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, May 27, 2011

The Lead Market Report - March/April 2011

Time to play catch-up! Let's dive right into this, shall we?

Archive: It's always cool to find some old-school lead (and I do mean lead) still in the blister or on the card. This Sharkadillo sold for $37, and this Dungeon Nasties II went for $23, which is a bargain considering it has 4 minis including a very cool beholder in it. I think this unofficial LOTR Fellowship set (with packaging) for under $30 was a good bargain at about $3 per mini.

Citadel: The Citadel/GW collectors have been known to throw down a couple of bucks to get their stuff, as demonstrated by this lot of 5 Star Trek The Motion Picture bags topping $105.

Grenadier: How about a complete set of Traveller Alien Animals for almost $57? The Imperial Marines set was a bit cheaper at $33.51. For you Gamma World fans, this Adventurers set has a worn box but complete contents for $41. I'm rather shocked that this massive Fantasy Warriors Goblin War Giant went for around $60, considering it is complete and includes the box. Someone picked up just the giant from the same set for about $21, just because it's a big huge lead giant, no doubt. And what is up with Snit's Revenge??? This set of 4 blisters sold for $180. Tom Wham rules.

Leading Edge Games: The winner of this month's Big Ticket Item award goes to the seller who moved this totally fucking cool Colonial Marines Dropship kit for $330 USD! And that doesn't include shipping, if it went to someone outside the UK. Where's Spunkmeyer when you need him? Or you could have grabbed a total of 4 Aliens boxed sets for $112. Another glorious day in the Corps...

Ral Partha: This Menzoberranzan set went for $30, which is a bargain considering it had one of the 11-series Drow blisters thrown in, and the fact that the Drizzt mini in this set often commands $20 to $30+ alone! Huma's Silver Dragon continues to do well, with this set going for $77. Planescape sets always seem to pull in around $50, as evidenced by this Powers of Conflict for $53 and this still in shrink Powers of Law for $66. On the BattleTech front, the average Mech does OK, and some do better than others, like Warhammers - three for $40 in this lot. Much like my Atlas, I would very much like to add a Warhammer to my display collection one day down the road. Can we get a Molydeus sighting? How about one that is missing the snake, but still commanded close to $40? And some resin elementals sold for $75, no doubt because they were part of a color test, and not the final selection.

Reaper: DOOM on you! Or at least, doom on your bank account if you collect Reaper's DOOM minis. This carded Cacodemon sold for $123, along with the Pain Elemental for $91.

Steve Jackson Games: This lot of OGRE minis went for a cool $262, including the rules. I've always wanted to add a Mk. III or Mk. V OGRE to my collection, just because they are totally badass. This smaller lot of a Mk. III and V (with a couple of GEVs) went for $168 - still too rich for my blood, but cool nonetheless. The same seller also moved this very rare Ral Partha Mk. IV for $214! The Johnny Reb paintjob is pretty sweet, and I'm sure Bo and Luke Duke would approve.

To wrap things up, this vintage Armory catalog sold for just under $100. I would love to have a hardcopy myself, but not at that price. I'm not saying it's not worth it, just that I'm too cheap to go that high.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Dark Angels Tactical Trooper - Done!

As previously mentioned, I have had a WH40K Dark Angels army sitting around for the past decade plus, mostly unbuilt and unpainted. There are some units in various states of completion, including my scouts that are ALMOST finished but just need me to get off my ass and put on the finishing touches.
Anyhow, a couple of months ago I had an idea pop into my mind as I contemplated diving in and working on the backbone of my army - the grunts. The doggies. The foot-sloggers. But I wanted my first tactical squad to stand out, in part to inspire me to keep going and also to see if finished version of my concept matched up to how I imagined it in my mind's eye.
I don't think I'm ready to tackle the creation and completion of an entire Successor Chapter, but I did think a little background for the First Squad would be cool. Basically, the First Squad pays homage to the foot soldiers who were part of The Order, the original Dark Angels before they were known as Dark Angels. I could even attach a name to them, something like The Sons of Caliban if you will.
To complete my first prototype model, I started with a DA Space Marine from the Dark Angels Tactical Squad boxed set from a few years back. I used the legs, torso, arms, and right shoulder pad. Next, I added some bitz from more recent releases: left shoulder pad (with studs, braid, and small DA symbol), backpack with DA symbol, and Ravenwing Crusade helmet. And for some straight-up bling, a small Roman helmet crest and a Ruined Temple Base both from Secret Weapon Miniatures. I was going for a pseudo-Egyptian vibe on the base with the red and blue.

OK, the built-up model looks pretty good, but how will it look once painted? That, of course, is the real question. I've spent a lot of time scouring The Intertubes looking for "The Best Way EVAR To Paint A Dark Angels Army" and other such inspiration and advice. I finally settled on this tutorial on The Angel's Talon by Stitch, a Swedish gamer. At first, I had a hard time thinking outside the box color-wise. Orkhide Shade and Knarloc Green instead of Dark Angels Green? What kind of madness is this? Hmm, hey, what do you know, it looks great to me on my finished model, so Stitch must be on to something here...

And of course for information and inspiration, there is the Fortress of the Unforgiven. And I cannot emphasize how influential all the good peeps who run and contribute to blogs like From The Warp and Santa Cruz Warhammer and Dave Taylor Miniatures have been. The tips, techniques, and how-to articles are invaluable to average painters like myself. So I tip my painter's cap to you and give thanks.

But I digress. Now that I've had a half day to look over my completed trooper, I find myself very happy with the finished product. This is the start of what will be a nicely painted tabletop-quality DA army, suitable for play with my kids or against the local gamers at my FLGS.

If I had to pick three things I'm pleased with, I would say 1) the bitz all tie together nicely; 2) the SWM components rock; and 3) the 5th Company badge painted on the left knee looks how I hoped it would.

What about three things I'm less than thrilled with? 1) My freehand work on the squad badge (right shoulder pad) - I need to thin my paints when doing these and remember to be patient! 2) the gold braid on the left shoulder pad - it lacks depth, so I think I need to try adding some silver or white highlights (or maybe even try some gold NMM work and see how that pans out); and 3) the DA icon on the helmet bugs me, and I'm not sure why - maybe I should try it in red or green?
Now all I have to do is finish nine more battle brothers like this one and I'll have a completed squad ;) Wish me LOTS of luck as I move forward with this.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Air Power & Wee Little Aeroplanes

I recently acquired a nice copy of Air Power (WWII air combat rules) by Tony Adams, published by TSR back in 1976. Why would I do such a thing? Because aviation in general, specifically WWII aviation, has always been on my radar. I still have one of my elementary school reports I did on the Battle of Britain that must be as old as this copy of Air Power - yikes!

As an aside, if you enjoy aviation and have yet to do so, make sure you take in the annual Reno Air Races in September. I've been twice (1988 and 1993), and there's nothing like hearing and feeling some warbirds racing around at high speed down low across the desert scrub. Awesome.

Anyhow, I also picked up some tiny B-25Bs and Bf109Es to go with the Air Power rules. You know, so I can actually play the game? I'm not entirely sure of their scale (possibly 1/432nd?) or their manufacturer (Der Kriegspielers? Pewtercraft? Superior?) but they are nicely made with good detail for such a small scale. The B-25s are marked "1/43" on the underside of the left wing and "B25B" on the bomb bay doors. The 109s are marked "4/43" on the underside of the left wing and "ME109E" on the underside of the right wing. They should be fun to paint up, once I decide what color schemes to go with.

Anyone else dig on WWII wargames?

On the fantasy front, I've been painting some minis for the upcoming D&D session in Cali with Ye Olde Gang. Gotta get those done in the next week or so.

And on the WH40K scene, I've been working on a test subject for my DA army. He's a tactical trooper built up using specific bitz to see if an idea in my head can translate to a completed model. More to come after I get him finished.