Very effective!
Antonia: Ghostly can be pretty difficult to achieve. The moor base works well and adds to the effect.
Arjen: Nice effect. To me, it definitely looks “infernal”, as if it were very hot.
Michael: What a great idea! I like both the tribute aspect and just the general idea of two diefferent sides on one animal. I actually toyed with the idea of painting one head like my current dog (a black & white Border Collie) and my last dog (also a B&W BC). I’m glad you followed through and it came out beautifully.
Looking at mine, now all I can see is that big seam! I did a little paint touch up already, maybe I’ll do some fill work as well. The eyes are 3 colors: Start with red for the whole eye, then a slighly smaller area in pink and finally a bit of white just in the center. I don’t remeber who pointed this technique out to me but it really works well and is fairly easy for glowing eyes. The main thing is to make the center of the eye the lightest color on the mini and it ends up looking like it’s glowing. You could go one step futher and add a little OSL, but I didn’t bother this time. To answer Toni’s question: I didn’t have any specific plan to use the mini, but I think I will now!
These all look great!
I can see Dirk’s as being very versatile. Everyone here mentioned magical, alien, or dire in nature. I like the color combination of the tan coat (rather than something too dark) with the bluish striping.
Antonia, I can definitely see Hound of the Baskervilles in that. The base looks great.
Arjen, that mini reminds me of a particular MTG card, the name of which escapes me. The dark red on the underbelly really gives it a sense of infernal heat, especially because it’s the opposite of a normal countershading pattern.
Jim’s model has a classic look. The highlight color on the black fur is really nicely done, and of course, great eyes. Thanks for sharing the technique!
Thanks for the kudos. To answer the questions about mine – it wouldn’t surprise me if this concept has shown up elsewhere, especially with two siblings or twins sharing one body, but I don’t know any specific examples. Arjen, I did apply Soft Tone wash (by Army Painter) a few times on Sunnie’s side. I had two base colors (a golden yellow and the pale blonde) that I applied, washed it, highlighted, and washed again in the areas that were darkest. I had a bunch of photos for reference to make sure I came close to matching his coat pattern, which we’ve often said was like a well-made pancake.