21 May 2021

Monster May(hem): Fire Vampires

Finally I get to use some colour!

Fire vampires are another Mythos creation that have nothing to do with HP Lovecraft. They're the invention of writer Donald Wandrei, and first appear in his short story "The Fire Vampires", published in 1933. It crosses sci-fi with Lovecraft's Cthulhu mythos, and it's a story I haven't read. 

Fire vampires are servants of Fthaggua and travel with him on a comet called Ktynga. They usually appear as crimson bolts of lightning that engulf their victims and burn them alive as they absorb their souls and memories. As a bolt of lightning would make for a pretty boring mini, CMON went for a different look, a sort of leech that shoots flames. I like them.

I started these chaps by airbrushing them Red. The box art has them with a black lower third, and as brush painting around all the legs did not appeal to me I refilled the airbrush with black and painted over the red. I also added black to the ends of their tails, and I was happy with how the fading looked. I really need to learn to use the airbrush to paint, not just basecoat.

As usual the airbrushed paint took no time to dry, so it was on to drybrushing. I started with Bright Orange, which is one of those colours that's pretty intense but doesn't cover well. It took about five drybrushes on both models until I thought they looked bright enough.

I left the orange to dry and got on with basecoating my cultists in red, using the airbrush to save some time and effort (more on what a pain in the arse that was in a future post). Returning to the vampires, I hit them with a couple of drybrushes of Golden Yellow and finished with some Lemon Yellow.

The last bits were their faces and the flames. I used Pale Flesh again (I've used more of it this month than I have since I bought it two years ago) washed with Purple Tone and highlighted with more Pale Flesh. The central tongue(?) thing was painted Black and then it was time for the flames. Oh, the flames.

I've had to paint them before and I really don't like how they look, and I don't like painting them. They were hit with Red, then more Bright Orange and Golden Yellow. They look good enough, so I left them at that. I did debate painting the vampires' claws Ivory but decided not to in the interests of sanity.

The last thing was their bases, which are sand (surprise!) painted black and highlighted with Ash Grey and White. I thought the ashtray look suited these chaps.

Here's a rundown on the other participants in this year's Monster May(hem):

The Good Ground's Tom has painted a very unsettling creature called Siren Head, as well as an excellent Red Slaad.

Dave from Wargames Terrain Workshop has made and painted a joopa from Star Wars Rebels to go with his homemade krayt dragon from The Mandalorian.

Keith, the dark prince who invented this cavalcade of horror, painted a superb Ripper Beast.

Jeremy at Carrion Crow has made a start on Ithaqua the Wind-Walker despite being hampered by dried paint.

Roger from Rantings from Under the Wargames Table has got stuck in with a couple of sabre tooth tigers.

Mark of Markamorin.com has built and painted an absolutely superb Aztec sacrificial altar.

Azazel from Azazel’s Bitz Box has added to his Umber Hulk and Coral Golem with a wonderful Sand Kraken.

Mike, who's on Instagram @sasquatchminis


  1. For gods sake man will you slow down!!, you don't have to paint all the entries for Monster May(hem) yourself you know, let the rest of us do a couple too (LOL). You have become a monster painting machine the last few week, I can't keep up. I like to say that you are choosing speed over quality but even that's not true as everything is perfectly pigmented too, the blending is sublime on this piece, and I was struck by what a perfect monster this would be in a Godzilla game too (though not in 28mm of course).

    You are absolutely nailing this challenge mate!

    Cheers Roger.

    1. Thanks, Roger! I'm certainly not trying to show off or anything, I just wanted to get them done and Monster May(hem) was the perfect opportunity/excuse. I'm really enjoying painting them (well, not so much the cultists but you'll find out why). It's also fun to work on such large models when I'm more used to inch-tall humans :-)

      Thanks for the compliments on these two, I'm well happy with them although I wish the colours were a bit more vibrant, and that I could paint flames. I am very pleased with how well the airbrushing went and I want to use it a lot more, it's just a shame about cleaning the damn thing out when you want to change colours.

  2. Love all the colour choices you've done on these Matt, we just need to find away for you to do flames that you're happy with, will have a think on it for you

    1. Cheers, Dave, and despite me looking up tutorials on painting those flames I keep buggering them up. Thankfully there are no more to paint!

  3. Yeah. What Roger and Dave said.
    I love these, both the sculpts and your paint!
    As far as flames go, I paint them in reverse…in other words, highlight backwards. Start with white, qthen add yellow, then orange, then red at the very tips of the flames; finally just a dot of black on the points. Fire burns hottest at the middle, after all. It goes against everything they teach you at miniature painting school, but it works for me!

    1. Thanks, Keith! Good advice about the flames, I'll have to give it a go if I ever get another fire-breathing monster!

  4. Ooh, these look very nice. I like how there is clearly a flame effect going on with these but they also look sickly. That makes them a perfect fit into Lovecraft's world!

    1. Thanks! They really do look like cosmic horrors, CMON did a great job with their concept for this monster.

  5. Awesome stuff, Matt. Just the sort of blending I desperately try to steer clear of as I'm utterly useless at it, LOL!!! But you've absolutely nailed it. Personally, I really like your flames too. Its crystal clear what they are supposed to be and on the tabletop that's all you arguably need, imho.

    1. Thank you! This was my first attempt at blending (whether with brush or airbrush) and I'm happy with it. Even the drybrushing helps with the blending of the red/orange/yellow, probably because I actually took my time with it for once LOL!