Saturday, October 31, 2009

Happy Halloween!

For Halloween, I decided to cover some of the typical creatures we associate with this celebration - witches, skeletons, werewolves, mummies, and vampires.


The first group of miniatures are 15mm witches from Chariot (MM01). There is one standing pose and two sitting poses with traditional pointy hats and long robes. The set comes with a shallow cauldron with separate legs. These miniatures are true 15mm figures, so will most likely be used as donors for future witchy projects.


Representing skeletons, we have the Skeleton Recruiting Party from GFI (25980006). This set consists of a number of miniatures from the old Minifigs Valley of the Four Winds line. Shown below is the Dead Cart (VFW42) and the Coffin, Plain with Skeleton (VFWM4).

The rest of the recruiting party consists of a Skeleton with Lantern (VFW120), a Skeleton Carrying Wine barrel (VFW118), and a Skeleton Carrying Basket of Skulls (VFW119).

These are true 25mm figures, and full of character to boot. Except for their enormous heads, they are quite compatible with 1/72 figures. Next to the three GFI skeletons is an old Citadel Skeleton Warrior (FF52-1). He is a bit bulky, but also compatible with 1/72 with the exception of his huge head. Some unfortunate 15mm skeletons will have to donate their heads to make these guys suitable for my Army of the Dead. At the end is a plastic Caesar skeleton for comparison.

It is my hope that one day, GFI will re-release all of the classic Minifigs skeletons, particularly the Great Bell and Tower that they use as a teaser for their pre-order thumbnail.


There are a number of different werewolf types, which could be characterized along a continuum of increasingly wolf-like features. There is the old horror movie wolfman à la Lon Chaney Jr.; the man-wolves of The Howling; the werewolf in An American Werewolf in London; and finally, the man-transformed-to-actual-wolf of mythology.

The first werewolf figure shown above is from Citadel (FF19). It has characteristics of both wolfman and man-wolf. It actually reminds me a bit of the big burly bear-wolves from the old Werewolf TV show. The next werewolf is from Ral Partha (ES61). It too has hybrid features, but it has the lean look that I associate with werewolves. After, is a 20mm werewolf from Elhiem (P28), followed by three 15mm Wolfen: the Wolfen Berserker (W006), Wolfen Shaman (W010), and Wolfen Spearman (W002). Though Wolfen are not proper werewolves, the Elhiem werewolf is clearly undersized, being no taller than the 15mm Wolfen.

For me, werewolves should be tall, like Miss Lupescu of the Graveyard Book, or the Lycans of Underworld. Other than the Ral Partha werewolf, I'm not sure there are any other miniatures that meet my criteria.


Most of the mummies shown above are of the old school Hammer Films style mummy. The first mummy is from the Grenadier Monsters boxed set (5002), followed by one by Ral Partha (ES20). These mummies are large and bulky. Totally unsuitable for 1/72 despite the preponderance of tall mummies in this scale. Next is version 1 of the Citadel Mummy (FF60). I believe that version 2 is identical to the Ral Partha version. I find this Citadel version superior to the Ral Partha version, though like most 25mm figures, the head is too big for 1/72. Next is the Elhiem Mummy (P28) which is slightly short, but fine. The last bunch are from Chariot (SHE06), which are tiny at 15mm.


Vampires round out this entry, with The Count and Countess from Elhiem (P27), and a line up of Elhiem Vamps (P33). I'm not sure why The Count is so short, since he is obviously based off of the Bela Lugosi version of Dracula rather than Tom Cruise's Lestat. After all, Lugosi was supposed to have been 6' 1".

A comparison of 1/72 vampires and mummies in plastic and metal.

Monday, October 19, 2009


The Owlbear is a classic old school monster that has suffered the indignity of often being included in lists of stupid D&D monsters. And as much as I'm sure we all appreciated David C. Sutherland's succubus in the Monster Manual, his illustration of the Owlbear definitely didn't help its case.

My favorite Owlbear minatures are the Dungeon Dwellers Owlbears (Heritage 1224) which came in four different poses. The two hulking Owlbears below are the GFI release of two of those sculpts (MIF25921804). I like these miniatures in particular because they actually have owl-like heads, and do not have feathered arms. Hopefully the other two poses will be released some day.

The smaller Owlbear at the end is from the Armies of Arcana line now being produced by Lone Gunman Games. It is a nicely sculpted miniature, but just does not seem very intimidating. It has feathered arms, and the beak is more eagle-like than owl-like. In fact, if you were to give it a wolf's head and tail, it would look like one of the more rightfully ridiculed D&D monsters – the Senmurv. In any event, I think it is the only Owlbear that is produced in 15mm.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Let Slip the Hounds of Hell

Hell Hounds from AD&D probably are related to the Black Dogs of English folktales. They are classic monsters that were present in the original Basic D&D Blue Book as well.

The GFI Skeleton Dogs (MIF25921805) are how I picture Hell Hounds to appear, which is not surprising, since they are the old Dungeon Dwellers Hell Hounds (Heritage 1264). They probably aren't considered particularly good sculpts by today's standards, but there is a certain charm about them that I don't find present in modern miniatures. But then again, if you stare at them long enough, they seem to somewhat resemble emaciated cattle...

Relatives of the Hell Hound can also be found in classical mythology and fiction. Two examples are shown below.

First we have Cerberus from the Fantasy Lords Monsters of Mythology boxed set (Grenadier 6004). Then there is a Hound of Tindalos from the Call of Cthulhu Creatures boxed set (Grenadier 6502). This particular miniature has been re-released by Mirliton as Bloodsniffers of Chaos (CH015) under their Fantasy line.

Prior to painting Cerberus, I looked to ancient Greek vases for guidance on his coloration, and found several choices.

Classic Black

White as the New Black


I opted for black, with a concession to tricolor around his throats.

Finally, we have the lineup for all three breeds. They are all really big for dogs, but quite alright for monsters.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Monsterpocalypse Miniatures

I don't play Monsterpocalypse, but some of the miniatures are very nifty. Being a fan of HPL, I picked up the big Lords of Cthul monsters when the game first came out last year. Also, being a Lost World fan, I wanted the giant apes from the Empire of the Apes faction. The hyper form of the monsters come in clear plastic, while the alpha forms are painted. The miniatures came on big square bases with their stats printed on them, which I promptly snapped off.

The translucent pink plastic of Ultra Yasheth and Ultra Cthugrosh seemed ideal for representing Cthuloid monstrosities in semi-material form. Cthugrosh with its tentacular lower extremities looks like it is forming out of ectoplasm.

The alpha form Yasheth of course is used for a Star Spawn. I don't particularly care for the shade of green that they used to paint the figure, but I am not particularly motivated to repaint it. The giant ape is King Kondo. There is also another giant ape, Gakura, which I'll probably pick up at a later date. The alpha and hyper forms of King Kondo (and apparently Gakura as well) are being sold as a set. I don't have a need for a transparent ape, so I'll convert this particular miniature by modifying the hand so that it can hold a screaming captive and paint it up.

All of the Yasheth and Cthugrosh figures come from the first series, Monsterpocalypse Rise. King Kondo comes from the latest series, Monsterpocalypse Now.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Arcane Legions Released

Arcane Legions was released today, so armed with a 15% discount coupon from Pair a Dice Games in nearby Vista, I picked up a two-player starter set and a Han booster set. The starter set comes with two sprues of infantry and one commander for each of the major factions in the game. The figures are molded in a very dense gray plastic. Shields come pre-painted, with stenciled designs on the front. I was informed that CA glue works very well for attaching the shields and separate limbs to the figures.

Han Chinese




Boosters come with one rare hero, and two rare/uncommon specialty units. The figures are painted, and come individually sealed. The painting was not quite as awful as I was expecting, though some of the color choices seemed rather questionable.

The hero figure is Zhongli Quan, a real-life Han Dynasty general who was deified as one of the Eight Immortals.

The specialty units I received were the Wu Tou Gui and Goryo. These figures come in linked bags of several identical miniatures. I think I am short one figure, since one of the bags for the Wu Tou Gui seems to be empty. I actually like these figures a lot. I don't know why, but translucent plastic miniatures just seem really cool. The Wu Tou Gui are molded in clear plastic, while the Goryo are molded in translucent green plastic.

I removed the basing pegs from some of the figures to do size comparisons. I'm still deciding whether to do so for each pose or not.

Zhongli Quan, Terracotta Spearman A, and Han Sharpshooter compared to Caesar Qin Dynasty Army.

The standard Arcane Legions figures seem more slender than the Caesar figures, but I think they go well together. I like the fact that there are a lot of infantry with ge-halberds, something that is sadly deficient in the Caesar set.

Cursed Swordsman and Cursed Spearman compared to Eagle Games Mummy.

Very cool, but why are mummies always so tall?

Arcane Legions Egyptian Archer compared to Caesar and Atlantic Egyptian archers.

Arcane Legions Formation Legionary compared to Airfix, LW, and Atlantic legionaries. Also, a Heavy Legionary at the end, in apparently what is some sort of powered armor.

Overall, I'll have to say I'm not disappointed. I like the Han and Egyptians the best. A couple of the poses seem a bit far-fetched (e.g. the Charging Han Infantry), and the sculpting is somewhat simplistic, but the figures are usable, and making them in 1/72 is definitely a plus. Images of all the figures can be found at the Arcane Legions website.

Sunday, October 4, 2009


Sputnik 1 was launched on October 4, 1957, and marked the start of the U.S.-U.S.S.R Space Race. The satellite was 58.5 cm in diameter (just under 2 feet) and weighed 83.6 kg. It travelled at a speed of 29,000 kph, with an orbital period of about 96 minutes. After three months in orbit, Sputnik 1 fell from orbit and burned up after re-entering Earth's atmosphere.

ArcLight's World Space Museum series includes the Sputnik (produced by Kaiyodo) as it's first model (WSM-10001). The set includes the satellite, a plastic stand with clear plastic support for the Sputnik, and a big glass marble with the Earth's landmasses printed on the surface. Also included in the box is a foldout information sheet describing the Sputnik, about a dozen trading cards, and another card that describes Tsiolkovsky rocket equation in Japanese.

The satellite body scales out pretty much to 1/72, but the antennae are too thick. Also, unlike the pictures that you will usually find of Sputnik, the model does not have a shiny mirror-like finish. Overall, it is a simple representation of the Sputnik, though a tad pricey for what is essentially a ball with four sticks poking out of it.