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!








2 thoughts on “There Be Dragons”

  1. I love dragons and fantasy. So this diorama caught my eye. I love the base and the variety of colors on the figs and the whole concept makes it fun eye candy. Techinially the figs could be cleaner, but that is minor. As a whole this diorama is fun to look at and good references for my future projects! Thanks for sharing.

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