Two spiders and a Paladin....

"Do you ever do Custom work?"

I've been asked this a lot lately.
Cost? $0.00. Nada. Zip. Zilch...sort of...

So I LOVE painting miniatures. I started with a Ral Partha Paladin back in the early 1980's, and have been painting constantly, and for some period, professionally (I guess, in terms of steady re-imbursement for such work) at my local Hobby Store near Orangevale California...)
I relish the personalization that this small token of ourselves in this magical world reperesents.
The customization, description, story, history, myth, personality...all those features come to life when paint meets brush and is applied to figures and objects in the tabletop world. But in an effort to capture my love for this hobby...I only work on the barter system...Trade.
For miniatures, custom modeling work, painting, terrain...anything. The bigger the project, the better the trade should be that is offered. Now realistically, we live in a  world of dollars and cents. But this is not a hobby that needs to follow those same parameters.

Here is a fantastic example:
Two spiders and a Paladin....
A good friend of mine asked if I would be interested in doing some custom work.
I took on two Grenadier Giant spiders and a female Paladin. Now while my photos from the time are not presented here as well as I wish they were, what I loved about this project was the story and suggestions behind them.

He asked for two Demonic spiders of Lolth, but wanted some slight variation for use in both woodland and under dark environments.
This immediately brought to my mind the coloring, pattern, texture, and finish of each spider. So it's the research and imagination that goes into a project that truly captures my fascination.
For the Woodland spider I opted for a textured brownish finish with a nice fluorescent green for eye accents and to give the fangs the essence of "dripping poison" while the Underdark arachnid received a more traditional black and purple finish.
Both were completed with symbols of Lolth on the abdomen and hind quarters, but in different shades, that while evil and creepy, also gave them a more believable natural look.
Off white or cream for the Woodland, and traditional red for the Underdark.
The thought is what made it such an enjoyable project.

Seen here in a natural terrain setting with a Drow handler (Wizards of the Coast Drow magic user mini), both the woodland and the Underdark spider seem right at home on the table. Being a fan of elaborately designed tables, a woodland battle was one of my favorites for these two pieces.
For the female Paladin (which was for this friends spouse) he wanted a more traditional Paladin of Bahamut motif. This allowed me the ability to really research not only the coloring and elements of style for the worshipers of the great dragon, but to follow the coloring and features of the individual this was for as well. 
From brunette hair, to the blue and white cloak of the Paladin order, the white leather grip matching that of her overlook and even the trim on her shield. 
Last but not least (and hardly visible in this overhead shot here) was the leg armor, adorned with just a small splash of light brown. This was no courtly Paladin, but a true adventuring Paladin, not afraid to get her feet a bit muddy. 

As payment for this work, I was blessed beyond measure with not only a fantastic DM, but also a full size two-handed crusader broadsword. Speechless....
I am not worthy of such payment, albeit I was happy to accept it as such. But it was the respect and relationship, the delving into something so personal for a fellow gamer that truly was my payment. Thank you for letting me step into what might be your imagination, and inject just a bit of my own, ...if for only a few hours.

I am not a fan of textured bases. While some miniatures such as Reaper uses a textured base that can either be stone or grass, I often prefer the basic black of the standard Wizards of the Coast, Gale Force 9, or even WizKids bases due to the "negativity" of the color value. 
Why such attention to detail? Why so much over-thought? Because some of us play table top role-playing games just to enjoy immersion in another world for a few hours. And some of us RELISH that immersion to the point of it being an ever-present goal to increase the sense of imagination and wonder surrounding every available element of the gaming experience. Terrain, lighting, music, speech, dress, even food and beverage. 

Someday I will hopefully find a gaming group that shares this passion for terrain, scenery, attention to detail, and even costuming...I'm happy to roll dice in chain mail and gauntlets, even if it does drastically affect my penmanship... 

More examples will be posted as soon as time allows, but for any inquiries about custom work, creation, terrain, or even fabricated miniatures, email Cavalier Elrik at
I am afraid Facebook refuses to acknowledge me as a real person, therefore, there is no page as of yet....alas, I am of flesh and blood, and located in Herriman Utah. 

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