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I've been working with some of the earliest fantasy miniatures produced, just for fun. From left to right, ME23, a "true orc archer", ME24 "true orc swordsman", and a later DA28 Dark Ages Frankish human. When I say later, the DA series is still probably before 1980, but the orcs are from ~1974.
I started working primarily on vintage miniatures last year, and ended up with a bad eBay habit. Add that to a couple of good flea market finds, and I am now well provided with old lead. The first fantasy figures I owned were Minifigs (Miniature Figurines, Ltd.) ME (Mythical Earth) range. 40 years later, these are none too common, so my efforts to assemble a few units to supplement the survivors of my original collection (a half dozen ents, three wargs, a pair of Black Riders, and a giant) have been slow. Back in the day, of course, our fantasy armies had considerable overlap with our historical armies, so I have little hesitation in painting these guys up and adding them to the force pool. These guys below are a cache of 13 DA28s, Carolingian medium infantry. I ended up with three swords and eight shields among the 13 figures, so one swordsman will get the "personality" treatment, and the rest of the figures will be divided into 2 6 figure stands. You can see from the Sir Forscale that these guys are on the small side by modern standards. The other group are some Byzantine archers, from the Minifig Imperial Roman range. I ended up with an even 12 from a flea market find last May, so they will all end up as two stands. If I had to have one as a personality, the current Minifig producers still list these molds (as well as the DA series). As an aside, I recently came across some packages of Minifigs licensed World of Greyhawk figures (ca. 1977?). I was interested to note that a lot of them are recycled from other ranges, including the DAs, just to show how widespread the practice of historical overlap was.