The torture chamber

I got these GFI recasts of Minifigs of some torture equipment a while ago and finally finished them.  I didn’t realize the rack was missing the spokes or handles that would turn the top roller until I began painting it.  I just added some with florist wire, so no problem.  (I never did check a reference photo to make sure this is what they’d look like; it’s possible there should just be one long arm rather than three short ones.)  Anyway they are the iron maiden I posted earlier; a rack; and a table with a cat-o-nine-tails, poker, and giant knife.

minifigs-torture-chamber

Here’s the denizens: an orc jailer by Ral Partha, a plastic WotC torturer, and an assortment of prisoners: two WotC prisoners, a Ral Partha victim from another set, and a plastic GW dwarf who has been securely bound by goblins.

torture-chamberThere are many more, much more lurid torture chamber furnishings and victims that Citadel sold back in the early 1980s.  [That link is NSFW, maybe!] I don’t know whether they were poor sellers or just garnered complaints but by the time the Armory (the major US distributor of fantasy miniatures) put out their big “Buyers Guide” catalog, they were listed as “out of production”.  Ral Partha had some similar stuff too — not quite as misogynist though.  As did Grenadier & Dragon Tooth.

So my question is: what’s up with this anyway?  Why were torture chambers such a big thing in early D&D figures?  Is it just the association of “dungeons” with imprisonment and medieval punishments, or something else?  Do you put torture chambers in your D&D dungeons?  I’m not sure if I ever have — if so it would have been in the context of some evil lord or mad scientist type wizard.  Do they have a place “random” dungeons or “mythic underworld” style megadungeons?

Published in: on February 15, 2014 at 8:45 am  Leave a Comment  
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Grenadier bugbears, Heritage kolbolds

Just finished the last of my bugbears and kobolds (I think!)

The more I look at the Grenadier bugbears, the more I think they are my favorite bugbears (although the Otherworld minis are a close second).  Although these guys were originally sold in blister packs with two axe-wielders and one sword-wielder, somehow I have three swords and one axe!  I think the issue is that the sword-wielder came in the “Action Art” boxed set too, so there are just more of them out there.  The axe guy has an extra-large head, but the fact that he has an axe also helps tie him in with the plastic ‘bugbears’ from the Dragonstrike game that I have.

Grenadier bugbears

Grenadier bugbears

oldboy

I figured the best way to make the sword guys distinguishable would be their shields, but then thought it might be cool if they were all the same…and finally settled on making one an ‘elder’ by adding some grey to his fur.

I went ahead and touched up a few WotC plastic figures I use as bugbears too — the one with a hammer was sold as a bugbear, but the other two were supposed to be orcs.  3e/4e orcs have a lot of hair, so painting them brown pretty much did the trick.

WotC-bugbears

So here’s all 15 bugbears in my collection:

bugbears

I’m not sure if I like the Heritage kobolds more than other manufacturer’s kobolds, but the Heritage figures have a lot of character, despite being in the same pose.

My kobolds represent just two of the four poses Heritage cast.  I got them from a variety of sources second-hand so I’m not surprised; this may also be a case of the blister and boxes having different contents, so the clubs and axes are just more common than the sword and javelin variants I’ve seen online.

heritage-kobolds

The Grenadier kobolds I have, which are from the mid-1980s I think, are similar but much slimmer and have no tails.  I also filled in the ranks of my kobolds with some Games Workshop skinks.  I can’t quite place why I started painting them all blue, but does help distinguish them from goblins.

koboldsI have Grenadier kobold mounted on a small dragon too, but forgot to include him in the group shot.

Published in: on February 2, 2013 at 10:04 pm  Comments (2)  
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Myconids

A while back I picked up a couple of loose myconids made by Wizards of the Coast.  They are nice and just a little creepy:

I decided I really needed a lot more than two myconids if I’m ever going to use them for D&D.  So, I decided to make a few more out of Sculpy, and while I was at it, made some giant mushrooms to go with them.

The mushrooms were easy.  I had recently been reading a kid’s book about mushrooms to my daughter, who was very interested in them last summer and fall, and it had some nice color photos for reference.  They were all glued down to small (3/4 inch or so) glass tiles left over from one of her craft projects.  This gives them a fairly heavy base and makes them stable.

The myconids turned out to be a little trickier, because I learned that Sculpy gets sort of soft in the over before it hardens.  Next time I’ll try ‘Super Sculpy,’ or at least use an armature.  I didn’t mind my myconids being a little simpler and even cartoonish, since I was whipping them out pretty fast (all the ‘shrooms and ‘nids were done in about an hour, plus baking time).

My first one has a very silly look and reminds me of the ‘blob fish’ or maybe a McDonaldland burger dude.

For most of them I went with a face more like the WotC minis.  I think these guys look a bit like the dancing shrooms in Fantasia, now that I think of it:

This guy was the skinniest myconid and completely fell apart in the oven, after slowly drooping, so the best I could do to save him was to make him crawling:

The Myconids are mounted on steel washers or electrical box punch-outs I scavenged, and these are equally good as ballast.

Published in: on March 31, 2012 at 4:24 pm  Comments (6)  
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I picked the wrong year to stop buying minis

Got the heads up from Scottsz that Wizards of the Coast (WotC) is dropping the pre-painted plastic D&D minis line.

Big deal, I thought. This has been a long time coming from what I could tell anyway.  Then I checked out the ol’ blogosphere and learned that Heroscape had been quietly dropped earlier.  Snikes. I was assuming the D&D minis were being dropped for the sake of Heroscape.  Now I guess the idea is that WotC will still sell a few “super collectibles” like the “Beholder collection” (I’m holding out for some official Flumph figures…I may have to make that my next Sculpy project…) and also have minis in the current & upcoming the boardgames (I almost resisted making a comment about 4e being a board game, but this parenthetical comment documents my failure).

I swore off all mini buying this year because of my painting backlog and general austerity measures we’re taking and now the few D&D plastics I figured I’d pick up “later” have become collectible.  Crap.  I picked the wrong year to stop buying minis.

I picked the wrong week to stop sniffing glue, too

Seriously, I thought the prepainted minis were, on the whole, a good thing, even if I could very rarely bring myself to swallow buying “random packs”.  The singles were great and I bought a passel from Noble Knight this year.  They save time and it’s nice to have a subset of minis I can throw into a bin and bring to someone else’s house or a con (after the Great Lead Drop of ’04, when I dropped a box full of giants and ogres and trolls on the sidewalk the eve of a snow storm which left me unable to even look for the missing bits for weeks, I am very protective of my minis!).

I hate to see them go but I am not entirely surprised.  People talk about “saturation” and how old grognards like me aren’t buying enough minis to keep it viable for WotC.  The fact is there would need to be new people getting into the hobby for the market for WotC’s minis to remain strong and apparently it just ain’t happening.  (Stunningly, I’ve even seen people comment they’d like to learn to play D&D but they have heard how the rules keep changing and you have to keep buying stuff and they aren’t interested in that.  Not OSR shills, real comments on mainstream sites.  Mission deccomplished, WotC!)    Skip the rest if this post is already tiresome.

(more…)

Published in: on January 13, 2011 at 11:02 am  Comments (9)  
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Townsfolk, and a new pic of the hirelings

As always, click to embiggen!

Merchants. Left to right, a Reaper blacksmith, a Citadel merchant, a Grenadier dwarf, and some guy with a book I can’t quite place. (more…)

Published in: on April 9, 2010 at 9:08 pm  Comments (6)  
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Fighting men

A Grenadier archer, a really early Grenadier barbarian, and a Ral Partha paladin. (more…)

Published in: on April 9, 2010 at 2:39 am  Comments (3)  
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