Sunday, September 2, 2018

D&D Werebears, Satyr and Unicorn

Ral Partha 01-118 Giant Werebear
Back-view of the Werebear
A second copy of the same figure

First up today are a pair of werebears or great grizzly bears sculpted by Tom Meier for Ral Partha in 1979 for their first fantasy line. I first painted the one on the left, and since my girlfriend liked it so much, and I had one to spare, I painted her the one on the right. That's why they have different basing, mine to go with my D&D collection and hers with more of a display base. On the surface the painting looks very similar, and that's what I intended, but if you look closely at the high-res pics you may notice the underlying technique is substantially different, with mine being done almost entirely with thin washes over a great-then-white-primed figure (the way I painted the stone giant shown awhile back), and her with something much closer to my usual technique. There was no particular reason for the difference, just different approaches I took on the particular days, months apart, probably entirely unconsciously. Goes to show you can arrive at the same place taking different routes, I suppose.

I believe the figure is still in production at Iron Wind Metals and Ral Partha Europe.

Two Ral Partha werebears
Provoking these bears is ill-advised
McEwan Miniatures MO-9 Unicorn

When collecting D&D figures, I try to limit myself to no more figures of each monster type than the max number appearing listed in the Monster Manual entries, and to have the figures be similar enough to be compatible with one another on the tabletop. Owlbears and goblins are my most notable exceptions to the rule but unicorns are perhaps third-most notable. I'm not sure if this Ewan Miniatures casting is the oldest in my collection, but it is the most naively sculpted. I like the silhouette quite a bit and especially the treatment and placement of the hair, which lends it a dynamism, but less-so the face, the eyes in particular.

Some further random notes on it...

  • It saw use in a game for the first time a few months ago in a game of Talisman.
  • I painted it with the P3 Everblight colors, Underbelly Blue and Frostbite (and lots of White, of course, pure White in this case).
  • My casting was missing the horn and I sculpted the replacement from greenstuff. I hadn't identified the figure at the time or I would have sculpted it more like the original.
  • The figure is still in production at, where you can see the original (or see it at the Lost Minis Wiki.
McEwan Unicorn and Ral Partha Satyr
Ral Partha 01-033 Satyr (Pan)

Last up is a Ral Partha satyr, also by Tom Meier, released 1979. The Lost Minis Wiki identifies this as a second version of the figure.

I want a full encounter group of satyrs very much, but finding 25mm satyrs in numbers is difficult. I also want them to be cavorting and adhering to the classical descriptions rather than neutered and ready to fight, as most satyrs are these days. This Ral Partha one is probably by favorite, but is small and scarce, and would look awkward having duplicates of the same pose, but neither would it lend itself to conversion. In hindsight, I wish I would have picked up a handful of the Metal Magic one from Mega Miniatures when they had it in production, and used that single sculpt as a basis for conversions. Eureka make some in 28mm and I wonder how they would fit with 25mm figures. They might do. They have weapons, but you can buy the individual poses, of which there are many, and I could convert them.

Certain illustrations of yesteryear, and notions I have of the early days of tabletop wargaming, compelled me to paint the base in this new green-hued style. If I hadn't painted the unicorn already I would have done it in this style also. I like it, and will probably keep going with it for woodland figures. But let me know if you think this is a mistake.

Ral Partha 01-033 Satyr (Pan)
Satyr and adventurers for size-comparison