Saturday, 28 March 2020

Top Ten Manufacturers Of 2019 - A "Fantorical" Viewpoint

There can be little doubt that 2019 was a wonderfully surprising year for my painting, with the sudden emergence of several new miniature ranges which somewhat shockingly overshadowed my usual mainstay manufacturers. “Lucid Eye Publications”, “Modiphius Entertainment”, “Fantasy Flight Games”, “Knight Models”, and “Kitbash Games” all arguably came out of nowhere to challenge the annual dominancy of my traditional Big Four - “Warlord Games”, “Wizkids”, “Black Tree Design” and “Games Workshop”, and as a result made this period my most productive ever.

In addition, there was a noticeable increase in the amount of Fantasy-based models I pigmented that weren’t from the Mortal Realms of “Age Of Sigmar”. Science Fiction and super-hero figures have repeatedly governed my hobby-time over the past decade, yet due in large to the characterful sculpts of the “Toon Realms” range, Skeletons, Treemen, Spiders, Knights and assorted forest-bred wildlife increasingly ‘cropped up’ on my online shopping trolley too…

No.10 - "Wizards Of The Coast" - "Star Wars Miniatures Game"
There can be absolutely no doubt that I would never have painted anything concerning either the "Star Wars Miniatures Game" or "Wizards Of The Coast" during this year if it wasn't for the generosity of Phil Curran, who along with a formidable array of other science-fiction based miniatures, kindly gifted me an enormous Commerce Guild Homing Spider Droid and four Super Battle Droids. Indeed, despite owning a significant box full of models from the collectable miniatures tabletop game, I have predominantly focused on simply re-basing the figures in the past, not re-painting them. However, I felt it was only right to put my brush-tip to these lovely sculpts as soon as possible, and score some much needed points during the Ninth Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge as well.

No.9 - "Crooked Dice Games Design Studio" - "7TV"
Despite having played numerous games of "7TV" by "Crooked Dice Games Design Studio" when the "cinematic style" skirmish game first came out several years ago, it wasn't until the end of 2019, with the release of "7TV: Apocalypse", that I finally became enamoured with its second edition. As a result, except for a quartet of Gabriel Hounds, I barely picked away at the Lincolnshire-based company's range until the very end of the year, when I finally finished a partially-painted female X-Commando who had been lurking in my queue for months, as well as their excellent Protoplasmic Terrors.

No.8 - "Reaper Miniatures" - "Chronoscope"
Whilst my plans to host a campaign loosely set in James M. Ward and Gary Jaquet's mid-25th century “Gamma World” never materialised, the science fantasy world did encourage me to pigment a plethora of models from "Reaper Miniatures" Chronoscope range. These varied from some distinctly "Dungeons And Dragons" stalwarts, such as the Gelatinous Cube, Stone Golem and Mind-Eater, through to some surreal adventurers, like Sherlock Holmes and a Deep Sea Diver, as well as the formidable "Bones" sculpt of Ape-X.

No.7 - "Warlord Games" - "Doctor Who: Exterminate!"
Quite possibly the biggest disappointment of 2019 was the utter lack of new releases by "Warlord Games" for their "Doctor Who: Exterminate!" Miniatures Game. Admittedly, this absence of fresh sculpts did offer the opportunity for me to pigment my quite considerable backlog of time travelling figures, but without the persistent 'buzz' of new foes to fight I soon found my enthusiasm dwindling for what is a somewhat overly-clunky rule-set. As a result, perhaps my most notable success was completely painting the range's "Tomb Of The Cybermen" set, complete with its Cyber-Leader for the Ninth Analogue Hobbies Challenge.

No.6 - "Fantasy Flight Games" - "Star Wars: Legion"
Undoubtedly one of the biggest surprises of the year, especially considering how poorly my attempt to paint the Minnesota-based company's previous "Star Wars" game had gone, was the sheer number of figures I completed for "Star Wars: Legion" by "Fantasy Flight Games". Initially wowed by the attention to detail on the range's dynamically-posed Wookie Warriors, I soon transferred my attention over to the Dark Side of the Force, by applying my brush-tip to the likes of General Maximilian Veers, some Imperial Royal Guards, a complete squad of Imperial Death Troopers and Emperor Palpatine himself.

No.5 - "Games Workshop" - "Age Of Sigmar"
Two significant-sized projects lead to me pushing through a considerable number of "Games Workshop" models for "Age Of Sigmar". On the one hand I added enough Bloodletters and Heralds of Khorne to allow me to field a 1,000-point strong Blades Of Khorne army for the miniature game's second edition, and on the other I stubbornly forced myself to complete enough of the Nottingham-based manufacturer's overly-complicated plastic figures to deploy an Iron Golem warband for "Warcry".

No.4 - "Wizkids" - "Heroclix"
Ever a stable part of my annual output, my interest in super-hero based gaming surprisingly didn’t really ‘take off’ until somewhat late in the year, with my sudden determination in October to clear my painting queue of eight old(ish) Ultron Drone figures. Before that point I had simply been 'picking away' at the pre-painted plastic figures, momentarily fixating upon the Spaceknight Firefall's fearsome battle against a clutch of Dire Wraiths, before flitting over to the odd "HorrorClix" miniature such as the Reaper of Souls and a Carnage Bot.

No.3 - "Modiphius Entertainment" - "Star Trek Adventures"
Having become increasingly frustrated by the extraordinarily long delays affecting their Robert E. Howard’s Conan Role-Playing Game Kickstarter, which was supposedly meant to deliver in June 2016, I actually once swore I would never buy another “Modiphius Entertainment” product again. But then the London-based manufacturer released their “Star Trek Adventures” miniatures and I quickly found myself neck deep in Borg drones. Two fully-painted boxes of the Collective later, as well as a half-strength raiding party of Romulans, and even I must admit that the 32mm scale resin figures had an enormously positive impact upon my productivity during 2019.

No.2 - "Black Tree Design" - "Doctor Who"
Enthused by a lengthy series of battles using some homemade rules and my desire to potentially field numerous opposing factions, as well as an increasingly nostalgic love of classic “Doctor Who”, it was perhaps inevitable that I would continue to steadily work my way through this ageing company’s (back) catalogue. A formidable force of Sharaz Jek Androids, Silurians and Monoids all helped motivate me throughout the year, and even kept my passion going when the delivery service of “Black Tree Design” left a lot to be desired, courtesy of some incredibly poor communications and month-long delays.

No.1 - "Lucid Eye Publications" - "Toon Realms"
Perhaps my biggest success of 2019 was the completion of a small-sized Undead army for my “Lord Of The Toons” project using the “Dragon Rampant” rule-set. Produced by “Lucid Eye Publications”, a company I was initially utterly oblivious to, this force of skeletons and spiders greatly contributed to my success during the Ninth Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge, and maintained much of its momentum for almost the entirety of the year due to a positively frantic release schedule. A genuine surprise genre, this particular range also got me as close to doing batch-painting as I have been in almost a decade of hobbying…

20 comments:

  1. An interesting look at last year, with some cracking stuff in there. Not surprised by some, Toon Realms, Star Trek and Heroclix especially!! I didn't realise you had painted so much Star Wars stuff though. Some of that Chronoscope stuff would cross over to your D&D project, especially that gelatinous cube.

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    1. Thanks very much Undercoat. I do enjoy these Top Ten look backs, as they always surprise me in some way, shape or form. It was definitely a period where the 'usual suspects' weren't so dominate as usual, and "Warlord Games" disconcertingly lost the crown they've worn for the past two years.

      Definitely agree some of the Chronoscope stuff would cross over to D&D, and in writing this posting I spotted I'd actually based on the "Reaper" Stone Golems specifically for "Frostgrave" too.

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  2. Lots of lovely stuff there Simon, and a few bits on show I'd forgotten about, like the "Carnage Bot" that is a cracking miniature. Surprised "Ion Age" never made the top ten list though as I thought you painted a fair bit of that in 2019, shows how the memory can play tricks!

    Glad "Toon Realms" made it to the top though, I love those figures, and if I do start painting again on a regular basis, I think I'll have to pick some of them up at some point.

    Cheers Roger.

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    1. Cheers Roger. I'm afraid I didn't paint a single "Ion Age" mini at all during 2019, despite having a fair few partially-painted on my table. I did, as you note, get a handful of "Horrorclix" done though, which makes something of a change from the usual "Heroclix" I paint.

      "Lucid Eye publications" continue to produce some outstanding stuff for their "Toon Realms" range, and I've little doubt that 2020 will see plenty more of their figs being posted as the months pass by.

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  3. As I'm a fairly slow painter and you always seem to have a good handful of completed figures to post about, exactly how many figures did you paint in 2019? I'm curious.

    Nice to see a good selection of genres covered too.

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    1. That's coz' you spend to much time on the net looking for alternative character figs! ;-)

      Cheers Roger.

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    2. Thanks Jez, I managed to crank out 241 minis last year, not including scenery ("Age Of Sigmar Spells) and objectives etc. It was a good year. Hopefully, this year I'll be able to cover just as many genres again, and perhaps a change in scale too.

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    3. LOL, Roger!!! That did make me chuckle!!! :-)

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  4. this is a great hub of info, since im not familiar with minaiture companies outside of GW and reaper.
    but i do kick myself for not getting in on the star Wars mini's when they were out at the time.

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    1. Thanks Mr.Martin, glad you found some companies you weren't aware of. Its one of the reasons I like these annual Top Tens, as it shows just how my hobby changes year from year, as interests change and manufacturer's come and go. The "Star Wars Miniatures Game" was such a great source of models imho. Still plenty about though on Ebay etc and many reasonably priced if you buy a squad etc.

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  5. A great review Simon and I am always wowed by your prodigious output.

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    1. Thanks Michael. 2019 was a good year, and this year is looking like a good one too :-)

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  6. The order of the amount you painted was certainly a surprise to me, ha recollections of more of one company than another, great output for the year Simon

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    1. Cheers Dave. The more popular manufacturers tend to have me painting multiples of minis, so whilst something like my Iron Golem warband for "Warcry" dominated many of my posts, it was only eight figs, whereas I could paint that many minis for "Toon Realms" in a week and might just cover it in a single post.

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  7. Other than Gw figures of which I have a few from some of their boxed games, I doubt I have a singl figure from any of the other manufacturers.
    The quality of all of them imho is very good an it's great to see the variety of figures you've collected and painted over the years.
    Thanks for all the eye candy

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    1. Thanks Joe. There are currently a lot of good companies about, imho, so I'm always torn between what I have to paint next. I also enjoy these annual Top Tens, as they remind me what I've painted 'recently' and what projects I need to get on with and complete.

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