Speaking of home-casting

If you want to cast your own 25mm fantasy miniatures, the best bet (and the only one I can vouch for) would be those offered by the Dunken Company — an American distributor of Prince August molds (in Europe, you can buy directly from Prince August).

One other option I’m often tempted to try are the molds offered by Castings.  Their fantasy molds appear to include some old Grenadier designs.  I assume they are properly licensed.  The link goes directly to their fantasy line, and the very small image looks like it includes:

  • a skeleton from the Tomb of Spells set (SR 188)
  • an umber hulk (SR 190)
  • a djinn (SR192)
  • a cleric (SR 185)

as well as at least one Heritage casting (a lizard man, also in SR 188)

I am sure I’ve seen the treant (SR 194) before too.  The rest I am less certain about, as the image is pretty poor quality.  If any of you out there can ID the others, I’d be interested in hearing what they are.

The previous owner of the Dunken Company offered some unlicensed molds made of Heritage models but the new owner has (correctly) taken them off the market.

Published in: on October 6, 2011 at 12:00 pm  Comments (6)  
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A while back (I think it would have been in 2001 or 2002) I made six chess sets as Christmas presents (for my father, brother, father-in-law, step-father-in-law, and two brothers-in-law).

Not all of them are chess players (and really I’m a terrible chess player, probably the worst of the lot), but all appreciated getting something hand-crafted.  Each set was a little different, in how the board itself and the pieces were painted, but all the pieces were made from a set of molds by Prince August and the boards were made from 18″ wide shelf lumber.  After my father-in-law passed away and his effects were divided among  his kids, I took his chess board (we’d played several memorable games on that set; he was a lot better than me but my unpredictable play made it a bit of a challenge for him because he could never tell if I was really making that dumb a move).  I plan to find a permanent home for it, as it is actually in better shape than the other sets I made (everyone else has kids/grandkids, cats, or both, and from what I’ve seen their pieces are pretty battered, but my father-in-law kept his set stored safely in a box.  I should add that I don’t mind seeing the other sets a little battered, as it shows they have had use!)

Here is board (which is just stained and painted, then sealed with polyurethane; a few upholstery tacks serve as the shield bosses):

And here is the underside of the board, with a short historical note on Saladin and Richard the Lionheart (depicted as the kings).  I also put four furniture ‘gliders’ on it to keep it the board stable (I was afraid they’d warp over time) and protect the table-top.

Click to embiggen, if you want to read it.

And now some details of the pieces.  All were cast in a lead/tin alloy I bought from the Dunken Company, the American distributor of Prince August and other molds.  I think I went with the “Chess metal,” which was a little cheaper thna the “Model metal” but still very good.

The Richard (white) side and Saladin's side (black)



The Richard (white?) side

Saladin's side (black?)


I might cast some more of some of these pieces:

Rooks. They're neat little towers to use in some other game...

The knights -- about 28 or 30 mm scale!

Published in: on October 5, 2011 at 4:00 pm  Comments (11)  
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Caverns of Doom figures, rebased etc.

I started this blog, lo these many weeks ago, to document a project of recreating the Caverns of Doom and the Sorcerer’s Crypt.  As I sought out information to fill in some gaps (Ihad lost some of the rules sheets and discarded the boxes, which had the character and monster stats in the case of the Sorcerer’s Crypt.  I found Scottsz’s Sorcerers of Doom project and was so impressed with what he was up to that I thought I’d start my own blog.  That’s when I put up most of the “static pages” too, as I was figuring out how blogs work.  The Caverns of Doom page just shows the map.  You can see some older, blurry pics on the Caverns of Doom post here.

So I touched up a few of these guys, and rebased them all on dungeon black.  I still have a few other original Heritage figures that came with the set to paint up, but in the meantime I’ve got similarly old-school stand-ins for the rest.

Left to right, a Grenadier wizard, a Prince August elf (cast from a mold), a Grenadier cleric, a TSR barbarian (the original figure in the set is a “barbarian woman”), a Heritage paladin, standing in for the knight, and the original thief figure, still one of the best D&D thieves I’ve seen.  They are standing on the map I made.

A slightly better shot of the wizard.  He is clearly using some sort of protection scroll, as it is pointed at his opponent!

Some of the monsters.  not pictured: the rats.  I have three of the original four rats, but usually use some plastic rats from the Heroquest game.  Back row, left to right, Grenadier vampire, original Heritage skeleton archer, Grenadier skeleton, original Heritage demon, a Standard Games mon-ogre standing in for the hobgoblin.  Front row, a Grenadeir slime and a spider made from a dollar store toy (you can get bags of dozens of these little glow-in-the dark spiders at Halloween…).

But the Caverns of Doom are deadly because of the Dragon most of all.  My Heritage dragon is mostly MIA (I still have the body section but not the head, wings, and tail!).  so I use a Grenadier that is the right size (3″ long) to fill the three squares.

Quite feline, actually.  This dragon is clearly the stalking kind.  I don’t like how the striped tail turned out but otherwise I’m happy with him.

Published in: on May 25, 2010 at 5:51 am  Comments (2)  
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The death of Harold Godwinson

Granted, the Vikings are more popular, and the Normans were the final victors, but the English army of 1066 had heart.   Harold and his men raced north to repel a massive Viking invasion, catching the enemy by surprise and massacring them.  Then they raced south to Hastings, shedding most of their (horseless) light troops and levies along the way.  There Normans won the day, but only after taking shocking casualties from the Huscarl’s axes.   The dismounted huscarls of Harold’s army turned back repeated charges by the Norman knights, which is pretty incredible really. (more…)

Published in: on March 28, 2010 at 3:05 pm  Comments (2)  
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Norman, is that you?

The Normans, as you may know, were descendants of Vikings (Northmen =>Norman) in France.  They spoke French but were basically vikings on big ass horses (for the time) with state of the art arms and armor.  One charming account of their diplomacy is mentioned by John Julius Norwich:

Calling a halt, [the Byzantine Catapan] sent a messenger across to them, offering the choice: either they could leave Byzantine territory peaceably and at once, or they must face his own army in battle on the morrow.

The Normans had heard communications of that sort before, and knew how to deal with them.  During the harangue one of the twelve chiefs, Hugh Tuboeuf, had approached the messenger’s horse, and had been stroking it approvingly; now, as the man finished, he suddenly turned and struck it one mighty blow between the eyes with his bare fist, laying the luckless animal unconscious on the ground.  At this, according to Malaterra, the messenger in a paroxysm of fear fainted dead away, but the Normans, having with some difficulty restored him to his senses, gave him a new horse, better than the first, on which they sent him back to the Catapan with the message that they were ready.
Source (more…)

Published in: on March 26, 2010 at 10:14 am  Comments (3)  
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“Deliver us, oh Lord, from the fury of the Northmen”

Hide the gold and silver, and lock up your able-bodied youths (who will be enslaved) and maidens (who will be… well you know), here come the Vikings with their Land-waster banner. My banner is based on a sail design from a second-hand souvenir dragon ship , which was made in Norway or Denmark.


Published in: on March 25, 2010 at 12:41 pm  Leave a Comment  
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The army of Elfland

Click to embiggen, as usual! This army is chiefly composed of figures I cast with Prince August molds, plus a few Ral Partha elves and a couple of Grenadier figures. One stand of Citadel plastic elves can also be seen in the rear left above. (more…)

Published in: on March 3, 2010 at 1:35 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Bring out your dead!

A nice post over at Destination Unknown made me want to post my own casualty minis, especially since in our game this week we needed a down figure for all four of the adventurers!

Turns out a dozen or so Hobgoblins and Hobhounds can take out four 2nd-3rd level characters pretty fast!

Here are five Grenadier miniatures (the last one is really a thief climbing a wall).  The first four were sold as a set — two adventurers and two goblins or orcs.

I needed some more diversity though — what about elves and dwarfs?

The dwarf is by TSR (from the brief period they made their own figures.  His weapon broke off a long time ago and no-one ever used him as their PC).  The knight is a plastic figure from a Weapons & Warriors game, filed down to lay flat.  The elves were cast from Prince August molds.

I also did some more whimsical casualties:

A head from a Citadel Chaos Warrior and a pair of boots from a larger scale WWII figure, no doubt the victims of some seriously failed saving throws.

Lastly, a few treasures (scratch built from bits and glitter), two chalk outlines, (the most generic casualties yet) and couple of Grenadier skeletons which were broken  long ago but too good to throw away.

If you have any broken, bent, or unused figures, this is a pretty good way to make sure they get some use.

Published in: on January 10, 2010 at 3:23 am  Comments (2)  
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my Caverns of Doom figures

Sadly, most of the figures that came with Caverns of Doom were lost or broken over the years. So, when I recreated the CoD map and began playtesting it, I gathered the few that remained and chose some other figures that were from the same early 1980s vintage. Here are the my stalwart adventurers:


The thief is original. The knight is a Heritage paladin, the wizard and cleric are Grenadier AD&D figures, the barbarian is a TSR figure, and the elf is cast from a Prince August mold. I still have the original knight, wizard, and cleric, they just need a paint job, and the barbarian woman needs her legs & sword reconstructed. I’ll try to get to them some day.

The monsters similarly are a mixed bag. I don’t think my set (actually my brother’s — I got the Crypt, he got the Caverns that fateful Xmas) ever had the Hobgoblin figure, but it had two demon figures, one of which I converted to a Gollum figure by filing off the wings, tail, and horns, but that is now long gone.
The spider didn’t last long, with skinny legs and being made of soft lead.

monsters1The demon and skeleton with bow are original; the slime monster, vampire, and skeleton with axe are Grenadier figures from the Tomb of Spells set; the rats are plastic accessories from the Heroquest game (a fairly decent dungeon crawl game in its own right); the spider is a plastic toy from a bag of Halloween decorations.

monsters2The hobgoblin is a “Mon-ogre” from a manufacturer I forget — maybe Broadsword or Asgard? The dragon is another Grenadier, from an “Action Art” set.

I still have part of the original dragon — just the body. I tried making a new tail, head, and wings a while back but the head and tail really need to be redone before I’d be willing to let anyone see it!

Minifigs.com has a number of the Dungeon Dweller figures back in production and maybe some day I’ll try to replace more of the original set with their recasts (which are also in a sturdier tin, I believe.

Published in: on August 21, 2009 at 12:41 pm  Comments (12)  
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