D&D Monster Manual 24: Wrath of Ashardalon – Ashardalon the Red Dragon (Contrast Paint Experiment #22)

Today’s post is of the Big Bad from the game we’ve been playing for the past couple of weeks – the eponymous Ashardalon, the Red Dragon itself. Himself? Herself? You know what? I’m not going to look and check!

Like most of the D&D boardgame figures from these games of a decade or so ago, the sculpt here isn’t an amazing one, though in this case, the size of the model really does help it out a lot. The details aren’t exactly fine – but like with the larger models from the Reaper Bones line – PVC is just more forgiving when you’re looking at the borader strokes inherent in something this size. Still, I’ve never been much good at getting larger models actually painted and I’ve never figured out how to use an airbrush properly (I know, I know). So how was I going to manage to paint a fucking dragon?

Well, obviously the answer is in the title of this post. It was time to try the Contrast paints on a really big model and see how they would perform. And to not put too fine a point on it, better to do this with a PVC boardgame model that only needs to look decent on the tabletop than an expensive centrepiece wargame model in plastic, metal or resin. So after the putty-and-scoring addiiton of some flagstones and some appropriate priming, off I went! Most of the model got a good solid coat of Blood Angels Red, which looked pretty good. I decided to “shade” the webbing of the wings by mixing Flesh Tearers Red with some Black Templar and applying from the botttom upward. I dropped a …drop of Contrast Medium on the top of each web-segment and then tried to use it to lighten the top area and keep the bottom parts darker. It seems to have worked decently. As well as it could work with one coat over an existing red (remembering that the pont of Contrast here is to get it done and looking decent to pretty good – not winning a Crystal Brush!)

For the Ochre-Yellow underbelly I used a mix of Skeleton Bone and Nazdreg Yellow – and then went over it all to give it a chitinous appearance with streaking from several of Reaper’s “blonde” colours. Claws, teeth and talons done in the usual manner, and the inner mouth went with purple rather than red for a small bit of colour differentiation. Green eyes, the usual job on the base and rocks and done!

It still took me about a week, but that’s really doing most of the red contrast in a day and then picking at it a little here and there some days after work, and then a final push on the weekend to wrap up the loose ends on the model.

I think that Ashardalon is pretty safe as a submission for Ann’s Miniatures of Magnitude Challenge for May & June. I took a pic of Ashardalon alongside the other D&D Minis I’ve completed this month, both as a scale shot for the Dragon, Fire Drake and the Otyugh for Ann’s challenge – and as a group shot.

I completed the Snakes, Cave Bears, Gibbering Mouthers and Orc Smashers for this game some time ago. With the new stuff done that leaves me with just the 3 Legion Devils; 3 Human Cultists; 3 Kobold Dragonshields and Kobold Dragonlord; 3 Orc Archers and Orc Shaman still to paint. So 14 more models to go (not counting heroes) for the game’s cast of villains to be completed!

24 thoughts on “D&D Monster Manual 24: Wrath of Ashardalon – Ashardalon the Red Dragon (Contrast Paint Experiment #22)

    • Cheers, Ann – I’ll certainly be breaking out the contrast for similar models to speed up the process in future. Just getting me moving on these things is enough to make them worthwhile!

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Very nice work on the dragon, and the scale shot makes the fire drake much larger than I’d expected. Great work overall for a board game. It’s much nicer using painted figures!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Absolutely key point there, Tarmor. Even the crappier sculpts with the quicker paintjobs (ie, the Grell) enhance the game a lot once painted. I’m almost tempted at times to replace a lot of the monsters with the Wizkids/Nolzurs/Pathfinder models, but that would be overkill for the board game!


    • It’s definitely a cheeky model – what with those honkin’ great spikes growing out of both cheeks!
      Unlike in the Ravenloft game, there’s a random encounter card that drops Ashardalon into any scenario, so we keep encountering it as we play through!
      A pretty good idea really, as the Dracoloche in Ravenloft is a nice, impressive, large centrepiece monster that you barely get to see or use…


  2. As with the previous minis, you did great with a fairly simple sculpt so good on you there. I don’t know if airbrushing would help a ton on this guy because of the way the details are sculpted too so I’d say using Contrast paints was probably about as fast of a way to make progress as any. Do you have more D&D minis in your Tray or will we be seeing something else in the near future? 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Airbrushing can almost always do a good, fast job on minis – particularly larger ones, simply due to the ability to do smooth transitions. Shame my Airbrush experience has been horrible to date!
      The D&D minis are actually an exception to the tray – as they’re “needed for a current game” I’ve given them the classification of “essential workers” so they get to skip the queue.
      Having said that, I’ve got some old-school WHFB models and a medium-school WHFB model that I’m hoping to have finished soon, as well as some more Zombicide.
      I did paint 10 more D&D models in the last 2 days (about to be 14 if today pans out) – so there will certainly be a few more D&D-themed posts imminent – I just need to take the photos!


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