Sunday, January 25, 2015

In the belly of the Whale

Tales of fearsome and deadly whales abound in literature. The white whale of Melville's novel Moby Dick was inspired in part by accounts of the albino sperm whale Mocha Dick, who earned a reputation for fighting back against whaling vessels that tried to attack him.

However, I doubt that the typical modern gamer views the whale as something they would fight in an encounter even though general stats for whales were included in published D&D material.

For my part, whale miniatures (or toys rather) are interesting for purposes of visualizing relative size.

The most commonly encountered toys are those produced by Safari Ltd. The toys are made of solid PVC, and are fairly heavy. The three that I own include a sperm whale, humpback whale, and killer whale.

The sperm whale is about 8" long, which scales out to 48' in length, and can represent a juvenile male, or a large adult female.

The humpback whale is about 7" long, which scales out to about 42' in length, which is about mid-range for this type of whale.

The killer whale is actually a calf, but it can pass for a small female in 1/72 scale.

The other toy whales that I own are made by Larami Corp. These toys are made of vinyl, and are hollow with a very obvious weld line along the midsection of the whale.

These toys are all fairly close to 1/72 scale. I'm not sure how many other whales are in this set, but there is at least a fin whale, which I do not own.

The blue whale is 13½" long, which scales out to 81' in length, and is on the far low end of size for adult males.

What I really would like to find is a model representing a large adult female (closer to 100' in length), but have had no luck so far.

The sperm whale is about 11" long, which scales out to 66' in length, which is the size of a fairly large male.

If I had another one of these, I'd probably paint it white, but since these Larami whales don't seem to be too common, I hesitate to do any modification of them.

The bowhead whale is 10⅜" long, which scales out to 62¼' in length, representing a specimen toward the upper range in size.

The humpback whale is 9¼" long, scaling out to 55½' in length, which is somewhat over the maximum recorded length for this type of whale.

The gray whale is 8¼" long, scaling out to 49½' in length, which is the maximum recorded length for this type of whale.

Size comparison shots of the various whales.

Larami whales

Larami and Safari Ltd. whales

Moby Dick seeks thee not. It is thou, thou, that madly seekest him!

Sunday, January 18, 2015

X-Ray Beast

I was surfing the net and found this picture by Carol Rode.

It depicts an X-Ray Beast, which was created by Dave Hargrave for All the Worlds' Monsters. I don't have my copy of the book on hand, so I don't have any particular details on it except those gleaned from the Old School FRP tumblr. The beast can project x-ray radiation from it's eye, and thus can see through walls etc.

Anyway, when I saw the picture, I was reminded of an old toy hippopotamus figure that I had, so I dug it up and decided to convert it into an X-Ray Beast.

I just cut off the eyes, and then pinned one of them to the center of its head. Some J-B Weld was then used to smooth out the surfaces and emphasize some areas which were not molded very well on the original figure.

I think it would be fairly safe to say that this is currently the only miniature of an X-Ray Beast in existence.

I need to dig up my copy of All the Worlds' Monsters to see if there are any more details about the beast's appearance before painting it up (though I really want to paint its eye like Ray Milland's from the 1963 movie X: The Man with the X-ray Eyes).

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

New Caesar Fantasy Sets

After a long hiatus, Caesar has released four new sets of plastic miniatures through their Miniknight line.

The first set is of Lizardmen Warriors (F107), consisting of forty or so figures in 12 poses (the box says 11 poses, but I think there was some sort of confusion between number of poses with another set).

Two of the figures need to have some limbs attached. The sprues also have shields for some of the other figures. The parts attach quite easily with a bit of CA glue.

Lizardmen armed with spears and swords. The first two figures required assembly.

Lizardmen armed with clubs. The figure in the center (wearing armor) is a unique pose and does not have duplicates.

Lizardmen with missile weapon.

The figures range in size from man-height, to over a head shorter than a man. The sculpts are rather rough, and don't look like the type of lizardmen shown on the cover of the box. In fact, the figures are very reminiscent of skinks from Warhammer.

I use Warhammer skinks as D&D Troglodytes, so the Caesar figures will make a nice addition to my Troglodyte forces.

The second set is of Ratmen (F108), and consists of roughly 40 figures in 11 poses.

I think that the pose count was mixed up with that of the Lizardmen set, and though 12 poses are shown on the box, I believe that the two figures I've marked are actually the same pose (although with different shields).

One figure needs to have its limbs attached. The sprue also has additional shields. The arms attach easily with CA glue, but I recommend putting the glue into the holes in the torso, then fitting the arms into the body.

Ratmen with spears and clubs. The first ratman on the left required assembly.

Ratmen with swords. The ratman on the far left is a unique pose and does not have duplicates.

Ratmen with missile weapons.

These ratmen are essentially Warhammer Skaven. They are a head shorter (or more) than a human. The sculpting is decent, but still not as nice as the earlier Caesar fantasy sets. There are a lot of mold lines on the figures as well.

The third set is titled Undead Camp (F110), and consists of about 40 zombie figures in 11 poses.

The first group of figures are armed zombies that are probably best suited for fantasy settings.

The second group of figures are more generic zombies that can be also used in modern settings.

The final figure in this set is the unique pose, which is of a Chinese hopping vampire. This is easily my favorite figure in the set, and I wish they would have included more of them.

The final set is of Modern Zombies (SF004), and consists of about 40 zombie figures in 11 poses. First are the male zombies. The big zombie at the far right is a unique pose without duplicates.

Next are the female zombies, and a male crawler.

The zombie figures are all well sculpted, and the set allows zombie hordes to be quickly and easily assembled.

The foulest stench is in the air
The funk of forty thousand years
And grisly ghouls from every tomb
Are closing in to seal your doom