Wednesday, 31 December 2014

Top Ten Miniatures Of 2014 - A "Rantings From Under The Wargames Table" Viewpoint

Now for those of you expecting a posting by Blax The Kleric I apologise for high-jacking your usual dose of “Fantorical”, but rest assured normal service will soon be restored. But for today only Simon and I have agreed to submit a post to one another's blogs, detailing each others ten favourite painted figures of 2014. So what you will find below are my personal favourites from Simon’s output for the year...

No. 10 - German Zombie Captain by "West Wind Productions" - February
Zombies have been very much in 'vogue' for the last few years, in films, television and of course in Wargames though I am reliably informed by one of my work colleagues (who know’s about this sort of thing) that Nazi zombies are the most evil as they were already evil before they were zombies! All I know is that the ones Simon has painted up are rather nice (if that’s the right word to use for zombies), and I particularly like the Captain figure in his shirt and braces still wearing his officers peaked cap.

No. 9 - Albino Skink Champion - "Games Workshop" - December
“Oldhammer” is a thing that could only be unique to "Games Workshop". No other company has such a fast turnover of figures that models from the Eighties and Nineties could be looked upon with nostalgia (most would still have them in their current ranges!). It is however where a lot of us started in the hobby, so it’s nice to see some of these 'classic' fantasy armies getting dusted off and given a coat of paint (even if I would not dare take on a challenge like this!). Now the figure I’ve chosen is one that I know Simon wasn’t that pleased with, but it’s my choice so he’ll have to put up with it. Though it may not be as white as he’d hoped it would be, I love the fact that 'Gluckle The Greedy' looks like he’s seen many a battle and the contrast to the blue skin colour of the rest of the skinks in his unit really makes him stand out as a special character. Sorry Simon I like him!

No. 8 - Judge Death - "Mongoose Publishing" - November
Now Simon has done quite a bit of complaining about the quality of the casting on some of these “Judge Dredd” miniatures, but I’ve not seen anything wrong with any of his finished models. Perhaps he’s just clever with how he photographs them!?!. I have liked quite a few of the ones he’s presented over the year but in the end it came down to the two versions of Judge Death. Both are smashing figures and the way the 'ectoplasmic' vapour was painted emerging from the bottom of the giant helmet only version was most impressive (and something I’ve always struggled with!). But in the end the full bodied version just edged it.

No. 7 - Aliens - "Ground Zero Games" - April
Aliens... Now who doesn’t want an army of these little blighters? After Daleks these have got to be my evil army of choice. They are one of those figures that appear so easy to paint and yet are so difficult to get just right. But that is exactly what Simon has done here with these 15mm xenomorphs. His style of painting and use of gloss varnish finish compliments them perfectly, not to mention that his use of the 10mm “facehuggers” from “Pendraken” is also rather inspired.

No. 6 - Iceman "Wizkids" - December
I love superheroes, I could have nearly filled this entire list with the “Heroclix” figures that Simon has repainted (The Rhino and the Thing spring immediately to mind), but I’ve decided to limit myself to just two for my top ten. So for my first superhero entry I have taken a figure that has only recently been completed and that is Bobby Drake, better known as Iceman, from the X-Men. Now this is a figure I own myself, however needless to say mine doesn’t look anything like this. Still in his original clear blue plastic I actually thought the model looked quite good, until I saw this repaint of him. I know that Simon has put a lot of work into getting a sense of coldness into the figure and it really shows. This is a figure that I know quite few people have commented approvingly about and one Simon himself is pretty pleased with and for good reason. A great example of what these figures can look like.

No. 5 - Modern Middle Eastern Alliance Revered Leader "GHQ" - May
6mm figures can be great. They are cheap, are quick and easy to paint and you don’t need acres of space to play in. Having said all that when I first read this blog entry I thought these figures were 10 or 15mm scale that just shows the levels of detail that there is painted onto on these little lumps of lead. He has also taken the chance to build up tiny little diorama. So what could have been just another pretty boring stand of infantry has been given an injection of personality with the simple addition of the camel (is this a subliminal metaphor for the reasons behind the conflict “the straw that broke the camels back" I wonder?); plus it also makes him easier to pick out on the battlefield. All of this goes into making the stand a rather clever little figure base.

No. 4 - Jesus Of Nazareth - "Space Vixens From Mars" - November
A good blog entry should get a reaction from the reader and this miniature certainly did that. I thought I was holding my own in our “Mo’vember” painting challenge when up popped this little fellow (is it blasphemous to call the son of god a little fellow? I don’t know). Anyway as I said at the time “How do you top Jesus!?!” Though it was never a competition, if it had been I think Simon would have won it then and there. Another excellent paintjob and a figure I would never in a million years of even thought existed. Quite brilliantly well played that man.

No. 3 - Roj Blake - "Crooked Dice Game Design Studio" - October
I am a big fan of Seventies British science-fiction, and so it would seem is our host here, as not only does he post some very entertaining cartoon strips of his take on classic “Dr who” over on his “Mooretoons” blog, but he has also brought us his continuing painting saga of the original members of the Liberator's crew from “Blake's Seven”. Now if he had finished painting 'Jenna Stannis' I would probably have picked her, but as he hasn’t… (I’m still waiting Simon!), I have picked the main man himself. It’s quite scary how much the finished figure does look like Gareth Thomas, I think he might actually have got his hands on the Master's 'Cellular Compression Device'... I mean you never see the actor and the figure together now do you?

No. 2 - Frankenstein’s Monster - "Graven Images" - October
Simon is actually painting up a second ("Heroclix") version of this legendary concoction of body parts even as we speak and from what we’ve seen so far I am sure this will also be an excellent example of the breed. However for the moment I have chosen this lovely (is that the right word) 40mm “Universal Movies” version. I love old horror films and would much rather watch an old “Universal” or “Hammer” atmospheric classic than one of today’s 'gore fests'. Plus this fellow really captures the essence of Boris Karlov’s iconic performance.

No.1 - Lockjaw - "Wizkids" - November
Now it maybe the fact that I am a big “Silver age” comic fan, or that "The Inhumans” doggie chum has turned up in a few of the classic comics I have been reading of late. But I’ve always had a bit of a soft spot for this teleporting canine. If I’m brutally honest when Simon first put him forward as one of his entries into our “Mo’vember” painting challenge, creative as the choice was, I actually found the miniature in question somewhat uninspiring. Therefore it was all the more surprising when he presented the finished figure a couple of weeks later... What a transformation. Here was a figure that I really wish I’d painted. One thing that constantly surprises me on Simon’s blog is his ability to take these “Heroclix” miniatures and, by giving them a top notch re-paint, show what really good sculpts are lurking under the often pretty dodgy paint-jobs they come with. If there’s one thing I’ve come away from “Fantorical” with this year it is “Don’t judge a miniature by the paint-job it comes with!”.

And that’s why he’s made it to the top of my “Fantorical Favourites” of 2014.So that’s it, my top ten of Blax the Kleric's figures for 2014. All that remains for me to do is thank Simon for coming up with the idea behind this bit of nonsense, and giving me the opportunity to share with you my favourite bits of his output for the year. If you’re interested to see what he thought of my attempts at sloshing the paint and such about please follow the link below:

Finally I’d just like to wish you all the very best of new years, and may your paint only flow where you wish it to.Cheers Roger.


  1. Roger, Many thanks indeed for taking me up on this suggestion. Although if I'd realised at the time that you'd include that 'Oldhammer' Albino Skink Champion model in your Top Ten, I might not have been so quick to have made it! It's rather disconcerting commenting on my own blog but you've made me realise just how many scales and genres I've 'picked away at' over the past twelve months. I'd certainly forgotten about all those Weird War Two zombies I painted at the start of the year (I must dig them out) and re-basing my 15mm Aliens. Personally I'd have included the "Heroclix" Rhino as I was rather pleased with the way the washes turned out on him... and if you were going to go with a "Moongoose Publishing" model, why not Rogue Trooper? Clearly there was no room for the Space Marine Sternguard Veteran either; a model which single-handedly put me off painting such highly detailed "Games Workshop" plastics for life! Still it would be a boring world if we all liked the same thing. Many thanks once again, and a Happy New Year :-)

  2. Funny that you should mention "Rhino" and "Rogue Trooper" as They both got onto the short list, Rhino is a stunning figure and if I hadn't already got two of your heroklix repaints on the list would definiatly have been in there too, Zorro was another that so very nearly made it in too. The space marine has more to do with my opinion of the figure than your paintwork I'm afraid (space marines should have pointy noses) I'm sure many people would have different opinions on what should have made the top ten Queen Victoria?, Daredevil? all cracking stuff and it was really difficult rating your fig's

    In the end I always think "you paint for yourself, if your happy with it that's all that matters at the end of the day, if someone else like it then that's a bonus".

    P.S. sorry but I still like that skink!!

    1. Cheers Roger. Genuinely grateful to you for having the time to do this for me. I too believe Space Marines should be 'beaky'. I actually need to finish Queen Victoria as I've some grey and white work to still do on her Majesty. But that shouldn't take too much effort. Indeed if I wasn't concentrating on another mini for my first post of the New Year, I'd paint her now. As it is though I've a certain female ex-space smuggler now freedom fighter just needing the odd highlight and then basing ;-)

  3. I love the idea of having guest writers on your blog. Picking ten figures must have been very hard and whilst I'd have made some different choices, overall the ones chosen were a good representation of your impressive output. Best wishes for 2015 and I look forward to following your blog to see what inspired madness you can come up with. The Batman and Jesus team up is going to take some beating though!

    1. Many thanks Bryan. Happy New Year to you :-) I'm not sure I can beat the 'Cloaked Crusaders' tbh but I've a few Batreps lined up already for the next few weeks. Planning to dig out some of my old "Space Hulk" tiles for some Blake's Seven "7TV" and I've just joined 'The Board Of The Living Lead' as I want to do re-learn "ZombieTV" and do a weird war campaign. Loads on the painting table and then there's SDE to tempt me on your blog :-)


Note: only a member of this blog may post a comment.