So here is my question though then (going back to old TSR Ral Partha miniatures), let's say they all the sudden by some miracle became available again, would they be popular and would people start buying them in droves, or would it just be the realm of those older painters and gamers who like that style or would buy them for nostalgia's sake? What if they became available again and were priced just as normally as any other miniatures? I personally would be thrilled because I really like the style in which they're sculpted and collect them to some degree myself, but I'm probably in a bit of the miniature minority.
I would imagine it's mostly for nostalgia's sake - the sculpts themselves are rather sad. I found this box in the attic:
Some of the minis are decent enough, but Drizzt's face is a disaster.
I'd respectfully disagree about the sculpts, I think they're actually pretty nice and the daddys and granddaddys of what's being done these days. And yes, Drizzt's face on that one is a tad odd, but I still ascertain that the miniature itself is only secondary to how well you can get him painted to make him look nice, infuse your own creativity into a "disastrous" miniature.
I was wondering about really only these ultra-verboten miniatures, the TSR's, in a hypothetical sense, that if they became saleable would people actually buy them. There are some that for collectors can go for rather high prices on EBay, but let's say they got sold at normal prices, would they at all become purchased in a general sense by folks? Would Molydeus cease becoming a triple figure purchase down to a reasonable 15-20 dollars, and would people even bother with it if it was on the market? Just kind of wondering. For example, if Master Buglips could just go to the store and grab some Ral Partha TSR off the shelf, would he, or not being a collectible, would he (and not asking you personally Buglips, but just using you as our general Ral Partha TSR collector posterboy. If somebody else's name fits there, please feel free to inject in Buglips' place)? Or would they be relegated to the ancient history heap of miniatures, looked at more as curiosities?
I don't know how many people would be buying them but I'd buy this box today if it were available. It was my favorite box set when I was buying minis in the 80s and 90s. The Magister, Tristan, Robyn, Wulfgar, Bruenor and Alias all saw extensive use as PCs in my campaign, and the others were featured villains more than once. The photo of the Drizzt mini combined with the paint job doesn't do it justice, it is a very nice figure. The only one I didn't particularly care for was Elminster, and that was mainly because it didn't match the image I had already formed of him from reading the source material. The level of painting skill when this set was released was nothing like it is today, these are nicely painted, but they'd be considered tabletop quality today. There is no question in my mind that these would compare favorably to a lot of minis on the market today, and I'd love to see a set of them painted to competition quality.