Gaming Miniatures vs. Toy Figure Conversions: Giants.


I love re-purposing toy figures for gaming in miniatures battles.  It can be challenging, but it can also stretch my gaming money, allowing me to purchase even more figures to game with!  I thought I would do some comparison pages, beginning with Giants.  Dragons will be next, I hope...

Hill Giants:

Let's get to it, shall we?  We'll start off with AD&D Hill Giants.  I have some old, Grenadier Hill Giants, circa 1980.  I mixed them in with a set of plastic, 54mm Cave Men, available on, here.  For size comparisons, I selected a vinyl, D&D miniature, from the pre-painted, random packs they used to sell.  The D&D pre-paint figure, is a 28mm Human Barbarian.

On the far left, is a lead, Grenadier Hill Giant, female, kneeling.  To her right,
 are five figures from the Cave Man set, painted to match the lead female figure.

Here we see the unfortunate Human Barbarian, battling a Cave Man re-purposed as a Hill Giant.  Note that the Giant's shield is a metal extra I had lying in my bit bucket.  It seemed like a good, simple way to alter the Giant figure, as I have several of this particular casting.  The shield not only varies the figure, but it lowers his Armor Class as well -- poor little Barbarian Human...
Here is the same figure, sans shield.

This is the lovely Grenadier 'lady' Hill Giant, complete with obsidian knife, and a soft rock she intends to crack open the Barbarian's skull with, to make a Human omelet!  Poor bastard, he's probably distracted by her low-cut, short hemmed, bear skin!  He will never see it coming...  And perhaps that is a good thing?  Cooking for the Chieftain can be such hard work!  Maybe she can impress him, and better her station at the Steading?  Time will tell, but the Chieftain is known for his peculiar dietary preferences, and this Barbarian is just the thing for a hard working Cook!
Update, 02-13-2014:
Safari Ltd Powhatan Indians TOOB converted as Hill Giants:

I picked up some toy figures, around 54mm tall, depicting stone age, Native Americans, for use as additional Hill Giants; they can be seen here..  They came pre-painted, so all I did was to mount them on clear bases, and apply The Dip (Royal Walnut color) to them, which will be followed by a matte clear coat, to dull them down.  While they are not a perfect match to my other Hill Giant figures (they look a bit too advanced for Hill Giants), they are close enough.

The original figures, as they came from the manufacturer, painted.  Mine had brown,
stone-like bases, though, not green, as shown in this photo -- a minor detail, but worth noting.

Armed with a war club -- crude, but highly effective at scrambling heads to make a brain omellette.

While Hill Giants are not known to carry a Bow, I can't see why they wouldn't.
These figures show the full effects of The Dip (Royal Walnut).

I believe this figure is supposed to represent the Chief of the tribe.
He will be perfect for a Chieftain of the Hill Giant clan.

In Gary Gygax's module, "Steading of the Hill Giants", he had females, and young Hill Giants.
I won't be using them in my games, but I thought I would add them for completeness.

Youthful Hill Giants, carrying food stuffs.

The Chieftain's wife?  If I need her, this figure will work.

Tanning hides.  A perfect piece for the Chieftain's Great Hall.

A campfire is a perfect addition to the Chieftain's Great Hall.  Matter of fact, Gygax's
module had a giant-sized campfire in the center of the Chieftain's Great Hall -- perfect!

A total of 16 pieces, for around $12, just $0.75 per figure (counting the animal skins, and the fires, as figures;not counting those figures I did not use:  fox, deer, bear, dugout canoe).  Not bad, not bad at all.  To purchase 16 gaming miniatures of Hill Giants, would cost considerably more than this! They may not be perfect, but they are affordable, fast,  and effective.

Stone Giants:

Moving onward to Stone Giants, I have some examples from the now OOP Mega-Minies brand, as well as a Reaper model.  Both are gaming miniatures, but they show how widely the scale, and sculpting, can vary.  I will likely use the Reaper's taller figure, as a Chieftain, as they tend to be of larger, stronger sizes than their underlings.

Mega-Minies brand (OOP) Stone Giant.  Beefy, eh?
Reaper's Stone Giant figure:  beefy, and tall!  Superb in detail, design, and very usable in scale, as well.
Side by side, you can really see the size differences, as well as the styles.  Both are excellent figures.

Frost Giants:

Next up, the Giants from the frozen Northlands!  I pressed into service, some 60mm Viking figures, from Cherilea (search e-Bay for these lovely figure sets, and other, similar brands of 60mm Vikings).  They are injection-molded plastic, just like the 54mm Cave Men figures, only these have far greater detail.  They painted up easily, and quickly, and they will serve their Drow masters, well.  Very well, indeed...

Remember, this Giant is kneeling!  He also is looking down, which is perfect for combat with a puny Human Barbarian.
Here is a Frost Giant standing, considering how best to prepare this tasty morsel for his cold gullet!  He is standing at full height, and we can see just how tall these figures really are, compared to a 28mm Human figure.
Standing in a row, you can see just how big these 60mm
"Frost Giants" really are, compared to a puny, 28mm Human.

Fire Giants:

For Fire Giants, I have some from Mega-Minies (OOP), and some official, WotC D&D Fire Giants.  All are miniatures designed for gaming, but still, it is an interesting comparison.

Mega-Minies OOP Fire Giant figure.  Simple, easy to paint, and very imposing.  Yikes!
Here is a regular, Fire Giant, from WotC's D&D line.  Very similar in size to the Mega-Minies figure.
Two peas in a pod?  Well, almost!

Storm Giants:

I only have one example of this Giant type.  It is an older Ral Partha figure, but he is quite a bit larger than the rest, so it works quite well.

Let's hope the Storm Giant is in a talking mood!

Skeletal Giants:

These are toy figures, 54mm, from, again, here.  They are super-fast to paint up, with modest detail, and very serviceable.  Check these bad boys out...

Simple, but effective.  And oh-so-useful for your necromantically minded spell casters who want henchmen they won't have to pay for services rendered!  No questions, no complaints -- how much better could they be?
This is their best side.  They never looked better, even when they were clothed with flesh!
There are six different poses, three different from these -- check the link for all six poses.
"Ummm, I think I hear my mother calling me home for dinner!  Gotta go -- see ya, Bye!!!"

Side-by-Side:  How do they compare?

Let's take a look at these same figures, beside one another, to really get an idea of how they stack up.  Remember that in AD&D, the Giants vary in size, height, and weight, by quite a bit!  This point really is quite obvious, as seen in these photo's...

Hill, Frost, and Fire Giants.
Hill, Stone, and Fire Giants.
Hill, Frost, and Storm Giants.
Hill, Skeleton, and Storm Giants.  Note that the Skeleton is much taller than 54mm,
which is how big the Hill Giant figure is supposed to be.  Hmmm...

Concluding Thoughts...

I hope these images will help you decide if some of these figures, and toys, are suitable, and useful to you, in your games.  Perhaps you have an entirely different idea of how you can use them in your games.  Happy gaming!  Cheers!

1 comment:

  1. Very Good. The Elastolin company out of Germany used 60mm figures painted white as statues in 40mm pictures.I laughted those poor indians they thought they would be in school project but wound up dealing death! I cut the heads off Processed Plastic normal people and made them outlaws and saloon girls. Keep modeling,get a Dremel drill if you don't have one and a Paasche Hobbiest air brush and a cheap compressor from Harbor Freight (If you have those stores) A whole new world will open up to you. Keep practicing. Ralph Wagner P.S. I am stealing your goblin bat idea, I am also mounting them on rats and spiders.