Wednesday, April 8, 2009

old AD&D figs vs new D&D minis: "That Was Then, This Is Now"

Ok, ok...I confess. A shot of Uhura, old vs new, has nothing at all to do with D&D minis, AD&D figs, Paladins, Rangers, Fighters, Thieves, or even Lizardmen. Although, truth be told ol' Gorn here fits that last role pretty nicely:

Anyway, tangent dismissed. Let me begin.

So ya see, I go through these phases. I dig something out of the pile-o-the-past and then I get all "into it" again....ugh. So, as of late I've been playing with some D&D minis with my kids. Well that of course leads itself to digging up some of the old minis from back know.

Now I already posted a couple times about my Lizardman and my Pally from those early days. In fact I even included some pics of them: my first ever D&D character, the now nameless Lizman and then my all-time-fave, a Pally named "Eridon." Ol' greenie himself even got some follow-up action in a later White Dwarf article post.

Anyway, back to the present-future... err...the recent past-preset... errr...a few days ago: I was dorking around with a bunch of my modern D&D minis (the WotC stuff), and found a nu-skool Lizardman in the bunch. So of course my mind immediately jaunted (hey check out that publication date...nice!) to my old Grenadier Lizardman. I just had to take a look at "old-vs-nu" and see how these badboys stacked up against each other.

My first D&D character (and my first fig) "theeeee Lizzzzzardman" vs some '90s-Godzilla-animated-series-ish-looking Lizardman:

Honestly, the static stance of my old guy there loses out a little to the dynamic pre-swing of the new guy, I still take my old Lizardman over the new guy any day of the week and three or four times on Sunday and Monday. Maybe it's just me. Dunno. Oldskool Liz could take this new punk even with his sword broken off at the hilt. Kinda looks like he's holding an ice cream cone there, eh?...ha!

Having fun with that one, I then proceeded to find some more old-vs-nu comaprisons. Here are the rest of them.

My favorite AD&D character, my old Pally Eridon vs the new often-controversial Dragonborn Paladin:

I actually am ok with the DB race in 4e, but I don't like to see it overdone. This particular mini is mine from playing him as one of the pregen'd 11th level characters in the most recent Worldwide D&D Gameday event. Even though the only new features of this particular character in the PHB2 promo event were the sneak-peek at some new powers from the forthcoming 4e Divine Power book, I got to keep this mini, and so far Dragonborn minis are kinda hard to come by. So I dug it. I just wis they would have chosen a sword for the cast that didn't look like some ridiculous mushroom-head, phallic symbol. That thing looks silly, IMO. Again, I favor old-school Grenadier Human Paladin here, but I'm sure it's purely sentimental. That Dragonborn looks like he could serve it up pretty good to my boy Eridon, but I got my boy's back here too, ya'know?

Ok, on to some Ranger love...err....something. Old TSR AD&D (Human?) Archer/Ranger vs new WotC Archery-style Elf Ranger:

Now here's where I turn the tide and go nu-skool. This may also be due to the fact that I use this particular mini for my current badass 4e 8th level Elf Ranger character. Even so, the old TSR has that whole Michael McDonald look going on. Not sure where that came from, but that's all I think of every time I see this fig. "Ya mo be there..."

Ok, so sticking on the demi-human vibe, here's an old TSR AD&D Dwarf Fighter vs one of his current kin from WotC:

Apparently in 4e they still don't have eyes. Ah well, who needs 'em down in the rock, eh? At any rate, in this case I think I'm leaning towards the leaner here, the newbie. I mean, I really like the old-school horned-helm look and all, but the new guy seems to probably kick a little more butt than the old guy, IMO. Maybe it's due to the missing hammer, dunno. That never stopped my old Lizardman from performing massive beatdowns with just a sword hilt (or ice cream cone) in hand, but here it kinda makes a difference to me. I like the old guy too, but he just looks like he'd get pushed around by the new bully there.

Ok, back to the elves. Here's what 1983 TSR miniatures box called a "Male Elf Fighter" (IIRC - writing this without the box for reference) vs a modern fighter-type dude with a huge tower shield:

Again, I'm going with the modern mini here. And again it may just be because I'm currently using that particular mini for a 4e Human Cleric of Kord that I'm playing in a level 4 campaign. That cleric is pretty balanced STR/WIS (18/18, I think), but he's definitely a front-liner. It's a small group (stared out as only 3, but now a solid 4), so he has to dish out some damage as well as heal/lead. His Righteous Brand is ...well...freakin righteous! That is a main tactic to set up our Brutal Rogue for some major boost to hit. Anyway, my guy is using a Mage's Bastard Sword (no feat required...awesome!) for the high proficiency (+3 for Bastard), and he's a sword&boarder, so this fig just screamed "use me!"...err something. Gotta do something about that ever-curving blade, though....jeesh! Oh yeah, and that old-school Elf looks like a dork. He loses this round.

Ok, that leaves us with one last comparison. Here we see old-school Grenadier "Robber" (well, that's what I call him) vs the same deal, nu-school style from WotC:

Sadly I never painted the old Grenadier version. In fact, I think my whole thieves set is still unpainted....hhhmnnn. Maybe that's a good thing. I might just have to bust out some Testors jars and go at it...ha! Funny thing is I still have the TSR paintset from this 1983 line of figs. My son saw it and was all giddy, thinking he and I would paint some stuff. Then I opened up the jars. OMG! Yeah, those babies are nice and dry. Big huge chunks of dried up 1983 paint. Still a cool box and cool memories, so I keep them, dried-up or not.

Anyway, as much as I like the sneaky look on the new WotC robber mini there, I think I'm gonna give this round to the old-school. He's survived all of these years and still has a full sack! Ok, now that just sounded wrong, didn't it?

So,wrapping things up here it looks like we have a tie 3-3. I guess I'll have to keep digging for another good comparison duo to serve as a tie-breaker. Gonna have to dig deep in the piles of nerdliness in the basement to find the "back in '81" (ish) version of this modern mug:

Of course those old-school eye tyrants looked a bit like beach balls with dreadlocks....err something.

Side out, mahn!


Chad Thorson said...

Yeah, the new plastic minis don't really do it for me. They're pretty flimsy and pretty poor sculpting an paining jobs. Their orcs are okay, but I don't like the character models. Give me Ral Partha, Reaper, or Grenadier any day!

Spike Page said...

For the obvious reason, I still proudly own my DDM "Spiker Hero"...a rightly dorky mini but I like the name. The plastic goblins were also kind of kewt.

We just got an order in from Megaminis today. Those Grenadier Classics look awfully cool...though a bit tiny compared to my Reaper 28(ish)mm guys.

Anonymous said...

Based on your link from this post to your lizardman I had to make a lizardman class for Swords & Wizardry.

yoyorobbo said...

Very cool bud! And thanx for the inspiration nod in your blog post there too.

Also in case you missed the back link to the White Dwarf article (Lizardmen as PCs), here it is and a shot of the page/text from the article:

my post on the WD issue/article:
a zoom on the page/article for ref: way, nice work on the new race for S&W!

ThisBlogisAButtholeClog! said...

Yes! Ral Partha was amazing!