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!

Monday, October 9, 2017

Superior Models 1/108th scale Tanks and AFVs

After several years of searching, I finally secured a couple of WWII Russian tanks from Superior Models. They are 1/108th scale (1 inch = 9 feet) so pretty much 15mm (which is 1/107th scale). They go back a long way, originally created under the Comet brand during WWII as identification models for the U.S. military. Comet sold the molds to Superior in 1962, and then Superior sold them to Custom Cast sometime in the 1970s. Quality Castings picked them up in the 1980s, and sold them to 19th Century Miniatures in 2002. Whew! You can still buy them from 19th Century here, but they are newer, refined versions of the original castings. Plus you can also buy post-WWII AFVs if that's more your speed.

First up is the KV-1b (5200). The T-34 usually gets all the attention when it comes to WWII Soviet tanks, due to many factors: ease of production, speed, armor, and firepower. Early on, the KV-1 was more than a match for the German light and medium tanks with their small caliber and short-barreled main guns. In the end, the T-34s advantages (half the weight, twice the speed, same or better main gun, lower cost) doomed the KV series. But they served their roles well, and should not be overlooked.


Next is the T-34/85 (5206), which was very poorly packed for mailing and did not arrive intact, with only a small piece of the main gun barrel rattling around in the box. I'm going to attempt field repairs in my depot and replace the missing barrel with small brass tubing. I'll post that as a follow-up once it happens. When the Soviets upgraded the main gun from 76mm to 85mm, the T-34s could now engage Tigers and Panthers from the front with an increased chance for success. The German tanks still had the advantage of range, but if you have the numbers, speed, and maneuverability of the T-34, you can close the gap and overwhelm your foe.


And this is what they look like side-by-side. I'll have to dig through the lead pile for some Heritage Panzertroops 15mm tanks and take a comparison shot.


Background information was obtained from the following sources:
Alnavco's History of Superior Models (PDF)
87thscaleinfo's Authenticast page (has the Superior product list and codes)
TMP's info pages (Comet, Superior, Custom Cast, Quality Castings, 19th Century Miniatures)
19th Century Miniatures (their Quality Castings 15mm AFVs)

Saturday, June 17, 2017

New FR Campaign = New Characters to Paint!

In my last post, we wrapped up our long-running FR campaign. A brand-new FR campaign is spooling up, which means I get to pick and paint a new batch of characters for us to field against the DM's never-ending hordes of monsters. Once again, I'm going with Reaper minis to represent our band of intrepid explorers. Our new adventuring party consists of a druid, fighter, cleric, sorcerer, and a rogue. Here's some WIP pics, and my apologies for the quality. They are quick snaps from my phone.
with flash
no flash
My druid is the first 3E/3.5 tree-hugger since we started playing this ruleset. I can't recall the last time anyone played a druid, so I'm pretty sure we're talking way back in our 2E days. I'm really looking forward to this! At first I was going with 03484 Karlov Diedrich, Wizard because he just looks like a druid to me. I ended up choosing 03201 Damian Helthorne, Bandit because my druid serves Mielikki, and her druids are allowed to use the same weapons and armor available to rangers. So yeah, he looks more like a ranger than a druid, but that's my aim. Oh, and he's Aasimar, just to be different.

Dino is playing a human fighter, so I picked 03317 Kale Nolan, Heroic Warrior for him. He's been sitting on the lead pile, based and primed, because I knew I would use him sooner or later. His skin is too yellowish right now, but I'll work on that. Don't want him to look like a pirate with scurvy!

Matt is the medic this time, and 03365 Argonnite, Elf Cleric will be his half-drow cleric. I love the fact that Argonnite came with a weapons sprue so you could choose from a sword, mace, or bow. Maybe I'll stick a small spider on the base, just to remind him Lolth is not happy about a male half-drow cleric running around.

Steve wins the Best Prepared Dude Award for this campaign. Not only did he pick out and purchase 03381 Satheras, Elf Warlock on his own, he even told me he wants me to paint his sorcerer in a more neutral palette. That foiled my plans to paint him up in lovely shades of lavender and salmon.

The rogue pictured is 03062 Darnath, Male Elf Thief. That was before Craig decided his rogue is going to be a gnome, so I narrowed my choices down to 02959 Marius Burrowell, Gnome Thief or 03099 Klaus Copperthumb, Dwarf Thief. Klaus just arrived in the mail yesterday, so he'll be getting based and primed this weekend.

Oh, and I'm also working on some critters for Ned! Don't want the DM to feel left out. I'll post those WIPs next time.

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!