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!

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Uncle Duke Seifried in 25mm

Every once in a blue moon, I see a miniature that really and truly fits the definition of words such as unique, hard-to-find, cool, one-of-a-kind, and yes, rare. So not too long ago, I noticed a miniature on the auction block from the estate of David L. Arneson that caught my eye.

It is a miniature representation of Duke Seifried, the prolific miniature sculptor and wargaming legend who is affectionately known as Uncle Duke. I remember being intrigued by such an uncommon sculpt, and meant to ask Uncle Duke back when the auction was live, but I let it slip into the back of my mind for a spell.

One thing I really like about our hobby is the history and background of the various companies, sculptors, and personalities that make up the business, past and present. The whole notion of an Uncle Duke mini struck me as awesome - but what I really wanted to know was the how and where and why of how this miniature came to be.

Fast-forward to Friday when I finally got off the dime and fired off a missive to Duke, who was kind and gracious enough to give me a reply and answer my questions about the Uncle Duke mini. So here you go:

TLD: What is the story behind this sculpt? How did it come to be?
UDS: A limited number were made to present to special people.   It was me with my usual briefcase full of samples and paperwork.   They used to tease me about that case because at one point when someone else opened it up they found a gun.

TLD: Is it a Heritage miniature? Does it have a code stamped on the base?

UDS: Yes, it was produced during that period.  No code.

TLD: Is it a one-off? Limited Production?

UDS: There were 20 produced.

TLD: Was it an in-house only item, or was it available to the public?

UDS: Never available to the public.

TLD: Did you sculpt it? If not you, who did?

UDS: I believe it was a fellow namd Steve  (I think ) Bisset but I cannot remember clearly from some 30+ years ago.   

TLD: Did you paint it?

UDS: There were only two painted that I gave to important distributors.

TLD: Did you give it to Dave?

UDS: Yes, he was a very good friend of mine.   He was one of the "special people".

TLD: Sorry for the barrage of questions, but this is such a fascinating item I had to dig up your card and fire off this email. Thank you for your time.

UDS: This figurine has become a rather rare collector piece - and I understand brings a pretty penny.  I have only one left  myself.


Uncle Duke

I had to send a follow-up to Duke to ask him if it was OK if I shared this info and his reply was "By all means! Stories are made for all of us to share." What a gentleman. Thanks again, Uncle Duke! I hope you all enjoy the background on this fascinating miniature.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Barrowmaze Complete Indiegogo Campaign

Anytime a crowdfunding campaign that involves miniatures surfaces, it sets off my Spidey-senses something fierce. I can't help myself, really. I have to look, at the very least. So when Barrowmaze Complete kicked off their campaign, I had to see what it was all about. I had heard about Barrowmaze before, and the reviews and feedback was almost always ranging from "excellent quality" to "totally awesome." If I decide to take the plunge, it would be for our DM - another tool in the DM kit, something else he can throw at us or use as inspiration when he's cooking up our next romp.

The price point seems a bit on the steep side to me ($35 for the PDF; $80 for the hardcover + PDF; and then it jumps up to $170 for the minis + PDF; and $190 for the minis, hardcover, and PDF). But keep in mind you get what you pay for - a proven product (Barrowmaze), quality minis (Otherworld), and shipping included.

The red flag here would be Otherworld Miniatures. Otherworld makes some of the best-looking old-school D&D/AD&D miniatures out there. I have had my eye on them for quite some time now, and would love to add pretty much their entire line to my hoard. It hasn't happened yet, mainly due to the price. That will change eventually, of that I am sure.

But Otherworld's Indiegogo campaign has been a rocky one. 173 people shelled out $280 USD each (about $48K) to get the whole enchilada, and there are still a substantial number of backers still waiting on product. Communication seems to have been poor, and salt rubbed into the wounds in the form of product being sold in their store while backers sit empty-handed. And I don't mean to pick on Otherworld, as I found out first-hand that even Kickstarter campaigns run by companies I like (Center Stage Miniatures) have had their fair share of issues as well.

If I have to be super picky, I would gripe that the Barrowmaze minis are (so far) conversions or modifications of existing Otherworld minis. Say what? For that price, you can't have new minis sculpted? The conversions look great, don't get me wrong - it just seems a tad lazy in my opinion. To each his own.

So good luck to Greg and his latest Barrowmaze efforts. I hope it does well and that his customers are happy with the final results.

EDIT (2/10/14): I would be remiss if I didn't mention that fellow blogger and miniature enthusiast Zhu Bajiee was one of the artists participating in Barrowmaze Complete. I also hear some guy by the handle of Erol Otus is doing the cover art. Now where do I know that name from? Hmmm...