Artizan Designs 28mm Miniatures... Any Good?

By now, most of you will have realise I'm pretty hooked on Pulp era skirmish wargaming and semi role playing style adventures. This is only one of my gaming passions, but right now a fairly large part of my time is spent messing around with this aspect of the hobby.

When I first decided to take up the banner for this genre of play, I spent a long time browsing on line, reading various figure reviews, and generally trying to get my head round which figures to collect.

I'm not really into eclectic purchases, because I personally think it's nice to flesh out a collection with one or two ranges of miniatures, produced, similarly, by just one or two companies. This way, my collection can take on a style and symmetry which is fairly consistent in both scale and aesthetic feel.

My initial Pulp buys were from Bob Murch's Pulp Figures range; and later I started fleshing these out with Copplestone Castings'Back of Beyond Gangsters and Darkest Africa ranges (by Mark Copplestone) because seamlessly they fitted next to the ones produced by Bob Murch.

But then, one day while I was browsing for something entirely different, out of the blue I stumbled across Artizan Designs... and I was immediately hooked on the intrinsic beauty of these superbly sculpted miniatures.

Within minutes at something like three o'clock in the morning, I placed a sample on line order using my credit card; just a couple of pieces from the Thrilling Tales range, because I wanted to see whether the scale (and overall style) matched the figures I already owned from other sources; and I figured my choices would sit well with the rest of my rapidly growing Pulp collection.

Well now: incredibly, within three days I received a little package in the post from Artizan Designs which I thought was amazingly fast delivery, considering the post from England to Ireland usually takes about a week: 'luck of the Irish' I thought!

Anyway, when I carefully opened the envelope (nicely wrapped, I might add) I soon discovered that my hope and faith in this initial purchase was not a waste of time.

The miniatures were absolutely exquisite... not a single piece of flash moulding anywhere... the bases were smooth on the bottom and didn't need sanding to allow the pieces to stand up... and the detail on each of the samples I had chosen were beyond any doubt some of the nicest I have ever seen in this scale. Equally important to me was the fact that not only did they fit nicely alongside the rest of the Pulp miniatures, but they were almost identical in scale... perhaps a couple of millimetres smaller, but nothing a slightly raised base couldn't mask efficiently.

PLP063 Gaspar Toucan (Flemish Sleuth)... one of my initial purchases.

Other samples included a nice bunch of German WW2 infantry two whole units actually, and a rather nice German motorbike and sidecar. Other bits and bobs will be most useful to me, and you'll get to see these over the coming weeks as I add them to my Pulp era campaign... Dylan obviously took note of my period interest and included suitable items as a prerequisite.

Now, my campaign is ever slightly pre WWII, so I could not use Germans as they are. But that's the beauty of this genre of gaming, imagination and mix and matching characters is the key to successful pulp; all I have to do is be inventive. These Artizan Designs German infantry (half with caps and half wearing helmets... perfectly split down the middle so I can form them into two units if I want to) look fairly rugged you can almost see the stubble on some of their faces so I simply made up a bit of feasible history and suddenly I had my very own German 1st Penal Colony Seebetaillon (a shady bunch of misfits if ever there was).

My fictitiously invented German 1st Penal Colony Seebetaillon... inked and ready for action!

I made up my own uniform colours... primarily pale green for Chinese jungle warfare, and when I placed the finished pieces on the shelf beside the rest of my collection, I was impressed by how well they fitted in with everything else.

As I have already pointed out elsewhere, I only paint my models using inks, so the end result is slightly different than other more conventional modelling; it's a style I like very much for Victorian and Pulp era gaming, and to see my efforts at their best, I either need to invest in a better camera (it's on my wish list) or you need to come see my collection of inky's for yourself, first hand as it were.

Seebataillon Motorbike & Sidecar

Not sure if this is historically accurate for the early 30's... but what the heck, this is Pulp we're talking about, after all. However, this model is a bit of a pig to assemble, and may require some experience to get everything to fit together properly; but the end result is well worth the effort.

All in all, without a shadow of a doubt I'd highly recommend Artizan Design miniatures to anyone interested in 28mm wargaming. I've only touched the surface of their huge range of figures which I notice covers multiple periods but what I have seen is most impressive.

I now possess models from quite a few of their separate series of figures, and the standard of sculpting and finish on each piece has been consistent every time.

© 2008, Stephen Gilbert