Saturday, March 24, 2012

Painted: Skeletons for D&D

I mentioned before how most monsters get little or no love from miniature manufacturers but goblins have been done over and over again, sometimes over and over again by the same company. There might not be quite as many skeletons as goblins but this is another monster that it seems every manufacturer has tackled at least once, and buy a few random 25mm fantasy lots on ebay and likely you have the start of a skeleton band.

This batch here, the first off the line from my collection, or I should say first up from the grave, are mostly Grenadier, with a couple Prince August and one Ral Partha. I've got more are waiting for paint, but with the ten here I've got a decent encounter to hinder my players with and let the clerics play with the turning rules. I did learn, though, that a first level group (especially one with two clerics) can take these guys out without too much trouble. (So don't expect just D10 next time, guys. ;) )

Encounter with the Undead

Grenadier make possibly my favorite skeletons. While they might not look quite as dangerous looking as some Ral Partha ones, they're technically excellent and imbued with strong personality that has a very subtle hint of camp such that if you want you can easily picture them behaving like the evil dead of Army of Darkness (though this came years later, of course). The glory of the Grenadier ones though is in the variety and consistency. Though there's a marked difference between his 1970s work and 80s work, all those from the 80s rank up perfectly with one another and there are so damn many you'd be hard pressed to collect them all (I've been fortunate to wind up with quite a few in random lots on eBay but have not applied myself to the task... yet).

Many (but not all) of the Grenadier ones are numbered S1, S2. etc. I don't know how many were sculpted in all but cataloging them all (with their S numbers) would be a fun project in and of itself one might undertake with perhaps the help of the Grenadier Yahoo! group and the Lost Minis Wiki. The Lost Minis Wiki would also be the place to put the results. I have nowhere near a complete set, but I seem to recall I have s60 or 70-something, and I long wondered if there could be that many. Then again, there's the skeletal captain, S113, below, that takes its "S" number from its catalog number, so I really don't know the rhyme or reason.

And something cool I learned just a few days ago, these are a much more motley crew than I had thought all along. I thought all the Grenadier ones, save for the orc and the Roman looking one, were from two of the popular box sets. But in fact there are no two Grenadier skeletons here from the same set or blister. Now I'll have to pin down the providence of my many other Grenadier skeletons.

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In addition to the 80s Grenadier is this OG chap from circa 1976, the Tomb of Horrors box set, which was originally part of the Wizzards & Warriors line but was then re-released for the AD&D Solid Gold Line. His arm was bent out of shape (pointing down instead of up) when he arrived and wouldn't have survived another twist, so I re-enforced the join a little with some greenstuff and let him be.

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I've got two Prince August self-cast figs in here. If you read Dragon in the 80s or early 90s you might remember a Prince August ad for molds of these skeletons sold by mail order. Apparently you could buy them cast by Prince August as well. I got a set of these off eBay along with the wraiths mostly out of curiosity and they definitely seam to be of the self-cast variety given the low quality. The casts were rough and had smooth areas where details were lost, and it took some work with greenstuff to bring them to a level I was happy with. As I said there are tons of great skeletons out there so this definitely wouldn't have been worth it was there not the nostalgia factor. But isn't nostalgia the elephant in the room here?

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Get the flash player here: http://www.adobe.com/flashplayer

Lastly, there's a single Ral Partha represented here, and you can see how well the RP ones mix with the Grenadier. This one is basic and unarmored, but my favorite Partha ones have ornate armor and seem to have more agency and malice than your average skeleton. Such that I plan to use them for Skeleton Warriors, a distinct and far deadlier monster from the Monster Manual II. More on those later, but let me know if you know where this particular one with the halberd is from as I couldn't find him at the Lost Minis Wiki.

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As always these are on flickr, and let me know if you can fill in any of my incomplete metadata.

7 comments:

  1. BTW how do you other bloggers bang out posts so fast? Been blogging for > 6 months and still took me forever to get this post out the door. 8-} Part of the time was spent figuring out a new way to bake the figure metadata into the blog posts. Let me know if you have any input on this. The PictoBrowser tool I use to show the multiple angles shows you the flickr description when you hover over "notes" but for SEO reasons I want the metadata in the html post itself. The way I have it has two ways to show the metadata so is maybe a little bit sloppy, but at least this way the details aren't taking up space in the post and are there only on demand.

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  2. I would try listening to xylophone music while blogging about skeletons. That ought to speed things up.

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    Replies
    1. Why didn't I think of that?!!? Thanks Op-For, I owe you one.

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  3. An excellent post, skeletons are massively fun and interesting, and the description and photos are very valuable.

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  4. Very nice work Squire. This has inspired me to dig out my paltry collection of Grenadier skeletons with a view to re-painting them.
    Regards HGA

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