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Out of the Suitcase #47: Another Martian Metals Mystery...

Posted by Michael O'Brien on 16th Nov 2023

Martian Metals Dragon Snail

Chaosium President Rick Meints shares stories from a life-time as a collector of all things Chaosium.

Last week I posted about discovering a previously unknown to me article by Greg Stafford, 'Broos of Glorantha'. It had featured in a 1986 edition of The Partha Pipeline, a newsletter released by Ral Partha Miniatures.

Last weekend that discovery motivated me to do some additional research for the miniatures section of The Meints Index to Gloranthamy collectors guide for all things Gloranthan and RuneQuest

I started by seeing if I could find any new information on Ral Partha and/or Martian Metals on The Lost Minis Wiki, a wonderful resource. No luck there, but after an hour or so of surfing around the Internet I sat stunned staring at my screen. I didn't expect to find on Google the image at the top of this post. 

Martian Metals briefly held the RuneQuest miniatures license from 1981-1983. During that time they only produced four blister packs (7001-7004) containing a total of only seven miniatures, the main reason for the license ending. I know Martian Metals had a few more miniatures in the works, but they never ended up being officially produced, or so I thought... I present to you Martian Metals Blister Pack 7007: Dragon Snail. 

Before Sunday I had never seen or heard of this. Nobody that I know of has ever said they have it in their collection, nor do any of the "miniatures collecting" websites list it. Yet here it is. Every detail of it matches the other official releases in the product line: the backing card, the plastic packaging, the metal used to cast the mini, and the typed description on the card. If it's some sort of fake, it's the best I've ever seen.

I don't really know what to say, other than I will be reaching out to the store I bought all four of the blister packs they had in stock. I'll ask how they got these, although I expect nobody will know where this "new old stock" from forty years ago came from. 

A few years ago I spoke with Jennell Jaquays, who sculpted all of the RuneQuest minis for Martian Metals. Jennell mentioned a Broo and a Scorpion Queen that never entered production, but she never mentioned a Dragon Snail. Suffice it to say I'll be reaching out to her again (once she is feeling better). I'll update what I've posted if I find out anything further – all help appreciated!

Page 91 of the MIG3 contains all of the info I have researched over the last 25 years about Martian Metals, at least up until last Sunday...

Page 91 of the MIG3 contains all of the info I have researched over the last 25 years about Martian Metals, at least up until last Sunday...