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Colonel Marbles Miniatures Masterworks is published by Frothers Unite U.K., London.
Welcome frothfans to the all new Colonel Marbles News Archive, where your magnanimous editor (and his dedicated, if uncultured, General Staff) will deposit news stories of yore for your delectation.
This archive may be of use to those who wanted to know when Foundry last increased their prices, decreased the size of their average miniatures pack or started a range of figures without any intention of completing it.
It may be handy to someone wishing to know the exact date when the Colonel discovered a miniatures company, or for trivia experts wanting the name of the company that produced those horrible, horrible plastic minis (Wizards of the Coast) or what that range was called (D&D Miniatures).
Or it may be a complete waste of space, but anyway it makes the Colonel's various writers happy to know that their work is stored somewhere for posterity. At least until a stray ember from the Colonel's big fat cigar sets the whole pile ablaze.
#21 ++++ WEDNESDAY MARCH 17th, 2004
Miniatures of the Moment
Famous for their ever growing range of modern conflict miniatures, The creative minds behind The Assault Group (or TAG) have launched themselves in a more traditional type of warfare.
New from TAG come 28mm miniatures from the Gempei period in feudal Japan. These are designed by in house sculptor Seth Nash and give all the characters and followers for the Civil war in 12th and 13th century. Furthermore these fierce warriors will be suitable for the Yuan Chinese (Mongol) invasions. But this is merely the beginning. This new project is the start of a range of miniatures that will cover Japanese, Chinese, Mongols, Koreans and Central Asian kingdoms in an age of dynamic change and lightning war.
Their obvious historical interest aside, these lovely miniatures will help fill a void in fantasy japanese armies, left after the untimely demise of Clan Wars ranges.
Of course, we promised you three MoM's, since we wouldn't want you to feel cheated. Take a look at what would have been the February MoM if it had been ready in time.
From the remote realm of Oz, Maidenhead brings us yet another all-female fantasy range. After the acclaimed "Babes that time forgot", they surprise us once again with the highly unusual Feral Elves. Please do not read on if you are under 18 years of age.
This innovative line can best be described as female satyrs, as they are the bastard offspring of Wood elves and Beastmen. Now there's something you don't see every day. Useful for both Woodelf and Beastmen generals, these miniatures are sculpted to a high standard by Mike Broadbent and come in various stages of mutation from the almost pure elves to the fourlegged centyrs.
Too sexy for comfort, Captain WK liked these figures so much he decided to dedicate an indepth review to the maidenhead centyrs. Read it here!
Since all good things come in threes, we conclude this MoM with the March edition, showcasing the offerings of the Italian crew of Mindstalkers.
From the same people behind ManorHouse Workshop, Mindstalkers offers a range of high quality white metal historically accurate miniatures. The chosen scale is 40mm (think Confrontation from Rackham), thus allowing a very high level of detail and using full human and animal proportions. They won't fit in with your 28mm's but will look good as collector's pieces.
More Masterworks Catchup
Colonel Marbles announces the release of the December Masterworks, for a real treat of excellent (if more tardy than ever) miniatures fun.
Something Green in the Showcases
One of the most archetypical of all fantasy races has been missing from the Army Showcases for some time now. The empty space where it belonged, yet wasn't, acted both as an alluring incentive and a sore in the eye of every selfrespecting orc warlord. Under such circumstances we shouldn't be surprised one of them decided to take matters in his own hands and have a dash at fame and immortality.
From the depths of Orc Mountain, frother Grom brings us the Orc Showcase, a four page extravaganza of fearsome warriors displaying their brutal force, rivaling the very best of army showcases on the frother market. Not one to do things in halves, the newly promoted Staff Sergeant Grom is secretly working on a companion showcase featuring the cowardly, yet cruel and cunning race of goblins .
It is of course only a happy coincidence that this showcase should make it's appearance so shortly before the frother orc known as 'Dave'.
You read that right, frothers of the world. FU!UK has produced its very own miniature, available from our new Webshoppe.
Here is your chance to get hold of a brand new miniature: be one of the first to experience the technical wonder that is 'Dave', the Frothers Unite! UK Orc.
Made available to FU!UK by sculptor Seth Nash and mouldmaker Peter Brown of mouldmaker.com, the miniature is in "heroic" 28mm scale with a 'great big axe' and with heavy armour... an ideal champion for carving through legions of elves, dwarfs and other do-gooders.
This does not mean that we've become a shop. 'Dave' is merely a way for you to support our website costs. We considered just asking you for your money, but we're sure you'll agree this is a much better way to do it.
Null and Void: another one bites the dust
Another page gets turned in the frother chronicles with the announcement of i-Kore's voluntary liquidation.
Several financial discrepancies were discovered during verification of the company's financial situation, going from phantom orders and lies to distributors and management, to the uncovering of unauthorized eShops on eBay. All this resulted in a situation where it became virtually impossible for i-Kore to function, since the many problems with the books made it unclear what the real financial situation was.
Does this mean the end for Celtos and Void? Not necessarily, as in the time since news of the liquidation was made public, the IP rights have been bought by former director Colin McCulloch, who announced the formation of a new company, Urban Mammoth. He then hired back the two Johns (Robertson and Grant) who led i-Kore.
Er, is he allowed to do that I wonder?
Magnificent Egos launches this month. They are a new fantasy miniature company based out of Allen, Texas. Their goal is to cater to the collector 's needs by creating high quality limited edition miniatures for fantasy enthusiasts. Sculptors include Tim Prow, Drew Williams, Jason Weibe, Gene van Horne, Sandra Garrity and Seth Nash of 'Dave' fame.
"Our first two lines will be available this March. Uncommon Character features unique character types based on original concepts and artwork by recognized industry artist Jason Engle . Our second line “Jason A. Engle Premier” is based on the popular poster art created by Jason and will be produced in limited runs." - The Magnificent Ego
Sounds very promising. Don't be surprised if they should appear in a future MoM.
Grenadier Explosion Continues
Mirliton now claim to have Grenadier moulds from Nemo... so many moulds, but where is the lead?
After EM-4 and Companion, this Italian manufacturer is the third to announce a re-re-release of the old Grenadier Fantasy Warrior range. I smell something fishy, but as long as one of them makes haste and actually releases the excellent Copplestone sculpted Wood Elves, the Colonel will be happy.
Storm Gets Closer
The elusive frother Sturmpioneer is getting ready to launch his ranges. Only another couple months and you'll be able to get your greasy paws on skeletal conquistadores. Bound to appeal to all those morion* loving frothers out there, not to mention the budding necromancer.
"I expect to have a convergence of webstore and inventory by June 1. There should be a continuous stream of figures throughout 2004. I want to complete a range before being sent to an asylum! If the reception (not at the asylum) in the market is good there'll be 3 lines of figures from me over the next 12 months." - Sturmpioneer
* A morion is a type of helmet, as worn by 15th century conquistadores, and not someone mentally retarded, as effortlessly portrayed on the silver screen by the likes of Jim Carey and Ben Stiller.
#20 ++++ SUNDAY DECEMBER 7th, 2003
Miniatures of the Moment
Minis veteran Tom Meier rockets into the MoM slot with more previews from his own range of wood elves, which he will be pumping out from his own production house Thunderbolt Mountain. One of the Ral Partha old skool going back to the 1970s, Tom is looking to counter the trend to wildly exaggerated characters in miniature design.
Tom's wood elves have a definite 'leafy motif', but deliberately avoid other common design principles. Cloaks, for example, will play less of a role, as Tom maintains that the drawbacks of tying a loose flap of cloth around your neck while running though the woods outweigh any benefits. You'll see a more heavily armoured wood elf than you may be used to as well.
Tall, elegant and covered in intricate detail, first viewings usually cause a gasp and the question “these are 54mm, right?” But no, these works of art are 28mm. Infantry, archers and command are currently planned, and Tom's future plans include goblins, men and high elves, for those with a less arboreal army.
What surely would have been the MoM in November (had we punted in November) is the excellent and exclusive 'Chicks Challenge IV' mini, a fig so cool that Capt. WK bought three! Honorary Corporal mancha decided to do something special for the latest Chicks Challenge painting competition (not that painters need an excuse to paint up lovely lady-figs and show them off). So he got Steve Buddle to sculpt up a tasty figure to inspire the masses.
Lauded on the froth forums as a great example of a 'non-dynamic' pose which nonetheless made a very exciting figure (see here), it certainly did inspire the painters- its very own category in the competition appears to have the most entries
The battle against the fog of ignorance goes well, as we establish yet more beach heads... Bringing news of new minis and new ranges is only part of the struggle of course, but fortunately Doc and WK have been busily consolidating the land battle with their Terrain Showcases, which follow on from the world famous Army Showcases in bringing the best producers of wargames terrain together into one handy bundle. Be sure to check them out!
And before the war analogy runs out of steam, we have Capt. White Knight again to thank for bringing those pesky pirates to heel in his super new Poirates Showcase! They aren't an army so much as a scurvy-ridden rabble, but we loves 'em all the more for it! A-haar, as Capt. Yellowbeard was wont to say (especially when we jabbed a boarding pike through his danglies).
Rob has released the Chaos Knight Showcase, which gives full details on where to purchase expansions for these most foul (and usually hideously unbalanced) armies. Its another great show from Lt. Rob, and we are hoping for a great saga on this... Chaos Dwarfs are pencilled in for 2004 and Demons, Cultists etc can't be far behind I'm sure!
Artizan Vikings- Building in Progress
When Artizan Designs announced a forthcoming range of Viking figures the froth levels went biblical here in the Colonel’s barracks. In fact, if you like Vikings and would love some sculpted by the skilled hands of Mike Owen, you’d better make an order now: there won’t be any left after Captain White Knight’s finished!
Artizan are extending the 'collectors' schema to the Moor and Viking ranges. Note, the collector packs are more expensive than the gamer packs (e.g. £5 for 4 (Moors) and £6.50 for 6 (Vikings)), but at least you have the choice now- we heartily congratulate this move.
Black Orc Down
Frother's with a hefty bank balance (see above) should consider the following news: Black Orc Games, purveyors of the fine 100 Kingdoms, are up for sale!
Yes, you can own this young company and their range of fighting animals. We should stress this is neither a panic sale nor a debt problem, more a case of the owner taking up his father's mantle in the family business.
Ah, there's a man proud of his son.
Foundry Rotate Poles
Foundry continues its range rotation. After the early retirement of the Samurai range (those five packs really were a big drain on resources) it is now the turn of the ACW range. The good news is they will be discounted until that day, so if you like to play Johnny Reb, Gaslight ACW or some other historical or fantasy Civil War game, grab'em now.
On the bright side, the rotation process makes sure that there is room to bring back some older ranges that have been absent for years. The latest figures to be re-released were the Poles. Now, this release takes place at the same time as GW prepares its long-awaited Kislev release (a fantasy nation for which the historical Poles are more than fine alternatives).
#19 ++++ THURSDAY OCTOBER 9th, 2003
Miniatures of the Moment
Two MoMs this time. Steve Buddle's own range of fantasy subjects, Spyglass Miniatures, are a small range that has impressed with every piece produced so far! Also Crocodile's Wargods of Olympus, the long awaited successor to the acclaimed Wargods of Aegyptus, set this time in the World of Ancient Greece- looks promising...
Wargames Foundry, unable to keep up the casting schedules on all of their miniatures (partly, we suspect, due to the loss of many key sculptors and ever more crackpot packaging schemes) are now rotating their lines, with the outgoing ranges on a discount at 7UKP each (EUROPE 12.00, US/CAN$15.00, ROW£10.00) until cleared. Next OUT is Republican Rome (including Celts, Numidians and Balearics) and Napoleonic Bavarians. Next IN will be the cool Victorian Colonials.
Packs are normally £8.50, so it's a good price, which is not something you can often say about the Foundry is it now?
However, UnclEvl reports "I was having a little browse of Foundry, and thought I'd have a little look again at their original Orc releases. I liked these figs, but 2 for £8.50 just seemed way too much... I couldn't believe it at first. 1 set is 3 Mercenary Ogre figs and some ramage - for the princely sum of £25.50! That's over 8 quid a figure. And that one is the best value for money! The other 3 boxes are 17 quid for 1 figure! I kid you not".
Foundry sales reported that the "Miniatures are larger than average & come complete with various bits of 'rammage' & orclings".
Or to put it another way- "1 mercenary ogre and a pile of crap, packaged up in a nice box for the princely sum of 17 pounds (+p&p)." -UnclEvl
More Foundry news, "It's been a few years now, and we will soon be raising our prices!" said Foundry owner Bryan Ansell... The size of the rise is not yet announced, and it is unclear whether this will apply to the infamous 17UKP ogres. Frother nudspinespittle said : "My jaw dropped when I read haven't raised the price in awhile". What the heck do you call dropping the number of figs in a pack?! Well, they asked for feedback, I'll certainly send some. I'm cancelling all of my standing orders. This has gone too far!"
The Colonel reports that Copplestone Minis have been raised across most ranges to 5 for £6.50 and now approaching Foundry's 'gold standard' of £1.42 a figure. Perhaps more disappointing is the news that many of the Darkest Africa character packs are set to be integrated into new 'Unit packs'... looking at the current range I can't see many logical combinations, but they do promise to sculpt some extras to make the packs up. Either way it can't really be an improvement to your consumer choice (though given the sculpt quality, we expect him to get away with it).
Pv. Fatgoblin (now Sgt.) reports that Steve Jackson Games is leaving the mini arena. Never the finest purveyor of metal mayhem (their Hellboy was even compared unfavourably with the plastic 'clix' figure of the same character) they always did something different... from giant ant miniatures to the Ogre vehicles and the aptly named "Off the Wall Armies".
Flagged by frotherScout fatgoblin from a report on The Miniatures Page (the, er, other place for miniature news and views) is the total and continuing loss of the Cell Entertainment/1999 Miniatures web page. Another one bites the dust? Or just credit problems?
Rune Tin Tin
fatgoblin again brings to our attention (July 19th) that frother favourite Dragonrune Miniatures has been bought up by The Tin Dictator!! Starting with the excellent Orc Bodyguards, Tin Dictator will be putting each line to the presses in turn and, as if this were not enough, they are even threatening to produce more figures consistent with the existing ones to fill out the range!
Rob joins the commands staff with the rank of Lieutenant. fatGoblin makes Sergeant and gains a frotherScout Cross as most prolific frotherScout for July and September. mancha is also awarded the f.Sc. in recognition of his scouting prowess, and an honrary rank of Corporal.
White Knight, completes the undead showcase series with the All Things Rotten, an examination of the possible avenues for expanding your Zombie forces.
#17 ++++THURSDAY 12th JUNE 2003
Miniatures of the Moment
Ilyad Games: Orginally brought to our attention by xipotec (go to thread) Ilyad finally managed to get out some pics which White Knight then posted to the forums (go to thread). Dwarves, including a cool gatling gun, goblins, great chaos knights and sinister inquisitors make these the best complete line to explode into view for a long time.
Wizards Save Gaming Industry!
Wizards of the Coast have pulled back the curtain to reveal their latest plans to transform the miniatures hobby into their simpering lapdog. With an attempt to cross skirmish-style battles and character minis for RPGs with the mold-breaking 'clix' format, the West Coast Merchandisers have begun yet another miniatures line, called D&D Miniatures.
"Each box will be as unique as random sorting of 80 figures can make it"they modestly proclaim on their new website. Thats a random sorting within a rarity scheme too, by the way. Apparently "having only two buying choices [an 8-pack or a 16-pack] rather than a catalog of 80 is a tremendous boon... Going home from the store empty-handed because the item you wanted was out of stock will be unlikely."
Yes, imagine our disappointment when we look along the racks of other manufacturers' wares to discover that the produce we desire is not on the shelf and we are forced to come back another time for it. No longer! How much more uplifting it will be to blindly buy a box of 8 or 16 figs which might potentially contain the very one we wanted, or at least one we quite like instead! Praise the maker!
Indeed this is such a good idea that we are forced to ask "Why should Wizards be expected to take up this crusade on their own"? We demand that all game shops, all online stores and all manufacturers refrain from thoughtlessly labelling their products and thus allowing unscrupulous collectors and gamers to pick out only the figures they want- without a thought for the overheads involved or the damage to the industry as a whole. Many manufacturers have made a good start by not providing online images for their stock (good chaps), but we should really expect a bit less than that- please, just sell us boxes of "miniatures" in plain white boxes so we can avoid the temptation to only purchase minis that we like. Remember that its good for the retailer, good for the manufacturer, good for the industry as a whole.
Of course if miniatures gamers took this attitude themselves, i.e. only ever buying figures at random, then all manufacturers could increase production and pass a shareholder-determined proportion of of the savings on to us, the consumer! Marblemaniacs, we call upon you to put your weight behind WotC's noble campaign to "boost miniatures use in role-playing... [and] build up competitive tabletop play...
Next time you are in your local game shop, or online store, just close your eyes and pick a few packs at random. If you get the one you wanted, all to the good. If not, well at least you can be consoled with the fact that you are contributing to the hobby as a whole. You can always come back when your next paycheck clears, and of course, "if [e.g] a mind flayer is the only thing you're after -- well, that's what trading is for".
And what young fools amongst you have been clamouring for expensive and difficult to package metal figures, all superbly sculpted and expertly painted, while knowing in your hearts that those figures from a Kinder Egg or cereal packet and painted by a four-year-old will do just as well? Shame on you too! Shame!
#18 ++++ SATURDAY JULY 19th, 2003
Miniatures of the Moment
War Crow Miniatures: Theres not much there at the moment, but what there is looks pretty special. We're hoping its not another Dragonrune and that it'll power up to meet its potential head on. Colonel say yes! He also say "Do some good wood elves"!
New Showcases include from Private Rob- the latest developments include new Showcases from private Rob- the 4 page Dark Elf Showcase and an amazing index of fishmen, merfolk and river-dwellers, the Fishmen Showcase!!
Not to be outdone, Capt. White Knight blasted forth with a new Vampire Showcase, entitled "All Things Bloody" and is threatening to follow up with a Zombies Showcase in the near future! W.K has updated the Norse Showcase and added a Norse Dwarf Showcase too!
Rob and W.K. are setting an incredible new standard for the Showcases now, without a doubt.
Glorious Ghosts or Windy Wars?
There appears to be a remarkable resemblance between the new West Wind Trolls, as shown on the Old Glory site, and the old Ghost Miniatures Ice Trolls (listed under 'Skraelings') that OG also distribute.
They might have used the wrong pics by mistake of course- West Wind haven't punted pics of the figures onto their site yet, so its hard to be sure... but if you look at the two product lists you'll see more similarities- Trolls with Claws, Hammers, Spears, Clubs... hm...
All very well, you might say, as the trolls are amongst the best of Ghost's output and deserve greater coverage. But why on earth would the packs cost an extra U$D4 when sold under the Dwarf Wars banner??
Odd also that they can't dig out the other pictures, since all are shown in the Ghost Minis section.
Most curious, keep your eyes on this one frotherScouts...
Another interesting development is an unannounced price hike at Maidenhead Miniatures. Looking back we can see that prices of their Amazons (former Miniatures of the Moment) have increased by up to 36%.
Those sabretooth riders, once $5.50AUD are now $7.50AUD, while the infantry has risen from $3.50AUD to $4.25AU. Ow!
Cracking figs though.
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