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From the painting desk #53 – A cloaker

June 25, 2017

Like most hobbyists (I assume), I tend to buy miniatures that I like. Why bother with rubbish, when I have a backlog of unpainted minis that I’ll never get through? Occasionally I will make an exception, though. This is one of those cases.

What is a “cloaker”? So nice of you to ask, it is a super silly, oldย Advanced Dungeons & Dragonsย monster. Its schtick? To disguise itself as a cloak. Quoting from Wikipedia:

The cloaker clings to a wall, hiding among actual cloaks and blankets, resembling a semi-circular cape with a long mace-like tail, and has two claws at the ends of the “cape”. Numerous round black, button-like eye spots help complete the illusion; when the cloaker conceals its tail and claws it is hard to distinguish it from a real cloak.

Yeah.

For the reason I ended up painting a cloaker, we have to backtrack several years. I tended to frequent the Frothers forum, where people would post new miniature releases for often harsh but honest commentary. Up came the Black Tree Design cloaker:

“Wear me, human.”

As you can see, the sculpt is a bit rough, to be extremely kind. From pretty much that day on, “cloaker” became shorthand for a terrible miniature – “That’s dire. A real cloaker.”

Skip forward years and years, and a discussion on the Random Platypus forum – a haunt of many former Frothers – starts. The forum has paint-alongs, where various members paint miniatures that fit a common theme (“Villain” or “Giant”) and share their progress. Thus began the cloaker paint-along.

I’ll be honest with you, the cloaker miniature is terrible. It’s soft, it looks unfinished, it has a weird lumpy base…yet there’s something there. It might be the goofiness of the concept, or the legendary status the miniature has attained, but there is something endearing about it.

The sculpt immediately made me think of this:

With that in mind, I went for a very traditional Dracula cape look, painting the inside a deep red and the rest of the cloak(er) black. As one description of the monster says its claws resemble a clasp made of bone, I painted the claws white. I don’t know if it’s just my imagination or a feature of the sculpt, but I saw a definite widow’s peakย and painted that in to further enhance the Dracula look.

Click for a slightly larger version

My paintjob was fairly quick and rough. Yeah, it’s an endearing mini and all, but it was something of a chore to paint, as minis lacking definition can be. Still, I’m pretty happy with the result. With the concept, the big lumpy claws and the buckteeth it was never going to be menacing, so I gave it a goofy, somewhat awkward expression which I think turned out well. The deep red makes the inside look disturbingly fleshy.

So there you have it, a little cloaker of a cloaker and it’s funny and awful and glorious. I kind of love it.

Should you want one of your own, go get it here.

 

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15 comments

  1. Hahaha ummm look I can appreciate silliness so well done my friend. Will this be haunting your Pirates? Maybe instead of Port George it could be called “cape” fear boom boom!


    • All sorts of weird and silly have been seen in our Halloween games, so I definitely won’t rule the cloaker out. The pun was much appreciated too ๐Ÿ˜€


    • Man, I wish I had thought of this pun!

      Great work on the cloaker Mikko.


      • Thanks Warburton! I share your sentiment on the pun.


  2. Great work. I like silly minis and I’m not into perfect proportions etc… some might say I have no aesthetic judgment at all (after all, my favourite minis are well-fed 15mm guys with a permanent startled expression). So I really appreciated this cloaker!


    • Cheers! Silly minis can be a lovely distraction from the super serious business of regular painting fare. Should maybe do that a bit more!


  3. That’s both terrible and terrific. ๐Ÿ™‚


    • Thanks, that’s an accurate summary ๐Ÿ˜€


  4. Haha – brilliant mate! I’m impressed that you didn’t give up and throw in ‘the towel’ (baddum).
    Worth it for comedy value alone dude, and living proof that a turd can be polished ๐Ÿ™‚


  5. Really fun read. You’re right, there is something sort of endearing about the little guy once you’ve painted him up.
    Looking forward to more!


    • Thanks! He is sort of like a dumb puppy or something…silly, but can’t really help it, but also trying to be scary and cool.


  6. The buck teeth sure don’t help the mini, I think I would be tempted to file those off. Nice story about your inspiration and you pulled it off really well. Those eyes are amazingly scary. Some might laugh, but I think I would run!


    • Thanks ddd! Those buck teeth really do detract from his scariness, so I’m glad at least the eyes are creepy ๐Ÿ˜€


  7. Bahahahaahaahaaa!

    (Thats what I think that it sounds like).

    At least it probably only took a fairly short length of time to paint.

    Im going to go full douche here, but I think that you should rebase it Mikko, that base is too small. Definitely spend another evening on that…that… cloaker!


    • It’s done, done and done. Not touching it again, no sirree. Nope, njet, nein, ei.

      The imagined voice is spot on though ๐Ÿ˜€



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