Monday, March 8, 2010

Old School Minis News

In the past week, there have been two very interesting bits of news about old school fantasy miniatures. The first came from Mythmere Games and Center Stage Miniatures. As you might recall, Center Stage holds a license to produce miniatures for Swords & Wizardry and had been planning on releasing a number of new miniatures (including boxed sets) to support the game and old school fantasy gaming in general. Well, that plan has changed. So, according to Matt Solarz of Center Stage,
instead of hiring sculptors and commissioning new production molds, we’re going to change focus and buy a bunch of old production molds from vintage minis that barely saw the light of day before they disappeared again. Right at the golden age of miniature sculpting, back in the 1980s, the market collapsed and several fantastic sculpting companies went under. As a result, a staggering number of production molds for excellent miniatures have been sitting in storage for decades, unseen and gathering dust or were released only in limited quantities. Since giant 30mm figures became the new “standard” when the market for miniatures re-emerged, these older 25mm figures weren’t ever re-cast. And because those figures are hidden out there, and can be produced at far less expense than new ones, we’ve decided to go back in time for the first several Swords & Wizardry miniatures, a time machine into the lost and unseen part of the 1970s and 1980s miniatures market. In fact, the time machine isn’t just about the miniature sculpts; it’s about the prices as well. Although it cuts the profit margin per figure, these miniatures are going to be offered at prices far, far below the going rate in today’s market. We can’t do anything about the price of the postage stamp, but it’s going to go on a package of miniatures that are incredibly inexpensive. In many cases, the price will be as low as the mini’s original price when it was originally offered in the old days.
That sounds very cool, both from an esthetic and financial perspective. Of course, I'm very curious to see what these miniatures look like, but I can't deny that I'm very intrigued by the concept behind this new direction.

The second bit of miniatures-related news comes from Goblinoid Games and Otherworld Miniatures. This one I knew about beforehand, as I'm involved in it in a small way.
This Summer, Otherworld Miniatures and Goblinoid Games will launch a partnership project. Starting in August 2010, a range of boxed sets of ‘Official Labyrinth Lord Miniatures’ will be available, featuring 28mm figures made by Otherworld Miniatures. Most of these models will come from Otherworld’s existing ranges, but some will be designed and sculpted specifically for the new Labyrinth Lord sets.

These boxed sets will be level specific, with the first sets featuring the weaker monsters found in the upper labyrinth levels. Later sets will contain progressively stronger monsters which dwell in the deeper levels. Some wilderness-themed sets will also feature woodland inhabitants and creatures found in a marshland habitat.

This range of boxed sets will be tied together by a set of mini-adventures which are included in the boxes. Individually, they’ll make an entertaining evening’s adventuring, but together they make up an exciting mini-campaign. Adventures will be written by some of the best writers of the old-school gaming scene, including Jeff Talanian, James Maliszewski, Rob Conley and Michael Curtis, and many others.

“I have been a role-player and miniatures enthusiast for over 30 years. Otherworld Miniatures now produce the figures that I wish I had been able to buy when I first started gaming. They are inspired by old-school imagery, but we use modern sculpting techniques and production standards to make miniatures that would never have been possible in the early years of our hobby. Goblinoid Games follow similar principles with their Labyrinth Lord game, and I think that we’re ideally suited to work as partners.”
Being a regular user of Otherworld minis in my Dwimmermount campaign, I'm pretty excited by this news, if only because it means even more new sculpts in the coming months, many of which I hope to use in my campaign.

In any case, it's a great time to be using miniatures in old school fantasy games!


  1. In any case, it's a great time to be using miniatures in old school fantasy games!



  2. DUDE. Those Center Stage minis are coming 'round at the right time. I haven't painted figures in a while, mostly because of having a little girl who wants to be a part of everything Mommy and Daddy do, and it's never been feasible for her to paint up a figure.

    Well, now she's a little older, which means it's an activity more suited to her age...and the figs will be cheap...and my wife and I can paint with her.

    Plus, I ♥ old-school minis.

  3. I am firmly in the use of miniatures camp since my earliest days. I use/love/need minis, and this is good news for somebody who was around when the old companies were making great miniatures. One of the greatest joys, as a player at least, is finding just the right mini for their mook. And I have always loved finding a great mini, and basing a new NPC around it. It is all an important part of the overall fun of the hobby for me.

  4. This seems a cunning scheme! :)
    I guess from the sound of it they're looking at around $1 for an unpainted pewter mini, which could probably do very well if the sculpts are decent. I doubt any will make it across the Atlantic, but it's the kind of thing I might be interested in. Some of those old minis had a character you just don't see nowadays, and IME ones '80s minis are still pretty compatible with modern ones; very few are 'true' 25mm (exception: Prince August cast-your-owns), more like 28mm to today's 32mm or so.

  5. Great news! Another indication that the OSR is gaining ground!



    But Dave did, so it's OK. :)

  8. Yes, Dave did:

    And for balance, they did not forget about Gary: