Treasure chest miniatures are usually worth using, but I am not so sure about loose piles of treasure.  The problem is that usually show some explicit items — swords, helmets, scrolls, whatever — and your literal-minded players (who have perhaps been conditioned/spoiled by the fact that I often can throw out a mini that exactly mirrors what I described) assume that they are there in the treasure.  Even so, I have acquired or made some loose piles for variety.

Here’s a pretty humble treasure pile, I think from Reaper:


Here are a couple of loose piles of gold coins (in this case glitter) with some random objects.


On the left, a crude scroll made of paper, a buckler from a 1/72 Italieri Saracen, a sword from a Rafm customizable fighter kit, and a tiny twig standing in for a magic wand. On the right, a wooden bead “urn”, a plastic Skaven shield, the helm from an MPC AD&D orc, another wand, and a pebble. The coins are gold glitter.

Next up some gold bars.


These came in a Grenadier Champions set, but the pile of gold bars mini was in production for a really long time — all the way back to their Wizzards & Warriors days, at least.

These chests see a fair amount of use. The one on the far right was the “open” chest from the Grenadier AD&D Thieves set, but for reasons I can barely fathom now, I closed the chest, filing off the treasure that was in it.  For a while the chest was part of a portable war altar for a Warhammer army. The other two chests are plastic pieces from a “Weapons & Warriors” game.


The big hoard of gold is another plastic piece from the MPC AD&D set. It is a pretty accurate but scaled down copy of the treasure pile that the Grenadier dragon lair had.


Lastly, a pair of golden urns and a pretty bitchen dragon idol, both scratch built by a friend I haven’t heard from in a while. (I hope all is well, Scottsz!)


I dig the candles on the idol quite a bit. The urns are wooden beads, and the dragon idol appears to be some wooden blocks with a tiny metal dragon on it. I’m guessing he used Testors enamel paint to get that smooth, shiny gold effect.

Published in: on March 3, 2015 at 12:00 pm  Comments (4)  
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Another quick “MPC action scenes” update

Brady has set up a gallery of the boxes and components at Lead Poisoned.  It brings back a flood of memories, and also I’m a little surprised at how many of those figures I lost and forgot about.  I wonder now if I ever even assembled them all.  I think he said he paid over $50 for these and I don’t think I’d pay so much, although if I ever a find a set I may still be tempted…

Published in: on January 26, 2010 at 11:49 am  Leave a Comment  
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MPC action scenes update

Clifford Linton, a sculptor who worked for Grenadier back in the day, and who has more recently worked for Mega Minis, commented on the business side of the MPC releases with a caveat that this was a long time ago and he is not claiming certainty: “Keep in mind I’m not entirely sure on the details, you may want to check and see if you can confirm this to some degree. My memory is not as good as it used to be.

Just as an aside, it should be noted that Grenadier Modeels, (specifically Andy Chernak) had a big problem with TSR giving MPC permission to copy their minis, as they were just that, almost exact copies of Grenadier sculpts. Andy’s contention was TSR had the rights to the AD&D name and logos, but not the rights to reproduce the Grenadier sculpts. I believe their contract with TSR stated only Grenadier had copyright on the actual figures. I don’t remember what happened specifically, but I’m fairly certain Andy had threatened a law suit at some point. Whether he actually carried it out , I don’t remember. It’s possible MPC pulled the sets anyway, just to cover themselves. (reposted, with permission, from an email to the Collecting Grenadier Models Yahoo group)

I am far too lazy to confirm the details, but on the face of it, it makes sense. TSR pulled a lot of shenanigans back in the day. Ral Partha was (allegedly) forced to destroy all their old molds for their licensed AD&D miniatures after TSR/WotC decided to make their own line, and in light of the MPC affair I can more readily understand why TSR would have had such a clause in the contract with Ral Partha.

Published in: on January 14, 2010 at 1:56 pm  Leave a Comment  
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MPC AD&D Action Scenes

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.

Published in: on January 11, 2010 at 2:54 am  Comments (11)  
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