Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Little Big Score

While we're on the subject of the history of my mini-collection, I suppose I ought to talk about the foundation of my fearsome (and perhaps farcical) force of figurines. Most folks who know me and have gamed with me have heard this one a few times. I might have even talked about it here on the blog before.

Well, long story short (pun intended), in the last post I talked about seeking a "DM's Set" of minis, a bunch of placeholder goons that players with their unique and personally chosen minis could go up against in my games. I got that modest boxed set of skaven for that purpose. And eventually I bought that one undead expansion for HeroQuest, which gave me a nice selection of skellies, zombies, and mummies to throw at them. (I'll pull those out and post a shot of 'em here eventually.)

But my big score, as it were, was acquiring a copy of the Battle Masters game just as it was getting remaindered at KayBee Toys at the local mall. I paid all of $10 bux for it. My memory is vague as of the time frame, but I wanna say it was around 1994-95. I remember setting about painting 'em all up over the subsequent summer break from college, with a bit of help from my brother. I spent an additional $10 on individual bases from the hobby store, so all told that adds up to 100 miniatures for around 20 cents per guy, which is good value any way you slice it. (Especially considering the ogre, all the mounted figs, and the cannon crew.)

I painted most of them, with the exception of the orcs with the skulls on their shields and the good guy knights, which were my brother's handiwork.

The human soldiers made a pretty good contingent of town guards, with a crossbow auxiliary to boot. The cannon crew pretty much hung out on top of the tower as tchotchkes on various shelves thru the years. As you can see we kinda ran out of steam before we got the main force of knights painted up, and I have no idea where the other two mounted human lords got to. The archers' faces were kinda flat and featureless, and I never really liked 'em too much, so while I painted 'em, they wound up in storage without bases. I dug 'em up for this shot and stuck 'em down with fun tack.

On the monsters' side, you'll note we left the riders off the wolves, because they were more useful to me as just dire wolves without goblins on 'em. I often wish that I'd just painted 'em up all black like I did #5 in the middle there, but since they're pretty much relics now there's no goin' back. No idea what became of the gobbo riders. I did the chaos archers up in those kaleidoscopic colors and have always called 'em "dragon men". Never used 'em much 'cos I don't tend to have a lot of use for archer figures in a dungeon setting. The beast men I did up in animal skin patterns and have always used them for gnolls. As I've said, the standard Games Workshop green skin on goblinoids and their ilk kinda bores me stupid, so with the orcs and goblins my brother and I went with skin tones reminiscent of shrunken heads or bog mummies, so that the eyes and teeth would really pop. The shields on the orcs and the doom guards were originally drawn on with fine point marker, but that faded over time, so recently (around last year or so) I dug up a bunch of WH shield decorations I had in my bits box, painted 'em up, and glued them on to gussy the old goons up a bit.

And of course, most of the massed marchers got their own rub on numbers so I could keep 'em straight in combat. 

So that's pretty much been the backbone of my mini collection for a while now.

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