As I've gone through my recent nostalgia phase I've spoken a few times about my fondness for Fighting Fantasy game books. I absolutely loved these books growing up and recently started combing used bookstores looking for them as a way to reconnect with some of my fun early gaming memories.
The most well known of the Fighting Fantasy books is still the first which was The Warlock Of Firetop Mountain. Warlock is a fun book and set the tone for the whole series but for me personally my favourite of the original series was Citadel Of Chaos. Citadel Of Chaos was a relatively short linear adventure but it did a really great job of building up it's antagonist Balthus Dire as a truly menacing adversary who was both a skilled warrior and powerful sorcerer. In addition the art for Balthus Dire cast him as a sinister imposing figure.
In the U.K. Fighting Fantasy has waxed an waned but has never truly gone away. In recent years this has given rise to a convention known as Fighting Fantasy-fest. This con has authors and artists and other fun activities and this year Otherworld Miniatures designed a Balthus Dire miniature as a limited edition convention exclusive. Once the con had come and gone Otherworld made their remaining stock available through their online store, they did the same thing a couple of years ago with Zagor (THE Warlock Of Firetop Mountain) and I always regretted I never got one so this year I decided to take the plunge and get myself a Balthus Dire figure.
This guy is everything that made old school Fighting Fantasy (and by extension old school Games Workshop) art cool. He's foreign and exotic looking with patchwork armour and a wicked looking curved scimitar. He looks faintly elven without actually being an elf which adds to his mystique.
I'm extremely happy with how this figure turned out and I used a colour image of Balthus Dire from an Advanced Fighting Fantasy RPG book as a reference which kept me from using my usual palette of blacks and reds for my villains.
I hope I'm not the only one who appreciates this throwback to what was for me a golden era of game writing and art.