Jenn Reese Writer, Artist, Geek

Painted Miniatures


I’ve played Dungeons & Dragons since I taught myself at 12, but I only painted lead miniatures while I was at college and for a few years after that. So 20 years ago, for those of you who want the math. I recently unearthed my old box of painted figures and took a few pictures.

My favorite figure by far was this human ranger. Her bow is still strung after two decades, but she’s definitely seen the years:

This barbarian, though, comes with the best/worst story. I worked on him for seven hours straight — I remember sitting hunched over the desk lamp in my dorm room — and when I was done, my eyes refused to focus on anything in the distance. Before that day, I didn’t need glasses. Been wearing them ever since.

This wizard, whose face is horribly scarred, has the honor of being the first fig I ever painted.

I worked on a whole series of orcs, but this is one of the only survivors:

I loved adding embellishments and designs to capes.

I often painted horses but not their riders:

And of course, I loved my dragon. (Sadly, he was decapitated and I’ve never had the patience to glue him back together.)

I will spare you the dozens of other misshapen and mangled miniatures in my box. I was really good at starting a figure, getting frustrated while painting its face, and tossing it back in the box. (And all my painted RoboRally robots are, of course, still with my RoboRally boardgames.)

This is not a hobby I see myself ever doing again, but I cherish the memories… every time I put on my glasses or my contact lenses.

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Jenn Reese


  • Wow. I’ve been learning a bit about miniature-painting since my son took up the next generation D&D mantle… I love that dragon! But boo for Barbarian of Plus-5 Eyesight Endangerment!

  • I remember those days… I think I still have my favorite barbarian with the ringed archery target painted on his shield.

    My eyes survived the figure-painting, but not the iPhone. I’m now dependent on my readers.


    • A lot of people enjoyed painting armies, but I always got bored painting more than one of the same thing. Heck, sometimes I got bored in the middle of a figure. But overall, it’s an incredibly relaxing hobby and I kind of miss it.

  • WOW! I didn’t know you could or should PAINT them! I had no idea! I collected 2-3 of those pewter figurines (didn’t have money at all so could only afford one or two), but that was all. Being a miniature nut, I hand-made and painted my own work (carved from wood, etc).

    But, wow, so you are supposed to _paint_ these! Who knew? :-)

    • I don’t think you’re supposed to paint the pewter ones — those are collectibles. The ones you paint are made from lead or plastic and are not expensive.

      • Oh, in that case interesting because I have never encountered those cheaper ones anywhere when I was a kid/teen, so this is all fascinating news to me. Looks like I missed out on a whole world of fun! I wish I had known back then — I would certainly have also collected and painted them! :-)

By Jenn Reese
Jenn Reese Writer, Artist, Geek

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