Monstrous Pictures

2007 October 21
by Vanir

When I was a little kid, I had lots of little plastic dinosaurs and aliens and monsters. When I was about 7, TSR came out with a line of completely awesome toys featuring creatures from the Monster Manual. I personally had about 2/3 of the creatures on this list, and man they were cool. Sadly, I gave them all to a friend’s little brother when I was in high school. I’d found a couple cool ones I still had around and my lovely wife Efreak loaned me the macro lens on her camera so I could take some pictures for show and tell today.

My favorite of these creatures was the Shambling Mound. Mine was called “Shambles”. (You may think that was a silly name, but I also had a Tauntaun named “Bryan” at the time.) Recently, I decided that I would like a new shambling mound as my good luck dice totem for D&D, and so it was that I used the magic powers of Ebay to summon one for me, which I named after his predecessor.

The same auction also came with a Fire Elemental figure, which I also had as a kid. My new Fire Elemental and Shambles II now reside above my fireplace and guard the Christmas stockings during the dangerous pirate-infested holiday season.

I was also going through some boxes of stuff I had when I was a kid a few weeks back, and I found a bunch of the little tiny dinosaurs and monsters that I used to play with. One of them I had when I was very young, and didn’t know what it was called until my brother called it a “rust monster” when we were both a little older. Well, I was surprised to find out that it wasn’t called that for years by anyone until Gary Gygax picked up a the same set of plastic monsters, saw the same figure, and was inspired to create the rust monster as we know it today.

I also had another little monster that we used to just think of as a weird beetle bug, but it didn’t occur to me until I found it again recently that I was staring at a little figure of a bulette. Turns out, just like the rust monster, this thing didn’t get its name until Gary Gygax went plastic monster shopping either. (Apparently, the owlbear has similar origins, but I didn’t have one of those to take pictures of.)

There was one other monster of similar construction to my rust monster and bulette, and we called it a “blue dragon” when I was growing up. That could well be exactly what it is, but I didn’t notice any special D&D significance to this one. (Efreak says he looks “way friendlier than that gross rust monster with his sickass tail — blech!”)

I’ve created a couple of wallpapers from a few of these images in case anyone’s interested. (Shambles II now guards my laptop against pirates as well.)

Shambles II: Normal | Widescreen
Rust Monster: Normal | Widescreen

I hope you all enjoyed a little trip to what’s left of my former menagerie. Is it sad to say that I really can’t wait until I have kids so I can play with their stuff?

2 Responses leave one →
  1. Brian permalink
    October 25, 2007

    So COOL!!!
    I’ve been looking for pics of these for a long time now! I had them as a kid and didn’t know what they were at the time either, until years later. My older brother doesn’t remember them at all, but I remember playing with them a lot as a kid. I had them all, the rust monster, the bullete, the shambling mound, all of them. Thank you for allowing me to prove I am not insane! At least not about this, anyway.

  2. Matt Staggs permalink
    January 2, 2008

    These are INCREDIBLE photos – I haven’t seen these guys in ages.

    I’m bookmarking your site.

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