Welcome to Miniature Madness, a feature where we present tutorials on how to paint, build or customize RPG miniatures.
When I flipped through the Dungeons & Dragons 5th edition Monster Manual, I was excited to see animated objects. My mind went to old dungeon crawls where decorative suits of armor animate to attack you or harmless floor rugs spring up and try to smother you to death.
My next D&D session will include all kinds of monsters, but one I want to use is a flying sword.
According to the Monster Manual, “A flying sword dances through the air, fighting with the confidence of a warrior that can’t be injured. Swords are the most common weapons animated with magic.”
Here’s the problem: I use maps, minis, terrain and other objects in my games, and nowhere I can find sells any flying sword minis. No sword golems or anything of the kind.
So, I decided to make my own.
My new flying sword mini fending off a dwarven fighter.
With only a few game pieces, some paint and a little glue, I had a pretty stellar new miniature for my game. Follow along with this simple tutorial and you can have one, too.
First, I started with a few items: some miniature swords, mini bases and some acrylic “flight rods” for minis.
You may be able to find these pieces at your local game shop, but I wasn’t in a rush and just decided to order what I needed online. The weapons (a set of two swords, a bow and quiver) came in a weapons pack from Reaper Miniatures. Many of my minis are Reaper metals and Bones, so the sword should fit in well with my other stuff.
The flight rods and the matching bases come separately but fit together perfectly, and they came from Warsenal. They specialize in terrain and markers for Infinity, but they also sell all kinds of quality bases and other stuff that will fit with minis and terrain for any game.
Both have great online stores and shipping was cheap.
Next, I cleared the weapons pack of flash and made sure they were nice and straight. Then I primed the weapons with some white primer I use for my metal minis. (I don’t use a special “miniature” primer. I just have Krylon spray from the hardware store. It works great.)
The flight rods I got from Warsenal are an inch long, which is perfect to make any D&D-scale mini look like it’s about 10 feet in the air. But for this project, I needed the sword to be at about eye level.
I took my handheld Dremel tool to one of the flight rods and cut it in two. (You could use a hobby knife or even a sharp kitchen knife. Just be really careful.)
You can’t quite see it in the photo, but I cut the rod with a slight angle so when the sword is glued to it, it would look like it was pointing at an angle. (Check out the photo above with the sword fighting the dwarf to see what I mean.)
Next, I painted up the sword.
I made things simple by painting it top to bottom with gunmetal. Then I painted the crossguard and the pommel with gold. Last, I painted the grip a bone-colored off-white.
You might notice the sword is more along the lines of a greatsword than a longsword (which is what’s identified in the Monster Manual), but it works better as a larger piece when it’s on the map.
The last step was the easiest. I glued the short flight rod into the base and then glued the sword to the flight rod.
After it dried, I sprayed it with some Testors Clear Coat to seal in the paint. (It also gave an almost frosted effect to the base and rod, which was unintended, but I thought was cool.)
Easy stuff, eh?
So, that’s it.
Do you paint, customize or create miniatures? Let us know about it and we could publish your tutorial on Crit For Brains.
Email us at critforbrains(at)gmail.com.