All about Dark Sword Miniatures, Inc.
First things first, I absolutely love fantasy miniatures. I have been collecting fantasy miniatures for over 37 years now. From lead to pewter to plastic to resin, I collect them all. If it is cool, I want it.
I started collecting miniatures in Christmas of 1983, which was exactly one year after an aunt bought me a very interesting Christmas present. What was this interesting present you ask? The Red Erol Otus Dungeons and Dragons Basic Set. Ahhh the memories…My first miniature set was the official TSR “Fighters Rangers and Paladins” set with the Jeff Easley cover. I still have that set and thousands of other classic miniatures to go along with it.
Well, back in 2002, I decided to give something back to the hobby I truly love by producing a line of premium miniatures for both gamers and collectors. I am sure that everyone has heard people in the hobby stores criticizing miniatures or complaining about this, that, and the other thing. Or you have overheard people talking about how cool it would be if a miniatures company would do this or if a miniatures company would do that.
Well, I guess you could say this company was inspired by my frustration that no one stepped up to the plate back in 2002 to start producing fantasy miniatures based on the artwork of one of my favorite artists of all time: Larry Elmore. Larry Elmore is one of the coolest dudes in the industry and I really wanted to see some new miniature lines based off of his phenomenal artwork.
In addition, there were a number of other fantasy miniature sets that I wanted to see produced. So instead of waiting until someone came out with the miniature sets I wanted to see produced, I decided to form a miniatures company and just go ahead and start producing them myself.
Dennis Mize and Larry Elmore were my two must-haves to make this venture worthwhile in terms of us all investing our time and energy. This would be a team effort and every team member needed to be up for the task. Well to make a long story short, I presented the concept to Larry and Dennis (along with a number other industry members) and we decided to green light the miniature line. We finalized the Dream Team in terms of artist, sculptors, mold making, casting, painters, packaging, graphic design, etc. and it was off to the proverbial miniature races.
Dark Sword Miniatures Inc. was born…
Fast forward to 2020 and we have just under 1,000 minatures & miniature related products in the Dark Sword collection, and we work with Larry Elmore, Keith Parkinson’s estate, Jeff Easley, Clyde Caldwell, Stephanie Law and Tony DiTerlizzi. In addition, a number of years ago I was approached by a certain author that wanted to work with Dark Sword on multiple miniature related projects. He was not an artist, but he was writing a book series. I had not read his books yet, but I had them on my bookshelf awaiting the moment when I would have time to read them as my friends all raved about his book series. His name was George R.R. Martin and he loves miniatures as much as I do. He grew up on the 54mm variety, but has since come over to the Dark Side of the Force with 28mm heroic gaming scale miniatures. Dark Sword has now been officially working with George R. R. Martin, since 2007.
Dark Sword brings our miniatures to life in a style that can best be described as Fantastic Realism. To accomplish this, Dark Sword works with a very select core group of sculptors that includes: Tom Meier , Dennis Mize (RIP), Dave Summers, Jeff Grace, Patrick Keith, and Jason Wiebe. Other wonderful guest sculptors will jump into the fray from time to time with a piece or two as well. We also have some of the very best miniature painters in the world painting up our studio display models for your inspiration and viewing pleasure. Marike Reimer, Jen Haley, Jessica Rich and Matt Verzani have painted up the bulk of the Dark Sword studio collection. Jumping in to lend a brush here and there when time permits are other outstanding award-winning miniature painters such as Kat Martin, Jennifer Wojcik, Mary Profitt, Susan Wachowski, Rhonda Bender, Alison Bailey, Michael Proctor, Aaron Lovejoy, Jen Kaufman and Zach Lanier.
Our ranges have expanded beyond our core licensed fantasy artwork lines into creations of our own design. From awesome RPG characters to fun/cute anthropomorphic animals, we have all sorts of great choices and options to meet the needs of serious collectors, casual painters and gamers alike.
We have lost some good friends and industry giants along the way. Keith Parkinson passed away on October 26, 2005 and then less than five months later, Dennis Mize passed away on March 13, 2006. Both Dave Arneson and Gary Gygax passed away in 2009 and 2008 respectively. Their impacts on the gaming industry will forever be felt and they are all dearly missed.
Dark Sword Miniatures has a deep respect for the great miniature companies that came before us. Two of the key companies that paved the way for my love of miniatures at a young age were Ral Partha and Grenadier which were both formed in the mid 1970’s but later met their demise in the mid 1990’s amidst a rapidly changing game industry succumbing to the collectible card game craze. I grew up on both of these companies and still collect their miniatures to this day. And of course one must recognize Reaper Miniatures which stepped in to fill the massive void left by the passing of both Grenadier and Ral Partha from the mid 1990’s to today. Reaper Miniatures kept my miniature habit going strong and I still collect their miniatures as well. I now have the privilege of personally knowing the owners of both Reaper Miniatures and Iron Wind Metals (aka: Ral Partha reborn). ReaperCon and my visits to Ohio to hang out with the Iron Wind crew while visiting with a number of my Dark Sword sculptors are some of the funnest experiences a miniature nerd like myself could ever hope for. Ah the stories…