Top Ten Miniatures Of 2022 - A "Rantings From Under The Wargames Table" Viewpoint
Once again I’ve been let loose on "Fantorical" for the day, as it’s that time of the year that seems to roll around with ever increasing speed (I think it’s an age thing!) where I root around in the wonderful blog posts you can find here for my ten favourite models that Simon has applied his “magic” brush to in 2022. Now I could ramble on about how it gets harder and harder each year to pick just ten of “Mister Moore’s” marvellous miniatures, but quite frankly you’re here, so you should be well aware of just how high the standard is, so without further ado let’s get on to the “eye candy”…
The big news over on “Fantorical” this year was Simon purchasing a 3D printer, so now, along with all the wonderful figures he buys that I’ve never heard of or seen before, he’s also now printing stuff that has the same effect on me! One of the first of these new-fangled “prints” was this marvellous rendition of “Gort” - the iconic robot from the 1951 classic “The Day The Earth Stood Still”. Now, even though Simon wasn’t happy with the diminutive size of the piece (he wants him bigger next time he prints it), and the trials and tribulations he had getting good coverage with his silver-coloured casing, I have to say I thought the end result was a pure triumph and was so evocative of the original. A smashing figure all round.
Okay, so not actual licensed “Arnie” style T101 Terminators. But rather Crooked Dice’s “let’s not pay a license” versions. But don’t let that detract you from the inspired work that has been done on these robots. Rather than just paint them black and dry-brush them silver (like I would have done), there are actually several layers on these chaps worked up from a grey base though different shades and a “Mig Productions Extreme Rust Wash”. The cherry on the cake for me though has to be the faded “skull” effects on the faces that just lifts these killing machines to a whole new level of “creepy”.
Back when I was young there were several things that meant it was Christmas - presents (of course), my Grandparents coming to stay and “The Black Hole” on Christmas day television! Now though I never really did understand what was happening when the “Cygnus” went through the “hole” itself, I still always loved this movie, and especially all the various robots in it. So I was thrilled when these renditions of the sentry robots (sculpted by "Big Mr Tong") started appearing on Simon’s blog. Now these are a perfect example of figures that don’t need to be overly complicated to be good. The palette on these is relatively simple, but get the colours right and then execute the painting itself to this sort of level and you end up with something truly remarkable. They have just right amount of menace. Lovely work.
I’m a big fan of the “ABC Warriors” comic strip from "2000AD" and this rendition of the “Not very trustworthy Volgon General” looks like he’s stepped from straight off its printed pages, In fact, Simon put paint to several “Warriors” this year and it was a real toss-up as to which team member would make the cut. But by a narrow margin I just felt the colours and details were picked out so nicely that this one topped the tree and I have to say I think he made the “Straw Dogs” proud.
Do you ever write something that you know is going to get you into trouble? Well I have a feeling this choice might just do that, Now for much of the year Simon has been working his way through the vast quantity of Games Workshop Space Marines he has bought for his “Horus Heresy” project - and very nice they are too I hasten to add. But rather than pick one of them I’ve gone for this wonderful 15mm Havelock type 57 Battlesuit which Simon is using as a dreadnought for a smaller scale Space Marine force he’s progressing in parallel to his 28mm official version. Why? I hear you ask. Well the painting starts with the lovely “Citadel" Sons of Horus Green and after that there's lots of subsequent fettling and attention to detail. This all results in the rich colour scheme shown and is just as outstanding to my eye as it is on the model's larger brethren. Indeed, if I’m totally honest here I just prefer the sculpt over its bigger brothers. Sorry Simon.
So in a repeat of last year I’ve picked a “Battletech” miniature in my “Top Ten”. I love these things, and they take me back to my club days when we used to role play this with the original miniatures. But it’s not just nostalgia, Simon’s re-imagining of them as alternative heavy armour for his homebrew “Weird War 2” battles is both inspired and beautifully done. Quite frankly he hasn’t done one yet I didn’t like, however, the contrasting greys used on this “mech” lifted from a “Fokker” fighter plane's livery, with its “pops” of bright yellow on the canopy suits this mech’s shape so well, and makes it my absolute favourite he’s done so far in this project.
Simon is a big fan of “Blood Bowl” and started the year painting up several classic Dwarven players to use in some “Blood bowl Sevens” games. His “Rusty Buckets” team were all excellent and brought back some great memories of playing the original game back in the day - though despite having several of the original teams, I strangely have never owned the Dwarf team myself. The brown and “rust” palette he used was perfect to convey the “out of retirement” nature of the team, and though all the players were lovely there was just something about this Blitzer that put him above the others - maybe it’s his eyes with their “steely glare” to them? I love this little guy.
Now I’m always banging on about how well Simon does black (and I will be again before the end of this post), but one of the other things he excels at is weathered brass - as seen on many of the truly wonderful statues he presents through the pages of his blog. It would therefore be remiss of me to not include what was, in my opinion, his most impressive one this year. So I give you - Talos the Titan. Albeit in this case not for use menacing “Jason and his Argonauts” but instead as a fearsome automaton created by “Dr Argo” for the 7TV rule-set. The colours are sublime and perfect to represent the brassy casing of the Titan but it’s the subtle use of "Citadel" Nihilakh Oxide that really brings this 60mm tall figure to life.
I love superheroes. In fact, one of the first things that attracted me into following Simon’s blog was that he paints quite a lot of them, and of course he never disappoints when he’s applying paint to one of my favourites. Furthermore, as I have said so many times over the years (so much so I should have it permanently on “cut and paste”) he does do black phenomenally well, so when he combines the two there is a very good chance that figure is going to be near the top of my “Top ten” list for the year in question. So after that long introduction I give you this wonderful “Chibi” version of the “Black Widow” - everybody’s favourite Russian (Not that she has an awful lot of competition at the moment!).
This lovely figure has only been enhanced by the immaculate work Simon has put into it, the colours are perfect, his trademark gloss varnish gives a lovely sheen to her leather costume and the vibrancy of her red locks and blue tinged shock-sticks provide subtle but needed counterpoints to the black of her jumpsuit. This is not the only Black Widow Simon has painted this year, he’s also painted a very nice “not” version by "Reaper Miniatures" too, and a tough choice had to be made between the two I’ll tell you. But this version just tipped the scales in my view. I've also just realized that I haven’t personally painted any “Supers” for well over a year now. But this young lady has definitely got me wanting to put that right ASAP, and I can’t give higher praise than that!
And so we come to my number one favourite miniature of 2022, and it’s another robot. Indeed, I have just realized that eight out of my “Top ten” figures this year are robots! I don’t know if this says something about me, or if Simon just painted a lot of very wonderful mechanical machines this year - I'm going to go with the second option I think!. Now, as has already been shown with a couple of my other choices one of the things Simon is so very good at is seeing a figures potential in a project outside of the one it was originally designed for, and this is a perfect example of that skill. Anyway, Simon waited until the end of the year to paint this behemoth and push poor Natasha Romanoff off of the top spot. Another piece for a “Weird War 2” project, this time in 28mm scale, is this 90mm tall “Giant Robot” which was a chart topper from the moment I set eyes on it!
Where do I start? The colours, as always, are absolutely perfect, being a spot on match for US world war two mechanized equipment. The chipping, visible at the edges of the panels, looks so right. Whilst the rust effects are also superbly done, with even the faded decals adding to the overall effect. There is a lot of thought and work that has gone into this model. It is not only a wonderful thing but a perfect example of Simon’s outstanding craftsmanship, and that’s why it’s my number one of 2022!
And that’s it for another year. Time to start the recriminations about the “ones that got away” or rather the ”nearly” figures that didn’t quite make my list. Several did make my short (I mean long) list and I’ll mention a few. However, you really should look back through Simon’s website pages to find the following honourable mentions…
The aforementioned version of Black Widow by "Reaper Miniatures", the 3D printed Cybermen, Michael Myers, Jason Voorhees, Frankenstein’s Monster and "Marvel" comic book Abomination. Not to mention, the Strawman and Strawbears, his “Hotwheels” conversions, the Eidolon, numerous 15mm German Panzergrenadiers, SpyBots, and of course, the 28mm Horus Heresy Space Marines. Honestly, the list goes on…But what would have been number eleven on my list..?
As usual, I’ll finish by thanking Simon for allowing me to run roughshod across the pages of his most excellent of blogs, as well as giving his time and effort in trying to drag ten decent figures from my own motley collection. Please head over to "Rantings From Under The Wargames Table" if you want to read how this should be done properly and by someone who can actually string words together. That just leaves it for me to wish all of you out there the very best of New Years, and I sure like me, you look forward to seeing and reading everything Simon’s website provides us with in 2023.