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"Review: Fantastic Worlds of Grenadier" Topic


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jpattern27 Feb 2005 9:34 a.m. PST

This is a review of Terence Gunn’s 2004 self-published book “The Fantastic Worlds of Grenadier”, which describes the 20-year history of Grenadier Models, Inc., from 1975 to 1995. The book is available as a buy-it-now item on Ebay for $24.95US, plus shipping. The book contains 60 pages, and includes a supplemental 43-page PDF file on CD.

The first page of the book introduces Andrew Chernak and Ray Rubin, Grenadier’s founders, and lays out the early history of the company. The rest of the book is broken down by decade, beginning with Grenadier’s first historical minis in 1975 (a 25mm American Revolution line) and wrapping up with the last Fantasy Warriors minis produced in early 1995. At GenCon in August 1996, “persons unknown” announced that Grenadier had folded and that Stratelibri had purchased their molds and masters.

The book contains brief descriptions of just about every line of historical, fantasy, and science fiction miniatures produced by Grenadier, as well as all of their published games like Journey, Seawolf, Fantasy Warriors, Kill Zone, and Dragon Lords. Especially interesting are the discussions of how various lines of minis came about, how licenses were obtained and lost, and how many of the licensed minis were then repackaged as generic minis.

There are dozens of images, most in color, of artwork from blister packs, boxed sets, games, RPG modules, catalogs, and ads. There are only a few photos of actual miniatures in the book, but the supplemental CD contains additional color and black-and-white pictures of literally hundreds of Grenadier miniatures, games, catalogs, bulletins, and ads. As the author notes, he put these on the CD so the reader can zoom in on them to see additional detail that would be difficult to see in the book.

As an example of the level of detail in the book, here’s the description for the Traveller line: “The long-awaited 25mm scale lineup of miniatures for the award-winning science-fiction role-playing game by Game Designer’s Workshop, Traveller, also appeared in 1983. Sculpted by Chernak and [John] Dennett, the lineup consisted of four boxed sets – Imperial Marines, Adventurers, Alien Animals, and Alien Mercenaries (the latter released in 1984). Each boxed set came with a game aid starter scenario and accessories. A line of 15mm miniatures was also announced but never manufactured, due to lack of interest. Worth noting are the figures in the Adventurers set: some were designed to initially be used in the Pinnacle Products Star Trek and Star Side sets; some, perhaps, conversions of the aforementioned.” This description is accompanied by a color photo of the cover of the Adventurers boxed set. The supplemental CD includes photos of the miniatures from all four boxed sets.

Some of the more obscure miniatures described and/or pictured include those for Gamma World, Dark Crystal, Secret Agent, Traveller, He-Man and the Masters of the Universe, Warbots, Champions, Lord of the Rings, DC Heroes, Twilight 2000, Paranoia, and Bladestorm. That's not an exhaustive list of the lines described in the book, just a representative sample to whet your appetite.

The decade-by-decade chapters are followed by a description, reprinted from a Grenadier Bulletin, of how a mini goes from idea, to design, to sculpt, to master, to finished mini. This is probably not news to anyone on TMP, but it is a good summary of the process.

Next is a series of interesting one-page interviews with Andrew Chernak, Doug Cowie, Sandra Garrity, William Watt, Bob Naismith, and Janine Bennett. They each talk about how they came to be associated with Grenadier, their favorite sculpts, what they’ve been doing since Grenadier folded – that sort of thing. The author wanted to interview other key Grenadier personnel, such as Ray Rubin and Mark Copplestone, but was unsuccessful.

The book wraps up with an appendix containing, in the author’s words, “the most comprehensive Grenadier Models product listings and release dates available”. I have to agree with that assessment; there are some gaps in the listings, but the author is aware of those gaps and explains why they’re there.

As the author notes, the book is not intended as a price guide; it does not provide any information on current market prices for Grenadier minis. Then again, considering the volatility of the used mini market, such a price guide would become out-of-date very quickly.

Every serious collector of Grenadier minis should own this book, and even casual collectors will find a lot to enjoy.

If you want to know if a specific line of minis is described or pictured in the book, let me know.

brave face27 Feb 2005 10:15 a.m. PST

Considering the huge amount of Fantasy Warriors sculpts Mark Copplestone did for Grenadier I am surprised there is no interview with him - -he can't be hard to find. Bad blood perhaps? Did the author mention why he couldn't interview Rubin and Copplestone?

Anyway thank-you very much for the review!

Cheers, David

powerfrog9927 Feb 2005 10:59 a.m. PST

Being a great Fan of the Grenadier models I will probably "need" this book.
But how to get it in Germany ?
The only flaw I can see is the missing Interview with Mark Copplestone.

Cheers Thomas

Neotacha27 Feb 2005 4:39 p.m. PST

Thanks for the review. I may need to pick this up at some point.

Arkhamhouse10127 Feb 2005 11:34 p.m. PST

Thanks, jpattern, for the terrific review! Much appreciated.

I'm Terence Gunn (arkhamhouse101), the author of 'The Fantastic Worlds Of Grenadier'.

As far as the Mark Copplestone interview, he agreed to answer my interview questions, which I emailed him. I would've even set up a phone interview, if he would've preferred it over an internet interview. However, he never did answer the questions, and he never got back to me, despite several follow-up emails to him. What he didn't or doesn't understand was that he - by not deciding to participate in the interview - simply disappointed fans of his work - fans who bought the book and who would've liked to have heard what he had to say about his time with Grenadier, and where and what he's doing now.

Is there bad blood between Doug Cowie, Mark Copplestone, and Nick Lund - the main Grenadier U.K. team - with the Grenadier U.S. team? Yes. There was then and there is now. I didn't go into it in the book (as the book isn't about petty politics, personalities, and squabbles), and I don't intend to now. However, I will say this: Doug Cowie - who openly told me his feelings (not the details) on the subject - still agreed to be interviewed and answer my questions; and he was a considerate, kind gentleman.

As far as interviews with Ray Rubin and John Dennett - the two most important people involved with Grenadier (in additon to Andrew Chernak) before Grenadier U.K. was even formed - they were nowhere to be found. Julie Guthrie and Bob Charrette either never received my inquiries, or simply were not interested in being interviewed. Nick Lund never returned my emails (if he ever received them); but I doubt he would've agreed to an interview, even if he did.

In any case, if anyone is interested in purchasing a copy of 'The Fantastic Worlds Of Grenadier', please drop me an email at terencegunn@yahoo.com. I only have 8 books left, and when they sell, there won't be another print run (as I have to pay for the run upfront myself) for several months. (I may or may not list these last 8 copies on eBay; eBay and Paypal's fees are killing me.) Or, if you'd prefer the first print run (one with some typos and a couple errors, and only a 22 page PDF, as opposed to 43) for $2 USD less than what I'm charging, you can purchase the book at nobleknight.com. Should you do the latter, and you get Aaron Leeder at Noble Knight to confirm your purchase by sending me an email with your address, I will be happy to send you - free of charge - the 43 page PDF on disc.

Cheers.

Sgt Slag11 Mar 2005 8:19 a.m. PST

Just got my book last night. Wow! What a trip down memory-lane, back 25 years. Some of the boxed set images reminded me of long-forgotten things. :-)

I haven't looked at the CD-ROM yet, but reading over halfway through the book, I am amazed at the quantity of miniatures produced, and how many I missed! I was, and I still am, a huge fan of Grenadier. These were some of the very first figures I saw, back when I was just starting out in AD&D, back in 1980. I remember some Heritage Skeletons, but they were very crude compared to Grenadier. I fondly remember the joy, and exhiliration I felt at looking at, and finally opening, the boxed sets. The packaging was top notch, and it really helped sell the mini's. It truly was a golden age for me, of which I have such fond memories. This book really takes me back. I now know so much which I previously knew only bits and pieces of the history. This book really helped me to understand the history of my hobby, and the dynamics of the industry during the past 24+ years. I just wish someone would do the same for Ral Partha, the other heavy hitter I loved so much. Cheers, Terrence! Well done!

chaingunr31 Jan 2006 2:05 p.m. PST

I own the book and agree with jpattern that it is very helpful and informative. I suppose it's a minor point, but the book it loaded with mispelled words. Apparently Mr. Gunn has never heard of spellcheck. I would think, if you were gonna publish a book and all, you might want to spellcheck the manuscript.

chaingunr31 Jan 2006 2:06 p.m. PST

LOL!!!!!

'is' not 'it' dagnabbit!

Hundvig Fezian01 Feb 2006 4:14 p.m. PST

Heh. Hoist by thine own petard, chaingunr? :)

Typos aside, I've seen a friend's copy of this book, and it really is a nice piece of history. The only real problem I see with it is the sheer amount of nearly impossible to find lead it showcases. It's maddening to know there's so much out there I'll never own…not that I'd find time to paint it anyway. Sigh.

Rich

Boreas02 Feb 2006 1:48 p.m. PST

I bought this book some time ago. As has already been mentioned, this is a must for any fantasy figure gamer or collector that has any level of respect for the old Grenadier lines. The writing is superb, the layout of the book makes it a real page-turner. The pictures on the CD rom are incredible as well. Do yourself a favor and get this before the last copy is gone. It is incredible!
Andy

chaingunr02 Feb 2006 2:41 p.m. PST

@Hundvig: That's the only way I'll have it!!

Seriously though, if you've seen it then you know what I mean.

Just keep combing e-bay man!!! For me it was helpful to get a better handle on what was available so I know what to look for but, yeah, who could possibly collect it all?

Javier Barriopedro aka DokZ02 Feb 2006 5:49 p.m. PST

Awwww!!!!

If there's no "angst und bile" I'm not getting the book, no way!

Where's the shock factor, the low punches, the "versatile" journalism, in a word the tabloidism we so crave in this day and age?!?!

I feel cheated. Especially knowing Nick and Mark, both, could have had a lot to say about Greandier.—good and bad.

I guess I'll never know… =Þ

P.S.: As soon as I have spare cash, I'm getting it. I hope there are books left in a week or so.

chaingunr03 Feb 2006 1:44 p.m. PST

I wouldn't worry about it, man, it doesn't look like it cost a whole lot to produce, if ya get my drift>;]

Probably published on-demand anyway…

Sgt Slag04 Feb 2006 7:41 a.m. PST

doesn't look like it cost a whole lot to produce, if ya get my drift>;]

Are you referring to the printing costs? POD is less expensive, but to create the work, itself, took a very great deal of time. I owned a copy of the book. It was full of photo's, and assembling them, let alone arranging, took considerable time.

With regards to the quality of the book, I found it to be quite decent. There wasn't a great deal of text, but I didn't purchase it for that. ;-) I bought it for the photo's, and the memories.

For those who have fond memories of Grenadier, this book is a pleasure. They were the second miniatures company I'd ever seen; Heritage was the first, and they were very crude, in comparison. Grenadier had some decent figures back in the early 1980's. I wouldn't be embarassed to field them on my gaming table today. Cheers!

chaingunr04 Feb 2006 2:15 p.m. PST

@Sgt: >>Are you referring to the printing costs?

Yes. "Produce" was a bad choice of words and your point's well taken. Mr. Gunn obviously put in quality hours doing the research and getting the work together. If I didn't have a fondness for Grenadier miniatures myself I wouldn't have bought the book. In all fairness though I've gotten a lot more play out of the enclosed CD. I'm pretty sure that's where I found out about GM's Cyberpunk Rastafarians which I then tracked down on e-bay. I DO use Grenadier (more like ex-Grenadier) miniatures in the present. The Future Warriors range still keeps pace with considerably more modern product IMHO.

patrickreceveur125 Jul 2006 3:55 a.m. PST

I made an interview of Mark C in the Ravage 30
i wrote 2 pages on Fantasy Warrior and Grenadier (mirliton) in an other Ravage

I can find the interview in english somewhere in my computer

maninthemoon09 Nov 2008 2:44 p.m. PST

"I feel cheated. Especially knowing Nick and Mark, both, could have had a lot to say about Greandier.—good and bad."

Maybe Terence Gunn will come out with an updated version int he future???

Sean in California

noraneko09 Nov 2008 4:16 p.m. PST

That would be nice. But I want him to write the Ral Partha book first. Ha!

returnofarkhamhouse10123 Oct 2009 2:20 a.m. PST

DELETED

Warbeads23 Oct 2009 2:31 a.m. PST

And we thank you for your work!

Gracias,

Glenn

Sgt Slag27 Oct 2009 7:14 a.m. PST

It was a beautiful work, not for the writing, so much, but for the photo's, and the history of what once was. It was great fun to go back in time, to my teen years, back when I was just getting into AD&D. Thank you for your efforts. It brought many smiles to my face, and it showed me just how ignorant I was back then, as I had no idea what all was being produced. Grenadier was one of the first fantasy miniatures companies I was exposed to, and they have always held a place of favor in my heart. Seeing inside the company as it was back then, was a real treat for me. Cheers!

returnofarkhamhouse10109 Nov 2009 9:17 p.m. PST

DELETED

returnofarkhamhouse10110 Nov 2009 10:40 p.m. PST

DELETED

Erik M11 Nov 2009 1:48 a.m. PST

I have my old catalogues and my memories. Still I would like that book too. Excellent work it seem and much wanted for us old farts.
And yes, my heart pumps for Ral Partha too.

Thanks Terence.

returnofarkhamhouse10111 Nov 2009 4:01 a.m. PST

DELETED

Mike Monaco11 Sep 2010 5:11 a.m. PST

Well, I'm really late to this party -- does any one have an up to date email for Terence?

Terence Gunn27 Apr 2016 8:38 p.m. PST

Hello, everyone! It's been a while, I know, but I am now working again on the 3rd and last revision to The Fantastic Worlds of Grenadier.

The basic structure of the book will remain similar, but there will be some layout changes, image additions and subtractions, numerous pages added, some narrative text changes, error corrections, additional product listings, and (hopefully) one or more additional interviews. Numerous images on the accompanying CD supplement (and others not) will be included in this last revision. And although last on my list of priorities, I would also like to change the front and back covers. More on the latter later :o)

As far as whether or not this last revision will be an electronic book (most likely in PDF form) or a hard copy depends entirely on whether or not I can find a publisher, or at least a financial backer, to cover the cost of printing, etc. Although I did not go the way of P.O.D. (print-on-demand) before, I have noticed there still is confusion about how P.O.D. works and how much money is required in advance to set this service up initially. And keep in mind – the pages in the physical book were glossy pages (best for colour) with 31 colour pages and front and back colour covers. In 2003 and 2004 I had a shoestring budget, but now I have what I would call an Instant Raman Noodle budget. LOL! Such will not be a deterrent for me to put this last revision together in an attractive and more expansive way, but – in regards to a hard copy version – the costs of printing, packaging, shipping, etc., of such is another aspect in itself. Regardless of what format the last revision of the book will manifest in, there is first and foremost considerable work to be done completing this revision; and until its completion, achieving this will remain my main focus.

Regarding the new layout of this book, I would be most appreciative of feedback from those who have read this book, and who appreciate the fairly accurate chronological textural narrative of Grenadier Models and its product history I provided. In this last revision of the book I am experimenting with breaking up chapters, often at the end or halfway, etc. of such chapters, by featuring numerous pages of assorted images of miniatures prefaced in the chronological narrative.

My question is: will implementing such be a distracting disruption to the flow of the chronological narrative or a post-narrative enhancement? Would the reader – who appreciates the chronological narrative – prefer such pages of images of miniatures towards the end of the book, just before the product appendix? Or would the reader prefer a little post reference during the chapters that mention such products? I understand that placing all such within the closest proximity of the chronological product(s) mentioned would be preferable, but I simply do not have enough images (enough quality images) to do a decent job of this, so this is not an option currently.

On a side note, for those who have been seeking me via a particular invalid email address once associated to me – I have changed my email address numerous times in the last decade, and did not include a forwarding address.

Hafen von Schlockenberg28 Apr 2016 5:27 p.m. PST

And to think I was worried about thread necromancy.

If I may make a suggestion,you might want to start a new thread for your next update,as many people only check the homepage posts. You can always link back here.

This one certainly raised a lot of people from the "dead"!

Terence Gunn29 Apr 2016 7:10 p.m. PST

Thanks, Hafen. I will do so. Some forums insist on adding to threads already in existence, but this one is most certainly dead! :o)

Sorry - only verified members can post on the forums.