Iron Wind Metals has announced a Kickstarter campaign (http://ift.tt/1P5QFNK) to re-release the classic Ral Partha fantasy figures form the 1970′s and 1980′s. While these figures do not have quite the sculpting of modern figures, I really like them. They are much better proportioned than many more recent figures, and they don’t have those crazily oversized weapons like Games Workshop figures. (It seemed for a while that later Ral Partha sculpts in the 1990′s tried to match the GW style instead of retaining their own, classic style. How many of use formed our impression of what a goblin, else, or dwarf looked like from these Ral Partha figures?) The Kickstarter has already achieved its goals, so this project is going to happen, and Iron Wind is a going concern, so I see little risk. And unlike the Bones figures, most of these are suitable both or dungeon crawls and unit-based battles; the Bones figures are suitable as heroes and for dungeon crawls but not for battles.
I still have some of these old Ral Partha figures painted and ready to game in a box with all my other minis. I used to think I had a lot of fantasy figures. A couple of years ago during a move, I opened up my box of fantasy figures and realized how few I have. There were my three or four packs of Ral Partha dwarfs, some of the goblins pictured above, and a few others. I used to run our miniatures games on two card tables covered by a wool Army blanket. If I run a minis game today, it usually involves at least six players on a 6×10 table. But those early games, when we and the hobby were new, were great fun.
So why haven’t I jumped in yet?
For me fantasy miniatures gaming has always been a side effort. I played fantasy games when I was in high school and college, because they were a natural extension of fantasy role playing games like Original D&D and Tunnels and Trolls. I even wrote a set of fantasy rules many moons ago.
I can’t figure out if I want these figures from a sense of an old man’s nostalgia for bygone days of innocence before the hobby grew up and became overrun with sock puppets and incessant complainers and haters. Or will I really paint all of them up and participate in — or run — big fantasy battles? Also, the price is kind of high for a Kickstarter campaign. Three dollars a piece for these Ral Partha re-casts seems high to me. Since the project has received all its required funding, I may just wait until they are available on the market and pick them up a unit at a time to see if I will actually paint and use them.
In any event, I applaud Iron Wind Metals for initiating this project and making these figures available again. This is a nice development for the hobby.