The Renaissance in Historical Miniatures
When I first got into miniature gaming I thought that my friends and I were inventing a new type of game. We were coming up with rules for the game while painting 1/35th scale WWII models - mostly Tamiya kits. The game never really happened and it wasn't until later that I realized that people had been gaming with miniatures for more than a century.
The point of the story is that I originally wanted to do WWII miniature gaming but when I finally discovered miniature games the only really nice miniatures in scales that I was interested in (25mm at the time) were fantasy and science fiction. The historical stuff was mostly crap. I gravitated to the nicer minis that were made by Ral Partha, Grenadier and CItadel Miniatures (later Games Workshop). In later years I discovered historical minis that "weren't too bad" or "ok," but they never got me as excited as the stuff being put out by the fantasy and science fiction companies. That seems to have changed a lot over the past couple of years. So much so that I think it's time for the big guys to take a look at what's going on in historical minis these days.
Case in point - Warlord Games. They were the company that inspired me to start writing today. I've been eyeing their English Civil War offerings for a while. Mostly because the period is similar to the King Philip's War stuff that I'm really interested in. I've never been interested in ECW though - until a friend of mine picked up a boxed set of their plaster ECW minis as well as a few of the metal pieces and I discovered that the quality level was as high as anything I'd ever seen from Games Workshop, Privateer Press, or any other fantasy/sci-fi miniature producer making minis today. The quality was absolutely jaw-droppingly good. Enough to make me contemplate building an army for a period that I know little to nothing about. Then you look at the price. $30(US) for a box of 40 infantry. It would cost $100(US) for an equivalent number of minis from GW. I've always given GW a pass on their prices because I considered their miniatures to be the gold-standard in terms of quality but that no longer appears to be the case.
But it's not just Warlord Games. Perry Miniatures is also raising the bar for historical miniatures. If you're a GW player then you are probably already familiar with the Perry's work. They been sculpting for GW for years. The LOTR range is mostly populated with Perry Brother work. What you may not know is that when they're not sculpting orcs and elves for GW they are working on historicals for their own line. Not long ago they branched out from the standard metal minis and added their own line of plastics. Currently the line has some American Civil War and Napoleonic miniatures. Both lines are absolutely stunning and also really inexpensive (26 infantry for under $30US).
There are amazing historical miniatures coming out from other companies as well, but what has really caught my eye recently were the plastics and the fact that they are as good as anything from GW and much cheaper to boot. This is a really great time to be a historical miniature gamer. If you've never considered it before take a look around at what's available. I think you'll be surprised.