Not-So-Secret Origins

A question that I see regularly posted on forums is “I’ve got <insert rules system here>, but where do I get superhero miniatures so I can play the game?”

As I have been buying, painting and gaming with these kinds of miniatures for a fair number of years, I thought it might be worthwhile, as my first proper post in my new home, to provide a guide to which manufacturers currently produce superhero miniatures. As the primary size for these figures is 28mm, I will be concentrating on this scale, so whilst I know that you can buy 15mm supers, you won’t find them listed below…

So, we’ll start with Wizkids and their ubiquitous Heroclix line, which has been going since 2002. Various licensed properties have been produced by this company, but for our purposes the most important lines are the Marvel and DC Comics ranges. A vast number of individual characters have been released in each range, from well-known characters such as Batman, Spider-Man and Captain America, to more obscure characters, such as Vance Astro, Cave Carson and Ambush Bug.

Pros with this manufacturer are that singles can be bought relatively cheaply on the secondary market for more common figures, the huge range of figures means that you can generally find a figure to represent any character you may come up with and the more recent sculpts are pretty good. Cons are that the rarer figures and specials are very expensive, scale between characters that are supposed to be the same size has varied over the years and some of the older sculpts are bloody awful (Umar, I’m looking at you…).

As I’m based in the UK, I buy all mine from Blue Rat Games – www.blueratgames.com – who have a good range of figures dating back to the first releases and have always given good service.

Our next manufacturer is Reaper Miniatures, who employ some of the most talented sculptors in the world, who entered the superhero miniatures market in 2008, with the new Chronoscope range. As Reaper had been primarily known for its fantasy miniatures, this range encompasses everything else, so you will find cowboys, aliens, modern zombies, pulp miniatures and, of course, superhero miniatures.

The above two miniatures are Blood Widow (50219)and Captain Griffon (50027). The average cost of normal sized figures is $5.99, but larger and more complicated figures are obviously more expensive. The range is currently fairly small, but covers a good range of archetypes and is constantly being expanded. Link – www.reapermini.com

Our next manufacturer is a relatively new company, namely Crossover Miniatures, who have only been in existence since 2012. A labour of love by their creator, they produce a range of “high quality, customizable heroe, villains and minions”. Most of the figures come with three separate heads, so a single figure can be three different characters and as they sell the heads separately, you have even more customising options.

Of course, what would a good (in relative terms) supervillain be without faceless minions to be-devil the heroes? And Crossover comes good on this score as well.

Paramilitary Goons – I.R.S. Agent Head

Hail Hydra! Crossover Miniatures can be found here: www.crossoverminiatures.com

Our next manufacturer is Black Hat Miniatures, a British company who cover a wide variety of scales and ranges. However, for our purposes, we are only concerned with their Mutants and Madmen range, which may be quite small, but has figures that are full of character and well-cast. As each miniature is only £2.00 each, they are also very reasonable.

MM001 - Captain CrusadeMM009 - Armourdillo

The figures above are Captain Crusade, who you may very well see on here in a later post as the villanous Paragon and the wonderfully named Armourdillo, who is on my buy list. They can be found here: www.blackhat.co.uk

At the other end of the scale, both size and price, are Knight Models, a Spanish company, who produce licensed DC Comics and Marvel miniatures at 35mm scale. Whilst beautifully sculpted and very true to the characters they represent, they do tower over the ‘regular’ figures produced by the majority of the other superhero manufacturers. And at approximately 15.00 Euros each, they do represent what I would consider ‘premium’ miniatures, more for collectors and painters than gamers. I think I’d be afraid to sully these miniatures with my brushwork…

image ARROW   image DEADPOOL 35

However, if you have the money and want accurate representations of Marvel and DC Characters and are happy to only buy their range so there is no discrepancy in scale, then they can be found here: www.knightmodels.com

Our next range is an older one and for many, the first ‘proper’ superhero figures that they may have come across. I am, of course, referring to Superfigs, which were produced by Four Color Figures, to accompany the SuperSystem superhero miniature game by Scott Pyle. This range has a wide variety of archetypes and was my initial go-to range when I was looking for superhero miniatures. That was until the only stockist in the UK decided to no longer carry them. Thank you, West Wind Productions…

Brick 8 - Krieghunde Shield Maiden

This range is stocked by Old Glory Miniatures in the US – www.oldgloryminiatures.com – and will fulfill the majority of your super-heroic needs, including the wonderfully Kirby-esque Alien Host and a variety of super-powered simians.

Our final manufacturer only recently entered the superhero figure arena, having previously only been known for the wonderful Dick Garrison range of retro-science fiction figures, namely Wargames Supply Dump. Their range only consists of three figures so far, Captain Garrison, Ballistic Man and the Ultra Retrovian, as pictured below:

  

I’ve not yet picked up a pack yet, but think that they’re true to the spirit of the Silver Age of comics and as you get all three figures for £5.50, I can’t really think of any good reason not to buy them. They can be found here: www.wargamessupplydump.co.uk – under the Miscellaneous Miniatures section.

I believe that I have covered the majority of the current manufacturers who produce either a range of superhero miniatures or have multiple superhero figures available for sale.

I am aware of companies that do have one or two superhero figures concealed within ranges you wouldn’t expect to find them, and a future post will deal with these “secret” heroes and other sources for super-heroic miniatures that you may not have thought of.

Hopefully this will have been of use and any comments are gratefully accepted.

 

Edit: As with all posts of this nature, no matter how much comprehensive research you believe you have done, they’ll always be one or two that slip through the net. However, the advantage of blogging and the wargaming community is that those who also have an interest in whatever you’re posting about will happily provide additional information on those things you’ve missed…

So, firstly thanks goes out to Roger of Wargames Supply Dump, who was not only very complimentary, but also pointed me in the direction of a range of figure that I was not aware of…

Irregular Miniatures are a British company who have been in existence since 1981 and produce a wide variety of scales and ranges, from 2mm to 75mm, and their 28mm ranges encompass many historical periods from Biblical up to the modern-day and beyond. What I wasn’t aware of was that they also produce a small range of superhero figures, 9 characters in total. And what characters they are!

These three figures are (l-r) Igneus, Falcon and Torch. You will also find characters such as Octo, Lead Man, the Evil Ninja and the wonderfully named Optimus Vine. The smaller, human-sized figures are priced at 90p and the larger figures at £1.80. The sculpting may not be to your taste, but I think they have a funky charm and you can’t argue with the price point. Now that I’m aware of the range, I may have to add some to my collection…

They can be found here: www.irregularminiatures.co.uk

I need to thank both Will, who posted on The Miniatures Page and Dave, who commented on here, for reminding me of the Pulp City range of miniatures, which I was aware of, but for some reason completely failed to mention…

Pulp City is a 32mm superhero skirmish game, set in the fictional Pulp City, which is located on the west coats of the USA. The game has been in existence since 2007, with initially a free downloadable set of rules, before a printed version became available. But you’re not here for the rules…

The Pulp City miniatures that accompany the game are divided into separate factions, so those from the Jade Cult have a definite oriental vibe, whilst super-powered primates are represented by the Ape Revolution Committee. In between we have a wide range of characters, including steam-powered power armour, characters inspired by fairy tales and your standard spandex-clad powerhouses.

 

Individual figures range in cost from 7 Euros up to 10 Euros, with larger boxed sets with multiple related figures falling in the 18-20 Euro mark. They have just completed a successful Kickstarter for the Supreme Edition, so the figures from the Kickstarter will no doubt be available to the general public shortly.

Details of the game and their online shop can be found here: www.pulp-city.com

 

 

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2 thoughts on “Not-So-Secret Origins

  1. No love for Pulp City? I have quite a few, and have been impressed with the sculpting and casting qualities. Even though they are from abroad (Poland if I remember right) I’ve had no problem ordering from them. It also looks like a whole host of new figures funded through Kickstarter are soon to be available on the upcoming redesigned webstore.

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    • Hi Dave. Fore-head salpping D’oh moment when I realised I’d forgotten Pulp City. As you’ll note, I’ve now rectified this, as you were not the only one to point out I’d missed this range.

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