Monday, April 27, 2009

My First Painted Miniature

Vintage Ral Partha #01-012 Archangel

I managed to somehow hang on to this after all these years. As the title says, this was the first painted miniature I ever did. It was 1980, and this Tom Meier sculpt made its way into my hands. It came from my folks, who never played roleplaying games or the like, in fact they displayed hardly any gamer tendencies at all, but they had bought miniatures from time to time nonetheless. These were unicorns, dragons, and other critters.

The lead range of Ral Partha was just amazing, and there was a store in town called the Yankee Peddler which was basically your proto-gaming store. It had rotating metal racks full of blister packs and I would slowly spin through them, mesmerized at all the figures. At this point in my life I was only six, but still dug Star Wars, loved Star Blazers on television, and adored my Rankin-Bass Tolkien read-along albums. So to see figs of Orcs, Elves, and the like was just the next step for me in the natural progression of things.

I don't know when the concept of actually painting the figures came into the picture, but since my folks are also somewhat artistically inclined, they took to it, especially my Mom. She can still crank out a paint job that is pretty good to this day when she's inclined to do so, mostly she paints large pieces and dioramas that usually involve dragons. You can (sort of) see some of her work here with an older GW Wood Elf Dragon I still need to put back together. It took a bad tumble one day off a bookshelf. Always pin your metal models!

I don't remember a lot of details about my Archangel, but I do remember thinking how cool it looked even way back then. I also remember the wings and sword arm which are obviously no more. The red on the figure on the face and hair was actually a brush-on primer if I recall correctly, and I want to say it was Testors.

I can tell there was something of a plan going on here. It looks like dark blue robes underneath, and no that's not elaborate shading, it's dust, haha. The Roman-style skirt was going to be leather and it looks like there was gold metallic on the torso. The shoulder plates look like they were once a steel blue, and the shield obviously is gold. The colors have held up rather well considering!

It's funny that even back then I put my figures on bases! If you're wondering just how strong superglue is in the long run, well look no further. This lead figure was superglued on a plain ole 1961 nickel a whopping twenty-nine years ago and it's still good to go.

There's not a whole lot to see here overall, really, but this figure is kind of special to me just for what it represents. It's fun to look back at this, and I'll be putting this on my shelf in its own little spot. In searching for reference material for my fig, I found the same sculpt for sale still today over at Iron Wind Metals! I think I definitely owe it to myself to pick up (another) one and get cracking. And yeah, I'll be basing the new one on a nickel too...


  1. Ral Partha, now there's a name I've not heard in a very long time. Amazing that you held on to it. Sometimes I wish I would have kept my 1st mini. Nice read, thank you.

  2. Thanks. It's kind of neat to be able to pinpoint the moment my hobby really took hold. I'm making sure the next generation is being documented every step of the way.