Sunday, August 25, 2013

Dark Sword Miniatures Kickstarter Loot

It's been like a Kickstarter Christmas at home lately.  First my Bones shipment finally arrived and now I hear that the Larry Elmore art book I backed will be here in the not too distant future.  And just last week I received a large box from Dark Sword Miniatures.  Yep, my Elmore miniature diorama arrived along with lots of other goodies!

The photo above shows my loot/Kickstarter reward.  Along with the dragon and two associated miniatures for the diorama, I got thirty-five additional metal miniatures for a very reasonable overall price.  The treasure in the box included the following miniatures:

Elmore Masterworks Line
1101 Green Witch
1149 Female Warrior
1168 Evil Female Mage
1177 Female Shaman
1148 Female Magic User
1311 Crouching Female Warrior
1151 Female Dual-Wield Fighter
1114 Female Archer

Easley Masterworks Line
4108 Female Assassin
4109 Male Cleric
4110 Female Bard with Lute
4112 Female Ranger
4114 Female Paladin w/Sword & Shield

GRRM Masterworks Line
5027 Tyrion
5052 Bronn

Visions in Fantasy
7424 Male Dual-Wield Assassin
7404 Female Paladin with Morning Star
7406 Male Dark Elf Warrior w/Double Bladed Sword
7409 Female Ranger w/Falcon & Longsword
7414 Female High Elf Warrior
7415 Female Assassin
7416 Male Warrior w/Bastard Sword
7418 Female Blind Warrior
7419 Female Elven Warrior
7420 Male Wood Elf Archer
7423 Male High Elf Warrior
7427 Male Warrior w/Battle Axe
7436 Female Mage
7517 Thief of Hearts #5
7901 Frog Jester

KSCONV3 Male & Female Mages (alternate sculpts)

A few of the included miniatures are duplicates of ones that I already own or have painted so that does bring down the overall value a bit.  The collector part of me is more than OK with that though. It's always a good idea to have additional copies available for repairs, conversion, or just to have an extra. Plus, I like to try different color themes on the same miniature.

I have already started working on the base.  Just this part of the dragon will take me some time to complete.  As you can see in the photo below, the detail is quite impressive and that means additional painting time.  Near the overhang on the front of the stand is a partially spilled chest of treasure.  It seems that I have tons of little gold and silver coins to paint in my near future.  Tedious indeed!

This will be the largest miniature by far that I have ever attempted to paint.  Before this, the GW Balrog held that distinction.  It took me a month to paint the Balrog.  I have no idea what to expect with this monster of a mini but I will try to post updates now and then as progress is made.

Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Sorting and Reading the Bones

I finally got all of my Bones unpacked.  As you can see, there are a heap of minis on the desk (the Chronoscope and modern minis are not pictured except for those that can be used for my Legends of the Old West campaign. I will probably sell the rest).  With my particular package, I received well over two hundred Bones miniatures ranging in size from tiny rats to dragons and giants.  For the most part, I am pleased with the outcome. 

As I said... for the most part. Unfortunately, many of the miniatures will need a bit of repair before they can be used.  A full third of the minis are bent in some form or another.  Weapons, arms, legs...the issues are many and varied.  Yes, I know that all it takes is a dip in boiling water then another in cold water to remedy the problem (I used to do that with my Axis and Allies War at Sea ships) but this is an additional step in the preparation process and one that I was not expecting (at least not on this scale).  Removing mold lines and flash, washing, and assembly - basically the entire prepping process, already ranks incredibly low on the ol' excitement meter.  This additional layer of no-fun really puts a damper on my purchase.

Perhaps my experience is not the norm and other shipments arrived in better condition.  And maybe the process of repairing nearly eighty miniatures will go much easier/quicker than I think.  So just maybe I'm writing a rather harsh review.  As it stands now however, I do not think I will be purchasing any more Bones miniatures unless I can actually see the product in the package and ensure the integrity of the model.  Living on an island and having a fifty-five mile one-way trip to the nearest hobby shop (that may or may not carry the mini I want) means that the likelihood of me acquiring more Bones will be quite small.

Despite my disappointment, I will let stand my initial review of the Kobold Bones back in March of 2012.  The integrity of those miniatures were spot on and I had no problems with bending.  What the difference between the two shipments is I do not know.  Bad luck?  Different material?  Poor packing?  Whatever the reason, my Reaper Bones Kickstarter Reward was not as I hoped and certainly not up to the standards of the original batches for sale.  Granted, the math says that I still received a great deal on so many models.  But time is money as they say and spending extra time repairing mistakes from Reaper lessens the overall value to the customer.

For those of you who took part in the Bones Kickstarter, what has been your experience?  In what condition did your miniatures arrive?  Are you generally pleased with the outcome or do you have issues as well?  Your thoughts and comments are always welcome.

Thanks for reading...

Sunday, August 04, 2013

Companions of the Lance: Old School Love

I've been doing a bit of shopping on eBay lately and managed to round up some semi-old school miniatures that depict the iconic characters of the Dragonlance saga.  All of the companions are here:  Tanis, Caramon, Sturm, Flint, Tasslehoff, Riverwind, Goldmoon, Laurana, and Tika.  All of them that is, except for Raistlin. 

I bought the miniatures in various stages of completion.  Some of them were almost like new while others had layers of gunky paint that needed stripping.  A good soaking in Simple Green and an attack by an old toothbrush removed most of the gunk.  As you can see above, they are all cleaned and prepped and ready to be primed.  Unfortunately, due to the high humidity down here this time of year, I'll have to go to my backup option for priming.  Hand priming with Guesso will add some time to the project, though.

As you can tell from my well-worn copy of the first book in the trilogy, I was, and still am, a big fan of the original Dragonlance books.  I placed emphasis on the word original because the later books were a bit of a disappointment for me.  I read the Legends trilogy when it was released and thought them just OK.  At about that time though, I dropped D&D, miniatures, and fantasy reading in general in favor of cars, girls, and college.  When I came back to the hobby in 2002 I tried a few of the new books and could not get into them.  At first I though that I had changed and that type of reading no longer interested me but that would not be true.  I still very much enjoy rereading the original series and have done so several times over the last ten years.

Anyhow, I now have most of the members of the Companions of the Lance and I'm ready to start painting.  I plan on using my beat up books as a guide for the color selection.  I will try to paint each miniature in the colors that the characters appear on the covers of the books.  For additional inspiration I will utilize some of the old module covers as well as my ancient copy of Leaves from the Inn of the Last Home.

Image courtesy of DnD Lead website

As I mentioned above, I have all of the main characters except Raistlin Majere.  It seems that this miniature is rather rare and difficult to find.  I routinely monitor eBay for a copy.  The best I have been able to find is a painted copy for $49 and an unpainted version for $100.  Now I have been known to blow my money on overpriced toys before but I think these two minis are out of my league.  One hundred dollars is entirely too much to pay for a 28mm tall chunk of lead.  They are apparently out of every other painters range as well since both listings have been active for a very long time. 

To complete my collection and not break the bank, I will have to hope to stumble upon a reasonable copy ($30 or less) or use a proxy from another company.  Dark Sword Miniatures has a nice version that I just purchased a few weeks ago as does Reaper (which I painted last year I think).  Unfortunately, both miniatures are the wrong scale and would not match up well with the others.  So the search will continue.

Just out of curiosity, what is the most you have paid for a single regular sized miniature?  Am I wrong to think $50 - $100 is too much?

Thanks for reading....