At some point, we’ve got to stop calling these things miniatures. In recent years, that’s largely WizKids’ fault, as the company has continued to release massive figures of key creatures from TTPRG systems like Dungeons & Dragons, Pathfinder, and more. Now, WizKids is set to release its largest dragon miniature yet, the ancient white dragon Arveiaturace from Dungeons & Dragons’ Forgotten Realms setting.
The “miniature” itself lives up to the billing of a gargantuan-sized ancient white dragon. Arveiaturace is absolutely massive, even by the standards set with other large dragon miniatures. Standing hunched over at seven and a half inches tall, 16 and a half inches long from nose to tail, and with an overwhelming 17-inch wingspan, she is easily the largest dragon WizKids has created yet. She’ll be released in January 2021, but is available to pre-order now from the WizKids Store, Amazon, and at your local game store for $100 USD.
On the table, this figure dominates the landscape, and it’s shocking just how big this ancient white dragon appears when it’s towering over your player characters’ medium-sized miniatures on their standard one-inch bases. And when it’s not on the table, it’s a display item that will likely be one of the centerpieces of any miniature collection. You can see the figure in all its enormity in the slideshow below.
Arveiaturace – Gargantuan White Dragon Gallery
Check out a gallery of the massive ancient white dragon Arveiaturace miniature.
The sculpt of the model is excellently detailed in a crouched position, with the wings sweeping forward and to the sides in an unusual and refreshing way, rather than pinned back or frilled out, which means you can actually fit it in a standard shelf, which I appreciate. And this pose is aggressive and bestial in a way that does a white dragon justice, as they’re the most animalistic of the chromatic dragons. It really helps sell the intimidating profile of a creature that should be a deadly threat.
The paint job is nice and fairly clean, though the majority of the figure is a flat pale gray, so outside the flourishes in the pinkish mouth, ice-blue eyes, and dark grey talons and claws flecked with lighter tones, there isn’t much color variation. However, that may be intentional as the model is extremely detailed offering a ton of texture between the scales, the rough hide, the membrane on the wings, and the jagged spikes on her back and tail. You can see veins and folds and wrinkles throughout, which throw shadows really nicely and create interesting depth and age on the model. All in all, it’s an excellent build and the sculptors really outdid themselves with this one.
As for modifiable elements, the dragon comes fully assembled with the exception of the tail, which slides securely into the cavity with just a bit of effort. But the most eye-catching part of the miniature is the rider mounted on a removable saddle sitting just north of her shoulder blades – which just sticks out against the constant pale gray. There are story and lore elements to this rider, but I’ll stick them well below with a spoiler warning so if you’re worried about that kind of thing, you’re not going to walk into it.
The removable saddle and rider is a very nice touch that – apart from her sheer size and scale – separates her from other dragon miniatures and making her a unique character, rather than just another impressive dragon. The medium-sized rider is hard plastic and excellently detailed while the saddle is adorned with a number of buckles and faux-metal decoration with soft-plastic straps that loop around the dragon’s neck and front legs. The presentation is great, and while I admit that I’ve never thought about how a dragon saddle would practically work, this seems fairly realistic.
The only small issue I could potentially see is the fasteners on the straps that secure them to the harness. There are three plastic pegs that slip into holes on the saddle. The first time I pulled them apart, the left leg peg came out easily, the center harness peg was a little more difficult, but the right leg fastener I had to pull on a little bit more than I was comfortable with. I’m sure these pegs will slip in and out more easily with repeated use, but I was a little worried about the integrity of the strap as I turned up the force when tugging on it. Still, it came apart and snapped back together just fine, so maybe I’m being overly cautious, but it’s something to keep in mind.
Finally, the base of the model is a really interesting approach. I imagine it’s hard to make these models massive since the size of the base needs to support the weight distribution of the sculpt, but it also serves to denote the intended size of the creature on the table. Essentially, base size actually matters in game terms. In this case, a gargantuan-sized ancient dragon should have a four-inch base to keep it in line with D&D’s size rules. So what do you do when you want a massive model, for a gargantuan-size creature? You make the oversized (roughly eight-inch) base plate clear plastic and add a four-inch circle in the center that shows the intended size on the field of play. It’s a smart workaround that still lets you see the terrain and gridlines underneath, but could be tricky to fit into the field of play if you’re using scatter terrain or environmental set pieces.
Icons of the Realms: Guildmasters’ Guide to Ravnica Complete Set Gallery
The only other problem I can see in this approach is a small one, as all four of Arveiaturace’s feet (paws?) sit right on the outside of her “occupied space” circle. Meaning if you have a few characters in melee range, there are four squares or hexes around her that you won’t be able to occupy with those characters. It’s not a big deal since you can just turn the model or shift the characters over one five-foot square/hex, but you nitty-gritty tacticians might run into trouble when optional flanking rules or the like come into play. Ultimately it’s a small consideration for the sake of her oversized grandeur, and if this clear-base approach means I can drop mammoth figurines onto the table, I’ll take it every time.
Minor spoilers for Icewind Dale: Rime of the Frostmaiden below:
For as ubiquitous as dragons are in fantasy roleplaying tabletop games, it’s rare that specifically named dragons are converted into miniatures. Arveiaturace is part of a very small club in this regard and comes with a fairly extensive backstory and appearances in several Dungeons & Dragons adventures, including Wizards of the Coast’s latest adventure, Icewind Dale: Rime of the Frost Maiden, set in the frozen north of Faerun. In this case, the Arveiaturace miniature can get repeated use not only in Icewind Dale: Rime of the Frostmaiden, but she also makes cameos in the Rise of Tiamat and Storm King’s Thunder adventures.
She’s had quite a bit of detail written about her through the various editions of Dungeons & Dragons lore. Sometimes she’s referred to as insane, sometimes more patient and intelligent than the bestial and vindictive traits usually found in white dragons, and in Rime of the Frostmaiden she’s said to have cataracts that affect her vision. There are a bunch of different ways to use her, but her iconic dead rider is what really sets her apart.
D&D: Rime of the Frostmaiden Preview Pages
To that end, the ancient white dragon Arveiaturace (also known as the White Wyrm and Iceclaws) once served a wizard named Meltharond, who rode on her back as her only true friend and companion when he was alive. Now dead, she still speaks to his frozen corpse strapped into the saddle she still wears, which comes into play during her encounter in the adventure.
One of the variants for the encounter allows the rider to fall off, which effectively becomes a bargaining chip to survive the party’s brush with her. With that in mind, the fact you can remove the rider from the miniature is a very thoughtful detail. Not only for gamification purposes but because removing the saddle lets you run the miniature as just another ancient white dragon, or any gargantuan dragon if you toss in a little imagination. One thing I really like about WizKids is that the company tends to think modularly with its products, which you can also see in the WarLock Dungeon Tiles and the massive set piece simply called The Tower.
Regardless, she’s a really intriguing character that’s now made numerous appearances in Dungeons & Dragons’ Fifth Edition, so it’s very cool to be able to bring her to life on the table with such an impressive figure.