D&D Monster Manual 23: Wrath of Ashardalon – Margrath the Duergar Captain & Duergar Guards

D&D Wrath of Ashardalon - Margrath the Duergar Captain & Duergar Guards

Something a bit more sane from the D&D model set today – a Duergar Captain and the three guard models from the Ashardalon set.

D&D Wrath of Ashardalon - Duergar Guards

Before painting, I briefly checked out what the deal is with Duergar, and came away with ash-grey skin, pretty dark and subdued clothing, white or flame-red hair, and (sometimes) red eyes. So basically, Dark Iron Dwarves from World of Warcraft, then. or more accurately, the Dark Irons are ripped off of D&D. Pretty straightforward paint on them all. I kept them mostly in shades of grey and black-grey with dark metals and added a shield decal to the guards from a very old Epic transfer sheet – because the jagged-arrow design looked Chaos Dwarf-ish enough but without much Chaos. Also, I like that sort of thing to be uniform.

D&D Wrath of Ashardalon - Margrath the Duergar Captain

I went a little richer looking on the Captain, both because he’s wearing a coat instead of heavy armour, and I figure he’s going to have more wealth and prestige, so I went with dark purple with bronze and gold trim. A very similar palette to the grunts, but a bit nicer and more saturated fore Captain Margrath.

D&D Wrath of Ashardalon - Margrath the Duergar Captain

Nothing too major here. A quick model for the table, started and finished in the same day (including varnish time), which is always a nice thing. In terms of larger value it was a good practice in painting dark purple, which isn’t a colour or shade I’ve done a lot with in the past but may come up depending on how I decide to eventually paint my Dark Eldar/Drukhari.

My main D&D oddness-query with this entry is really with the dark skin tones on Duergar (and Drow, for that matter). Races who live in dark underground caves, and/or in locations away from sunlight would end up pale (more like Warhammer’s Dark Elves or 40k’s Drukhari), not dark-skinned. Because that’s not how melanin works, but I guess gaming design nerds didn’t think of these things back in the 70’s and 80’s. To be fair, we’ve got a ton more knowledge immediately accessable at any moment in time these days, and you can see the same lack of understanding of how things work with the original 40k bolter design (check the mag placement!) so I guess I’ll forgive them on this one. Besides.. I’m sure the Duegar get up to some nasty stuff down there, and ash-grey skin means they probably have some kind of lava affinity/connection. And even the drow might be explained away by having the worship of strange spider-gods do odd things to your complexion and turn you into a blueberry…

Oh yeah, they seem to look a fair bit shinier in these pics than they do in hand. I might have a closer look at them tomorrow (do they really deserve that much focus?) and end up giving them a shot of Matte if they need it.

20 thoughts on “D&D Monster Manual 23: Wrath of Ashardalon – Margrath the Duergar Captain & Duergar Guards

  1. These look excellent, always found the grey skin on Drow strange, but had a friend explain that’s just the colour they are, then had to paint the 100 odd models of his, so stopped arguing ! LOL

    Liked by 4 people

  2. I’ve often thought about that too with the dark skin on the elves and dwarves, who never/seldom come up out of the earth. I figure that it is an echo back to Norse mythology, mainly, of the Dökkálfar (dark elves) and such, mainly.

    Nice job on the miniatures. They certainly look like they stepped right out of a classic D&D campaign.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. There is something odd about dark-skinned dwarves, I’d have to agree. I’ve never understood the appeal of chaos dwarves and prefer the more noble variety but I like the paint job on these guys. It definitely stands out and it fits D&D canon which is important as well!

    Liked by 2 people

    • I’ve got a lot of Chaos Dwarves to paint up sometime. They mostly fit into the older type (essentially dwarfs crossed with chaos warriors) or the most recent type (the Assyrian look combined with the original) – so even the “big hats” models I like aren’t really “proper” “big hat” Chaos Dwarves (which I also dislike).

      Except for my 3rd ed Blood Bowl team.

      Liked by 2 people

      • I’ll be interested to see them! I think by the time I got into Warhammer, Chaos Dwarves were already on their way out and I truthfully don’t remember what they looked like really well. I do know Scibor sells a more modern version of them and I suspect that GW won’t ever dip their toes back into that well for better or worse…

        Liked by 1 person

      • There have been a few Chaos Dwarves scattered in things like War Cry, that echo a lot more to the older-school and some of the Forgeworld-Era stuff. I’d like to see an updated take on them, but I don’t think dorfs are one of their more popular armies, let alone evil ones…


  4. I would think that from an evolutionary standpoint, if you lived among granite rocks that you might actually develop a gray pallor to your skin? Or maybe, I might think it could be a Dune like effect from diet?

    No matter, I enjoyed seeing these.

    Liked by 2 people

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