Thursday, June 14, 2012

I need a hero...oh wait, I have six!

Many years ago I was allowed to purchase the DragonQuest board game. I say "allowed" because my parents were vary wary of anything carrying the Dungeons & Dragons name and even though they had bought me HeroQuest previously, the anti-D&D paranoia was strong in culture at the time. Somehow I was immediately going to start worshiping demons if I pretended to fight goblins that weren't on a board (we now know that it takes decades for such things). But since DQ still had a board and little stand-ups, it was perfectly ok in their eyes. Of course it turned out it was really just D&D "lite" and the board really just a map. It wasn't long after that I (and possibly my new demon lords) convinced my parents to let me charge headlong into D&D proper.

One of the best things about DQ, however, is that it came with everything: Stand-ups, a map, dice, a few plastic figures for the heroes and, in the deluxe edition that I had managed to grab, there were metal versions of those figures. Of course being young, I quickly lost the plastic figures. Eventually I bought more metal figures and soon had no need for the stand-ups, so those disappeared too (and I would love to replace them without having to buy a new set). I even managed to lose a couple of the metal figures, but whilst digging around I found the remaining heroes and decided to paint them up. I even had so much fun that I purchased replacements for the lost ones and painted those too.

I really am in love with this set. I used it for all of my early D&D adventures and it most recently became the basis for my favorite Song of Blades and Heroes warband.

My favorite has always been the cleric:

The figure has always felt like epitome of the classic cleric: stoic, covered in heavy armor and wielding a huge, heavy blunt object in the name of his god. I chose blues and whites to give him a "good" appearance, since those colors are usually associated with good.

I have always liked the wizard of the set as well:

Of course, I now know that the figure was originally a cleric as well, but the robes and the staff still seem to fit a magic-user. I still think of it as a wizard when I look at it. I chose a strong green to make him stand out, but also so he could double as a druid easily. Lately he's been either an elf or half-elf too, and green seemed to fit those as well.

Next up is the dwarf:

He's always seemed tough and I love his armor because its understated but still gives the impression of being heavy. I chose the red and white coloration as sort of a tribute to the HeroQuest dwarf. I also made the buckler bronze to keep the model warm-looking but stand out from the rest of the model.

My least favorite has always been the thief:

My objections to this model have always been based on his indistinct race. He's short, but not quite short enough to be a halfling. He's not quite tall enough to be a human, but too hawk-nosed to be an elf. Still, he is a quintessential cloak-and-dagger thief. I chose purple to keep him shadowy, but retain a splash of color.

The elf was also one of my favorites:

I liked the elf so much that I played a long string of elves and I had actually painted him once before. Originally, I had decided he must be a ranger, so his first paint job was all greens and browns. It was also atrocious, so I stripped the model and re-painted him as more of a swashbuckler. The turquoise cloak suggests "seafarer" to me and the puffy white shirt says "duelist". I went with bronze again to warm the model back up.

Finally there is the paladin:

I had the most trouble deciding how to paint this one. Eventually I settled on a templar theme with white, but I wanted to stay away from red as I had already used that combination on the dwarf. I chose orange because it was still in the red family and I really hadn't worked with much orange before, so I wanted the challenge. I tried to keep the armor dark, to contrast with both his weapon and to keep him different from the cleric. I also chose blue runes on his axe to catch the eye and contrast with the orange.

All in all, I am very happy with the end result. It was fun to paint some classic favorites and I am really starting to appreciate the old Ral Partha minis again. They seemed fairly understated, had little in the way of gaudy detail, but still had more character than a lot of minis today. I know I have more stashed away somewhere, so I know more will find their way to the paint table and onto the blog.

Maybe I can still find my owlbear...


  1. Great job with the painting. The cleric is also my favourite out of this set.

    Mine are still in the original blister pack, and I don't have the heart to open them.

    1. If you enjoy painting classic models, I really recommend busting them out. They really are a joy to paint.

  2. I never played DQ, I might look into it. Figures look great - I love the classic sculpting style. I mostly use old Grenadier for my warbands.

    1. Its basically D&D lite. This metal set only came in the deluxe edition. The only other miniatures were bad plastic versions of these and paper stand ups. This set can be found on eBay if you look around.

  3. They also sold that set of figures as a box set for Dungeon. I picked it up back then. I like the figures a lot, but like you, like the thief the least. He picked up the nickname "package man" for his large codpiece!

    1. Most can also be found individually in the Ral Partha collection on