Classic Miniatures

As of this writing the website for Classic Miniatures is not operational, which is a shame. Mr. Thomas is producing excellent re-casts of much of the old Heritage Models line. It’s a hobby more than a business (he has a job, family, etc.) so we’ll just need to be patient. However after a conversation on the Heritage Yahoo group I purchased some of his recasts to fill some gaps in my collection and replace a few long-lost or broken minis. Here they are — I cleaned off a tiny bit of flash and put them 25mm square bases.

First up, a pair of Knights & Magick knights and two Dungeon Dwellers.  The mace-man must have been lost a long time. The knight next to him was always one of my favorites from that line because of the horned helmet and axe. My original lost the axe-head a long time ago and has had a series of replacements. It’s nice to have a complete one again. The dwarf is unarmored and just has an axe and a small bag in his hand. He was included in the original Crypt of the Sorcerer game and I lost mine a long, long time ago, so I was happy to find a replacement. I’m sure he’ll paint up nicely. Lastly the cleric is one I never owned but always liked — he looks more like a pilgrim or monk than a Templar.

There’s my other axe-knight below, painted green because of course a knight with a giant axe is the Green Knight.

A pair of knights from the Knights & Magick line; axeman’s axe is a replacement

Next are two knights with two-handed swords. They are from the Chivalry line and Knights & Magick, respectively. Apparently Chivalry was closer to true 25mm scale; K&M and the Dungeon Dwellers were closer to 28mm, like Grenadier or Citadel. These two are both new to me, and I really like the K&M knight’s pose and the fact that the sculptor (Max Carr?) thought to attach the plume on his helmet to the blade in order to create a sturdier model. While the Chivalry line was theoretically “historical” I seriously doubt you’d see two-handed swords in the 12th or 13th century, which these guys appear to be emulating.  Still, great for RPGs.

Finally some more Knights & Magick models I’d only seen online: on the far left, “The Warlord” (who also has a mounted version and a squire in the complete set; I just wanted him for a well-armored cleric) and three “Giant Knights.” They stand about 7′ next to other Heritage models (the warlord is comparatively tall too), but would be normal-sized compared to any modern miniatures. They look great though. The axeman has a “Norman” kite shield on his back and would make a great Huscarl. The guy with the flail is leaning in and looks ready to engage (never mind his flail is “resting” — at least it won’t break off). The last one with the mace looks a bit like an early Citadel chaos warrior. His mace-head has a face on it (not visible from this angle as it faces the back) and the ornate helm and spiked armor are good.

Here’s one next to Reaper Bones half-orc, which I’d call 30mm scale really. Next to the regular knight, the “giant” knight is pretty fearsome, but scale creep strikes again and he’s just a knight next to the Reaper mini.

Anyway here’s hoping the Classic Miniatures site goes live again soon. I should point out that these castings appear to be in lead/tin pewter — the flash was easy to remove and when rubbed on paper they leave a mark. I’d venture to guess they are a higher tin content than original Heritage castings though because some barely left any mark and they seem a bit shinier. They base markings are partly obscured or absent — whether that is intentional or not I couldn’t say; I don’t know if all Heritage models had them back in the day.

Published in: on March 29, 2017 at 2:06 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Saturday craft time!

We did nothing today — nothing ‘productive’ anyway.  My wife did some sewing; my daughter did some painting, math workbooks, knitting, and watched an episode of Scooby Doo; I painted some minis.  We try to have ‘family craft time’ once a week, especially in the winter when we’re stuck inside anyway. Since my wife was a little under the weather we scrapped some major housecleaning plans and took it easy.  Craft time sprawled on and on, with breaks for lunch, laundry, and making pizza for dinner. Nothing recharges the batteries like spending time together making stuff.  Here’s what I painted:

Two Heritage “Knights & Magick” knights.

These two were painted fairly simply back about 1983.  The one with the sword my brother & I thought of as ‘Lancelot’ for reasons I can no longer place.  I was terribly frustrated with how I painted him, and tossed this mini in the brush water (I was about 11 then!) and when I remembered him later and took him out, somehow the ambient paint left him ‘stained’ with a very heavy black/green wash, that actually looked pretty good.  But not good enough that I didn’t strip him, like most of the K&M knights. The mace-man would make a good cleric if you overlook the sword hanging from his belt.

I also took some cheapo plastics and made some monsters.  One is a knight from a ‘Dollar Store’ set (the same one that provided the statues in a prior post).  This guy had a shield on a deformed, short arm, and I cut that off and transplanted a second mace.  As his helm has no eye slits, I thought he might make a good automaton or Iron Golem.  A knight is next to him for scale.  He’s mounted on a big washer for stability.

Lastly, I picked up a bag of skeleton warriors on Amazon to round out a purchase.  They are not great but are a step up from the Dollar Store crap.  There were six poses, and I did not use the ‘archer’.  I just painted one of each of four poses; I made do more some time, or save them to fight those dollar store knights.  A wash of burnt umber is practically all they need, but I went a few steps further and painted them completely.  Here are three of the poses:

The axeman and spearman both look very Egyptian, in terms of their weapons and shield, although all of the figures have a lot of extraneous skulls decorating them.  Here’s the spearman from the back:

The other two poses I used are more medieval:

The only conversion I did was to bend the flailman’s hand so that his flail is in a more natural position.  I did this by heating the arm with a lighter and bending when the plastic looked a little shiny (before it actually melts or bursts into flame!).  You can also submerge plastics in boiling water and then reposition them, but this was easier for just one figure.  For scale, here’s the flailman about to smash a knight:

Lastly here’s a skeleon, before and after:

These skeletons would be undead giants, obviously.  I like that some look kind of Egyptian…they will fit in as guardians of ancient tombs or ruins, and provide an option other than mummies as the big bads in a pyramid.

I also began work on repainting 30 or so Citadel snotlings.  They’ll see action in Telengard soon, I think.

Published in: on February 4, 2012 at 9:52 pm  Comments (3)  
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Heritage games: Wizards & Heroes

Back in about 1980 or ’81, Heritage Models USA was releasing a lot of rules to go with their miniatures.  The “Paint ‘n’ Play” sets (Crypt of the sorcerer, Cavern of Doom) even made it into Sears and Montgomery Ward catalogs*.

They also released a much more ambitious system, Knights & Magick, which I’ve only seen in bits — getting a used copy of the boxed rules booklets will cost you something between treasure type G and H.  My brother got one of the “Paint ‘n’ Play” sets associated with it (Knights of King Arthur, which pitted Arthur and some knights vs. Mordred and his) so we probably saw a brief explanation of the rules there, but for some reason never tried them out — come to think of it, I think we had an incomplete set, lacking the rules, based on some stuff that I’ve seen online.  There was also a Merlin game with some simple magic rules for a game dueling wizards: Morgana La Fey and Merlin could cast spells at each other, and summon various servitors, to duke it out.  The rules of both of these have been scanned here or there online, and I guess you could reconstruct the core mechanics from those two samples (authored by Arnold Hendricks and Greg Sanford) although apparently the Knights & Magick  boxed set was stuffed full of awesome, and sounds like exactly the sort of game I’d like to run some time.  But those rules are are in a sort of limbo; no-one seems to know who owns the rights to them any more.

A pair of knights from the Knights & Magick line; the axeman's axe is a replacement. I love the simple but dramatic poses of the figures in this line.

They also released a series of mini-games,  some of which included plastic miniatures (!).  These included Woman Warrior and Cleric’s Quest; I’m not sure if there were others. The rules for these may have been based on their Swordbearer RPG.  The rules were credited to B. Dennis Sustare.

Another set of rules Heritage released was much less ambitious — Wizards & Heroes.  Coming in at just four pages, I was able to find the complete rules at a Yahoo group.  They are numbered “8210” and priced 25 cents … I am pretty sure they either came with a catalog, or could be ordered for $.25 and a SASE.  The rules are extremely simple and designed to run fast skirmish-sized battles — perhaps a dozen minis to a side, although in principle you could also rune mass battles with the rules, if you come up with some rules for units moving in groups.

Each figure has three stats — fighting, armor, and missiles.  These are rated 1-5, and you hit (or save in the case of armor) by rolling equal to or under the stat’s number.  The turn has four phases:

  1. player one moves, player two shoots;
  2. both sides melee;
  3. player two moves, player one shoots;
  4. both sides melee

You roll at at the start of the game for who will be player one and two (high roll is player one).  Some figures might be Heroes or Wizards, and these have some extra powers — Heroes get two attacks in melee, and wizards can cast spells instead of taking another action in any phase.  Wizards can be level 1-4, and can cast one spell per level per turn (a level 4 wizard would have to forgo moving, missiles, and both both melee phases to cast four spells).  A neat idea in the rules is that wizards gain levels only by surviving battles, and start as level one, so you have to keep your wizard alive three battles in a row to make it to fourth level!  The spell list is very similar to the ones in the Paint ‘n’ Play games. There is also a rudimentary points system to buy troops, and optional rules for morale, parrying & wounds (so a hero might take more than one hit) and monsters (which basically use spell-like powers and are statted out like regular troops).  The rules, like most of the miniatures rules from Heritage, were designed by Arnold Hendrick, and they certainly resemble the presentation and ideas of the other sets. They were published in 1980, and remind me of the ‘free’ simple rules you’d find in Prince August catalogs and the Ral Partha “Rules According to Ral” — there is no question the rules exist mainly to sell miniatures, but they are so rules-light that I am tempted to use them the next time my gaming group gets together but for whatever reason we don’t play D&D.  The only problem is that the version I found is a pretty poor scan and in jpeg format to I’d really need to retype them for reference.

Given their simplicity, and expandability, they might be a good basis for the Dark Tower game I’ve been thinking about — begin with a hero, who builds up a band of followers, searches tombs and ruins for gold and relics, and eventually besiege the Dark Tower, ideally all on one table with maybe a side table for the dungeon crawls, Crypt of the Sorcerer style.  That could a day or two of epic gaming…

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*I am not sure if the “Famous Monsters“** and Superhero sets made it into the catalogs too but I think they must have, since they were an even more mainstream theme.  Unfortunately neither of those sets is very well documented online.  The two fantasy sets are available as scans at the Heritage Reference Yahoo group (my “Dungeon Delvers” rules are based on them too) — and of course Scottsz is still hard at work creating what I think of as an “Advanced” version, Sorcerers of Doom, which from what I’ve seen is a really awesome sort of combination of the original rules, plus a well thought out system to keep it DM-less while running more complex adventures than the random-table-driven originals…one could even run an old TSR module solo using these rules with a few tweaks.

**Apparently there was once an effort to re-publish this game, with Reaper minis back when they were recasting some Heritage minis, but the announcement page (link goes to Wayback machine capture) seems to have come & gone in a flash. Copyright/trademark issues?

Published in: on January 11, 2012 at 12:30 pm  Comments (8)  
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The enigma of Enigma Miniatures

“Enigma Miniatures” is now a company in Spain that produce some very nice figures. But at least ten years ago, there was another company, also called Enigma, which I believe operated out of Canada (their packaging was partly or wholly in French). These Enigma figures were generally large 28-30mm scale figures and seemed to be meant to stand in for Citadel/Games Workshop figures, although they were always just different enough to make me unsure.

Sadly, there is nothing on the Lost Minis Wiki about Enigma miniatures, but I should ask around some collector’s forums to see if if there is any more info on these.

I think some of the Enigma figures were pretty crude, and I will never understand how they could afford to sell their figures for so little. They were very inexpensive considering how much metal went into them. They used bases of a size similar to GW’s slotta bases but made of solid metal. I think they bucked the “lead-free pewter” trend of the early 1990s, and used an old fashioned lead/tin mix. But the ones I did pick up have a lot of character. (Click to embiggen — sorry about the dust!)

These guys came in a little plastic package. I’m not sure I like the livery, but otherwise they came out ok. I guess they are supposed to stand in for Warhammer Imperial troops, but they just look like a random assortment of knights and man-at-arms to me. I like that they combined the standard and musician in one figure. The guy with a two-handed sword makes no sense to me, but neither does the leader’s sword. The guy with the mace is a conversion (I made his mace).

I also bought the stand-in figure for a snotling pump-wagon, or that’s what I think it is. It is more like a train than a pumpwagon, and came with no crew. But it is covered in large mushrooms, which suggests GW goblins and snotlings. I have to paint it still. I also picked up a naval cannon for use with the pirates figures, perhaps. That too is unpainted. I should paint them some day.

Does anyone else have Enigma miniatures, or know anything about them?

Published in: on July 21, 2010 at 11:07 am  Comments (1)  
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