With my growing interest in miniatures now seemingly taken over I have wondered about what I would want to paint next. Games workshop stuff is lovely and I do enjoy the lore and atmosphere such things it creates. It is also still the biggest wargame around right now but in my mind, the prices are just a little bit unreasonable in Australia. For singles it isn’t too bad but once you get into packs of mobs and the larger models the prices seem to escalate.
As more of a painter than a wargamer I am always more interested in the actual models; the details, quality of the resin and more interesting designs and themes. Games workshop just seem a little more basic at times, sticking to known tropes and themes rather than branching too far out.
So here’s a neat list of alternative miniature creators and wargames.
Privateer Press seems to be getting pretty huge international now and even in aus I have noticed a growing player base that are using there models. I love their deisgns as well as they have there own lore and approach to creation that doens’t just adhere to stereotypical standards. The designs within these standards are still interesting thoguh, and well designed all around. So far their Main products are for the Warmachine (sci-fi) and Hordes (fanatasy) range and they have a huge range of models in each with different factions and such to choose from. Their models are extremely good in terms of price too considering the quality and quantity you often get.
Mantic Games is the company that produced the Dungeon Saga game I’ve been playing and painting recently. They have a few other games they are supporting like a futuristic fantasy football thing and an upcoming sci-fi wargame. The biggest product at the moment though is there Kings of War game, a fantasy war game with mass scale armies. Their models from my experience do seem more basic with less detail but they are really well priced.
Infinity is a game by Corvus Belli with what has to be one of my favourite sci fi themes and characters I’ve seen so far. This wargame has more of a focus on squad based tactics and gameplay so there aren’t mass units to buy and paint but because of this it looks like the individual models are more detailed. The price seems to match this though but based on the designs I’ve seen it’s probably worth it.
Malifaux is a crew based game centered around an amazing, lovecraft style Victorian horror that mixes in elements of fantasy, magic, and mechanical. I love the theme of this one and the miniatures really reflect this atmosphere. Nice details, interesting character designs and a range of different aesthetic and cultural styles to pick from.
Black tree designs is an independent group creating a range of historical figures with a more medieval style. They do have a fantasy section as well with the usual races you might expect and a decent range in each. Now, their models down’t seem to be the best and lack detail but they are probably the best price around so if you’re after cheap mini’s are maybe just a beginner after some easy practice models than these may be a good pick.
Black scorpion designs doesn’t have a very large range in models but well – I am an absolute sucker for pirate themed stuff and they have a range of fantasy style races in pirate garb
Raging Heroes have some awesome apocalyptic and sci fi themed human character models. Best of all is there “toughest girls in the galaxy”models that have some insanely badass looking woman. Some still have a that tits and ass approach but most are designed with warfare in mind.
Avatars of War have created their own wargame inspired by Games Workshop Warhammer fantasy models while being able to incorporate a lot of those models and factions into their game. They have a range of new factions they have created and also models within the GW space. Most of these are individual commander style models as well as large beasts but they seem to have a more interesting and detailed design.
Just for something different I kinda like the stuff by Ammon Miniatures as well. Instead of the gritty realistic style they all have a more cartoony and comical design.
Dropzone commander is a game centered around aliens infesting and taking over eartyh. It of course has a futuristic style but with a focus on ships and vehicles. I love the designs of many of these vehicles too and there is a good variety that ranges from dirty industrialist, sleek sci fi, and completely alien.
Dark sword miniatures have the usual fantasy setting and style but what seems to set them apart from me are the various anthropomorphic character models in a fantasy battle style. The regular human models are relatively good as well.
Mierce Miniatures has there own Darklands wargame section and have a decent range of models in several different factions to choose from. Some are a little limited and the individual models are ok but the larger beast style models look absolutely amazing. Some of their female models can be a little… ewwww though.
Hi-Tech Miniatures are another company heavily inspired by Games Workshop, this time WH40k although it broaches more on being an alternative for individual models rather than it’s own thing. Really good looking models though that fill in the parts that are missing within GW games, focusing on the more obscure characters and elements. Their price is rather high though.
Zenit Miniatures makes the list because they don’t just have the same, westernized fantasy experience. Firstly they have their own feudal Japan style skirmish game and those models look pretty cool on their own. Second is that their fantasy section seems to borrow on these elements too to create some interesting models.
While Studio McVey only have a small array of models to choose from the design and detail make them some of the best of seen, and some I’m very eager to actually own myself. Good quality, well priced and great designs – seems like a no brainer for the painting enthusiast.
And since star wars is so hot right now go check out Fantasy Flight games and there Xwing and Armada wargames.