This blog is about the world of gaming miniatures, as seen from my perspective. I've been collecting and painting for over 30 years now, and while my primary focus is miniatures for D&D, I also enjoy many other games that use minis, so we'll be covering those as well. Thanks for stopping by!

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Happy New Year!

So 2014 is almost done and I'm totally ready to dive into 2015. The year ended on a bit of a high note for once, as I squeezed in a fun-filled FR campaign session (recap pending), my birthday, and I finished two giants and entered them in the Reaper Miniatures Forum's Year of The Giants painting contest. Whew!

You can see the two threads by following these links:

Reaper Giants

Non-Reaper Giants

My entries are under TollHouseGolem. The cyclops is just a very nice piece of old school lead. It was my first serious attempt at NMM, as I was going for an aged bronze look. The end product looks more like worn leather, to be honest. I don't think it is orange-y enough. Oh well, it still came out pretty nice overall, and I am pleased.

My Reaper entry is an Ettin by Jason Wiebe (DHL 02479). This is a super fun and super busy mini! The overall sculpt is very nice, and I really like the way the right head is thrown back - it gives the pose a little oomph in my opinion. And there are just so many freaking details, it really gave me fits. Piercings (both metallic and bone), a piggie, and a child's doll just add to the overall flavor of this beast. I missed a major mold line that ran up his left side, but oh well, this is for the gaming table and not a display case. And my friends think it is all that and a bag of chips.

So there you go, proof of finished minis! I have no expectations on how my entries will fare in the contest, because it was really more about finishing them and getting them entered than any potential prizes.

I hope everyone has a very Happy New Year and a great 2015. Thanks for stopping by this past year.


Saturday, November 15, 2014

A Giant Painting Contest!

Oh snap, how on earth did I ever miss this one? I just now read about the 2014 Year of the Giants painting contest over on the Reaper forums. It was posted way back in February, so I managed to overlook this one for about 9 months. Sweet.

Anyhow, all is not lost. I have about 6 weeks to complete at least one giant mini and enter it in the contest. If I'm feeling really ambitious, I'll complete two entries, one for the Reaper category and one for the non-Reaper category. I'm not going to even think about the Diorama category.

This is just what I needed to light a fire under me and apply some paint to some lead on my favorite category of minis!

Thursday, October 23, 2014

D&D 5E, and back to blogging

Wow, where have the past four plus months gone??? For a variety of personal reasons, I took the summer off from all things gaming, painting, and writing. Now that summer has morphed into fall, I have decided to re-engage my hobby brain and get back to work, so to speak.

In my last post, I mentioned that I had taken possession of the 5E Starter Set and that I would give it a review. Well, I'm going to have to dust off my notes and give it another quick read so I can deliver a proper writeup. And to add to my 5E workload, I also now have the PH, MM, and Hoard of the Dragon Queen adventure. Looks like The Rise of Tiamat will be here shortly, while the DMG will be out in early December.

On the lead front, not much happened over the summer, just a few random things: a Superior Models eagle, an old DragonTooth baggie of P6 Superhero and Superheroine, some Heritage Air Power planes, a couple Imrie Risley 54mm models from A Christmas Carol, and more recently some Reaper DHL minis that were too cheap to pass up! I remain a sucker for a good bargain, and for a good joke setup: a Fire Giant, a Demon, and a Cloaker walk in to a bar...and cost me less than $21! Thank you, thank you, you're all too kind. Pics to follow. At some point.

If you are reading this, thanks for sticking around. I hope this is the first of many entries as I try to have some fun again.

Friday, July 18, 2014

D&D Starter Set!

Thanks to the industrious mailing gnomes at Amazon, my long-awaited pre-order of the 5E/D&D Next Starter Set showed up in the mail today! I have done absolutely zero painting, blogging, or anything gaming related for quite a spell now. I'm going to give it all a good reading this weekend, so look for a follow-up post in the hopefully near future. My gaming buddies can rest assured that I'm not going to attempt to get us to switch over to 5E - I simply want to get my hands on the new rules for my own collection and curiosity.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

I've Got a Fever...And The Only Cure Is More Football!!!

That's right, World Cup 2014 has kicked off and I'm once again knee deep in the beautiful game. It's been fun to watch so far, because you never quite know what is going to happen on any given day (like the Netherland's 5-1 dismantling of Spain or Germany's 4-0 pummeling of Portugal).

Last night started off great for the US with hometown hero (Seattle Sounders) Clint Dempsey scoring in less than 30 seconds. Then things get somewhat dicey as we endure a couple of injuries and a relentless Ghana attack that is less than technical until they tie the score in the 82nd minute. And then magic:

John Brooks comes on and powers in a header off a corner in the 86th minute and the US holds off Ghana for a 2-1 victory!!! I'm a happy camper, for sure. Now we face a reeling Portugal and then the German machine. Hoping for the best in the next two matches.

Last day of school for my little dragons is tomorrow, so I will have a lot more time for painting, posting, and perhaps even finally listing some of my excess lead on eBay. Unless I just sit around and watch the World Cup for the next several never knows.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Outstanding Customer Service (gasp!) and a Liebster nomination

Not too long ago, my son Mr. Frodo received a copy of GW's Azog mounted & on foot. He was quite pleased, and dove into working on his minis right away. Well, he somehow managed to break off the tip of mounted Azog's mace, and to make matters worse, lose it! Double crap.

I spent close to an hour scouring my desk and the surrounding floor in a fruitless search. My best guess is that it ended up on the floor and got sucked by the soulless automaton that is our vacuum cleaner.

So I fired off an email to GW customer service to see if they could send me or sell me a replacement. I was very pleased to get a reply email within an hour, asking me to call them. I called back and after providing the GW rep with the necessary info, was told a replacement was going to be sent out the next day. Sure enough, a couple of days later a small packet from GW shows up in the mail. But they didn't simply send me a replacement bit in the mail, they sent me a complete kit! I did not see that one coming.

A lot of people love to talk shit about GW. I'm not saying they are the best miniatures company in the world, but this excellent bit of customer service goes a long ways towards proving to me that the folks behind the scenes (namely the CS reps) do what they can to make customers happy.

I'm happy, Mr. Frodo is happy, and soon mounted Azog will be happy to have his mace back.

Well played, Games Workshop!

David over at Dear Tony Blair was kind enough to nominate me for a Liebster award. I'm flattered, but after thinking about it for a bit, I'm going to pass for now. I'm feeling less than motivated at the moment, and honestly, I'd rather spend the time slapping some paint on my pile of neglected lead. Curse you, apathy!!!

Monday, April 28, 2014

Catalogs, Rulebooks, and Posters, Oh My!

The latest additions to my non-lead collection of mini-related ephemera make me happy both from a collecting standpoint (great artwork) as well as my bottom line (most were downright bargains, if not very affordable).

First up is a copy of the 1980 DragonTooth catalog. OK, so it is more of a pamphlet or flyer, really, given that it is digest size and consists of two folded pieces of paper for 8 pages total. Still, the black & white illustrations are lovely (most are by Mike Gilbert) and it does list available models and prices, so a catalog it is.

Next up is a Ral Partha poster featuring the artwork of Dean Morrissey. You might recognize the image from the Best of Ral Partha boxed sets (10-300 through 10-303). It measures about 25 x 22, nearly square. Too bad it was stored folded, but it is in great shape, creases aside. I read that having it linen-backed might help deal with the creases, so I'll have to take a closer look at that method. And I received two of them, so I have a copy to spare if you are interested. Looking for other mini posters or Superior Models catalogs, among other things.

Erol Otus is one of my favorite fantasy artists, like many gamers who grew up with his work burned into our retinas by hour upon hour of reading and re-reading various D&D books. So when I saw this Alma Mater poster I had to have it! It was only $3.50, so I couldn't say no at that price. It measures 22 x 17. You can read an Alma Mater review on and an entry on Grognardia.

And rounding out the quartet is this smashing copy of Naval Battle Group by Superior Models. This was the most expensive acquisition of the four at $25, but I haven't seen it move for less than around $50 or so, which is too much for me.

The booklet is in outstanding shape - great color on the covers, no staple rust, no writing inside, and all the inserts and sheets are present. It is only 12 pages of text (16 total including covers) so it looks to be a fairly simple set of rules. I need to sit down and give it a thorough read one of these evenings. Now I just need to find myself a copy of Starfleet Wars that isn't grossly overpriced...and yes, I realize it is available from Monday Knight Productions as Galactic Knights.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Painting & Papers

Before I left on a family vacation to Vancouver, B.C. (Deep Cove was very nice) I actually made some time to sit down and paint. It was only the second time this year I've painted, and I hope to squeeze in another session and get something finished - it has been way too long!

I haven't added much to the lead pile recently, but I have picked up some some analog pieces in this digital age. When I get back from California, I'll snap some pics and share my latest acquisitions.

There's also a special project I'm in the middle of, but I can't talk about it now. Loose lips sink ships!

Monday, March 24, 2014

Blogroll - Belched From The Depths

I've visited Belched From The Depths before, but lost track of it for reasons unknown. A recent post on the Grenadier Yahoo! group pointed me back there, and boy am I glad I rediscovered it.

In addition to the usual eye candy of nicely-painted miniatures, there are a bunch of other interesting and helpful articles as well: scans of Grenadier's Gold Line boxes and inserts; a how-to on low-profile magnetized basing; and an absolute gem of a tutorial to turn a plain vanilla Ikea bookcase into a mirrored, lighted display heaven. Fantastic!

I'm sure I'll uncover more as I sift through the backlog of posts. Props to Spooktalker on a great blog.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Reaper Paint Caddy 1, Vallejo Paints 0

I've slowly but surely been organizing my workbench this year, finding clear storage boxes for my tools and supplies, and generally trying to reign in the wicked beast that is hobby desk clutter. To that end, one final push was to do something about all my paints. I have mostly Vallejo and Citadel, for what it is worth.

My solution? Hey, that Reaper Paint Caddy looks just about perfect for my Vallejo paints! So I went ahead and picked one up recently. It arrived, and after sitting around for a day or two, I got around to filling it up with my paints. Notice above how I called it "just about perfect" for Vallejo paints? Bugger. It is close. It is almost. It is just about. It is not quite. Vallejo paints are TOO FREAKING TALL for the Reaper Paint Caddy!!! By a matter of a couple of millimeters.

It is a good-looking box overall. My only complaint (other than the fracking height!) is that some of the inner walls are slightly warped - kind of wavy-looking - but nothing serious.

Oh well, I'll keep it anyway. It can sit on my desk, almost closed. My paints are now organized and stored, just not exactly how I envisioned it. I suppose I could always buy a bunch of Reaper paints...

Anyone know of any sturdy, clear storage solutions for Vallejo paints?

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Uncle Duke Seifried in 25mm

Every once in a blue moon, I see a miniature that really and truly fits the definition of words such as unique, hard-to-find, cool, one-of-a-kind, and yes, rare. So not too long ago, I noticed a miniature on the auction block from the estate of David L. Arneson that caught my eye.

It is a miniature representation of Duke Seifried, the prolific miniature sculptor and wargaming legend who is affectionately known as Uncle Duke. I remember being intrigued by such an uncommon sculpt, and meant to ask Uncle Duke back when the auction was live, but I let it slip into the back of my mind for a spell.

One thing I really like about our hobby is the history and background of the various companies, sculptors, and personalities that make up the business, past and present. The whole notion of an Uncle Duke mini struck me as awesome - but what I really wanted to know was the how and where and why of how this miniature came to be.

Fast-forward to Friday when I finally got off the dime and fired off a missive to Duke, who was kind and gracious enough to give me a reply and answer my questions about the Uncle Duke mini. So here you go:

TLD: What is the story behind this sculpt? How did it come to be?
UDS: A limited number were made to present to special people.   It was me with my usual briefcase full of samples and paperwork.   They used to tease me about that case because at one point when someone else opened it up they found a gun.

TLD: Is it a Heritage miniature? Does it have a code stamped on the base?

UDS: Yes, it was produced during that period.  No code.

TLD: Is it a one-off? Limited Production?

UDS: There were 20 produced.

TLD: Was it an in-house only item, or was it available to the public?

UDS: Never available to the public.

TLD: Did you sculpt it? If not you, who did?

UDS: I believe it was a fellow namd Steve  (I think ) Bisset but I cannot remember clearly from some 30+ years ago.   

TLD: Did you paint it?

UDS: There were only two painted that I gave to important distributors.

TLD: Did you give it to Dave?

UDS: Yes, he was a very good friend of mine.   He was one of the "special people".

TLD: Sorry for the barrage of questions, but this is such a fascinating item I had to dig up your card and fire off this email. Thank you for your time.

UDS: This figurine has become a rather rare collector piece - and I understand brings a pretty penny.  I have only one left  myself.


Uncle Duke

I had to send a follow-up to Duke to ask him if it was OK if I shared this info and his reply was "By all means! Stories are made for all of us to share." What a gentleman. Thanks again, Uncle Duke! I hope you all enjoy the background on this fascinating miniature.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Barrowmaze Complete Indiegogo Campaign

Anytime a crowdfunding campaign that involves miniatures surfaces, it sets off my Spidey-senses something fierce. I can't help myself, really. I have to look, at the very least. So when Barrowmaze Complete kicked off their campaign, I had to see what it was all about. I had heard about Barrowmaze before, and the reviews and feedback was almost always ranging from "excellent quality" to "totally awesome." If I decide to take the plunge, it would be for our DM - another tool in the DM kit, something else he can throw at us or use as inspiration when he's cooking up our next romp.

The price point seems a bit on the steep side to me ($35 for the PDF; $80 for the hardcover + PDF; and then it jumps up to $170 for the minis + PDF; and $190 for the minis, hardcover, and PDF). But keep in mind you get what you pay for - a proven product (Barrowmaze), quality minis (Otherworld), and shipping included.

The red flag here would be Otherworld Miniatures. Otherworld makes some of the best-looking old-school D&D/AD&D miniatures out there. I have had my eye on them for quite some time now, and would love to add pretty much their entire line to my hoard. It hasn't happened yet, mainly due to the price. That will change eventually, of that I am sure.

But Otherworld's Indiegogo campaign has been a rocky one. 173 people shelled out $280 USD each (about $48K) to get the whole enchilada, and there are still a substantial number of backers still waiting on product. Communication seems to have been poor, and salt rubbed into the wounds in the form of product being sold in their store while backers sit empty-handed. And I don't mean to pick on Otherworld, as I found out first-hand that even Kickstarter campaigns run by companies I like (Center Stage Miniatures) have had their fair share of issues as well.

If I have to be super picky, I would gripe that the Barrowmaze minis are (so far) conversions or modifications of existing Otherworld minis. Say what? For that price, you can't have new minis sculpted? The conversions look great, don't get me wrong - it just seems a tad lazy in my opinion. To each his own.

So good luck to Greg and his latest Barrowmaze efforts. I hope it does well and that his customers are happy with the final results.

EDIT (2/10/14): I would be remiss if I didn't mention that fellow blogger and miniature enthusiast Zhu Bajiee was one of the artists participating in Barrowmaze Complete. I also hear some guy by the handle of Erol Otus is doing the cover art. Now where do I know that name from? Hmmm...

Friday, January 31, 2014

Lead Market Report - Heritage Historicals Edition

A couple of sellers on eBay recently moved quite a stash of Heritage product, enough so I decided to give it the LMR Special Edition treatment. I normally don't track historical or tabletop army stuff (except for what I am personally interested in), but given the Heritage/Duke Seifried traditional wargame connection, I thought it worthy of my time. Not as sexy as some DragonTooth goodies or Citadel rarities, but it's Heritage, so that's good enough for me. Enjoy.

Chivalry: I really thought the first two would have gone for higher considering the names, but I guess the demand just isn't there.

King Arthur, Standard, Merlin, and Sir Hector for $8.25, Mordred, Banner, Palimides, and King Claudas for $8.25, Mounted Knights with Swords for $7.10, Men & Peasants with Polearms for $6.93, Men-at-Arms with Spears for $6.26, Knights Smashing with Ugly Evil Maces (hehe) for $6.26, Knights Heaving Deadly Battle Axes for $6.26, Mounted Knights with Lances for $6.26, Men-at-Arms with Sharp-Bladed Swords for $5.50, a mis-labeled 3855 Knights with Two-Handed Swords (reads 3864 Men-at-Arms with Bills) for $4.99, and Knights Bearing Potent Two-Handed Swords (love some of those old names!) for $4.99.

Medieval: These didn't do quite as well as the Napoloeniques (nothing went for more than $7.16), so hopefully these were a bargain for the buyers.

Saracen Armoured Cavalry for $7.16, Saracen Armoured Horse Archers $7.16, Saracen Horse Archers $7.16, Peasant with Sickle $7.15, Crusader with Lance for $6.26, Armoured Horse Archer for $6.26, English Knight with Battleaxe for $6.26, French Mounted Men-at-Arms for $6.26, Mounted Men-at-Arms with Lance Charging for $6.26, French Knight with Sword & Shield for $6.01, English Knight with Lance for $6.01, Hand Gunners for $5.76, 7 at $5.50 each: Armoured Infantry Standing with Halberd, SpearmenPeasant with Pitchfork (can you say angry mob?), Spearman in Pothelm Advancing, Men at Arms with Pole Mace, Front Rank Pike Men Full Armor In Salades (I didn't know what a salade was, so I had to look it up. Type of helmet.) and Crossbowman in Jaunty Felt Hat Advancing (OK so I threw in the 'jaunty'), 3 at $5.24 each: Armoured Infantry Advancing with Halberd, Armoured Infantry with Spear, and French Peasant with Bow (Help! Help! I'm being repressed! - Bloody peasants!) and 8 at $4.99: Dismounted Knight with Mace and Bassinet Attacking, Dismounted English Knight with Sword and Shield, Armoured Infantry Advancing with Sword, Billman Advancing (Post no bills! Post no bills!), Scottish Pikemen Coat of Plates In Salades and Buckler (longest blister name ever?), French Crossbowmen, French Peasant with Spear, and last but not least - the few, the proud, the Peasant Levy.

Napoleoniques: I wonder how many WH40K players know that their battles in the grim future were born on the gaming tables that recreated battles of the grim past? Just sayin.

French Young Guard Tirailleur for $23.01, French Artillery Line 1809 for $21.95, French Middle Guard Fusilier Chasseurs for $17.16, Officers (nationality not noted) for $13.51, Mounted Officers (nationality not noted) for $13.01, Russian Cavalry Chevalier Guard for $11.51, GRD Lancers for $11.00, Battle of Waterloo British Cavalry for $10.51, Russian Cavalry Chasseurs for $10.51, Old Guard Grenadiers Charging for $10.51, GRD Lancers for $9.00, French Cavalry Guard Dragoons for $8.54, French Leger Lancers for $8.54, French Guards Gren A Cheval for $8.54, Line Battalion 1812 Repelling for $8.00, Satellite Cavalry Brunswick Hussars for $7.16, French Lancers Regt. 7/8 for $7.00, French Middle Guard Fusilier Grenadiers for $7.00, French Line Carbiniers for $6.50, French Line Dragoons for $6.04 and $6.00, British Infantry Fusiliers for $5.75, British Command Groups for $5.60, Battle of Waterloo French Cavalry for $5.50, Russian Infantry Pavlov Grenadiers for $5.20, and British Life Guards for $4.25.

Panzertroops: A personal favorite of mine and something that I actively pursue. Heavy metal, 15mm style!

USA - A big, bad M41 Walker Bulldog went for $12.57. These M8 Greyhounds were $7.57, some 3/4 ton trucks for $6.27, an M7 Priest for $4.99, and an M8 Scott also for $4.99.

Germany -  For tanks, the PzKpfw IVH was tops at $12.26, followed by PzKpfw IVf2 at $8.59, and a PzKpfw IIIj for $4.99 (mine!). Then there was a pair of SdKfz 231 armored cars for $9.05 and $8.48. The seller had some blisters of US and German infantry, but I forgot to track those. Shouldn't be too hard to find them in the completed listings search.

Now if someone would just unearth a large stash of Air Power minis, that would really make my day!

Friday, January 24, 2014

So Hrugnir, Big Meg, and Cumulus walk in to a bar...

I could have also titled this post "Third Time's A Charm" as I missed out on adding Hrugnir the two previous occasions I have seen him up for auction. This time, fate & fortune have smiled upon me and I am now the proud owner of my very own Hrugnir! It always helps when the auction doesn't specifically mention relevant details like "DragonTooth" or "Hrugnir" anywhere in the listing, and the auction title is "Vintage Dungeons and Dragons Metal Figure, HUGE Giant" or something similarly generic and non-specific.

Last time Hrugnir surfaced, he was paired with Cumulus and they sold for $224.50. Just the kind of auction I look for, but it was too pricey for my budget. And before that, this Hrugnir sold for $119.50. Just the figure I was looking for, but once again, too rich for my blood. Don't get me wrong, $55.26 is still a LOT of money for a single miniature, but I'm quite pleased that my Hrugnir only cost me about half the going rate.

Well, time to send Hrugnir off to his much-needed bath in paint stripper. While he soaks, I will ponder things like basing options and potential paint schemes. He and Big Meg (still languishing on my bench) both deserve the royal treatment, much like my GI5 Horned Hill Giant project.

For those of you curious about Hrugnir's dimensions, I must say that he is truly a big-ass hunk of lead goodness. He tips the scales at a whopping 1 pound 11 ounces (760g)! He stands 3.25" tall, 2.75" wide, and 1.5" deep. His base is 2.25" wide by 1" deep.

Monday, January 20, 2014

The Future of Games Workshop, As Told Not By Me

If you head on over to, you can read Part 1 of a very long and detailed series of articles that go so far beyond the usual "GW suxxors!" and "GW is dead!" type of posts usually tied to titles like the one I use above.

The author clearly is passionate about all things GW, and has spent many hours writing and responding to each post. Normally, I'm not big on things that involve financial reports and words like sales, profits, and margins...but this was compelling enough to get me to sit down and read almost the entire series from start to finish in one long marathon orgy of post reading.

Highly recommended if you are at all interesting in the empire that is Games Workshop, and/or the miniature gaming business in general.

Friday, January 10, 2014

Lead Market Report - January 2014

Like a phoenix that has risen from the ashes of blogging hell, I am happy to present the January 2014 edition of the Lead Market Report. As always, it is a lot of grunt work cutting and pasting links and coming up with witty banter, but it is at long last finished. And now that my Watch List has been pared down to what must be an all-time low for me, please feel free to pass along suggestions of what you would like to see tracked in future reports. I try to cast my net in a wide pattern, but I know I miss some good stuff. Help me help you. Thanks and enjoy.

ARCHIVE: These Middle Earth Orc Archers (535) were sold as DT orcs, but it is pretty obvious (to me) that they are Archive. Just look at the bases, that was the most telling clue.

CITADEL: The AD&D three stage adventurers always move, and almost always around the $5 per mini price point. This trio of fighters sold for $12, a nice pickup at a reasonable price in my opinion. This blister of Goblins (ADD52) sold for $34, and a pair of used Carrion Crawlers went for $26 and $17.

DRAGONTOOTH: DT minis typically command higher prices than most, yet you can still find bargains if you are patient. Take these Goblins for example - three G5 archers for $5.24. More in line with average DT prices is this DE-11 Demon Rising from Hells Well for $25. Kind of high considering it is missing the well, but it is still a very cool sculpt. MOC examples, such as this Arabian Fighter for $33, seem to be the norm these days. And this AC1 Amphibian Colossus did not last long at $50.

FASA: A seller had two sets of Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan Regula 1 boxes - one in shrink and one opened. The opened one sold for $10, and the NIS one sold for $15 after a couple of relistings.

GRENADIER: This Hill Giants box set is my kind of fun; I just wish I had bought it for $13. The Vallejo series are sometimes listed for outrageous prices ($100+), and sometimes can be picked up for more reasonable sums ($20-30ish). Gracus the Centurion is a good-looking kit, so $47 isn't too surprising a price. And this Wizzards & Warriors blister of SS07 The Temple sold for $16, so that's a nice acquisition for some lucky Grenadier collector.

The Western Gunfighter box set is still on my Grenadier want list - not that I would ever have an actual use for it, but purely for collecting - and this example for $23.49 is in really nice shape, so I hope to eventually acquire a similar set for around that price. This might be the Grenadier bargain of this report - the Shadowrun Feathered Serpent Dragon (giant couatl, anyone?) new in shrink for only $10! The other candidate for bargain of the month is the Dwarf Giant for .99 cents. How did I forget to bid on that??? Same reason this yellow blister of AD&D Djinn & Efreet sold for a mere $4. Four bucks??? Nice.

I thought long and hard about bidding on this Grenadier poster that went for $28, as I think it represents those old ads in Dragon and other magazines quite well. Nice pickup to whoever snagged it.

Four gold-plated minis sold, from the David L. Arneson collection. They are all Call of Cthulhu miniatures, and I really expected them to go higher for some reason. We had a Deep One ($27), Kaspar Gutsman (Fat Man) for $21, Fu Manchu for $31, and Sherlock Holmes for $34 (now part of my collection).

HERITAGE: This LMR could have been subtitled "All Heritage, All The Time" based on the sheer amount of Heritage items that I tracked. There have been a rash of boxed sets recently, starting with this Roaming Monsters Level Two green box for $44 in shrink. The rest of the green boxes are a pair of Roaming Monsters Level 2 that sold for $39 and $29, and a pair of Monsters & Treasures Level 1-3 that took in $38 and $33. This blister of spiders sold for just a tad over $1 per spider, or $6.25 for the lot.

The white boxes did just as well, if not better in some cases. $78 for Demons & Devils in shrink; $59 for Level 2 Monsters in shrink; $59 for Level 3 Monsters in shrink; $39 for Level 6 & 7 Monsters in shrink; and $39 for Level 3 Monsters in shrink.

The two non-Dungeon Dweller boxes were Helm's Deep and Merlin. Helm's Deep was opened but unused and tallied $51. Merlin was still new in shrink and went for $66.

My personal opinion is that these prices (at least the green boxes and Helm's Deep) are lower than normal. Unless, perhaps, I'm only thinking of the prices usually tallied by the Crypt of the Sorcerer and Caverns of Doom. I'd have to go back and do some research on that.

LOTR blisters made a splash as well. I just wish I had the cash to participate in the bidding that took place - motivation to sell, I guess. The 75mm models went for $27 (Sam), $21 (Frodo), and $21 (Aragorn).The 25mm minis ranged from $8 to $80, or thereabouts. I thought the only Heritage balrog was the dinky little one from the Mines of Moria - I did not know there was a much larger one, which might explain why the ending bid was $82! The Riders of Rohan always come through, both on the battlefield and for sellers. Theoden and Guthlaf sold for $32, as did Hama and a banner bearer and the Rohan King's Guard. I love these orcs with their cruel axes and curly-horned helms ($22). There was a trio of vignettes too: Bilbo's Birthday Party ($26), the Confrontation of Gandalf and Saruman ($17), and Gollum Captured ($18). On the low end at $8.50 was the Orc Drum Wagon. Interestingly, the package is labeled as "Saruman's Urak-Hai Orcs of the White Hand Command" which is an unreleased blister, but the package contents are clearly the Orc Drum Wagon. Low price for what I think is a neat little kit.

And from the not a mini but a game category I present the Heritage Models Star Trek Adventure Game. It sold for $34, and was part of the Dennis Sustare collection. If you ever wanted a reason to use your Heritage Star Trek minis, this must be the game - send the away team (and gaggle of redshirts) down to a planet or drifting space hulk and let the adventures begin. Set phasers

The final Heritage item appears to fall into the category of Actually Truly Rare, not to mention having a neat background - if the listing is to be believed, this is a Duke Siefried mini, painted by Duke himself, and presented to David L. Arneson. $57 seems to be a relative bargain, considering the rarity and pedigree. I might have to pop on over to the Heritage boards, or see if I can track down Duke and find out more about this one. Could make for an interesting post if I manage to dig up anything.

RAL PARTHA: For some reason, there wasn't as many RP items on my Watch List as there normally are. These Minotaurs of the Imperial League (11-425) are badass, and sold for $20. When you can pick up two 11-series for the price of one (or less), you should do it. The Black Dragon (11-580) alone is worth the price, and you get Florin Falconhand (11-060) thrown in as well. I seriously doubt I'd ever have a gaming use for the War Eagle (13-100), but it is just one of those sculpts that just screams "paint me!" if only for the coolness factor of a warrior astride a giant eagle.

I always am on the lookout for catalogs, even though print is a dying breed in our digital age. This 1991 catalog is nice-looking and was only $10.50.

REAPER: While my son has painted up a couple of Bones minis, I have yet to. It's still on my to-do list, mostly out of curiosity. This huge lot of 300+ minis, mostly Bones, is my kind of bargain! We're talking right around $1 per mini.

WOTC: I'm intrigued by this new line of minis from WOTC, produced by Gale Force 9. It looks like there are two lines - the D&D Collector's Series and the D&D Collector's Series Classic. $27 for a Purple Worm and Quesnef (the ogre mage from White Plume Mountain) seems like a good price to me. Or for that same $27, you could have picked up the Illithid Raiding Party.

LOTS: I'm always curious when a seller has a crapload of minis up for auction. Did they come from a storage unit? Craigslist? Find them in a dumpster? Anyhow, this one particular seller had quite a few large lots, some fairly mundane and others borderline spectacular. Check them out: $261, $239, $229, $214, $175, $173, $138 (big minis), $108 (dragons!), $79. Interesting mix of old and new minis in each lot. And there were two big lots that fetched big price tags, this one for $999 and this one for $767. This lot that sold for $160 was a real steal in my opinion - a great mix of RP, Superior, Heritage, Archive, Grenadier, and others for well under $2 per mini. Lastly we have this six-pack of lots that sold for $81 (gold-plated RP wizard), $21 (fun little lot), $280 (great mix of old and new, and a giant dog next to Orcus), $204 (mostly vintage except for the Reaper blisters), $104 (Citadel AD&D Umber Hulk and other coolness), and $5 (frost giants from DT, Grenadier, and Superior) respectively. Been awhile since I bought myself a great big lot of lead. Might be time to pick one up.

NOT A LOT, BUT COST A LOT: This DMG is alleged to be the second copy out of the first box of DMGs when they rolled off the press back in the day. It has Gary's autograph and personal note, so it seems like the real deal. As always, items like this need to be carefully evaluated before plunking down thousands of dollars. Cool item, for sure.

Monday, January 6, 2014

You know my methods, Watson.

Greetings and Happy New Year 2014!

I have returned from a fantastic Christmas trip to Costa Rica and celebrated my birthday to wrap up 2013 on a high note. It was not the greatest year for me personally, and that took a toll on my collecting and painting efforts. My painting output last year dismal, and I didn't even finish one of the two dragons I wanted to paint for the Here Be Dragons! paint challenge over on the Reaper forums. I managed to piss away an entire YEAR for that project. Sigh.

Anyhow, looking ahead to the new year, it has already started off with a bang in the form of a D&D session with my friends that saw us teeter on the edge of a TPK, and then the boys rallied and pulled us back from the brink of destruction. Well played, boys. I need to do a writeup on that one, and soon.

To celebrate my first post of 2014, we are doing it in style. Make that gold-plated style. I was the high bidder on one of the small handful of Grenadier Call of Cthulhu gold-plated minis from the David L. Arneson collection that included Kaspar Gutman, Fu Manchu, Sherlock Holmes, and a Deep One.

I'm not a CoC collector by any stretch of the imagination, but I have always enjoyed the adventures of Sherlock Holmes, so it was an easy pick for me. That, and the fact that it presumably was part of Arneson's personal collection. So there you have it, my first Grenadier gold-plated mini.

I need to sit down, take stock of my unfinished painting projects, and see if I can get myself back into a painting groove. I would also like to get on a regular blogging schedule, and revive some dormant features like the Lead Market Report.

To those of you who have continued to stop by, thanks for sticking with me! I hope 2014 is a great year for everyone.