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, October 20, 2011

Repent! Repent! Interrogator-Chaplain Asmodai of the Dark Angels

Up until now, I have always painted my own miniatures. The thought of having someone else paint a miniature for me seemed fairly foreign. And it's not because I think I'm the Best Painter Evar or anything like that (far from it). I just enjoy seeing the fruits of my labor on the gaming table.

But blogging has changed that attitude. I've read a lot of excellent blogs out there, and have seen examples of some truly wonderful miniature works of art. So I contacted Ron Saikowski of From The Warp fame (FTW is a popular 40K blog), and asked him if he would be interested in painting up one of the characters from my long-suffering DA army. He kindly agreed, and the wheels of our deal were set in motion.

Ron was great to work with. He sent updates with WIP pics and took pains to ensure the project was heading in the right direction. The completed Asmodai can be seen here, and the WIP thread can be seen here.

I will once again thank Ron for his outstanding work. Asmodai is hands-down the best-looking miniature in my collection, and will no doubt serve as the centerpiece in my DA army for years to come. Now I just need to finish what I've started!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Lead Market Report - September 2011

This is my penance for procrastinating. The August LMR was only live for a couple of days and there I was, deep into September's LMR. I REALLY need to stay current on the LMR or the beast grows another head, much like your garden-variety hydra.

ARCHIVE: A roper, umber hulk, snake, and lizard walk into a bar...and promptly get sold for $31! Gotta watch out for those Underdark lead slavers. Even more impressive was the sale of this huge Imperial Dragon for $232.50! Original box, instructions, 1978 catalog, and a complete and unassembled dragon - nice.

CITADEL: This trio of AD&D (or ADD in Citadelese) Sahuagin hit their BIN of $25. I don't know why this troll didn't top $9, but it didn't. Seems like the bigger ADD critters usually do better, like this beholder for $28 or this minotaur for $23. And $18 for this 3-mini set of female fighters seems about average for this line.

COMET MINIATURES: Battlestar Galactica! $32 for a pair of iconic ships (Colonial Viper & Cylon Raider) seems like a nice price to me, as I have never seen these before.

DARK HORSE: Turtleheads love their lead, as evidenced by this blister for a cool $60. In the small lot category, this lot of 12 minis commanded $83.

GAMESCIENCE: Why yes, I am covering a lot of first-time manufacturers this month. This lot of Star Trek ships went for $74. I had a chance to pick up a small handful of these for a buck each when American Eagles went under. Oh, hindsight, you are a cruel mistress!

GAMES WORKSHOP: The Inquisitor blisters of spare parts seem quite rare, such as this IG booster pack for $43.

GRENADIER: I'd have to go back and check, but it seems like the Grenadier AD&D Gold Line box sets have been trending upwards. Damn, and I have just recently decided to add those to my collection want list! Folks are even dropping modest amounts for incomplete sets, like this lot of 4 for $50 and this lot of 4 for $66. Considering how easy it is to Frankenstein a set, this isn't a bad way to go IMO, as long as you're getting a good deal on the lots. Of course, there are always bargains to be had as well. Giant Griffon? $14.47. Masterpiece Death Dragon? $12.50. Big-ass Shadow Dragon? $10.61. Imperial Dragon? $10.50. Special Edition Roc? $6.17 (and no, that is not a misprint!)

The Gamma World line from Grenadier continues to be HOT! How hot? How about 8 blisters to the tune of over $80 per blister? That's right, this lot of 8 brought in a tidy $656.

He-Man? He has the power! The Raid of He-Man was powerful enough to take in $33.

Even more powerful than He-Man is the power of the force. Long live Star Wars! A Snowspeeder rang up $61, and this pair of Speeder Bikes a much more modest $21.50.

Chasing the Giants Club line? $13.49 for the Sea Giant or the Titan are both excellent prices. This unboxed Fire Giant for $32 seems high (unless you are the seller), but I guess folks love 'em. I mean, this Fire Giant was a steal at 99 cents (how did I not bid on this?!?), so go figure.

Not lead, but paper! Here is a batch of vintage Grenadier Bulletins (the black & white newsletters, not the color ones) that recently sold. I love printed materials like this, as it truly represents miniature info in the pre-Internet days. Volume 1 #2 sold for $22.50, Volume 1 #3 sold for $29, Volume 1 #4 sold for $32, Volume 1 #6 sold for $35, Volume 1 #7 sold for $29, Volume 1 #8 sold for $7.50, Volume 1 #10 sold for $8.50, Volume 1 #11 sold for $8.50, Volume 1 #16 sold for $23.50, the 1982 Catalog & Bulletin combo sold for $29, and finally the 1982 Dragon! Dragon! Product Update sold for $17.

HERITAGE: A couple of big-ticket items for Heritage this month: a big honking lot of Der Kriegspielers Fantastiques (the unofficial LOTR line) that sold for $712! This lot was a mixed bag of DD, Grenadier, and a ODD white box. Any way you slice it, I feel it went way too low, even as a lot for $316. I mean, look at this next item - granted, it is still NIS, but $165 for the Adventuring Characters? Never underestimate the power of shrink, I guess.

HINCHLIFFE MODELS: Because I spend a bit of time looking for Ray Lamb sculpts (Superior Models), I inevitably come across his other work. And this beautiful samurai for Hinchliffe seems to be one of the better-known and in-demand models. This particular Taisho sold for just under $77. If you want to read some background on Frank Hinchliffe, check out this informative blog entry.

LEADING EDGE GAMES: $16.36 buys you a beat-up but complete blister of Sentry Guns. This lot of three sets was incomplete, but still went for $36.50.

OTHERWORLD: Otherworld minis are not vintage lead, but they do make some beautiful minis that look like the old-school monsters from BITD. Pig-faced orcs, anyone? This lot of 6 critters took in $52, which was a bargain compared to the full retail prices.

RACKHAM: I don't follow Confrontation minis, but this massive lot caught my eye, as well as $609 from the buyer's bank account.

RAL PARTHA: Now this first lot is not Ral Partha per se, but it was cast by RP and sold as the only official set of Finieous Fingers miniatures (Phineous Phigures in the ads, if I recall correctly). Not only is it complete with all 8 minis, but it comes with the original box and inserts! At just under $68, I call that a deal - a little more than $8 per figure + packaging works for me. If anyone out there has a spare Kask the Wizard, I need him to complete my own set (hint hint).

If I'm going to buy 11-series still in the blister, I don't mind prices like $12.28 for the Mimics. $78 for a Pit Fiend? I'm so glad I bought mine for retail back in the day. This Gelugon was only $23, but maybe that's because his spear has been modified. The bargain I passed up (but wished I had snapped up) was this lot for a mere $80. A great price considering the contents of the lot.

RP Box Sets - Takhisis is always in demand, and NISB can only add to the bottom line - $148.50. This nice & complete Menzo set went for $42. A mostly complete Bridge of Sorrows sold for $16. I've always liked the Elf Chariot, and $21 seems like a decent price. I don't see this Mastadon too often, so $32 is not what I would consider too high. This trio of The Red Dragon of Krynn, Bear Chariot of the Icelands, and the Black Prince's Chariot of Fear sold for $84. Finally, this Imperial Dragon commanded a tidy $124.

Battletech - $20.50, $25 and $25 for a NIP Rifleman is pretty much par for the course. If you are more like me, you'd probably rather spend $23 and get this pair of Warhammer and Shadow Hawk mechs. If you want a new Warhammer or a new Marauder, it's gonna set you back right around $40. For $172, you could have adopted this lot. Or for the same price, this much smaller lot. To each his own, no?

REAPER: I'm not sure why the seller settled on $47.29 as the BIN for this lot, but I know it sorely tempted me! 28 packs of Reaper's early recasts of Dungeon Dwellers is what you were buying. Even more tempting was this incredible bargain: 3 new brushes, 28 Pro Paints, 16 Master Paints, and 27 miniatures. The BIN? A paltry $65!!! I'm still kind of kicking myself for not snapping this one up. Rounding out Reaper this month is their dracolich, Kaladrax the Dire Drake for only $20.

TARGET/HEARTBREAKER: While the Mutant Chronicles games are niche games, the universe itself is quite rich and generates a loyal core of enthusiasts. And Warzone collectors are not afraid to spend, even though most of the OOP minis are quite often bargains. This massive Bio-Giant sold for a tidy $51. Or you could have picked up a Bio-Giant plus a small truckload of other minis and books, etc. for a hefty $330. Need more? This big old lot of Warzone goodness took in $405.

Thankfully, you can still obtain a good selection of Warzone minis through Prince August.

MISC: Got dice? Since there is a blister of Dungeon Dwellers dice, I could list this under the Heritage heading, but there are way too many other sets, so it falls under MISC this month. Somebody REALLY wanted these dice, to the tune of $255! Wowsers!! I hope they're good for a few well-timed critical hits...

I'm not sure what brand of minis is stamped PPC, but this large lot of Star Trek ships and characters sold for $140.49.

You can't tell from the pics if these two MPC AD&D plastic kits are complete or not, but to get both of them for $31 seems fair to me.

Probably the coolest and most unique item is this D&D table that Bill Owen and Bob Bledsaw of Judges Guild fame used to game on. If I was in or around Illinois, I would have bid on this for sure. Seems like a bargain at just under $78.

Finally, here's a grab bag lot of many different minis from various manufacturers. While I'm pretty sure I've seen larger lots (contrary to the seller's claim), it's still a neat assortment that sold for $274.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Lead Market Report - August 2011

August was a busy month! Lots of lead changing hands, with some big spenders throwing down the PayPal Benjamins, along with some steals and deals. Since I'm now officially late, let's get down to business.

CITADEL: I will continue to sing the praises of Citadel's AD&D line, and collectors seem to agree. This cuddly little Owlbear took in $45. Or you could have landed this Owlbear for $19.50. A knobby, gnarly Troll for $18, as well as this Shambling Mound. How about this trio of Mind Flayers for $28, $20, and $20? Or these for $21, $22, and $22? No one is ever going to confuse them for, say, Grenadier's version (Why is he doing The Robot??? Don't get me wrong, I love the lil guy, he's just stuck in the 80s for some reason...) These Stirges went for $27. And I really thought this Beholder would go higher than the $26 end price. What do I know? The broken eye stalks on this one for $19.50 pretty much explains the sub-$20 price IMO. On the bargain end, this Rust Monster blister went for only $12. And WTF, this Gorgon for a mere $4? I'd buy that for a dollar! Wait, that doesn't make sense...This trio of Kobolds brought in $9.50, $7.50, and $5.60, respectively. Decent prices for the little fellas.

Giants! C28 Giants! Different bodies, heads, and weapons. I love it. And someone loves this C28 Giant to the tune of $50. This one fancies himself as Hamlet, LOL!

DRAGONTOOTH: I know, I know, the listing says Ral Partha. But if this isn't Polyphemos Cyclops, I guess I don't know jack about minis. Quiet in the peanut gallery, please! $26 is a nice price, IMO.

FASA: These Star Trek II sets seem to be somewhat uncommon, but not exceptionally rare. So $21 for set 3001 (Enterprise) seems fair, as does $25 for set 3002 (Reliant). Now $50 for the USS Baker seems like the seller did well on this lot. I don't even know which movie/episode the Baker was on (if any)!

GHQ: Huh? What? GHQ - don't they make those teeny, tiny tanks and ships? Why yes, yes they do. And someone paid a whopping $2,172.99 for a veritable flotilla of 1/2400 WWII naval goodness. I suppose that's a pretty good deal, since the seller originally wanted $4,500/OBO. Congrats, buyer, you are the LMR's Big Spender of the Month!

GRENADIER: The Big Spender of the Month (Honorable Mention) award goes to the buyer of this massive lot of Gamma World minis for $1,484! That is some serious coin, my friends. On a side note, the collection came from a fellow Acaeum member, so I know it is the real deal.

Grenadier collectors seem to have pretty good luck with some of the more low-profile sets, such as this Encounter at The Ogre's Lair for the low, low price of $6.50 and this three-pack of Lost Lands sets that went for a paltry $23.50 - not bad at all for one NIB, one complete, and one mostly complete set. And this Fellowship of The Ring set sold for $27, a respectable amount for a complete set from this line. $8.88 for the big Wyvern? Check. Undead War Chariot for under $16? Done.

This Cloud Giant sold for $4, which is a price I would pay for sure. One buyer snapped up a NIB set of CoC Adventures (shouldn't that be Adventurers?) for $40, whilst another buyer picked up the same NIB set for $24. It doesn't look like you get the box with this Dragon's Lair for $14, but that's just fine if all your going to do is paint it up and use it or display it.

HERITAGE: Dammit, Jim, I'm a leadhead, not a doctor! This lot of 14 Star Trek blisters sold for $188, or something like $13.40 per blister when you do the math. Most logical, wouldn't you say?

Now for you fantasy types, this bad boy is pretty damn cool: The Great Dragon, still sealed in his lair, for $114. In better economic times, I have to imagine this one would have brought in a bit more.

What, you Dungeon Dwellers types not feeling the love? OK, how about these four boxed sets, still mint in shrink: Demons & Devils for $152! Level 6 & 7 Monsters for $126! Level 3 Monsters for $105! And Level 2 Monsters for $78! Why am I yelling?!? The contents of this $119 Caverns of Doom set look nice and minty, while the box looks a bit rough around the edges. Or you could have owned this NIB Storm Giant for $30.

LEADING EDGE GAMES: Get away from her, you bitch! This Power Loader boxed set (still minty and sealed) went for $55.

MARAUDER: I normally lump Marauder in with Citadel/GW, but they get their own entry this month, mostly on the strength of this $71 Giant listing. That's a LOT of metal to cram into a blister, no?

MINIFIGS: Sometimes, these demons go for a small mint. And sometimes you get them for pennies on the dollar, like this Type II for $2.50 and this Marilith for $3.25. I suppose the missing hand/weapon hurts a little, but three and a quarter? And perhaps the Type II looks too much like Kermit? (Image not used with author's permission.)

RAL PARTHA: I really like some of the older RP boxed sets, like The Bear Chariot of the Icelands. This example sold for $51, quite a bit higher than I usually see it go for. It doesn't represent any particular character or NPC, it's just a nicely sculpted set that would look great painted up and based on a snowscape. Same goes for this War Eagle boxed set, NIB for $31.

On the low end of pricing, this NIB Huma's Silver Dragon went for a mere $33.50. I have no idea why, considering they usually sell for around $50. If you needed Bugbears, they would have set you back $23 for a NIB set. Or you could have added the seated version of the Displacer Beast for $31 to your collection.

Another Molydeus came and went, this one for $89. Nice condition, unbuilt and unpainted. Takhisis usually commands $100+, so to see one go for $92 gives me hope I'll eventually get one. Eventually. Another dragon that hovers in the $100 range is the Imperial Dragon, like this one for $91. Nice to see the old school lead commanding strong prices. Speaking of old lead, how about this twofer: the Bronze Dragon of Pern AND the Black Prince's Chariot of Fear for a total of $77.

BattleTech remains strong, especially minis that are MIB/MOC. In particular, a selection of most-wanted Mechs such as the Marauder for $57, the Shadow Hawk for $51, the Warhammer for $31, and the Rifleman for $25.

Now this next auction isn't Ral Partha, but it is BattleTech, and it is a plastic model kit, so that's good enough for me: Rifleman & Warhammer plastic models for $24. As someone who enjoys metal miniatures AND plastic model kits, this is a really neat item IMO. Gonna have to keep my eyes peeled for these, see if I can get one for myself!

REAPER: $15.50 is one of the lower prices I've seen just about any of the DOOM minis move for, in particular the Baron of Hell. Really? Well, just check out the same Baron of Hell for almost $29. I'm just sayin'...because Mancubus sold for $26, while this Revenant cashed out at $102!!!

WEST END GAMES: I saw these two (Storm Skimmer and Speeder Bikes with BINs for $8 each, and I was very tempted to grab them for myself. I'm still debating if I should go after this line or not. Hmmm...

OK, that's a wrap for August. Thanks to my procrastinating ways, I need to turn right around and bang out the September LMR. Stay tuned for that one in the next week or two. Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

King Arthur's Court in 90mm

King Arthur's Court in 90mm
There are no Connecticut Yankees in this king's court...

Here's the next installment in my Superior Models 90mm series (I kicked things off with Elfquest back in July). Pictured in the group shot above are 5 of the 6 personalities available - I am currently missing FA-32 Morgan le Fay. Please note that the names are spelled as per the Superior catalog designations, so bear with me in that regard.

King Arthur
FA-25 King ArthurFA-25 King Arthur (rear)FA-25 King Arthur (detail)

Everything about this Ray Lamb sculpt smacks of royalty, from the dragon on his helm down to the spurs on his feet. Arthur is clad in head-to-toe chainmail, has Excalibur strapped to his left side, and carries a large shield (not pictured). The shield has a beautiful relief of the Virgin Mary (I think), but the previous owner of mine seems to have filed or routed off 95% of the image. Bummer. The detail on his tunic is quite nice, including the three crowns on his chest and the border at the bottom of the tunic.

FA-30 MerlinFA-30 Merlin (rear)FA-30 Merlin (detail)

Merlin stands with his arms folded, owl perched on his shoulder, wearing robes and a pointy wizard's hat covered in mystic runes and symbols. He has a component pouch (?) on the right side of his belt, and a sheathed dagger to the left. I would call this sculpt the iconic Merlin, as opposed to Excalibur's Merlin.

FA-31 GuinevereFA-31 Guinevere (rear)FA-31 Guinevere (detail)

This lovely lady is wearing a simple dress, crown, and cross around her neck. There is a lot of fine detail on her sleeves and chest. I imagine it would look awesome to paint this as sheer fabric, so I might need to practice that technique if I ever have a go at painting her so. The delicate belt should be a challenge as well.

FA-35 LancelotFA-35 Lancelot (rear)FA-35 Lancelot (detail)

Lancelot has something of a faraway look in his eyes - the sort of look that comes from being torn between loyalty and love, I suppose. He embodies the look of a knight of the court, wearing a mix of chain and plate. The devil is in the details, of course, from the unicorn and fleur-de-lis on his tunic to the ultra-fine detail on his scabbard. I'll need to hone my NMM skills to do his armor justice.

FA-33 MordridFA-33 Mordrid (rear)FA-33 Mordrid (detail)

OK, yes, his helmet makes him look like the silly French knights from MP&THG. Other than that, I think Lamb captured the subtle sneer that one pictures etched on Mordrid/Mordred's face (including the man-child Mordred from Excalibur). I'm rather fond of the griffin/eagle on his chest, and like the fact he's armed with both a mace and a sword.

The four male miniatures all have flagstone bases, so it's not hard to imagine them in or around Camelot. All in all, they are five wonderfully sculpted miniatures, each one rich with detail yet the balance between simple and gaudy is spot on. Until next time, happy collecting!