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, December 31, 2012

Happy New Year!

2012 is all but over, and I hope you all had a good year. Blogging-wise, I ended the year with a whimper instead of the hoped-for bang. Too many unfinished projects and not enough time devoted to painting and writing. Hopefully I'll have a lot more to write about in 2013.

Happy New Year!


Thursday, November 29, 2012

DragonTooth Giant - Finished!

It has been brought to my attention that it's been nearly a month since my last post. Has it been that long? I hadn't noticed...honest! To get things rolling again, I give you (hold your breath) a completed project (gasp!):

This is the end result of a project that started two years ago when I purchased this fella along with some of his giant brethren for a song. I really wanted to do this one justice, give him some oomph, so to speak. But how? Basically, it came down to his base - I wanted the PERFECT base to mount him on, as the integrated base he came mounted on was less than ideal.

So began my long search for the perfect base. It had to be something special, as I wasn't crazy about his stock pose - he's leaning over a bit too far for my liking, even if he's likely about to mash some poor fighter with his massive tree trunk club. I did a LOT of searching, combing through base after base on the intertubes until I finally found what I was looking for. I really like Secret Weapon Miniatures, having purchased some bases for my Dark Angels army previously. MisterJustin and his crew do a bang-up job and are a pleasure to work with.

Now that I had a base, it was down to work. Snipping away the old lead base was fairly easy - I just needed to take my time and cut slowly and carefully. It took more time to file down the bottoms of his boots than to cut off the original base. Then it was time to fit him for pins and do some drilling. Once that was done, it was on to priming and painting.

My goal was to give him that old-school high fantasy look - I wanted him to look like something you might find in a DragonTooth ad, circa 1979 or so. Taking my modest painting skills into consideration, I have to say I'm very pleased with the final outcome.

This pic shows the entire mini, from the base to the tip of his club. That's about 4.5 inches, or 11.5 cm total.

And here he is, ready for his close-up.

The next couple of pics show him from various angles:

Hopefully it's obvious why I chose this base for him. The climbing pose is spot-on, with plenty of room for his loot bag in tow.

Next, I tackle my other DT giant - Big Meg and her stewpot. Hopefully this one gets done in less than two years! Thanks for stopping by, and don't hesitate to leave a comment.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Circushammer 40K

Family Circus Cartoon for Oct/31/2012

OK, this is something I would not have predicted: the melding of a pure, wholesome family comic and the grim darkness of future. Give that boy a power sword and a melta gun.

Happy Halloween!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Birthday Dragons

My painting prodigy son turns 10 today (Happy Birthday Mr. Frodo!), so I have given him a pair of dragons to paint: the above pictured RP Black Dragon of Fire & Darkness (10-460) and Grenadier's classic AD&D Dragon's Lair (5009). The RP dragon is missing the horns/frill, and the Grenadier dragon needs a treasure pile to sit upon, but right now those minor details don't trouble Frodo too much. He just loves painting dragons!

Oh, and he's also getting a BB gun and shooting glasses, so hopefully he won't shoot his eye out.

Happy birthday, son.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Going Native: Warpath Kickstarter

Oh no, not another miniatures-themed Kickstarter! Oh yes indeed. Paymaster Games has launched a Kickstarter for their Going Native: Warpath rules and miniatures. If you have any interest in a tabletop miniatures game based on Native American and Pacific island warrior cultures, you should take a look at Paymaster's KS and see what they have in the works.

I'm not much of a historical gamer, but I wouldn't mind some Pacific NW-themed warrior miniatures to paint up. The local tribes are such a rich part of Washington state history, and it looks like Paymaster has a great concept for introducing some really cool Native American miniatures to the market. Good luck!

Friday, October 12, 2012

Demons & Devils

As the CSM Demons & Devils Kickstarter winds down (just over two days left!), I wanted to trot out some of the various underworld denizens from my own cases and shelves. March seems so far away right now, but I'm really looking forward to doing a follow-up to this post when I can show all the shiny new CSM minis with the ones I'm showing today.

The pic above shows a trio of vintage minis from Superior Models Inc. They are (from left to right): WL-113 Large Devil/Pit Fiend; WL-071 Surtur The Fire Giant; and WL-098 Baalzebul Arch Devil. Surtur looks a LOT like a balrog to me and unlike any fire giant I've ever seen. If it walks like a cloven-hooved duck and carries a nasty-looking sword and whip, that makes it a balrog to me! I love the old Superior stuff, even if a lot of it tends to be on the smallish side of the scale.

Next up we have some offerings from Ral Partha. The balrog is 01-003v3 - upon closer inspection, you will notice that he has been "fixed" in dog-speak. When I was much younger, I was somewhat disturbed by his realistic anatomy, so I took my Xacto knife to him and did a little nip tuck. Ah, the folly of youth. On the far right is another common RP demon: 02-954 Demon Lord from All Things Dark & Dangerous. He's got that classic demon look but isn't terribly imposing size-wise. Flanking the Pit Fiend in the middle are my AD&D Ice Devils (11-640 Greater Gelugon). They each sport one green horn because they came to me damaged, so I repaired them with wire and Greenstuff. You can read the older posts here and here that go into detail about those fixes. I really like the Ice Devils for the most part, I just wish their necks were shorter, though. The Pit Fiend in the middle (11-648) is a nasty-looking critter, no mistake about it. The bloated body, ghoulish grin, and wicked club just really can't be beat. I also like that I only paid whatever the retail price was back in the day instead of the massively inflated prices he commands these days.

And here are some current offerings from Reaper, who boasts an excellent assortment of demons and devils, many that look like they walked off the pages of a certain manual that has monsters in it. From left to right we're looking at 2672 Clawed Devil; 2656 Demon Marbrezuk; 2895 Agramon Pit Fiend; 2654 Narglauth Fire Demon; and 2633 Vandorenda Demon. What I like about this bunch is that they are all very close representations of various AD&D demons and devils, but they are much closer in size and scale than their older counterparts.

This group shot of balrogs and pit fiends gives you a great idea how they all compare scale-wise.

Here are just the balrogs.

Followed by just the pit fiends.

I know I missed a few (11-654 Barbazu) and the old balrogs from Grenadier and Heritage (the Heritage LoTR balrog is tiny - man-sized at best). I'll have to round those up for my demons & devils follow-up this spring. Give now and give often to the CSM Demons & Devils Kickstarter! And if underworld fiends aren't your cup of tea, how about the massive King of Evil Dragons for only $75? You know you want to!

Friday, October 5, 2012

Center Stage Miniatures Giants

Did someone say Jolly Green Giant? I didn't think so! Here's a pic of The Usual Suspects, CSM giant-style. From left, we have the Cloud Giant, Fog Giant, Mountain Giant, and Firbolgs. They belong to CSM's Advanced Fantasy Miniatures Giant range, and I thought I'd give you giant fans and collectors a bit of a review, especially if you are considering any of these bad boys as Add-Ons for the CSM Demons & Devils Kickstarter.

Here's the CSM Cloud Giant posed alongside his venerable yet popular Ral Partha 11-440 counterpart. He's a big hunk of metal, weighing in at 5.4 ounces (150 grams). This is a single-piece casting, so hooray, no assembly required! His massive spiked club looks a LOT meaner than the RP flail, and his fangs give him a decided "more evil than neutral" vibe. And his crown or circlet really gives it that First Edition look, along with his robes and accessories - an hourglass and belt pouch. The only thing that seems odd to me are the hands - his right hand grips the club no problem, but the left hand looks out of place on top of the butt end of the club. Also, I think I would have liked his head to be a bit more upright (when you look at it from a higher angle, it's tipped down to the right a bit). But maybe that's just me nitpicking, because it's still a wonderful sculpt overall.

For a 28mm comparison, here is the CG posed next to Reaper's Frost Giant Princess (without her massive spear).

Next up is the CSM Fog Giant, shown with a true classic from Ral Partha, the 01-057 Frost Giant. The Fog Giant is a three-piece casting: lower body from the belt down, upper torso, and sword/hands. It only took some minor scraping and filing to mate up the two body sections nice and secure. And I really like the peg that Nic sculpted on the left arm - just slide the hand on the peg and line up the right hand with the arm stump and you're done. The sword is almost two inches (5cm) long, which gives it a lethal look for sure. I'm not crazy about the hilt, but that's my only critique. Good action pose, and a fierce roaring face that matches up with the giant's demeanor.

The CSM Mountain Giant is a real looker in my opinion. Here we see him out on the town with his good buddy Snow Giant (number 035 from the second series of Grenadier's Fantasy Lords). The Mountain Giant is a two-piece casting, and I had zero problems pinning his right arm to his body - they meet very nicely at the shoulder. The heads dangling from his belt (next to his left hand) are a lovely touch, and don't be fooled by his beer belly - just look at those guns he's flexing! His balding head and tree-trunk club round out this giant package. I can also see him painted up as a Hill Giant or even a Stone Giant who joined the Hair Club for Giants.

I forgot to snap a pic of the Firbolgs, but of course you can see them on the right side of the first picture above. They may not be rocking the extra-wide beard and 'stache like RP 11-419, but they are a mean couple of mutha-truckers to behold. Both are two-piece castings, and the one holding a sword in his right hand has a small pin and pilot hole molded in, so pinning it was that much easier. And the other one (holding his sword in front of him) has a small hole in one of the stones on the base so you know exactly where to place the tip of the sword when gluing it into place. They both look very tribal in a Celtic sort of manner, but could always pass as handsome ogres or small but well-groomed hill giants.

And finally, here's a little bonus for everyone who made it to the end: two adventurers taking a breather next to a basin of cool, clear water...

SWEET CALAMITY JANE! It's a CSM Water Weird, and it's about to grab the hapless RP cleric. I have the basin set between the 28mm Reaper mini on the left and the 25mm RP mini on the right to give you some scale reference. The resin basin is about 1 and 3/4 inches across and a half-inch high without the Weird. It might be hard to see in the picture, but the Weird's face has a good draconic or reptilian look about it, and seems a lot closer to being 10' long as described in the First Edition Monster Manual. A great bit of dungeon terrain with the added bonus of being able to table the Weird when you are good and ready to scare the crap out of the adventuring party!

Next up is a gallery of demons and devils to look at and compare while we wait for the CSM Kickstarter to wrap up and then begin the wait until the CSM minis arrive next spring. Rock me Asmodeus!

Friday, September 28, 2012

Too Many Irons In The Fire

I have been remiss in posting lately, but for once it's because I'm too busy rather than unmotivated or simply procrastinating. There's a lot going on right now, so I'll sum up what I've been working on so you know what to expect in the near future.

Center Stage Miniatures: We are almost halfway through the CSM Kickstarter, and are currently closing in on $23K as of Friday 9/28. I think there's an excellent chance Matt will hit the $35K mark. More than that would be nice, of course, so we shall see where things end up.

Otherworld Miniatures: OW has jumped on the fundraising bandwagon via Indiegogo. They are working on a line of 28mm classic fantasy adventurers, and the first couple of greens look rather nice. The downside, in my opinion, is their pricing. If you want all four sets, it's going to set you back $280. Ouch.

Side-By-Side Comparisons: While we wait for the CSM KS to wind down, I've been digging through the lead troughs and pulling out my demons and devils. I'll have some pics that compare some old school evilness right alongside some Reaper baddies, along with one 25mm and one 28mm mini to give you a sense of scale. I will then follow up by adding my CSM demons and devils to the pics when those arrive next year.

Same goes for my CSM giants. I'll be snapping them with some old and new giants, and with human sized minis again for scale. I'm trying to get up to speed on using my new camera, as the old one seems to be slowly crapping out.

OSFMapa Journal #3: I have mostly finished my Weird Miniatures article for Journal #3, so I'll be polishing that up and adding the pics in the next day or two to meet the deadline. Yikes! And we are always looking for new members who wish to share their wisdom and collecting passion with like-minded people.

Painting: Yes, I have been painting! It's one of my DragonTooth giants, and he's looking about 75-80% complete right now. I found the perfect base to mount him on, so it's something old meets something new. I'm hoping the finished product will meet my expectations.

So there you have it. I need to wrap up my OSFMapa article, finish painting my DT giant, take some pics, and oh yeah, bang out my long-overdue mega LMR (Lead Market Report) that I've been pecking away at.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Kickstarter Update: Center Stage Miniatures

We are currently four days into CSM's Kickstarter, with 118 backers and $8,703 in pledges. It's a great start, and four stretch goals have already come and gone. More will topple soon, of that I am quite confident.

In case you haven't looked at it yet or tallied up what your $75 or $100 pledge gets you, take a look at the following list. It is absolutely mind-blowing:

Baphomet, Demon Lord of Minotaurs (resin)
Molydeus + bonus weapons (halberd & giant flail)
Ice Devil
Horned Devil
2 Advanced Fantasy Personalities (Julie Guthrie Grenadier sculpts)
2 Bearded Devils
3 Lemures
3 Manes
Bone Devil
2 Barbed Devils
2 Spined Devils
Horned Devil (variant sculpt)
Type I
Type II
Type III
Type IV
Type V

The above list does not include any additional miniatures available through the Add-On updates, or the T-shirt and poster that come with the $100 pledge.

The next stretch goals are at 10K, 15K, and 20K. Matt also talked about 25K and 32.5K stretch goals. The list of cool minis that you will get once those goals are met will only make the above list even longer and sweeter!

Matt mentioned in one of the updates that if the pledges hit the six-digit mark, we could be looking at adding a "five-headed lord of evil dragons" to the haul. At this point, it's too early to say how realistic 100K is, but if enough people want an entire lineup of demons, devils, lords, lackeys and Tiamat, it could happen. Just say it with me - TIAMAT!

Best. Minis. Kickstarter. Ever.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Center Stage Miniatures Acquires Grenadier Classics Range and Launches A Kickstarter Project!

It's no secret that I'm a fan of Center Stage Miniatures. Matt and his gang have been turning out some killer minis for a couple of years now, and based on the current release schedule, I'll be spending some of my miniatures budget on CSM products well into 2013 and beyond.

Tonight, the big news is that CSM has launched their very own Kickstarter project! If you like Demons & Devils that capture the old-school look and feel, check it out for yourself. The pledge amounts are very modest in my opinion, and the stretch goals are out of this underworld. Tell your friends, family, and fellow gamers to pony up and help CSM make some bad-ass demons and devils come to miniature life.

And if the Kickstarter news wasn't enough, how about the announcement that CSM has acquired the Grenadier Classics range of minis! 180+ miniatures sculpted by Julie Guthrie have been added to the CSM stable, which is a HUGE WIN for Grenadier fans.

Finally, CSM will produce a color catalog sometime in Q1 of 2013. What can I say? Even in this day and age of websites and PDFs, I still loves me some good old-fashioned printed matter.

Big congrats to Matt and CSM for some great news.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

DragonTooth's Horus and the City of Magic Money

I haven't done a lot of buying over the summer, mostly because I haven't done much selling. But I couldn't resist putting in a bid on DragonTooth's GD-1 Horus, even though he is broken at the ankles and missing his sword and sceptre. I was pleased to win him for less than $9 - that's a bargain to me, even in his current state. Now I just need to acquire his sword and sceptre...

You can see him above after he has visited my little shop of mini horrors. He has been pinned back together, and I used a bit of Citadel's LGS (Liquid Green Stuff) to fill in the gaps. I still need to smooth it out before I prime and paint, but I'm getting there.
The Grenadier mind flayer in the third picture is for scale reference. I had no idea how big Horus was until he arrived at my house. Overall height is 60mm, and measures 45mm from foot to eye. I imagine he would scale out at close to 54mm if he were standing upright. I'm glad he's posed and not standing still like a statue.
In other DragonTooth news, did you see the City of Magic sets that recently sold? If not, let me recap: King Niflung's Throne Hall sold for a staggering $898 USD! Tomb of the Dwarf King went for $521.11 - a princely sum for a king's tomb. Ye Blind Cyclops Inn sold for $316.11, and the Dwarf Armory ended at $266.
There is a deep-pocketed DT collector out there who was willing to shell out $2,001.22 to add those four City of Magic kits to his or her collection. WOW! At an average of $500 per kit, that is dedication. On the plus side, all four kits look like they are 100% complete, something that is not very common considering the age of the kits and the amount of components involved.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Achilles Reborn!

I will rupture you!
No, I am not declaring myself the second coming of the legendary warrior Achilles. Rather, I am celebrating my return to indoor soccer after a seven month hiatus, courtesy of a ruptured right achilles tendon suffered at the end of January. My repaired tendon held up just fine - the rest of my muscles that have seen scant use in the intervening months, however, made their displeasure be known. The pain was worth it! Things started out well as we went up 2-0, and then quickly fell apart in the second half as we went on to lose 4-3. I am, needless to say, very happy to once again don my gloves and jump around and catch the ball kicked towards me at high velocity.

I have been eyeing the lead pile lately, cleaning up and organizing the mess that has lingered over the summer. Over on, there is a thread that shows the result of one collector's hard work: his painted collection. Hats off to Chris for the drive and desire to not only accumulate a nice stash of lead, but to actually paint every piece.

Monday, August 20, 2012

A Rogue, Paladin, and Ranger walk into the Yuirwood...

Since our regular DM has had his hands full of late, I was suckered into making a guest appearance by some of the players who were just itching to roll some dice. Well, I wasn't really suckered into it as much as begged/cajoled, and to be honest I enjoy a little DMing every now and then. I spent some time brainstorming during our vacation in Idaho and managed to come up with some encounters, as well as a rationale for the events that unfolded.

To explain the departure of our wizard (my character) and our cleric (otherwise busy), I decided to create a rift in The Weave that was caused by the forces of Chaos. It allowed quite a few nasty creatures to enter Faerun, as well as cause an increase in the general monster population - at least in Aglarond, where our characters are based.

Most of the spellcasters were summoned to Velprintalar to see if they could band together and close the rift, so off went Garrity (wizard) and Posht (cleric). The three remaining characters - Palau the halfling rogue, Callum the human paladin, and Nikola the human ranger - were left behind in Relkath's Foot to see what developed. The guards and patrols were increased and stepped up to meet with the surge in monster activity, leaving the trio of adventurers to help as needed. In this case, they would be needed to track down the perpetrator of a heinous crime.

According to the survivors, an elf (not a drow) walked into the temple of Corellon Larethian and killed a group of acolytes, along with the acting priest. The guards who attempted to stop him were likewise killed, and the assailant walked off into the woods, heading east. Palau, Callum, and Nikola are sent off after him/her.

After about a week in pursuit, they finally catch up with the mystery elf. It looks like an elf, speaks like an elf, wears elf armor - but it detects evil and is wielding a nasty-looking black greatsword. An intense battle ensues, with Nikola effectively incapacitated thanks to a word of chaos spell. I make my first error of the evening when I "kill" Callum - he had actually done enough damage to kill his enemy, but I made a simple math error, allowing one more attack that would have killed the paladin, but quickly catch the mistake.

The party is then able to discover that the elf is actually a death slaad! The unholy greatsword was as effective against the paladin as the paladin's chaotic bane bastard sword was on the slaad. Callum would like to destroy the evil blade, while Palau and Nikola seem to think they can somehow trade or sell it for something more useful to the party. I'll let Ned (regular DM) sort that one out!

Moving on, the boys run up against my next creation: a fiendish half black dragon ettin (!) and his plain vanilla ettin minion. The pair had been wreaking havoc on a small mining community, but the miners will be troubled no more. It was fun watching the players react to such an unusual template. The theme would be repeated later on down the road ;)

A random encounter with a pair of fire giants filled out the first leg of the trip, with the power trio arriving safely at The Watchwall. Callum trained to become a level 12 paladin, and picked up Exotic Weapon Proficiency (bastard sword) so he can once again resume using his shield. Things at the wall are busy but under control, so the party decided to head back to Relkath's Foot.

On the first leg of the return trip, they come across an ogre, busy defiling a lovely elven grotto in the name of Baphomet. The characters attack the ogre in a sort of "hmm, it's only an ogre, but something must be up" sort of way. Right! The ogre in question is a 4th level barbarian ogre, who rages and attacks. It is joined by a 4th level ogre rogue and then their master - a ghour demon. The ogres are tough, but they aren't up to the combined fury of our brave adventurers. The ghour is a lot tougher and inflicts a large amount of pain, but in the end it falls.

Now just a couple of days from returning home, the party has its final encounter, and stunning one at that. Following a trail alongside a stream, they come to a smallish lake. As they move around it, they are met by the steely gaze of an abyssal greater basilisk rising out of the water. In a heartbeat, Palau is petrified and promptly dubbed "the garden gnome" by yours truly. The basilisk is TOUGH (almost 200hp) and provides a challenge to the paladin and ranger, denied the extra DPS from the sneak attacks of Palau.

Once the hellish basilisk is vanquished, and the garden gnome secured to the paladin's mount (a wingless hippogriff), Callum and Nikola complete the journey back to Relkath's Foot. There they learn that the rift has been closed (yay!) and all is back to normal. Well, with the small exception of an unknown quantity of chaotic-aligned creatures now running loose in and around Aglarond, that is to say.

All in all a successful evening of D&D for all concerned, I have to say. I had fun in my role as guest DM, even with all the extra work that comes along with the job. And the players gained a good amount of XPs, along with a modest amount of treasure (uber evil greatsword notwithstanding). Callum dinged 12 pally, Nikola is close to 12 (I think), and Palau has enough to ding 13 rogue - once we manage to un-garden gnome him, of course :P

Now that I'm back from my last major family vacation and school for the kids is nigh (only two more weeks of freedom!), I know the lead-oriented content on TLD will resume at my normal pace. Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Grenadier's Selene, Guardian of the Sanctuary

I've been working on another installment of the Lead Market Report (LMR), and couldn't help but notice that one of the large-scale Grenadier Colossal Lords sets recently sold for a whopping $171.50! It struck me as unusual because they typically sell anywhere from around $10 to $30, give or take a few dollars.

The set in question is Selene, Guardian of the Sanctuary. She is the only figure from the Amazon Realms subset (the other two being the Museum Scale Models and Master Wizards sets), and was sculpted by Janine Bennett. Box contents can be seen in this LMW photo. I can only guess this particular kit was not produced in the same numbers are the rest, hence the rather high price?

After studying the LMW, I noticed that the pic in the eBay listing above does not show the hands or sword. Does that mean someone paid almost $200 for an incomplete kit??? If you bought this set and it was actually complete, please leave a comment.

The large-scale sets from the big G are really quite nice, at least in my opinion. I own a few, and I'm always on the lookout for more (at the right price, naturally). What I'd really like to see are some of these kits all put together and painted up. Anyone have some painted examples they'd like to share? Or know of a link to any galleries that show some?

Monday, July 16, 2012

No Country For Old Lead

Things have been pretty quiet both here on the blog and on the painting front. That changed a little bit in the past week when I actually picked up a brush and slapped some paint on some partially finished giants and a Heritage LOTR troll. Of course once I did that, it was time to pack up the Family Truckster and head to Lake Wenatchee State Park for a weekend of tent camping.

A good time was had by all. Many a wild s'more were made over the campfire and consumed by ravenous small people. Note to self: if you use the giant campfire marshmallows (the ones that look about three times the size of a reglar marshmallow), you WILL make a mess. No saving thow, do not pass go, do not collect $200.

Our campsite was frequented by the smallest chipmunks I've ever seen - even smaller than the garden variety fellas usually seen in the woods of the Pacific Northwest. Note the glowing eyes. I think this was a Dire Chipmunk. That, or the flash from my camera. I'll go with Dire Chipmunk.

When he wasn't busy hiking, eating s'mores, or tending the fire, Lukas did his best Two-Face imitation. He sat on the ground and covered the right side of his body with dirt. This was followed by a dunking in the lake to clean off the offending dirt. He could have showered, but he chose the frigid waters instead.

At the end of the trip, everyone was dead dog tired, dogs included. It didn't help that our friends who camped next to us accidentally set off their car alarm at 3AM, and didn't get it off for at least a full minute (an eternity in the wee hours).

So now that we're safely home again and all the camping gear has been cleaned and stowed, it's time to start blogging and painting again.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Lead Market Report - April 2012

Late again! Here is the very much overdue April 2012 LMR. I guess I'm going to have to bite the bullet and do a combined May/June LMR.

CITADEL: Is it just me, or have more of the AD&D minis been cropping up lately? This trio of character 3-packs were only $15 each, pretty much a righteous buy in my book. It's just a guess, but I think this Red Dragon only sold for $41 because it did not say "Citadel" anywhere in the listing.

The Encounter at Khazad-Dum is a great set, and $43 seems like a good price for a NIS copy. And there were a couple of my coveted C28 giants on the block: this one for $20, and this one that went UNSOLD at $15. How the frack did I miss bidding on that?

DARK HORSE: Glaug Pod.Glaug Pod? It sounds like something your order in Munchen ("Glaug pod, bitte!") that comes on a platter piled with with sauerkraut, and it best washed down with one of those Exxon Valdez-sized tankards of beer. This Officer's Glaug Pod sold for $86, which would hopefully buy you and your buddies at least one round at the Hofbrauhas Munchen.

GRENADIER: This female giant is not one of my favorites, but collectors are willing to pay for her nonetheless. $23.50 brought this painted one home.

HERITAGE: The WWII bug bit me big-time, to the tune of $66 for this shrinkwrapped box of Panzertroops Infantry Assault in mint condition! And yes, when I received it, I opened it. I will do a complete writeup on this nifty set sometime this summer. I would have bid on this Heritage LOTR Painting Guide that sold for $20.50 but the Panzertroops box killed my budget at the time. This three-pack of White Boxes was a BIN bargain at $45.

Dammit Scotty, I need more lead! Some Trekkie (don't get your knickers in a bunch if you prefer Trekker) forked over $199 for this lot of Star Trek heavy metal.

RAL PARTHA: I love to see little lots of old lead, especially giants! At $10 per giant, this was a decent deal for the buyer, in particular because they are in pristine, unpainted condition. And this pair of female giants says to me that you guys love tall chicks! The furs and club version sold for $15, while her sword and mail sister went for $8.

How do you tell someone that they have a giant snake growing out of their neck? You don't. You just pay $152.50 for his likeness in miniature and keep walking. DON'T make eye contact with Molydeus!

Takhisis continues to impress, even unboxed models like this one that sold for $101.01 - wow! A French seller moved one for an even more impressive $142.50 (as well as an unsold Dracolich that didn't get any bites at a start of $95).

BattleTech: When you can buy 5 Mechs for $7 each, and one of the Mechs is a Warhammer, I would consider that a great buy (even when one of the Mechs looks like it is missing an arm). The same seller sold this lot of 7 Mechs for $40, still a good buy even though the Warhammer is missing an arm. Compare that to loose Warhammers ($21, $19) and Riflemen ($19) - see what I mean?

Carded Mechs, in particular unseen Marauders, are still able to pull down the big bucks, like this Marauder IIC for $110. At least shipping was free!

I don't know if these two paint sets are RP or not, but I'm sticking them here. Clan Jade Falcon went for $40, and Clan Wolf sold for $19. I wonder if the paints were still good???

REAPER: I can't believe this LE boxed set, The Druid's Stone, sold for $8.10 - good news if you were the buyer!

WOTC: If you're into Chainmail minis, this lot was right up your alley - 21 boxes for less than $3/box with shipping! Sure, there are duplicates, but a bargain is a bargain, I always say.

LOTS: Anytime you can buy minis for around .50/mini, you're doing pretty well. This lot of 144 sold for $77, and I could see a Grenadier Demogorgon and that ugly gal from Pinnacle Dark Crystal set I talked about here. This lot of 111 sold for $148, but the lead was totally old school - lots of Custom Cast and Minifigs, among others - but it also came with some ODD booklets and ancient dice. Going even higher was this lot of 90+ figures for $170. I'm not sure exactly why, other than it is way old school, with some Heritage LOTR, John Carter, and things of that nature included. This lot of 20 blisters included a Citadel AD&D and RP 11-series, and worked out to be less than $4/blister at $72 for the bunch. And this mixed lot that sold for $42 had some interesting stuff, including a DragonTooth D76 Dragon that appeared to be missing its head! If Grenadier LOTR is your thing, you probably saw this $50 lot. And this is a nice lot of older stuff, I'm just not sure if it was $78 nice or not.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

OSFMapa Journal #2

This is the wraparound cover that graces OSFMapa Journal #2, which I have already had the pleasure of reading cover to cover. Everyone who contributed this time around did a wonderful job, and you can feel the passion for all things lead in each article.

If you are a miniatures enthusiast who enjoys not just collecting but the history and personalities associated with the hobby, you should seriously consider joining our ranks. It's a very cool feeling to contribute to a product that is the result of meticulous research and writing from the heart.

For more information on the OSFMapa, stop by the Yahoo! group, the website, or the blog.

Several copies of Journal #2 will eventually be sold on eBay to help finance our efforts, so keep an eye out for those if you are interested.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Priming With Gesso

So I was bopping around on Frothers and stumbled upon Under The Mountain, a blog that is new to me. Lots of resources and info, including a massive list of mini companies/manufacturers. I noticed a category at the top of the nav bar entitled "Gesso" - it sounded familiar, but I couldn't quite place it, so of course I had to click on it and see what it was all about.

You may already know what I now know, but as it turns out, Gesso is a surface prep compound used by artists (the kind of artists who paint on canvas, that is to say). The article in question details Gesso as a brush-on primer for miniatures. There was quite a bit of info to digest, but it is a good read, complete with pictures. You can practically glop on the stuff straight out of the bottle and about two hours later, it has shrunk and dried, with nary a detail lost in the process! It sounds promising, so the only thing left to do is actually give it a try myself and see what happens.

Anyone out there use Gesso as your default primer? I'd be interested in what others have to say about it.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Sculptor Interview: Nicolas Genovese

In the world of miniatures, the names of the sculptors are often talked about amongst collectors with the same fervor and emotion one also hears when sports fans are talking about their favorite players. Names like Tom Loback, Duke Seifried, Tom Meier, Julie Guthrie, Sandra Garrity, Ray Lamb, Bob Olley, Dennis Mize and many, many others are commonly associated with The Golden Age of Miniatures. Sometimes all it takes is a quick look and you instantly know whose hands were behind the creation of a given miniature.

Back then (at least for me), the creation of a miniature was one of the Great Mysteries in Life, right up there along with junior high school math and talking to girls. How did that pack of Heritage Bugbears on the Dungeon Dwellers rack at USS Enterprise in the Totem Lake Upper Mall come to be? I guess some mad alchemist or deranged toymaker coaxed them out of a large lump of lead perhaps, and then cloned them?

These days, one need only to arm themselves with one of the thousands of how-to clips on YouTube and some Greenstuff, and a miniature sculptor is born! But seriously, I was interested in picking the brain of a contemporary paid sculptor. I wanted to know what their background was, how they went about their work, things of that nature. I wanted some answers that would satisfy my curiosity about the sculpting of miniatures in today's market.

So I turned to a sculptor whose work I have come to admire, in particular his line of giants for Center Stage Miniatures. Nicolas Genovese has also sculpted for Reaper, Otherworld, and several other companies as well. Nick was kind enough to answer my questions, so without further ado, here they are!

TLD: How did you decide to sculpt miniatures? Are you a tabletop and/or RPG gamer who decided to make minis, or was it more like you are an artist/sculptor who decided it would be fun to make gaming minis?

NG: The way I got into sculpting miniatures is actually by chance and timing. My older brothers have played miniature specifically Warhammer for many years, I have not. One night I was at my oldest brother Federico's house. He had "green stuff" putty on the kitchen table and he was sculpting something. I noticed so I sat beside him and joined in on the fun. I browsed through the 3E monster manual and began to create an Eyewing type miniature later called the Optic Flyer that was sold on our Blood Moon Miniatures website for a short time. We decided to start our own range from the second we started sculpting and began to add to the Blood Moon website our own range of fantasy miniatures heavily intended for the HeroQuest fans out there. That site has been redesigned and slowly we are creeping towards reopening with new updated ranges if we ever get free time away from freelancing. I have played Warhammer maybe a handful of times in my 25 years. I never really clung to it or any other tabletop games. Sculpting however was addicting from the first piece I made. I have always been a fantasy/comic book guy growing up and sculpting allows me to present my innermost ideas in reality. It paid my way through college, and looks to be steadily growing into some kind of career. I studied Computer Science and graduated in 2011 with a Bachelors degree but I am sticking with sculpting to see where it takes me at the current time.

TLD: Do you collect miniatures yourself? If so, what do you collect?

NG: I do not collect miniatures anymore. I had a few spells when I was young where I would spend all of my money on Ral Partha miniatures at a local gaming shop called Green House Games. My favorites where the dark denizens trio. The octopus man the dragon snail and the demon bear pumpkin dude. I always liked monsters, in miniatures, in movies, in comics, I always rooted for the villains. When I was young I thought they were the coolest.

TLD: If you were transported back in time to the late 1970s and early 1980s, which company would you like to have sculpted for? Ral Partha, Grenadier, Heritage, or someone else?

NG: Grenadier hands down. They had the best variety of figures not just by character type but by sculpt, a lot of the monsters were full of character and skewed here and there to make their features show. I prefer slightly caricatured miniatures as I feel they are more original and are more presentable than perfect anatomical ones. Don't get me wrong anatomy as far as arm leg torso and head length is important no matter what but what you do to them to create something unique is where I find the most interest.

TLD: Are there any artists or art styles (any genre, any medium, but NOT directly related to miniatures) that you consider an influence on your work?

NG: I like to look at pictures of art from ancient times and from some graphic novels specifically the Conan series. I believe we all have the natural ability to create Art in some form and the only way to find it is through repetition, self discipline and self motivation. I tend to disagree with the masses who say study anatomy first, I have yet to study anatomy to the pinpoint yet my sculpts inch closer and closer to anatomically correct pieces if they have not already made it. My thought on this is it saves time in the long run. If you waste hours studying and trying to get the anatomy right you're going to burn yourself out and probably stop before you start. At least that's how I work so I chose this method for myself, I like to get my ideas out more so than focus on the little things. Anatomy comes slower this way but I believe I have a firm grasp on it now. Two years ago not so much but now that I have repeat sculpted so many times I can sculpt faster more efficient and focus on my ideas because the anatomy comes flows more natural without too much thought to mess it up and I get better results because of this.

TLD: Would you say your own personal sculpting style has been influenced by any past or contemporary sculptors?

NG: I can't really say that because I do not have any to reference by. I do have favorites in the miniature realm. Jason Weibe by far makes some of the best and most "characterful" monsters. And also I hope to be as good as Tom Meier someday. He is a god among men in clay sculpture.

TLD: Some of your preferred genres are fantasy, monsters, and undead. Do you have any favorite miniatures and/or sculptors from those genres?

NG: I think Paul Muller is creeping up as my favorite undead sculptor. He nails the creep factor every time he makes an undead sculpt. My favorites have to be the old Reaper undead lines they used to have in their Casket Works lines and late 1990's early 2000's releases. They had a certain look to them that made me want to buy them.

TLD: In addition to your work for Center Stage Miniatures, I see you have sculpted for companies such as Reaper and Otherworld. How difficult was it for you to get your work noticed by some of the bigger or well-known manufacturers?

NG: I have, and it was difficult. I sculpted for peanuts just to get my name out there in the past which I encourage new sculptors to do. I look at this as a fun thing, but it depends on how many bills you have etc. But if you can, try to sculpt for dirt at first to get your name out there. It has paid off nowadays and I wouldn't be where I'm at now if I hadn't done so.

TLD: What advice do you have for other sculptors who are trying to break into the business?

NG: My advice is stick to your own style and methods and take advice and critiques gently. I made the mistake of taking others critiques to the heart and that didn't lead to anything good as far as motivation and figuring out my own style. I believe the more you change methods, the tougher the learning curve becomes and the more burnt out you will get. In doing so you will flow like water instead of like mud and you will enjoy yourself and your pieces each sitting and get better results and more satisfaction (at least that's how it has worked best for me).

TLD: Is miniature sculpting a full-time job for you, or something you do on the side?

NG: Currently it is full time. I guess I can say I have too much on my hands right now but am grateful that I have too much work rather than not enough. I am still sculpting for peanuts comparatively speaking - I should re-assess my rates and I urge every new sculptor to slowly do so as they get better.

TLD: Can you share any news about what’s in store for Blood Moon Miniatures? (Blood Moon is a company run by Nicolas and his brothers.)

NG: Blood Moon Miniatures is currently dormant. We have too much on our plates as freelancers to really get it going. I have slowly been recreating the website and a new better storefront is in the works. It is set up I just need to add details and of course our own new releases when we get a chance to sculpt and cast them.

TLD: Do you start a project using 2D art as a reference point, or can you start a sculpt based on a text description or even an image in your mind’s eye?

NG: The mind's eye is the only method I use. Its primary for me as I develop a vision from paragraphs (of text) or art and just roll it out. I find characters come out a lot more unique when provided with the least information to follow because it's a combination of both the artists mind as well as the stakeholders ideas.

TLD: How much time does it take to produce a finished sculpt for a 25/28mm human-sized miniature, assuming it’s not a rush job? I’m sure each project is different, but perhaps you can give at least a ballpark figure.

NG: It takes me anywhere from 4-10 hours. It heavily depends on mood. Generally 5 or 6 for the average 28mm model.

TLD: Are there any “dream projects” you’d like to take on? The sky is the limit – it could be your take on Smaug the dragon, a new chapter of Space Marines, all the giants from AD&D’s classic G1-2-3 adventures – anything in particular that’s on your sculpting To-Do list?

NG: My dream project is on a much larger scale, I want to sculpt a big statue, maybe five feet tall with the base included of an ice harvester for the town I live in and submit it for contest. I also really enjoy other areas of sculpture particularly classical period sculpting with a new age twist based on my visions. I am passionate about creating relief sculptures. For miniatures I would rather help a small company grow into a large company and stick with them throughout.

TLD: My 9-year-old son would like to give sculpting a try. What kind of tips do you have for new sculptors who are just starting out? Are tools like Reaper’s Sculpting Armatures helpful in your opinion? Would you recommend drawing/sculpting lessons? And what is your sculpting material of choice – Green Stuff, Brown Stuff, or something else?

NG: That's great! First off pick a medium and stick with it. Green stuff is the best by far in my opinion if you want to create sturdy figures for production in metal. Fimo and Sculpey can be resin cast and then metal cast but it costs more in the long run to transition through to the metal molding if you use an oven bake clay. Buy clay shapers and be prepared to buy more each month or two. The number 0 extra firm tip flat chisel and taper points are my two most used tools. I use some cheapy tools I bought in a big pack with needles and such from a local store that I occasionally use. I dislike premade armatures. They are limiting. You're better off taking the time to learn using wire. I use 22 gauge steel wire and cut three equal length pieces about 50mm in length each and twist them at the center with pliers then cut the center one off between the legs and form a skeleton. tutorials may help I have never looked for them I prefer to self learn though trial and error. I will be creating my own set of tutorials soon once I get my video camera and they will be available on my sculpting website. Thank you for the interview! And good luck to your son! If he runs into any enigmas just send me an email I will gladly help.

Great stuff! Huge thanks to Nick for taking the time to answer my questions. If you enjoy Nick's work and would like to keep current on his various projects, make sure to Like him on Facebook.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Hrugnir Finds A Home

This bearded brute is Hrugnir. He is a giant, and he is carrying his loot. His loot consists of at least one bovine and one dragon, and other things carried in his sacks, pouches, and quilts of many colors.

In the world of miniatues, he is known as GI8 or GI-8, Hrugnir the Giant Carrying His Loot, and he was produced by DragonTooth miniatures.

Earlier tonight, someone (not me) paid $119.50 to add him to their collection. You can see the ended auction here. I was ready to join the bidding, right up until the point where I saw it had gone from a start of $9.99 with three bids from the same bidder and the reserve not met to $100 as the same bidder upped the ante. Too rich for my blood! Not suprisingly, a sniper popped up at the last second with the final and winning bid.

This is the first copy of Hrugnir that I have seen in the past four or so years on eBay. It's quite possible I may have missed others, but even then, it would have to be only a small handful, say perhaps two or three copies, if that? I suppose the bidding could have been even more active if the seller had properly identified it, instead of listing it as "Dungeons & Dragons AD&D 3-1/2" Dwarf Carrying Cow Dragons RARE MINT" in the title.

I guess it's just fun to see that one actually popped up for auction, and that hopefully some collector is now eagerly awaiting Hrugnir to wing his way through the postal system and arrive in his new home. Of course I think he would have looked just smashing alongside my copies of Big Meg and the Horned Hill Giant, but I'll just have to keep my eyes peeled for another one. And it wouldn't hurt to start stashing away a few extra bucks too. I'll call it my Rainy Day Hrugnir Fund, and yes, feel free to contribute to the fund.

(Picture from the Stuff of Legends)

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

The Armory's Big Old Book of Lead Goodness

I went to the mailbox today to fetch my copy of The Armory's Buyers Guide to Fantasy Miniatures that had finally arrived. There's always that moment of dread right as I was opening the envelope - perhaps you know the feeling I speak of - Will it be trashed? Smell like an ashtray? Not nearly in the condition as described by the seller? Or even worse, just a couple of old Highlights magazines stuffed in there as a cruel eff you...

 Ah, but my unveiling was a happy one! The book is in great shape, there's not a hint of any strange odors, and the interior is more or less pristine, with just a few light pencil marks in the Ral Partha section that I've noticed so far. My $41 purchase was worth it, now that it's here in front of me and the condition actually meets and exceeds my expectations.

Now I know the Buyers Guide is readily available in PDF form from several locations such as and, so some might ask "Why spend money on something that is available for free?" Because I still love printed matter! I might use the PDF version more, because that of course does not wear out. But there is just something cool about holding this lead bible in my hands, gently turning the pages and enjoying all of the illustrations contained within. Mike Monaco has a nice entry about it over on Swords & Dorkery, so check that out too.

I'll have to do a follow-up post to this one, because I'm sure I'll find a few pics and items that catch my eye. I also have a few more posts coming soon, including the long-delayed next installment of the Lead Market Report. But first, back to the real work at hand - I'm almost ready to email in my article for volume II of the OSFMapa Journal! I'm just fiddling with the layout, trying to make it perfect to my eyes and hopefully to my fellow members as well.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Dear LEGO Group: I Hate You

That is to say, I still love you  - but now my bank account hates you. Seriously, Lord of The Rings LEGOs? You're KILLING me. Helm's Deep? Moria? Time to get busy purging the excess lead from the lead pile and earn some LEGO money. Reviews will be in order for any and all sets that I decide to buy. That is all. Move along, nothing to see here.

UPDATE: OK, well that didn't take long. My iron will crumbled and I ordered Gandalf Arrives from for $12.99 plus tax and shipping. Not a bad price considering what some of the greedy sellers on eBay are charging, and I get the free promo poster (ooh ahh). Shop smart, shop S-Mart!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Center Stage Miniatures Interactive Giveaway!

The good people over at Center Stage Miniatures are putting on an old-fashioned giveaway! That's right, Matt is going to give one lucky leadhead a big box of CSM minis - one of every mini they have currently produced, to be exact.

There are two steps to enter: You need to Like CSM on Facebook, and then register on the CSM forums and make at least 10 relevant posts there. The details can be found on the CSM forums here.

Don't be shy, go ahead and leave your comments on the CSM forums. You can ask questions about the current release schedule, read about their foray into resin casting, tell Matt what kind of minis you'd like CSM to produce, or just chat about minis. Come on, tell Matt you think there's a need for a Caterwaul mini! Or was it a Carbuncle? Damned Fiend Folio and their crazy-ass critters...

Oh, and if you're in a buying mood, you should take advantage of the current 20% off your order promotion running on Facebook - enter FACEBOOK100 in the coupon code box. Offer valid until May 15, 2012 and it does not apply to Secret Skeleton Miniatures.

See you on the CSM forums!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

LEGO Designers: The Mad Scientists of Plastic Bricks

When I was a kid, my favorite toy was LEGOs. All you need are some bricks and your imagination, and your options are pretty much wide open from there. Now that I'm an adult, my favorite toy is still LEGOs. All three of my kids still play with LEGOs from time to time, but my youngest son is currently the one getting the most mileage out of our bricks. When he's sitting at the table with his Ninjago minions, he reminds me of myself at that age.

The latest addition to our LEGO collective is kit 9443, the Rattlecopter:

It's a very cool kit, and the Rattlecopter even has eyes and fangs! But the part that made me geek out the most was probably one of the most mundane and boring parts on the build. The engine:

Why the engine? Look at the cone of what I assume is the turbofan. Take it off, and you discover that it is actually a...

Knight's helmet! I can only imagine that the LEGO designers try to use as many existing parts as possible, to help keep costs down. Brilliant!

I came across this article on about the newest and youngest Master Model Builder. Make sure you watch his application video. Also, if you've never seen it before, make sure you check out Nathan Sawaya's website. Simply amazing stuff! The Iwo Jima Replica and Starry Night are just two examples to single out, but you really need to see everything to fully appreciate Nathan's ability to use LEGOs instead of more traditional art mediums.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Phaerimm, the evil teleporting windsocks of Faerun

Session Recap 3/10/2012

 Winter has set in at Relkath’s Foot, and it shows on the faces of the inhabitants. Cloaks are drawn tighter, scarves cover faces up to the eyes, and gloves are on, all to ward off the frigid winds that blow in from Thay to the east. The guards and patrols are even more vigilant, because they know that some creatures will become more brazen and desperate in their search for food as the winter months drag on.

 The heightened state of vigilance seems to have overcome Nikola, as the patrol he set out with returned without him – it would seem that my ranger brother was either restless or on to something, because he insisted on staying out. The rest of the party heads back to Nikola’s last known camp, aided by the patrol members. We fan out and search, and eventually track him to a menhir ring. I cast analyze portal and determine that the portal has several properties: two-way, not creature-only, not password activated but instead elf-activated, and has two destinations. The most unusual property is detected by Callum when he employs his detect evil and discovers that the portal itself detects evil!

 Our efforts to activate the portal are for naught, and scrying fails as well. We return to Relkath’s Foot and seek counsel from my father, who in turn consults with the local portal magic scholar. The scholar returns with us to the menhir ring to see if he can help us activate it. Things seem to be going well when the portal scholar takes an arrow in the neck and one of the ½ elf rangers is killed! The now-familiar voice of T’see Larak is heard to ask “Where is my brother?” – is he talking about me [Garrity is ½ drow] or just messing with us? In any event, the wounded scholar activates the portal and we jump through. The surviving ½ elf ranger stays behind to care for the scholar.

 We land near a massive tower in Anauroch, across the Sea of Fallen Stars and well northwest of the Yuirwood. There is no visible entrance, so we head to the top of the tower via spells, potions, and the always-useful ebon fly. The top of the tower is the lair of a most unusual creature – so unusual, we can’t identify it or even attach a name to it – the thing has a head that resembles an octopus, a large beak, and several tentacles. Oh, and it seems to be able to summon lightning from the clouds above. We manage to defeat it, along with the three wights who were prowling around the corpse of a black dragon that the tower guardian was picking over. We descend into the tower and work our way down.

 Along the way our cleric and paladin get a chance to unleash their holy wrath on some undead who cross our path. Real wrath of the gods stuff, if you know what I mean. We eventually re-acquire Nikola (via scrying, I believe) and find that he has left the building. Fortunately, he is not far from the tower, and we track him to a smallish keep or outpost that is in disrepair. Unfortunately, Nikola is the captive of two phaerimm, who appear to be negotiating with some vampires and their undead minions – not good!

 With my brother in sight, we spring into action. The undead are tough, but we are tougher! Our blades and spells are able to vanquish them after a pitched battle. The phaerimm prove to be a bit more of a challenge, though. My disintegrate spell succeeds in vaporizing one of the phaerimm, but the other one teleports away with Nikola. In hindsight, we should have tried to grab Nikola during the melee, but we were so caught up in the action that we didn’t even think about that. Our redemption comes when we succeed in our scrying attempt, and we teleport into a tunnel the phaerimm is attempting to escape through. The lone phaerimm decides that discretion is the better part of valor, and flees once again – this time without Nikola.

 So we are once again a whole party, although the intrigue that seems to follow us around is even murkier and unsettling than ever. Hopefully Nikola has learned his lesson that heading off on his own, even in the relative safety of the Yuirwood, will never EVER be a good idea.

 On the lighter side of gaming, I really need to get myself a can of Unicorn Meat. When I attempted to read the description on the back of the can out loud, I failed. It was just too goddamned funny! Look, I love my pets and animals in general, and believe I will one day see them again across The Rainbow Bridge – but when I was reading about these poor unicorns and the DOUBLE Rainbow Bridge, I lost it. My stomach hurt from laughing, and I am always glad to provide some wheezing, laughing comic relief at our sessions. Best unintentional comedic line came from Dino who declared “I am going to eat the fuck out of that pizza!” – the poor pizza never stood a chance! I love my friends, and I know they love me. At least they treat me like the younger, dim-witted brother they are thankful they never had.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Lead Market Report - March 2012

Well I finally managed to get the March LMR out the door, just in time to start work on April. When will I end my procrastinating ways? Probably when I end my lead-buying days. Not gonna happen!

BROADSWORD: I usually don't pass up vintage giants, but for some reason I didn't bid on these big fellas: the Stone Giant and Hill Giant, both for only $7.50 each. I've actually owned and sold these previously - what was I thinking, selling off giants?

CITADEL: As I previously mentioned, I finally bought my first Citadel AD&D monsters! The same seller had a Troll, Owlbear, and Gorgon for $20 each. I missed out on the Troll, but picked up the other two before they were snapped up. This Owlbear sold for just over $20 for comparison. Also on the block was the Ranger set ($19) and an Ogre ($24). The C28 giants also made a splash at $38 and $31.

DARK HORSE GAMES: I was too old to get caught up in the TMNT craze back in the day, but I didn't escape totally unscathed. I played my fair share of TMNT games when I worked at Nintendo, and now I find myself pondering the wisdom of collecting the four 75mm turtles...hmm. Like this Michaelangelo for $23 and this Raphael for $16. Or if I go all in, I should expect to pay prices like $47 for this lot.

DRAGONTOOTH: It's good to be king. Or it's good to be the seller of the Tomb of The Dwarf King for $336!!! Wow. For $215, you could have partied in Ye Blind Cyclops Inn. And for "only" $125, there was the Dwarf Armory.

FORGE WORLD: Here's one I haven't seen before! A large-scale (54mm) representation of Asmodai, Interrogator-Chaplain of the Dark Angels. A very cool sculpt, but $178 is a bit out of my range I'm afraid. You can see some pics of the other FW 54mm models on this thread.

GAMES WORKSHOP: This metal LOTR Cave Troll didn't last long at $15.

GRENADIER: This complete run of Grenadier's LOTR box sets was just too good to pass up at $32, so I bought it! I have to imagine that not using 'Grenadier' anywhere in the listing probably helped keep the price down. If you're looking for these, let me know - maybe we can hammer out a trade or offline sale. Isengard has already been claimed, but the other four are available. And I had not seen these Warrior newsletters before - always cool to see things I didn't know about! Issue 4 (July/August 1993) $8; Issue 5 (September/October 1993) $8; Issue 6 (November/December 1993) $8; Issue 7 (February/March 1994) $8; Issue 8 (April/May 1994) $13; Issue 9 (June/July 1994) $12; Issue 10 (August/September 1994) $8Issue 11 (November/December 1994) $14; Issue 12 (February/March 1995) $14; and Issue 13 (April/May 1995) $14. There were also two Grenadier catalogs that came and went, the Temporary Catalog Update for $15 and this green-cover catalog with both the US and UK addresses for sold for...wait for it...a buck! My kind of deal, if I had been the buyer.

I'm always on the lookout for the Giant's Club sets, and they continue to sell right around the $10-$20 range for the most part. I picked up the Fire Giant for $13, and the same seller also moved a Stone Giant for $11, a Dwarven Giant for $14, and a Forest Giant for $17. There was also this Dwarven Giant in shrink for $13. Moving on to other boxed sets, there was a Dungeon Raiders for $26, King Arthur in shrink for $27, Osric the Wise for $42 (haven't seen prices like that on this line recently, so perhaps Osric is uncommon/rare), Fantasy Warriors Juggernaut for $23, and the Battle Giant for $33. This unboxed Goblin War Giant tallied $60. The seller of this mail-in only Dragon Lord was asking $90, but ended up selling for $75. Looks like the original packaging and documentation, so it was probably worth it to some Grenadier completist.

The same seller who cashed in on three DragonTooth sets (listed above) also sold this lot for $55, which included the smiley-faced Have A Nice Day beholder among other minis (including the well-endowed version of the RP Balrog 01-003).

HERITAGE: A small batch of John Carter Warlord of Mars blisters hit the market and made a splash - the recent John Carter movie probably wishes it could have done as well, no doubt. Check out these prices: 1504 John Carter mounted on Thoat with Deja Thoris and Woola for $272; 1522 Orovars - Horz and Lotharians with Bowmen for $162; 1517 Black Pirates of Barsoom - the Firstborn for $84; and 1528 Plantmen of the Valley Dor for $65. On the bargain end of the spectrum, there was this lot of 8 Fantasy Fantastics plus 1 D&D blister for $37.

This complete-looking Caverns of Doom sold for $112, moving back up the price charts. And this Barsoomian Battle Manual still sold for $25 even though it was missing a chunk off the front cover.

LEADING EDGE GAMES: "Yeah man, but it's a dry heat!" Aliens - talk about a flick just chock-full of memorable quotes and snappy one-liners. And the minis just keep on selling, like these, uh, Xenomorphs (aka the Alien Warrior Boxed Set) for $66. If heavy equipment is more your thing, then you probably bid on this Power Loader Boxed Set (with 4 Sentry Guns) that sold for $46. The Alien Queen Boxed Set went for a respectable $36, while the Colonial Marines Set #1 ended up at $31. And I would have bought this $22 blister for the name alone: the "Game Over" Pack!

MINIFIGS: The VFW (Valley of the Four Winds) minis seem to be some of the more sought after minis produced by Minifigs, and one particular seller sold several lots as follows: VFW 42, the aptly-named Cart Full of Skulls & Bones, for $29; what looks like VFWM10 Wheel of Torture (Pat Sajak NOT included), a pair of demons, and 4 hellhounds for $72; VFWM6 Spiked Fire Wheel, the Spirit Monks set, and World of Greyhawk 55 (fire elemental) for $27; and VFW73 Wind Demon & Ornate Chariot for $46.

RAL PARTHA: As I mentioned in the last LMR, some BattleTech collector decided to Go Big (as in go big or go home). The winner of this particular auction spent a whopping $342 on this carded Phoenix Hawk LAM. I noticed the same seller is currently peddling two in the same auction for a $100 starting bid and a $370 BIN. We'll see where that one ends up. For loose Mechs, you could have picked up this Rifleman with a FREE display case (dice box) for $11. Or this one for $13. Or this one for $16. The Warhammer still commands attention and prices: $35, $15, and $21. BattleTech lots, as usual, do very well - 6 for $86; 10 for $73, 5 for $61; and 20 mechs and 9 tanks for $143.

This Limited Edition Dracolich is still on my want list, thanks in no small part to prices like $123. Great if you are selling, not so much if you are buying. If you want a great deal as a buyer, how about this Limited Edition Golden Dragon of Chaos for under $28? That has to be THE lowest price for a NIS LE boxed set I have ever seen. And this LE Great Red Dragon for $66 also qualifies as a bargain as far as I'm concerned. $41 for Huma's Silver Dragon is about average. This Griffin Chariot in its NIS glory sold for $41 (this seller and this seller should take note if they ever expect to move theirs).
$20 for the Elf Chariot is a good price, and $20 for Riding the Cold Wind is even better!

11-Series: The Driders usually go for decent prices, such as these 11-518 Male Driders for $24. Their drow masters also do well, especially the uncommon 11-517 Drow II set for $17. And as someone who is after the 11-Series Birthright minis, it's encouraging that the Personalities boxed set has dipped down to $34, and the blisters are right around $10-$15: $13, $12, and $11 respectively. And a mostly-complete (missing one) Powers of Law for $28 works for me, if you have the patience to track down the missing Gruumsh.

Finally, there was this Troll advertised as a possible alternate sculpt to 11-408. Joe was kind enough to post a pic of the hallmark, which is unlike any RP hallmark I've ever seen. Makes me wonder if this is instead a casting of prototype that wasn't released? Anyone else out there ever seen this troll kicking around?

UPDATE: Thanks to the sharp eye of cola55z, I now know this is NOT an 11-408 alternate sculpt, but rather a 15mm Battlesystem mini from 11-954 Trolls of The Claw Mercenary Company. The troll linked above is seen on the far right of the pic on the LMW.

This lot was an absolute steal at $46! The Grenadier boxed set can sell for that much alone, so it's like the 9 RP boxes were free! Why am I using so many exclamation points?!? And this doesn't look so much like a poster as opposed to some sort of printer's proof sheet (sorry if I cannot recall the correct term), but for less than $7, it's still an interesting piece of RP ephemera.

REAPER: The Gauth boxed set sells for $100 at the Reaper online store, so even with the free shipping they offer on purchases over $25, the buyer still got a great deal at $51.

STEVE JACKSON GAMES: This Ral Partha Mk. III OGRE sold for $38, just to demonstrate that vintage OGRE minis continue to hold their value and then some.

WEST END GAMES: It's fairly uncommon (if not downright rare) to pick up a near-complete run of the Grenadier boxed sets in one lot, but someone did for $250. At just over $20 a box, it wasn't a steal, but then again, it wasn't a bad price either, and the buyer did get a great collection in one fell swoop.

LOTS AND LOTS OF LOTS: 200+ minis for $200 (down from the asking price of $300) is still a good deal for the dedicated reseller and/or collector. This lot of boxes and blisters was $158 - LOTR blisters, Wizzards & Warriors large boxes - neat stuff. I wanted the Superior Swamp Demon in this $78 lot (top right), but the VFW crew quickly pushed it way out of my reach. This very much old-school Orcus helped push this small lot to $44. Who mixes giants and undead??? $41 took these big and dead guys home. This $44 lot was a great, great deal at just over $2 per mini. And this $123 lot was an eclectic mix of DragonTooth, Grenadier Dark Crystal, Minifigs, and others. Finally, this $153 lot was something old and something new. That is to say, the new stuff was some of the older Reaper DHL line.

ODDS-N-ENDS: If you are an AD&D completist or a paint kit afficionado, perhaps you saw this Polly S AD&D paint set, complete with a Grenadier wizard. It sold for $9.99, which is only $1.02 more than it sold for at Toys-R-Us. And this is a rather neat-looking dragon of unknown origin (it looks older, like Minifigs, Martian Metals, Asgard - something along those lines) that sold for $23.