TSR’s unloved figures: an occasional series

As I find/paint/photograph my small collection of TSR-produced minis, I’ll post them in this series.

From what I can piece together, TSR was somewhat dastardly in its dealings with miniatures manufacturers.  First Minifigs got a brief deal (in 1977) to produce D&D and Greyhawk figures, but this was taken away and Heritage Models was offered a deal in 1979…only to have that fall apart after they’d designed a rather large line, which would become their Dungeon Dwellers.  (This is basically he said she said type stuff, though.  Apparently Heritage had terrible management too!)  Next Grenadier got the AD&D license in 1980, and this lasted only a few years.  Among the issues, apparently, was TSR’s unilateral decision to let MPC create plastic versions of many Grenadier without permission, attribution, or royalties.  But again this is partly hearsay.   In 1983 TSR started making their own line of D&D, AD&D, Gama World, Marvel Superheroes, and Star Frontiers figures. (Grenadier had also made figures for other TSR games like Gama World and Boot Hill, as well as other company’s games like Traveller, Champions, and Call of Cthulhu…I wonder if this antagonized TSR?)  TSR would give Citadel the D&D rights in 1985, but with limitations that made it impossible or at least impractical to sell their figures here in the US (that could have something to do with Citadel’s contracts with Ral Partha, though).  The legend is that TSR intentionally kept D&D figures off the market in this way to give Ral Partha a big advantage when they finally got the license to make to make AD&D figures in 1987, but that seems unlikely to me.  I am probably not in the minority when I say TSR’s line of D&D figures the worst of the lot, but they do deserve some credit for making some figures that painted up nicely and actually putting out some good sets.  The main problems were lack of skill and or experience on the part of their sculptors, too many boring characters and not enough interesting monsters.  Why did they release orcs, goblins, the elementals pictured below, and so on, when there were so many D&D critters that had never been made into figures?

Here’s a pair of elementals I picked up super cheap at Origins a few years back:

An earth elemental.

And an air elemental.

Not terribly imaginative, by any stretch, but obviously inspired by the Monster Manual illustrations.

This little guy (an Azer?) was already in an earlier post about some little devils:

Here’s one of their better character figures, IMO:

Very Frank Frazzeta.  Not terribly D&D though — no armor? A hand axe? No one ever used that figure for their fighter.  He could be an OK AD&D barbarian, I guess.

Advertisements
Published in: on April 17, 2010 at 5:14 pm  Comments (2)  
Tags: ,

The URI to TrackBack this entry is: https://mikemonaco.wordpress.com/2010/04/17/tsrs-unloved-figures-an-occasional-series/trackback/

RSS feed for comments on this post.

2 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. I kinda like that Earth Elemental actually.

    • He does really look like he’s bursting from the earth, and I kind of like the amorphic look. The air ele is a little boring, though, sort of a bad copy of a RP model.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

This Stuff is REALLY Cool

Young scholars enthusiastic to tell you about COOL RESEARCH STUFF

Fail Squad Games

Fail Squad Games

Cigar Box Battle

An online resource blog for gamers and geeks focused on wargames miniatures and board games and role playing games

terribleminds: chuck wendig

Chuck Wendig: Freelance Penmonkey

Save Vs. Dragon

"We are here on Earth to fart around. Don't let anybody tell you any different."--Kurt Vonnegut

POWER WORD KILL

Old School Roleplaying and related musings

Hobgoblin Orange

My return to the world of miniature figure painting and RPGs

booksandopinions.com

The Book Reviews You Can Trust!

Dawn of the Lead

Miniature wargaming and the occasional zombie

The WordPress.com Blog

The latest news on WordPress.com and the WordPress community.

hosercanadian

Miniature Motivation

Take On Rules

Jeremy Friesen - a poor soul consumed by gaming.

Age of Dusk

Roleplaying, reviews and associated paraphernalia.

Roll to Disbelieve

"We are here on Earth to fart around. Don't let anybody tell you any different."--Kurt Vonnegut

A Book of Creatures

A Complete Guide to Entities of Myth, Legend, and Folklore

Making the Past

Diary of an apprentice swordsmith

Ancient & Medieval Wargaming

Using De Bellis Antiquitatis, with the odd diversion...

Riffing Religion

Prophets should be mocked. I'm doing my part.

Cirsova

An encyclopedia of the Cirsovan empire, thoughts on Gaming, Music and more.

2 Warps to Neptune

Surveying the Gen X landscape and the origins of geek

Inside the Shadowbox

Rolling the dice. Writing the words. Pushing the buttons. Eating the bacon. Smiling and waving.

Dagger and Brush, Daggerandbrush, dagger brush

Miniature painting, wargaming terrain tutorials, reviews, interviews and painting guides

Fractalbat

A lair for gaming, sci-fi, comics, and other geekish pursuits.

tenfootpole.org

I bought this stuff and read it so you don't have to.

Role Play Craft

Crafting ideas, options, and modules for your role playing campaign.

The Rambling Roleplayer

A collection of advice, essays, and rambling rants about tabletop gaming and other geekiness. Often updated Monday-ishly.

Sheppard's Crook

The occasional blog of a closet would -be wargamer and modeller

10 Bad Habits

Probably not the Justin Howe you were looking for

The Weekly Sift

making sense of the news one week at a time

inthecitiesdotcom

Just another WordPress.com site

Lost in Time

"What happened to Claw Carver?"

chieflyill

gaming, graphics, and genrefication

Stuffed Crocodile

Mazes, Martians, Mead

Metropollywog

Role-Playing Games, Medieval History, Assorted Legends and Myths, and My Stupid Life.

%d bloggers like this: