Grenadier Ballista, crewed by Trolls (Grenadier #9204 & #3107 from 1994 Catalog)

I saw an item on eBay that was listed as “Ogre Baleesta”.  As I already had an Elven Ballista, I thought it a good idea to have a crew-served weapon for the bad guys.  Little did I know that this would turn out to be a pretty involved project!  I paid a little more than $30 for the three figures and the ballista.

1 Troll Ballista before cleaning
The figures as shipped
I love doing a little research on Lost Mini’s Wiki site:  I want to document my figures as best as possible, and I have gotten a bit more familiar with digging into the catalogs there.  I found these all in the 1994 Grenadier catalog.   However, they were not Ogres, but “Trolls” and a separately listed “Heavy Bolt Thrower with Hunchback Gunner”.

The set of Trolls is #3107, sculpted by Sandra Garrity, and included both Trolls in a blister pack.  It was part of the “Fantasy Legends Blisters” line.  The figures themselves had “1992” and SM-33 and SM-34 and “Garrity” on the bases.

The ballista and gunner was #9204, and was in the “Fantasy Warriors Grand Pack Line”.  I then proceeded to treat them all as a Troll crew and a ballista.  To call them Ogres when they were Trolls seemed so inappropriate!

The ballista had been crudely cemented, and that took some work to correct.  I was happy that a string had been attached to the ballista as that saved me some work.


5 Troll Ballista before cleaning back view
Ballista rear view as shipped
7 Troll Ballista crew sm33 and sm44 before cleaning
Detail of the bottom of #3107 Trolls by Sandra Garrity

I removed the old cement and disassembled the ballista.  I then primed the set in Jeff Smith’s workshop on a cold February day with Krylon “Ultra Flat Black” and mounted as below for painting.

8 Troll Ballista crew primed
On washers on popsicle sticks and ready for painting!

I used Citadel’s “Dryad Bark ” as a base coat for the ballista wooden elements.  I subsequently employed two inks in succession as washes – Secret Weapon’s Washes “Heavy Body Black” and P3’s “Brown Ink”.  On this I applied a dry brush application of Citadel’s “Scrag Brown”, followed by a wash with Citadel’s “Agrax Earthshade”.  For the bolt and other iron parts, I used Tamiya’s “Gun Metal” and Polly-S “Rust”.  Finally, I used Citadel’s “Nuln Oil”  as a light wash to darken the iron components even more.  Eventually I was able to apply a couple of coats of varnish to the ballista.  As I needed to apply coats of varnish to the undercarriage and the top of the ballista, and as New England would not warm up, this took longer than I wanted!  I was able to apply Krylon “Clear Glossy” followed by Krylon “Clear Matte” varnish and moved on to the crew.

18 Troll Ballista painted (back lighter)
The ballista completed
I base coated the crew with Armory “Dark Green” on the skin, with Armory “Chestnut” and Americana “Zinc” on pants and cloaks and stones at the figures’ bases.  For the clubs and handles I used Citadel’s “Dryad Bark”.  The gunner’s boots got Americana “Black”.  Then I applied a wash with two inks – Secret Weapon Washes “Storm Cloud” and Citadel’s Agrax Earthshade on the skin.  For the eyes, I used Citadel’s “Ushabti Bone” and  Americana “Lamp Black”.  I further wanted to get the right tone for the skin – I wanted greasy, sweaty Trolls!  To accomplish this, Citadel’s “Waaagh! Flesh” and Polly-S “Slime Green” worked well when highlighted with Citadel’s “Niblet Green”.  Then I used Americana “Lamp Black” on all the Trolls’ hairy parts.  For the gunner’s telescope, I used Martha Stewart Craft’s “Pale Bronze”.  I proceeded to add highlights (with Americana “Black Tie” on the hair and lightened “Zinc” on the cloak) and depth to the skin with the use of washes (more “Nuln Oil”, “Agrax Earthshade”, and Secret Weapons Washes “Stone”.  Then I varnished them the same way as the ballista.


12 Troll Ballista crew primed
The first base coat on the Trolls
15 Troll Ballista crew painted (front)
After painting and varnishing
16 Troll Ballista crew painted (back)
Rear view after painting and varnishing.

My concept was to craft a hex base large enough to deploy the set.  I cut out a hex base from 1/8″ plywood (luan), and primed it with Deka-Lack “Grun”.  On the bottom of the base I glued several  washers for the model to be stored on magnetic sheets.  I flocked the base with Ziterdes “Alpine Meadows” and painted any rocks “Skrag Brown”.  Using my Dremel, I carefully removed enough wood to install magnetic sheets in the base so that I could have the crew leave the ballista.  These sheets proved insufficient to the task in terms of being able to hold the figures to the base.  I fixed this by drilling 1/4″ holes with a spade bit and adding neodymium magnets (1/4″) in the middle of each base.  These are powerful magnets.  The figures can hang upside down from the base without falling now!

I wanted the idea of the model to be that the large Troll was the locomotive force for the large ballista, with the other Troll being the loader and the small Troll the gunner.  The large Troll would push the ballista through the turf leaving wheel ruts.  Therefore, I used more “Skrag Brown” to create the image of the wheel ruts.  I then reflocked the bases of the figures and the main base and added more rocks, grass, and meadow flowers from Army Painter.  After a couple of iterations, I was able to disguise the fact that the crew  could be removed.

19 Troll Ballista painted base after routing
The initial routing for magnets and slots for ballista
21 Troll Ballista painted base after routing first magnets
First shot at magnets and flocking
22 Troll Ballista painted base after routing first magnets crew removed
Before addition of 1/4″ neodymium magnets
23 Troll Ballista painted base after routing final basing
Final frontal view of the model
24 Troll Ballista painted base after routing final basing side view
Gunner side view
25 Troll Ballista painted base after routing final basing side view
Loader side view

26 Troll Ballista painted base after routing final basing back view
Rear view angle

27 Troll Ballista painted base after routing final basing crew in front removed
Crew detached – note neodymium magnets in the center of where figures are mounted

29 large Troll  crew Ballista front
Large Troll, Frontal view

30 large Troll  crew Ballista back
Large Troll, reverse side
31 Medium Troll  crew Ballista front
Medium Troll
32 Medium Troll  crew Ballista back
Medium Troll reverse side
33 Small Gunner Troll  crew Ballista front
The Hunchback Gunner
34 Small Gunner Troll  crew Ballista back
The Hunchback Gunner, reverse side

All in all, I am happy with the way that it all came out.  I like the deployability of the crew, and will use this technique in other models.  I hope that they are fun to control in my next game!

Author: Mark A. Morin

This site is where I will discuss stuff that I find interesting and that includes family, friends, golf, gaming, and Boston sports!

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