I’m going to apologize real quick for the abysmal quality of the pictures in this post, especially since we have a whole series on taking good pictures of miniatures. Real life has been busy, and I haven’t had the time to properly set up shots.
Normally, when it comes to monster minis, I’m a “close enough” kind of guy. I don’t have the kind of cash required to obtain the perfect miniatures for every combat. However, this year I spent most of Gencon judging for Living Forgotten Realms, and I wanted to give players the best play experience possible. I spent a small sum of money over at Troll and Toad and on eBay buying appropriate minis for all the combats in my assigned adventures. Except for one. There was this one monster that was so expensive, I couldn’t bring myself to lay out the cash to buy it. The Beholder. At $25 and up for a single mini, its price point is right up there with the dragon minis. I wasn’t ready to pay that for a single mini. So I just made my own. And now you can too.
- A paperclip
- Some sort of base (I use wooden discs found in the wood crafts section of my craft store)
- A superball (or a jumbo superball if you want a large beholder)
- Push pins (the kind with round heads)
- Miniature paints
Step 1: Paint the superball
I stuck the ball on the end of the paperclip to paint it. Dark brown, obviously. To paint the eye, I made a “smile” shape in white paint, then a black circle, and finally a red line down the middle of the circle. A mouth is optional, as you can see from the picture at the end of the post. I think it looks fine either way; in fact, the mouthless beholder may even look a little bit more creepy.
Step 2: Add the eyestalks
Push pins make perfect eyestalks. The round part at the top is your eyeball, and the metal pin takes paint just fine. You can even bend the pin for stalks flailing about in every direction. I will note that you could make nicer eyestalks with some sculpey and a bit of time and effort, but even a push pin all by itself looks pretty darn good. Paint the “eyes” white and add a black dot for a pupil. Paint the metal part of the pins the same brown as the rest of the beholder.
Step 3: Base the mini
I get packs of wooden discs from the craft store to use as bases. They come in 1 inch and 1 1/2 inch rounds, and I just hit them with some black mini primer before using them. Drill a hole in the center and glue a length of paperclip into it with wood glue. Cut the top of the paperclip at an angle so it pierces the superball easily. Then, stick the beholder on the paperclip. You’re done!
So, I’ll be the first to admit that this beholder is not as stunning as the D&D miniature. But your players will still know what it is, and I think it has a campy B-movie look to it that is kind of fun. And hey, you can’t beat $3!
Pictured below are the beholder I made for Gencon (the smaller one) and the beholder I made when I got home (the bigger one). I think the bigger one could use more eyestalks, and I should probably bend the stalks on the smaller one. I also like the smaller one’s eye better – red with a black pupil is definitely the way to go. All in all though, this was a really fun project!
How about you? Have you ever made a DIY miniature?