This blog is about the world of gaming miniatures, as seen from my perspective. I've been collecting and painting for over 30 years now, and while my primary focus is miniatures for D&D, I also enjoy many other games that use minis, so we'll be covering those as well. Thanks for stopping by!

Friday, January 27, 2017

Forgotten Realms Campaign - End of An Era

A couple of weeks ago, The Dudes traveled to New Orleans to celebrate my 50th birthday in grand fashion. We lodged in a house that was the definition of character (see it here on airbnb) and was within walking distance of the French Quarter, although Uber rides were cheap and convenient. For touristy stuff, we did the airboat ride (Airboat Adventures) and visited the National WWII Museum. Thursday night was our big bar-hopping night, where we started off with a great dinner at Cafe Amelie and then hit 3-4 bars to listen to live music and partake of adult beverages. Best venue of the evening had to be The Maison, where we were treated to a rollicking set by Dysfunktional Bone.

We had a slow start to our Friday, but hey, we were on vacation. We decided to get started on our adventure, which involved us traveling to the Astral Plane to seek out and destroy the Lich Queen of the Githyanki. Real ho-hum stuff, right? OK, so let me back up and do some 'splaining. We rolled these characters up back in 2009. Yep, you read that right, 2009 - this party has been rolling for eight years! Of course, we only play a handful of times each year due to the fact four of us live here in Washington and the other two down the coast in California.

Between levels 1 and 20, we managed to end up quite high on the Red Wizards of Thay shit list. Oh, there were others too, but we had a full-blown Hatfields vs McCoys going on with the Thayans. They would stalk us, ambush and harass us, and we would repay the favor with forays into Thay, raid their caravans, and finally end up part of a massive drow raid that descended upon Thaymount and did major damage to the leadership caste. I think they might be holding a grudge for that escapade.

And then strangely enough, an emissary from the Red Wizards reached out to us because they wanted our help. Wait, what? Faster than you can channel your inner Adm. Ackbar (It's a trap!), we learned that Szass Tam, the Grand High Poobah of the Red Wizards, was scheming with the Lich Queen of the Githyanki to launch some sort of coordinated strike against Faerun. The other zulkirs weren't too keen on this solo endeavour by Tam, so they thought enlisting us (and the Red Sword) would put a stop to the plans without betraying themselves to Tam.

So that's how we ended up on the Astral Plane inside the Lich Queen's palace, fighting powerful Githyanki, gith/dragon hybrids, a legless Githyanki warlock, a two-headed red dragon (!), the Lich Queen herself, and some guy named Szass Tam. I'm pleased to report we were able to vanquish our foes in what was some of our best gaming to date. At least it was great, right up until the point where Szass appeared. We failed to destroy him (and yes, we had his phylactery) and my wizard/archmage Garrity was snuffed out by a Sphere of Annihilation. Luckily, our resourceful son of Moradin was able to do some of that cleric shit and bring me back. So Tam escapes and lives to scheme another day, but we did destroy the Lich Queen (permanently) and thwart Tam's plans of conquest.

What next? Well, for all intents and purposes, our high-level campaign is over. Ned reserves the right to continue this campaign down the road, but for now we are already looking ahead to starting over. I've compiled a small stack of character templates so once we determine our ability scores and hash out who plays what this time around, I'll be good to go. And I have a pretty good idea of what I'm going to play this time around - a class I've never played before! Should be fun.

I'm sure Ned could write a dissertation on running high/epic level campaigns, but we would all agree that 20th level encounters take much, much longer. Buffs, immunities, SR, dispells, counterspells, the list goes on and on. I'll write my own thesis on the archmage sometime, but his high arcana abilities were very flexible and a lot of fun to use. Huge thanks to Ned for all the time and sweat he expended on the campaign, and for putting up with all the shit and shenanigans we put him through.

Of course the best part of the campaign is simply spending time with my best friends. We've rolled a lot of bones, drank a lot of beers, gave each other copious amounts of shit, and I love them like brothers. Wouldn't have it any other way.

PS - phylactery is apparently a hard word to pronounce for most of my party. And since they know me all too well, even if they wanted to pronounce it correctly, they butchered it just to stick it to me. Dickheads.

Monday, December 19, 2016

Grenadier's TSR Lizardman Logo Mini - SOLD!!!

$2,605.00 (USD). Two thousand six hundred and five dollars. That's what some deep-pocketed collector shelled out tonight to own this miniature:

(photo credit: Paul Stormberg)
Grenadier produced a small handful of these lizardman minis in 1977 and gave them to some TSR employees when they were attempting to secure the rights to produce official AD&D minis. This is what Paul Stormberg of The Collector's Trove has to say about it:

"According to Jeff Leason this miniature was a promotional figure given to the very few employees at TSR in 1977 to curry favor with the company and get the lucrative miniatures license from TSR. The rest is history, as Grenadier went on to create some of the most memorable miniatures as part of their Official Advanced Dungeons & Dragons line. Occasionally, spare copies would show up in The Dungeon! Hobby Shop.

The Lizardman Logo miniature for TSR was copied from an illustration inside the front cover of D&D Supplement I: Greyhawk by Greg Bell. The miniature is very exacting in detail and is a virtual copy of the original drawing. Clearly an effort by the Grenadier sculptor to show off his talent and win the license for his company. Amazing!

The Lizard Man is 70mm tall to the top of the weapon and 55mm from head to toe! The bottom is engraved, "TSR Lizzard Man ©1977".

The only other times I have seen this miniature at auction was in 2004, when The Collector's Trove ran it's first auction for Dave Sutherland III, and then again in 2007 when The Collector's Trove ran an auction for TSR employee Kevin Hendryx. However, this is the first time I have ever seen this miniature for auction where it is still in it's original packaging!

A piece of gaming history! Don't let this one slip away this miniature is a true crown jewel for the serious TSR and miniature collector!

This item comes from personal collection of Jeff Leason!"

So there you have it, a miniature that actually deserves to be tagged as rare. This makes three copies that have been sold by Paul (all from former TSR employees), and I have seen three more owned by Acaeum members (two collectors, and one former TSR employee). I wonder how many others might be sitting around gathering dust or hidden away in a box somewhere?

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Something old and something new!

It's been forever and a day since I last posted (August, if you're keeping track). But I've been busy in the past couple of weeks, painting some Christmas miniatures and assembling a piece of movie heavy metal (I'll go into those topics in the near future).

First, something old: Today I received my 54mm Wandering Shaman by Broadsword Miniatures. I was eyeing some Broadsword giants that had been on eBay, but ended up with the Shaman. It was only $22.46, which is about the same as an Otherworld giant (the 28mm ones, not THE Otherworld Giant).

The first thing I thought of when I saw the Shaman was Allanon the druid from the Shannara books. I think it would be too easy to paint up the Shaman as a wizard or necromancer, but I'm thinking dark and subdued earthy tones would look great. And if I'm feeling really ambitious (ha!) I could even take a stab at a monochromatic scheme.

Moving on to something new: I finally have some Otherworld giants! These have been on my wish list pretty much since they were released, but the prices have kept me at bay. But the good people over at Northumbrian Tin Soldier are clearing out their Otherworld stock at 50% off, so how could I NOT finally buy some giants? I picked up the Giant Alliance (Hill, Stone, Frost, Fire), a Cloud Giant, and a Carcass Scavenger (carrion crawler) for $76.11 USD including shipping from the UK.

It looks like the giants are all gone, but there are still some Otherworld bargains to be had at NTS. Oh, and if you are a fan of the movie Time Bandits, check out the Time Robbers line of minis. "Mom, dad, don't touch it! It's evil!!!"

This haul brings my Otherworld collection up to 8 now. 5 giants, a carcass scavenger, a gelatinous cube, and a purple worm.

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Wingnut Wings 1/32 Scale WWI Aircraft from Weta Workshop

If you like large-scale (1/32nd) World War I military aircraft models, you might want to check out Weta Workshop's lineup under the Wingnut Wings brand (yes, it is owned by Peter Jackson, who is a scale modeler and fan of WWI aircraft, go figure).

I built more than a few WWI fighters when I was young, all in 1/72 scale. They all met glorious pyrotechnic ends, crashing and burning (with gasoline-fueled assistance) and sometimes exploding (thanks to firecrackers) when I deemed them at the end of their shelf life (missing pieces or otherwise broken beyond salvaging).

The Fokker D VII was always a favorite of mine, especially in the crazy lozenge camo scheme:

But I thought the Albatros D.Va was even sexier, with the graceful flowing lines:

So if I was going to drop some bills on a Wingnut Wings kit, it would no doubt be their D.Va:

I currently have way too many unbuilt kits sitting around to justify picking up one of these, but who knows, one day I may cave in to temptation if the price is right.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

The Fantastic Worlds of Grenadier is back!

A Kickstarter for the revised print edition of The Fantastic Worlds of Grenadier by Terence Gunn has gone live!

If you are a Grenadier collector and missed out on the original print edition, now is your chance to pick up a copy for only $35 (USD). And even if Grenadier isn't you focus, I'm pretty sure most miniature enthusiasts would be happy to own this book.

Best wishes to Terence for a successful KS campaign!

Friday, May 27, 2016

Reaper Marsh Troll (2609) by Bob Olley

This Reaper Marsh Troll is another great example of why I love painting Reaper minis. There are  always a couple of details that reach out and grab you, even if at first glance it looks somewhat pedestrian. Let me explain: OK, we have a troll moving through a swamp. He's not running, attacking, roaring, or anything dynamic. He looks like he's moving with a purpose, looking ahead, and not necessarily looking for trouble.

But check out the fish he's carrying! When I first saw it, I pictured a large, colorful Asian-style carp, and pretty much knew that would be my chance to add some color to a mini that has a decidedly monochrome look about it. The troll's claws/nails are brighter than the rest of his body, pretty much the only contrast on the troll. So I went with vibrant reds, oranges, and purple on the carp. There's even a bit of gold on it that doesn't really show up in the pictures, but it's there. And I used some nice light greens on the base to add a bit more color as well.

Here's a closeup of his face. I thought about giving him some black hair, or even bright green, but in the end decided against it, if only to stay consistent with his overall look.

Have a great weekend!

Monday, May 23, 2016

Grenadier Giant's Club Fire Giant (3501)

This is the third fire giant I painted a few months ago, and also happens to be the third Giant's Club giant I have finished in my ongoing project of painting all the GC giants. Not very pleased with some of the color choices in hindsight, specifically the green and blue patches on the pants, as well as the green trim on the shield. Probably should have gone with some more neutral colors on the pants, and maybe red or yellow on the shield trim. Ah well, he's done and I'm happy.

And here is the group shot of my completed Giant's Club giants to date:

I can't say that I'm too crazy about the fire giant's pose. It's like he's taking a leisurely stroll through The Hall of the Fire Giant King or something, sword casually resting on his shoulder. Oh well, I guess even giants get a day off every now and then.