Friday, 24 January 2020

Top Ten Manufacturers Of 2014 - A "Fantorical" Viewpoint

The fifth article covering my favourite miniature manufacturers over the years, this period focused predominantly upon my obsession with World War Two, whether it be the odd 10mm Soviet tank by "Pendraken Miniatures", some 28mm Allied vehicles originally cast by "Bolt Action Miniatures", or a veritable horde of brain-hungry German zombies by "Westwind Productions". However, it also encapsulated a remarkable fascination with some of the smaller scales within the hobby, such as 6mm and 15mm, which seemed to stem from a desire to pigment a variety of Modern Day British forces, as well as some "Rogue Trader" era inspired 'space knights'.

No.10 (Joint) - "Bolt Action Miniatures" - "Bolt Action"
It’s incredible to think just how long this particular resin model of a British Daimler Dingo Mk II Scout Car was left languishing in my ‘To do’ pile. But considering that “Bolt Action’s splendid line of 28mm World War Two miniatures and vehicles” was sold to “Warlord Games” in late 2008, this resin automobile must have been sat gathering dust on my painting table for a good six years or so before being finished. Fortunately, despite having little interest in historical gaming, the scout car made a welcome armoured mobile unit for my allies “Weird War Two” force using the “Savage Worlds” rule-set by “Pinnacle Entertainment Group”.

No.10 (Joint) - "Warlord Games" - "Bolt Action"
Despite having little interest in actually playing Rick Priestley and Alessio Cavatore’s “Bolt Action” tabletop game itself, this “re-release from the BEF Miniatures range” was one of a small handful of vehicles I planned to add to my British Commonwealth forces for “Weird War Two”. However, unlike the partially-painted A11 Matilda Mark I Infantry Tank which was meant to accompany it, this “classic light truck” was not only completed, but actually saw some occasional battlefield action; albeit my Flying Standard 10' "Tilly" Truck's most enigmatic role was probably being a simple ‘prop’ for a game of “Zombie TV” by “Crooked Dice Game Design Studio”, which saw Doctor Who and U.N.I.T. battle an ever-increasing invasion of Cybermen….

No.8 - "Pendraken Miniatures" - "Alien Creatures"
Something of a mixed bag, but predominantly motivated by a desire to reinforce my H.R. Giger aliens with an alternative fast-moving unit, this Middlesbrough-based manufacturer initially caught my eye courtesy of their somewhat oversized 10mm Face Huggers. These diminutive parasitoids not only proved straightforward to paint, but fortuitously proved perfectly scaled to accompany my larger “Ground Zero Games” Xenomorphs in their bloody battle against Humankind. In addition, I was rather pleased to pigment a few stands of reinforcements for both my English Civil War Royalist Army, and Russian (winter) World War Two force.

No.7 - "Ground Zero Games" - "Xenomorphs"
Bearing an uncanny resemblance to H.R. Giger’s famous motion picture extra-terrestrials, these xenomorphs seemed the perfect opponents for my 15mm Prydian Army by “The Ion Age”, and finally saw some tabletop action as a sizeable antagonistic horde during the year despite actually being bought at “Colours” 2013. To make their journey to the battlefield even more remarkable though, a number of the figures were actually stripped in methylated spirits and re-painted during this period, whilst others were re-based from their original 40mm x 60mm rectangular stands onto some “Battlefront Miniatures” bases so as to better tie-in with a never-realised “Flames Of War” cross-over…

No.6 - "The Ion Age" - "The Prydian Army"
Strongly influenced by this 15mm range’s nostalgia-inducing similarities to the old “Rogue Trader” miniatures by “Games Workshop”, I returned from “Salute” 2014 with a rather sizeable consignment of these models and quickly set to work painting up a small(ish) force of Retained Knights and the Prydian Army Muster. Admittedly, I didn’t actually pigment these figures in their “famous red and white” uniforms, but my desire to field some proxy Crimson Fist Space Marines and Imperial Guard still saw a fair few of these figures on the tabletop, as well as a couple of vehicles.

No. 5 - "Pulp Figures" - "Boys In Blue"
Pigmented purely as a somewhat straightforward submission for the Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge, as part of a Pulp-themed side-challenge, these ten Boys In Blue were supposedly the spearhead of a huge push of Bob Murch’s miniatures for the event featuring many more figures from the Canadian sculptor’s Gangland Justice Range. Sadly however, despite managing to include the first black police officer in New York City,  Sergeant Samuel J. Battle, as well as a vintage call box and fire hydrant into the mix, my momentum for this project disappointingly soon petered out just before the year’s end…

No.4 - "GHQ Models" - "Micro Armour"
As a wargamer I am somewhat prone to impulse purchases, and never has this weakness been more aptly demonstrated than by the Micro Armour boxed sets by “GHQ” I bought at “Colours” in 2011. Three years later and I finally started to plough my way through both my Modern British Combat Team and Modern Mujahadin/Al Qaeda Combat Team. These “super detailed 1:285 scale figures” were incredibly fun to paint, despite their eye-watering diminutive size, and I became so enthused with the range that I even managed to finish a fair few vehicles for my British forces as well.

No.3 - "Mongoose Publishing" - "Judge Dredd"
There can be little doubt that the 2012 “Judge Dredd” Kickstarter by “Mongoose Publishing” had both a positive and negative impact upon my hobby. True, the tardiness in the company's sculpting, casting and delivery of their supporters’ numerous pledges would debatably ruin their reputation. But it also provided me with an opportunity to slowly pick my way through a number of Street Judges, two versions of “Old Stony Face” himself, and the arch-nemesis of Mega-City One’s toughest lawman, Judge Death. I even managed to pigment Nu-Earth’s last surviving Genetic Infantryman, despite having wisely ‘backed out’ from Mongoose Matt’s calamitous “Rogue Trooper” Kickstarter at the last minute…

No.2 - "Westwind Productions" - "Secrets Of The Third Reich"
Thoroughly enthused by the “Weird War Two” setting for “Savage Worlds” by “Pinnacle Entertainment Group”, and the sheer range of supernatural forces on offer by “Westwind Productions” and their “Secrets Of The Third Reich” miniature range, it was probably inevitable I was going to end up painting a significant number of zombies for my battlefield; both German and Soviet. In addition, the Oldham-based manufacturer also lured me into their darkly Gothic Steampunk Victorian setting, with four well-sculpted London Bobbies from their tremendously successful Kickstarter “Empire Of The Dead: Requiem”.

No.1 - "Wizkids" - "Heroclix"
Undoubtedly inspired by several battle reports utilising the “7TV” rule-set by “Crooked Dice Game Design Studio”, and much more “Marvel Worldwide” focused than “DC Comics”, my collection of re-painted (and re-based) plastic “Wizkids” models saw its numbers significantly swell throughout 2014. However, it arguably wasn’t until the Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge towards the very end of the year that I truly ‘knuckled down’ with my “Heroclix” and polished off a small raiding force of U-Men to follow the Black Manta, as well as a trio of Dreadnought robots to do the bidding of Ultron.


  1. What a great idea for a post Simon. Perhaps not overly surprised to see Wizkids come out on top, but it was interesting to see the others along the way.

    1. Many thanks indeed, Michael. "Wizkids" was definitely top of the totem pole back in 2014. But I thought it was interesting that my other three main 'go to' manufacturers "Games Workshop", "Black Tree Design" and "Warlord Games" had yet to even emerge...

  2. An interesting look back and it shows how some things change while some things don't! Or course I am talking about Heroclix and how you always go for them every year without fail. I do like the Weird War/WW2 stuff i have to admit and may succumb at some point! Some great stuff in there, I love those police!!

    1. Cheers Undercoat. I think 2020 could well see quite a bit Weird War Two stuff over the coming months too. And who knows, maybe some Bob Murch pulp stuff too...

  3. Interesting who makes the top 10 each tear Simon, and how your interests differ on each year, with some remaining in the top 10 year after tear

    1. Thanks Dave. "Year after tear" - that about sums up my annual painting plans!! LOL!!!

  4. Great stuff Simon, I well remember some of them (and not so others, like those WWW2 vehicles). The Thing was my personal; favourite (surprise surprise!). But those cops were another that I well remember lusting after at the time too, and it seems like only yesterday you were doing those 15mm Ion age mini's cant believe you've been at them so long, but trime dose fly once you put down an unfinished project as they say!

    Great trip down memory lane.

    Sorry for the inconsistent comments this is the first time I've turned on my PC this year!!

    Cheers Roger.

    1. Cheers Roger. Any comment from you is always greatly appreciated :-) It does only seem like yesterday we were discussing our mutual affection for Ben Grimm etc. I'm really pleased you enjoyed this trip down memory lane.

  5. I can see the typical wargamer's approach t ganig with so many varied interests and the changes in the same over the last six years. Surprised by the 6mm moderns;
    I had a quick chuckle at "As a wargamer I am somewhat prone to impulse purchases" -surely not ? (Maybe you're the only one ?)

    1. Thanks Joe. Glad you enjoyed the posting. It was a lot of fun trying to work out the Top Ten, and then selecting the pics I thought best suited the manufacturer.