The 12 Days of Reaper 2021

The 12 Days of Reaper is an annual tradition on the Reaper Miniatures webstore. For 2021 it runs from December 1st to December 12th. I painted nine of the 12 figures available this year, and I thought it might be helpful if I shared larger pictures and additional views, as well as some painting tips and colour recipes related to the figures.

12Days 2021

During the 12 Days promotion period you will receive a free copy of your choice of one of the 12 figures for each $40 you spend on the site. (I believe this also applies to the UK, I’m not clear if it’s available from the Australia hub.) This stacks with the other promotions from the webstore. Each daily order over $60 also receives a Christmas Sampler that includes a Gingerbread Knight and two holiday paint colours – Holly Berry and Ginger Cookie, while supplies last. All that is on top of the every day promotion of receiving a copy of the free Bones USA figure of the month for every $40 spent on the site. 

The 12 Days figures are part of a collection of holiday figures that is only made available during the holiday season. The figures cannot be purchased singly from December 1st to 12th. Any stock remaining after December 12th will be put up for individual sale. These are metal figures. All of them are single piece figures. If you’re not familiar with metal figures, the main difference is you will need to apply primer to them prior to painting. Reaper sells brush on primers in white, grey, and black, or you can use spray primer if the weather permits in your area.

Now on to the pictures! I have included front and back pictures for each figure below, with links to where you can see additional view angles. I have included additional angles in the Patron PDF version of this article.

The Mistletoe Goblin debuted last year. I had a ton of fun painting him! I wrote an article that includes my recipe for the reds and some tips for painting this challenging colour. It also discusses the idea of creating a focus point on your miniature, and the value of using reference photos to paint objects because we usually don’t remember what things look like as well as we think we do!

Xgob frontSculpted by the talented Julie Guthrie.

You can see more photos of this cute little guy in this article.

Xgob back

It took some effort to paint the white dress on the regal Winter Elf, but I’m pretty happy with how she came out. You can see some WIP pictures of the figure, which I started by using the greyscale value mapping technique I discussed in a recent article.

Welf front fullSculpted by Bob Ridolfi.

Welf back full

Christmas Hugs is the second miniature that debuted in 2020. I am in love with the sweetness and joy Julie captured in the dragon’s expression and posture. I wrote an article about painting this figure that includes the gold non-metallic metal recipe I used on the dragon, as well as some general tips and discussion of the challenges in painting NMM. You can also see additional angles of the figure in that article, and a detailed guide to what each of the geeky gifts on the base is if you’re having trouble seeing them while you paint yours.

Xdrag frontSculpted by the dragon mistress herself, Julie Guthrie.

Xdrag back

Speaking of using reference when we paint miniatures, I had a very specific model for this naughty cat dragon – my own orange tabby cat. Julie perfectly captured the sort of ‘what, I’m not doing anything wrong/weird’ facial expression he makes all the time. (Especially when he is doing something weird/wrong.) You can see additional angles in this Facebook gallery. If you want to paint your copy as a cat with a patterned coat, I have an article outlining four different methods for painting fur patterns.

Xm cat bk face fullSculpted by Julie Guthrie, who loves both cats and dragons.

Xm cat bk back full

IMG 6116My furry muse, Korben Dallas.

This little cutie can’t wait to break into their stocking. Or are they sneaking something out of someone else’s stocking? The article I wrote about painting this figure includes additional angles and WIP pictures. I used greyscale value mapping and colour sketching to paint the Stocking Dragon. I have some tips for painting green in another article.

Xdrag face2 fullSculpted by Julie Guthrie.

Xdrag back full

Is anyone surprised to find that this other cat dragon is also naughty and entranced by Christmas decorations? Julie did such a great job capturing the wonder and delight on a cat’s face when spotting something shiny to play with. In my article about this figure you can see lots of additional views, including what it looks like from above. I used the greyscale value mapping technique with this figure as well.

Catdragon left fullSculpted by Julie Guthrie, wise in the ways of both cats and dragons.

Catdragon right full

Who doesn’t love a hoard of gifts? Or the little dragon that is protecting it? This is the first holiday dragon Julie sculpted, in 2015. My article includes several different view angles in addition to the ones shown below. I also share tips on how I painted the wrapping paper and the base. I have an additional article with information on how to practice painting freehand.

Xmas dragon face fullSculpted by Julie Guthrie.

Xmas dragon wing full

I don’t have an article about painting the befuddled Tinker the Gnome, but you can see additional view angles of him in this Facebook gallery.

Xgnome front fullSculpted by Bobby Jackson.

Xgnome back1 full

Mylk and Cookies is a charming fantasy twist on holiday staples. This baby yeti is just so delighted to have all these yummy Christmas treats! I once again used greyscale value mapping with primer on this figure. The article on Mylk includes some WIP pictures, and also some tips for how I added icing texture to the cookies. I demonstrated the materials I used to add icing to the cookies on a recent Beyond the Kit stream.

Yeti front fullSculpted by Julie Guthrie.

Yeti back full

Whew, that’s a lot of holiday fun! Whether your Winter festivities include Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Christmas, Kwanzaa, Yule, or just the opportunity for some great sales, I hope you find something to celebrate this season. I wish you much joy, health, and fun painting miniatures!

Gingerbread Knight

Patreon supporters receive a PDF copy with high res photos and better formatting!

One of my holiday traditions has become painting a festive miniature for Reaper, and this year is no exception! This year’s new miniature is the Gingerbread Knight.

Gb front

This fierce and scrumptious fellow was sculpted by Christine Van Patten. The Gingerbread Knight is part of Reaper Miniature’s Christmas Sampler for the month of December. The Sampler is a gift with purchases over $60 on the Reaper website starting December 1st, and available while supplies last. It also includes two special edition holiday colours – Ginger Cookie and Holly Berry. The Sampler is available with orders from the UK Reaper hub, and I believe also the Australia hub. (I am awaiting confirmation on that.) The Gingerbread Knight will go up for individual sale in early 2022.

The Gingerbread Knight is made in Bones USA plastic. The copy I painted is a metal master since the Bones USA moulds had not yet been completed. The Knight comes in two pieces – the main body and the arm holding the candy cane. My metal copy glued together quite easily, and that should be even easier to do with the Bones USA version. All you’ll need is a little superglue. The base he is standing on is smaller than in my version. I extended the base on my copy as I have something in mind to try that I haven’t had time to get to yet.

The 12 Days of Reaper also begins on December 1st. I painted nine of the 12 figures available this year. I will be putting up another post on or around December 1st to show larger pictures and different view angles of the figures I painted. That post will also include some information on how I painted some of the figures and some WIP pictures.

Gb left

I wanted a super spicy gingerbread cookie look for the Gingerbread Knight, so I ended up not using Ginger Cookie in my paint scheme. However, I have that paint for other past projects, and it is a great colour that is popular with a lot of people. I did use Holly Berry as one of the paints on the red candy portions of this figure. Reaper has a set of holiday colours available this year starting December 1st, and I used a few of those on this project as well – Frosty Blue and Christmas Wreath. This year’s holiday paints are available as a set of 12, or four sets of triads, and includes three colours that are brand new this year – Graham Cracker, Chocolate Bar, and Toasted Marshmallow.

Gb right

Recently I’ve been doing some experimenting with the effect of different types of brushes can have on the results when using the drybrushing technique. I performed these experiments on my Twitch stream show, Beyond the Kit, which airs Monday from 3pm to 5pm EST on the Reaper Twitch channel. Reaper archives all of their streams onto their YouTube channel. Archive uploads are a bit behind, so I’m not currently able to provide links to the drybrushing experiments videos, but I will be adding articles to accompany them once they are available so people can view photographs as well as the videos to assess the different kinds of brushes.

Casey chae 3DrCZblTGoQ unsplashGingerbread cookie photo by Casey Chae on Unsplash.

One of the styles of brush I tried is new to me. It’s an adaptation of dome shaped super soft bristle brushes used for makeup. It can be used in a traditional drybrushing dusting motion, or with more of a stipple motion that can create a speckled appearance. I believe Artis Opus first brought these brushes to the miniature painter market. Since I was not sure that I would use the brush much beyond the experiment videos, I opted to start by trying the brush set sold by The Army Painter

When I studied several pictures of different kinds of gingerbread cookies, I noticed that most had a bit of a speckled look to them due to the spices included in the dough. Painting the cookie surface to look like spicy gingerbread cookie seemed like a great opportunity to try these brushes out on a real project! I used the dome brushes to build up the main areas of highlights on the Gingerbread Knight. I used a fine pointed Kolinsky sable brush to refine the transitions between the different values of highlights and add more precisely-placed stipples. 

Gb face

I’m a fan of the Shrek movies, so my initial thought was to paint the Gingerbread Knight’s buttons as gumdrops. Apart from bright colours, the most notable visual features of gumdrops are that they are fairly matte and dotted with little crystals of sugar, which makes them speckled looking. I had already painted a matte speckled texture on the gingerbread cookie. To paint the gumdrops in the same way would reduce the level contrast between the cookie body and the candy decorations. (If I were to paint another version of this with gumdrop buttons, I might even experiment with coating the buttons in fine pumice paste to have literal texture as well as painted.)

Dhester morguePhoto by dhester on Morguefile.

Instead I painted the buttons as candy coated chocolates. Kind of like M&Ms, but the Canadian/UK version of the candy that I’m familiar with from my youth – Smarties. (Smarties in the United States are a completely different kind of candy.) Smarties are not quite as shiny as M&Ms. I painted the eyes as a similar type of candy, but with a little spark of white to set them apart as the eyes of an animate creature.

Gb back

I decided to paint the Gingerbread Warrior in the colour of some of the darkest cookies I saw in my reference photos, in order to create maximum contrast with the icing piping and other decorations. I will include complete information on all the paint colours I used at the end of this article. The Patreon PDF copy of this article includes a dozen more WIP pictures.

I want to share a couple of WIP pictures that show how working on contrast can be a constant challenge no matter how long you’ve been painting and and working to push your contrast! There will always be times when you need to step back, take a second look, and reflect on whether you have as much as you need. The first picture below shows where I was at the end of my first session of painting the cookie body. I was trying to depict the light as coming from the side with the candy shoulder guard, and I thought I had painted plenty of contrast by the end of my painting session.

IMG 2142

When I took a second look at the figure after a night’s sleep, I realized that it would benefit from more contrast. The shadow level was pretty good, though I thought I also needed to tweak the details of where the shadows were placed. But the highlights definitely didn’t go up high enough in value for a miniature figure to view well in thumbnail pictures or at a distance. I did a little more work and revised the cookie area as seen in the picture below. I increased the lightest value of highlights used, but also increased the area of highlights on the face to help it stand out more.

IMG 2144

The paint colours I used on each area of the figure are listed below.

IMG 2146Gingerbread body colours.

IMG 2172Icing colours.

IMG 2173Green candy button colours. Christmas Wreath is one of the Reaper holiday colours this year.

IMG 2174Blue candy eyes colours. Frosty Blue is one of the Reaper holiday colours this year.

IMG 2179Colours for the white portions of the candy cane and mint candy shoulder pad.

IMG 2180Colours for the red portions of the candy cane and mint candy shoulder pad. Holly Berry comes in the Holiday Sampler with the Gingerbread Knight. Lotus Orange was available to Bones 5 Kickstarter supporters, and will be made available to retail sales at some point in the future. 9321 Red Neon Glow is currently available and would work in a similar way. You can see what that colour looks highlighting some reds I’ve painted previously.

Recently we celebrated the holiday of Thanksgiving in the United States. I want to take this opportunity to say how thankful I am for all of you who read the articles I write for this site. I appreciate those of you who take extra time to comment and share your thoughts and experiences for the benefit of others. I am especially thankful for the generous members of my Patreon. Their support allows me to take time away from paid work to work on information for this site, which is freely available to all. As a thank you to them I provide occasional exclusive or bonus content, like the extra photos they will receive with their copy of this article. Patrons at the PDF level receive PDF versions of each article that have larger high resolution photos and improved formatting. If you are a regular reader, please consider joining my Patreon to help support my work.

Cat Dragon – 12 Days of Reaper

Whew, getting close to the end of the 12 Days of Reaper! The miniature for December 15 is the last of this year’s offerings that I painted, and then tomorrow is the last day with one of the new figures for the year. Today’s figure is this adorable cat dragon. I think Julie Guthrie did a remarkable job capturing the mischief and wonder that is a cat (dragon) encountering a decorated Christmas tree. I know I’ve seen that expression many times – and dealt with the aftermath!

Cat Dragon left

Cat dragon right

Cat Dragon face

Cat Dragon back

Cat Dragon from above

As with the other holiday figures I painted in 2019, I used a grayscale underpainting with primer to paint this little guy, but I painted him first and didn’t take great pictures. I do have one camera phone picture of his grayscale stage.

Catdragon grisaille

Reaper Miniatures is running their 12 Days of Reaper promotion from December 5  through December 16. During the promo, one special holiday figure of the day is included free with every purchase of $40 or more from the online Reaper site. And for the first time ever, they are making the 12 Days figures available for purchase separately, for two weeks following December 16.

The 12 Days promotion stacks with the promotion to include a free Dungeon Dweller of the month with each $40+ worth of order. So for every $40+ you order at this time, you’ll receive two free metal figures. And if your order totals more than $65, you also receive a Christmas Sampler package that includes Bones miniatures, candy, a postcard with cool art by Talin, and a naughty or nice surprise. There are a fixed amount of Samplers, so those are while supplies last.

Here is the schedule of figures for each of the 12 Days of Reaper. 

12 days promo

The Dungeon Dweller of the month is Caerindra Thistlemoor. I posted pictures and information about her last week, including some work-in-progress shots with lighting reference pictures and some information on how I rough in the lights and shadows. You can read that here: https://birdwithabrush.com/2018/12/03/caerindra-thistlemoor-roughing-in-lights-and-shadows/

You’ll find the Reaper website here: http://www.reapermini.com/

Winter Elf – 12 Days of Reaper

Before I highlight the next of the 12 Days of Reaper miniature that I painted (and my grayscale priming example of it), I’d like to talk about a limited time opportunity to own a very special miniature for a very good cause.

Jason Wiebe is one of the sculpting greats of the miniature industry. He does a lot of work for Reaper Miniatures, but has also worked for Dark Sword and many other companies. He’s suffered some health problems recently that required several major surgeries. He’s on the mend, but now his wallet is hurting badly. Bobby Jackson, another sculpting legend, has created a wonderful dwarf miniature that bears more than a passing resemblance to Jason. Reaper has cast 1000 of these in metal, and Trenchworx is working on some in resin. The metal copies are up for sale right now, and Reaper will put the resins up for sale next week. 100% of all monies received from this miniature will be sent to Jason Wiebe. Hop on over to the Reaper website if you’d like to get a copy for yourself and help out a sculptor in need.

http://www.reapermini.com

Johun rumblegutsJohun Rumbleguts is a proud dwarf, though some of his fellows find him odd for preferring cider over ale.

And now on to the 12 Days of Reaper figure for December 14. This figure premiered as a 12 Days figure last year. Bob Ridolfi did a lovely job with this one. I really enjoyed painting her with a bit of a twist on the traditional colour scheme by making white and blue the dominant colours, and the red, green, and gold accent colours. I won’t lie, the white is a little frustrating to paint at times because it takes quite a while to get smooth shadows on such a pale colour, but I loved the way it looked so much I didn’t mind. I have a small display wall shelf unit in my home, and she just glowed in there even though the light isn’t the greatest in that room.

Winter Elf front

Winter Elf back

This is another figure that I started off with grayscale primer. I used mixes of white, black, and gray brush-on primer to block in my areas of shadows, highlights, and midtones. And as usual, my focus is figuring out the big picture for those things. I’m not worried about blending, and I’m not worried about details. I think the following pictures are a pretty good example of how little I’m worried about those things. I’ve put in the highlights and shadows on her gold bodice piece, but completely ignored the stitching. The top half of her face is bright highlight colour, with no regard for smaller elements like the eyes and eyebrows or her forehead jewelry. And you can see just what I mean about rough blending on the back view.

Winter Elf grayscale back

Winter Elf grayscale front

Here are a couple of additional views of the Winter Elf.

Welf left full

Welf face full

Reaper Miniatures is running their 12 Days of Reaper promotion from December 5  through December 16. During the promo, one special holiday figure of the day is included free with every purchase of $40 or more from the online Reaper site. And for the first time ever, they are making the 12 Days figures available for purchase separately, for two weeks following December 16.

The 12 Days promotion stacks with the promotion to include a free Dungeon Dweller of the month with each $40+ worth of order. So for every $40+ you order at this time, you’ll receive two free metal figures. And if your order totals more than $65, you also receive a Christmas Sampler package that includes Bones miniatures, candy, a postcard with cool art by Talin, and a naughty or nice surprise. There are a fixed amount of Samplers, so those are while supplies last.

Here is the schedule of figures for each of the 12 Days of Reaper. 

12 days promo

The Dungeon Dweller of the month is Caerindra Thistlemoor. I posted pictures and information about her last week, including some work-in-progress shots with lighting reference pictures and some information on how I rough in the lights and shadows. You can read that here: https://birdwithabrush.com/2018/12/03/caerindra-thistlemoor-roughing-in-lights-and-shadows/

 

You’ll find the Reaper website here: http://www.reapermini.com/

Dragon and Stocking – 12 Days of Reaper

Next up in the 12 Days of Reaper is a figure brand new this year – the Dragon and Stocking. He is the figure free with $40 purchase for December 10. I love Julie Guthrie’s sculpting on this, he has such a mischievous expression. In my mind he’s not filling up or handing out that stocking, he’s pilfering it for his tiny hoard of Christmas goodies!

Dragon and stocking, front view

Dragon and stocking, face view

Dragon and stocking, back view

Dragon and stocking, second face view

As I have been doing with a lot of figures lately, I started by roughing in my shadows, highlights, and midtones with mixes of grayscale brush-on primers. This allows me to concentrate on where things should be darker and lighter based on my light source as a separate step. I was aiming to paint the light as coming from above and to the left when we’re looking at him in front view. (I discuss this and other approaches to painting with more contrast in this post – https://birdwithabrush.com/2018/10/16/how-to-paint-contrast-hands-on/)

Stocking Dragon grayscale primer front

Stocking Dragon grayscale primer, back

Stocking Dragon grayscale primer left

Stocking Dragon grayscale primer right

My next step is to begin to apply colours over that value map. I work wet in wet drying to make rough blends. So I’ll place a shadow colour in the correct location, then a lighter shadow or midtone next to it trying to blend a little, and then the next lighter colour, etc. Sometimes with a little more back and forth than that. At this stage I am concentrating on the big picture only in considering where things should be lighter or darker over all. Look at the shoulder of the wing and arm on the left side of the front photo as an example, and compare with a a later step and the end result. At this point I’m just blocking in a light colour green for highlights over the entire shoulder and neck area since the light would be falling strongly on that section. I’m not worried about the shallow crevices or the small mounds of individual muscles. And similarly with the shadows that become darker under the shoulder and where the wing is slanted downwards. Since green is a somewhat translucent colour, I needed to do two or three passes of block in to build up the colour.

Stocking Dragon colour block in front

Stocking Dragon colour block in, back

Stocking Dragon colour block in, left

Stocking Dragon colour block in, right

Only once I have those big picture shadows, highlights, and midtones in place do I start to worry about pulling out detail and refining the appearance of the blending on the figure. Compare the shoulder and neck in the following pictures to the ones above. I’ve added additional highlighting on the curves of the small muscles, and a little shading in between the muscles to add definition. And a similar process on the wing. In these photos I’ve just worked on that shoulder/neck/arm area, and the back of the wing. The detail is applied on top of and in a way that supports the big picture shadows and highlights.

Stocking Dragon refining step, front

Stocking Dragon refining step, back

This last set of photos is what the entire green area looked like after I had finished the refining and detailing stage.

Stocking dragon completed greens, front

Stocking Dragon finished greens, back

Stocking Dragon completed greens, face

Stocking Dragon completed greens, right

Hopefully that gives a little insight into the process I’m using when I do a grayscale underpainting in primer.

Reaper Miniatures is running their 12 Days of Reaper promotion from December 5  through December 16. During the promo, one special holiday figure of the day is included free with every purchase of $40 or more from the online Reaper site. And for the first time ever, they are making the 12 Days figures available for purchase separately, for two weeks following December 16.

The 12 Days promotion stacks with the promotion to include a free Dungeon Dweller of the month with each $40+ worth of order. So for every $40+ you order at this time, you’ll receive two free metal figures. And if your order totals more than $65, you also receive a Christmas Sampler package that includes Bones miniatures, candy, a postcard with cool art by Talin, and a naughty or nice surprise. There are a fixed amount of Samplers, so those are while supplies last.

Here is the schedule of figures for each of the 12 Days of Reaper. 

12 days promo

The Dungeon Dweller of the month is Caerindra Thistlemoor. I posted pictures and information about her last week, including some work-in-progress shots with lighting reference pictures and some information on how I rough in the lights and shadows. You can read that here: https://birdwithabrush.com/2018/12/03/caerindra-thistlemoor-roughing-in-lights-and-shadows/

 

You’ll find the Reaper website here: http://www.reapermini.com/