Wednesday, June 17, 2009

The Future of 1/72 Fantasy

In 1/72 Fantasy Review, a hope was expressed that with the release of miniatures from Dark Hold and Caesar, the long neglected field of 1/72 fantasy would bloom. This was in 2006, and unfortunately, Dark Hold soon ceased production of their figures, while Caesar never made more than a few basic sets of figures.

It is now 2009, and once again, two companies are attempting to enter the field. During spring, Dark Alliance (Orion?) released a set of 1/72 orcs, with possible Light Alliance 1/72 elves to come in the future. Then coming in fall, Wells Expeditions will be releasing the CMG Arcane Legions with what appears to be 1/72 miniatures.

I was told that the average male figure would measure 25mm to the top of his head, which is great news for all 1/72 fantasy aficionados. The base set for the game will contain 110 figures. Army packs will contain 40 unpainted figures, cavalry packs will contain 15 unpainted figures, and booster packs will contain 8 painted figures. The game will consist of three factions: Rome, Egypt, and China. So far, most of the images that have been released are for the Egyptians.

The Egyptian undead are typical for the genre, and look thoroughly desiccated. I'm guessing that there is probably some sort of peg under the base so that they will plug into the movement stand.

Most of their other creatures however, don't seem to fit into the category of classical mythology. Below are some images taken from the Arcane Legions Facebook Group, and an unreleased image of an Anubian Guard.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

More Elves

Depending upon who you talk to, elves can range in size from the dwarf-like workers of the North Pole, to the gigantic elves of Tolkien's Middle Earth. The standard I use to determine the height of an elf comes from Scandinavian and Germanic myth. In these myths, elves (or rather light elves) are as tall, if not taller than men. Dark elves, on the other hand are short and misshapen.

The first group of miniatures are Eureka 18mm Elves of the Lofty Spire. The Eureka 18mm fantasy line focuses primarily on LoTR-like miniatures, and they are quite tall compared to 15mm figures. Even so, they are still too short for my tastes. They would however, be perfect for AD&D style elves in 1/72. Pictured below is an Elf with sword (300HEL03), two Elf musicians (300HEL06), an Elf standard bearer (300HEL05), and two Elf sorcerors (300HEL07).

Taller still, are the Eureka 18mm Wood Elves. Several of these figures could almost be used as 1/72 without any alteration. The first and third figures next to George are Wood Elf bards (300WEL06); the second and seventh figures are Wood Elf mages (300WEL07); the fifth figure is a Wood Elf standard bearer (300WEL05), and the fourth and sixth figures are Wood Elf archers (300WEL01).

Black Raven Foundry also makes a line of elves in 15mm. The High Elf Melee Troops (FO22) contain a variety of elves with very elaborate armor and weapons. The figures are short, and probably would make good dark elves. The set includes command figures:

BRF High Elves armed with swords:

and BRF High Elves armed with various polearms:

Finally, two last miniatures -- the Tin Soldier Elven Maiden Warrior (DFA59) and an Irregular Dark Elf Saxaphonist (FDE9). The Tin Soldier elf is true 15mm, and too small for my purposes. The Irregular figure is fairly typical for the line. It would work well as a dark elf without alteration, and is a rather unusual sculpt.

A group photo of the various elves shows the differences in height. From left to right, they are Tin Soldier, Irregular, BRF, and Eureka.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

I'm an Ogre!

In folklore, ogres are essentially man-eating giants, and the name seems to be derived from 17th century French literature in reference to such monsters. Like most fantasy creatures, ogres vary in size and appearance, depending on your source. In RuneQuest, ogres look no different than any human being on the outside. In D&D and most other fantasy works, ogres are the size of giants and ugly to boot. However, the one thing they have in common is that they eat people. When compared to George, the Alternative Armies HOT Ogre (HOT3B), and SLM Ogres (OGRE01) appear closer in height to a certain green DreamWorks SKG ogre than a giant. The HOT Ogre is armed with a makeshift club, while the SLM Ogres wield real weapons. They are all brutish and mean looking. Scaling out at under 7' in height (in 1/72), they are considerably smaller than D&D type ogres, but I am content to use them as is.

Friday, June 5, 2009


When I saw these Irregular Goatman Warriors (GOAT1), the first thing that came to mind were Gloranthan Broo. They are crudely sculpted, but it does not detract from the figures. As with all 15mm Irregular miniatures, there are about a bajillion different variants. For the Goatmen, they are armed with a variety of different weapons ranging from dagger to giant club. There is at least one variant with a cape and armor, but I do not have an example of that particular figure.

I did some experimentation in limb lengthening with a couple of the goatmen (the two directly to the right of George), and a SLM bugbear. I clipped off the legs, and drilled holes in the upper and lower halves for one goatman and the bugbear. The bugbear received standard straight pins in the legs, while bent pins were glued in place for a goatman. I found it more difficult to regulate the height of the miniature with bent pins, but the results turned out quite nice. Kneadatite was used to reinforce the bond between the pins and the lower legs before the upper body was glued in place.

For the second goatman (holding pan pipes), I tried a different technique to increase height. Using a pair of pliers, I compressed the metal in the legs until the goatman was as tall as the figure modified using pins. I then bent the legs so they would be articulated in a goat-like fashion. The process is simple, but leads to metal stress in the legs. I'm still debating whether to use Kneadatite or Bondo to reinforce the legs of the second goatman, as the articulation points in the leg are quite fragile.

For the other miniatures, Kneadatite was used to reinforce the join between the legs and upper body. It was also used to flesh out the legs. The bugbear will get a second treatment of Kneadatite, since his legs are too spindly at the moment.

And since I am covering the subject of creatures part goat and part human, I added a group shot of a SLM faun and satyr, an Irregular goatman, and a SLM goatman skeleton. While I like the SLM faun and satyr, I think the size of their heads make them a little too dwarf-like for my tastes. I'll have to keep an eye out for replacement heads, too see if that will make their appearance more palatable.

Monday, June 1, 2009


Back in April, there was an article in USA Today about how zombies are becoming the most popular type of undead in books and movies. Zombies are certainly the most popular type of undead in miniature wargaming nowadays, but the motif has probably been popular since even before Bruegel the Elder.

I'm not really up to speed on the latest zombie miniatures, but I imagine that the vast majority of these shambling hordes are either WWII or modern zombies. In the fantasy genre, I've found ghouls and zombies from Splintered Light Miniatures. The first two figures below, are from the Ghouls set (UNDE14), the next three figures are from the Zombies with Mixed Weapons set (UNDE18), and the final three figures are from the Zombies with Spears set (UNDE20). These are all true 15mm miniatures, and even the largest of them would need some modification to work as 1/72 zombies. The sculpts are solid, but not particularly detailed, outside of some rotting flesh and spilled entrails. I found the eyes particularly creepy, and the miniatures would probably look eerie painted up with bleached out zombie eyes.

Putting zombies aside, the true staple undead of the fantasy genre is the skeleton. I'm sure that many old school gamers were influenced by Ray Harryhausen's skeleton warriors in Jason and the Argonauts and The 7th Voyage of Sinbad.

This set of images below, is of three Skeleton Goatmen (UNDE09), followed by two human skeletons from the Skeletal War Mammoth set (UNDE21). Again, these figures from Splintered Light Miniatures are true 15mm miniatures. While the human skeletons are definitely too small for use as 1/72 skeletons, I think the goatman skeletons would be fine. I really like the look of the entire line of skeletons produced by Splintered Light Miniatures, and only wish that they were larger so I can add them to my undead army.

The next batch of skeletons are the Undead Melee Troops (FO35) from Black Raven Foundry. These figures range in height from 15mm to 20mm, and are much more robust than the SLM skeletons. They come in a nice range of poses, and are good candidates for conversion to 1/72 scale.

Also included with the Undead Melee Troops are three command figures. The BRF skeletons are all very unstable because of their narrow bases, but this should not be a big deal if you base your miniatures.