As the Monkeybench slowly clears itself of Dwarf-based models and paints, I've had time to look again at the mysterious package of 28mm lead-alloy chess pieces given to me by a relation's late husband's estate. After posting a query on the Lead Adventure Forum a member suggested I check out Irregular Miniatures, as he thought the style looked like theirs. Eventually I contacted Irregulars' chief, Ian Kay who kindly confirmed to me our suspicions - that the set is indeed from Irregular.
The set is a Crusades-themed collection, and is around twenty-five years old. Ian said they don't advertise the pieces on the main site as it's not a big seller. A shame, because I'm rather fond on these little guys.
They are irresistibly Eighties in look and feel - there's no getting around it. There's no painting guide for them, and Ian suggested they could simply be painted in black and white, but I wonder whether there's a opportunity lost in doing that - and besides, in this day and age who'd stick their neck out and declare either side black or white from the get-go?
So with modern squeamish sensibilities in command, I'm going to figure out a palette for either side; maybe something two-tone and bold to separate them enough in play. There's no doubt in my mind that they need a paint job; they're old metal, and for their own protection should be sealed from air and oils. The metal is soft, and while there's been a bit of loss of detail either through moulding or age, there's not enough to make this a real challenge.
Also, in looking at the set properly in the flesh, I noticed that as either side is themed there are some nice variations. Here are the two Queens for example:
And here are the pieces not covered by the pictures in the last post - a Vizier/Magus as Bishop, an (Abuyyid?) Pawn and a Crusader Rook
So, once Balin's Tomb is complete, I'm off to do some painting research!