My brother & I got these as kids one Christmas, probably 1981 or 1982.
This is an ad from Dragon magazine, issue 67. One thing that is really odd is that while the sets came with the vacuum-formed bases (one a siege of a very small castle, the other a cavernous dungeon consisting of a few rooms), the miniatures that came in the sets are not pictured. Instead, lead Grenadier AD&D miniatures are shown. This is especially odd in light of the fact thatthe figures that MPC produced were very obviously based on the Grenadier line, with some differences.
The MPC figures were made of hard styrene, and generally were assembled in two halves (front & back) although a few were much more complex — the dragon was several pieces, for obvious reasons, and I remember the orc had articulated arms, so you could potentially pose him a number of ways. A few were single-pieces, too, like the skeleton-man. Being familiar with the Grenadier line we could easily identify most of the figures with what they were based on, either from the few figures we owned or the others we’d seen in magazines and catalogs.
Unfortunately I considered these figures to be the absolute lowest caste, and I didn’t try very hard to preserve them as I did my lead figures. I did paint a few, and some were cut up to provide spare parts for other figures and dioramas. Below is the Grenadier lead dragon, and the corresponding MPC dragon. (The MPC dragon had some very small bat-wings which I have lost; I made larger replacement wings out of wire and paper much later. He is also based on a large wargaming base rather than his treasure pile.)
You’ll notice the treasure piles are almost identical (even down to the unidentifiable white object in front of the chest near the shield! I think that thing is a sword or some sort but you really can’t tell. I think it is hilarious that whoever made the copy for MPC decided to copy that too). They are about the same size, although the plastic dragon is about 1/2 the size of his lead twin.
I have almost none of the other MPC figures, and also the scenery bases are long gone. But here is a more mismatched pair of werewolves, lead on the left and plastic on right.
These two are much less obviously related. Many of the MPC figures, as I recall them, exaggerated some details and omitted others (the gargoyle omitted the wings but was in the same pose as it’s lead alter ego, for example). These two don’t look much alike at all. The plastic werewolf looks a bit like a teddy bear to me.
So, along with the Dragonriders of Styx sets, I’ll be watching for any MPC AD&D sets. It is amazing how heavily the D&D brand was marketed in all manner of products back in the early 1980s. I have a couple of school folders, and remember other kids having stickers and rub-off transfers; more recently I saw a wood-burning kit on another blog.
Update: Someone over at the Collecting Grenadier Models yahoo group just scored both of the above sets on eBay and has promised to scan the contents for the Lost Minis Wiki. Sweet.
Also, on further reflection I realize at least some of the figures were not particularly based on Grenadier designs. For example the dungeon set had a Carrion Crawler and I don’t think Grenadier ever did one of those in their AD&D line.
Lead Poisoned has some pics here.