Fantasy Toy Soldiers…who knew?

If you’re an aging Gen-X geek with a few hours to kill, head on over to Fantasy Toy Soldiers right now and indulge in one man’s obsessive quest to document off-brand (and often wacky) toys along the lines of plastic army men or dinosaurs.  I can’t count how many of these things (or ones like them) I lost at the beach, in the back yard, or under the bed…

I love this blog!  I came to it after finding some ebay sales on old Arco The Other World figures, which I had as a kid…I especially liked the phoenix with antennae and the two-headed dragon.  Check out the zany box art!

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Enough digging around on FTS will turn up all kinds of craziness. I love how this set (also from Arco, it seems) rips off classic D&D lead sculpts from Grenadier, Heritage, AND Ral Partha, all in one go!

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I wish I could get my hands on some of these things, given my latest obsession with all things plastic.  I’ve been painting the recently canceled Handful of Heroes figures again, and have approximately 1,000,000 Reaper Bones minis awaiting paint…

In the meantime, check out Fantasy Toy Soldiers.

 

The Grenadier Beholder Project Part III

Here at last is the finished Beholder. I added a base using the GW base finishing kit.  I like the results, though I found that this particular cast of the mini had some flash between the eye stalks that I couldn’t get out.  Other versions I have, for whatever reason, don’t have this flash at all.

On to my next project…the Shambling Mound from the Swamp Denizens box set.

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The Grenadier Beholder Project

So I remember studying the many images of that beloved original D&D monster, the beholder, from the first edition Monster Manual, various modules, and especially this one from the Advanced Dungeons & Dragons Coloring Album (lovingly described by Blizack on Dungeonskull Mountain a few years back):

I also remember never being able to quite figure out what color the damn things were.  I somehow got it in my head that they were covered in olive green (the description uses the word “chitinous,” I think) plates with bright purple flesh between.

Then I got my obligatory box of Grenadier Solid Gold Line minis–the Dwellers Below–and there was the goofiest damn beholder anyone’s ever seen.

It’s Letter H.

So my mission, now that I have 30 years of painting under my belt, is to make this damn thing look like I always thought it should.  No cutting or filing, just with paint.  Here are some pics of the work in progress.

Some Reaper Master Series Olive Green and Pale Violet Red. That’s what I’m talking about.

Eyestalks blocked in, along with some shadow on those chitinous plates.

More updates as events warrant.  I’m totally excited about this one…

Ecce oculus: Behold the Eye

I don’t know what specific circle of Dork Nirvana I entered today.  As my friend Doug would say, “you’re embarrassing yourself.”  But here goes…

Confession:  I built a beholder out of my kids’ Legos.  (Sorry, Lego Bricks.)

"Hello there!"

It’s a first version, but after seemingly countless hours of trying to figure out how to do it, I’m pretty pleased with the result.

I’m especially proud of the eyestalks–I was stuck on a way to attach them, and figured out the Technics clips trick combined with the old Space laser guns.  I wish they’d all been white instead of gray, but I didn’t have ten white ones.  Each eye is a different color, though, which makes me very happy.  In a geeky sort of way.  Mayzie and Charlie spent dinner discussing which color went with which magic power.  Yes!

It's his good side.

So I’ll likely build another one, as I’m not especially pleased with the mouth or the back of the sphere.   But if I’m inspired, I’ll be trying a roper next, or a carrion crawler, or a rust monster.  I don’t have enough clear blocks for a big gelatinous cube, but I could make a mini-scale one.

All this came about because Charlie’s favorite new book is A Practical Guide to Monsters by Nina Hess.  (He’s got several of the Practical Guides, but this one’s his favorite. He calls it his “Chimera Book.”)

I do so love this book–it’s all the flavor of an old Monster Manual without all the stats and rules.  I remember when my best friend’s older brother got a copy of blue book Basic Dungeons & Dragons way back in ’81 or ’82.  I used to pore over the monster section for what seemed like hours.  The first hardback I got for AD&D was, of course, the Monster Manual, and I came to adore all the old first edition books–Fiend Folio  and Monster Manual II were also required reading.

What I love about Nina Hess’ Practical Guide is that it takes me back to those days, when I spent more time studying the manuals than I did playing the game.  In fact, the books seem intended to make the act of studying the monster lore central to the game (though I understand these are companion volumes to a series of YA novels).

I know it’s a gateway drug so my kid can want to learn about D&D.  I also got him a bunch of Super Hero Squad figures for Christmas, so I could induct him into the Marvel Universe as well…

The best thing, though, about the Hess book is undoubtedly the art.  It’s all full color, distinctive, and memorable.

Here's a killer rakshasa from Nina Hess' Practical Guide to Monsters.

This is the beholder image that Charlie obsesses over.

The cool thing is that as we began sorting our Legos after Christmas (yes, we sorted them by color…I know this is even worse on the geek-meter.  Hey, the Lego Ideas Book suggested we sort them!) Charlie said, “Let’s build a beholder.”  Coming from my four-year-old’s mouth, this was geeky music to my ears…

I Pulled the Trigger

OTHERWORLD | Home Page.

My first blog is a quick one…I just put in an order for a bunch of Otherworld Minis, which seem to have been growing silently and steadily since I first started web-stalking them a year ago.

I brought my paints and whatnot back to Singapore with me so I could start up again after a couple of years off, with the whole collection in storage.

Check out the Roper, Beholder/Eye of the Deep, Rust Monsters, Carrion Crawlers…I couldn’t be happier with the look of these things, but I’ll have a full report once they arrive from the UK.

Right out of the pages of the Monster Manual. Come to Daddy! (C) Otherworld Miniatures.

I held off on the Gelatinous Cube because it needs no paint.  It’s a $20.00 block of acrylic.  But I do so love it in theory.