Gaming Miniatures vs. Toy Figure Conversions: Dragons

Dragons are probably the favorite fantasy miniature "monster" figure in all of RPG's, and tabletop war games.  They can be quite nice, and quite expensive.  They can also be very challenging to paint to a decent standard (sometimes...  see my page on converting a toy to an AD&D Copper Dragon on this Blog).

I thought it would be useful, and even helpful, to compare gaming Dragon miniatures, alongside of some much less expensive, toy Dragons from Safari Ltd. (there are others available from Schleich, Papo, and others, but I favor the Safari Ltd., for my collection, so that is what I have in my comparisons).  I also have several Dragons from Mage Knight (long OOP), so I added them into this comparison, as they can still be found on e-Bay, and other sites, for gamers to purchase for their games, should they desire them.

I used my newly minted Scale to give a constant measuring stick to compare them against -- photographing them with the same camera, at the same distance, would show sizes better, but it would miss details, which can be captured by moving the camera closer to the figures.  Just remember to look at the Scale's numbers, in the background of each photo, to get a better idea of sizes!  I've also tacked on one photo showing two Human Wizard figures, one is 25mm, and the other is around 30mm, standing side by side.

Now, on with the comparison photo's...

Safari Ltd.'s Ice Dragon ($13.49 + S/H) -- using in AD&D for a Huge Ancient White Dragon (they also have a 'glow-in-the-dark', White Snow Dragon, $12.98 + S/H -- same figure, different paint job).

This is an old, OOP (official AD&DRal Partha, metal gaming miniature of a White Dragon -- it is actually quite small, but highly detailed, and professionally painted by Michael Mathews.  Looks superb, but size is a bit of an issue, for me.
Reaper Bones 'Black' Dragon.  Not particularly large, so not a figure to represent a Huge, Ancient Worm, but it will work as a Young Adult, or even an Adult Dragon.  Nice figure, just not as large as I would like, but entirely workable for my games.

Safari Ltd.'s Twilight Dragon ($14.15 + S/H).  Factory paint job, nothing changed.  Note that they make this same toy Dragon in a classic Green Dragon paint scheme, same price, same casting from the same molds -- just don't have a Green, and a Black Dragon, meet, and people will likely never notice they're identical, outside of paint!
An OOP Ral Partha Gold Dragon figure, professionally painted by Michael Mathews.

Papo Dragon of the Rising Sun ($15.52 + S/H) -- factory paint, no changes made.
OOP Ral Partha Copper Dragon metal miniature, professionally painted by Michael Mathews.

Safari Ltd.'s Swamp Dragon ($10.17 + S/H), re-painted by me, as a Copper Dragon.
OOP Ral Partha Bronze Dragon, professionally painted by Michael Mathews.

Reaper Bones Shadow Dragon ($11.99 + S/H) being painted by me, as a Bronze Dragon -- not even close to finishing the painting (next in the Dragon painting queue, hope to have it finished in the next month...)

Safari Ltd.'s Golden Dragon ($13.59 + S/H) which will be re-painted as a Huge Ancient Bronze Dragon, by the author -- have not started yet, but I hope to finish it within the month (just finished painting the Reaper Black Dragon, with the Reaper Bronze Dragon, above, next in the Dragon queue...  This Worm may take a bit longer to reach the painting table; 11-29-13).
Safari Ltd's Four Headed Orange Dragon ($12.88 + S/H).

Safari Ltd's Mountain Dragon ($15.46 + S/H) being used as an AD&D Red Dragon, factory paint untouched.

OOP Ral Partha Green Dragon miniature -- compare this, size-wise, to the Safari Ltd. Black Dragon, above, which is also sold with a very good, green paint scheme (Forest Dragon, $13.49 + S/H).
Mage Knight's Silver Dragon figure (check e-Bay); factory paint, untouched.
Two Human figures, on the same Scale, to give an idea of the true size of the Dragon figures, above...
Note that the left Wizard, is 25mm scale, while the Wizard on the right, is 30mm scale.

Please remember that the miniatures Dragon figures, come un-painted, and unassembled.  The toy Dragon figures come fully assembled, with a very decent factory paint job (they can be quite easy to re-paint, if desired!), and they are made of plastic, which is exceptionally durable.  The miniatures' prices tend to be much higher on top of the paint, and assembly requirements.  All in all, I believe the toy companies are giving the miniatures companies some very stiff competition, among fantasy gamers!  Your mileage may vary.  Cheers!


  1. Hey, thanks for the plug! I had forgotten about doing those for you.

  2. They're still gorgeous figures, fantastic paint jobs. Unfortunately, they are really small for 2nd Ed. AD&D Dragons. The sculpts are great, but they can only represent young Dragons because of their sizes. That's alright, though, because now I can show young, and old Dragons, side by side. Cheers!