Saturday 20 August 2011

From 'Big' to tiny - Pewter Miniatures! (and the Clarecraft Discworld Chess Sets)

I was intending to make the next entry about the Collectors Editions but I got sidetracked so this is the result. I am halfway through the Collectors Editions post though so it should be the next one!
One of the perks of being a member of the Collectors Guild was that when you first joined you got a pewter miniature.  Practically every piece in the Discworld range had a matching pewter miniature.  Towards the end Clarecraft were even making pewter miniatures of the large pieces such as Great A' Tuin and Ninereeds (see the large pieces post!).  These obviously sold for considerably more than the usual miniatures.  Miniatures can be identified by the fact that their numbers start DM or DMP.  The miniatures came in polished and unpolished versions.  Frequently the only type available from retailers were the polished versions as these frankly looked more attractive.  The unpolished ones were mainly sold via Clarecraft themselves and are apparently easier to paint if that is your bag (I have recently been given some of the new Micro Art Studios miniatures, if anyone has any tips for putting together and painting these little blighters an email would be much appreciated because I haven’t got a scooby, despite having a couple of friends in school who were heavily into Warhammer!!!).  

It never occurred to me to actually collect the pewter miniatures, I really preferred to save my limited funds for the standard figurines although I must admit, if my collection was in miniature I would be able to display them all!  I got my original one when I joined the Guild (Granny Weatherwax if anyone is interested!) and then I didn't bother.  They are however cheap and easy gifts for the type of person who latches on to the fact that you like Discworld and uses it to avoid having any imagination in relation to presents! (This is also the reason that I have at least 3 copies of every calendar!)  I jest of course (although not about the calendars!!).  I acquired some pewters when a very kind person decided to go mental on eBay and pick up as many as they could!  I have a fair collection (pictured) and every so often if I see one that takes my fancy and it stays at the right price I pick them up.  Its nice to be able to treat myself to something completely guilt free.,  A kind of adult pocket money purchase if you will. The pictures are of my pewters, one is of the polished ones and one of the unpolished.

The standard sized miniatures retailed at £3.50.  Lias Bluestone came with drums so retailed for £7.00 and the large ones such as Ninereeds sold for £19.99.  In terms of resale value it really varies and depends upon how much someone wants it on the day.  As with all the other pieces some pewters were more popular than others and this can also effect value.


Polished (apologies for how to hold a crocodile, I forgot it was there!)

Clarecraft eventually produced a pewter chess set (DWCP).  This featured polished and unpolished miniatures with Death and Granny Weatherwax as King and Queen, Magrat and Nanny Ogg as Bishops, Rincewind and Rincewind Running as Knights, Greebo standing and Greebo on his haunches as the Rooks and the Luggage as Pawns.  This could be bought as a set but was obviously fairly expensive or it could be bought on a piece by piece basis.  Clarecraft had previously produced a chess set in resin (DWC).  Cream resin and brown resin with the same figures as the pewter version.  To complement the two sets, two chess boards were also produced.  A brown one to complement the resin set (DWCB01) and a blue one for the pewter set (DWCB01W).  They were octagonal in shape. The original resin chess set retailed for £149.99 and the pewter £199.99. Neither of these come up very often but usually attain slightly more than retail, again depending on how much people want them! The boards also don’t come up very often. They retailed for £59.99 each.

 I did manage to obtain a resin set relatively cheaply in a closing down sale (the box was pretty buggered though!) but I always coveted a pewter chess set.  Sadly I never managed to get one before Clarecraft closed and I have discovered that there is a very small period of time between being young enough to have extra to spend on frivolities and being so old that you have much more important things to spend money on!!!  Still, I live in hope. 
 My chess set is currently set up on the top shelf of a cupboard behind lots of other figurines so I’m afraid that is where it is going to stay!  I have got pictures of both sets with the relevant boards however.  I said at the start that I wouldn’t trawl the net for pictures and I haven’t, these pictures are taken from merchandising material that I have collected over the years.  It is a very crude way of doing it but not all of my own pieces are easily accessible due to living in the worlds smallest house.  Wherever possible I will take pictures of my own pieces but I think the chess sets are quite interesting and don’t tend to come up very often (especially the boards).

As an aside on chess pieces, the resin chess set was not the first time that a chess set had been proposed.  Very early on in the Clarecraft/Discworld story a chess set had been discussed and Leigh Pamment had actually begun work on some trial pieces.  Unfortunately Leigh passed away and the resin chess set that was eventually produced was a combination of his work and that of Joe Pattison.  Those were the days when moulds were made of all trial pieces and old moulds ended up in the bunker (where other treasures have also been located).  In 2003 the bunker was cleared out and in addition to a large piece by Leigh (more on that when we get to Collectors Editions) there were 2 tiny chess pieces.  One piece was a beautifully detailed little house which although lovely paled in comparison to the other which was a tiny Librarian.  The piece was chess piece sized so it was difficult to come up with ideas about how it could reasonably be used.  It is a lovely little piece, the expression on the Librarians face and the fact he is sat clutching a book just seem to bring him alive.  Its such a shame he didn’t make it into the original chess set.  He was produced and once painted was a truly special little piece.  He was available for a short period of time directly from Clarecraft.  It has always been a big regret that I didn’t manage to get hold of one but it was always one of those things that I just kept putting off!  I haven’t seen any of these come up yet.  This is an amazing little piece that really shows how good Clarecraft and their designers were.  I have taken a picture of both the Librarian piece and the house piece cast in brown resin and not painted.  These pictures were taken from the May 2003 Discworld Collectors Guild Newsletter.  I have also got a picture of the painted piece and the bronze finish piece that could be ordered, these pictures came from the August 2004 Newsletter.  The price is not listed but as I recall it was around the £15 mark.  I have included the pictures as it’s possible many people do not know about these pieces and pictures of them will be a little harder to find than most of the stuff I generally waffle on about!
Oct 2018 update. I finally possess a little librarian.

The original resin cast

The little house

The pieces ready for sale

I have made all the pictures a lot bigger than normal so that the detail can clearly be seen, it would be a shame to put up pictures that were too small to see properly!

Cor, this has turned out to be a bit of a monster one too!  I decided to tackle the miniatures as it’s late at night and I was having trouble finishing the Collectors Editions section!!!!

Oct 2018 update
I finally have photos of my resin chess set. I know not everyone will have seen one close up but the pieces are so beautifully detailed. 


  1. I really hope people are finding this blog useful. I do enjoy writing it but I do put an awful lot of work and research into it (this post especially). I do go into a lot of detail but I try to get to the information that isn't quite so freely available, especially for new collectors.

  2. I'm finding this useful, I only really started collecting after Clarecraft closed so I try to find what I can on ebay. There used to be a site at which had lists, photos and prices but it's gone offline. It's a shame as there was a wealth of information on it.

  3. The discworld price guide was very useful, I remember using that when I first started collecting. I'm not really computer savvy enough to put anything like that together so the only way I could do it was like this!!

  4. I have the pewter chess set with box and blue resin octagonal board, any idea of its value please anyone?

    1. I know lots of collectors who would sell organs for one of those. If you want to sell you could try posting it on the discworld collectors guild page on facebook and gauging if theres any interest (there will be, lots!)

  5. Thanks for your reply and suggestion, I do also have the Titan Dragon, approx 24" in height as well as some other Clarecraft figures, my best mate worked there for a few years alongside the painters and sculptors!

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