This is the Druid (not to be confused with the “Druid with Dart” from the same set…) from the Grenadier Wizards Box Set 2001.
This druid takes a different approach, preferring the sword-and-board style. The set insert that I have has this listed as a druid, but I’m sure that in another insert this mini was listed as “fighter/magic-user.” He is a simple mini; mostly just robes and hat. I did my best to push up the contrast on him with the highlighting so that he wouldn’t be so drab and monotone.
This is the Druid with Dart from the Grenadier Wizards Box Set 2001.
The dart that was originally in this guy’s hand was a tiny little limp carrot-looking thing. I debated a long time whether to leave it as original or upgrade it. In the end, I couldn’t stand that silly little droopy thing, so I cut it off, drilled out the hand, and fashioned a new dart with a paper clip segment.
I also couldn’t make out what was supposed to be on the end of his staff. Was it a puff of smoke? An abstract carving? Fire? A creature sitting there? I went with a creature. Druids can get animal companions, an this looks like it could be some little lizard companion. It’s a pretty talented lizard to perch like that on the end of a staff while the staff-holder is jerking it around while throwing darts. It must have a very high dexterity score.
I couldn’t decide what colors to paint this. So I asked by 7-year-old for help. The color scheme is all her’s.
This is the Cleric from the Grenadier Wizards Box Set 2001. (The box insert showing what each mini is in the set was changed several times throughout the time this box set was sold new. Each update of the insert altered the names of some of the minis. The mini called “illusionist” in one insert might be called “necromancer” in another. So what they are called shouldn’t be taken seriously, as it wasn’t by Grenadier at the time. Would be nice to know what the sculptors thought they were making when they sculpted the originals!)
Clerics, in D&D, don’t usually get familiars, the way wizards do. So this guy must be special. The snake is clearly a cobra, given its flared out neck.
I painted him in the manner of a Catholic Cardinal. His beanie and robes fit that theme to a T, I think. I think a priest with at pet cobra is a bit on-the-nose in the priest-as-predator way.
This is the Wizard from the Grenadier Wizards Box Set 2001. This guy, like most of the other minis I have from this set, was sandblasted a long time ago to remove a paintjob I did in junior high school. So I had to try to paint back in some of the detail.
I think the creature on his shoulder is an imp. Back in the original Advanced Dungeons and Dragons, a magic-user (as wizards were generically called in that edition) could have one of 4 special familiars, if they were really lucky. Which special familiar you could get depended on the character’s alignment. The familiars were Brownie, Pseudo Dragon, Quasit, and Imp. Imps were only available to lawful-evil or neutral-evil magic-users. Looking up those four creatures in the Monster Manual shows that the imp is the only one that looks much like the critter sitting on this guy’s shoulder.
From The Grenadier Wizards box set. This guy has an imp on his shoulder. In Advanced D&D, which was current when these minis came out, a Wizard could have one of 4 special familiar types: imp, quasit, pseudo-dragon, and brownie.
I sand blasted this and other wizards from the set in 1996 to repaint them. Never got around to repainting it until now. But because of the sandblasting, much of the detail here is painted rather than molded.
Another from the Monsters box set, this wererat leader has two little rat friends to keep him company. This guy is almost all rat, but with conspicuously human arms. And he wears armor. This is also a case of a creature carrying two weapons and seeming to prefer using the worse one. The sword is not the one that came with the mini. That was lost long ago. My friend Mike (from Swords and Dorkery) came to the rescue and provided me a leftover sword from one of his massive boxes of pieces/parts.
In D&D, dark elves (also called Drow) are evil, live miles beneath the surface of the earth, and worship Lolth, the demon queen of spiders. Those who displease Lolth she transforms into half-Drow/half-spiders. Thus the Drider. This unfortunate Drow was apparently merged with a tarantula for his offenses. Ill spring him and his buddies on my group if I ever get to run them through the DQ portions of the GDQ series; Descent Into the Depths of the Earth, Vault of the Drow, and Queen of the Demonweb Pits.
He was missing his original right hand and crossbow, so my friend Mike (Mikemonaco.com) helped me find a replacement.
This cleric has some unusual styling. The helm and shield in particular, along with the bedsheet-like robe he is wearing over his mail armor. The wands and staffs of many of these early minis often didn’t have any particular design or motif, just weird lumps and twists, such as this one.
Here are three more from the Grenadier Action Art – Monsters set. For being a “monsters” set, I’d be disappointed in the quantity of non-monsters included.
The first is the “Thief Assassin.” The sculpting of her face makes her look old. In my mind that clashes with the clothes she’s wearing, which don’t strike me as the clothes of an old woman. Maybe I’m being sexist. Anyway, I painted her as though she were young, and hopefully on the tabletop no one will notice her hollowed out cheeks.
Next is the “Bug Bear.” It should be “bugbear,” but the editor of the “how to paint” booklet must not have known that. The suggested colors for this guy said to make the shield brown with blue design. The design is a cow or bull head. So I think this guy is a member of the Blue Cow clan, mortal enemy of the Red Bull clan.
The title of “Super Orc Fighter” can be interpreted so many ways. Does he have super powers? Is he great at fighting orcs? Is he super because he found a suit of antique armor and now he’s acknowledged by his tribe as the coolest member even though he hasn’t figured out how to properly hold an ax? Why is he still choosing to swing an ax instead of the sweet sword he found with the armor? Does he have any idea how to activate the awesome powers of that shield? So many open questions…
Part of the haul of minis that my friend Amanda gave me a couple years ago was a complete set of Action Art figures. The Painting Guide was even included. I’ve started working through that set lately, and this Thief Assassin and Drow Captains are the first ones to completion.
I’ve painted the thief as recommended in the Guide, and I really like the result. I was expecting garish color combinations, but this one turned out well I think. He is quite small, even compared to other Grenadier human minis of the time. The base he is standing on is 1” across. So he is only a little more than an inch tall.
The Drow captain I’m not as crazy about. Again, I stuck to the recommended colors, as I will with most of the minis from this set. But the drow’s armor is not well sculpted, and it merges with the dangling cords of his belt. As with many of these old minis, there’s no telling what the helm ornament is supposed to be. The guide said to make it white, which I couldn’t really wrap my head around so I just kept it metal. It looks to me like some elephant-like head. I’d like to have a collection of Drow minis all painted up in case I ever get the chance to run the Drow and Queen parts of the AD&D “G-D-Q” adventures (the G is for Giants.)
More from this set to follow over the next few weeks.
In Dungeons and Dragons, the good-aligned dragons are metallic colors: gold, silver, brass, bronze, and copper. The evil aligned dragons are colors: red, blue, black, green, white. I think it was a failure of imagination not to name the evil aligned dragons after gemstones: ruby, sapphire, emerald, onyx, and opal.
This dragon’s scales are sculpted as overlapping plates but I’ve painted them up to appear to be gemstones, and I’m pretty happy with the effect. In the photos, it’s difficult to tell that they weren’t sculpted that way. Dragons are my very favorite creatures, so when it comes to painting them, I feel like it’s sacrilege not to do them the credit they deserve.
I’ve painted his face as though he’s about to let loose with a torrent of fiery doom, with his mouth, eyes, and nostrils glowing with heat. Some idiotic “adventurers” have wandered into his volcanic lair.