During our last session, in that last tragic fight with the blade zombies (encounter #11 on a 2d6 table of monsters, and then I rolled the max # appearing, 6, for them - bad luck for the party all around), we ended up using a piece of scrap paper and dice to represent the battle.
In the aftermath of that night, Too's player (previously Theopolis's player, and soon to be Mongo's player) and I had a discussion. He has volunteered to buy a Chessex battle mat (although I urged him to spend the next three weeks painstakingly sculpting Hirst Arts dungeon blocks, I was unpersuasive), and I've dug my Grenadier miniatures out of the attic. Plus apparently one Ral Partha gold dragon. Click on any of the pictures below to make them larger.
What's this??? The "Hirelings" set? An entire box full of unworthy henchmen! Die, you little freaks, die!
It looks like the guy carrying the chest took one for the team. Poor bastard. That's OK, there's a horrible surprise in store for the rest of this shiftless crew.
Yes, an ambush! The wandering monsters made their surprise roll, and it's the end for our unhappy crew of miscreant XP- and treasure-sponges.
The Lich and his crew of skeletons will make short work of this poor pack-bearer.
And if they don't, the Horrors of the Marsh will:
The unpainted wizard, from the shadows of the laboratory, watches the carnage and is amused.
How could this calamity have occurred? Oh, right, the "potion drinker". Yes, there's a hireling miniature called the "potion drinker." That's a nice 40-proof "potion" you've got there, slacker. Maybe if you'd watched where you were going instead of searching for the bottom of that bottle, you wouldn't have walked straight into the shrieker.
I'm not sure when I got these, probably when I was 11 or 12 years old. I never used them during play, although I did paint them (and I think I got my mom to paint some, too). The paint jobs are fairly mediocre, and rubbed away in many parts. And I got tired of painting them at some point, as you can see by the sheer number of unpainted minis. I will be breaking them out in play now, though - they are a bit more interesting than dice for showing positions. I won't be going overboard here, it'll be only a few combats that get the miniature treatment - if it's a simple fight, no need to slow things down by drawing up rooms on a battle-mat and yanking out the minis.
My favorite of the sets I had, when I was a kid, was the "Horrors of the Marsh" set. They weren't in the Monster Manual or Fiend Folio, so I found them utterly fascinating. Maybe I'll stat them up and use them in the Anomalous Subsurface Environment. The second level is going to have that gigantic fungus-cavern, and something has to live there... surprise! log leech in your face!
Grenadier did include stats for the monsters in the box, plus an endorsement by Dave Arneson. The stats were a little funky, so I don't think I ever used them when I was a kid.