Monday, December 23, 2013

Large Fire Elemental: Figure 55 of 265

This week I wrapped up a project that I have been working on for a while now; the Large Fire Elemental from the Fire it Up set. It also is marks my completetion of the Fire it Up set.   Ever since I saw the illuminated samples Reaper had on display at their booth at Historicon, I have been thinking about how to do this myself.  The one thing I didn't like about the ones I saw at  Historicon was the tealight bases, which to my tastes were too tall, and in the case of the Large Fire Elemental, too small in diameter for such a big figure.
    So, since last Summer I had been thinking about a way to solve the problems I had with the look of the tealight base.  I bought a pack of cheap dollar store tealights, and began to play around them.  The first step I tried was to remove the cover from one of the tealights. This was easily accomplished with the tip of a hobby knife blade inserted in between the base and cover of the light.  This solved the height problem, but not the base size problem.  So I began to ponder ways to expand the base. At first I wanted to use a metal washer, since all my other figures are mounted on washers, but I resigned myself to the fact there was just no way I could use one that I could think of, and still have access to the switch underneath the light.  So I next look at plastic bases.  I pulled out a large 2.5 inch base I had in my bits box and got the idea of cutting out a circle in the center for the tealight base to fit into.  By clipping off the three tiny pegs that act like feet on the bottom of the tealight, the tealight base was a perfect fit for under the large plastic base.
   The figure would still not be able to sit flush with the black plastic figure base, but instead would be elevated about a quarter of an inch above it.  I felt this was an acceptable amount, and I could build up a small mound with Milliput around the tealight base for the figure to 'sit' on.
I now set about working on my plan.  First, I did my usual prep to the figure of soaking it overnight in some dish soap and water.   Then, I cut a rough circle in the plastic base.  I only needed it large enough for the light itself, the battery compartment, and the switch mechanism to fit through. I then drilled a hole up into the underside of the figure.  I tried to go as far up as I could without risking poking though the figure.
The next step was to glue the base of the tealight up under the black plastic figure base.  I used E-6000 glue for this.
When dry, I then glued the figure over the light, to the top of the bulb-holder/battery compartment.  You'll notice in the photo below that I had to glue a little section of popsicle stick between the figure and the switch compartment, as without the light's outer housing the switch is not held firmly in place, and this bit of wood, would act as a cover to the switch holder, and prevent the switch from popping out.
I as now ready to build my Milliput mound around the tealight base to hide it, but I was concerned about getting the putty into the switch and other small openings in the tealight base.  To fix this I found a small plastic lid I had, and cut it down so it made a nice little housing around the switch.  I also glued some bits of cardstock around the tealight base to cover any small openings that the Milliput might get into.
My last step of construction was to build up a mound around the tealight base using Milliput, that would look like a rise in the ground the Elemental was standing on.
I masked the figure with a bit of masking tape and newspaper, and sprayed the base with flat black spray paint.  For the figure, I used the same paint scheme that I had used on the Medium Fire Elemental last week.   I began by giving the outer edges of the figure, the base, body, and upper arms, a drybrushing with Apple Barrel "Apple Maroon", and then just inside this, working my way towards the center, and down towards the bottom of the base, I gave it a dry brushing with GW "Blood Red"
Next I did the oranges, doing a drybrush with GW "Blazing Orange" first, again painting just inside the previous color. And then I  did a drybrush with Americana "Tangerine"
Now I moved to the yellows. I did a drybrush in the center of the body, around the bottom of the base, the face,  bottoms of the arms, and the center of the fireball hands, with GW "Golden Yellow. This was followed by a drybrushing with Apple barrel "Yellow"
 My final steps was to add heat highlights with Apple Barrel "Lemon Chiffon"  to the very bottom of the figure, the center of its "torso" , the face, and the hands.   Then I added a bit of white to the "Lemon Chiffon"" ,and did some small pinpoint highlights on the parts I mentioned above. I didn't like the fact that this figure had no face, so I gave it some eyes by painting on two smudgy black eye shapes, and then painting inside these with the "Lemon Chiffon" with some white highlights.  I also did a mount with a "Lemon Chiffon"and white mix. When all was dry I painted the figure with Ceramcoat "Matte Varnish", and then flocked the base.  I used a bit of dried coffee around the base of the Elemental  to represent singed grass, and when the flocking was dry I gave the immediate area around her feet a light drybrushing with black to make it look like burnt grass.  Finally, I gave the figure a coat of Testor's "Dullcote" spray paint.
The figure as it appears with the tealight turned off.

Photographed in a darkened room with the tealight turned on.

Photographed in a lit room with the tealight turned on.
Below is a short video of the figure to show you the flickering effect of the tealight.
I'm really pleased with how this figure turned out.  It was a fun project to complete, and makes a nice novelty figure on the table.

Figure 55 of 265: Complete


  1. I was toying with the possibility of doing something like that myself, but likely would never have got around to it. Great work.

  2. How do you switch in on and off? Is the switch hidden somewhere?

    1. I did not mention how awsome this mini is since the pictures speak for themselves...

    2. Thank you. Yes, there is a small switch built into the bottom of the tealight, which is glued to the black plastic base. Simply pick the figure up and slide the switch, located underneath the base, to turn it on and off.

  3. This is a great idea and thank you for the step-by-step tutorial.

    I'll have to try something like this one day.


    1. Thanks, and you're welcome! It is a fun project to do.