Tuesday, May 10, 2011

The Ads of Dragon: Grenadier Models

Here's an ad from issue #59 (March 1982), though it -- and others in the same series -- appeared for many more issues to come.
From 1979 to 1982, Grenadier Models was the official manufacturer of Advanced D&D miniatures, as well as miniatures for use with Gamma World and, bizarrely, Snit's Revenge. I owned quite a large collection of Grenadier minis back in the day and, in fact, I still have them, though most of them remain unpainted, a situation that's sadly unlikely to change anytime soon. And while by today's standards many of Grenadier's minis aren't particularly good, I retain a nostalgic fondness for them, since I connect them very strongly with characters and adventures my friends and I played way back when. For example, the paladin figure from the "Specialists" boxed set was one I used for my paladin, Sir James, and I can't look at that figure and not recall my earliest days in the hobby.

After they lost the AD&D license, Grenadier produced minis for several others games I played a lot in my younger days: Traveller, Call of Cthulhu, and FASA's Star Trek. I know I owned boxed sets for the first two, but I never even saw the Trek minis that I can remember. Unlike the AD&D miniatures, I didn't actually use the Cthulhu or Traveller minis; I bought them primarily as "toys" that I could look at and stick on my bookshelf as knickknacks. That seems a bit odd in retrospect, but those were odd times, as future installments in this series will make even clearer.

17 comments:

  1. I have several boxes of Grenadier minis in the closet. Yep. Fond memories. :)

    ReplyDelete
  2. I remember that ad very well.

    ReplyDelete
  3. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  4. If anyone wants to get rid of some of those unapinted minis I'll be glad to take 'em off your hands. :-)

    Hell, trade and paint! I paint half and send 'em back and keep the other half!

    ReplyDelete
  5. Grenadier also produced posters of this ad, and the similar wizard-based ad. (And a set of minis for the Dungeon! boardgame, too). Great stuff! :D

    If you're a fan of Grenadier, tracking down a copy of Terence Gunn's "Fantastic Worlds of Grenadier"" is well-worth it: see http://www.yourbook.com/BookInfo/IP13090-04.asp for some info (you can't order from that web page, so it's for information only).

    Allan.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Interesting. That's real mail. The fellow looks like a Medieval Reenactor. I wonder where they found him.

    ReplyDelete
  7. I had that dragon mini in the ad, it was quite cumbersome and never wanted to stay upright despite my repeated gluing attempts.

    I also had a box of adventurers and a box monsters. I only have 1 of the minis left, I can't quite tell what it is but it looks like a cleric or maybe magic user. It sits on a shelf in my bathroom now and serves as a tangible link to my past. I remember using that mini during D&D sessions when I was 10 years old. Oh, and we never painted any of our minis either.

    ReplyDelete
  8. I have a box of some of those somewhere. Minis just weren't that important in earlier editions. Narrative combat worked just fine. It was only when tactical position (for all its good and bad points) was introduced in 3e that minis became a necessity.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Hey James, did you have any of Grenadier's Gamma World minis?

    ReplyDelete
  10. @ Walker:

    "Minis just weren't that important in earlier editions."

    That's more of a "Taster's Choice" thing, I think, rather than a matter of which edition one is using, though I'll grant 3.x has a pro-minis bias. We never played anything newer than 2E, but almost always used minis, both for situational clarity and for the visual fun of it.

    @ Cibet:

    I still have that dragon. That was a problem I had with most large Grenadier models: top-heavy and unstable.

    ReplyDelete
  11. I still find it funny when people say pre-3e really didn't use mini's... in a game based on converting miniatures rules to an rpg.

    Been using mini in every iteration I have ever played since 79

    ReplyDelete
  12. Yet Gygax said that once said conversion was made, his group stopped using miniatures.

    My observation is that the AD&D miniatures section (which reference the Grenadier models) are mathematically contradictory.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Funny! I was reading an old back-issue (Dragon magazines make good reading for those extended bathroom visits) and saw this very add.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Still have the Trek minis from FASA. All of 'em except the Klingon With Rifle. They were an odd scale, though -- more 20mm than 25mm. We used 'em regularly during our Star Trek RPG games.

    ReplyDelete
  15. I LOVED that ad! As a kid I used to think, "Now THAT's a Fighter!"

    Word verification: "resold" - when your players figure out your local economy, and start running 10' poles from city to city just to make a 2 s.p. profit off of them.

    ReplyDelete
  16. A lot of early Grenadier minis really were crudely shaped blobs of lead; their later miniatures however were real works of art.

    My group always used miniatures for our gaming, starting in the late '70s. But we were mostly wargamers who slid into roleplaying.

    ReplyDelete
  17. Hey James, did you have any of Grenadier's Gamma World minis?

    I did. I had a box of monsters and a few stray blister packs. I think one of them had some androids in them. I never used them in play, though.

    ReplyDelete

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.