There Be Dragons

This is a story of one gift. A story of one lady and three dragons. A very special lady, I should add.

Where to start… Oh well, long time ago I had planned a big diorama under the working title of “City of Dragons”. However, the only piece I painted for it was this dragon lady (Reaper Master Series Miniatures – 54mm scale). As you can see, it was supposed to be a statue with a small dragon on it, not a live female.



The concept I’d had for this new diorama did not involve any statues, so I had to repaint this model. Black and white base I had on the lady made me go with glazing all over. Very thin layers of heavily watered paint were used on almost every part of the miniature. The shadows and highlights were already there, all I had to do was adding a colour to it.

The small dragon was treated in a different way, obviously, I’ve just pulled the highlights up here and there.

With that, the first part of my dio was ready:




The second part of my dio is also a salvaged piece. Dragon lady came with this additional dragon (though it is also available separately in Reaper range as DHL 3332), which was initially used by me for this scene:


I’d dismounted it from the base, gave it few additional highlights, and here it is, the second part of my new diorama:


The last piece as also a Reaper mini and was painted from a scratch. It is the Shadow Dragon (Bones plastic range, but also available in metal) and initially was supposed to be painted as a black dragon. After some consideration I thought the black colour and size of the model would make him stand out too much on a dio, so I decided to paint him red. Unfortunately, I couldn’t get reds working right on this model, so after few attempts I gave up and switched to another colour that you can see below. The final result had been achieved by using violet liner and white to build up the base which was then glazed over with light blue. Wings were painted with violet liner and tanned skin shades (plus some white for final highlights). Frankly, I’m quite pleased with the result.

The third part of a dio:




With 2 parts salvaged from my other dioramas, repainted and/or improved, and one brand new piece I was finally able to put them all together. Of course, I had had the concept ready and the whole scene had been carefully planned before I started painting. I had the base and I arranged minis on it as the first step of my work. So, after I’d finished painting all I had to do was to assemble models on the base (piece of wood on a “plinth” made of a plastic cap taken from a coffee jar). I tried to arrange models on two levels so that viewers can see all details from different angles. Finally, a lot of static grass, twigs and dried greenery was added to create a nice, spring/summery feel to it.

Of course, every dio requires a story, but I prefer to leave that task to viewers. Feel free to come up with your own.

My story? There Be Dragons was painted as a birthday gift for my wife. So, what I’ve painted is actually our family – my lady and her three men. One big and old dragon (that would be me, of course), one small dragon on his own feet (8 yo son) and another small dragon that still requires to be carried around ( 2nd son, 10 months).

By the way, my wife almost never comes into my painting room. When she does, she never asks what I’m painting at the moment. Both of us prefer to show/see the finished mini. So, I have been working on this diorama for over a month, trying to use every spare moment. When I was literally 10 minutes from finishing the gift, she catches me totally off guard by jumping suddenly into the room, taking a look and asking “What are you painting?” Oh well, there went the surprise element…

Happy birthday again, honey!








Brom Hard Bark from Enigma Miniatures – Review

Welcome to yet another review of my recent purchases (not that recent at the time we publish this article). This time I’m sharing a Brom Hard Bark from Enigma Miniatures review.

First look

I decided to buy this model after thinking about it for a long time – Brom Hard Bark released by Enigma Miniatures under the catalogue code ENM5410.

It is a massive, heavy and very characterful model consisting of 7 elements (including 4 spikes on one tag): main body, two bats (longer and shorter version), plus round base. It was packed in a blister with printed insert showing the official paintjob.

Brom Hard Bark from Enigma Miniatures - review (1)  Brom Hard Bark from Enigma Miniatures - review (2)


I liked the typical, enraged face expression and the model’s pose too, which basically means it made a good impression on me. The model is in 54mm scale, thus is quite big, even if you consider it is a dwarf.

The metal used for casting is of a good quality, with all details cast well. This especially applies to the face, which of course has a great impact on the overall impression.

The model is attached to the tag which may be cut off; there is also one piece of metal joining both elements.

Brom Hard Bark from Enigma Miniatures - review (3)

Brom Hard Bark from Enigma Miniatures - review (4)

Any flaws?

Following thorough assessment I haven’t found any holes, uneven surfaces, signs of shifted molds or poorly cast details on the model. I haven’t found any mold lines either (apart from one on the back of the right leg), but these may become apparent after priming the miniature. There were few spots with excessive flash which should be very easy to remove.

Nevertheless, I’ve spotted few subtle mold lines at the whole length of weapons (including hands), which are typical for such details. They are quite visible, thus should be removed before painting. The same applies to spikes, which also require some preparation work.

The quality of details is good. Texture of wood, metal, hair – all of these make the Enigma model a top-shelf product. Separate pieces fit very well and all one has to do is to pin them before assembly.

Brom Hard Bark from Enigma Miniatures - review (5)

Brom Hard Bark from Enigma Miniatures - review (6)

Some small imperfections should be removed easily and do not have a negative impact on my overall opinion, which is very positive. Enigma could have perhaps used a piece of foam to protect the miniature better in the blister. Not that any damages are probable in the plastic packaging. :)

Verdict about Brom Hard Bark

Sculpt and cast are very good. I believe it should be really fun to paint for everyone who will buy it. :)

— Slawol

“Somewhere in Europe… 1944” – Review

It is time for yet another review of historical models in 1/35 scale. I’m gonna cover Master Box LTD company of Ukraine, and their “Somewhere in Europe… 1944” set.


I found these models by accident while searching for horses. This box includes two nags, two Germans, grandpa with granddaughter and a cart. Germans are also available separately in the “Supplies, at last!” box, and the cart in the “Farmers Cart” box, Europe, WWII Era.

4 human models, 2 horses and the cart were very cheap, so I didn’t hesitate to buy that set.

Photo: Somewhere in Europe... 1944 - Review


These multi-part models are made of plastic and come in sprues. I know quality and precision some companies provide for models cast in plastic, so I was quite scared… horse is made of 5 elements, but there are about 23 pieces for a soldier. Frankly speaking you don’t have to use all these bits, but you need about 12 bits to make a soldier without the equipment. I was then really surprised, because elements could be removed from sprues easily, and mould lines disappeared after short sanding. I also found that the manufacturer provided additional bits, so we can personalize their models, e.g. there are 2 different headgears or water bottles in excess.

Photo: Somewhere in Europe... 1944 - Review

Photo: Somewhere in Europe... 1944 - Review


The best glue for these models is glue for plastic elements. Standard cyanoacrylate super glues should be avoided.

Seriously, both material and parts were meant to be glued with the glue for plastic elements. Bits have excessive material which gets melted by glue. This automatically fills gap between two parts. That was another big surprise. Some of the bits looked unfriendly in sprues, even worse after removal. Nevertheless, after gluing almost all pieces fit perfectly! If there was something wrong it was usually because I’d forgotten about few pieces (like haversack or pouches).

Photo: Somewhere in Europe... 1944 - Review


The general level of details is pretty good, especially considering the material. Of course, details are not as deep as in resin models. Also, newer models have more details sculpted. I was able to check contents of few more boxes. Those released in the past are pretty simple, while new sculpts are looking much better and have lot of details. The set I purchased is somewhere in between when it comes to details and sculpt quality. By the way, there are no nails sculpted on fingers, I think all historical models have the same issue.

Photo: Somewhere in Europe... 1944 - Review

Photo: Somewhere in Europe... 1944 - Review


  • plastic, not resin – quality of details,
  • be careful while cleaning the model. Material is quite soft, you can easily scrape details off.


  • price!!
  • general quality,
  • range (see below).

Range (a.k.a. what I have seen)

Models in 1/35 scale are usually not to my liking due to very stiff poses. Soldiers stand at attention, point a finger at something, shoot from the hip or crawl – all of that like they had a long and stiff stick in their… well, you know where.

I was therefore even more surprised to see that soldier with a bin assuming a very easy stance; his mate also looks like an easy fellow. This made me check other products released by that company. It looks like there is more “easy” sculpts and several very dynamic ones. I recommend taking a closer look at:

  • “Frontier fight of summer 1941, hand to hand combat (4 fig.)” – hand to hand combat with helmets and shovels??
  • “Skatspieler” – soldiers playing cards.
  • “Casualty Evacuation”, German Infantry, Stalingrad, Summer 1942 – rarely seen scene with wounded/killed soldiers
  • “Deutsches Afrika Korps, WWII Era” – repair workshop.

There is more of that; and some civilians too.

I also suggest you find the diorama produced by Kenichiro Hebitsuka from Japan on the manufacturer’s website – it clearly shows what you can make out of these models.


I haven’t observed any bad reaction between the material and spray primer or any signs of wearing.

I painted mine for the 5th Chest of Colors Miniature Exchange and painting process was fun and quick. I’d love to use oils for few elements, but lifted that idea due to time constraints. Anyway, these models surely can be painted with oils. The only lacking thing were deeper details characteristic for resin models. Newer models are much better with regards to details though.

True historical colour scheme is shown on the box with reference to specific paints given (Vallejo, Tamiya, Lifecolor, Humbrol, Agama). Of course, you can always check available publications (e.g. Osprey books) by yourself or paint a model as you wish.

Photo: Somewhere in Europe - Review
My paintjob for Chest of Colors Miniature Exchange


I don’t think you will find a better quality/price ration within this price range. The casting quality is not as good as in case of resin models, but many of these models would look better than standard resin models, especially “top sets” like “US Check Point in Iraq /3591/”. A box with 2 – 5 models with loads of equipment will cost 15 – 45 PLN (4 – 10€, 5 – 15 $), and “MB 3560 German Motorcycle Repair Crew (1:35)” set comprising a full diorama with 4 soldiers, table and motorcycle stripped to pieces costs about 60 PLN (14 €, 18 $).

My opinion is that this is a very good offer for people who want to try a new scale or new techniques (oils, anyone?). You will not despair if something goes wrong due to low prices. Of course, advanced painters could easily make a masterpiece of these models like Kenichiro Hebitsuka did.

— Maru

Verlinden Productions: Full Metal Jacket – Review

It’s time for another historical model. I’d bought it few months ago and finally found some time to describe it. So here it comes: Full Metal Jacket – review. Beware though, I do feel like writing today, so there might be quite a lot of text below…

Introduction to Full Metal Jacket review

This pretty big chunk of resin with some additional bits is made by Verlinden Productions and has the same name as one of the greatest Vietnam war-themed films, the Kubrick’s “Full Metal Jacket”. There is also second name on the box “G.I. Vietnam”. G.I. is a general abbreviation used by US forces to describe to military units (or Government Issue, or Galvanized Iron), and Full Metal Jacket is a popular kind of a bullet.

I was considering purchasing it for a long time already, as Vietnam War is my second most favourite historical period, just after the WW II. VP range actually includes more small dioramas like this one: “Good Morning Vietnam” (name taken after the film with awesome Robin Williams), “Flower Power” and others… I’m thinking about getting them all to make a big camp, but for now this scene will suffice. :)

The model – overview

As of now I’ve chosen – in my opinion – the best quality product: a soldier lying with Playboy in his hands and his gear all around him. A classic scene, lots of details and true Vietnam feel :)

The model is in 1:35 scale. The catalogue number is 329, as you can see on the box.

It is packed in a plastic bag and nice box with picture of the painted version. There are 6 elements inside, which you can use to create the whole scene – diorama, 2 arms, 2 heads and a radio.

Photo: Verlinden Productions: Full Metal Jacket - Review

Photo: Verlinden Productions: Full Metal Jacket - Review

Photo: Verlinden Productions: Full Metal Jacket - Review

Photo: Verlinden Productions: Full Metal Jacket - Review    Photo: Verlinden Productions: Full Metal Jacket - Review

Photo: Verlinden Productions: Full Metal Jacket - Review


My review will start with the biggest element: the whole terrain around the soldier. The quality is of the highest level. Anyone familiar with this company will conform that their products are still considered to be one of the best on the market. Verlinden range covers loads of elements for vehicles (e.g. boxes, barrels, weapon, ammunition) as well as models. One can expect a whole lot of junk for dioramas from them as soon as bigger models (like the Abrams tank) are released. Majority of their products are provided for 1:35 scale.

The whole element is a one-piece cast. Nevertheless, the cast is perfect, as you can see on the photos. Cavities, holes, details and other shapes – there is nothing to complain about, even for myself 😀 I noticed just one issue, which is also visible on my pics – the scene was cut away from something else. I’m not sure what was it, but the cut is evident. Perhaps a bigger batch was cast, hence the cutting… there are this protruding bits around the sand. Anyway, these are not cast imperfections, just material excess cut off. One just need to cut and file it to solve the problem.

Photo: Verlinden Productions: Full Metal Jacket - Review

Photo: Verlinden Productions: Full Metal Jacket - Review

Photo: Verlinden Productions: Full Metal Jacket - Review

Photo: Verlinden Productions: Full Metal Jacket - Review

Photo: Verlinden Productions: Full Metal Jacket - Review

Photo: Verlinden Productions: Full Metal Jacket - Review

Photo: Verlinden Productions: Full Metal Jacket - Review

Photo: Verlinden Productions: Full Metal Jacket - Review


Quality and precision of details is astonishing. If you don’t believe me, check the glasses frame, wrist watch, boxes with excellent wood texture or the peace symbol hanging from the soldier’s neck. I won’t even mention details of the radio, cans, cigarette boxes, facial hair or boot soles.

Photo: Verlinden Productions: Full Metal Jacket - Review

Even the M-1 helmet has a material pulled over it, with folds! By the way, don’t sand this element, as there are not mould lines :) My only remark would be lack of visible nails, there are “only” perfectly executed hands;)


The model doesn’t have too much flash to be removed, and ones I’ve found result from the manufacturing process only, not the poor quality of forms. There are also just few delicate mould lines – careful filing and sanding will be sufficient to remove them. You could use a knife to scrape them off, if you feel confident, but remember this is resin, which can easily get damaged, especially in case of thinner, smaller elements.

My plans

My plan is to paint this model realistically, so I’m sure I’ll first watch the best (in my opinion) film about the war in Vietnam: “Apocalypse Now” (the director’s cut, of course, which I saw 3 times recently) with M. Sheen and great M. Brando, then most probably “Platoon” with Sheen’s son :) So many famous actors there, and both are very good films. Anyway, I grew up watching them (and who didn’t? :)), so it will be nice to see them again. Not everyone is a fan of the subject, but most of us know these two productions.

And there is also my favourite chopper and workhorse of that war – Bell UH-1 Iroquois… but that’s completely different story…

Back to the model…

Painter’s opinion

Painting shouldn’t be difficult for anyone. One just need to get some pics and start painting. Colours true for that period are well known and you can find any required information in the internet. Of course, if you want to get deeper, you can get many books covering this subject, e.g. from the Osprey publications. Use green and olive shades for uniforms, with some tiger-stripes camouflage patterns, and Marlboro, Winston or Lucky Strike cigarette and you’re free to go;) I think you know how to paint ammo boxes too. Pastels and dry pigments might be useful to recreate dark ground and dust.

As for papers and centrefold… well, you can print these in proper scale (Playboy cover should not be a problem) or even paint, if you feel adventurous :)


I will rate this model 9.5/10 – almost perfect. The slight drawback (there always is something) are all these small bits, excessive material and mould lines. Nothing difficult to remove, but one needs to spend some time on these, as any observer would notice those on all the details.

I do recommend this model. The box might be a bit pricey at more than $21, bit it’s worth every cent! You pay for the quality, and quality to price ratio is really good in this case. You can be sure that you’ll get a top shelf product, and I’m sure you’ll have fun painting it.

— Slawol (who would like to thank Nameless for his translation and making this article available to our international readers)