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Painting 28mm "Birdmen"

Blue Ardua
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14 June 2005updated
18 December 2003page first published

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Few of you probably remember this, but a number of years ago I was the editor-in-chief for a small publishing company - Bard Games. Our chief product was a fantasy roleplaying game called Talislanta.

The Seven Kingdoms volume of the Cyclopedia Talislanta was edited by TMP's Editor

Well, that company went into bankruptcy long ago, though the game is still available (on its fourth or fifth publisher, I think). The designer was Stephen Michael Sechi, and his intent was to deliberately create a high-fantasy world in the spirit of author Jack Vance's works.

At one time there was a line of miniatures for Talislanta, produced by Lance & Laser. The nice thing about the series is that the figures generally depicted unique races - no elves or dwarves! One of the criticisms at the time, however, was that the models were often based on artwork from the books, which sometimes meant the figures looked "posed" rather than having what gamers considered to be useful poses.

I recently decided it was time to paint up the Ardua from my unpainted lead collection. These are primitive winged humanoids, armed with polearms and scythes. Being unique figures, I figure they can work well for any fantasy gaming, or as aliens for Victorian Science Fiction, and even for exotic "low tech" beings in a sci-fi campaign.

Ardua illustration from The Seven Kingdoms

I started with one pack of each set, and with some luck and persistence, tracked down a few more figures on e-Bay (at bargain prices, thank goodness!). I eventually accumulated 11 of the avians.

I won this figure in an e-Bay auction

And then it hit me - I've never painted "birds" before, and really didn't have any idea how to paint feathers, or how to give them a proper look. (And, as far as I know, the Ardua were only depicted in black-and-white sketches - so there's not even an official color scheme...)

And that's where John Morris of Mystic Spirals came to the rescue! He told me that he was interested in doing a Workbench article for TMP, and I realized that the blend of a master painter (17 years of experience) and some fairly unique subject matter should make a pretty good article!

Mystic Spirals painted this figure for Renegade