Sunday, November 4, 2018

Classic Mini Boxed Sets: Rafm's Shadows & Steel #1: Wizard's Adventure Party (1985)

The intrepid wizard Amadeus leads his adventuring party into the vale of Tandaloor, hoping to find glory and riches!  But will they find wealth and success?  Or horror and a lonesome death?  This was the first set in the Shadows and Steel  line of boxed sets sculpted by Bob Murch and released by RAFM.

Although its a fun set, this project was a disappointment compared to the Iron Brotherhood set.  My painting failed to match up to my work on the brotherhood.
Here is Amadeux, the adventuring wizard, his chair carried by the mighty troll-beast, Ross.  This is obviously the most important piece in the set, both in terms of combat power and visual interest, so it was disappointing to find that the Ross casting was marred by a great ugly mass of flash that ran from his horn to his forward foot.  His eyes are also uneven.  I cut and filed away at the mess as best I could, but he still didn't look as well as he might have.
As with the other Shadows and Steel sets, the figures came with D&Dish statistics and a mass of fluff.  Storylines, personalities, and a general idea of how Amadeux's party fit into the world of the Tandaloor campaign setting.  Finding extras like this in a box was a great deal of fun for me when I was a kid.

This fellow is referred to in the fluff as "Gomer the Ever Eager" and is Amadeux's scout...

The flip side of the sheet shown above.  Fluff galore.

Desirei the archer.  This figure was borrowed for the Wizard's adventure party from one of RAFM's historical lines.  When I painted The Iron Brotherhood, I wisely decided not to try to paint any of the eyes on the human characters as they were so tiny that I felt that trying to paint them could only lead to disaster.  This time I couldn't resist the urge to try and screwed most of them up.  I warned me, but I didn't listen.
Each of the Shadows and Steel sets also provided a two-sided map depicting some encounter area within the campaign setting.  This is a map of the courtyard of Vlad Tandaloor's castle.

Fado the Osprey, Amadeux's familiar and another useful scout.  I painted him as a hawk rather than an osprey.

Map of the throne room of the Vlad Tandaloor, the Vampire Prince for whom the valley is named.

Ice Wolf, the barbarian fighter...Useful muscle for Amadeux's party.  This figure looked ok until I tried to do the eyes.  Now I hate it.

Puc the Pious, the cleric who annoys everybody with his sermons, but whose skills are crucial to the party's success.

More fluff and a painting guide included in the box.

Max the elf champion...

Maps and more general information about the valley and its inhabitants on the flip side of the sheet shown above the picture of Max...

Amadeux's adventurers run afoul of The Iron Brotherhood!  Will our heroes live to tell the tale?????


  1. This is a very cool series. I'm really digging the oldschool adventure module info included in the box. Do you think you might set up a game of it when you are done with all the figs?

    1. Why yes, I am thinking about putting a game together based around the Tandaloor narrative. I'm not sure whether I should go a more retro D&D or 1st edition Warhammer route on the rules I'll use, though. Lots of painting still to go, so I've got time to think about it.

  2. From your photo the Ross figure looks to have cleaned up pretty so aaresult there. Eyes are always a problem, have you thought about painting a flesh coloured line at the top of the blue pupil to represent an eye lid and tone down the blue pupil.
    Not sure why I'm offering advice as I can't do eyes to save my life. A friend of mine uses a 0.05mm black marker pen to do pupils, they generally look ok.

  3. Eyes! Eyes!!! Grrr!!!! They drive me crazy. The advice is appreciated. The pen sounds like a good idea. I tried a white paint pen not long ago to see if it would be helpful for working on designs for Hittite robes. It worked really well for a few dots and then it began to drool all over the place so that was frustrating. What brand of pen does your friend use?

    1. I find eyes are so rarely satisfying to paint. I usually cheat with the ink wash eye holes are darker thing. I might add a touch of a off white (as pure white is SO gleaming bright) to the eyes, but am ready with a wet brush to remove it immediately if it looks wrong.

    2. For the eyes I always use a reaper color called linen white, which has a little yellow in it, then try to dab on the pupils with the tiniest brush I have. As my eyes get worse it gets harder, and success is more and more a matter of luck. My problem is that a mini doesn't look finished to me if the eyes aren't done, not that it matters much from a gaming perspective, standing above the table looking down at the mini, you can't see eyes anyway. Maybe the cure will be to finally dive into my overflowing drawer of old Ral Partha colonials. No way I'm doing eyes on three hundred true 25mm zulus!

    3. I really like the reaper paints. I don't know linen white, I may check it out next time I order a few bottles. Totally agree about the luck element. I usually find the first eye is solid 3/4 of the time or more. It's the second one that is such a pain to pull off. I imagine eye surgeons in the land of miniatures would be pretty busy correcting cross eyes and wall eyes.