Saturday, December 04, 2010


Despite being literally overrun by work recently, few weeks ago I had the chance to play some games with an old friend of mine. Mutual visits are scarse, so it's both a need and an opportunity to stage something special on these rare occasions.
This time I got inspired again by a film I'd seen a couple of weeks before, named "Beowulf & Grendel". The movie deals with the well-known saga not in a particular original way. However, it shows the heroes as real men, set in a quite authentic looking world. It immediately reminded me of John Howe's excellent artworks, who placed his vision in the Vendel or Viking era.

Anyway, the original legend is said to be set in the early 6th century AD. And here, it sparked my interest. As you might remember, a while ago we played a little campaign based on the German Nibelungensage, which, in turn, shares with Beowulf the migration period as its background. So quickly I came up with the idea to put together some scenarios for Beowulf's first adventure. And here I present to you the miniatures I digged out at Lead Mountain:

Wiglaf, Beowulf & Unferth (upper photo, left to right)

These figures had been dwelling in their cavern for quite a long time. I can't remember how they were originally called. Now they seem to be labelled as "Tanatus Miniatures", available exclusively from North Star. Excellent figures, top-notch quality both in sculpting and casting, and with very fine details. Admittedly, they are true scale models, their proportions differ significantly from other manufacturers.

Hondscioh, Ælfhere & Fryd (upper photo, left to right)

The miniatures are said to be inspired by carvings, which show a battle between Picts and Saxons. That's maybe also why they are all positioned in a similar way, with weapons raised or in a shieldwall-like formation. For some people that might be a drawback.

Scaife (left) & Fitela

Paintingwise, clothing follows Late Roman or Germanic fashion, and shield patterns are taken from various sources, most sporting generic Dark Age symbols. The Beowulf saga itself stems from a Christian background, but since the 6th century still was a period of religious transition, I interspersed pagan signs, like ravens and dragons, as well.

Example of homebrewn stat card

Last but not least, I had a hard look for a model that could represent Grendel. There are many different interpretations of what is given in the original text. Some describe him as a simply distorted man, others as a giant-sized monster etc. Eventually I chose to use a troll, produced by Otherworld, as portrayed in the D&D roleplay games. I opted for this model because of its deformed and brutish, yet brittle appearance.


Basing was a real pleasure this time. I exclusively used tufts of grass (provided by MiniNatur) which come in different lengths and colours. To this clumps of birch seeds (if that’s the correct term) were added. The bubbling swamp on Grendel’s base was made of small silicate pearls, which you find normally in bags attached to moisture-sensitive products, and several coats of gloss varnish.

Game-specific encounter markers

The game played very well. We used, again, Rattrap’s Broadsword Adventures straight from the book, but stripped the magic. Unfortunately, I became so involved as a game master that I couldn’t take photos as well. Maybe I’ll re-stage a few scenes – as there were some quite dramatic ones with Beowulf panicking early on, Wiglaf saving his lord at the last moment from Grendel’s onslaught and so on. In the end we rolled for ‚dramatic value’ (a homebrewn feature) and at least achieved a ‚gripping story’ - second only to an ‚epic’. I take it as a good sign. ;-)

Painted in October/November 2010, models by Tanatus, Otherworld and Reaper.


Furt said...

What a wonderfully beautiful game it must have been, a real pity about the lack of in game photos.


The Belgian, said...

Great blog! how can I missed this for such a long time?

That Grendel miniature is simply amazing.


ps; added your amazing blog to my bloglist!

Giles said...

Truly beautiful work, Sire G. I particularl like the mix of styles on the clothing, late Roman and Germanic. The Grendel figure is incredible. The sculpt reminds me a little of the monster from "Cloverfield"!

Best wishes


Doc Phobos said...

Absolutely smashing work, Sire! Everything is painted in such beautifully moody tones and the bases are so atmospheric! My hat off to you!

I couldn't find the information in your text... who makes that crow and wolf?



Sire Godefroy said...

Many thanks for all your kind comments!

Giles, never seen Cloverfield (am too poor-spirited for such movies), but a quick Google search revealed that you could be right. So Paramount has stolen from us roleplayers! ;-)

Doc Phobos, sorry, you're right, it's not explicitly said. However, the bottom line gives a hint: They are from Reaper.


Doc Phobos said...

Thanks, SG! I oversaw that line completely! :)

Michel said...

Absolute Masterpieces which you have delivered, Tilman!!!
Perfectly painted!!!

I am an absolute fan of your Style of Painting!!!!!!!!

... and the subject is also absolutely amazing!!!!!!!!!!!!

Yours, Michel


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