Monday, April 12, 2010
Project: Grenadier Dragon Lords Red Dragon
Over the course of this blog, I've come to the realization that it's mostly about model building, and not much about minis. So on that note I offer the first project focused on minis. And it is a classic.
Grenadier was one of the older, more venerable figure manufacturers in the realm of fantasy and SF gaming. Although they had a historical line, they are much more well known for the fantasy and licensed properties they produced miniatures for. Although now gone, for many gamers of D&D and AD&D in the late '70s and '80s, Grenadier was an important foundation to any collection (at least here in the US).
Around 1984, Grenadier started the "Dragon of the Month" series, producing a single dragon every month for a year. This included the 5 Chromatic dragons (White, Red, Blue, Green, Black), the 5 Metallic Dragons (Brass, Bronze, Copper, Gold, Silver), the Platinum Dragon, and the Spectral Dragon (aka Tiamat of AD&D fame). Each boxed set came with the dragon in question, as well as a small pedistal with a plastic gem. When complete, the pedestals formed a ring of gems, one for each color. It was a fun and cool accessory, and created a reason to collect them all.
The Dragons of the Month series, by modern standards, is a little primitive in sculpting. There are certainly better, more detailed dragons on the market (including Grenadier's second series: "Dragons of the Month II"), but in my opinion, a lot of the old Grenadier miniatures have a certain charm, and I've taken it upon myself to collect a lot of these old dragons, for use in either D&D or just to simply have.
Here is the dragon before assembly. This model was molded in lead, rather than the pewter alloys a lot of fantasy figures are currently manufactured in. This means the figure is rather heavy but fairly soft and malleable. That being said, epoxy will be used exclusively in the construction of this figure.
Another property of Grenadier's alloys is that they tend to have a fair bit of flash. With lead alloys this is not as much a problem as with pewter, as the alloy files much easier, but nonetheless it will require quite a bit more clean-up compared to many modern figures. Looking at the pedestal, there is quite a bit of flash around it (indeed, all of the figures I've acquired so far have flash issues).
One interesting note: the Grenadier molds are now the property of Mirliton Miniatures of Italy. As far as I know, only one dragon from the orginal Dragon Lords line has been released by them: the Brass. However, most of the Dragon Lords II line is available, though of course without the accessories in the original Grenadier boxes.