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 on 25mm square bases.

First up, a pair of Knights & Magick knights and two Dungeon Dwellers.  The mace-man, from the King Arthur set, was one that I lost a long time ago. 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 also 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 sdoubt 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 that 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 nice touches.

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. <edit: as of 2021 it is!> I should point out that these castings appear to be in a 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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Scale creep!

Miniatures enthusiasts sometimes talk about “scale creep” — the tendency over time for bigger and bigger figures to be produced in the same notional scale. D&D figures (and fantasy figures in general for other RPGs and fantasy war gaming lines) have usually been marketed as “25mm” scale, but scale creep was evident from at least the 1980s. Beginning in the later 1990s or early 2000s some companies began to admit this was going on and stopped calling their figures “25mm” and started describing them as “heroic scale,” “28mm,” “30mm,” and even “32mm.”

Believe it or not, there was a time when 25mm was considered “close enough” to use with HO (that’s actually ‘half o’) scale models, which are about 1/76 scale.   Simple math will tell you that if 25mm = the height of a man, and humans are presumed to be 6′ in fantasy land, this is 1/72 scale. 1/72 and 1/76 are fairly close, but 1/72 is still somewhat puny next to 25mm.  Smallish 25mm like early Tom Meier Ral Parthas are very close to 1/72.  The metal figures, being sculpted at actual size, still have somewhat less realistic proportions, but most people don’t really notice this unless it is pointed out to them. (Metal minis are molded directly from the master sculpts, which are placed in unvulcanized rubber or silicone. Plastics are more typically sculpted in a larger scale and then molds made with a “pantograph” machine that traces and reduces them as it cuts the steel mold. This is why 1/72 plastics — especially the soft wargamer/modeller plastics — tend to be very delicately proportioned. The cartoonishness of metals is partly due to aesthetics but partly practical.)

Some fighting men.  The first is Ral Partha from about 1980 or maybe the late 1970s.  Next a Grenadier figure, about 1980 too.  Grenadier was already larger than RP, even back in the day.  Next is a Citadel barbarian from the late 1980s, and finally a Reaper figure from the 2000s.

Because the Grenadier figure was somewhat large even for the line, they mostly look OK together, but the Ral Partha fighter went from being a fairly badass knight to being a dwarf!

Speaking of dwarves.  Ral Partha (1976 or so), Grenadier (1980), Ral Partha (1986 or so), Grenadier (1989), Citadel (late 1980s).

The discrepancy is most apparent between the Citadel dwarf and the RP dwarf.  The former’s fist is literally as big as the latter’s head.

Here are some mounted figures.  For much of the 70s and 80s, cavalry figures had undersized mounts just because the amount of metal needed for a full sized horse would have pushed up prices, or so it is said.  Games Workshop was very proud when they began releasing plastic warhorses that were suitable massive for the scale.  Anyway we see here a Ral Partha fighter (1976 or so); a Citadel plastic LOTR Rohan rider (this line is uncharacteristically well-proportioned and actually pretty close to 25mm rather than 28-30 which we see in their Warhammer line); amd a knight from the company called “Enigma” which I think was Canadian, and specialized in what I always thought looked like Warhammer knock-offs.  The Enigma knights are huge.

If you were picking a figure for your PC, would you even consider the RP knight?  He now passes for a dwarf on a pony in my games.

Oh, how the mighty have fallen!

Published in: on April 26, 2010 at 12:49 pm  Comments (8)  
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