For those that don't know, Mirliton currently has the rights to a lot of the old Grenadier models catalog of minis that were originally produced in the 70s and 80s. They have done two Kickstarters to get some of these minis back into circulation. They have focused on the old Dragon Lords series, keeping some of the art along with the name.
I backed both of them to replace quite a few of the models that I had decades ago and have lost along the way since. The two campaigns have also been a great thing for me in terms of shipping. Prior to the Kickstarters, I was reluctant to order direct from Mirliton, because I couldn't really justify the cost to ship a few minis from Italy. These campaigns let me get a lot of minis for a great price and save a bit on shipping as well. I also took advantage of the order to add a few blister packs from a sci-fi range as well.
When they arrived, the first thing I noticed is the bulging box. I ordered the Super Big Pack from the campaign, but I was still pleased to see this. Who doesn't want a bulging box of miniatures?
|Bulging box of minis|
Opening the box, I saw the invoice and a bunch of packing peanuts. As an aside, I have to say I have mixed thoughts about packing peanuts. I like the protection they give for the price, but I hate the styrofoam. I know there are biodegradable alternatives, and I wish more companies would make the switch.
Looking at the invoice, it looks like everything I ordered is there. Mirliton didn't break down what all is in the Super Big Pack, so I had to go to the Kickstarter page to confirm what was included under that title. Then, checklist in hand, I started unpacking. Here is the whole lot laid out:
|Super Big Pack indeed!|
Going back to the list from the KS website, this pack includes the following:
2004 Hireling Crew (10 figures)
2005 Fighting Men - The Warriors (10 figures)
2006 Specialists - The Skilled One (10 figures)
2007 Females - Children of Diana (10 figures)
5003 Woodland Adventurers (20 figures)
100 series Rangers blister (3 figures)
333 Iron Golem
2 Badders blisters (8 figures)
2 Elementals blisters (4 figures)
Integration blister (6 figures)
Orcish Giant (bonus figure)
All together, 85 new old figures!
The 6 blisters of sci-fi miniatures give me another 30 miniatures that I can use for sci-fi skirmish games. They all come from the Cyberwars range.
The first box is the coveted Hirelings box. I have seen these on so many gaming tables and have always wanted a set. I haven't been willing to pay a huge price to get them from eBay, so these have been grail minis for me.
This particular mix covers most of the basic hireling activities providing light, carrying loot, and recovering the fallen. I love that most of them do not have weapons drawn. It reinforces that most hirelings are going to hide or cower at the first sign of danger.
(I apologize for the glare in the photos. I don't have my light box yet, and I haven't been able to get good shots that aren't too dark or too bright. I'll be taking more pics of these models as I paint them. I should have the light box by then.)
Next up is the Fighting Men:
|Fighting Men box|
|Fighting Men figures|
I have a particular fondness for this set for one simple reason - its name. Fighting Men always takes me back to the original edition of D&D, before warrior characters were called Fighters. Simple nostalgia, but something that gives me a smile.
The other things to note with this set are the variety of weapons and the introduction of a two-part model. The crossbowman is one of the first models I can recall requiring a bit of construction. Most of the models at the time were one-part models. Often that resulted in some blockiness and weird areas on the models that needed to be hidden by painting deep shadows.
The third set here is the Specialists:
This set shows something that was fairly common in sets of figures back in the day. If there weren't enough sculpts to round out a set or if the manufacturer wanted to reinforce a particular theme, you would get an accessory or bit of furniture along with the figures. This set includes the stele and a cleric to round out to ten models. The Hirelings above included a chest for a similar reason.
The ninja is another odd little bit about this set. At the time these models were originally released, there was a particular fascination with ninja. The ninja was one of the first subclasses to appear in Dragon magazine, along with most of the subclasses represented here. They wouldn't be included in an official rulebook until Oriental Adventures was released, but ninja had appearances in many campaigns before that book.
The Children of Diana female figures are next:
|Females Children of Diana box|
These are interesting for being some of the earliest female figures and because most of them are wearing practical armor. The druid and the thief are the only models that have skimpy clothes. The fighter's helmet (hat?) is a marvel of engineering, but you can't have everything.
Finally, the last boxed set, the Woodland Adventurers set:
|Woodland Adventurers box|
|Woodland Adventurers figures|
This is a big set of twenty miniatures: A-Female Elf Ranger, B-Chest Bearer, C-Enchanter, D- Gnome King with Throne, E-Halfling Scouts, F-Pot-bellied Cleric, S-Elf Charging, G-Elven High Lord, H-Dwarf Spearman, I-Gnome Guard, (J-Gnome Axeman), Q-Bard, L-Elf Bowman, (M-Dwarf Archer), (T-Gnome Swordsman), N-Ranger, O-Elf Spearman, P-Halfling Sniper, K- Elf Ranger, R-Ranger Tracking. Unfortunately, my set was missing the figures in parentheses and had figures from the smaller sets included instead - the halfling torch bearer from Hirelings, the ninja from Specialists, and the amazon from Females. I've contacted Mirliton to get the figures that should be in the set, and I'll report back on how that goes.
(2/1/2020: Mirliton was very quick to replace the miniatures. Once I contacted them, they sent an email to confirm which models were missing and had them in the post the next day. Less than two weeks later, the miniatures arrived in my mailbox. Kudos to Mirliton for being very quick to respond and send the replacements.)
This set has about all the figures you would need for a party of adventurers and several henchmen. This set also has a couple of specialized figures that I really like. The halfling scouts are two halfings, with one boosting the other on their shoulders. The gnome king is seated on a throne hollowed from a tree and has a lot of character as well. These probably wouldn't see much use at the gaming table, but they're a couple of nice display figures.
Next up are the blisters. I apologize that I haven't opened them so you can see the contents better. I want to make sure I keep the right models with each blister card until I can get them painted and cataloged.
The first blister is the rangers:
Next is the Iron Golem:
After the Iron Golem, we've got the Badders. There are two blisters of these:
The Orcish Giant is next:
Now we've come to the Elementals:
The next blister is a collection of alternate miniatures that were in the boxed sets at different times.
|Alternate figures blister|
The Battle Troll is one of the earlier figures that Grenadier made.
Finally, this wouldn't be a Dragon Lords set without at least one dragon. The one included in this set is a Copper Dragon:
That's it for the Dragon Lords, but it's quite a good collection of miniatures. Between this group and the models released in the first Kickstarter in 2018, there are about 200 of the old sculpts that are available again. Quite a feat when you think about it.
These models are all cast in white metal, so they are much more rigid than the originals. I haven't noticed any particularly difficult mold lines. The casting is clean, without a lot of flash. I also haven't seen any shifted or misaligned moldings.
The detail on these varies, but most of them have simpler details than more modern figures. I see this as a great advantage. It is much easier to paint these than more modern figs. One downside to it, though, is that there is not necessarily enough detail on faces to really give the figures character.
I decided to take advantage of the combined shipping and threw in a half dozen blisters from the Cyberwars line as well. These will be great to use for post-apocalyptic skirmish games. I'll show these off more when I start painting them. For now, here are the blisters:
|Bike Gang and Future Females|
|Future Savages and Scavengers|