D&D-related Minis
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Post Posted: Tue May 11, 2010 10:35 am 

I'm very curious about the collectibility and "story" with the various D&D-related miniatures.  Which ones are truly valuable?  What era are most collectible?  What are the Holy Grails of mini collections?

I'm referring to the old school minis that I remember from the past, like Ral Partha, Citadel, and Grenadier.  Heck, I'd even like to hear about WOTC minis if any are particularly collectible.

I'm not asking anyone to post a long essay on the topic (unless you want to!).   :)

But are there any places to go where I could learn more about this?  Any websites, etc?

I'm always looking for new hobbies.  

I've collected quite a few Mithril miniatures and GW miniatures - but no D&D minis.  



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Post Posted: Tue May 11, 2010 11:30 am 

If I collected minis (which i don't, not enough dough), I would focus on a lot of the smaller companies ofthe 70s/early 80s that didn't make a mark on the hobby but produced a lot of cool, high quality minis. For example companies like Texas Miniatures had some very cool stuff ( I have a random selection of some of their stuff), Martian Metals (another Texas company), and Asgard Miniatures are some of my favorite "off" brands.  This is a fun reference website


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Post Posted: Tue May 11, 2010 11:56 am 

This could be what you're looking for.


Otherworld Miniatures Webshop - http://www.otherworld.me.uk/store.html


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Post Posted: Tue May 11, 2010 6:32 pm 

Holy Grails are where you find them.  Whatever turns your crank - 6mm, 15mm, 25mm, 28mm, etc.

Items that are uncommon or pricey:
  • Big, fat, lead dragons from Dragontooth.  They are rare and can go for $50 - $100+
  • Boxed sets from Heritage.  Uncommon or rare.  From what I have seen on eBay, the plastic versions are more rare but less desirable than the metal versions.
  • Lord of the Rings figures from Heritage.  Uncommon.  Licensed from Elan Merchandising.
  • Spaceships from Superior.  Uncommon.  These have since been recast by Monday Knight Productions (http://www.mondayknight.com/)

Beware of people who sell recasts but do not own the rights to the molds.  Some recasters are legit, and some are not.


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Post Posted: Tue May 11, 2010 6:55 pm 


I have a lead figure of Kate Bush in the Babooshka video (kinky chainmail and sword).

Its.... niiicceee.....


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Post Posted: Tue May 11, 2010 9:25 pm 

Thanks!  I'll take a look at those links.   :D


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Post Posted: Wed May 12, 2010 1:47 am 

Captain, prepare for impact! Incoming long-winded minis essay! ;)

Wow, where do I start??? For me, I have both focused and scattershot goals. I collect Superior Models fantasy minis (both 25mm and 90mm lines) as my current "gotta catch 'em all" pursuit.

The bulk of my collection are monsters for use in our ongoing campaigns. There is little rhyme or reason here - I collect, paint, and use just about anything that fits a need. I tend to favor Ral Partha, but you'll find some older, more obscure lines as well as newer stuff from Reaper, etc.

For my character minis, I pick up models that catch my eye, but usually I custom pick and paint based on what everyone in the group is playing in any given campaign. I currently favor Reaper minis for our PCs, but I have a large quantity of RP, Grenadier, Heritage, etc minis painted up as PCs. Some even have the original paint jobs I did from 25 or so years ago.

I'll echo the above statement that Dragontooth minis command a premium in the collecting circles, especially the dragons and giants. I used to drool over their ads in old issues of the Dragon, and still regret not ordering even a single mini back when I had the chance  :evil:

Archive minis are another desirable brand. They make a great old-school look beholder!

Speaking of Citadel, check out the end result of this auction:

** expired eBay auction **

$600 - just wow! Citadel did some great stuff, both slotta-base and pre-slotta. Their D&D/AD&D lines are often overlooked, but are nicely done IMO.

The AD&D 11-series from Ral Partha typically do well, although the market seems to have softened a bit - some nice minis have been selling for fractions of their past (inflated) prices. Personally, I sold one for $150 (11-652 Molydeus), and a couple others like the Pit Fiend (11-648) and Greater Gelugon (11-640) usually command high prices.

The RP Limited Edition box sets (Takhisis, Dracolich, Golden Dragon of Chaos, etc) and settings box sets (Planescape, Birthright, Dragon Strike, Dragon Mountain, etc) also typically command high, if not premium, prices.

WoTC released both a 25th Anniversary line as well as an official D&D (3.0/3.5) line. Both are well-sculpted (IMO), the former moreso than the latter, although the slotta-base haters don't think much of the 3.0/3.5 minis for passing over a more traditional solid base. There are some nice monsters in that line.

If you want to see some really obscure minis, check out www.leadpoisoned.com - they have some lines I had never even heard of until I stopped by and looked around. Fascinating stuff, really.

The small one-man outfits (like Dragontooth) and the mom-and-pop companies that existed back in the late 70s/80s really add a lot to the industry, or at least I think so. That's no knock against the big fish, because even they have great stories to tell (The Fantastic Worlds of Grenadier by Terence Gunn is a great read, and that's not even taking into account the library of mini photos from a huge portion of their minis library). It might still be available on CD from the author: http://webspawner.com/users/gunn101/

There are so many resources out there, even I'm finding new ones all the time. If you check out my blog http://theleaddragon.blogspot.com/ I've started to list various sites pertaining to all things small and metal: manufacturers, artists, how-to sites, collecting resources, blogs, and more. And there are groups on Yahoo! that cater to various product lines too:

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/RalPartha ... =412639502

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Collectin ... =412639502

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/disciples ... =412639502

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Collectin ... =412639502

If your Mithril minis are the older ones (the M series, I believe), those are another example of sought-after models.

Someone else already mentioned Ernst's site (dndlead.com) - he provides some historical info on the various official D&D minis over the years, and he has a GREAT feature - scans for at least 30 catalogs from various manufacturers.

If you like your lead with that old-school D&D/AD&D look and feel, the best modern manufacturer has got to be Otherworld minis: http://www.otherworld.me.uk/

Finding minis isn't hard. Trying to narrow down your collecting goals - now THAT is the hard part (at least for me). Well, that, and not squandering the kid's college funds on yet another hunk of metal...

My name is Tom, and I'm a leadaholic (hi, Tom!)

"We dwarves are natural sprinters. Very dangerous over short distances!"
My lead-centric blog: http://theleaddragon.blogspot.com/
Also known as soccer_dad66 on eBay.


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Post Posted: Wed May 12, 2010 2:58 am 

Tom - Brilliant Post!  Bravo!   :D

I'll read it tomorrow in more detail and check out the links - on my leisure time (at work)!


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Post Posted: Wed May 12, 2010 6:02 am 

Thanks for the links, Tom!

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Post Posted: Wed May 12, 2010 10:16 am 

Well... you did ask about WoTC mini's    :wink:

My favorite has to be the Colossal Red Dragon. Say what you will about plastic vs. lead, but this mini is just beautiful, AND, put the fear of God into my D&D game last Monday night.

And selling for around $125-$150 (and only going up), it's a Holy Grail of it's own.

RPG’s, D&D in particular has had a major influence in my life. It’s bonded me together with life long friends...it’s that bond in life not just as friends, but in our jokes, our mannerisms, and what we find funny. Invincible Overlord


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Post Posted: Wed May 12, 2010 11:04 pm 

I am definitely with TollHouseGolem in terms of picking what you want to collect.

I chose to go with 25MM metal for four main reasons, 1) overall they cost less, 2) there's more variety available, 3) the base is usually attached to the mini instead of being slotta meaning nothing falls apart, and 4) they take up less storage space/weight. It may not seem to be that big a size difference, but once you have a decent-sized collection, the height and weight really adds up.

The biggest disadvantages to 25MM is 1) that they often contain lead, so it's best to at least prime them in order to handle them on a regular basis. 2) there aren't a lot of manufacturers selling 25MM anymore, so I often have to wait for something to pop up on eBay to get what I want. However, I have now collected and painted most all the minis I want/need, so those two negatives are inconsequential for me.

The main exception to the problem of finding current manufacturers is Megaminis (on eBay) as they do a pretty good job of providing lots of 25mm minis for most needs at a good price with good service. Their main problem is that their minis don't have the best detail.  They are also lacking are some of the oddball monsters (Bulette, Beholder, Basilisk, Catoblepas, Gorgon, Xorn, etc..), and bigger monsters (Giants and Dragons especially).

There is "true 25mm" and "heroic 25mm."  Minis older than 1985 are usually true 25mm. Reaper is definitely not 25mm but 28mm (or heroic 25mm). If you are going with Reaper scale minis, then don't buy 25mm. Otherworld minis are also 28mm. I like the Reaper and Otherworld sculpts, but I won't buy them as they are usually too big, or too expensive, or slotta.

I personally like Ral Partha minis best, but there are some great Citadel, Superior, Grenadier and Heritage sculpts.  I sell and have sold thousands of minis.  My own collection fills three tackle boxes.  I am considering a different way to store and transport my minis.

It sounds like you are interested in minis more for their monetary value than their play value.  I am not confident that minis are a good investment right now for several reasons.  First, there are lots of advantages to the plastic D&D minis which have been out now for around ten years (they don't break as easily, they weigh less, and you don't have to paint them).  Second, I have also noticed prices dropping for metal minis, especially collectible-type minis.  I recommend you get them because you like them and eliminate investment value as a purchase variable.

Again, the biggest decision you'll make in mini collecting is picking what kind of minis you want to collect. Unless, of course, you are uber-rich in which case you just buy everything. 8)

Cool Mini or Not is another inspirational miniature web-site, but I don't paint anything like that or that good.  I paint more of a realistic fantasy type presentation.  Egg of Coot paints minis like I like them painted.  He has painted for me on many occasions, and I like his service.  Quite a few of the minis he painted for me are shown on his gallery.



Good luck!

Truth is worth finding and life is too short to work for money.

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