Sunday, April 9, 2017

The Way Back Machine

The very first models I can ever remember painting, I picked up in the misty past of 1981. I was 8 years old and due to my older brother, I was obsessed with Dungeons & Dragons. Armed with a few dollars and an endless supply of begging, I got a set of D&D models at my local hobby shop - Air Hobbies & Crafts in Lumberton New Jersey. I picked up a set by Grenadier Models - #2004 Henchmen and Hirelings.


There were 9 models of varying types - torch bearers, treasure carriers, lantern bearers and more. I was super excited and totally clueless about how to paint them. I ended up using a children's plastic watercolor set on bare metal. The results were horrific. I'm sure I was very proud. 

Recently, I found the set on Ebay and decided to dip my toes back into my childhood and take another shot at painting them up. The models I got were already painted (by a 10 year old with enamels it looked like) so I threw them into a bath of Pinesol to strip them down. I've cleaned and repainted about half at this point. I still need to clean up the last four guys and get paint on them.

The first half of the set. These are some old skool sculpts. I wouldn't be surprised to learn they were made with
solder or some similar material.
Halfling torch bearer. Such a cute lil fella!
Pack bearer. He doesn't seem very happy with his
life choices.
When I was 8 I had NO IDEA what was going on with this model.
Now that I'm older I realize he's carrying his wounded buddy and I
have less questions about my sexuality.
What I love about all these sculpts is that while they might be technically wanting,
they absolutely ooze character. 

What I love the most about these models is how quintessentially they capture Gygaxian D&D to me. In Gary's version of the game, you weren't just 4-5 people delving into a dungeon. Each player had hangers-on and specialists they could hire to do jobs and take risks they might deem too dangerous to do themselves. Its why Charisma shouldn't have been your dump stat and why many of Gary's modules, like Tomb of Horrors, were so dangerous. He was banking on the idea that one of your many minions would stick their head into the Sphere of Annihilation in the gargoyle's mouth, NOT YOU! By the time you'd chewed your way to the Big Boss of the module, you should have left a trail of bodies of scrubs and favorite retainers. Its a great example of how a game designer's intent is usually not how the end users turn out playing the game. Ha!

I also managed to finish up 9 more grotz to bring my Gretchin mob up to 20 models overall. This feels much more correct to me than an 11 strong unit. 

We make holes in teeth!


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