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!

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Before There Was Lead, There Was Plastic

Monogram LogoRevell Logo

Wait, what? That makes no sense. Well, it does when we are talking about what I did BEFORE I started collecting lead miniatures. And that was building plastic model kits! I loved building WWII models of all types and scales, although I seemed to prefer 1/72 tanks and 1/72 and 1/48 airplanes.

My mom brought over an old picture (my kingdom for a scanner!) that showed a wall of new kits I received one fabulous Christmas from days gone by. It really brought back great memories of time spent huddled over my workbench, poring over instructions, and trying my best to stick together all the right parts with the heady scent of Testors plastic cement filling the air. Good times!

There were three Revell kits and three Monogram kits in said picture, and they are as follows:

1/72 Revell Nieuport 28 (Collector's Choice)
1/72 Revell Focke Wolf 190A (Collector's Choice)
1/32 Revell Ju 87B Stuka (H-298:300)
1/48 Monogram P-38 Lightning (6848)
1/48 Monogram TBD-1 Devastator (7575)
1/48 Monogram B-26 Invader (6818)

The Collector's Choice kits let you build an airplane in one of three different schemes. MPC also did the same with their Profile Series, if I recall correctly. The Monogram kits were all big, solid, excellent models. I can still picture the gloss yellow enamel paint on the folding (?) wings of the Devastator. And the was huge! It had to be one of my first 1/32 kits. The massive snake decal on the side of the fuselage really set it apart from just about anything I recall building.

Sadly, most of my models fell into disrepair (after literally falling - I used to hang some of them from my ceiling, with varying degree of success) and were sent to the battlefield. The battlefield was around the exterior perimeter of the house, where famous battles were re-created, complete with special effects. OK, so I was limited to firecrackers and gasoline, but it was enough to blow apart and melt hours and hours of work in a matter of minutes, if not seconds. My parents would unearth bits of plastic or blobs of melted plastic in the years after I stopped the carnage. Fun 'til the very end, I guess.

Makes me want to go out and buy a bunch of Tamiya 1/35 tanks! I would, but I have too much lead to paint...

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Grenadier Special #1 - The Giant Dragon

In case you've been looking for Grenadier's Special #1, The Giant Dragon - one is currently up for grabs on eBay. If you want it, it's going to cost you at least $201 USD (current price as of 5/15, with three and a half days left). Good luck if you happen to join the bidding for that monster!

Speaking of Grenadier's Battling Behemoths (that's what it says on the packaging), I paid a paltry $22.84 for my Giant Griffon (Special #2), compared to $233.50 for the only other example I remember seeing. Sometimes it pays to be lucky, no?

My son needs some shelves to display his growing collection, so I bought some 1x6 pine boards and have been busy cutting, assembling, and staining them into completion. I should have that up by this weekend, and I'll post some pics when that happens.

And I've finally dusted off my brushes and started painting again. I'm working on a small gaggle of mostly Reaper giants, ogres, and trolls, along with a few other nearly-complete projects. I hope to have pics of those completed pieces in the very near future! Wish me luck.

Friday 5/17 Update: Aaaand with a day and a half to go, the aforementioned dragon is now up to $257.55! The current high bidder seems VERY determined to stay on top. Good luck to him/her.

Sunday 5/19 Update: WOW! I woke up this morning and found that the dragon jumped from $257.55 to a winning bid of $460.55 - I figured it would probably top $300, but I guess a couple of folks really wanted this one. Congrats to the winner.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

You Are Attacked By An...Umber Flayer? Mind Hulk?

Every now and then, a reader or fellow eBayer will ask me to identify some random hunk of lead. I'm always happy to oblige, and I like to think that most of the time I can help ID the mini in question. Sometimes, of course, I get stumped. This time, however, I was pleased to be able to determine the genetic makeup of this abomination, shared with us courtesy of Prestigen.

 "You are one UGLY motherf..."

As soon as I looked at the picture, I knew it was the Tomb of Spells Umber Hulk from Grenadier. At least the main body, that is. I had to sit and look at the head for a couple of minutes, and then the light bulb floating above my head fizzled to life and I realized it was not a head, but a creature! Specifically, the Octopoid Alien Trooper from Heritage's Galacta 25 line. Fortunately for any potential victims, the laser has been neatly cut away. Some extra tissue/muscle has been added to the torso and arms.

Shake that tail!

You can see that a tail has been added and some bulk added to the arms, along with the area where the head was grafted on. Overall, it makes for a pretty imposing and fearsome foe. To me, it has more of a slimy, loathsome Call of Cthulhu look to it, but perhaps the creator was thinking more like "I need a mind flayer that can tunnel through solid rock." Either way, it's neat to see the end result of someone's imagination.

Look ma, they followed me home. Can I keep them?

And for reference, the obligatory group shot. That's Grenadier's Umberbulk (Fantasy Lords 135) on the left and Ral Partha's AD&D Umber Hulk (11-404) on the right. Presitgen tells me he intends to keep this critter intact, which is what I would do as well. With any luck, Prestigen is a DM (sorry, any GM is a DM by default to me) and will be able to trot out this bad boy on his players. Nothing induces panic like a creature that is not readily identifiable by the players! Thanks again to Prestigen for sharing his pics.