Fire Breathing Salamanders, Ral Partha 13-028 (from 1982)

I am catching up as I can in my blog on projects that I have completed in August and September.  Last year, I was looking on eBay for some interesting Ral Partha additions to my fantasy armies.  Specifically, some large creatures that Wizards could control in my War Must Be game.  In the game, Wizards can use a Mundane Spell (His Master’s Voice) to control a large creature such as the giant scorpion, giant tarantula, or giant spiders that I have previously described in this blog.  They use some of their action chips to accomplish this.

23a His Master's Voice jpeg
His Master’s Voice Spell Card


Once again, I happened upon an eBay find that intrigued me.  There was a group of four “Fire Breathing Salamanders” available, and my imagination took over – this would be like having a Wizard controlling a living flame thrower – pretty cool stuff.  Each will have a limited number of powerful short range flame attacks in the game, in addition to tooth and claw capabilities.  These figures were sculpted by Dennis Mize as part of the Children of the Night line, and were designated 13-028, and released in 1982.

2 Fire breathing Salamander  Ral Partha 13-028 1982 before cleaning
Unpainted Fire Breathing Salamander, side view


3 Fire breathing Salamander  Ral Partha 13-028 1982 before cleaning front
Unpainted Fire Breathing Salamander, business end
4 Fire breathing Salamander  Ral Partha 13-028 1982 before cleaning bottom
Bottom of figure – waiting 34 years to get painted!


Way back in February, I primed these in Jeff Smith’s heated workshop with Krylon “Ultra Flat Black” spray paint with a gaggle of other figures.  Later in the spring, I mounted one on a 3½” beveled hex base made out of 1/8″ luan,  but it did not look correct for play.  Subsequently, I remounted all four on bases that were roughly octagonal or elliptical, which worked better.  I glued two 1″ steel washers to the bottom of each base for future magnetic storage.

5 Fire breathing Salamander  Ral Partha 13-028 1982 primed (1)
Initial basing of primed figure which I changed to different bases


As inspiration, I wanted to give these the coloring of a salamander that is native to Massachusetts that I had seen only rarely.  I believe that it was a blue-spotted salamander, and the memory I had was of a blackish blue to purple-skinned creature with light spots.

Blue Spotted Salamander


The Dennis Mize figures were more alligator-like, but this was my starting point.

I began by painting the interior of the mouth with Americana “Primary Red”.  I mixed equal parts of American “Dioxazine Purple” and “Ebony” for the upper skin.  For the lower belly and the spots, I used an equal mix of “Dioxazine Purple”and Americana “Buttermilk”.  For the eyes, I used straight “Dioxazine Purple”.  I then washed the figures’ skin with Secret Weapons Washes “Purple”, and the mouth with SWW “Heavy Body Black”.  I drybrushed the figures with Americana “Lavender”, and then applied two more sequential washes with SWW “Sewer Water” and “Heavy Body Black” as I tried to get a shade that I was happy keeping.  This seemed to work adequately.

6 Fire breathing Salamander  Ral Partha 13-028 1982 base coated
After base coating and initial series of washes


7 Fire breathing Salamander  Ral Partha 13-028 1982 after first wash
After dry brushing and more washes


For the teeth and eyes , I used Citadel “Ushabti Bone” and “Wild Rider Red” respectively.  I added an iris with veteran 1984 Polly-S “Slime Green”.

8 Fire breathing Salamander  Ral Partha 13-028 1982 after first highlighting


I then touched up the nails with a mix of the “Ebony” and “Dioxazine Purple”, and added some more “Ushabti Bone” to the spots, then another two washes – first with the SWW “Purple” watered down a bit, and then a light one with Citadel “Agrax Earthshade”.

There is a small plaque on each figure with 13-028 on it.  These I painted with Martha Stewart Crafts “Brushed Bronze” and washed with SWW “Heavy Body Black” to highlight the numbers.

9 Fire breathing Salamander  Ral Partha 13-028 1982 paint complete
Fire Breathing Salamanders painted before flocking of bases


I used Army Painter “Moss Green” flocking, and I was not happy with the effect.  These creatures needed to look as if they were crawling out of a swamp or tall elephant grass.  I wanted better.  I used two coats of varnish sequentially – Krylon “Clear Matte” and Testors “Dull Coat” to seal the paint job ensuring adequate drying time between coats.  Then I moved back to the bases.

10 Fire breathing Salamander  Ral Partha 13-028 1982 plaque detail
Detail of plaque and initial flocking


11 Fire breathing Salamander  Ral Partha 13-028 1982 after initial flocking
The four after varnishing


I had a good number of Army Painter “Swamp Tuft” and “Jungle Tuft” accessories that I thought would do the trick, and this approach did work.  The trick here was to cut the “Jungle Tuft” in half on the cellophane before using and mixing in the “Swamp Tuft”.  I affixed these with Elmer’s white glue.  This had the advantage of hiding the rectangular base lines and give the “crawling through grass” impression.

12 Fire breathing Salamander  Ral Partha 13-028 1982 after final flocking, front
The Fire Breathing Salamanders


Overall, I am very happy with the results.  I really think that the final basing, which took some time and a lot of gluing, was worth the effort.  I look forward to watching them roast some enemies at the behest of their Wizards!

14 Fire breathing Salamander  Ral Partha 13-028 1982 after final flocking, side
Finally done!

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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