Let’s get the obvious joke out of the way right now: this is a “miniature” figure??? Okay Dungeons & Dragons fans, we’re here today to check out what might be the coolest and most impressive collectible ever made that you absolutely must have to be the centerpiece of your collection. That’s right, it’s the Icons of the Realms Gargantuan Tiamat from WizKids Games! You’ve probably seen early announcements and previews for this incredible figure, and now we’re here today to show you exactly what she looks like, and I couldn’t be more excited. WizKids has absolutely been killing it with their D&D miniatures line over the last couple years, featuring everything from gigantic, themed expansions of pre-painted miniatures to unpainted models, large-scale premium figures, and more. It doesn’t get much bigger than Tiamat, though!
If you’re not familiar with Tiamat, well, there’s some complicated lore. First off, the name and general character date back to ancient times and the Babylonian religion in which Tiamat was a primordial sea goddess who created the next generation of the gods with Apsu. That and she was a draconic avatar of primordial chaos which aligns with her appearance in Dungeons & Dragons. That game system first introduced her as the queen mother goddess of evil chromatic dragons way back in 1975’s Greyhawk setting supplement. Tiamat is Chaotic Evil (at least as of 5th Edition), inhabits the Nine Hells, and is worshipped by evil dragons and others across the planes. She’s typically depicted as a gigantic red dragon with five heads – one of each standard chromatic color: black, blue, green, red, and white.
Dragons have been, of course, popular in miniatures forever, and especially in Dungeons & Dragons. Way back when there were metal miniatures from Ral Partha and others, then Wizards of the Coast itself in the 2000s, and more recently WizKids with the Icons of the Realms line. As you’ll see in the photos in this review, I’m a pretty big fan of the pre-painted minis from the latter two series. I’ve even got the original Aspect of Tiamat figure from Wizards’ War of the Dragon Queen expansion back in 2006. That Huge miniature looks absolutely miniscule next to the new queen of dragons!
Okay, on to Tiamat proper. The box I received from WizKids was immense, and inside was another shipper box before I got to the actual packaging for the figure. The package is very cool and understated, for a massive box. On the top is the title of the figure, which of course reminds you that it is Gargantuan, while the sides have both artwork of the character and photos of the miniature. It’s all great, with beautiful, modern 5th Edition imagery and studio photography. I do love that in the corner of one side panel is the note “Figure not shown to scale.”
Break open that box and you’re met with a huge styrofoam brick, two halves taped together for safety in transit. Unseal those and you’ll finally see the figure itself, or at least the four components of it. Yes, some assembly is required, which totally makes sense both so that the miniature doesn’t arrive bent or damaged, and also so that the box isn’t even bigger! Assembly is straightforward if not easy, with plug-in wings and tail. Others have noted that the pieces don’t necessarily end up completely flush, but my wings looked fine and I fully believe that once I have a second to bust out the hairdryer to soften the tail parts those’ll fit perfectly too.
Tiamat is glorious. The “miniature” measures over 14 inches tall standing on her translucent 8” diameter Gargantuan round base, and wingtip to wingtip is over 28 inches! She is posed stalking forward with one foreleg raised up, and with her substantial bulk and weight, there’s a small translucent rod linking her underbelly to the base. There’s a cool range of body and head types of dragons in D&D, which was primarily solidified in 3rd Edition along with the Draconomicon book.
Tiamat has what you’d call a long (versus tall) body with a super beefy chest out of which sprout the five heads. These are a fantastic role call of the chromatic dragon types with their unique shapes including the massive red with horns and frill, blue with folded ears and rhinoceros-like horn, forward-swept horns on the black dragon head, etc. I love how the heads all point in different directions and heights, which will look really cool when you have Tiamat on the tabletop surrounded by heroes attacking her from all sides. Similarly, you might say that the goddess’ pose isn’t terribly exciting or dynamic, but I think WizKids did a great job balancing an imposing miniature with her unique character design as well as how massive and at the same time stable it is. Tiamat won’t be falling over no matter how hard an overly enthusiastic player bumps the table. Oh, and of course her wings simply erupt from her back up and out to a ridiculous height and breadth; no joke, I had to tilt Tiamat to get her through a slightly narrow doorway in my house leading to my photo studio!
Let’s zoom in and check out Tiamat’s sculpt. First off, there is not a single inch of thing that isn’t textured and highly detailed. There are a ton of different textures too, which is wholly appropriate for both a reptilian creature and one that’s a hybrid of different species. There are larger, flat scales on the underbelly that contrasts nicely with the rough, gritty scale texture on the main body and the taught, stretched skin of the wing membranes. Even better, each unique head and neck has its own distinct scale shape and texture along with its accompanying frills, horns, spikes, teeth, and more, and there’s a cool blended transition where the necks extend from the main body. The sculpt of each head also imbues it with a unique personality with varying degrees of snarling or roaring mouths and beady eyes. Tiamat also has a plethora of spiny bits across her body in addition to wicked claws on her feet and wings as well as the spiked tail.
Moving over to paint, there is a tremendous amount going on here. Overall Tiamat is mostly red with some varying hues and accents in yellows, black claws and tail tip, and a yellowish underbelly. Even that doesn’t cover everything, and up close you can see cool details like darker striping on the main body and tail, unique yellow shades for different parts and signs of age on her spikes, dirty and scraped talons, wear and tear on her wings, etc. The worst thing about miniatures or other collectibles is nice sculpts let down by poor paint jobs, and thankfully that is NOT something you have to worry about here. Of course, the best and most eye-catching part here is the variety of colors and patterns on the goddess’s head. Each one has a totally unique color palette matching its specific dragon type with regards to scales on top of the neck/head vs. the underside, horns and teeth, the inside of the mouth, and eyes. And there’s a huge range there from the cool dingy white scales with pink accents, blood red mouth interior with white teeth, and pale blue eyes of the white dragon head to the chalky charcoal of the black dragon head with white spikes, deep purple tongue, and beady orange-yellow eyes. All of the heads look great, especially with their different appearances juxtaposed against one another. Lastly, as above in the sculpt, there are really cool things happening with the paint on the transitions between Tiamat’s main body and her necks.
Tiamat is a fully functional Dungeons & Dragons miniature, a gargantuan creature you can play in your games. Now, you’ll need a pretty sizable play area to incorporate her, and with her 8 inch diameter base and massive body she’ll dominate any standard old school map. I’d say Tiamat is probably better used on a play mat instead. Outside of the game itself, Tiamat is an absolute beast of a display piece. I can’t get over how cool this figure is, and I’ve spent lots of time just soaking in the details from every angle. The only real potential downside I can mention is that she’s so big you’ll really need to consider whether you have an appropriate place to display her!
Gargantuan Tiamat is a marvelous addition to the Dungeons & Dragons Icons of the Realms line from WizKids, and will make a powerful statement in your collection or on your gaming table. She’s the culmination of years of dragon miniature evolution and stands on her own four feet alongside prior greats like Wizards’ Colossal Red Dragon of yesteryear. I really cannot recommend her enough for fans of Dungeons & Dragons and of dragons in particular. Her price tag reflects her size, quality, attention to detail, and packaging, with an MSRP of $399.99. You can find more information about Tiamat on WizKids.com here, and pre-order her in the WizKids store or on Amazon. She’s scheduled to arrive in stores in the next couple months, though with worldwide shipping and distribution the way it is right now please be patient and understand if there’s a delay.
Review and photos by Scott Rubin
Review sample courtesy of WizKids Games