Project Hippogriff


This book cover was to be the model for the hippogriff. It's called Hiinokka in the Finnish translation, I have no idea what the original name is. My 7-year old daughter Saara has recently take a liking to Harry Potter. We were reading the third book where Harry gets to ride a hippogriff, Hiinokka (I have absolutely no idea what it's called in the English edition), when I got the idea that it would be neat to do a Hippogriff for her as a Christmas present. I have occasionally done some things like this as presents, but by and large people don't really appreciate the work that goes into assembling and painting a miniature.

This is the story of the Hippogriff project.


This is the old Marauder/Citadel hippogriff I got for the project. Gotta love TMP community - there's always someone to help you out even with the strangest of requests. First, I needed to obtain a suitable model. For some reason, it seems that the griffon (green or otherwise) is a more common subject for gaming miniatures. Perhaps the manufacturers have taken the medieval wisdom about the difficulty of mating griffons with horses a little too literally? I found a few examples, but they weren't really to my liking, so I turned to The Miniatures Page.

Soon, a helpful fellow offered to trade an old Marauder Miniatures Hippogriff. A week later, I was the proud owner of this miniture.


The joints are hidden with greenstuff. Excellent miniature. Good old time Citadel quality, hardly any mold lines and none of that modern hard non-lead pewter crap. The figure was very easy to clean up, but unfortunately the fit of the parts was a bit off.

I have never used greenstuff before, but this seemed like a good application for it. I mixed the putty and stuffed the gaps in the joints with it. After they were filled, I tried to recreate the fur texture with a toothpick. In retrospective, and finer modeling tool would have been better, but the overall result was okay.


The seams are nicely invisible. Starting from a neutral gray primer, I turned to my little-used collection of Vallejo colors. This would be a subject that would benefit from a good selection of different shades of brown, and the Vallejos fit the bill perfectly, even though I usually don't use them all that much.

Picked a dark reddish brown mahogany color for the horseflesh, and lighter sandy shade for the tail and the furry bits. Put that on in a pretty standard basecoat, washed with brown ink and drybrushed the highlights on before tackling the real eyecatcher in a model like this -- the wings.

I definitely wanted multi-colored wings. I tried googling for some reference pictures, but couldn't find a nice view of a wingspan I wanted to paint. So I modeled the big black-tipped feathers after pictures of indian headdresses, while I chose two successive tones of brown for the smaller feathers.

Starting work on the wings. I left the middle feathers unpainted at first so I could apply two washes at the same time without risking getting them intermixed. Sandy brown and white, washed with brown and light grey respectively. When that dry, I did the middle feathers in a mid-brown color and picked out the feather tips in black.

The washes brought out the feather detail pretty nicely but I added some highlighting anyway. Not really necessary, you're unlikely to notice the effect from over three inches away.

I chose white for the head, but unfortunately it didn't come out that well. Then just the beak, tongue and some minor detailing and corrections and the noble beast was ready for varnishing.

Display Mounting

I'll try to make this old jar into the base. Clearly, the standard cavalry slottabase would not do for this one. I dug in my bits box and came up with an old hand cream jar. This would become the new base for the hippogriff. Originally, the beast was posed to be on the ground, but I thought I'd try to turn it into a flying pose, as that'd be far more dramatic.

The first thing was to remove the tabs on the feet. I cut and filed those off and painted the bare spots, including painting fake pads on the foreleg. At this point I realised the Morrisons had failed their Mythical Animals 101: The hippogriff is supposed to have bird claws for forefeet, not the paws this model has. Oh well, too late to get another model...

Then I prepared a batch of Primodur 100 and poured it in. This would serve the double purpose of locking the wire in place and adding weight to the base. Primodur is pretty dense stuff, so the base weighs a lot more than the model, which is good for stability. Then I tackled the base. Primed it and sprayed it dark purple, as I just happened to have that color lying about. Then I grabbed a length of 2mm wire and bent it into a spiral. Inserted the spiral end into the jar, mixed a batch of Primodur 100 and poured that in. Primodur is pretty dense, so this would fix the wire in place and also serve as a counterweight to balance the weight of the figure. In fact, the base weighs more than the figure, so there are no outstanding stability issues.

After that, it was just a case of drilling a hole in the jar lid and the hippogriff and epoxying the whole thing together.

The Finished Model

Here's the finished model. I'm pretty pleased with despite the fact that Finnish Defence Forces decided I should take a week off to practice my Axe/Mace skills, seriously cutting into the available painting time.

Incidentally, I did this model almost entirely in Vallejo colors, something I usually don't do. The obligatory overhead view. I really did intend to paint it like a real eagle, but I couldn't find a good reference picture I really liked so this is really something I just cooked up.
Ok, so the pose is not really that great for flying... I'm not really happy with the head. The highlights are not deep enough.

More pictures of these figures.

The Results

In a normal situation, I would have called the previous section the results. However, in this case the real objective was not to produce a high-quality miniature. Or even a passable quality one, as is more likely in my case.

The real objective was to make a little girl happy.

One happy camper.

I guess the picture speaks for itself.

Sucks! (8) Sucks by 8 votes Rocks by 44 votes (44) Rocks!


Hi Makkon guest Dec 28, 2005 11:35

Looks excellent, glad it has been put to good use.


Great Work guest Dec 28, 2005 20:57

I enjoy reading about your color choices and how you put it all together. Congratulations on a fine finished piece that achieved the desired result.

By the way, in English, the hippogriff's name is Buckbeak.

great guest Apr 25, 2006 03:35

that was not good one sorry

not good guest Apr 25, 2006 03:35

that was ugly sorry i did not like it

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