The Large Earth Elemental from Reaper is an ideal miniature for their BONES plastic. It’s a solid chunk of a mini free of long, thin parts that will have a tendency to lose their shape, nor are there any tiny details that will lose some of their crispness in plastic compared to metal or resin. This mini started out in Reaper’s now-defunct P-65 line, a line of metal minis that contained a higher lead content than their regular minis. The P-65 alloy was cheaper to produce than their normal metal minis (lead being cheaper than tin), but even so, the metal version of this mini retailed for around $40; the BONES version retails for $7.99.
I was a little too anxious to paint this mini and I started brushing on primer before I remembered that I wanted to do a WIP for this mini – so just imagine that the black parts shown in the photos are still white. Many of the newer BONES are created as 3D models using digital sculpting software, and as such, have extremely precise joints with little or no gaps. As I mentioned above, the Large Earth Elemental was converted from a metal original, and has a few gaps that needed to be filled with greenstuff. While I was at it, I also used greenstuff to cover up a small dragon skeleton along the right shoulder of this mini; it’s a cool detail, but not one I wanted to use in this case. The neck also originally extended nearly half an inch away from the body. This looked kind of goofy to me, so I cut off a length of the neck before attaching the head. BONES minis are significantly easier to chop up and convert than metal.
The base is from Secret Weapon Miniatures. If you’re not familiar with them, I strongly suggest that you check them out. They have and wide selection of bases, washes, and other things that can help kick your miniature painting up a notch. This particular base is from their “Sack of Crap” that they occasionally offer: a random grab-bag assortment of reject pieces sold at a heavily discounted price. The rejects typically have imperfections such as holes. If you’re deep enough into the hobby to be buying stuff from SWM, or reading this blog for that matter, then you most likely already have the necessary skills do make the simple repairs to these cast-offs. In this case, I just wanted a base that was big enough to fit this mini on and the theme of this particular base didn’t fit with what I’m planning, so I covered up most of the detail with a layer of spackle/filler.
A good practice when painting any BONES miniatures is to prime them with one of Reaper’s brush-on liners. I don’t know what the chemical properties are that explain this, but the liners have excellent adhesion and resist rubbing off. You can even paint a different primer color on top of the liner, for example, if you want to start with a white mini. I went with Brown Liner for this mini. I also added some sand to the base for additional texture before priming.
After priming, it was a simple process of successively dry-brushing five different colors. I’ve been working on a terrain project for the last several months, and I decided I wanted to try painting the elemental to match. So, I did something that I haven’t done in about 10 years and used craft paints to paint this miniature. All of the colors were applied over the entire miniature, except for the last one which was applied only to the base and to a few areas on the mini itself.
List of color used:
- Reaper Brown Liner
- Folk Art Burnt Umber
- Folk Art Antique Maroon
- Folk Art Nutmeg
- Folk Art Honeycomb
- Folk Art Linen
The final steps were going back and cleaning up the edge of the base by painting it black, painting the eyes green, and liberally adding static grass tufts to the top of this mini (and a few to the base) to make it look like this elemental rose from the earth when it was summoned to this plane. These static grass tufts are awesome and are strongly recommended for adding detail to your terrain and bases of your minis. There are a few different companies that produce them (and at least one that I’m pretty sure repackages another company’s into smaller batches targeted towards miniature painters) and there are many colors available.
Not my best work, but effective and ready for the game table. It proved to be a fun diversion after not having painted anything in over seven months(!), even if I basically went from working on terrain to working on a terrain-like miniature, LOL. Hopefully I’ll get a chance to use him in a game soon, maybe in a Song of Blades and Heroes warband.