Sunday, December 28, 2014

Splintered Light and Rebel Miniatures sales

I've often mentioned that a number of 15mm metal fantasy mini companies have potential as 1/72 figures. Splintered Light Miniatures and Rebel Miniatures are two such manufacturers. They are both having sales until the end of the year; it's not too late to take advantage of them! For Rebel Miniatures, just enter coupon code Rebel2014 when you checkout for 20% off your order. Likewise, for Splintered Light, just enter code xmas2014 for 20% off. Splintered Light is also offering 30% certain items in their store.

I'll feature some of these figures in better detail in future posts, but I thought I'd show off what I bought to show the potential of some of these figures.

A Large Wolfhound, Dire Hyena and Dire Wolf from Splintered Light. They all look just fine next to Sven. The hyena will make a fine hellhound or direwolf.
Heroes of Shadow, also from Splintered Light. They're about the size of some of my halfing minis, such as Lidda from the One Inch Guild.
A Splintered Light hyenaman/gnoll and kobold are on the left. The rest are from Rebel Minis: a Deep One, two Wolven, and two Monkey Boys. The kobold is sold as 20mm, but is a little small for my taste. Most of these I think are a bit on the small side, but the Deep One works as a small fishman, and the Wolven are actually perfect as 1/72 werewolves (the "15mm Werewolves" that Rebel sells are probably too small for 1/72, so don't mix them up!).
Many of these figures I got as free samples on request. Both Rebel and Splintered Light are great companies that will happily provide such samples; just leave a note with your order. I'll definitely be making future orders thanks to seeing some of these figures in person.

Metal minis are a bit more expensive than plastic, and though I understand that these are delicate figures, I wish there were cheaper shipping options at both companies. Still, they often have figures that can't be found or made in plastic, so when they offer sales like these, it's a great time to stock up.

Monday, December 22, 2014

Noeltide Gnoll Tide

Just in time for the holidays, the gnolls are done! Again, these are mostly Alliance elf bodies with heads and tails from World of Warcraft boardgame gnolls. I continue to suggest modding some Splintered Light hyenamen/gnolls for 1/72 scale, as this was an involved project. Still, I like the results.

The whole gang.
Showing off their tails in a non-rude, non-Braveheart sort of way.
Personalities: the commander, brute, and magic user. The brute is the original boardgame piece with a weapon swap from a Warhammer skaven. The others got their bodies from some Arcane Legions mummies.

Other melee troopers. The Alliance elves were all originally shod, but with paint and some knife-gouged toes I tried to make them look barefooted. A few had bootlaces, though, which I didn't bother to remove and just painted like shoes. Apparently being a demonic agent of evil chaos doesn't keep some gnolls from appreciating fine footwear.
Archers. The heads on some of these seem particularly large at this angle. At the table from above they seem fine, as the first pic on this blog shows.
Comparison shot with Sven. By design they are a bit on the tall side, as gnolls are supposed to be tall and lanky. I think the different figure sources mix well together.
Now I need to decide what fantasy horde I should contrive next. Angels and demons are one idea. Drow and duegar are another. Any preferences?

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Hero Forge for 1/72 fantasy?

EY's post on ordering from Shapeways reminded me that Hero Forge is a thing. Shapeways is one of the marquee companies involved in the burgeoning 3D printing industry. They let independent designers upload and sell 3D models that they themselves "print", sort of like a virtual Etsy with a manufacturing division. This has all sorts of applications from tools to artwork to toys, including miniature models.

Hero Forge is a company that had the singular idea; instead of uploading our own models, why don't we make a simple way for customers to design their own, and print those? They had a successful Kickstarter sold on the premise that RPG players could design the perfect mini to represent their character, and by a remarkable coincidence, their website went live this week. It requires a WebGL plugin to work, but you can mess around with their very slick character/model creation tools and see what's possible.

I was intrigued because I realized there was no technical limitation as to what scale these models could be printed in, meaning this would be an option for 1/72 models. So I finally sent an email and asked them: Are there plans to introduce other scales besides the standard 28-32mm gaming scale? And how tall are their halfling and gnome minis? Frequent readers of this blog will see where I'm going with this last question, as I've frequently adapted halflings and gnomes from D&D and other mini lines.

They quickly and courteously responded: they'd like to introduce other scales in the future, but right now they're focused on maintaining their new site. A quick measure of one of their halfling models was "26-27 mm." This sounds a little too tall, but I noticed that you can adjust the height to make the models even shorter (in fact, the races are really just presets for their more robust body modeling tools).

So if you want to give Hero Forge a try for 1/72 models, here's my completely untested recommendation: Make the model you want (of any race you want), then adjust the height so it's as short as possible. Maybe you'll need to adjust other body parameters to make it look right. My guess is that you're out of luck for 1/72 scale halflings and other small guys, but it looks like human-sized minis are perfectly doable.

I should note that this would be an expensive way to get minis; $15 for the cheaper plastic, $25 for the quality stuff that would actually look good painted. I don't know that I'll ever try this myself unless it gets cheaper. But if you need a particular mini in 1/72 scale that you just can't find, Hero Forge may be your saving grace.

Edit: I realized I missed an opportunity to be clever. Let's correct this oversight!

Monday, December 8, 2014

General Gnoll-edge

(Thanks to Mrs. 1Mac for the pun).

I finished the gnoll magic user and leader. Again, these are Arcane Legions mummies with heads and tails from World of Warcraft boardgame minis, plus a fair amount of wood glue and Milliput. The heads on the magic-user's totem are the original mummy heads. The golden blob on the spear was the bit of Milliput I used to hide the bits of pins that I couldn't quite trim off; I have no idea what it actually represents, but it seems to work!

...and back.
Seen from above, where you can get a good look at them, and vice versa!
WIP shots of the other gnolls. These are made in the same way above, except most of the bodies are Alliance elves. The big guy in the bottom corner is the original piece with a weapon swap. The bottom pic turned out a little blurry, even with some clumsy Photoshopping attempts to fix it; Sorry!

I have a WIP thread at Benno's with some more pics of these guys being painted. This is a busy season for me, but hopefully I'll have a completed gnollish band soon.

Friday, November 21, 2014

New D&D minis for 1/72 scale

You may have heard that there's a new version of D&D out, and that WizKids is making miniatures for it. In the past D&D minis, especially of halfings and gnomes, have been very useful for 1/72 fantasy gaming, but is the new line of any use? Let's see.

Special guests from the one-inch guild are on the left to help Sven on the right with the scale comparisons. To their left is a quickling, a svifnerblin fighter, a stoutheart halfling female bard, and a rock gnome female sorcerer. These are all common random singles from booster packs and can be purchased very cheaply online; I got each of these for 50 or 75 cents each. The other minis are a lightfoot halfling rogue and a gold dwarf female cleric. These are both found in the Starter Set, and since they're in fixed quantities, they're a little more expensive to buy individually.

The shorter minis seem to be short enough to work as halflings and other small humanoids in 1/72 scale. The art direction for the new edition calls for larger heads for halflings and gnomes to emphasize their shorter proportions; I understand this was a controversial choice in some ways, but it does mean that those minis look like something other than really short humans. If they had been human-sized they might have looked odd, but since they're little folk, they seem fine. The halflings could even pass as dwarves given their squat proportions.

Also, I was surprised that the dwarf mini looks just about like a human in 1/72. A little on the stocky side, but pretty close. This is the only dwarf offered in this line for the time being, but it makes me curious what future dwarf sculpts might look like.

Finally, the other minis in the Starter set. As is my wont, I purchased the set with the intent of selling the ones I didn't need. I figure someone might be curious about size comparisons for these guys, so here they are. Not surprisingly, they are too large for my purposes, though that barbarian might make a decent giant.

Human female ranger, Northlands fighter, Drow elf ranger Drizzt, Sun elf female wizard, Sven the comparison viking.
Drizzt and the sun elf are still for sale. Again, check out my sales page!

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Photos of the new Caesar Miniatures fantasy sets!

I mentioned these before. I just stumbled upon these preview shots on a Russian minis forum.
Pretty sweet to finally see what these look like. They all look pretty great, though I'm not sure the painjobs and photography do them justice. They all seem to be of the same magical, not-flat casting that Caesar is known for. The lizardmen have a thick, primitive look to them, and the ratmen look suitably short and nasty. The zombies are duly shambling and horrible; the crawling poses are a particularly nice touch. The modern zombies largely look like they would fit in with their fantasy counterparts, if not vice versa.

These images are being hosted by a Russian hobby shop, which suggests to me that these figures should be for sale soon. I have no idea when, of course, but stay tuned! In the meantime, what do you all think of Caesar's new offerings?

Update (11/20): Michigan Toy Company has these in their catalogue for pre-order, including most of the same preview shots as above. Here, here, and here.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Alliance orcs, set 3

Who makes the best plastic 1/72 orcs? A few years ago that would have been a strange question, but the state of 1/72 fantasy minis has slowly blossomed so that there are now choices to be had. The basic choices for 1/72 fantasy, as readers of this blog probably know, are Caesar Miniatures and Red Box/Alliance. A lot of people are put off by the cartoony look of the Caesar orcs and prefer the LotR-inspired models by Alliance. But I didn't mind the "greenskin" look and prefer Caesar's modeling to the flat sculpts we seem to get from Alliance. Their 3rd set of orcs, though, seemed to have a lot of interesting sculpts worth checking out. I haven't seen a review of these yet with height comparisons, so I thought I'd feature them here.

The set comes with 9 (presumably) male and one (obviously) female sculpt. The males are shown above. Unlike the other more uniform Alliance orcs (see 1/72 Multiverse for a review), these guys have a lot of variety, from almost unarmored to the heavily armored fellow near the middle. While still fairly flat, the poses are also fairly lively.

The one downside is the height. These aren't quite as short as Sven as they appear (due to shorter bases), but they still are not quite human-sized. This shouldn't be surprising, really: Alliance is clearly inspired by Lord of the Rings, which describes orcs as a little more runty than we often see in modern fantasy. But I like my orcs to be a little more imposing. I'm guessing the new half-orc sets Alliance is releasing would fit my tastes a little better, as they're clearly based on the more menacing Uruk-Hai.

The female orc from this set is on the right; I featured this sculpt in my post on female character minis. It's a little taller than the other figures in this set. It's also not obviously orcish, meaning it could be used for an orc or human character, depending on how you paint it.

All in all, it's a fine set with a lot of variety, and if you don't mind the their size, they're worth picking up.

Update (11/12/2014): Benno's forum member "zirrian" asked for a comparison between Alliance orcs and LotR figures from Games Workshop, and I realized I could oblige. Here it is:

Caesar orc, Alliance orc, GW "Mines of Moria" goblin, Sven
Another update (11/14/2014): Sam has done an excellent job of painting these figures, and you can see his work at his blog. He was also kind enough to link to this post, so thanks!

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Sale reminder

Hey all, I'm still selling loads of Twilight Creations minis. I also just put up a few of the new D&D Tyranny of Dragons starter minis on eBay. Check out my sales page for more info.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Bump in the Night minis

Like these and other Twilight Creations minis? I'm selling a bunch in small lots. Check out my sales page for more info.

Bump in the Night is a now-out-of-print board game from Twilight Creations. It has some interesting minis well-suited for fantasy gaming, and since other minis by the company were close to 1/72 scale (the preferred scale of this blog), I thought I'd check out a copy of the game and see how they looked. Was this a wise decision? Let's see.

Here's a set of the player minis. There are six sets in six different colors, plus 14 child minis for the monsters to scare. That's 36 monsters total. We have some bats, Death, a cat, a ghost, a goblin, and a poltergeist. On the plus side these have a lot of character, and they portray creatures that are not easy to find in 1/72 scale. On the negative, you can see they are just a little large, something that is especially apparent with the ghost mini.

Some comparisons. The cat and the bats are compared with a few Reaper Bones familiars. The familiars are already a little on the large side for 1/72, as they are technically for 28-32mm scale. And the Bump in the Night figures are even larger, though since they are still smaller than Sven, I don't think it matters. I mean, that Bump in the Night cat is probably about the size of a 1/72 scale golden retriever, but I doubt anyone at the table would notice. The Bump in the Night goblin is stylistically similar to its counterpart from Caesar Miniatures, but is likewise much larger. Maybe it could be a goblin brawler, a giant among goblins (like Brandobras "Bullroarer" Took, a hobbit tall enough to ride a horse).

Comparisons with the specral figures and some modified Caesar undead. You can clearly see how much taller these are.

Verdict? It really depends on how much the scale differences bug you. I think the cat and bats are perfectly usable, the goblin somewhat adaptable, and the spirits useful perhaps as solo or boss figures. I didn't show any of the child minis, but they are almost as tall as Sven. The plastic is a lot more solid that the rubbery "Zombies!!!" material Twilight Creations is known for. The minis all have great character and are just a little cartoony. The tall "ghost" figure is particularly frightening despite, or because of, its larger size. I paid about $22; if you can find it for that or less and you like the figures, go for it!

Friday, October 17, 2014

The Gnoll Set

The mods are complete, and the gnoll squad is fully assembled! As I mentioned before, these are mostly Alliance elves with heads and tails from World of Warcraft boardgame minis. Getting some Splintered Light 18mm hyenamen might have been simpler, but this is the stuff I had on hand.

I had taken a bunch of pix, but unfortunately a lot of them are blurry, and as they've been primed already I can't retake them. Here are the ones that turned out all right.
The backline: Archers and magic-user. The gray figures are Arcane Legions mummies.
The frontline, viewed from behind. I'm reserving judgement on the manes I sculpted until they're painted. Right now they look crude, although I do like the mohawk look. It fits with the snarling anarchic vibe I picture for these guys. Punk gnolls!
Sven trying to fit in. The green guy is the original boardgame piece with a Warhammer Skaven bit for a sword. I like how this turned out.
Primed and ready for painting. It almost looks like they were made this way originally!
No idea when these will get painted, but the sooner the better. More posts coming soon on other topics. Watch this space!

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Bags o minis! Twilight Creations, etc.

I recently mentioned Twilight Creations in a news post. I've since gotten ahold of a bunch of minis from their board games. Their minis are a bit smaller than most board game minis and are a good fit for 1/72 scale.

Let's start with their Zombies!!! minis, which are their most well-known figures. Shown are the male and female zombies from the original series, available in the core game or various expansions, and also available in cheap "Bag o" sets of 100.

These are made of a very rubbery plastic that bends easily—the other figures on this page are made of firmer, less flexible stuff. I don't particularly like the first sculpt, with that weird overlarge arm, but I used the heads from these for my 1/72 zombie project. The female sculpt is a lot better, especially if you trim off the severed head it's holding. It could easily be used for witches, hags, ghosts, and other monsters. Also sometimes available though seemingly out of production are bags of zombie dogs (useful!) and zombie clowns (idiosyncratic! though possibly adaptable to more general purposes). I've also mentioned the figures from the Zombie Zoo expansion and from the 3rd edition of the core game, which I'll also show here.

Photo cred Twilight Creations

So long as I'm mentioning content from previous posts, here are the minis from Dante's Inferno, available in sets without the game from Twilight Creations' store. Lots of neat 1/72-ish monsters.

I also just got Twilight Creations' new Cthulhu!!! game, especially for the minis. Here they are.

The two on the left are player minis, of which there are three each. They're just a hair bigger than Sven, who is standing on a larger base, but could be useful for pulp gaming. The stars of this game are the next two figures, the "byakhee" monster and the cultist figure, of which the game includes 25 of the former and 75 of the latter. The monster is a little odd but surely useful for something. But the cultist is great! There is no "Bag o Cultists" that I know about, which is too bad, because lots of gamers could use a bunch of generalized dudes in robes. They are again a little tall, but could easily be made shorter since they are in robes. The one odd detail is the face; I can't tell if the figure is open-mouthed or just has a large nose. But the robes are perfect, and the pose is pretty evocative.

Lastly, something a little different, figures from a "Bag o" set not made by Twilight Creations. These are from a "Bag o Chthulhus" made by Fantasy Flight, intended as counters for their out-of-print (I think) Call of Cthulhu card game.

There 6 of the large figure and 36 of the smaller ones in the set. These are made from a very hard plastic with a lot better detail than many of the Twilight Creations figures. Any of these could be used as statues, gribbly monsters, or in the case of the large sculpt, He Who Sleeps himself.

Edit 10/21/2014: I mentioned the Bump in the Night minis, which I'll show below: see this post for more. Also, see my seller page for information on buying some of the minis on this page.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014


More gnoll puns where that came from.

Let me start by suggesting how you should do 1/72 scale gnolls, since my way is basically bonkers: Just some Splintered Light 18mm Hyenamen, either in units or the boxed set. They're almost exactly 18mm tall, so you can either use them unmodified and settle for short gnolls, or try to make taller using some of the techniques EY uses to adapt 18mm figures to 1/72 scale. It's maybe a buck a figure, and it's not much of a fuss.

So here's what I'm doing:

A work in progress, obviously. I'll need to fill in the gaps and maybe add some mane with Milliput. The bodies are Alliance elves. I bought a set when it seemed Caesar Miniatures had stopped producing their set of elves, and these were the only alternatives in plastic. I got them despite their having notoriously large and spindly poses, as I thought I could use the heads for swaps with human-sized bodies for less weird-looking elves and drow. Then I thought about what to do with the bodies and realized that one classic D&D fantasy monster with tall and lanky proportions were gnolls.

The heads and tails are from gnoll figures from the World of Warcraft boardgame. I managed to get a whole bunch of them cheap, though they're now hard to find. Maybe Skaven heads would make a good substitute?

On the right is the original figure. My original plan was to take this pose and do a bunch of weapon swaps for variety, but I think they would still look to much like clones. For a magic user and champion, I used Arcane Legions mummy figures—you can see their original heads on the shaman's totem. These are also tall and spindly, and while I'll have to fill in the more skeletal bits, I like that the leaders are even more wildly skinny.

Height comparison. You can see just how much taller than Sven these guys are. I'm planning on preserving one of the original figures as a brute, maybe swapping his basic sword with something a little more fierce and crazy-looking.

I'll do another post when I'm done with all the conversion. Hopefully I'll have time to paint them in relatively short order, but we'll see.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

New fantasy minis from Caesar and Alliance!

Photo credit to Mike the Bunkermeister
Via this thread at Benno's. Hannant's is listing a bunch of future releases from Caesar Miniatures and Alliance. In addition to new dwarf, orc, and half-orc sets, Alliance will be offering sets of zombies (about time!) and Amazons. Of the latter, the manufacturer says in the aforementioned thread: "Amazons of the Greek type. Is there and some fantasy." Which I take to mean that they'll be modeled in a generally Greek style, but adaptable to fantasy. At any rate, this would have been a great set to feature when I wrote this post.

Caesar's new offerings include more orcs, zombies, including a set of "modern" zombies along with a presumably more generic fantasy set; and more surprisingly, lizardmen and ratmen. I'll be very interested to see what these latter models look like; looks like you'd be able to run a Warhammer game using Caesar models alone. I'm also hoping that this new line also means Caesar will start restocking some of their harder-to-find original fantasy sets, particularly their elves.

I realize this is the second news post in a row, which seems like I'm cheating somehow. But I was very excited to find all this out and wanted to share. I'll show off some unpainted models in the near future.

Update (9/27): Confirmation a week ago from Michigan Toy Soldiers. "4th quarter releases," they say.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

New and old stuff from Twilight Creations

A thread with reader Kevin Morton led me to a bunch of news items from Twilight Creations, everyone's favorite producer of gonzo horror games and horror 1/72-ish scale minis. Kevin mentioned that Twilight Creations were selling the zombie zoo animals I've discussed before in bagged sets at Gencon, and I found out that they're apparently going to start selling them to the general public soon. So now you can get 90 of these figures without paying for the full game, like I did, which is great!

TC is also coming out with a new version of their flagship Zombies!!! game, which among other things includes four unique zombie minis. The "Deluxe Bag o' Zombies", now available, likewise gets you 100 of these minis without paying for the full game. TC's webstore offers this photo:

I like that there are now multiple cheap zombie sculpts, which makes the "Bag o' " line an even better value. These sculpts aren't quite generic enough to be too useful for fantasy, unfortunately, plus it's odd that the zombie plague seems to have affected the construction, law enforcement, and, um, chanteuse industries so discriminately. For more modern scenarios, though, the set should prove quite useful.

That's the new stuff: the old stuff is that as TC makes room for all their new games, they are clearancing out some of their older products. Check out the deals here. Highlights include Dante's Inferno ($5 for the whole game!), Little Dead Riding Hood (still too expensive for just the minis, but the only source of plausible 1/72 plastic werewolf minis I've found), and Easter Island (with plenty unusual Maori statue minis). They also had Bump in the Night, which has some great minis, for $15, but they seem to have sold their stock. You can now get it for $15 at Noble Knight, though.

I'm assuming that all the games I mentioned here are in the same almost-1/72 scale as Twilight Creations' other products I've seen. I can only really vouch for the Zombie Zoo and Dante's Inferno minis (Mike the Bunkermeister has these comparison shots with the Easter Island minis). If anyone can tell me anything more about these other sets, I'd appreciate it!

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Four more orcs (of sorts)

Wrapped up a few unfinished minis over Labor Day weekend.

From left to right: An unmodified Caesar Miniatures orc, an orc scout or shaman made with an orc head and weapon and an Imex "Friendly Eastern Indian" (originally discussed here), an orc musician made with an orc head and a Hat "Jungle Adventure" figure (a repaint, since the paint started coming off the original figure, seen here. Somewhat disappointed by how this turned out, since I botched a lot of the details trying to quickly re-prime it), and lastly an orc figure from the D&D Wrath of Ashardalon game, adapted here as a 1/72 scale bugbear.

Here's Sven hanging out with all my orcs.

And here he is trying to fit in with a few of my bugbears.

The other bugbears include another D&D figure (actually manufactured as a bugbear, first shown here), and a few converted Age of Mythology figures. I'm thinking about repainting or replacing the AoM figures; they make merely adequate bugbears, and at any rate I think I can do better paintjobs and conversions now. The D&D orc and bugbear figures, on the other hand, complement each other quite nicely.

This will be a busy month, but I have a few post ideas. Stay tuned!