Monday, May 18, 2009

"Purple worm, purple worm..." - starring 1977 Monster Manual inspired Reaper minis

Confess! You are either humming the Prince tune or you are trying very, very hard not to. It's ok, you can admit it.

Now for the half of you that haven't yet closed your browser window, I'll quickly move on to the true inspiration of this post. And no, it's not Morris Day and the Time, either. It's none other than that periwinkle wriggler himself, the Purple Worm.

Ok, remember this heart-warming little scene, by one of the (sadly late) greats, Mr. David Sutherland, from the back cover of the 1977 1st Edition AD&D Monster Manual?:

Of course you do.

Well as I seemingly can't stop dorking around with these things, here's another very simplified remake of an old masterpiece of the vintage D&D/AD&D era. This time we watch the scene unfold as our fuchsia fiend moves in on some (apparently completely) unsuspecting dorks... err... orcs:

These little green men are Reaper's orcs, from their Legendary Encounter pre-painted series. As noted before, and seen in a few different prior posts here, I really like these Reaper minis. I have been using them for two current tabletop characters of mine, an Elf Ranger (archery style) and a Human Cleric of Kord. I feel that in most cases they have better sculpts and paint jobs than comparable current offerings from WotC. I still have tons of the WotC figs, and I will keep buying them, but I really like these Reaper minis.

Now for a direct comparison of Reaper vs WotC, in regards to worms of the violet variety, here's a shot of the WotC version appearing ready to chow down on the Reaper version:

Sorry for the difference in lighting there, but different days, different shadows, etc. I just take these pics on the kitchen table (it just seems to fit the "back in '81" theme, ya'know?...ha!), and whatever light I get, I just deal with it.

Anyway, I actually really like the WotC worm too. I think it has a completely different vibe to it. IMO, it looks more Alien than D&D. The size difference could be a deciding factor, but I choose not to go down the "my purple worm is bigger than your purple worm" road. Just not gonna do it. Aw man, I just did, didn't I?

Either way, I like them both and would happily use either one of them on the tabletop, if the adventure called for it. However, for the representation of the old MM back-cover shot, I figured I'd go with the worm that gives me more of an old-school feel, and that would have to be the Reaper mini.

Speaking of old-school feel with new minis, Otherworld Miniatures has (or had) an amazing Purple Worm mini, along with all of the rest of their very cool line of figs. Jeff Reints of Jeff's Gameblog posted on that mini a while back, with this pic along the same lines of that MM back-cover (I hope it's ok to re-post that pic here, Jeff - it's a copy, not a link to your site, so hope that avoids any bandwidth issues):

That shot really reminds me more of the entry on the Purple Worm inside the pages of the old MM. Maybe it's a tail thing...dunno. Check it out:

I do like the fact that Otherworld's worm has the tail included, but IMO the graphic of the work busting out of the ground in the Reaper and WotC versions is even more cool. Diana, Hank, Eric and Presto seem to be diggin' it too:


Reaper does have an unpainted metal version that seems to cover the best of both worlds in those regards. Here is a shot of that:

However at $27.49 for that bad boy (according to that link), I think I'd have to pass on that, as cool as it does look.

And finally for the real penny-pinchers out there, there's always this option:


Jeff Rients said...

You won't offend me by reposting something cool like a purple worm!

Jay said...

I have the WoTC worm and it's awesome. I've thought about getting the Reaper LE version, might be time to have a "mate" for the Wizards version. The Otherworld version makes me too nauseous to think about buying one, but it is extremely cool as well.

yoyorobbo said...

@Jeff Rients:

Good deal, bro. TY.

BTW, Jeff dunno if I expressed it before or not (I know I've told a couple others who fall into the same category) but... your blog is one of the first that I discovered that made me go "YES!"

Totally dig your site, bro. I started reading a handful of them back sometime last year IIRC - yours being one of that handful, along with the likes of Grognardia, Lair of the Evil DM, Robert Fisher: Thinking out loud, and a few others.

Those were just the ones that got me started, BTW.

Then all hell broke loose and one blog lead to another to another to another.

I love this stuff.

I should make a thank you post at some time. So many good folks in this network. Awesome.

Anyway, that was a long-winded way of saying you have a great blog, and thanks for the seemingly endless great run of posts. Keep it up...please.

yoyorobbo said...


Yep, the WotC version is very cool in it's own alien-ish way.

As far as the WotC/Reaper mating ritual goes: Don't worms mate themselves? Ewww....

As you can guess, I skipped Biology. As a clarinet-abusing Ferris once claimed, "Never had one lesson!"

On the nausea tip, honestly the Reaper one can also give ya a weird vibe too, if ya stare into that mouth too long. It is kinda creepy too...almost *too* detailed, ya'know? Leave something for the imagination, folks...ha!

Christian said...

I like the AD&D Purple work illos because the beast looks like it has a personality. Must be the eyes.

yoyorobbo said...


Yeah, you're right the eyeless look of a lot of the other pics and minis, does make it lose a little character.

The MM is sweet with the beady eyes and the gaping mouth. Yikes!