I’m planning a game session for my kids where I want to have a lot of ants, spiders, and other creepy crawly creatures for them to fight. While I own a lot of Dungeons and Dragons miniatures, I don’t have enough figures of these types, and so I’ve been keeping my eye out for a cheap way to populate the dungeon tiles a bit more.
On a recent vacation I stumbled upon a bag labeled Party Favors containing a dozen plastic spiders for 99 cents, and I knew they’d be perfect for my gaming needs. In fact, I like them so much that as I write this, I’m wishing I’d bought more than 1 bag, especially since there were actually 4 slightly different varieties of spider in a single bag. The variations are minor, but easy enough to see on the table so I could create a different stat card for each type of spider to add a little variety to the combat.
While I could easily just lay these spiders right on the table and not be confused about which squares the figures occupied, I decided I wanted to be a little more official about them and add bases. I tossed around ideas about what to use for a base. I didn’t have any plastic bases for miniatures, so I took a little shopping trip and came home with some washers from the hardware aisle at Wal Mart, and some wooden disks from an arts and crafts store. While either of them would have worked, neither one was quite what i wanted. As I was thinking about it, I saw my daughter’s box of poker chips.** While the size of the chips falls in between a medium and large base, it seemed a nice fit, so I grabbed a dozen of the white chips from her box.
I set up to spray paint the chips black, but my paint was old, so I dug out a bottle of black acrylic craft paint and a foam brush and painted the chips. While the painting was quick, I let it dry between steps, so it took one evening, and another morning to complete. Once the paint was dry, I glued the spiders to the black chips with Crazy Glue, and I am now the proud owner of 12 large spiders for a cost of under $3. Combined with some spiders from the official miniatures releases I should be able to send out enough spiders to give my children a nightmare or two, though I expect my son will be grinning when I set them on the table.
I’ve put some more photos of the process, and the finished miniatures up on flickr, so click here for some additional pictures. Now I just need to find a bag of plastic ants to go with them.
** No, my daughter doesn’t play poker, she just likes to stack up the different colors. She does however play a mean game of Dog Eat Hot Dog.