Sunday, April 29, 2012


I wanted to quickly draw everyone's attention to the Old School Fantasy Miniatures Amateur Press Alliance, the first issue of whose journal I recently received in the mail and have been enjoying immensely. OSFMAPA is, as its name suggests, a group of enthusiastic fans of "pre-slotta" (i.e. without plastic bases) miniatures from the 1970s and 1980s. These are the miniatures I remember from my introduction to the hobby and the ones I still associate with old school gaming. Their Journal, which appears three times a year, includes a wide variety of articles about such miniatures, along with plenty of images of them. I can't tell you how much I enjoyed seeing many of the Grenadier and Ral Partha minis I owned as a younger person.

OSFMAPA also maintains a blog here.


  1. That's pretty cool. I'm not a fan of APAs (in my opinion, they aren't needed in the age of the blog), but I am a fan of the old minis. I'll keep an eye on their site and see what comes of this all. Thanks for the pointer.

    I'm a bit of a heretic, though - I have and I paint those old minis, but then I mount them on plastic bases for play purposes or to give them lifts so they aren't so tiny next to modern 28s. ;)

  2. Groovy! Thanks for pointing this out.

  3. Pre-slotta is a new term to me; thank you for mentioning it, because I don't really like the plastic bases and assembly required way that current minis are packaged. I would much prefer an all in one mini that doesn't require any work at all to start playing with. And perhaps I'm a heretic for saying so, but I actually like the look of plain unpainted metal miniatures. In fact, I think unpainted minis are likely to usurp less of the role of imagination during the game (if that makes sense). I would just buy old Ral Partha or Grenadier minis of Ebay, but I'm wary of the lead content.
    I really don't know much about miniatures, as they didn't feature in my early (Second Edition) D&D games at all, but I'm starting to slowly gain an appreciation for them.

  4. If you do use old-style lead (or lead alloy) unpainted miniatures, then do at least seal them with a varnish.  In fact it should be done with any unpainted metal miniature really.  Whilst contact absorption of heavy metals is not the most efficient means of acquiring heavy metal poisoning (as compared to ingestion), the long biological half life of lead, cadmium, and bismuth means that it is possible to build up a considerable dose through contact.  Not enough for direct toxicity, but definitely enough to increase the possibility of future stochastic health concerns (such as cancer) quite considerably (especially if cadmium is used in the alloy*).

    [* Frequently used to lower the melting point of the lead alloy.  The correct combination of lead, bismuth, and cadmium can even be melted in very hot water.]

  5. Any unpainted metal miniature? Even recent ones like Otherworld?

  6. James,

    Thanks for your kind words about our Journal! I'm very happy that you have introduced your readers to our project. Hopefully, some will decide to join in our efforts!

    The history of fantasy miniatures is directly tied to the development of D&D and have been there since the very beginning. The current Old School Renaissance and the rise of Retro-gaming has likewise rekindled a renewed interest in old miniatures as well.Our members are dedicated to documenting the history of fantasy gaming miniatures. We celebrate and honor the artists and creators that brought our games to life!

    Our members are dedicated to documenting the history of fantasy gaming miniatures. We celebrate and honor the artists and creators that brought our games to life!

  7. Blogs certainly are a much more modern version of the old APA format. I'm one of those old timers that prefers the feel of actually holding the zine in my hand and being able to thumb back and forth through it rather than reading it on a screen.

    I don't game that much any more, and I'm curious. Do RPG gamers still keep the physical rulebooks handy when they're playing? or, Do they use PDFs of same on laptops?

  8.  Most recent metal miniatures are pewter (which is mostly tin, though some contain lead) or other non-lead metal alloys. (Check your box.)

  9. OldSchoolFantasyMay 4, 2012 at 3:29 PM

    Thanks everyone who contacted me about the OSFMapa!

    I wish I could satisfy those that wanted to buy a copy of our first issue, but we did not print enough extras.
    We've put the one and only remaining copy up on eBay: only way to guarantee that you get future issues of the OSFMapa Journal is to become a member. There's still time to join up for #2. The deadline for articles is May 31st, and we will mail those issues out by mid-June!Thanks,Scott BurnleyCM OSFMapa

  10. OldSchoolFantasyMay 4, 2012 at 3:34 PM

    Crap. That link didn't work! try this:

    Scott Burnley
    CM OSFMapa

  11. Peter V. Dell'OrtoMay 21, 2012 at 5:28 PM

     We use both physical copies and PDF. I don't let people look up rules in play, generally, but I keep most of the books open in PDF form on my PC for quick reference if I need something.