Ral Partha Enterprises

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Ral Partha Enterprises, Inc.
Industry Wargaming
Role-playing games
Fate Core became Iron Wind Metals, LLC in 2001
Successor(s) Iron Wind Metals, LLC
Founded 1975
Defunct 2001
Headquarters Cincinnati, Ohio, United States
Key people Sculptors:
Tom Meier
Dennis Mize
Julie Guthrie
Robert N. Charrette
Sandra Garrity
Richard Kerr
Dave Summers
Presidents:
Glenn E. Kidd
Chuck Crain
Jack Hesselbrock
Products miniature figures

Ral Partha Enterprises, Inc. of Cincinnati, Ohio produced miniature figures in 25 mm, 30 mm, 15 mm, and 54 mm scale from 1975 to 2001. Their products, manufactured by spin-casting, depicted soldiers, adventurers, and monsters inspired by history and fiction. The miniatures were sold at gaming conventions, in hobby shops, and by mail order for use in role playing games, wargaming, dioramas, competitive painting, and collecting. The company was founded by a group of wargamers around the talents of Tom Meier, a 16-year-old sculptor. The company grew with the increasing popularity of board and role-playing games. By 1982 Ral Partha products were sold worldwide.[1] Ral Partha is best known for its historical figures, Fantasy Collector's series, and miniatures produced for TSR, Inc.'s Advanced Dungeons & Dragons and FASA's BattleTech games.

Tom Meier became a freelance sculptor in 1988, and retains rights to much of his work for Ral Partha. He currently works on commission and operates Thunderbolt Mountain Miniatures, a boutique company for pet projects involving dioramas, 54 mm figurines, and a new series of elves and goblins. During its 26-year history Ral Partha employed more than two dozen sculptors, of whom the most prolific were Dennis Mize, Julie Guthrie, Sandra Garrity, Robert N. Charrette, and Dave Summers. The owners of Ral Partha Enterprises, Inc. sold the company to FASA in 1998, and was one of the assets acquired by WizKids in 2000. The following year Ral Partha was recast as Iron Wind Metals, LLC of Cincinnati, a company that continues to produce many of the old lines.

Licensees and distributors[edit]

As early as 1979 Citadel Miniatures acquired the license to produce and distribute Ral Partha figures in Britain.[2][3] Citadel Miniatures attempted to establish a U.S. division in 1982 with Ral Partha as the local manufacturer.[4][5] By 1984 the Citadel Miniatures were brought under the Ral Partha logo and marketed as Ral Partha Imports.[6] In 1985 the import lines included the FTx-xx Fantasy Tribes, FAx-xx Fantasy Adventurer, FF/31-xxx Fiend Factory, FS/32-xx Fantasy Special, the popular WF-xx Weird Fantasy series with whimsical themes, FMM-xx Fantasy Mysterious Miniatures, and LB-xx Tabletop's Laser Burn line of space marines. Historical lines included Romans AR-xx, Dark Ages DA-xx, Medievals M-xxx and Samurai SAM-xx.[7][note 1] At least two figures (FTT 3 Troll hurling rock and FTT 4 Troll in chainmail with scimitar) were sculpted by Tom Meier while visiting England in 1981.[8]

The co-operative relationship between Ral Partha and Citadel Miniatures dissolved in the mid-1980s. As early as 1984 Ral Partha had begun replacing the Citadel figures in the "Imports" line with new sculpts.[9] In 1986 Minifigs gained the rights to manufacture and distribute their fantasy range in Britain.[10] The following year Ral Partha dropped Citadel Miniatures' historical lines and began to distribute Denizen Miniatures' dwarves (33-xxx), orcs (34-xxx), 36-xxx Legion of the Damned skeletons, and 39-xxx Fantastic Adventurers.[11]

In 1980 Ral Partha licensed select designs to Rawcliffe Pewter for the giftware market.[12] That same year Ral Partha established a licensing agreement with RAFM, a miniatures manufacturer in Paris, Ontario, Canada.[13] It was probably about that time, and at least by 1989, that Jeux Descartes of Paris gained the rights to distribute Ral Partha figures in continental Europe.[14][15] Some early Ral Partha advertisements erroneously give the name as "Jeaux Descartes." The relationship was on-going in 1997,[16] but was probably severed when FASA purchased Ral Partha the following year. In Australia, Ral Partha products were distributed by Military Simulations of Moorabbin, Victoria and then Bentleigh, Victoria.

Product codes[edit]

Only a product code marked Ral Partha's early packaging and customers required a contemporary catalog in order to identify the miniature. In late 1979 the company switched from product codes that used descriptive letter and number codes to a numeric system. For example, in the series Personalities and Things that Go Bump in the Night, ES-001 Evil Wizard, casting spell became 01-001, and the first figure of the 15th century Renaissance series 1501 Command Set became 54-001.[17][18][19] The change was not universal. Ral Partha used letter codes for Citadel Miniatures and Denizen Miniatures in their line of Ral Partha Imports until 1992.[4][6][20] Ral Partha's international partners used their own systems. RAFM of Canada used the descriptive product codes as late as 1984.[21] Jeux Descartes initially used Ral Partha's numeric codes on packaging of their own design, but new lines were introduced selectively and given codes sequential to their own series.

Throughout the company's history, figures were modified to improve reproducibility, unpopular designs were re-sculpted, and existing product codes were used for new designs. A common cause of modification was a level of detail or animation which challenged the casting technology. An industry-wide reorientation of scale from 25 mm to 30 mm in the late 1990s, and interest in removing artist's royalties from lines, also prompted new sculpts of existing lines.

Few of Ral Partha's miniatures were marked with product codes and the company's advertisements and catalogs remain a critical resource for collectors. Advertisements by Ral Partha and its British and Canadian partners appear in most editions of TSR, Inc.'s Dragon and Games Workshop's White Dwarf magazines. Product catalogs were published annually from 1978 to 1997, and in 2000. The 1998 and 1999 catalogs were combined into a single issue. Ral Partha also released Christmas catalogs in 1982 and 1983, an Imports catalog in 1984, historical miniatures catalogs in 1985 and 1996, a 2000 Direct Mail Catalog, and sporadically released updated order forms which listed all the figures in production.

Company history[edit]

Ral Partha Enterprises was formed in 1975 when Glenn E. Kidd, Tom Meier and Rich Smethurst set out to produce Meier's sculptures. Meier pioneered the sculpture of miniatures in a two-part Epoxy putty designed for automotive repair.[22] The epoxy held detail better than traditional media and rest of the miniature industry adopted its use. When mixed together, the blue and yellow components of the putty formed a green putty which gave rise to the term "Greens" for the original artists work. Finding themselves short of funds, the three original owners took on Marc Rubin, Chuck Crain, and Jack Hesselbrock as partners.[23] The six investors pooled USD $3,000 to purchase the equipment necessary to produce Meier's sculptures.[1]

The company had its origins in the established hobby of historical war-gaming, but the company's rapid growth was fostered by the popularity of role-playing games. The company was named after Ral-Partha a particularly successful wizard character created by Tom's young friend John Winkler. The character was a notoriously hard bargainer whose shrewdness was exemplified by the catch phrase "What's it worth to you?" It was hoped that the fledgling company would have similar good fortune.[1][24] Like their popular line of "3-stage characters," Ral Partha has had a trio of aspects. The first was a Winkler's gaming character, depicted as ES-001 Evil Wizard, casting spell. "Ral" Winkler himself became one of the company's chief casters. Lastly, "Ral" was the company's totemic progenitor credited with collaborative projects and depicted as 10–412 Lord of the Balrogs.[1][25][26]

Products were originally cast in the basement of 3642 Hyde Park Avenue, in the Fairfax neighborhood of Cincinnati, the home of the company's first president, Glenn E. Kidd.[23][25][27] In the spring of 1978, the company established a factory at 3726 Lonsdale Street in the Norwood section of Cincinnati.[28] At the time of the move, the address was erroneously rendered as 2732[17] and 2736 Lonsdale,[24] but there is no 2700 block of that street. The cover of the 1978 product catalog was corrected by applying small stickers with the correct address. Those stickers have typically fallen off in the intervening years. By November 1980 Ral Partha moved to a larger industrial space at 5938 Carthage Court, where it remained until 2001.[19][29][30]

Ral Partha's formative years were the late 1970s, when the company was a part-time basement enterprise producing the art of a teenage sculptor for a nascent gaming market. In 1979, the company became a full-time endeavor with industrial space and two professional sculptors designing products for multiple themes made popular by the rapidly expanding gaming market. The number of sculptors and catalog of miniatures grew rapidly. In the mid-1980s, the preponderance of work moved from Ral Partha's sculptors' lines to manufacturing for nationally marketed games. In the short run the move was economically beneficial. However, the lack of product diversity left the company vulnerable to the marketing decisions of clients for whom miniatures were a minor interest. Ral Partha's final years were spent as a subsidiary of large game producers, until the core of the company was recast as Iron Wind Metals in 2001.

Basement enterprise, 1975–1978[edit]

The young company received early encouragement from the sale of its entire stock at Gen Con 1975, a convention of gaming enthusiasts.[25] Ral Partha's lines and customer base grew quickly and they regularly won multiple categories of the Origins Award.[31] Ral Partha's figures were popular with historical wargamers, but fans of fantasy themed role-playing games like TSR Inc.'s Dungeons & Dragons accounted for the majority of their sales.[12] Meier's sculpts tended to carry greater detail than many of his contemporaries, but some early products presented challenges to the casting process.[32]

One of Tom Meier's earliest lines was the Fantasy Line, which included about two dozen figures in late 1976.[27][32] Meier's ES18 Adventuress is credited as being the first female character for role-playing games.[33] The fantasy line was renamed ES/01-xxx Personalities and Things that Go Bump in the Night in 1978, and Meier augmented the line throughout the 1980s.[11][17][26][34][35][36][37]

As early as 1976, Meier had begun a series of soldiers from Classical antiquity which were collected together as AN/35-xxx The Hoplites.[38] By 1978 the line was essentially complete and included Greeks, Carthaginians, Persians, Gauls, Early Republic Romans and Macedonians.[17] Another series begun by Meier in 1976 was a line of 11th-century knights and footmen called 11/42-xxx 1200 A.D..[27] The series included Vikings, English, French, Spanish, Moorish, Mongol, and Sung Chinese soldiers.[17]

Ral Partha put E-xxx Wizards, Warriors and Warlocks into production in 1976, 1977, and 1979.[17][18] The line included some of Meier's earliest work and much of it was executed in the style of Heritage Models, for whom he had briefly worked.[39] The E-xxx series was retired in 1980, but portions of it were re-released in 1995 as part of the 19-xxx Ral Partha Remembered line commemorating the company's 20th anniversary.[19]

In 1978 Ral Partha acquired The Old Guard's Legions of the Petal Throne line of figures for TSR Inc.'s Empire of the Petal Throne, a role-playing game based on M. A. R. Barker's world of Tékumel.[17][27] Ral Partha retained the services of William Murray, the line's sculptor. Tom Meier and Brian Apple made contributions to the series (T, Y, P, M, NH-xxx) in 1979, but it was discontinued later that year.[18][19]

As early as 1978, Ral Partha produced three series of 15 mm historical miniatures sculpted by George Freeman of Dayton, Ohio. They included Napoleonic-era figures N-xxx Days of the Empire, AW-xxx American Civil War, and AK-xxx Desert Rats, modeling the North African Campaign of World War II. Ann Gallup also contributed an AC-xxx series to the American Civil War line.[17] In 1979 Ral Partha added Freeman's 25 mm W-xxx Waterloo Collector's Series,[18] but all of Freeman and Gallup's figures were discontinued in 1980.[19] George Freeman's 15mm Napoleonics figures are currently available from Monday Knight Productions (see external links below).

Ral Partha's first venture into science fiction was Meier's 1978 line of space marines and space aliens GG-xxx Galactic Grenadiers: Strike Force Alpha. Their release was in tandem with Gamescience's Strike Team Alpha, a set designed by Michael Scott Kurtick for Meier's Galactic Grenadiers.[40][41] Other early lines included collectible 54 mm figures called S/97-xxx Partha Personalities' and lines of 25 mm dungeon accessories (D/97-xxx) and weapons (D/97-5xx).[17]

Producer of signature lines, 1979–1987[edit]

In the summer of 1978, Meier began reworking the themes of the E-xxx series to create the CS/02-xxx Fantasy Collectors line of elves.[42] Meier's lines were successful and he began sculpting full-time in 1979. The addition of dwarves in 1979 and goblins in 1980 almost entirely replaced the E-xxx series.[18][19] Meier added halfings in 1982 and began a series of fantasy vehicles. The first was 02–030 Dwarf Steam Cannon, released in 1983. Meier's contribution to the series was completed when 02-078 The Warmachine and 02-020 The Elf Chariot were put into production in 1984.[34][35][36]

Ral Partha hired Dennis Mize in 1979. With two full-time sculptors, Ral Partha's product lines increased rapidly. Mize's first project was H-xxx Royal Armies of the Hyborean Age to accompany a Fantasy Games Unlimited game of the same name, based on the world of Robert E. Howard's Conan the Barbarian.[18] The Hyborean line was dropped in 1980, and Mize introduced 53-7xx The Samurai and a line of 15mm fantasy soldiers called 05-xxx Armies of Myth and Legend.[19] His popular CN/13-xxx Children of the Night was begun by 1982 and expanded over the course of the next two years.[34][35][36] In 1982 Mize and Meier created figures for small thematic box sets called 98-xxx The Adventurers.[34][43] Mize also added to and revised Meier's The Hoplites and 1200 A.D. lines in 1984.[36]

In 1979, Meier introduced 15/54-xxx Condotitieri, a line of Renaissance-era figures.[18] The first offerings were Imperialists, to which he added Swiss and Turks in 1980.[19] Meier expanded the historical ranges with the 1983 addition of 88-xxx The Colonials.[35] Sculpts for the Anglo-Zulu War were augmented in 1984 with figures for the Northwest Frontier and the Sudan Campaign in 1985.[7][36]

Ral Partha entered the game market in 1980 with the release of 99–001 Witch's Caldron, 99-002 Caverns Deep, 99-003 Final Frontier, and 99-004 Galactic Grenadiers, skirmish games designed by Glenn E. Kidd and Marc Rubin. "Galactic Grenadiers" included miniatures from the GG-xxx series. 15 mm figures from Final Frontiers were released in 1982 as 08-xxx Star Warriors.[34] By 1982, the presidency of the company passed from Glenn E. Kidd to Jack Hesselbrock.[1] The lines of 15 mm fantasy figures were taken out of production and the figures from the Caverns Deep and Witch's Cauldron games were incorporated into 98-xxx The Adventurers in 1983.[35] Ral Partha returned to the board game market in 1985 when they joined with Leggett Games Inc. to publish Fortress, a skirmish-based board game which incorporated lead Ral Partha miniatures.[44] That same year the company launched 77-xxx Partha Paints and Dragonscale metallic cremes which were packaged with dragon figures.[37]

Julie Guthrie began freelance sculpting for Ral Partha in 1983. Her first line was the 02-9xx All Things Dark and Dangerous. She worked with Meier and Mize on 98-xxx The Adventurers.[35] Later that year, box sets of 10-3xx The Best of Ral Partha and Julie Guthrie's 96-xxx Elfquest figures for Chasosium's Elfquest game were put into production.[45] Guthrie expanded the All Things Dark and Dangerous line in 1984, 1985, and 1986. In 1984 she joined Meier and Mize to develop a short series of miniatures (95-xxx) for Nova Games' Lost Worlds series of combat books.[26][36][37] In 1985 Guthrie contributed two sculpts of unicorns to PO-3xx Once Upon a Time series designed for the giftware market, cast in lead-free alloy, and marketed as "Partha Pewter" by Rawcliffe Pewter.[46] Their work with pewter allowed Ral Partha's mold-makers to develop the technical expertise necessary to transition to non-lead alloys in the early 1990s.

Bob Charrette joined Ral Partha in 1984 and contributed to Meier's The Hoplites, 1200 A.D., and CS/02-xxx Collector Series lines.[36] In 1985, Charrette inaugurated figures for Chaosium's RuneQuest and a line of pulp adventurers. The line was initially called "20th Century Plus", but was later renamed 20-xxx The Roaring Twenties.[37] Charrette revisited a line of figures he sculpted in 1979 to accompany Fantasy Games Unlimited's Gangster!.[47][48][49] Charrette updated the line to include new cinematic themes such as the intrepid archaeologist. In 1986 Charrette introduced 53-9xx Bushido, a line of miniatures for Bushido, a game he authored and sculpted a line of figures for Fantasy Games Unlimited.[26][48][50]

In 1986 Ral Partha sculptors crafted 01-3xx 3-Stage Characters which consisted of three aspects with increasing amounts of arms and armor to represent a single adventurer's game career.[26] The line was folded into the ES/01-xxx line in 1987.[11] Because of their popularity with collectors and role-players, they regained status as a separate line and a place of prominence in the 1991 and subsequent catalogs.[15]

At the same time that integrated campaign worlds like Games Workshop's Warhammer Fantasy Battle were showing early success, Ral Partha introduced the "Chaos Wars" theme into their 1986 and 1987 product lines.[11][26] It was the first step toward unifying a collection of disparate themes into an integrated brand. In the 1986 catalog sculptors were no longer credited and a mythical "Ral Partha" rather than the president of the company addressed customers in the prologue.[26] At about that same time, the Ral Partha staff had developed a four-page Rules According to Ral for medieval battles. A fantasy version by Bob Charrette was released in 1987 as part of a boxed set Rules According to Ral: Chaos Wars.[26][50][51][52] The Chaos Wars theme collected together numerous existing products, many from Meier's ES/01-xxx line, and their packaging was marked with stickers. The new initiative was to include 10-2xx Free Companies of Chaos Wars box sets, but they never materialized and the figures were appended to the CS/02-xxx Collector's Series. Among these sets were Charrette's popular Fangs of Fury beastmen, Tom Meier's Korg's Killers orcs, and Meier's Starbrow's Select elves. Having never fully materialized, the Chaos Wars theme was dropped in 1988 in order to give necessary attention to producing official miniatures for TSR, Inc.'s Advanced Dungeons & Dragons game.

Ral Partha began producing a line of miniature robot war machines in 1985. The miniatures were for a game that was first called "Battledroids" and renamed BattleTech in 1986, for FASA's game of the same name.[26] It was the beginning of a permanent relationship between the two companies that would eventually lead to Ral Partha's sale to FASA. Battletech products remain a leading product of Ral Partha's successor, Iron Wind Metals.

Producer of licensed lines, 1988–1995[edit]

In 1988 Meier began his own company, Thunderbolt Mountain Miniatures, but continued to do freelance work for Ral Partha.[12] Company president Chuck Crain hired Sandra L. Garrity, Dave Summers, and Richard Kerr as full-time sculptors[15][53][54] to produce an official line of monsters and personalities for AD&D figures.[31] The earliest figures included 10-56x Battlesystem Brigades (25 mm) which included an entire 25 mm military unit in for tabletop wargames, and adventurers (11-0xx) and monsters (11-4xx) for role-playing games.[15] The following year Ral Partha launched 11-9xx Battlesystem Brigades (15 mm), 10-5xx Dragonlance and Dungeons & Dragons boxed sets, and figures for the 11-5xx Ravenloft, 10-54x Dark Sun boxed sets and additions to the existing lines. The 11-05x, 11-06x AD&D Personalities of heroes and villains was released in 1994, and additional figures for the Planescape, Ravenloft, and Forgotten Realms game worlds followed in 1995.[55] By 1997 Ral Partha had also added figures for TSR, Inc.'s Dark Sun, Council of Wyrms, and Birthright game worlds.[16] The breadth and earning potential of the Dungeons & Dragons franchise drove new releases and Ral Partha scrambled to acquire the sculpting talents of British and American sculptors, including Nick Bibby, Jeff Wilhelm, Bob Olley, Chris Atkin, Walter Vail, John M. Garrity, and Jim Johnson by 1992, and Chis Fitzpatrick and Geoff Valley by 1995.[20][55]

By 1991 the 20-xxx BattleTech line had grown to include eleven box sets, and more than one hundred 'Mechs, Aerospace fighters, and ground vehicles. Ral Partha also produced 25 mm 20-9xx Mechwarriors depicting pilots, mechanics and guards for role-playing in the BattleTech game world. That same year, Ral Partha sculptors had begun crafting figures for FASA's game Shadowrun, a role-playing game set in a futuristic cyber-world.[15][31] Shadowrun miniatures had previously been produced by Grenadier Miniatures. Ral Partha introduced their sculpts (20-5xx Shadowrun) in 1992.[20]

The 12-xxx The All American Line of fighters, orcs, magic-users, undead, dwarves, and elves was released in 1991 and 1992.[15][20] The name of the line appears to refer to the fact that all the figures were sculpted Ral Partha's four staff sculptors. Other new lines included Richard Kerr's 1992 futuristic tanks for Steve Jackson Games' Ogre[31] and the introduction of the "69-xxx" series for White Wolf, Inc.'s Werewolf: The Apocalypse and Vampire: The Masquerade in late 1993.[56] Figures for White Wolf, Inc.'s Mage: The Ascension followed soon after. In 1994 Dennis Mize conceptualized and sculpted 01-7xx Beastmasters, a line of carnivores and their trainers. The line was expanded the following year, but wasn't completed until 1998.[55][57] In 1995 Ral Partha's sculptors crafted figures for Steve Jackson Games' Space Knight, and dioramas called Sculptors' Row, The Sterling Collection, and "Encounters of the Imagination.[55]

Initially, Ral Partha figures were cast from lead and tin alloy, but in 1993 New York legislators nearly passed a public health bill barring the use of lead in toys and miniatures.[58] Despite the additional cost, numerous manufacturers anticipated parental concerns, similar legislation in other states, workplace safety, and began using white metal alloys. Ral Partha's staff had previously developed a lead-free alloy for their "Partha Pewter," a line of collectible figurines designed for the giftware market. In September 1993 they began using a white metal alloy they called Ralidium in all their products [59] and its use marks a clear benchmark for dating old figures. The move away from lead was promoted in advertisements and bright red stickers on existing packaging. In time, New York Governor Mario Cuomo relented to hobbyists' concerns and exempted miniatures from the state's Public Health Law.[60] However, the company never went back to lead. Ral Partha correctly anticipated the industry's movement away from lead, but the associated price increases came at a time when miniatures and role playing games were being eclipsed by collectible card games like Wizards of the Coast's 1993 hit Magic: The Gathering. In 1995 the company experimented with Partha Plastics.[55][61] The move was made well after Citadel Miniatures' successful introduction of plastic and part-plastic figures, but they were not popular with Ral Partha's older customer base.

The trouble with wizards, 1996–2001[edit]

During Jack Hesselbrock's second term as president, Ral Partha faced a number of licensing setbacks. Steve Jackson Games' Ogre miniatures and all three White Wolf lines were discontinued in 1996 and Bob Charrette's 18-xxx Runequest figures were discontinued the following year.[16][62] In 1997 Wizards of the Coast acquired TSR, Inc. and with it, control of the rights to Dungeons & Dragons miniatures.[63] After an extension to their contract, Wizards of the Coast did not renew Ral Partha's license for Advanced Dungeons & Dragons miniatures and the figures went out of production at the end of 1998[61][64] These miniatures are highly sought after by collectors who believe that Wizards of the Coast had ordered that the master molds and all remaining product to have been destroyed.

The loss of Dungeons & Dragons and other licenses meant that FASA's BattleTech figures became the majority of Ral Partha's revenue. Under threat of also losing those lines and financial difficulties, the owners of Ral Partha sold the company in 1998 to FASA and Lanier Hurdle and Mike Hurdle, owners of Zocchi Distribution, a hobby shop supplier.[65] FASA gained sole ownership in the spring of 1999,[65] and Ral Partha began to produce miniatures for FASA's Crimson Skies, Crucible: Conquest of the Final Realm, and VOR: The Maelstrom games.[30] No sooner were these miniatures in stores when FASA ceased production of all their games.[66]

A casualty of the Ral Partha sale was a set of miniature rules developed by an outside work group called Ral Partha Publishing. The game was first introduced in the 1997 Ral Partha catalog flier as 14-001 Bloodstorm. The project was retitled Battlestorm and published later that year.[61][67] The game was advertised as the first volume of the "Fables Gamesystem," but no subsequent installments were issued.[57]

In January 2001 WizKids acquired the bulk of Ral Partha's product lines as part of their purchase of FASA's BattleTech and Shadowrun games.[63] WizKids purchased the rights to some figures from Ral Partha sculptors and the remainder reverted to the artist. Meier retained his 15/54-xxx Condotitieri, 88-xxx The Colonials, and most of the CS/02-xxx Fantasy Collectors lines.[68] Charrette remained in possession of his 53-9xx Bushido figures.[50] In March 2001 Ral Partha began producing collectible metal versions of the WizKids 64-figure Mage Knight Rebellion set.[69][70]

Iron Wind Metals, 2001–present[edit]

In late 2001 Ral Partha was spun off from WizKids and renamed Iron Wind Metals, LLC, with longtime general manager Michael Noe as president.[71] Iron Wind Metals reestablished production with Mark Rubin, an original owner, and much of the same staff, molds, and license agreements. They continue to use the name Ral Partha in reference to the early designs and produce figures under license from Ral Partha-era sculptors.

Sculptors, artists and mold-makers[edit]

Ral Partha's sculptors, artists, and mold-makers and the years in which they worked for the company:[7][11][16][17][18][19][26][34][35][36][37][45]

Awards[edit]

Origins Awards / H.G. Wells Awards[31]

  • 1977 – Best Fantasy Figure Series (ES/01-xxx Fantasy Line Tom Meier)
  • 1978 – Best Historical Figure Series (11/42-xxx 1200 A.D. Tom Meier)
  • 1978 – Best Fantasy or Science Fiction Figure Series – Fantasy Collectors Series (CS/02-xxx Tom Meier)
  • 1979 – Best Fantasy or Science Fiction Figure Series – Collectibles (CS/02-xxx Tom Meier)
  • 1980 – Best Historical Figure Series – Condottieri (15/54-xxx Tom Meier)
  • 1980 – Best Fantasy or Science Fiction Figure Series – Personalities (ES/01-xxx Tom Meier)
  • 1981 – Best Historical Figure Series – Condottieri (15/54-xxx Tom Meier)
  • 1982 – Best Fantasy or Science Fiction Figure Series – Personalities & Things That Go Bump In The Night (ES/01-xxx Tom Meier)
  • 1983 – Best Vehicular Series – 25mm Dwarf Steam Cannon (02-030 Tom Meier)
  • 1984 – Best Historical Figure Series – 25mm Colonials (88-xxx Zulus and Northwest Frontier, Tom Meier)
  • 1984 – Best Fantasy or Science Fiction Figure Series – 25mm Personalities (ES/01-xxx Tom Meier)
  • 1985 – Best Historical Figure Series – 25mm Samurai (53-7xx Bob Charrette, Dennis Mize)
  • 1986 – Best Vehicular or Accessory Series – BattleTech Mech. (20-8xx Bob Charrette, Julie Guthrie, Tom Meier)
  • 1987 – Best Historical Figure Series – Shogun Hardguys: The New Samurai (53-7xx Dennis Mize, Bob Charrette)[74]
  • 1988 – Best Historical Figure Series – 1200 A.D., Aztecs (42-3xx Richard Kerr)[75]
  • 1988 – Best Fantasy or Science Fiction Figure Series – TSR's AD&D Series (11-xxx Tom Meier, Dennis Mize)[75]
  • 1988 – Best Vehicular or Accessory Series – BattleTech Mechs (20-8xx Bob Charrette, Julie Guthrie, Tom Meier)[75]
  • 1989 – Best Fantasy or Science Fiction Figure Series – Dragonlance Heroes Line (10–502 Dennis Mize, Tom Meier, Richard Kerr)
  • 1989 – Best Vehicular Miniatures Series – BattleTech Mechs and Vehicles (20-xxx Dave Summers, Sandy Garrity, Richard Kerr, Tom Meier, Bob Charrette, Julie Guthrie)
  • 1990 – Best Historical Figure Series – 25mm Ancients (35-7xx North African Ancients Dave Summers, Sandra Garrity)
  • 1990 – Best Fantasy or Science Fiction Figure Series – AD&D Monsters (11-4xx Dennis Mize, Nick Bibby, Richard Kerr, Sandra Garrity)
  • 1991 – Best Fantasy or Science Fiction Figure Series – Shadowrun (20-5xx Tom Meier, Dennis Mize, Dave Summers)
  • 1991 – Best Vehicular Miniatures Series – BattleTech Mechs & Vehicles (20-xxx Jeff Wilhelm, Dave Summers, Sandy Garrity, Richard Kerr, Tom Meier, Bob Charrette, Julie Guthrie)
  • 1992 – Best Fantasy or Science Fiction Figure Series – Ravenloft (11-1xx Dennis Mize)
  • 1992 – Best Vehicular Miniatures Series – BattleTech Mechs & Vehicles (20-8xx Jeff Wilhelm, Dave Summers, Sandy Garrity, Richard Kerr, Tom Meier, Bob Charrette, Julie Guthrie)
  • 1992 – Best Vehicular Miniatures Series – Ogre Miniatures (Jeff Wilhelm, Dave Summers, Richard Kerr)
  • 1992 – Best Historical Figure Series – Hyksos Ancient Biblical (Jim Johnson)
  • 1993 – Best Fantasy or Science Fiction Figure Series – AD&D line (11-xxx Dennis Mize, Jim Johnson, Geoffrey Valley, Dave Summers, Jeff Wilhelm, Richard Kerr)
  • 1993 – Best Vehicular Series – BattleTech (20-8xx Dave Summers, Jim Johnson, Richard Kerr, Jeff Wilhelm)
  • 1994 – Best Fantasy or Science Fiction Figure Series – AD&D Personalities (11-xxx Jim Johnson, Dennis Mize, Jeff Wilhelm)
  • 1994 – Best Vehicular Series – BattleTech: Vehicles & 'Mechs (20-xxx Chris Atkin, Jim Johnson, Richard Kerr, Dave Summers, Jeff Wilhelm)
  • 1995 – Best Vehicular Series – BattleTech: Vehicles & 'Mechs (20-xxx Chris Atkin, Robert Kyde, Jim Johnson, Dave Summers, Jeff Wilhelm)
  • 1996 – Best Vehicular Miniatures Series – BattleTech: Mechs & Vehicles (20-xxx Chuck Crain, Chris Atkin, Jim Johnson, Robert Kyde, Dave Summers, Jeff Wilhelm)

Origins Hall of Fame[31]

  • 1991 – Tom Meier
  • 1995 – Julie Guthrie
  • 1997 – Ral Partha BattleTech Mechs & Vehicles (Chuck Crain, Developer)
  • 2003 – Bob Charrette
  • 2005 – Dennis Mize[76]

Strategist Club "Creativity in Wargaming" Award[36]

  • 1978 – Outstanding Miniature Figure Line – Fantasy Collectors Series (CS/02-xxx, Tom Meier)
  • 1979 – Outstanding Miniatures Figure Line – Condottieri (15/54-xxx Tom Meier)

The Courier Award[36]

  • 1979 – Best Historical Miniature Line – Condottieri (15/54-xxx Tom Meier)

Games Day Awards

  • 1979 – Best Range SF/F Figures – Personalities and Things that Go Bump in the Night (ES/01-xxx Tom Meier)[77]
  • 1980 – Best Figures Range, Historical – 1200 A.D. (11-xxx Tom Meier)[78]

References in popular culture[edit]

The company was honored by the writers of the television show Andromeda by the naming of a fictional planet "Ral Parthea," a nature preserve of an ancient race of aliens.[79] The miniature company's name has been adopted by the San Francisco "Scandinavian Preppy" band Ral Partha Vogelbacher.[80] Reportedly the last part of the band's name was the surname of a childhood bully of one of the members,[81] and forms a statement of the nerd pride movement.

Notes[edit]

Footnotes[edit]

  1. ^ Unless otherwise noted, the designs discussed were produced in 25 mm scale.

Citations[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e "Hanging Out: Warriors & Wizards" by Perry Cooper, Cincinnati Best and Worst magazine, Volume 16, Number 1, October 1982 pp. 18–25.
  2. ^ White Dwarf Magazine #11, February/March 1979.
  3. ^ Citadel Compendium 1, Games Workshop 1984
  4. ^ a b Ral Partha Advertisement, Dragon Magazine #82, February 1984.
  5. ^ Citadel Miniatures U.S. 1983 Catalog.
  6. ^ a b Ral Partha Enterprises, Inc. 1984 Imports Catalog.
  7. ^ a b c Ral Partha Enterprises, Inc. 1985 Historical Catalog.
  8. ^ White Dwarf' Magazine #24, April/May 1981
  9. ^ [1], Stuff of Legends, Ral Partha History, Accessed January 10, 2009.
  10. ^ [2], History of Miniature Figurine Production, Accessed December 7, 2008.
  11. ^ a b c d e Ral Partha Enterprises, Inc. 1987 Catalog.
  12. ^ a b c [3], Tom Meier Autobiography, Accessed November 23, 2008.
  13. ^ Ral Partha Advertisement, Dragon Magazine #36, April 1980.
  14. ^ "Through the Looking Glass" by Robert Bigelow, Dragon Magazine #144, page 73.
  15. ^ a b c d e f Ral Partha Enterprises, Inc. 1991 Catalog.
  16. ^ a b c d Ral Partha Enterprises, Inc. 1997 Catalog.
  17. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Ral Partha Enterprises, Inc. 1978 Catalog.
  18. ^ a b c d e f g h Ral Partha Enterprises, Inc. 1979 Catalog.
  19. ^ a b c d e f g h i Ral Partha Enterprises, Inc. 1980 Catalog.
  20. ^ a b c d Ral Partha Enterprises, Inc. 1992 Catalog.
  21. ^ RAFM advertisement in Dragon Magazine #90, October 1984.
  22. ^ [4], Tom Meier Biography by Carin Meier, Accessed November 23, 2008
  23. ^ a b ''The Courier Volume 1, No. 4, December 1980, "The Courier Interviews Glenn Kidd," by Dick Bryant, editor.
  24. ^ a b Cincinnati Magazine Best Buys - Choose Your Demons by Jani Gardener May 1978 pages 58-59.
  25. ^ a b c Ral Partha Gaming Club Newsletter Issue #1 June 30, 1996.
  26. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Ral Partha Enterprises, Inc. 1986 Catalog.
  27. ^ a b c d Ral Partha Advertisement, Dragon Magazine #4, March 1977.
  28. ^ Ral Partha Advertisement, Dragon Magazine #16, July 1978.
  29. ^ Ral Partha Advertisement, Dragon Magazine #43, November 1980.
  30. ^ a b Ral Partha Enterprises, Inc. 2000 Catalog.
  31. ^ a b c d e f [5], Origins Game Fair, Accessed November 24, 2008.
  32. ^ a b Wargaming World, Dragon Magazine #3, October 1976
  33. ^ From the Fantasy Forge, Dragon Magazine #8, July 1977.
  34. ^ a b c d e f Ral Partha Enterprises, Inc. 1982 Catalog.
  35. ^ a b c d e f g Ral Partha Enterprises, Inc. 1983 Catalog.
  36. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Ral Partha Enterprises, Inc. 1984 Catalog.
  37. ^ a b c d e Ral Partha Enterprises, Inc. 1985 Fantasy Catalog.
  38. ^ Ral Partha Advertisement, Dragon Magazine #11, December 1977.
  39. ^ [6], Tom Meier on Thunderbolt Mountain Miniatures Forums, December 3, 2008.
  40. ^ [7], Strike Team Alpha, Board Game Geek. Accessed December 22, 2008.
  41. ^ Games Workshop Advertisement, White Dwarf Magazine #13, June/July 1979.
  42. ^ Ral Partha Advertisement, Dragon Magazine #19, October 1978.
  43. ^ Ral Partha Advertisement, Dragon Magazine #49, May 1981.
  44. ^ [8], Fortress, at Board Game Geek.
  45. ^ a b Ral Partha Enterprises, Inc. 1983 Christmas Catalog.
  46. ^ Ral Partha Advertisement, Dragon Magazine #93, January 1985.
  47. ^ Report on Origins '79, Dragon Magazine #29, September 1979.
  48. ^ a b [9], Mirror of FGU website, Accessed December 17, 2008
  49. ^ Molten Magic in White Dwarf #14, August/September 1979
  50. ^ a b c [10], Bob Charrette Games, Accessed November 23, 2008.
  51. ^ [11], Board Game Geek, Ral Partha Games, Accessed November 24, 2008.
  52. ^ [12], TMP: Chaos Wars, Accessed November 23, 2008.
  53. ^ [13], Interview with Sandra Garrity, Accessed November 24, 2008.
  54. ^ [14], TMP: In Memory of Charles B. Crain III, Accessed November 24, 2008.
  55. ^ a b c d e Ral Partha Enterprises, Inc. 1995 Catalog.
  56. ^ Ral Partha Enterprises, Inc. Advertisement, Dragon Magazine #196, August 1993, page 119.
  57. ^ a b Ral Partha Enterprises, Inc. Winter '98/'99 Catalog.
  58. ^ "Through the Looking Glass" by Robert Bigalow, Dragon Magazine #192, April 1993.
  59. ^ Ral Partha Enterprises, Inc. Advertisement, Dragon Magazine #197, September 1993.
  60. ^ "Through the Looking Glass" by Robert Bigalow, Dragon Magazine #205, May 1994.
  61. ^ a b c Ral Partha Gaming Club Newsletter #6, September 30, 1997.
  62. ^ Ral Partha Gaming Club Newsletter #3, September 30, 1996.
  63. ^ a b [15], Game Cabinet – Wizards of the Coast to acquire TSR, Accessed November 24, 2008.
  64. ^ Ral Partha Gaming Club Newsletter #5, June 30, 1997
  65. ^ a b [16], Pyramid Magazine, Industry News, Accessed November 23, 2008.
  66. ^ [17], FASA Closing FAQ.
  67. ^ Ral Partha Enterprises, Inc. 1997 Catalog Insert – The Final Battle Begins, Bloodstorm.
  68. ^ [18], Tom Meier, Thunderbolt Miniatures Forums, Accessed December 12, 2008.
  69. ^ [19], Mage Knight Metal Collectible Pewter Figures, Accessed November 23, 2008.
  70. ^ [20], WizKids Announces Mage Knight Metal, Accessed November 23, 2008.
  71. ^ [21], WizKids to Spin Off Ral Partha on its own in January, Accessed December 1, 2008.
  72. ^ [22], Biography of Jeffrey P. Wilhelm.
  73. ^ [23], Resume of Thomas O. Miller
  74. ^ And the Winner Is... Dragon Magazine #139, p. 56, November 1988
  75. ^ a b c Dragon Magazine #149, September 1989.
  76. ^ Panzeri Jr., Peter F. (2006-07-01). "32nd Hall of Fame Inductees Announced" (PDF). Talsorian. Retrieved 2008-12-04. 
  77. ^ White Dwarf Magazine #16, December/January 1979/1980.
  78. ^ White Dwarf Magazine #22, December/January 1980/1981
  79. ^ 0213327, IMDB Andromeda (2000), Accessed December 18, 2008.
  80. ^ [24], Ral Partha Vogelbacher MySpace Page, Accessed December 18, 2008.
  81. ^ [25], New Music: Ral Partha Vogelbacher, Brother Ali, Accessed December 18, 2008.

External links[edit]

Sources for Ral Partha Miniatures:

Companies who employ or have employed Ral Partha's sculptors, artists and mold-makers: