Among the many challenges a DM has starting an AD&D campaign is gathering an assortment of monsters that the adventurers stand a chance against. Enter the giant rat. This creature should be in every miniatures collection from the beginning but even as the party gains level the giant rat will remain essential because what dungeon doesn't have rats in the walls? Whether or not they pose an obstacle to the PCs they need to be there for proper ambiance. I should note though that while rats they die in droves and can be beaten back fairly easily should the party not wish to engage them, they also pose added risk in terms of the disease they often carry. It's worth remembering even the softy monsters are not as soft as they might first appear.
But if you want to up the stakes a
little lot higher you need only through in one or two of the second monster here, the giant centipede, which, as everyone should know, is save or die when you're bitten (at +4, but all the same this strikes true fear in the hearts of players). While perhaps not as common as rats, centipedes are a staple of the dungeon and prodding around in dark corners and piles of crap is a sure way to find them, as the party in my current campaign learned early on. The threat of centipedes and their ilk keeps adventurers on their toes, and unlike rats they are "aggressive and rush forth to bite their prey."
Manufacturer: Heritage Miniatures
Line: Dungeon Dwellers
Catalog title: Giant Rats & Giant Centipedes
Catalog #: 1267
Release date: 1979
Date painted: 2010
These Dungeon Dwellers figs have a simple, utilitarian quality, but are nontheless a lot more true to life than more detailed offerings of some other companies. They are also 25mm scale, which is rare (the integral bases they are mounted on are 1/2" square). They are fairly collectable and don't come cheap on ebay, but I lucked into a bargain at a local con.
These are actually the fourth set of giant rats added to my collection. The others, Necromunda mutant rats, Warhammer fantasy giant rats, a number of these Reaper ones sculpted by Bob Olley. These last ones wouldn't be too bad in D&D, actually, being just a bit too "heroic," and I may have painted them up for D&D had the Dungeon Dewllers ones not turned up. These smaller Reaper swarms were also a consideration. Note that having four sets of giant rats does nothing to curb my desire for these other Reaper ones by Sandra Garrity or these swarms from Pardulon.
I saved two more of these Dungeon Dweller giant rats to make press molds of so I can make up a couple swarms of rats based on larger bases like those linked to above in the same style as these single figs. That way when the group encounters a large group of rats I can have the swarms represent however many rats I like and break off the single rats to do battle as needed.
As always you can view these and all the rest at the the painted miniatures archive on Flickr.