I never played D&D or AD&D. I will confess to Buck Surdu’s introducing me to Tunnels and Trolls though (with fond memories)! I also do know that I did from time to time look at the AD&D Monster Manuals to get ideas for T&T, or units for Fantasy Miniatures. One of these ideas was the character of the Umber Hulk. It was a fast-burrowing creature with four eyes and huge mandibles. If you saw all four eyes, you would get confused while fighting it, and likely become lunch. It can burrow through solid rock and even faster through soil. It is intelligent as well.
I remember buying one made by Ral Partha in the late 1980’s (not sure where), probably while I was at Fort Belvoir in Virginia or in California while I was at Presidio of Monterey. Looked cool, but was to remain in limbo until this year.
Back to the word “umber” – I knew it was a color (remember Crayola), but I was unsure if it was brown or dark brown. Turns out there is umber and burnt umber, both of which are shades of brown. I could not see this figure in those colors. He reminded me of a June bug, so that is the direction in which I went.
I used primed the figure and mounted him on a small piece of 1/8″ plywood. I then mounted that on a popsicle stick a la Buck Surdu. I ended up needing a second popsicle stick as he was heavy and not balanced well on only one stick. I used three shades of purple from Americana – Purple, Dioxazine Purple, and Vivid Violet. I dry brushed and highlighted as I went. The eyes were a satin Americana Apple Green, and really shone. The result is below, and looks more like Jack Nicholson in Batman or Prince in Purple Rain.
This was on purpose, as I wanted to darken it. I used two washes sequentially from Secret Weapons Washes. First, Sewer Waster, then Purple, then Sewer Water again. It did the trick. The base was finished with the end of the 1996 Armory Flat Black.
I then varnished the figure with Krylon Matte varnish. I did work on this at the same time as my Cavemen unit – which will be a subject of another post, as these took up a lot of March and April!