December 12, 2008
Yes we were geeks then, and for that matter, geeks now. I started playing D&D at the end of high school and played through college and afterwards. It was perfect timing. D&D was riding it’s first wave of popularity. It is funny, the books and paper D&D game is having a resurgence. I recently gave all of me D&D stuff to a high school student. He was amazed that I still had all that stuff. He and his friends sat down to a game not long after, enjoying the books that where older than the players.
I still have a have a few lead miniatures from my Dungeons & Dragons days. I still have the monk that was my primary character when I played. I also have an elf and a druid.
But there are three that are very special; “The Grateful Undead”, “Flying Carpet and Crew” and “The Three Headed Troll.”
The Grateful Undead is thee skeletons in a rock n’ roll band. The drum set is a separate unit. Jeff of Jeff's Gameblog wrote a post about his "Greatful Undead". The “golden goop” on the drum is the remnants of glue from when I had a Grateful Dead skull glued to the drum. What a long strange trip it has been.
The Flying Carpet does show that I am not the best painter. It also shows the mid 70’s unliberated attitude towards women. It was the ‘70’s.
While looking for more information on the Flying Carpet, I discovered the Yahoo Group, gamingminiatures. The members there have been very helpful. Gamingminuatures member have also posted scans of lead figure catalogs from the "pre web" days. If you are interested, check them out. This is also a good site to help identify old lead miniatures. With their help, I discovered that my Flying Carpet is from the Grenadier Fantasy Classics Series and is indeed “Flying Carpet and Crew”. According to a picture from the catalog, there should be three crew members. I only remember the two pictured. At the time, there were a number of nude and semi-nude lead miniatures. It was a very strange time for "toys". In 1971, Aurora made a set of monster model kits. It is more than likely that they were indeed B&D starter kits. Here is the story of contriversal toys ever marketed.
Some things never change. If you collect die cast scale cars, these ladies are available for your collection.
The final one of these special miniatures is very special. If you look at the three heads on the Three Headed Troll, they may look familiar. The lawyers for the Three Stooges certainly thought so. This figure was released in 1976, by some sources and discontinued soon thereafter. Since I didn’t start playing D&D until about 1980 or 81 that may not be right. It is quite possible that Games, Crafts, Hobbies and Stuff bought out someone’s old stock and still had one on the shelf. I probably paid around six dollars, maybe less. in 2007 I found a three headed troll for $1500.00, still on the hang card. I have seen ones like mine (open, unpainted) for $500.
I found a three headed troll on ebay in September. It was at a good price and I won it. When it arrived, I noticed quite a few differences from my original purchased from Games, Crafts, Hobbies and Stuff in 1984.
I learned that while the Three Stooges may have wanted the Three Headed Trolls melted down for being copyright violations, Ral Partha only kind-a-sorta did. In 1984 or so, it was re-released. Also, facing the possibility of lead miniatures being outlawed, they developed a looks like lead alloy that could be used. It turned out lead miniatures for adults are considered collectibles not toys so do not need to meet lead free requirements.