Day 17: Grenadier’s AD&D Lead Figurines

grenadier denizens front

grenadier denizens sheet

grenadier dwellers frontgrenadier dwellers sheet

The AD&D lead figurines were probably were probably my favorite elements of Dungeons & Dragons along with the handbooks. I loved the cover art of these boxes, particularly the two pictured above: “Denizens of the Swamp” and “Dwellers Below.” I’ve always been taken by Lizardmen, Dopplegangers, Basilisks, and Beholders, and these boxes had all the coolest monsters. I got these sets at a local comic/hobby shop called The Incredible Pulp, and it was one of my favorite stores as a kid.  Not only did they have Joust and Galaxian in the way back, but the store itself was stock full of comics, figurines, and Dungeons & Dragons paraphernalia.

In fact, I discovered my first maker culture at this shop. There were all kinds of dioramas of dungeon scenes featuring painted AD&D figurines, and once I saw that I was hooked. People had spent time making these settings, and films like Clash of the Titans seemed to come alive in The Incredible Pulp, it was truly  a mecca for a young imagination. Once I had my figurines, I had to figure out how to paint them, and luckily I had an older neighbor, Billy White, who was a master figurine painter so I apid him $1 per figure to paint a few of them so I could get a sense of how he did it. It was worth every penney, because I could see how he used color on the lizardmen, and the way he worked in the brown around their outfits and the like. He was extremely gifted, and I while I painted a bunch of my own, they were no where near his masterpieces (lucky I had him paint my favorites like the lizardmen, beholder, and the doppleganger).

I loved these figurines, and while I lost all the originals, I actually spent a small fortune a number of years ago buying up a number of the original Grenadier sets, including the Halflings, Theives, Specialists, Dwarves, and Fighting Men.  As might be expected, the monsters were much harder to get on Ebay, and I am still searching for the Dwellers Below (which I have to beleive is the most difficult to fins) and Denizens of the Swamp. I will get them eventually, and my plan is to bust out all my AD&D stuff for Tessy and Miles in a 4 or 5 years, and introduce them to the literature as well as spend some serious time painting these figures that truly inspired a sense of wonder at the human imagination for me when I was 10 years old.

For more about AD&D figurines, check out this post from on Yoyorobbo’s “Back in ’81” blog, which is where I got the above images—thank you Yoyorobbo for putting this stuff out there, hope you don;t mind the filch.

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8 Responses to Day 17: Grenadier’s AD&D Lead Figurines

  1. Rachel Smith says:

    Ohh, yes, what a trip! I remember these. I had a bunch! I remember my favorite: an Amazon warrior with a huge bow. I’ve always liked archers, maybe that’s why. Thanks for the memory.

  2. Reverend says:

    Hey Rachel,

    I’ve seen some of the magic you and your son create at Faculty Academy, so perhaps you may want to surprise him with some half-orcs with bows this holiday 🙂

  3. I could never afford full sets, but collected a handful of single figures to represent my main characters.

    Now, Evan’s found the box of old D&D stuff and has been busily drawing his own maps so he can lead people through “aventures” some day. Sigh.

  4. Leonard Ratliff says:

    I have an enormous collection of rare and hard to find miniatures from Grenadier, Ral Partha etc. I am selling them to recover my costs on a job I did that they ended up not paying me and leaving town and was given boxes of miniatures as compensation. Having played for years when I was young I realized that these had solid value. I happen to have a complete, unused, still in the box with the original paperwork and all figures present and undamaged, Dwellers below in front of me right now. I was actually looking up the value of it when I came across this page. If you are interested in buying it we can work something out. Let me know. I can send you pictures of set and figures. You can contact me at [email protected] . Thanks.

  5. gena foster says:

    i have about 115 of these figures…i dont really know anything about them but let me know if your intrested in taking a look

  6. Quinn Carlington says:

    I have a few sets of figurines in boxes, one is a little beat up (the box) but the figures are not touched, so no paint. Also have some extra stuff along with that from back in the 80’s.

  7. Galen says:

    So nice to see these images. I had both of these sets, and a lead dragon.

    Really was a special time. 🙂

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