This blog is about the world of gaming miniatures, as seen from my perspective. I've been collecting and painting for over 30 years now, and while my primary focus is miniatures for D&D, I also enjoy many other games that use minis, so we'll be covering those as well. Thanks for stopping by!

Friday, February 9, 2018

Ral & Partha's Excellent Adventure (or Guam and Back Again)

I've mostly been buying single figures or small lots here and there for the past couple of years, trying to fill holes in the collection and generally avoiding large lots - the lead pile is already huge and I really don't need to make it bigger. But an eBay seller recently had a dozen or so lots of old-school goodness, and a few were just too tempting to take a pass on so I went ahead and bid on several, and ended up winning three.

What caught my eye in two of the lots were some Citadel AD&D minis, specifically four bugbears and six norkers. The rest was a great assortment of Heritage, Citadel, Grenadier, and a smattering of Ral Partha, Superior, TSR, and others. I've long desired to replace my Heritage bugbears and ogre that our first DM absconded with decades ago. And now that our new 3.5 FR campaign has kicked off and we are once again 1st and 2nd level, I decided my DM would benefit from a new batch of old low-level monsters to throw at us. I'm nice that way.

Citadel AD&D Bugbears
Citadel AD&D Norkers
Heritage ogres. Yellow one needs a medic.
Heritage bugbears, how I've missed you so!
That's when the fun started. I won two lots on January 23rd, and the third on January 28th. The third lot was in my hands on January 31st, perfect condition, no worries. The first two lots, shipped together, should have been at my house by the 27th, but that did not happen. The USPS decided my minis needed a vacation, so they sent them to Guam and Hawaii. WTF??? I copied & pasted the tracking history at the end of the post. You can see that the package left Missouri on January 24th, and was en route to the west coast. The last "In Transit to Destination" was on the 27th, and then nothing until the 31st when it shows up in Guam. From there, it heads to Hawaii, and then finally to Washington.

I was excited when the tracking info showed that the package was on my doorstep on February 5th. I opened the front door to find that there was no package after all. Are you f*cking kidding me? My guess is that it was delivered to a neighbor's house by mistake, as I have had items that weren't mine delivered to me by mistake in the past. Sure enough, today - two days later - the package shows up on my doorstep. Finally!

The box was pretty beat up, not a surprise considering it traveled in the neighborhood of 13,000 miles instead of the expected 2,100 miles. I said a quick prayer to the lead gods and opened the package. The seller had very creatively packed the miniatures into four plastic ice cube trays, and wrapped each one in bubble wrap. This should have been good enough for the anticipated domestic trip, but alas did not hold up to the rigors of pan-Pacific travel. A handful of minis where rolling around loose in the box, having been dislodged from their ice cube tray nests.

After unpacking and taking inventory, the final tally was six broken minis and two missing minis. The broken minis can be repaired, but the missing pair (a couple of Baaz Draconian warriors from the TSR Dragonlance box set) are gone forever. I hope they ended up in Hawaii, so they can enjoy the sand, surf, and sun. I don't know how USPS managed to drop the ball on this one. It's not like the zip codes are close (98072 compared to 96913), so I guess we'll just chalk this one up to human error.

After I have a chance to sort through these beauties, I'll be selling the leftovers in much smaller lots on eBay or Facebook. They all deserve a good home, and not just sitting around my hobby room in a plastic bin with all my other lead orphans.
  • Delivered, Front Door/Porch
  • Feb-05-2018, 17:38 PM, WOODINVILLE, WA 98072
  • Out for Delivery
  • Feb-05-2018, 08:20 AM, WOODINVILLE, WA 98072
  • Sorting Complete
  • Feb-05-2018, 08:10 AM, WOODINVILLE, WA 98072
  • Arrived at Post Office
  • Feb-05-2018, 05:30 AM, WOODINVILLE, WA 98072
  • Arrived at USPS Regional Destination Facility
  • In Transit to Destination
  • Feb-04-2018, 12:57 PM, On its way to WOODINVILLE, WA 98072
  • In Transit to Destination
  • Feb-03-2018, 12:57 PM, On its way to WOODINVILLE, WA 98072
  • Departed USPS Regional Facility
  • Arrived at USPS Regional Facility
  • In Transit to Destination
  • Feb-02-2018, 12:45 PM, On its way to WOODINVILLE, WA 98072
  • In Transit to Destination
  • Feb-01-2018, 12:45 PM, On its way to WOODINVILLE, WA 98072
  • Departed USPS Regional Facility
  • Arrived at USPS Regional Facility
  • In Transit to Destination
  • Jan-27-2018, 12:07 PM, On its way to WOODINVILLE, WA 98072
  • In Transit to Destination
  • Jan-26-2018, 12:07 PM, On its way to WOODINVILLE, WA 98072
  • In Transit to Destination
  • Jan-25-2018, 12:07 PM, On its way to WOODINVILLE, WA 98072
  • Arrived at USPS Regional Origin Facility
  • Departed Post Office
  • Jan-24-2018, 17:04 PM, BALLWIN, MO 63011
  • USPS in possession of item
  • Jan-24-2018, 12:20 PM, BALLWIN, MO 63011

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Reaper Resin vs Reaper Bones

I love Reaper Miniatures. Great miniatures, great company, great customer service, and an outstanding community. For player characters, there is something for everyone. Our last party was all Reaper, and our new party is once again all Reaper. And the selection of creatures covers pretty much everything in the Monster Manual and then some, so the question is usually how much should I spend?

Some folks don't like to mix scales, but that's not a problem for me. True, some of my venerable 25mm Ral Partha orcs look downright tiny compared to a Reaper DHL 28mm adventurer, and many of the old Heritage and Grenadier sculpts lack the same level of detail as contemporary minis, but I don't look at my collection like that. I buy what I need and I buy what I like, scale and sculpting differences be damned.

To date, I have resisted the siren call of Reaper Bones. I didn't participate in any of the Bones Kickstarters, and did not consider buying any individual Bones minis. While I am a huge fan of how incredibly affordable Bones are, I still prefer the feel and heft of a solid chunk of metal. Another plus for Bones is the light weight. I'm sure I could haul around a lot more Bones than metal minis and still have to carry less overall weight. Finally, Bones get high marks for potential durability. How many weapons and limbs have snapped off a metal mini due to an unfortunate fall off the table or from the ham-fisted handling of my fellow gamers? A lot.

Which brings me to the other day. I was looking for new giants, and I saw the Bones Frost Giant King. That pretty much melted my resolve (no Will save allowed) so I went ahead and bought him. And while I was at it, why not buy another frost giant? Ned (my DM) knows my philosophy is "you can never have too many giants" so I also picked up Boerogg Blackrime in all his resin glory. While both the eBay listing and the Reaper website state Boerogg is resin with metal accessories, my NIB copy is resin with resin accessories. Just an observation, not a criticism.

He followed me home, honest!
Standard Reaper packaging vs Bones
I have been reading up on Bones over the years, mostly on the Reaper forums, but also on various blogs. The first-hand accounts of my fellow painters have been very enlightening with regards to Bones, from priming (to prime or not to prime? That is the question), hardening (some substances can cause Bones minis to stiffen up to varying degrees), and converting (easy, given the soft nature of the plastic). The reason I looked at ways to harden Bones is because I'm NOT a fan of how soft and bendy the king's sword is. If I cannot get it to retain a nice straight form, then I'll have to consider lopping it off and replacing it with a resin or metal blade.

The various bits, side-by-side.

Boerogg Blackrime

Frost Giant King

You can see how much bigger the King is.
So I have removed the giants from their packaging, cleaned them with dish soap, a toothbrush, and cold water, and let them dry. Next step will be to assemble them, clean up any imperfections, and get busy painting! I will leave that for next time, one article for the Bones giant and one for the resin giant. If any of you folks have advice you'd like to share, your input is much appreciated. Thanks!