Here’s a fun fact. Did you know that Bahamut is not a dragon? He’s a fish. Or a fish-thing. Or a whale, maybe. Point is, Bahamut as originally described in super-ancient Arabian mythology is not a dragon. He’s the giant fish on which the world rests, and his name is the root word of Behemoth – i.e. “A really huge thing.” The idea of making Bahamut a dragon god actually came from Dungeons & Dragons, in which Bahamut and Tiamat (also not originally a dragon) became draconic.
So yeah, Final Fantasy totally ripped off Dungeons & Dragons, at least in the first game. A few monsters had to have their names or even appearances changed in the US release, but Bahamut and Tiamat remained intact. And as you’ll see, Bahamut in D&D really resembles the Final Fantasy dragon.
BAHAMUT: THE PLATINUM DRAGON
The chief deity of the metallic dragons is Bahamut, the Platinum Dragon. He dwells in the Seven Heavens of Mount Celestia, but often wanders the Material Plane in the magical guise of a venerbly human male in peasant robes. In this form, he is usually accompanied by seven golden canaries – actually seven ancient gold dragons in polymorphed form.
Bahamut seldom interferes in the affairs of mortal creatures, though he makes exceptions to help thwart the machinations of Tiamat the Dragon Queen and her evil brood. Good-aligned clerics and paladins sometimes worship Bahamut for his dedication to justice and protection. As a lesser god, he has the power to grant divine spells.
Back when the Dungeons & Dragons Miniatures line was in full swing, they released several D&D Icons – gigantic pieces. Most of them were dragons, with black, blue, and white dragons in the Gargantuan size, and one Colossal one. For reference sake, the average human D&D mini is about half an inch tall, whereas the Colossal Red Dragon is roughly fourteen inches in height. Yowza! They also made a figure of Orcus, the Demon Prince of Undeath.
Pathfinder Miniatures has also been experimenting with one Gargantuan-sized figure per set, though theirs seem to be scaled a little smaller than the D&D icons. And now that Wizkids, the company who makes Pathfinder minis, is handling D&D minis, they have reintroduced Icons with both Bahamut and Tiamat. I’ve got Bahamut.
This is not Bahamut’s first miniature… sort of. Back in 2006, the Huge-sized “Aspect of Bahamut” came out – sort of a mortal avatar. It wasn’t as gigantic as Bahamut is supposed to be, but it does serve as a decent contrast when compared to the new dude. And I might as well get the figure’s biggest drawback out of the way first: He’s kinda small.
Both D&D icons sell for anywhere between $45 to $65, though you should expect to pay $60-ish. Sadly, that’s typical for a gaming miniature. Back in the day, icons were $50-ish or so, with the Colossal Red and Orcus being $75. So that’s why Tiamat will not be joining us in the review today. Maybe later.
Bahamut is smaller than previous D&D icons. He is absolutely dwarfed by the Gargantuan black or blue, and you can really see how much less body mass he has than the white dragon.
However, he is in scale with Pathfinder Gargantuan pieces – he matches up with the green dragon in body size, though his wingspan is much greater. The unfortunate side effect of this is that he is honestly out of scale. Bahamut is a dragon god, and he should not look shrimpy.
In fact, although he is noticeably bigger than the Bahamut Aspect from 2006, it’s really all in his wingspan. The two seem to be in the same size category! He isn’t even all that larger than Large-sized dragons from the same line, and that’s two categories smaller (the size categories are: Tiny, Small, Medium, Large, Huge, Gargantuan, Colossal). So, does this ruin the figure?
Hell, no! Bahamut looks awesome. The detail on this figure shows what eight years’ difference can make. His detailing is beyond exquisite, and every single scale, plate, scute, and whisker is sculpted with precision. Bahamut is in an interesting pose, actually mirroring the Final Fantasy Bahamut from the first couple of games in that series. Was this on purpose or just a coincidence? I do not know.
Next up is the paint. The Aspect figure got Bahamut’s coloration right, as he is supposed to look like platinum. The new miniature seems to have made him blue, though I admit it matches some of his artwork. It’s an excellent shade of metallic blue, and you can tell that the painters worked hard to keep his eyes nd teeth clean, to color the membranes on his wing, and to add quite a few paint washes on the figure itself. His paint serves to bring out the details on his sculpt, not obscure them. Awesome!
Bahamut is sculpted in mid-flight, suspended in the air on a transparent pole. Both pole and base are removable, which is something unique – usually, with RPG minis, they glue it all together and assume that you dont care if the figure brekas. In fact, Pathfinder miniatures glue their “flying” figures to their posts, and breakage happens all the time. But thankfully, the new Dungeons & Dragons miniatures don’t do that. Bahamut is much less likely to break if his post can just pop out, and I am grateful for it. The pegs are shaped to fit in only one configuration, but they do remain secure. It produces an unsightly hole on Bahamut’s torso, but that’s better than a nonremovable, fragile post on a $60 figure.
Well, Bahamut looks really good, is sculpted and painted incredibly well, and can pull double-duty in Final Frantasy displays. But the thing is, he’s only about six inches tall, even while flying. The size effect is a little underwhelming when put up against others from the same sub-line, so what does this mean for Bahamut as a whole? To be honest, I like the figure a lot. The size is a huge issue (hah), but overall he’s a really good dragon figure. He reminds me a lot of the McFarlane Dragons (and is in the same scale), and those were works of art. If you don’t mind his relative shrimpiness, Bahamut is a really awesome dragon, and both the sculpting and paint are professional enough that it looks more like a model or piece of fantasy art than just a toy. It’s your decision, but I’m glad I picked it up. Maybe someday we’ll see Tiamat.