Monday, June 16, 2008

Minifigs Greyhawk Miniatures

Back around 1980, Minifigs came out with a line of World of Greyhawk miniatures. In Dragon #25 (IIRC) there was a reference to "Armies of Greyhawk" which would be a miniatures game based on the WoG and presumably using the line of miniatures from Minifigs. Thanks to , who posted the following list over at Dragonsfoot, I can make a little progress on my OOB project for the Flanaess, and delve a little deeper into some rather obscure points of Greyhawk lore. Here is the list, with some commentary by yours truly.

WOG01 Amazon Infantry (6) swords, flails – Hardby (Wild Coast)
WOG02 Amazon Infantry (6) axes, spears, bow, polearm - Hardby (Wild Coast)
WOG03 Amazon Cavalry (3) spears, bow - Hardby (Wild Coast)
WOG04 Amazon Cavalry (3) swords, axe - Hardby (Wild Coast)

GG: Hardby, with its female-dominated society, makes sense for it to have "amazons" as its warriors. But one wonders why they were given such a prominent position in the minis line at all. In the original folio and gazetter, Hardby isn't exactly presented as a major power, and yet here it is with 4 blister-packs of its own.

WOG05 Berserker Mercenaries (6) swords, spears, javelins – Wild Coast/Pomarj
WOG06 Hireling Men-at-Arms (6) axes, spears, bows – Wild Coast petty kingdoms
GG: Illustrative, if not particularly startling. Hirelings and mercenaries from the Wild Coast. Berserkers from the Pomarj (so not everything coming out of the Pomarj is a humanoid).

WOG07 Men-at-Arms of the Watch (6) axes, spears, bows - Greyhawk
WOG08 Infantry of the Guilds (6) spears, crossbows - Greyhawk

GG: Now this is interesting! The Watch makes perfect sense, but I wonder what "guilds" have their own soldiery in Greyhawk? It's not a single guild, so I discount the idea that it'd be something like the "mercenaries guild" or somesuch. Would the various trade guilds be required to maintain soldiers for the defense of the Free City as part of their charter to operate? Would they be made up of members of each of the various guilds, or would they be mercenaries?

WOG09 Cavemen (6) spears, clubs – Cairn Hills
GG: Now here I thought I had something neat really figured out. In the Glossography encounter tables, there are all sorts of odd placements of dinosaurs and cavemen. I thought, when I saw this, that there would be a pretty good chance of encountering cave men in the Cairn Hills. But no. They don't appear at all. So this one is quite a puzzler. The Cairn Hills are a pretty civilized place, all things considered, so I'm not sure why there would be a fight-worthy force of cave men there.

WOG10 Valley Elf Infantry (6) axes, swords – Valley of the Mage
(Note: the above picture is a mix of a couple different blister-packs.)
WOG11 Valley Elf Infantry (6) bows, spears – Valley of the Mage

WOG12 Valley Elf King & Guards (6) pole-arms – Valley of the Mage
WOG13 Valley Elf Cavalry (2) lances – Valley of the Mage
WOG14 Valley Elf Cavalry (2) sword, bow – Valley of the Mage

GG: We get details on the Valley Elves in MM2. But there's an interesting little tidbit; they apparently have a king. I would've thought the Mage of the Valley would have fulfilled that role, but apparently not.

WOG15 Mounted Knights (3) lance, sword, axe - Furyondy
WOG16 Knights on Foot (6) swords, axes, pole-arms – Furyondy
WOG17 Freeholder Infantry (6) spears, bows – Furyondy/Veluna
WOG18 The Steadfast Pike (6) pikes - Veluna

GG: That last one is just a terrifically evocative name. It calls to mind a unit with an ancient lineage and a storied history, honored greatly over time by the arch-clerics of Veluna. Is it perhaps an elite unit drawn from the entire nation, which forms the arch-cleric's personal guard, much like the Swiss Guard does with the Pope? That certainly gives a bit of color (literally) to the land.

WOG19 Free City Foot (6) spears, swords, bows - Dyvers
WOG20 Zombie & Skeleton Infantry (6) swords, spears - Iuz
WOG21 Zombie & Skeleton Infantry (6) assorted weapons – Iuz


WOG22 Goblin Infantry (6) swords, axes - Iuz
WOG23 Goblin Infantry (6) bows, crossbows, hand catapults - Iuz

WOG24 Goblin Chieftain & Guards (6) spears, pole-arms - Iuz

GG: Goblins don't figure prominently in the Iuz encounter tables (although the Guide mentions that "Goblins, orcs, and hobgoblins in the thousands are known to be in arms"), so I'm guessing these are just representative figures and other humanoid types would have eventually been included had the line of figures continued. Good to see that Iuz makes liberal use of the lower-level undead in his legions, though. Although look at the weapons for WOG23. Hand catapults. Eat that, drow, with your mere hand crossbows!

WOG25 Human Forest Warriors (6) swords, axes, spear, pole-arm – Celene/Ulek
WOG26 Human Forest Warriors (6) bows, crossbows, slings - Celene/Ulek


WOG27 Mounted Knights (3) lance, axe, sword – Veluna/Verbobonc
WOG28 Heavy Missile Infantry (6) bows, crossbows – Furyondy/Veluna/Shield Lands
WOG29 Light Missile Infantry (6) bows, crossbows, slings – Feryondy[sic]/Veluna/Shield Lands
WOG30 Mounted Knights (3) lance, mace, sword – Shield Lands
WOG31 Knights on Foot (6) swords, axes, pole-arms – Shield Lands
WOG32 Freeholder Infantry (6) spears, bows – Shield Lands

GG: The "freeholder" reference here makes me take a little notice. Apparently there are more folk living in the Shield Lands than just those under the command of the Knights of Holy Shielding. That speaks to a bit more complex socio-political makeup of the place than one might imply from just what we see in the Gazeteer and Guide. Maybe those Freeholders don't share the same sense of divine mission as the Knights do...

WOG33 Esquire (Medium) Horse (3) lance, sword, axe - Furyondy/Veluna/Shield Lands

WOG34 Brethren Foot Guards (4) spears – Scarlet Brotherhood
GG: Awesome love being thrown to the Scarlet Brotherhood. A foreshadowing of their prominent role in the future? EDIT: But man... they don't look like monks at all. More like the Knights Of Nee. Some of those hoods are actually reminiscent of the illustrations from "The Forgotten Temple of Tharizdun." Hmmm...

WOG35 Hierarch, Headsman, Amazon Captive on Torture Stake – Horned Society



GG: This is just... random.

WOG36 Ice or Snow Barbarian Foot (6) swords, bows – Lands of Snow & Ice Barbarians
WOG37 Ice or Snow Barbarian Foot (6) axes, spears - Lands of Snow & Ice Barbarians
WOG38 Ice or Snow Barbarian Cavalry (3) spears - Lands of Snow & Ice Barbarians
WOG39 Ice or Snow Barbarian Cavalry (3) spears, scything axe - Lands of Snow & Ice Barbarians
GG: I can only think that the omission of "Frost Barbarians" here is accidental. It doesn't appear as if they would be substantively different from their eastern cousins. Although it could just be that they are puppets of the Snow Barbarians, and thus no distinction need be made. I do wonder just what the heck a "scything axe" is, though!

WOG40 Mounted Knights (3) lance, mace, sword – Bandit Kingdoms
WOG41 Brigand Infantry (6) swords, spears, bows – Bandit Kingdoms
WOG42 Halfling Fighters (6) swords, axes, spear, bow -Celene/Ulek/Cairn Hills

WOG43 Wandering Adventurers, magic user, cleric, bard, halfling thief [no territory given for WOG43-48]
WOG44 Heroic Mercenary Foot (5) axes, spear, bow
WOG45 Heroic Mercenary Foot (5) swords
WOG46 Heroic Mercenary Cavalry (2) swords
WOG47 Heroic Mercenary Cavalry (2) short sword, spear




WOG48 Heroic Mercenary Cavalry (2) morning star, bow

WOG49 Elite Death-Guard Cavalry (2) lances – Horned Society

GG: In the "Gord the Rogue" novels we discover that the Horned Society honors Nerull above all others. Kinda gives the whole "Death-Guard Cavalry" thing a new importance, doesn't it? (Nerull has the byname of "The Reaper".)

WOG50 Overking's Heavy Guard Cavalry (2) lances – Great Kingdom
WOG51 Overking's Heavy Guard Cavalry (2) axe, sword – Great Kingdom

WOG52 Overking's Heavy Guard Foot (6) spears, axe, blow-pipe – Great Kingdom
WOG53 Overking's Heavy Guard Foot (6) pole-arms, swords – Great Kingdom
GG: I am inclined to believe that these are not the "demonic knights of doom" described in Dragon magazine, but rather just a heavy guard unit of mundane sort (although still quite puissant, no doubt!).

WOG54 Wyvern (1) - Celene

GG: Why Celene? The encounter tables don't make any mention of the place as being particularly thick with wyverns. Although I love how stylized the wyvern is; from the curled tail to the tongue jutting out and the rampant pose; it looks like it could've stepped out of a heraldic device from the 15th century.

WOG55 Harginn Elemental Grue - Elemental of Plain of Fire -(conjured by) Iuz
As far as I know, Jack Vance invented the term Grue, and it didn't have any connotations with any of the elements.

WOG56 Iuz Enthroned & Evil Halflings (4) - evil demi-god & minions - Iuz

 


GG: Ever since I first saw this in a catalog nearly 30 years ago, I thought it was the coolest thing that Iuz had a cadre of evil halflings as his minions. It was just so... wrong. Perfect.

WOG57 Dragonnel & Lancer (1) - Pomarj
WOG58 Dragonnel & Archer (1) - Pomarj
WOG59 Dragonnel & Pole-axeman (1) - Pomarj
WOG60 Magnus Dragonnel (1) - Pomarj
GG: Now what, exactly, is a "Magnus Dragonnel"? Obviously it's a "great" (as in "huge") version of the normal dragonnel, but such a thing goes unmentioned in the Monster Manual II, where the dragonnel finally found its way into print. For that matter, what is this next thing, a small dragon?

WOG61 Dragonnettes (2)

WOG62 Giant Spider, Rat, Beetle
GG: I wish the picture game some sense of the scale of that thing. Because that is one MEAN looking giant rat!

WOG63 Flying Dinosaur, Armored Dinosaur



WOG64 Aquatic Dragonnel (1)
WOG65 Monster Stoppers: Catapult and Dart Thrower
GG: I just love that term. "Monster stoppers." I can see some bunch of yahoos trying to lug a ballista into a dungeon somewhere...

WOG66 Unicorn, Beasts and Hounds



WOG67 Elite Death Guard Cavalry, axe, sword
WOG68 Orcs, sword, pole-arms, bows
WOG69 Gnolls, swords, pole-arms, bows
WOG70 Half-Orcs, various weapons
WOG71 Mounted Men-at-Arms of the Watch
GG: What Watch? Some sort of regular patrol, to be sure. But where? UPDATE: On reflection, could these be related to the Knights of the Watch? They are mentioned in the 1980 Gazetteer, and I think it likely.

WOG72 Rovers of the Barrens



GG: If I can find a place with more pictures of the minis, I'll integrate them into the post. A quick search on Google proved fruitless. If you know of any, please leave a comment!.

11 comments:

Anonymous said...

I remember seeing some of these at a convention and being quite impressed, especially by the orcs and gnolls. Unfortunately, I don't have any.

The MM2 has a "Grue, Elemental" section.

Regards,
Dwayanu

James Mishler said...

One thing to recall is that the entry in the MM2 for Grue does indeed state "Grue, Elemental," and that the individual entries each state something along the lines of "the harginn, or flame horror, is a grue from the Elemental Plane of Fire." Whet I gather from the phraseology used is that there are perhaps many kinds of grues, not merely elemental. Perhaps there are demonic grues, or celestial grues, or undead grues...

Matthew James Stanham said...

Very cool entry. I knew TSR sanctioned miniatures from time to time, but I was not familiar with their Greyhawk line. There are a lot more here than I thought there would be.

grodog said...

Greast post and analysis, Joe! :D

There were a bunch of GH Minifigs on eBay recently, and I saved the auctions. I'll extract and forward pics to you.

Also: many of the GH Minifigs were existing Minifigs lines that were moved into the GH brand/line, so it may be possible to get copies of the figures without the GH terminiology and branding in some cases. Unfortunately, I don't have a cross-reference between the other fantasy figures and the GH line of figures.

Lastly: Minifigs is still around; see http://www.minifigs.com/catalog/
but unfortunately they don't seem to have much of the fantasy line available (although they do have a bunch of amazons...).

allan.

Ed Youngstrom said...

Definitely contact Tom Dye at Minifigs/GFI. email
dye4minis@aol.com. He is working on bringing back lots of old figures if their is demand, and he may even be able to help you out on the cross-index.

Cheers,
Ed

The Flying Falafel Brothers said...

Hi i remember buying a lot of these figures as a teenager in england. I grew up a few miles from the minifigs shop and factory and got in to dnd through the the local war games club. These figures were marketed differently in the uk. All the orcs and gnolls were in a licenced dnd range while most of the others were in a range called the valley of the four winds. There was another older even older range which were the first fantasy figures available in the uk called lord of the rings. As all the dnd players i knew were war gamers first we all used there figures a lot . I still have a lot of these figures he any one fancies seeing some photos

Joseph said...

I'd love to see photos of your figures, especially if you have any that don't already have pics above.

I do remember the Valley of the Four Winds line. I always thought the figures were distinct from the World of Greyhawk ones, though...

Peter said...

A lot of the human knights and men-at-arms appear to have been pulled straight from their "100 Years War" range.

Cebrion said...

Those Tharizdun-like hoods on the Scarlet Brotherhood warriors are not hoods, but tall, conical helms.

Eldrad Wolfsbane said...

That was very cool. Thanks for sharing.

scalis oftel

David Wood said...

Minifigs UK are slowly re-releasing a lot of the old minis.... most of the generic troops in the WOG range are still available in the historical listings - identifying them is the problem due to lack of decent pics of the WOG blisters (all Minifigs are well stamped with a code) and the UK site.....

http://www.miniaturefigurines.co.uk/Home.aspx