Here is presented a set of examples of my photographs of miniature models. The exact techniques used are a trade secret, but they involve many multiple exposures, and the use of a lot of filters.
Gates of the Underworld
This is the very first of these shots I ever took, and still one of the best. I have another version with a purple sky, but this one beats it by a whisker. The skull is that of a sow, which I took home from a medieval-style banquet, and from which I got a saucepan full of meat. Good stuff, too. I tried using fishermens' bait maggots to clean the skull up, but found that the maggots sold in fishing shops are what fishermen would want them to be: fat and sated; not what I wanted them to be: thin and hungry. The maggots weren't interested in my sow's head, and so I buried it in the garden for a few weeks, and the worms did the job instead.
In all my notes, this shot is referred to as "MOASU". This stands for "Mother Of All Set Ups;" and was called such because it took AGES to build the set for this. For a start, it is a complicated set, with the various roof beams, pillars, the large floor area, the doorways, and the like. The next problem was that it was very difficult to get the set light-proof. Any light leaking in through the join between the walls and ceiling, or other such places, took a lot of keeping out. Of course, every time I wanted to make a tiny adjustment to the placing of a piece of furniture, perhaps to hide the base of one of the figures, this meant taking the roof off the set and then having to put it all back again, during which operation I'd near- invariably jog something out of place. To catch the light, I got neighbour who smoked to come in, and breathe tab smoke into the room. I took lots of shots of this set-up, as I never wanted to have to set it up again.
Last stand of The Crimson Sons
This is one which took a lot of exposures to get the effect I wanted. I tried another version in which I moved the skeletons between exposures, leaving the masked cultists where they were, but the picture came out too busy. Like this, it is busy enough. The figures are by Citadel. The cultists are painted as RuneQuest Gloranthan cultists, and by sheer coincidence, happen to look exactly like the initiates of Danfive Xaron, and I painted them as such before this cult was even published.
Gently does it
This is a Britons farm-yard bull figure, adapted for use in my fantasy orc wargaming army. After an unfortunate experience in the first game I tried it in, I painted up another figure of a little goblin/orc holding an enormous shield, with which to protect the bull handler from enemy archers, while the handler points the Bull of Oblivion the right way and lets it go. I like the nervous pose of the orc handler, which seems quite apt.
Sorcery in the storm
This shot shows a Prince August sorceror, about to cast a fiendish spell at an orc by the same manufacturer (hand cast from a bought mould by me). He stands atop the tower from the kids' game Village of Fear, and in the background, the brown swirling clouds are a photograph, blown up large and tinted, of a real sky. I tried a few versions of this with sparks and the like coming from the sorceror's staff, and with a scarlet sky, but they were just too corny. I have a low corniness threshold.
Versus the Scorpionman
Scorpionmen are creatures of chaos in the role-play game RuneQuest. Interestingly enough, they are described exactly as one is depicted here, in the ancient Sumerian legend The Epic of Gilgamesh, which is a nice and short book which I would recommend to anyone interested in legends. It includes a tale of a time when there were still hunter- gatherers living near cities in Mespotamia, and a version of the tale of Noah and The Flood, which, though written 1700 years before the Old Testament, is the same in every detail bar the names.
I took a few of this scene, and each time the ghost came out a bit too opaque or a bit too transparent. I suppose that soon this sort of trick photography will wane, as computers allow for such see-through effects to be done a different and more easily controlled way. Still, it was good to use the old fashioned method. I'll tell my incredulous grandchildren about it one day. The scenery is scratchbuilt, partly using plaster moulds by Prince August.
At the bloody altar
It's corny, but I quite like it. Chaps with frog-mouthed helmets (in reality only worn in late medieval
tournaments - the wearer can see only upwards) were a favourite of mine when I was about twelve. Horns on
helmets are not historical either, and are pretty silly, since they would catch a blow that might otherwise glance
off, and strain one's neck. A combination of horns on a frog-mouthed helmet therefore transends even the usual
degree of fantasy silliness. That shield would be murder to hold too. From its thickness, I'd say it'd weigh about six
stone, and it is flat, so it would keep wanting to fall forwards, since the handles wouldn't be at its centre of gravity.
It'd be hell to hold straight.
The idol is by Grendel, and is resin, a joy to paint. Ditto the pillars. I like the light in the archway.
It's behind you!
Both figures are by Citadel. The man at the front I have painted for use as a RuneQuest Praxian nomad.
Testing the water
I'm not sure I'd advise that action, still, even though this is fantasy, I suppose it could be safe to stick a finger in the water coming from a giant skull-shaped fountain. Fountain by Grendel.
A motley band of adventurers prepares to meet whatever it is that creates that amount of light. All but the archer are old Ral Partha RuneQuest figures.
Mother dragon returns!
This was one of my first of these shots, and I always think to say "Mummy!" when I see it. I suppose other captions might be along the lines of "'Ere, Burt, don't look behind you, just start running." The dragons, mother and child, are by Citadel, the men are by Fantasy Forge and Alternative Armies.