Saturday, 24 November 2018

Top Ten Manufacturers Of 2017 - A "Fantorical" Viewpoint

This particular article has been sat as a draft on this blog since the early part of 2018, and was initially going to form part of a series of postings looking back at the different manufacturers/genres I’ve been painting since “Fantorical” started. With this current year now almost complete, and my attention currently being turned by all manner of products both well-established and newly found, I thought it was a case of ‘now or never…’

These past twelve months have genuinely seen me desperately try and reduce the towering mountains of metal, plastic and resin miniatures which have surrounded me for far too long. Undoubtedly, I have failed in this particular mission, as I have uncontrollably flitted from genre to genre as the year has progressed and disconcertingly purchased far more models than I could possibly have painted within a similar time period. But in trying to limit my spending and increase my focus upon my valuable hobby-time, I have also built up quite a few interesting statistics as to what I seemingly prefer to paint and game; something I thought I'd share by means of my Top Ten Manufacturers of 2017...  

No.10 - "Victrix Limited" - "1803-1815 French Fusiliers"
My desire to own a fully-painted Napoleonic army is probably a dream many wargamers have, especially those who predominantly dabble in historical tabletop battles, so the idea of dedicating an entire month to the plastic 1803-1815 French Fusiliers produced by “Victrix Limited” initially seemed like a good plan to reinvigorate a small partially-painted force I’ve had sat gathering dust for years. Sadly however, the project’s impetus was quickly eroded beneath a sea of straps, cuffs, waistcoats and epaulettes, and disappointingly I only managed to finish three figures during the entirety of 2017.

No.9 - Private Collection - "G.I. Joe"
Undoubtedly one of the highlights of the late Summer 2017 was my introduction to, and subsequent acquisition of, some "G.I. Joe" miniatures from a private collection. These 28mm metal models are fantastically sculpted and absolutely packed full of comic book/ cartoon strip character. Indeed, despite only managing to complete a handful of figures I have clearly embarked upon a journey of discovery concerning the "Hasbro" toy action figure line, having watched three of the franchise's movies already... 

No.8 - "Wargames Foundry" - "Old West"
My desire to purchase this particular collection of 28mm metal Zombie Gunfighters was literally due to my bitter disappointment over the quality of the softly-sculpted plastic Undead miniatures found within the "Shadows Of Brimstone" boxed game by "Flying Frog Productions, and by "North Star Military Figures" decision not to produce a generic 'walking dead' horde for "Dracula's America" by "Osprey Games". Coupled with the Zomtober Painting Challenge, this almost created a 'perfect storm' of productivity and despite some of the cowboy models containing an incredible amount of detail, I was rather pleased to get five of these colourful figures finished before my motivation misfired...

No.7 - "Wizards Of The Coast" - "Dungeons And Dragons"
I've been dabbling away at my "Expedition To Barrier Peaks" campaign for some considerable time, and, unhappily, have yet to properly progress any of my actual adventurers. That hasn't however stopped me from building up a formidable-looking opposing force for my project's opening scenario using "D&D" miniatures taken from the Washington-based company's official line, as well some figures from its long OOP "Chainmail" range. Admittedly, both the Twig Blights and Hammerers required reasonably straightforward paint-jobs, but along with a plastic Wind Elemental I've still managed to get seven figures closer to my goal... 

No.6 - "North Star Military Figures" - "Frostgrave"
In many ways, this is a bit of a cheeky entry considering that almost half of the 28mm plastic models I completed from this range were actually for a "Nemesis The Warlock" science fiction project, rather than to use with Joseph McCullough's fantasy-based rule-set. Yet whether my painting subjects were skeletal warriors or fanatical heavy-weapon armed cultists which required a few additional resin components, they all originated from the selfsame series of plastic "Frostgrave" kits. Sadly, I never got anywhere near the dozen or so Undead fighters I wanted in order to experience the unholy dangers of "The Mausoleum", nor managed to arrange a game of "Mutants & Death Ray Guns" using my Terminators from Terra.

No.5 - "Copplestone Castings" - "Future Wars"
Propelled by a desire to replicate some of Mad Max’s post-apocalyptic antics, and an urgent need to accrue some quick(ish) points for the Seventh Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge before its end, I really threw myself into a number of “Copplestone Castings” codes at the start of 2017, and ultimately came away with a fairly impressive plethora of painted miniatures. True, the possible highlight of this month-long project was probably the rusty paint-job I provided on a 1/55th Scale Mgebrov Single-Turret Armoured Car produced by "The Honourable Lead Boiler Suit Company", rather than any of Mark’s characterfully sculpted Terminator Robots and Grey Aliens. Yet overall I still managed to ‘pot’ eleven models from his Future Wars range, and even got the vast majority of these finished figures on the tabletop for a Judge Dredd team-up set in the Cursed Earth…

No.4 - "Games Workshop" - "Age Of Sigmar"
“Games Workshop” undoubtedly made something of a major comeback in my books with the release of their fantasy battles “Age Of Sigmar” rule-set, and as a result I spent a fair portion of 2017 beavering away on some reinforcements for my Chaos Army. Predominantly occupied with doubling the size of my Nurgle Host’s Plaguebearer unit. I did however also ‘dip my toe’ into the Nottingham-based company’s "Warhammer Underworlds: Shadespire" boxed set with Garret Gorebeard, as well as test the waters with their release of the “ultimate Warhammer 40,000 boxed set" "Dark Imperium" by pigmenting a lone Death Guard Plague Marine.

No.3 - "Wizkids" - "Heroclix"
Super-Heroes have long been a major love of my life, so it should have come as no surprise to anyone that I managed to re-paint over twenty-five of “Wizkids” plastic “Heroclix” miniatures during 2017. Interestingly though, after a strong start fuelled by my desire to incorporate “The Avengers” into my games of “Zombicide”, my interest in the genre rather dried up during the vast majority of the year and didn’t surprisingly return until near its end when I began my short-lived “Mutants And Death Ray Guns” campaign featuring the Joker and the Riddler, and subsequently required some reinforcements for their gangs. Disappointingly, my enthusiasm for this turf ‘Battle for Gotham City’ petered out shortly afterwards, but at least I managed to finish two long-time languishing kit-bashed “Forgotten Heroes” in the shape of Warwolf and Manphibian.

No.2 - "Black Tree Design" - "Doctor Who"
“Black Tree Design” were undoubtedly a major contributor to helping me succeed in my 500 point challenge during their Seventh Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge, with the manufacturer producing a fine array of straightforward-looking “Doctor Who” miniatures. Tapping into my deep adoration for the BBC Science Fiction Television programme’s classic era, I somehow managed to complete some ten Nimon, ten Robot Mummies and seven Voord before the event finished, as well as assemble a rather nice little sandstone backdrop for my seated Sutekh The Destroyer miniature.

No.1 - "Warlord Games" - "Doctor Who"
By far my most popular producer of miniatures in 2017, “Warlord Games” fiendishly ‘got me’ with two of their rule-sets - “Doctor Who: Exterminate!” and “Beyond The Gates Of Antares”. Initially, mainly due to my aforementioned collection of “Black Tree Design” figures, I was rather loathe to start collecting a second range of Time Lord-based miniatures, even if they were in a different scale and seemingly appeared far more focused on ‘Nu Who’ rather than the original thirty year-long series. But I eventually wilted with the release of their “Doctor Who: Exterminate!” Boxed starter set at “Salute” and the awesome “Nightmares In Silver" Cybermen Collector's Set 1966-2013. Coupled with a determination to ‘field’ a Boromite Scouting Force for “Beyond The Gates Of Antares”, alongside a few “Bolt Action” models, I ultimately ended up completing a staggering ninety-eight “Warlord Games” miniatures during 2017; over three times more than any other manufacturer.

20 comments:

  1. What a diverse group of manufacturers made the list Simon, like how you ranked them on the number of models completed by each manufacturer.

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    1. Thanks very much indeed, Dave. I have been keeping a tally for 2018 as well, and hope to post that too in the new year. I was certainly surprised with some of the results, as I thought "Games Workshop" would have been higher - its surprising how you think you're constantly painting a range but in actual fact your output for them is far less.

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  2. That was a fascinating post, Simon. Of course it is entirely subjective and no two people will ever agree on any top ten list but the main thing is that these are the figure companies you like the most. I, for one, am glad you decided to post this article. Given how much you influenced me in the "Doctor Who" range by Warlord Games, I hope you make a return to it real soon. It seems to have been neglected by you in recent months. Perfectly understandable given how many other projects you have on the go.

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    1. Cheers Bryan, I have a couple more data sets to hand for a couple more similar postings from yesterday, and, as I say above, I'm preparing a 2018 article for the new year.

      Spookily "Doctor Who: Exterminate!" will be the focus of next month, as I'm planning to 'catch-up' with a number of their more recent releases, and get plenty of games in too.

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  3. Sweet. Been nice to see you doing stuff from all these ranges.

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    1. Thanks Simon, they'll be a few 'new' manufacturers making the 2018 list for sure, with both my current dabble in 15mm and the first few weeks of the "Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge" creating a big change in my 'go to' manufacturers.

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  4. Interesting choices. The joy of this sort of post is that straight away you , in your head, start making your own list. Needless to say most people will have different orders and different manufacturers dependant on their personal likes and dislikes. And that is a strength and not any kind f weakness.

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    1. Cheers Clint. I was actually surprised by some of the choices myself, hence the scientific approach of counting how many minis I'd painted per manufacturer.

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  5. What an interesting way to find, even if subconscientl, wjay manufacturers you have preferred over a year.
    Enthusiasm for many gamers seem to come in waves and even I've been a bit more diverse than I'd have like to have been. I n the past I've tended to stick to a single project, finish it sufficiently to play relentless games of whatver, whilst embarking on another.
    I've always found it both interesting and fascinating how gamers spend their time on this hobby.

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    1. Thanks very much, Joe, much appreciated. I’m hoping this year’s Top Ten Manufacturers will prove as equally diverse. I was certainly surprised by some of the model makers I bought from last year.

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  6. That's certainly a merry mix of manufacturer's and periods!

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  7. Damn I knew I should have copywrited "top ten" postings way back when I wrote the first ones back in 2014! ;-)

    Interesting posting Simon, it would be fun to know what the difference (if any) there is between what you painted and what you bought.

    Cheers Roger.

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    1. LOL Roger!! :-) I don't actually keep a record of purchases, so unless I mention them in a posting, a lot just go onto my shelves or into the loft for a rainy day.

      Having said that the big buys were clearly "Warlord Games" "Doctor Who: Exterminate!" range - as that hadn't come out until 2017 - so all of those were bought at the time, as were the "Beyond The Gates Of Antares" Boromites. I also recall buying a lot more "Black Tree Design" miniatures to help me bulk out my "Doctor Who" collection for their range too.

      The "G.I. Joe" stuff and "Wargames Foundry" models were also bought during 2017, but I had a lot more still sat in drawers waiting to be painted, so both were sadly just the tip of the iceberg as far as clearing my backlog were concerned. Indeed, I think the vast majority of my projects last year, including "Mad Max" brought more models in than cleared out...

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  8. Wow! This shows two things. Firstly you paint a lot of miniatures! Secondly boy do you flit between ranges! Although, to be fair, that is a huge number of Dr Who minis so your focus has been clear and you also painted a lot of AoS too. This kind of self reflection does make you think though and is an interesting read. If only you could be as focused and disciplined as me old boy 😉😉

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    1. Well, you're certainly correct on the first point, Undercoat. But as you say, the majority of the models I painted in 2017 are "Doctor Who", "Beyond The Gates Of Antares", "Heroclix" and "Age Of Sigmar" motivated, so not much flitting tbh. If I was as 'undisciplined' as yourself then things would be far worse I'm sure!! ;-)

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  9. Cool stuff. I hope another manufacturer can jostle its way onto the 2019 list. :)

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    1. LOL! I’m absolutely certain they will Leon, especially as I plan to showcase your two most generous samples as part of my Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge entrants - that should give the range loads of extra coverage at the time of the KS ;-)

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  10. Great list of makers for sure. Has been fun watching you post all these up and learning of new manufacturers to add to my own collection too (Oathsworn for one.).

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    1. Thanks Dai. I'm sure Oathsworn will feature quite prominently in my 2018 version of this article, as I managed to get quite a few "Burrows & Badgers" minis finished this year.

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