Friday, March 18, 2011

Beholder? I Hardly Know Her!

D&D Miniatures: Beholder Collector's Set
WOTC Dungeons & Dragons Miniatures Beholder Collector's Set
A while back I made a mega-post showing off all my D&D miniatures, and a follow-up focusing on my Star Wars minis.  I'll admit it's a bit nuts to be so into it, since they're just WOTC's pre-painted stuff. It's not like I'm showing off my creative paint jobs or anything.  I just enjoy collecting things, and taking pictures of my collection.

I admit that WOTC's minis are the fast food of miniatures. They're cheaply made and sometimes badly painted. But for some reason, I love them. I guess I just care more about quantity than quality. It really is the fastest way to build your collection. I have no desire to start painting my own minis, so I have to pick up pre-painted stuff. And I like the durability of plastic/rubber over metal; I can throw a bunch in a bag and don't have to worry about them grinding into each other.

So I was very disappointed a couple of months ago, when WOTC announced they were ending their minis line. From now on, it looks like they'll be concentrating on tokens, and only producing minis for specific special sets.  Now, I'm not against tokens. They're cheaper and easier to store. I think it would be great if all future modules came with a sheet of tokens representing all the monsters in that adventure. But in my opinion, tokens just don't have the personality of miniatures. I will miss them, but I have a pretty good collection to keep me busy.

Now a Sidetrack: I have a thing for eyeballs. I don't know what it is, but I just like them. Whenever I would design a monster as a kid, I would always make sure to give it lots of eyes. The first time I saw a beholder, it was in the cheesy 80s Dungeons and Dragons cartoon. If I remember correctly, they defeated it by making it look at a flower (in other words, they showed "beauty to the eye of the beholder"). Yeah... not in my campaign, TYVM. But while the cartoon might not have been the scariest possible introduction to the creature, it still instantly became one of my favorite monsters.

So even though it was hard to justify the price, I had to grab the Beholder Collector's Set before it disappears or skyrockets in price. I already had two Beholder minis, the basic Beholder ( from the Deathknell line) and the Beholder Ultimate Tyrant (from Legendary Evils). So this set brings my total Beholder count up to 6, which is probably more than I'll ever need. Yeah, like "need" has ever been a factor in this collection.

The set comes with four minis: Eye of Frost, Ghost Beholder, Eye of Shadow, and Eye Tyrant.   Each one is a repaint of an older Beholder mini.  It also includes a 4e stat card for each mini, and it all comes in a beautiful box.  (This box is much bolder than my older beholder holder.)

Box Closed

Box Open

Eye of Frost
Eye of Frost (repaint of Dungeon of Dread "Eye of Flame") I love the sculpt, and I think the paint job is pretty. It's the only one of the four with the "armored" style skin, which isn't really my preference, but it suits this mini. To me, normal skin looks weird in an icy environment - generally I think of ice creatures as either being covered in fur or having thick scales. And a hairy beholder would just look silly. I personally think this looks better as an Eye of Frost than it did as the Eye of Flame. If I ever do an ice-themed dungeon, this guy will be the boss.

Ghost Beholder
Ghost Beholder (repaint of Unhallowed "Beholder Lich") I like the translucent blue plastic; it really makes it ghostly. But in a way it also makes it look cheap. It's a decent sculpt, perfect for the ghost theme. This will make the perfect boss for an undead dungeon someday. Granted, if it's in the same campaign as the ice dungeon above, my players will think I'm nuts for beholders.

Eye of Shadow

Eye of Shadow (repaint of Deathknell "Beholder") Every time I read that, I just see "eye shadow", which female beholders must have to buy in gallons. This is my least favorite of the four. Once again, the translucence makes it look cheap, and in this case it almost looks like it's made of candy. Still, an invisibility-themed beholder could have some nice uses in a campaign. Wasn't there a story where the leader of the Thieves Guild turned out to be a beholder? If I ever do a shadow-themed dungeon... yada yada yada.

Eye Tyrant
Eye Tyrant (repaint of Dangerous Delves "Eye Tyrant")  This one is the least changed from the original mini.  Unless I'm missing something, this is pretty much the original Eye Tyrant mini with a slightly different tint.  Of the four in the set, this one is the most normal looking (for a beholder). Which is a good thing, IMO.  This set really needed a normal beholder in it, since the other three have such specific themes. I know I'd be a bit miffed if I'd payed for this set and didn't even get a beholder I could use for everyday beholder needs. And who doesn't have everyday beholder needs? For most buyers, this one will probably get more use than the other three. It's a decent enough sculpt. The expression's a little neutral, though. While the other three beholders look angry, the Eye Tyrant just looks kind of annoyed, maybe even a little bored.

 It's a pretty nifty set, but it's debatable whether it's worth paying $30 for four minis.  Still, speaking as a Beholder fan, it's a welcome addition to my collection.

All My Beholder Minis

Original Beholder Mini (Not in Beholder Collector's Set)

Separated at Birth?

Beholder Ultimate Tyrant (Not in Beholder Collector's Set)

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