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!

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Lead Market Report, December 2015

Here's a present for under your blogging tree - the LMR, just in time for Christmas, Festivus, or whatever special day you choose to observe or ignore. Enjoy, and thanks for stopping by.

One of several umber hulks that changed hands this LMR, the Archive amber hulk ($18) is a decent representation of the venerable AD&D menace.

I have never heard of this outfit before, but I have heard of the sculptor listed on the packaging - Jason Wiebe. This lot of 15 minis sold for $22. If you take a look at the pictures shown here, you get to see what the final product looks like all painted up. Neat little goblin cannibals, each with a giant shield to hide behind.

Anytime you can score an ADD line monster mini for under $20, you are having a good shopping day. Take a look at this lich that sold for $8 and tell me how it isn't a good deal. And all you need is a wee bit of Green Stuff to make a new propeller for this rust monster's tail, a steal at $2.25 if you ask me. Three githyanki for under $30 is about average, at least from what I've seen. There was this batch of stirges and blink dogs (three blisters each) for $47.58. Judge Dredd fans bid this lot of 12 blisters up to $135.12, and the Star Trek crowd had their turn too, 4 ships for $22.38.

I hate passing up on C28 giants, especially ones with a weapon. This one sold for $24.55 (plus shipping from the UK) so I didn't bite.

The 40K folks typically drop serious cash for vintage Tyranids, especially Limited Releases like this Dominator and a trio of non-limited Genestealers. $84.08 was the final tally. And for the WHFB side, a nice-looking Ruglud's Armoured Orcs sold for $40.17.

This Groo the Wanderer cover dragon is kinda cute, and so is the low price of $11.11 (it sold on 11/28, not on 11/11). And there was this batch of 7 githyanki...I mean unholy...that sold for $57.

This snakelike creature is one of the four characters included in The Magic Shop kit. And at $4, that's a good price to fill a hole in your set or use it for a unique character in your game. Same goes for this $3 body in a pile of booty from the M8 Bodies & Booty blister. This lance most likely completed someone's kit, so I'm sure it was $5 well spent. It looks like there were two bidders who needed some claws for their D78 dragon, so that pushed the final price to $20.49.

Whenever I see a model of the Reliant, I am compelled to yell "Khaaaaaaannnnnnnn!!!" This FASA version was only $7.50.

This gold-plated wizard sold for less than the $100 asking price, exactly how much I don't know. I would have thought this still-in-shrink copy of Dragon Lords the Game would have sold for more than the $34.90 I paid for it, but hey, I'm happy it stayed under $40. The listing title on this box set cracked me up - Grenadier's Invisible Dragon - but maybe that was just me. I really thought $23.26 was a great price for the buyer. $20.50 for the Mounted Dragon Lords seems like a fair price for both parties. A missing Boromir helped keep this Fellowship set under $20, no doubt. I also like this pair of Dragons of The Month, $32.69 for both (complete with inserts AND gems).

Normally I salivate like one of Pavlov's hounds when I see a lot of Grenadier Giant's Club box sets, as I still need a couple of odds and ends to round out my collection. This time, though, I had to take a pass on this lot that sold for $82. Out of the 8 boxes, only 4 had giants in them, and out of those 4, only 2 (Frost and Forest) were complete. This Gamma World box was in fair shape, but contained zero Gamma World minis as far as I could see, so the $15.15 price tag was fair as well. This Teronus ($34) was complete with paperwork and all pieces. Shrink-wrapped Hirelings sold for $27.

I filled a hole in my Grenadier giant collection with the purchase of this $6 Undead Giant. And this Wizard's Magical Observatory was also bargain priced at $5.50 for what looks like a neat little dungeon dressing set. I'm not sure what this Umber Hulk is doing with his left hand (waving buh-bye? Fist bump?) but he sold for $8. For the collector who needs some MM inserts, I really thought this $12.99 lot was priced right, even with the guide included. A what? A pegacorn? Sure, why not. $10.50 and it's all yours. Might even make a half-decent proxy for a kirin.

Someone finally pulled the trigger and picked up this AD&D gold line poster. Makes me a little jealous, as I've been watching it for some time but sitting on my hands when it came to making an offer on it. I'm guessing this sword probably isn't Grenadier as noted in the listing, but it looked interesting so I added it to ye olde watch list. Hey, it was only $7.50 and it made someone happy.

I've always liked the DD ogre, with his bald head, massive belly, and heads hanging from his belt. And $8.01 is a fair price, so I should add one to my pile one of these days. And I've had a soft spot for the LOTR orcs, especially when you can get them for less than $2/mini and the condition looks great. Gollum Captured for $10.50 is a very nice price.

The final price on this lot ($203.50) really had me scratching my head. Was it the paperwork and maps for both Caverns of Doom and Crypt of the Sorcerer? I didn't see any other compelling reasons for the price to go so high.

I'm guessing the seller who I bought my copy of the Barsoomian Battle Manual must have unearthed a handful of these, as they have been selling them for the past month or so. The first one sold for $76, the next one (mine) for $34.59, and then one for $24.99 (starting price). There is another copy currently on the block, just FYI. If you needed a copy of Knights & Magick, but didn't need the box, this set was a serious bargain at $10.50. And this LOTR sell sheet (flyer) and catalog went for $35.56, not cheap but not outrageous.

I usually see Otherworld minis listed as BINs, so when some boxed sets popped up as auctions, I had to see how they fared. They went for a lot less than expected, which is good for you if you were a buyer: DAB1 Human Male Characters (retail $82) sold for $33; DAB2 Demi-human Male Characters (retail $67) sold for $31; DAB3 Female Characters (retail $74) sold for $30; DAB4 Henchmen & Hirelings (retail $82) sold for $41, and DD1a The Demon Idol Diorama Pack (retail $52) sold for $53. Interesting to see that henchmen and hirelings held a higher value than characters. Maybe it's harder to find good sculpts of hired help? And there was this batch of pig-faced orcs, 22 in all, that retails for about $5.50 per mini, or $121 for 22. It ended up selling for $93, about $30 off retail, and they looked painted up to a decent tabletop finish.

Some vintage gaming paints were available if that is your cup of tea. There were three sets from The Armory: GG-086 Silks-n-Satins sold for $5, GG-087 Silks-n-Satins sold for $5, and GG-093 Ancient Uniform Colors (such as Roman Red) sold for $5. And I picked up two sets of Polly S/Floquil paints because they were only $3 each: Basic Colors and Creature Colors. After I graduated from my beloved Testor's enamels, I purchased mini paints from Polly S, Humbrol, Ral Partha, etc. I still have most of my old Ral Partha paints, tucked away in a box somewhere.

This prolific Canadian eBayer sometimes has outrageous prices, and then sometimes starts big batches of auctions at .99 and usually does pretty well in the end. This Dracolich was $132.50, and the Birthright Abominations sold for $99. There were a few batches of 11-series blisters: the Peryton ($22.59), The Spider ($29), Drow II ($20.50), Sahaugin I ($20.50, $20.50, and $20) and Sahaugin II ($20). A small lot of loose 11-series monsters was sold for $36. Battletech collectors could have picked up a Heavy Lance box for $51.25. This large batch of newer RP sculpts was around $2.50 per blister, so not a bad price at all.

Stephen M. Tofano has sculpted alongside Tom Loback at DragonTooth, and with Ray Lamb at Superior Models/Perth Pewter. He had his own line of very cool demons, which I almost never see up for auction. So when this Raziel the Rainbow demon surfaced, not only did I have to watch it, I also needed to decide if I was going to bid or not. In this case, the lone bid at the starting price of $85 (not my bid) was the winner.

A couple more unreleased David C. Sutherland III sculpts hit the auction block, courtesy of The Collector's Trove. First up is a female elf fighter with sword and shield. According to the listing, only two dozen were cast, and this one tallied a cool $380. One possibility is that she might have been destined for one of the two unreleased TSR boxed sets, 5309 Champions or 5310 Experts. The other miniature was a Dragonlance Sivak that sold for $305. I'm guessing these must have been cast at the same time as the unreleased Sutherland Ogre I own, which also bears a hallmark of TSR 1984.

If you were looking to build up a warband, or resell some Chainmail and 3rd Edition minis, this was your lot. $135.31 was the winning bid to claim almost 100 sealed blisters and boxes, so you could even keep one of each for your own collection, resell the rest, and come out ahead.

This lot is great for collectors and resellers alike. 160 minis for less than $1 each, he shoots, he scores. Sticking with the about a buck a mini theme, there is this smaller lot that includes a Heritage frost giant for $66. Another modest lot with a giant is this one that sold for $70, and had a DragonTooth GI5 Horned Hill Giant that appeared to be missing his loot bag. This lot of 200+ minis went for less than $2/mini, still a decent price, but I just didn't see much in it that made me want to jump in on the action. And the Citadel ADD minis in this $78 lot grabbed my attention, but it was such a mixed bag of scales and genres (fantasy, historicals, micro armour, ships, etc) that I didn't go there. There was a decent amount of 11-series mixed in with this about a buck per mini lot, so not a bad find as far as bargains go. For about .50/mini, this lot was priced right, especially if you were after the smattering of Citadel stuff. Probably the best bargain lot was this one, a whopping $13.50 for 60+ minis, including at least three DragonTooth boar-headed tribesmen tucked in among the pedestrian Grenadier figures. I spotted a xorn in this 66 minis for $79 lot, so that was good for the buyer. I would have gladly paid $14.50 for this small lot, if only for the body & head from DragonTooth's DE4 Gothmaug. Here's a fearsome foursome of mind flayers that sold for $13.50, less than $4 per brain-eater. And finally, this lot is stated to have "over 3,000 figurines" and yet it sold for only $164! In the pics shown for the listing, there were some Citadel LOTR minis (Gandalf, Saruman, Tom Bombadil), so I really do wonder exactly how many figures were in the lot total, and how many of those were more than garden-variety castings? I think someone probably got a very nice deal out of this one.

And in this case, not even mini-related. There were two copies of the orange version of B3, Palace of the Silver Princess, that die-hard D&D collectors ponied up some serious bucks for. The first copy went for a mere $2,240.80, while the second one was more than double that at $5,860.00! Of course, that one was signed by Jean Wells, and is possibly the only signed copy of B3 in circulation. A Jim Roslof study from D&D Character Record Sheets sold for $1,730.00. The study depicts a remorhaz, while the final product was changed to show a blue dragon. This paladin poster sold for $305.00, and I'm speculating that the condition (never folded) had something to do with the final price. And if you into Tiffany crystal, I'm sure you saw this TSR paperweight that sold for $311.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Lead Market Report, November 2015

What? The LMR, back from the dead? Help a brother out, my eBay watch list is clogged up with all sorts of ended auctions and I need to clear it out. And I need to get my ass back on some sort of regular writing schedule, so here we go.

This lot is not just an Archive lot, as there are minis from Dragontooth, Citadel, Grenadier, and Minifigs. But what caught my eye was Sredni Vashtar, Serpentine Dragon from the RuneQuest line. I really wanted Sredni, but once the lot passed $200 I was out. If I had won, I would have sold the rest to pay off the investment, but it was not to be. It's just a very, very cool old dragon.

Smaller than Sredni but still high on a lot of collector's list is the D&D Green Dragon. $51 for a minty copy is not a bad price. Maybe too high for a cheapskate like me, but pretty fair in the big picture. And as much as I drool over all things giant, $155.14 for Fergus the Psychotic Troll is just way too rich for my blood. Now $15.97 for a C28 giant, that's what I'm talking about! Just don't rub it in that I didn't bid on this one.

There were more than a few AD&D variants to be found, in particular not one but four Mind Flayers! Check them out at the very affordable prices of $15.50, $15.50, $11.74, and $11.60. And downright cheap were the three Goblins at $5.51, $3.75, and $3.75. The lone non-monster is this Cleric that went for $5.01. Oh, and this small lot that sold for $27 had one Umber Hulk and one Carrion Crawler in it, so that makes this one a bargain and then some.

I'm curious about this Groo blister that sold for $25. Is that tiny sprue an imp or something? There's nothing mysterious about the appeal of TMNT, which explains the $81 price tag for the 4 turtles. $36 for Splinter and Shredder is more reasonable but still about average for TMNT blisters, and $9 for Dr. Feral and his henchmen is even better.

I like this Small Dragon (D80) as well as the small price of $20. It even looks like a nice paint job, at least tabletop ready for sure. Larger kits like this Saurian Behemoth with Howdah and Crew usually go on the higher end, but $41.55 seems pretty reasonable to me. It even looks like it has all the small bits too.

I snapped up a pair of DT minis on good BINs: a D78 Winged Firedrake ($16) and DE4, Gothmaug Lord of the Balrogs ($30). The dragon is missing his lower jaw and tongue, but Gothmaug is complete. They'll eventually make an appearance on TLD down the road.

Gamma World always brings out the Grenadier bidders, and they pushed this Adventurers Set over the century mark to finish at $103.38. The minis look pristine and complete, and the box shows decent color although it is a bit bent up here and there. Nice find.

If I didn't already have one, I would have bid on this Giant's Club Fire Giant that sold for $20.50. And this Goblin War Giant looks complete as far as I can tell. $61 is a lot better than the $100+ many sellers usually ask for.

Offbeat minis always catch my eye, and this Giant Forest Troll was no exception. At $8.58, it was exactly my kind of bargain - if I had only bid on it.

The Great Dragon is one of those minis that is A) not mini and B) isn't cheap. I wanted this one, but didn't win. Congrats to the buyer who paid $203.23 for this example. It looks like it would be fun to put it together and paint it up. I think it would be super fun to trot this bad boy out during a gaming session, really freak out the players when they see a huge mountain of a dragon in front of them!

Another thing (two, actually) that you don't see much of are the Dungeon Dwellers pre-painted minis. Blister #1554 Female Adventurers sold for $41 and #1551 Adventurers II sold for $43. The cards look quite fresh and minty - someone took good care of them, that's for sure. Bats & Blood Birds went for $20 and Cockatrice & Basilisk went for $20.50. Two demons from 1262 (the big ones) sold for $26. The green boxed sets continue to sell well, like the Crypt of the Sorcerer ($36.57) and the Caverns of Doom ($56). The Caverns of Doom appears to have all the minis in perfect shape, but none of the paperwork/rules/etc, while the Crypt of the Sorcerer has the paints, some paperwork, but all the minis are the green plastic Grenadier models from the MPC line of plastic AD&D Action Scene kits. And 17 of the 18 Adventuring Characters set one collector back by $62.23.

For Conan collectors, 5 blisters for $12 each is a great price. This is a mostly Heritage lot for $72.50, so I'll just lump it here. And for $20, you could have had this mixed bag of LoTR minis. And this LoTR lot was $73 or this one for $38.73.

I forgot to bid on these Alien Eggs, so someone snapped up an absolute bargain at $4 for 4 eggs. And I think $20 for this Dracula set (still in shrink) is a fair and decent price. Another one I let slip away was this absolute steal at $40 that included a bunch of Marines, a Power Loader, and 4 Sentry Guns.

But what I was totally hot and bothered about was this sweet lot of pristine Alien goodness: The APC, Power Loader, and 18 blisters for $227.50. That's a bunch of Aliens, eggs, facehuggers, sentry guns, and various Marines. Not a steal of a deal, but pretty damn reasonable overall.

Giants always grab my attention, as did the two lunks in this Martian Metals lot that went for $70. Cool giants, but the price point was too steep in my opinion.

How about a three-pack of Sahaugin (11-443) for $52? Maybe an Illithid (11-505) is more your liking for only $15. Still too much? OK, I will give you my rock-bottom prices. My 11-series purchase was 11-753 Justina and the Banshegh for $5, so I was happy with that. Orcs (11-409) for $3.54, an Erinye (11-643) for .99 cents, and also Factol Darius (11-603) for a mere .99 cents.

Oh, and if you don't need a box, this $10.49 Niddhogg the Wyrm (10-464) is about as cheap as you are going to get for a fairly large and nice-looking dragon kit. And I don't know if this giant piece of metal is Baakesh Va (Ral Partha 10-602) or Baak (Dark Sword DSM6102), but either way it was only $15.50 so that's a small price for a neat giant.

It's not just glue, it's the Official AD&D Basic Adhesive Set! But if it is Advanced D&D, then why is the glue only Basic??? Thank you, thank you, I'll be here all week. All this could have been yours for the price of $22.72.

Tons of lead goodness in big old lots. Check them out: $320 for a bunch of old stuff, including some sort of terrain (the 33 square pieces shown). This $895 lot takes the big money prize, but I didn't see anything I couldn't live without, so I'm guessing a reseller might have scooped this one up? For $96, you get a neat assortment in this lot, including a couple of different minis of Orcus. And I know I'm not the only one who spotted the Grenadier Purple Worm in this $77.40 lot. And can anyone help me out and tell me why this lot went for $356??? Was there a rare gem or three, or was it the siege engines and miscellaneous items that pushed it so high? And for $162.50, I thought this lot was a nice mix of characters, monsters, and terrain. If unopened blisters are your thing, you might have bid on this lot that sold for $107.22. That's only $2.82 per blister, so if you keep the ones you want and resell the rest for $5, I think you come out just fine in the end. And one last lot at $202.50, with RP, Grenadier, and Citadel minis for the most part.

Previous readers of this series will know I have an affinity for all things printed when it comes to the world of miniatures. I feel it is important to document the catalogs, flyers, ads, and sales sheets of manufacturers, in particular those who are long since gone. The pieces that recently sold ranged from a few bucks to over $50. I even got in on the action this time! The least expensive item was this 4-sheet lot that has Masters of the Universe and the Dark Crystal, among others, for only $5. Next up are more Grenadier/Pinnacle sheets, 5 for $10.50. I was the only bidder (at $40) for this lot of DragonTooth catalogs and sheets. Another one I was interested in was this Broadsword price list. It went for $46.01, a bit on the high side considering there is nary a picture or illustration to be found here. But then again, it is rather difficult to find any printed Broadsword material. Finally, a black & white Saxon catalog sold for $52.77, and did have pictures in it, which is always nice.

Not miniatures, or miniature-related, but there were some Jim Roslof sketches that recently hit the block. Two that caught my eye were Ares ($209.16) and Yoshi-iye ($225.07). I still enjoy skimming through my copy of Deities & Demigods every now and again, just to take in all the wonderful artwork.

This 5-headed Hydra looks so damn familiar, but I just can't place it. Anyone? Anyone? For $9.38, at least you can't say it was overpriced.

If you made it this far, thanks for stopping by and I hope, as always, that this info ends up being of use to you at some point.

Friday, September 11, 2015

Chapter 11: Little Metal People

About a week ago, I woke up one morning to find an email alert in my inbox that I had all but forgotten about: Powell's Books had finally received a copy of Fantasy Role Playing Games by J. Eric Holmes, M.D. Yes, the same Holmes of Holmes Basic Set/Holmes Blue Book fame. I cannot recall for the life of me when I signed up for this alert, but I'm pretty sure it's been well over a year. And when I logged in, the book was still available, so I quickly snapped it up. It set me back $10.95 + shipping, which was about 1/10th the price this book usually goes for on eBay or Amazon. Thanks, Powell's! You guys rock.

I am traditionally a read-every-page-in-order kind of guy, but since this tome isn't telling a story I didn't feel any remorse for skipping ahead to Chapter 11: Little Metal People. I tried to read it with a mindset of "pretend it is the early 1980s" and not 2015. It is a good general-purpose miniature primer, discussing how the fantasy market evolved from the wargaming market, who the prominent manufacturers were at the time of writing, and some basic how-to info on prep/priming/painting.

Still, there are enough little nuggets of info that make the chapter a fairly interesting read. Minifigs, at the time one of the bigger companies, apparently did not track sales by number of miniatures shipped, but rather in tons of metal shipped! Heritage was also one of the heavies, and the trio of Ral Partha, DragonTooth, and Archive were singled out as new companies.

There is a delightful photo (all the pics are black & white) on page 167 that shows a swarm of Minifigs pig-faced orcs on the attack. Classic D&D imagery, and it immediately made me think of the orcs in the Monster Manual.

Archive is called out for having "a regrettable tendency to make castings of Japanese or Chinese toys and sell them as new figures (their "land-shark" is an example), but they also produce a number of figures that appear to be genuine originals."

Plastic toy (photo:

Archive sharkadillo (photo: Lost Minis Wiki)

Again, not new information at this point in time, but a very keen observation back then.

Dr. Holmes gives Tom Loback a shout-out: "Dragontooth Miniatures makes a line of utterly delightful fantasy armies." He singles out the Amphibians and Saurians in particular.

He then moves on to discuss female miniatures, and how many early castings were in the nude/nearly nude variety. "It was several years before any of the figure companies realized there was a market for lady adventurers and sorceresses who dressed appropriately to their role and did not look as if they were about to star in the middle of a Las Vegas nightclub chorus line."

Regarding dwarves, specifically female dwarves, Holmes states "There is a sharp controversy within TSR Hobbies over whether a female dwarf wears a beard. Since Gygax insists she would, perhaps there is no hurry to produce a game-playing figure." Nowadays we can find female miniatures dressed (or undressed) for battle thanks to companies such as Reaper, Red Box Games, Hasslefree, and Freebooter.

Another photo that caught my eye was on page 177. It appears that in the dark pre-battlemat days, gamers used what they had to produce a suitable playing/mapping field. It looks like a plain wooden table (which may or may not have been painted/stained) is used as the mat, and chalk (I think) is used to draw corridors and terrain in place of water-soluble markers.

EDIT (11/18/15): If I had actually read the book in order, I would have read the following passage on page 93: "My own gaming table is spray-painted with "chalk board paint" so that the green surface can be marked with chalk and then, when the characters move on, a new set of doors and walls can be drawn around them. In this way, the little figures never move off the table, they only move to new positions as the scenery shifts around them."

For a minis guy like me, Chapter 11 was worth the purchase price alone. I have since started the book from page 1, and as a D&D generalist, it has so far been an entertaining read, again taking everything from an 80s perspective when at all possible. I highly recommend this book, and remember to sign up at to receive alerts for this and other uncommon titles.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

A Throne Fit For A (Giant) King

I am still in over my head with real life matters, so painting, blogging, and other hobby-related pursuits are quite secondary at this point in time. I still make a little bit of time to surf eBay and see if anything interesting has surfaced, but it's mostly window shopping.

There was, however, a recent auction that I could not take a pass on: This lot of 8 Grenadier Giant's Club boxed sets. At $82 total, that is barely over $10 per box. And with one exception, each box is complete with all parts and the paper inserts! The only exception was the missing Chaos Giant, but that should not be a problem to remedy. Now if I told you I already own 5 out of the 8 boxes in the lot, you may ask "Why? Why would Tom do such a thing?" This is why:

It is the Giant King's Throne! Same idea as the Dragon of the Month mail order special (The Dragon Lord) this promotion requires you to collect all of the giants from the Giant's Club series (10 sets) and send in the voucher and UPCs from the boxes, and you received the Giant King's Throne directly from Grenadier.

To me, this is an actual rare, limited edition miniature. There probably were not too many leadheads who actually bought all 10 Giant's Club sets, cut out the UPCs and mailed them in. I wonder if anyone from Grenadier knows how many Thrones were made and how many were actually sent out? So you can call it I bought 8 giants and got the Throne for free, or I bought the Throne and got 8 giants for free. Either way, it was $82 I was happy to part with, no matter how you look at it.

When I make some time in the near future, I'll add the Giant King's Throne to the Lost Minis Wiki and fill in the various missing pics in the Giant's Club section under Grenadier.

My apologies for the poor quality of the photos - they are quick snaps with my new phone. I will take some nicer pics with my camera and lightbox when I can set up that shoot.

Until next time (whenever that may be), happy painting and happy collecting! Thanks for stopping by.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Ledfoot Frost Giant - Anyone Recognize Him?

I picked this guy up earlier this month on eBay. It was an easy choice, as it was A) a giant and B) cheap ($5). But not to be overlooked, C) it is from the 80s and not something I recognize at all. And there is no entry for Ledfoot on the Lost Minis Wiki, Stuff of Legends, or Leadpoisoned. Hmmm.

I have dubbed him "Punisher" due to his skull-shaped belt buckle. Or maybe he's from Texas, where everything is bigger, especially belt buckles.

He stands 2.25" tall from top of base to top of helmet.

And here's a shot of the base bottom and hallmark.

If anyone knows anything about this mini and/or the manufacturer, please share. Thanks!