Top Ten Miniatures Of 2021 - A "Rantings From Under The Wargames Table" Viewpoint
Updated: Feb 12
“It’s the most wonderful time of the year”, or so the song says, however regular readers of Simon’s illustrious blog may feel differently, as it is in fact the time of the year where that idiot from another blog is let loose to bring you his personal (and sometimes controversial) opinions as to what were the ten best miniatures featured here at “Fantorical”. This year really does seem to have flown by, so it’s nice to make a cup of tea, sit back and spend a few hours in the company of one of my favourite blogs, perusing the plethora of perfectly painted figures and quickly running out of superlatives with which to describe them. So here in reverse order is my “Top Ten” (feel free to have Alan “”Fluff” Freeman’s voice in your head as you read them).
Now who doesn’t love “Enter the Dragon”, I know I do so I was more than a little pleased to see this excellent rendition of the master of “Jeet Kune Do”. The figure is a cracker posed as he is in the classic movie pose, and Simon’s usual high standard of painting and shading has brought out all the details on his musculature and trousers stupendously well. I have a friend who is both a gamer and Bruce Lee fanatic, so a link into this page emailed to him resulted in a sale for Mondo Games, perhaps Simon should be on commission!
To say that we jump from one genre to another here is a bit of an understatement! Very like “Forest Gump’s” infamous “Box of Chocolates” you really do never know what you’re gonna’ get. It did however still surprise me when “Honest Abe” first appeared, especially as he was armed with an axe and sawn-off shotgun, but I guess if you’re fighting “Zombies”… I suppose I should mention that this figure is for the very cool game “Zombicide”, and that should explain everything, as you’ve come to expect the colours and shading is spot on here, but I think it’s the brooding and slightly crazed look in his eye’s that elevated this chaps painting in my opinion and secured his place here amongst this vaulted company!
It’s like no Yeti I’ve ever seen, but that doesn’t distract from just how excellent this miniature is! The simplicity of the sculpt just makes the great work Simon has done on the contrasts with the fur and the gaping black maw stand out all the more. This is in fact the second Yeti painted this year (well technically the other one was his also brilliant, White Gorilla, but between Simon and his followers we decided it was better suited as a Yeti anyway!!). Looking like it just walked off of the set of “Scooby Doo” had it not been for the professed £10.00 price tag I would have been ordering one of these 40mm tall beasties for myself.
Simon has painted lots of lovely 15mm WWII Germans this year (If lovely is a word you can use to describe Nazi’s!). Anyway, all of the diminutive plastic chaps have been extremely well pigmented and each group applied to a nicely textured base to boot. A real trip down memory lane for me as one of the first “theatres” I dabbled in was WWII, albeit in 20mm, and using the old “Rapid Fire” rules as opposed to the “Flames of War” battles these chaps will be fighting with. So why this group over any other others? Well it was a hard decision but I just liked the camouflaged helmet cover on the chap in the front row if I’m honest.
It wouldn’t be a roundup of Simon’s output for the year without at least one “Super Hero” and he’s knocked out another “doozy” here with his take on a Kitbash figure, that in what seemed to be a bit of a trend this year he re-named as “Mistress Mississippi” so as to include her in some “Weird War II” gaming. However, whatever name you choose I loved the vaporous emissions around her hands and feet, that so nearly covered her whole body till it was decided (wisely in my humble opinion) to paint her in the glorious green and dark flesh colours you see above, and to top her off a smashing pair of inhuman green eyes, a great alternative interpretation of a smashing figure.
So we come to the first of two “Giants” in my list this year, I have to say I was immediately struck with this wonderful miniature, upon reading the text I was surprised to discover that it was in fact originally sold as an STL file that Simon then had printed out via “Etsy”, as I usually don’t have any great love for CGI figures. Though small for a “giant” at only 37mm tall (Still a fair size for a mushroom in 28mm scale!), I think it is Simon miraculous painting that has really brought this figure to life, the colours though muted are perfect and the slight “pop” of colour on the “actual” fungus growing from his torso, works so well! He looks a proper treat, and I’m sure he’s a “fun guy” to game with (sorry, but I had too!).
Simon as I’m sure regular readers will atone is a bit of a fan of the silver screen, be it large or small, characters from programs and films of our youth (well mine anyway) often make guest appearances on the pages of this inimitable blog, so I guess it was inevitable that if someone produced figures representing characters from the eighties sci/fi classic “The Last Starfighter” they would end up on here at some point. Once again Simon has taken what would have been a simple red one piece costume, and elevated it brilliantly with shading and dry-brushing, then picked out his details superbly well, so that what we ended up with was a version of “Lord Kril” that could have just walked out of the set, of the movie, from the moment I saw this I thought “That’s going to be in the “Top Ten” this year”.
Last year I got moaned at by Simon for not including his “Walking Statue of Waterdeep“ in my top ten, well though not one to be swayed by popular opinion I have included this granite gargantuan this year. Though called a “Golem” I would venture that this second entry onto my list by Zealot Miniatures at 90mm tall is more of a giant myself. This is a corking resin sculpt replete as it is with its Dwarf like appearance, But I have to say that it’s the truly wonderful painting that is the biggest draw for me, Simon has shown on numerous occasions that he’s a master of convincing stonework, and this is a perfect example of his craft, but when you add in the sublime work on the oxidized brass of his bracelets, and the wonderful “glowing” eyes (something I’ve always shied away from myself), not to mention the snowy base work, this is a really great miniature.
I have long had a soft spot for Battletech, as it was a game we ran as a campaign back in my games club days, So I was thrilled when Simon started showing some of the new 1/285th scale models on his blog, and also intrigued to read that he planned to use them is another of his “Weird War Two” settings (honestly he seems to have so many different ones of these, I can’t keep up with them all!). Each miniature has been a joy to behold, and the way he has blended the marking from actual WW2 vehicles and units around the vastly different shapes of the “giant robots” has been ingenious to say the least. Of the ones he’s painted up so far I think my favorite has to be the “Adder” pictured above, all the various colours just work so well in the locations he’s applied them, I love this and it nearly topped the tree, but just missed out to my final choice (however if he’d finished the “Marauder” he is currently working on it might have been a different story!!).
And so we come to the end of my list, and the top banana this year came in the month the rest of us were busy painting the undead, Simon however (even though he was running Zom’tober this year) was instead putting out truly wonderful miniatures like this (and some Zombies). Benny the Bat is a lesser known character from the Judge Dredd comic strips, and I have to say wasn’t one I was familiar with, but that didn’t stop me from being mightily impressed with the final result of some tip top brushwork, as usual the shading is sublime, the colours perfect, the moustache bushy, and the subject matter typically Simon! One of the great things about visiting here is finding stuff you never knew you wanted, and even though it often appears to be “Out of Production”, you still find yourself looking for it across the net. This chap is a perfect example of this, so rolling all these factors together makes “Benny” my number one choice for 2021.
So that’s it another year over and another collection of top quality painting and interesting miniatures all arrayed on one of my favorite blogs. As usual there were many “nearly” figures that didn’t quite make the cut, but did make my “not so” short list, so I have a few honourable mentions before I go - “The Twig Fiend”, Oola Blint, The Slayers, Grave Gnasher, Paladins (I can see I’m going to get it, for not including these!), Apes, Blood Bowl, Red Skull, Mother Russia, Slimer and so many more…..
You know what don’t just take my word for it, make yourself a cup of tea sit back and work your way back through the “Finished Figures” category under the header above and see what I get all excited about. It is always a good read. Plus you’ll learn stuff you didn’t know and see some wonderful figures you probably never knew existed (I know, I have used wonderful a lot in this post, but it is the “Most wonderful time of the year”, as I said at the start!).
As usual I’ll finish, by thanking Simon for allowing the lunatic’s to take over his asylum for this brief time, as well as taking time to raise the writing standards over on my own humble blog, along with you lot for taking the time to read this (bearing in mind that you got this far of course!), I can’t wait to see what he comes up with in 2022!
N.B. You can visit Roger's excellent wargaming blog and see both his excellent output, as well as my own Top Ten of his 'best in show' here: