Top Ten Manufacturers Of 2018 - A "Fantorical" Viewpoint
Having previously posted about my favourite miniature manufacturers of 2017, I thought a look at the companies I favoured during the following year would perhaps be of interest to those who enjoy such comparisons. For my own part, as a hobbyist who desperately fails not to flutter between too many genres, the past twelve months have genuinely provided a fair few surprises as to what I seemingly like to paint, with my previous adherence to 28mm scale figures noticeably giving way to a glut of 15mm models towards the end of the period in question. In addition, my plans to progress a sizeable contingent of both Napoleonic and “Dungeons & Dragons” figures were quickly shelved as an absolute avalanche of models all themed around my favourite BBC science fiction television programme dominated many of my postings…
No. 10 – “Newark Model Soldier Company” – “Partisan” Show Free Figures
This rather bizarre little collection of four miniatures, was finally completed as part of a slightly larger mini-project which had rather embarrassingly been gathering dust on my painting table for eight years. Sadly, despite finishing these relatively straightforward, ghost-like freebies with the intention of using them as apparitional antagonists, as well as already owning a fully-pigmented squad of Ghost Rangers, I’ve yet to actually field them on my tabletop. My recent acquisition of the Spirits of Manhattan “W.O.I.N.” RPG companion book by “EN Publishing” might now lead to the ghoulish figures seeing some dice-rolling action, but for now they’re safely stored in tissue paper, snugly shelved within a plastic container…
No. 9 – Private Commission – “Cybermen”
These incredibly character sculpts were a rather unexpected, but very much appreciated gift by a long-time follower of my blog, and are sadly unavailable to purchase having come from their own private collection. Evidently based upon Cybus Industries’ Cybermen from “Doctor Who” this multi-piece metal quartet were perhaps unsurprisingly very quickly assembled/painted given my love of this particular genre, and may well feature in a future game of “Metamorphosis Alpha” as some sort of giant-sized robot guardians.
No. 8 – “Y.F.T. Design” – “Scarlet Midget Cosplay Starship Crew”
Whilst this quite considerably-sized range of miniatures weren’t part of any actual “Kickstarter”, they were pre-ordered a considerable time before they eventually arrived, and resultantly, much of the enthusiasm I had for the project had somewhat evaporated when I finally started painting them. Now sadly, out of production as a result of some understandable intellectual property/copyright issues concerning the long-running science fiction sitcom “Red Dwarf”, I actually struggled ‘picking out’ the eyes on the majority of these figures, and subsequently couldn’t find the motivation needed to pigment beyond the four leading cast members.
No. 7 – “Mantic Games” – “Dungeon Saga”
Despite managing to finish five of this “classic” dungeon crawler’s pre-assembled miniatures during the “Saga’Tember” challenge, my total fell drastically short of those attained by my fellow competitors, and ultimately has to be viewed as one of my biggest disappointments of the year. Admittedly, I did find the plastic “Mantic Games” miniatures a little too wobbly for my liking, and ended up re-basing them so as to better fit with their manufacturer’s larger-scale combat rule-set “Kings Of War”. But even so, I had hoped to at least complete enough of the characterful sculpts to play the game's opening adventure "Journey From The West".
No. 6 – “Oathsworn Miniatures” – “Burrows & Badgers”
I must confess to having had absolutely no intention of painting anthropomorphic animals until I attended “Salute” 2018. However, having been bitten by the bug, I ended up working on some of the most incredibly characterful and colourful models I’ve seen in ages, with perhaps the range’s Shrew Warrior proving a particular favourite figure of mine. Disappointingly, I have yet to actually play a game using “Oathsworn Miniatures” rule-set, but have subsequently both purchased a few more models from the range, as well as a handful of specially-sculpted scenic pieces too.
No. 5 – “The Ion Age” – “Prydian Army”
Undoubtedly my biggest surprise genre of 2018 was becoming (once again) immersed in the 15mm world of “The Ion Age”. Very much motivated by a desire to field a formidably-sized “Warhammer 40K” Imperial Force using some home-made rules, I found myself quite quickly progressing through eleven soldiers, nine extra-terrestrial foes, and three vehicles. Somewhat demoralizingly though I did find my inability to replicate the same light grey colour scheme on a pair of Adder Combat Cars off-putting enough to ultimately derail my aspiration to significantly flesh out my forces, and resultantly a number of partially-painted miniatures from this project still sit, gathering dust, upon my painting table to this day…
No. 4 – “Games Workshop” – “Age Of Sigmar”
A stalwart contributor to my annual output, my desire to finally finish off both my unit of Putrid Blightkings for “Age Of Sigmar”, as well as Garrek Gorebeard’s remaining Reavers for “Warhammer Underworlds: Shadespire” helped me slowly plod my way through a myriad of the most detailed miniatures produced by “Games Workshop” I have yet encountered. Coupled with a sadly all-too brief dip into “Bloodbowl” and diabolical dabble with the eye-straining figures of “Epic”, I found myself repeatedly returning to the Nottingham-based manufacturer’s wares for a good two-thirds of the year.
No. 3 – “Black Tree Design” – “Doctor Who”
Not only did my devotion to classic “Doctor Who” lead me to pigment over twenty models produced by “Black Tree Design”, but it also enabled me to finally ‘put to bed’ a number of miniatures which have long laboured within my collection half-finished. In particular I was very pleased to at last complete a posse of Patrick Troughton “The Invasion” Cybermen which I had previously attempted to paint at least a couple of times in the past. In addition I also developed an enjoyably straightforward recipe with which to apply to the various Sontaran sculpts that I owned.
No. 2 – “Wizkids” – “Heroclix”
It’s hard to imagine my hobby output not including a healthy dose of re-painted “Heroclix” figures, and my determination to provide my Mister Freeze with a ‘converted’ gang of bobble-hat wearing goons, as well as frosty ice zombies, for the annual “Forgotten Heroes” challenge certainly helped me ‘power’ my way through a rather alarmingly large “Wizkids” ‘clicky-based’ mountain. Perhaps my greatest motivator of the year however, was completing a large enough Dire Wraith force with which to trouble my Howling Commandos of S.H.I.E.L.D., including the formidably tall Hybrid.
No. 1 – “Warlord Games” – “Doctor Who”
Perhaps unsurprisingly, my craving to expand upon my Dalek faction with both more brass-coloured drones and Ogron mercenaries was always going to help maintain my prolonged love affair with the figures flowing out of the “Warlord Games” “Doctor Who: Exterminate!” range. Admittedly, I was also able to finally finish the four Boromites needed to complete my Scouting Force for “Beyond The Gates Of Antares”, and potter with Johnny Alpha’s hated foes the Stix Brothers in “Strontium Dog”. But every other week I seemed to find myself ‘picking away’ at either another incarnation of the Master, a Draconian or a Sontaran.