Tag Archives: Ral Partha

Reaper Bones Ettin

I must have first read fluff about Ettins back in the 80s (either in a friends copy of the 1st Ed AD&D Monster Manual or Dragon Magazine) but I don’t remember seeing an Ettin miniature, or at least a semi decent version of one, until the early 90s.

Back then the one that caught my eye was from the Ral Partha official AD&D range. There were a lot of great minis in that series and it sported various classic AD&D adversaries including several splendid looking Giants.

I have one of the Fire Giants from this range tucked away somewhere still to paint and have already put the Firbolg on the blog however the Ettin from Ral Partha was slightly disappointing. it was a bit too barrel chested with spindly, overly long arms and legs for my preferences.

I’ve seen a few of these for sale on eBay but as I’ve never been too convinced by the sculpt I haven’t ever bid on one.

Reaper released their version of the Ettin a few years ago in their Bones range. I thought it was much better proportioned than the old Ral Partha miniature so I picked one up.

As with a lot of Bones minis it was slightly too bent over so I had to do the boiling water/iced water trick to straighten it up a bit. It’s since bent back a bit towards the original pose but nothing to worry about, and since it’s now secure to a 50mm base it won’t keep falling over at least!

Some of the detailing is a bit poor as sometimes happens with Bones plastic. In this case the barrel on its back, the fish and some of the skulls hanging from the waist are a bit ‘blobby’, but not enough to detract from the mini overall.

I’m sure it’ll provide a useful distraction to my D&D players at some point!

PCs for 5th Ed D&D

Since returning to gaming and painting I’ve been fortunate enough to have played RPGs on pretty much a weekly basis. I’m currently DMing 5th Ed D&D ‘Storm King’s Thunder’ so I painted up some miniatures to represent the PCs where our larger combats use a battlemat.

Elf Rogue

This is a Ral Partha miniature available from RPE as part of their Dark Eye range. The PC was originally created as male but then the player changed the gender at the start of the first play session. There’s a fair few female Elf miniatures of course but a lot of them tend to be either Magic Users or Rangers; this seemed the best Ranger type to represent a female Rogue – Elves aways have bows no matter what.

Dwarf Fighter

There was some discussion about gender at character generation for this one too. The player originally settled on female so I got a Ral Partha Dwarf miniature to represent her.

By the next session they had changed her to a male Dwarf so I needed a new miniature! Rather than have the female Dwarf languish in my lead pile she got painted up along with the Citadel ‘Dwarf Lords of Legend’ Uther I decided to use.

Tiefling Warlock 

There aren’t a lot of Tiefling miniatures out there to represent this PC. I toyed with alternatives for this including various Demon miniatures and Games Workshop Ungors.

In the end I settled for this Reaper Bones Hellborn miniature. I would have preferred it in metal but I couldn’t find one in the UK.

Dwarf Cleric

No one wanted to play a Cleric as their main PC despite the serious makeover they’ve had in 5th Ed. Their obvious strength is still ‘Team Medic’ though so the players rolled up one to accompany them. He also serves as a PC for any occasional guest players we get. This is a Heartbreaker Miniatures Dwarf sculpted by Kevin Adams – proving he’s not just the one dimensional Goblin creation machine we sometimes think he is!

Half Elf Warlock 

You’ll need to stretch your imagination a bit with this one. The player is keen on casting ‘mage armour’ on his PC so wanted a miniature with suitably impressive looking armour – even if this magic only gives him the equivalent AC of leather armour!

This is a Heartbreaker Miniatures Elf Warrior figure sculpted by Chaz Elliott. It reminds me of the Citadel Stormbringer miniatures by Jes Goodwin.There’s a definite Elric vibe to him but then Charles did have a history with this sort of thing.

A (slightly blurry – sorry!) group shot. Of course I also felt the need to use hex bases as a homage to the 1980s Citadel AD&D range.

Ral Partha Firbolg

Another miniature I used to own back in the day which I’ve recently re-purchased second hand on eBay.

The Fir Bolg are of course a people in Irish/Celtic mythology so I’ve no idea where Ral Partha got the idea that this Giant type miniature resembling a Dwarf Berserker was some sort of Fir Bolg but hey ho – probably some crap 80s AD&D ‘creation’ from the TSR days.

The mythical Fir Bolg left Eire and settled in Greece before returning. This particular miniature came to me from a seller in France.

As far as fantasy back story I’ve always wanted to use him as a Giant that had been raised and adopted by Dwarfs since birth and so thought of himself as Dwarfish, hence his look. A joke/oxymoron ‘Dwarf Giant’ if you wish.

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It’s all been a bit quiet here on my blog recently. Purely down to real life not allowing me much time do anything hobby wise other than minimal painting, my weekly gaming session with friends and listening to some gaming podcasts.

With this in mind I have a twitter account should anyone be interested – @HobgoblinOrange – the garbled reminiscences of miniatures and RPGs from yesteryear and talk about more modern things. In other words a continuation of this blog. Engage if you can!

Beware the (Ral Partha) Jabberwock, my son!

Jabberwocky is of course a nonsense poem by Lewis Carroll that appears in his 1871 novel ‘Through the Looking-Glass’. More importantly though is Sir John Tenniel’s original illustration that appeared in Carroll’s novel.

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Sir John Tenniel's Illustration

The two Jabberwock sculpts made by Ral Partha and Citadel in the 80s (the ‘rearing up’ Ral Partha sculpt and the ‘walking on all fours’ version by Citadel) faithfully follow Tenniel’s drawing in pretty much every detail except the vest. I suspect the Jabberwock made it into early Fantasy RPGs/Wargaming entirely due to this picture. Had the Bandersnatch or Jubjub bird been illustrated by Tenniel in such a manner maybe they would have made it into miniature form too.

The Citadel version is less dynamic than the Ral Partha sculpt but it still has charm. It’s been OOP for a few years now but you can still find used ones on eBay occasionally, usually for sensible prices too. Most people however seem to favour the Ral Partha miniature.

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Ral Partha 'Rearing Up' Jabberwock

The ‘rearing up’ Ral Partha model pictured above is often listed on eBay with high Buy lt Now prices. The highest I’ve seen is an eye watering £175 plus £15 postage for one in a (presumably) unopened purple Citadel blister pack – complete with it’s original £2.50 price tag. Greed or Lunacy? You decide…

Anyway, here’s mine painted.

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I bought it new for 8 quid from Ral Partha Europe a couple of months ago. It’s in production (and was available from previous licensees of the model prior to Ral Partha’s re-release) so there’s no reason to pay over the odds should one of these float your boat.

Half Orc on Pony

One of the ‘creations’ from AD&D that made it’s way into Warhammer Fantasy Battle (WFB) was the Half Orc.

Supposedly a product of *ahem* ‘union’ between Humans and Orcs, there was also the possibility of gene pools being mixed further with Goblin and Hobgoblins also supposedly able to procreate with Humans. These individuals still tended to be classed as Goblins, Hobgoblins or Half Orcs in Warhammer terms, Gary Gygax would have written them up as eleven new races for AD&D if he’d had the time…

In WFB Orcs and Goblins raid Human settlements and take cattle and captives for food, often to take back to their homelands. It appears in the earlier editions though that Goblinoids weren’t as asexual as later incarnations and it was implied that some of the female captives suffered fates worse than death by Orcish cooking pot.

Tolkien had Half Orcs in his stories of course but these creatures were created by Saruman to work as slaves and warriors for his own nefarious purposes. Tolkien’s stories aren’t known for their high copulation count so I think it’s fair to say he envisaged Saruman’s Half Orcs being manufactured by some sort of magical in vitro process rather than by the violation of women by Orcs.

The Half Orc PC in 1st Ed AD&D typically became a bit of a one trick pony, the stereotypical fighter hampered by low intelligence and even lower charisma. They weren’t particularly liked by other PC races. They weren’t particularly liked by anyone.

The Half Orcs of 1st and 2nd Ed WFB were also outsiders used to fighting against the world, unwelcome in both Orc or Human society. They formed Mercenary units like RR9 Regiments of Renown ‘Mudat’s Mercenary Half Orc Maniacs’ – incidentally the fluff for which includes the first possible mention of the city of Nuln, later detailed extensively in WFRP and later Editions of WFB.

The Half Orc found itself relegated in 3rd Ed WFB. Small numbers were allowed in Orc and Goblin armies and they were still available as Mercenary units – I didn’t know anybody that used them and I never had any despite owning a large Orc and Goblin army at the time. Miniatures were still being produced, although nothing new was added to the range.

By 4th Ed WFB they had completely disappeared, probably due as much to their unpopularity with players as to the uncomfortable back story of how they came into existence being too difficult to explain to the younger audience 4th Ed was aimed at.

I always had a soft spot for them. The use of mercenaries seemed under explored in WFB at the time despite several of the Regiments of Renown being pay sword units. I think Half Orc mercenaries would be perfect in narrative based skirmish games and an uneasy alliance of Humans paying for their services against an Orc raiding party could have all sorts of twists and turns – not just financially but also possible intrigue from filial, agnate or cognate relationships.

Here’s a Half Orc mounted on a pony quickly painted up as part of my ‘break from regiment painting’.

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The observant amongst you will notice that this isn’t in fact a Half Orc at all but was sold by Ral Partha/ Elmore Masterworks/Dark Sword Miniatures as a Chaos Warrior, originally mounted on a lizard. I bought it as I wanted to use the lizard for another project but the Chaos Warrior is very Goblinoid. The pony is from Citadel’s C33 Half Orc Hero set. I bought the pony on it’s own cheaply to use with the Chaos Warrior rather than consign him to my bits box.

Grenadier Storm Giant vs Ral Partha Elves

I’ve been trying to concentrate on painting regiments rather than single figures lately. The reasoning is hopefully I’ll manage to have at least one completed small army/warband by the end of the year.

This kind of painting can be quite tiresome for someone with my time constraints – I average less than two hours of painting a night, and don’t paint every night. You have to hang in there through a fair few rounds of paint before a regiment finally pulls together and starts to look like a completed unit. At my current rate this can take weeks. That’s nothing like twenty years ago where I could whip out a unit and make a decent start on another all in the same weekend. No distractions or other commitments back then, just paint/base/varnish/repeat…

Occasionally it’s been nice to take a step back in the middle of all this block painting and get the brush onto something a bit different. Although it’s important not to get too sidetracked by individual figures when trying to paint armies it’s only early April so there’s still plenty of time to get a sizable force of regimented troops painted and based if I (mostly) stick to the plan.

So with that in mind this is the converted Grenadier Storm Giant I blogged about last year. He was painted and based over four sessions or so, time spent not just on him but around waiting on regiments to dry etc.

He’s painted up as a typically grubby giant, stood with a pair of 25mm Elves to give an idea of scale – Tom Meier sculpts from Ral Partha. All of these came in the same job lot of lead off eBay.

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I have plans for this old boy to join an Orc warband consisting entirely of Nick Lund sculpted Orcs, of which I’ve currently collected about fifty, with plans to add more throughout the coming year for my next fantasy project.