In 1974, Jim Oden, the US importer of Minifigs, left Minifigs to begin Heritage Models. Heritage figures were a step above most other miniatures produced at the time and they had the good fortune to produce a Lord of the Rings line and a John Carter of Mars line. Towards the late 70s TSR began negotiations with Heritage to produce a Dungeons and Dragons, however, things did not come together and instead TSR decided to give Grenadier license to produce the official AD&D miniatures. Heritage went ahead and produced the proposed line labeling the line Dungeon Dwellers. Production began in 1979. The Dungeon Dwellers was a fabulous line of miniatures with many figures looking exactly like the sketches from the Monster Manual. Figures were artistic, durable, though a bit crudely cast and some were a bit comical, but not in a bad way, more in a charming way.
In the early 80's Heritage Dungeon Dwellers were the most expensive miniatures available. They still sold plenty and so most of the figures are relatively easy to come across these days, though there are a few that are almost impossible to find. Common figures, humans, orcs, etc. are worth 2.00-3.00 each. Larger figures are worth 4.00-10.00. Giant types can bring 15.00-25.00; dragons, hydra's, wyverns, etc. 25-50.00. Demons are generally worth 15-25.00 except for the very small imps which are worth only a few dollars. Some demons are very pricey, Asmodeus can command 50-80.00 when in mint condition, Orcus 25.00-45.00 and there are two other demons that can pull 100.00. Wolves are the most rare, with one or two wolves being so rare that no one knows what they are worth for the simple reason that there is no record of their being having been sold in recent years and not a single Heritage collector has even stepped forth with a picture of one of the wolves as no one has it in their collection!
Dungeon Dwellers are relatively easy to indentify as they are stamped with an HM, a date of 1979-82 and a 4-digit number beginning with 12. The number was often followed with a letter: A, B, C, D to differentiate different sculpts of the same monster type. Most of the miniatures had a date stamp of 1980, though a few had 1979 or 1981 and a couple 1982. Most miniatures came in blisters, though boxed sets were available but contained for the most part miniatures that were available in blisters. The Lair of the Dragon boxed set was the exception which contained a baby dragon, treasure pile, maiden and dragon-slayer that were not available in blisters, nor did these figures have a 1200 series number, but rather an odd 5 digit number beginning with 35. Additionally, three figures from the Paint 'n' Play sets had different number designations. An important point on the number system for the Dungeon Dwellers line is that the Dungeon Dwellers were officially the 1200 line with all the blisters having 1200 numbers. However, not all the miniatures in the blisters had 1200 numbers, but 1300 numbers as well as they used few miniatures from their Knights and Magic line in their Dungeon Dweller line. So a 1300 numbered Heritage figure may be a Dungeon Dweller, though in most cases it is not, the only way to know is to check the picture. Heritage also made a few variations in the models with the same serial number.
Heritage Models, unfortunately, went under in the 80's. In 1993, the newly formed company, Reaper Miniatures, purchased the rights to the Dungeon Dwellers line and began producing the Reaper Dungeon Dweller line, a catalog of which can be downloaded from our Catalogs section. Reaper changed the bases from the very neat cobbled bases that Heritage used to the more simple bases such as used on their current Dark Heaven line. After bringing the Dungeon Dwellers line back to life, Reaper started the Dark Heaven line with the intention of the best sculptures to produce the Dark Heaven figures while allowing new and less developed sculptures to continue producing miniatures for the Dungeon Dwellers line, however, with the raving popularity of the Dark Heaven line, the Dungeon Dwellers line was eventually put to rest. The production rights. masters and molds of Heritage Dungeon Dwellers where then sold and so they are still available. Tom Dye at Game Figures Inc. holds the rights and many Dungeon Dwellers are available through his site (Asmodeus, labeled Greater Devil is just 9.95!). Serious Heritage collectors should note that many of Tom Dye's figures are the Reaper produced Dungeon Dwellers with the non-cobbled bases. Tom Dye has also given permission to Michael Thomas at Classic Miniatures to produce many of the Heritage Dungeon Dwellers in order to help collectors fill their collections. Michael's castings are excellent and well priced. While only a fraction of the Dungeon Dwellers can be obtained from these two sources, they are a good place to start and you can get some that are near impossible to find and which would cost a fortune on eBay if you ever did find them.Dungeon Dwellers Checklist