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D&D Repaint: Wizards!

The Red Wizards of Thay are a group of powerful wizards from a far away land in the Forgotten Realms setting. I repainted old D&D miniatures (Blood of Vol Cultist #29 and Mordenkainen the Mage #26) to use as Red Wizards in my campaign.


This article will obviously contain some spoilers for Hoard of the Dragon queen, you have been warned. Red wizards are aiding the Cult of the Dragon in the adventure. Specifically, the mastermind behind the Cult has a good Red Wizard friend. And this friend has underlings. Azbara Jos is one of these, who was first introduced during Episode 4 of the adventure. My players met him again in Castle Naerytar, so I needed a miniature for him. I didn’t particularly like the art of Azbara Jos in the book, so I used a different one for my players (thank you artastrophe for this fantastic picture, please don’t be mad that I changed the eye color).

If found that the Mordenkainen miniature from Wizkids (Giants of Legend #26) looked quite similar to this picture, so I used it for my version of Azbara. Azbara would of course need a couple of Red Wizard friends. The Blood of Vol cultists (Blood War #29) are perfectly generic mage types with robes and hoods, so I decided to use them.

Basing and Priming

Like with every miniature, I started by adding a little sand to their bases and then airbrushed them with black primer and white primer dust.


It’s not very surprising that I mostly used reds for the three miniatures. Their skin was painted with my newly aquired Reaper Paints (Tan Skin, Tan Highlight, Tan Shadow). For the bears I used Reaper Paint Brown Liner.

Red is a tricky color to highlight – if you mix in white, you’ll get pink instead of a lighter red. So you have to pick a very bright red color out of the bottle (which will be the highest highlight color) and then darken it a little with black to serve as base color.

For the Mordenkainen miniature, I added details with other reds and glazed a little reflective red other the cloth to achieve a shiny look. Unfortunately, the Blood of Vol miniatures also have very shiny robes, but this was unintentional. I didn’t thin down my reds enough, and also could not cover the reflections with matte varnish afterwards. Meh, so now they wear some kind of silk. I’m fine with that.

Other details included the skulls on the Blood cultists (Vallejo Game Color bone with a black wash), the maces and wands (VGC gunmetal) and the cord (VGC Leather brown). To set him apart from his underlings, the Mordenkainen miniature received buttons, bracelets and brooches in VMC old gold.

Altogether it was a little frusting to repaint these miniatures, because the sculpts were not that great to work with. The faces were almost flat, most details were very shallow, like the crevices between the hands and the cloth. I would prefer to paint a metal miniature all the time.

Here is the final version of the repainted Blood Cultists of Vol and Mordenkainen the Mage as Red Wizards of Thay: