Otherworld Demon Idol - A Blast from the Past | Print |  E-mail
Written by Ed Jendek   
Saturday, 19 May 2007
Ed takes a look at an eerily familiar demon idol miniature produced by Otherworld Miniatures. Take a look, it's like you've got the AD&D Players' Handbook in your lap.

Look who's back in town!

Some of the most vibrant communities in Dungeons and Dragons gaming today are those dedicated to preserving the game style of the 1970s and 1980s. The popularity of this 'old school' form of D&D is evidenced by the growing number of Web sites and Internet fan communities devoted to Out of Print (OOP) gaming. Given this resurgence of nostalgia, it's only natural for third-party gaming companies to take note and start releasing products geared toward this audience. The popular and surprisingly prolific Dungeon Crawl Classics line by Goodman Games reflects the size of this resurgent market.

Beyond the production of old-school rulebooks and adventures, the most obvious market for nostalgia gaming products lies in the production of miniatures with a suitably retro feel. Otherworld Miniatures is one of the small companies seeking to fill that niche. As its first release, OW has chosen one of the most iconic images from the first-edition Advanced Dungeons & Dragons game: the Demon Idol, as depicted by artist David A. Trampier on the cover of the Player's Handbook. This piece of art is so closely associated with many players' first experiences with Dungeons & Dragons, and role-playing games in general, that it has been reproduced numerous times by various artists throughout subsequent editions of the game.

The Otherworld Miniatures version of this icon is a worthy homage to Dave Trampier's original artwork. The piece, beautifully sculpted by Games Workshop alumnus Paul Muller, consists of a two-part resin casting rendered by Model Design Construction. Pieces comprise the main sculpture and a separately cast hands and brazier assembly. The fully built mini stands approximately 3.5-inches tall and 3-inches wide from elbow to elbow, making it quite imposing when placed next to regular adventurer-size 25mm miniatures.

We don't know about you, but we would be scared.

The castings are very good quality. There were no visible mold lines or flashing on any of the figures I worked with. For the most part, the pieces fit together nicely during assembly, with little filling needed. The attachment point is at the figures' wrists, allowing for easy adjustment and concealment of joints. In building five of these figures for various customers, I encountered only a single brazier piece that required cutting and sanding in order to get it to sit properly. In this case, it appeared that the problem was due to a slight miscasting of the left hand.

The Demon Idol figures are cast in a battleship-gray resin that is particularly easy to work with. Being the paranoid character that I am when it comes to possible breakage, I decided that wire reinforcements were necessary at the wrist joints. In installing these reinforcements, I was pleasantly surprised at how well the resin withstood drilling and trimming. In retrospect, I think the resin, far from the fragile stuff used in most aftermarket scale-model conversion kits, was sufficiently strong to withstand day-to-day handling, making wire reinforcements unnecessary.

Once the pieces were assembled, I cleaned each miniature with soap and water to remove any remaining mold release before priming. Once again, this was largely a matter of habit dictated by my experience with scale-model resin kits. These figures lacked the "greasy" texture that usually comes with resin-cast molds, but I thought it better to err on the side of caution. Painting was fairly straightforward; the figure's size and well-developed contours allow for a great deal of breathing room. The only problem area to paint is in the sculpture's "lap," where the brazier is a major obstruction. Luckily, these areas are largely obscured when the miniature is examined from most angles, so precision paint work isn't required.

The final touches that really bring the miniature to life are its "gemstone" eyes. Otherworld Miniatures was thoughtful enough to supply these in the form of two plastic gemstones, which are easily glued into the eye sockets. I found that these pseudo stones better attracted viewer attention if they were dipped in Future Floor Polish to bring up their shine before being attached to the face.

Painted up, this is a truly fearsome visage.

Overall, I was very impressed with the quality of this figure and would highly recommend it to anyone wanting a miniature version of the old AD&D Players Handbook artwork. It's sure to become a showpiece in any miniature collection.

The Demon Idol can be purchased online from Otherworld Miniatures via eBay (Seller ID: otherworld1) for �18 GBP. Those interested in other old-school-inspired miniatures should also check OW's new line of AD&D Monster Manual inspired giants, currently comprising the Hill, Stone and Frost giants. According to Otherworld, the Fire, Cloud and Storm giants are currently in the works for production, along with a set of pig-faced orcs and some trolls.

***All photos courtesy of Richard Scott, Otherworld Miniatures***

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