DiTerlizzi Masterworks Miniature Line
To say that this year has been this nerd’s dream-come-true would be an understatement. If a collection of my Dungeons & Dragons artwork wasn’t enough, I am totally geeking out right now as I announce a line of gaming miniatures–based on my designs–which will be available this fall.
Miniatures have been one of my favorite aspects of the role-playing game hobby. I remember middle school nights at a friend’s house listening to Thomas Dolby while I brushed globs of Testor’s model paint on tiny lead warriors, wizards and monsters.
When I came into gaming in the early 80’s, Grenadier Models was the producer of official Dungeons & Dragons miniatures. (For those who have no idea what I am talking about, miniature metal soldiers–representing your character, adventuring party and monsters that you encounter–are often used to aid in visualizing a scenario in the game.) Part of the fun is browsing the gaming aisle in a hobby shop to find just the right miniature to represent your player-character and then painting it in whatever colors you deem appropriate. The whole experience makes you feel like one of the gods toying with the fate of mortals in 1981’s Clash of the Titans.
Miniatures (minis) in games have been around for a long time, often as a key component in military and war games. Since D&D has its roots in those sorts of games it comes as no surprise that they would become a major aspect in the earliest versions of the game. As many may know, toys were often used before a miniature existed.
After I graduated from art school and began playing D&D again. I collected and painted miniatures (then made by Ral Partha Enterprises) for our ongoing campaign. The detailed, ofttimes exaggerated, sculpts inspired my art samples that I submitted to TSR.
Over the years that I contributed art to TSR’s various games, many of my designs were used as the basis for official D&D minis. From Dragon Mountain to Planescape, I loved seeing my two-dimensional drawings come to life in (lead-free) pewter. At the Gen Con game fair I would stop by Ral Partha’s booth to marvel at their latest miniature masterpieces and gush over the sculptors who had conjured them from putty.
In laying out REALMS: The RPG Art of Tony DiTerlizzi I photographed some of those old minis to be included in the book. I learned that the Planescape figures had become highly coveted by collectors as they were some of the last miniatures produced by Ral Partha before the company lost the D&D license from Wizards of the Coast (who had purchased TSR in the late 1990’s). Although I came close to producing my own line of miniatures back in 2001 with sculptor Geoff Valley (Anyone remember Smug?) my children’s book career took off and little metal figures became a part of my past.
…until Jim Ludwig, owner of Dark Sword Miniatures, contacted me last year. Jim heard that I loved minis and had been collecting the old Grenadier figures from my youth. He asked if I would license my art for a line of miniatures named after me. How could this 12 year-old say no?
We combed through my archives and plucked favorite drawings of player characters and monsters. Jim hired the best sculptors in the industry: Tom Meier (one of the founders of Ral Partha) and Dave Summers, who had sculpted many minis based on my art way-back-when. We used old favorite designs, like Harvey Masher “Kobold Killer”, and new designs drawn just for the collection.
The entire line of the “DiTerlizzi Masterworks” figures will be available this fall from gaming and hobby shops and through the Dark Sword Miniatures site. However, this week Jim is running a Kickstarter campaign and offering the entire collection at a significantly reduced cost. If you buy the core set at $100, the amount of figures you receive increases with each stretch goal he makes. Its a neat promotion to launch the collection.
Whether you’re a gamer, collector or hobbyist I hope you enjoy these minis as much as I do. And if this initial offering goes over well, I may just delve back into the planes for the second collection…