Sunday, January 19, 2020

Dragon Lords and other minis

I have backed quite a few Kickstarters the past couple years, so I have to pay particular attention to make sure that I don't miss a survey or questionnaire about rewards. The second Dragon Lords Kickstarter from Mirliton was one of the ones I missed. Fortunately, I was still able to complete the survey and get my rewards.

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)
Battle Troll
Copper Dragon
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.

Hirelings box

Hirelings figures
The Hirelings contains a mix of porters and torch bearers: G-Pack Bearer, I-Chest, C-Spike Driver, H-Torch Bearer Halfling, E-Coffer Bearer, F-Chest Bearer, D-Carrying Body, A-Lantern Bearer, B-Potion Drinker, and J-Team Carrying Trunk. These types of models don't get issued very often anymore. Everything now is so focused on the PCs that hirelings and henchmen get left out. Often, the best figures you can find for the hirelings are villagers.

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
This box contains the following figures: A-Spearman, H- Halberdier, E-Axeman, D-Greatsword, F-Archer, J-Crossbowman, G-Poleaxe, C-Charging Swordsman, B-Battleaxe, and I-Kicking Warrior.

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:

Specialists box

Specialists figures
This box covers the D&D subclasses. It contains J-Cleric Communing, F-Illusionist with Familiar, E-Stele, A-Paladin, H-Ninja, C-Druid, I-Bard with Lute, G-Assassin, B-Monk, and D-Ranger.

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

Females figures
This set contains ten figures as well: H-Dwarven Fighter, A-Bard, B-Enchantress, I-Fighter, E- Amazon, C-Ranger, F-Thief, D-Druid with Puma, G-Paladin, and J-Cleric.

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:

Rangers blister
This is a set of three ranger figures from the "100" series of Fantasy Lords. They are some of the earliest figures in the range. Included here are a ranger with a bow, a ranger with a short sword drawn, and one leaning on a spear. I especially like the one leaning. You don't often see figures at rest anymore.

Next is the Iron Golem:

Iron Golem
This is a large model. With knees and hips bent, it stands twice as tall as a regular fighter miniature. I like the size and the heavy riveted construction. This model only needs a simple paint job, but it is going to be a lot of fun shading all the bits of its armor.

After the Iron Golem, we've got the Badders. There are two blisters of these:

Badders blisters
These models were sculpted as part of the Gamma World range. There are seven sculpts of anthropomorphic badgers designed to be used as mutated animals in GW. It doesn't look like they have any modern or futuristic equipment, so these will probably be a good addition to all the other anthropomorphic animals I have.

The Orcish Giant is next:

Orcish Giant
This model was released in the first Dragon Lords Kickstarter. It was given as a special model for this package for this campaign. I need to dig up my other one so I can decide whether to paint them the same or different. Size-wise, this model stands about twice as tall as a standard human fighter, so it's pretty massive. With the scale creep of modern figures, especially Reaper models, it is barely larger than some current basic orc figures.

Now we've come to the Elementals:

Elementals blisters
These models were produced by Grenadier before the Dragon Lords line. One blister has the earth and fire elementals and a brazier on a pedestal. The other blister has the air and water elementals with a shallow brazier. These are great smaller elemental miniatures, and I can definitely see them getting use as lesser elementals. They make a nice contrast to the giant elemental figures that are otherwise available.

The next blister is a collection of alternate miniatures that were in the boxed sets at different times.

Alternate figures blister
I'm looking forward to getting into this blister alongside the sculpts that are included in the boxed sets. Unfortunately, I can already see one or two miniatures with bent parts. Back in the day, these bits would easily snap from being bent back into shape. I'm hoping the pewter these are made of is flexible enough to bend back into shape and strong enough not to snap. We'll see.

The Battle Troll is one of the earlier figures that Grenadier made.

Battle Troll
This figure is armored from head to toe and carries a huge axe. I'm not sure exactly how I want to use it, but it will see some use. I just have to decide if I want it to represent a troll, an ogre, or something else.

Finally, this wouldn't be a Dragon Lords set without at least one dragon. The one included in this set is a Copper Dragon:

Copper Dragon
This is a great reminder that we used to be able to fit dragons in blister packs. This one looks like it has three pieces - the body and separate wings. Overall, the model is about 4" long, so tiny compared to most modern dragon miniatures.

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

1 comment:

  1. 2007 Females - Children of Diana (10 figures)

    Hah! Just like the old D&D is Satan worship comic!