Sunday, May 4, 2014

Feathers, Fur, and the Force


Happy Star Wars Day to one and all.  May the fourth be with you.

While today's subject might feel at home on the forest-moon of Endor hunting ewoks (annoying little creatures), it boasts a different pedigree altogether. Classic D&D monsters don't get more classic than the owlbear; a Gary Gygax creation that goes back to the game's begining. Many miniature representations of the beast have been produced over the decades. Otherworld Miniatures' version, sculpted by Paul Muller, stands head and shoulders above the rest.

There's never an owlbear around when you need one.

MM illustration & Muller interpretation

In the past, painting fur has given me more trouble than it probably should. Here I first treated the furry bits as though they were smooth by glazing on some pronounced shadows and highlights. Only then did I highlight the individual hairs. I'm pleased with how it turned out.

Glazing and pin washes laid the foundation for the feathers. Lots (and lots) of very small unblended highlights provided the rest.


The classic owlbear mullet

Reaper's olive skin triad was used on the beak and claws. The tongue and eyes (which I must confess are rather beady and unowlish) wound up as the only splashes of bright color.

Zoological mix-and-match... the reason wizards should never be left unsupervised

Back when this guy was being sculpted, I advocated on the Otherworld forums that he be tailless. Monster Manual illustration notwithstanding, why should a cross between a bear and an owl have a kangaroo's tail? I was wrong. It fits perfectly. Only goes to show the perils of logic when applied to monster design. To atone for my error, I drew attention to the tail by painting its tip white.

And now... more pictures:





At this point you should be convinced that the owlbear is quintessentially awesome. Just in case my powers of persuasion have fallen short, I now present the inestimable Dungeon Bastard. Take it away, Bastard...


18 comments:

  1. That is just stunning, wow! The beak has to be my favourite part with all the detail and character you've crammed in there. I am currently trying to use a version the skin recipe you used on the Hersey cyclops on my ghouls with limited success ay present - another cup of tea may be required!

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    1. Thank you, Michael. In typical Paul Muller fashion, there are a lot of grooves and valleys and subtle undulations going on with that beak. I did my best to accentuate them.

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  2. That is a fantastic paint job and I do really like this version of the miniature as well. I think the reaper one is how I always imagined it from its description in fiction the long feathers under its upper arms where its wings would of been is what does it I think

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    1. Thanks, Simon. I'm not sure why but I never really warmed up to that reaper sculpt.

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  3. Whilst I own and love the Otherworld Owlbear (your pj trounces mine, needless to say), I have to say I prefer THIS fellow from Oathsworn Miniatures.

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    1. I've seen and like the Oathsworn version. I'm waiting to see a painted version or two before adding it to the lead pile though. The OOP Chainmail mini deserves honorable mention too: http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-ZWO4oLUXPdU/UaizwgfpKBI/AAAAAAAABuY/P5YHErJ8aTA/s1600/Owlbear.jpg

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    2. That a new one on me. Thanks!

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  4. The owlbear is, quintessentially, awesome. :D

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    1. I won't argue. Nothing beats the classics.

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  5. Fantastic job on the owlbear- I really love what you did with the feathers. The thought has crossed my mind on more than one occasion that I would enjoy collecting and painting up all of the various owlbears from all of the different manufacturers. I'd guess that there are at least two dozen or so out there- it'd make quite a cool little warband, to be obviously lead by an evil magician (named Mr. Kurtz, perhaps?). You are right though- the Otherworld one is the best, hands down. Anyway, great job and can't wait to see what you do with the adventurers!

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    1. A Joseph Conrad reference, methinks. A first here on the blog.

      Very glad you like the owlbear.

      Blogger has turned away several attempts to follow your own blog recently. No idea why. Keep getting, "We're sorry... We were unable to handle your request. Please try again or return a bit later."

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  6. Wonderful job on this bizarre creature, Finch. The face is outstanding!

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  7. Love that mini and I really dig your paintjob. The base is awesome too, great work Finch. ;)

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  8. Owlbear wants a hug.

    Lovely naturalistic brushwork... well done!

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