I originally started collecting 40mm figures four or five years ago - I'd been looking for some figures to game modern day warfare, and The Honourable Lead Boiler Suit Co. released the first of their Ultramodern range. I really liked the figures and from then I was hooked.
Since then, whilst HLBS have continued to build their ranges, other manufacturers have started to produce figures in this scale, and it really appears to have caught on - so much so that we are now at the point that most periods have a figure range available in this scale - there is probably much more out there than you might think. Certainly, the 'Big 4' periods: Ancients, ACW, Napoleonic and WW2 can all now be gamed using 40mm figures
So, what's the appeal of 40mm? Why bother with yet another scale?
I can only respond from a personal prospective:
Whilst I started out collecting armies for large battles (and it has to be said, the spectacle of large armies facing each other over a wargaming table is a very good one), these days, I tend to primarily play skirmish games. These games can be played with very few figures on the table (As little as half a dozen a side) and these games tend to look better when played with larger figures.
A small collection of larger figures are arguably much quicker/easier to paint. Certainly, I've found 40mm figures nice to paint, and not quite as fiddly as their smaller cousins. On the flip side, 40mm figures can include a wealth of extra detail which you can really go to town on painting if you wish.(Have a look at Steve Barber's Samurai, for example)
So, 40mm is a scale which can please both the gamer and painter in all of us. And let's face it, as we get on in years and the old eyesight begins to fade, painting larger figures is much easier...
But, in the end, why does anyone of us collect and game with figures? Because we like them and the figures are of good quality. Certainly, 40mm figures are not cheap, usually ranging from £2 - £3 for a figure on foot, whilst a mounted figure can cost anything from £6 - £10, depending on the manufacturer. However, you are not usually needing more that ten or twenty figures to make an army, and so the cost is comparable with other scales, where you are spending the same amount of money, but buying (and then having to paint) more figures.
And once you've collected and painted all the miniatures, what about scenery?
Well, it's true that their isn't much ready made scenery available for 40mm at the moment. Monolith do a 40mm WW2 bunker, and their ruins are pretty scale free. The best source for buildings, however, if you didn't want to scratch build, is '0' gauge model railway scenery, as this is the ideal size for 40mm figures (You might even want an 'o' gauge train for your Old West games). Armourcast do a range of Japanese scenery which will fit well, and is available from Waylands Forge in the UK.
When it comes to hedges and trees, The Last Valley company's range of scenery is an ideal size for 40mm.
As far as vehicles are concerned, the ideal scale varies, depending upon the size of the figures. The best size varies between 1/48th and 1/43rd, dependent upon figure basing and taste. Since 1/43rd is a standard die-cast scale for cars, these are widely available from model and toy shops.
Below is a guide to 40mm figures, taken from the suppliers and miniature ranges that I currently know to be available. I hope you find it useful. The list is presented in alphabetical order, and is not any indication of an order of preference.
Unfortunately, as far as I am aware, although Battlestandard are still trading, they are now only producing games rules, and not miniatures.
Battlestandard has a Yahoo! news group : Battlestandard
Doug Miller recently sent me a newsletter, which contained details of his current figure releases.
He is in the process of releasing a range of 40mm figures based on the Italian Wars and German Peasant Wars of the early 16th Century.
The figures are, where possible, mutli-pose, and a varied selection of heads is available.
Whilst it is obvious that these figures are aimed more at the collector than the gamer, they do look rather nice, and could easily be used for gaming...
Price Guide - Foot figures are approximately £4 each, Mounted figures are £12
Drabant Miniatures are a relatively new range of 40mm figures. They are very finely sculpted - probably aimed more at collectors than gamers - but they do periods which no-one else currently covers.
Price Guide - Foot figures are approximately £4 each, Mounted figures are £10
Eureka are really the new kids on the block when it comes to 40mm figures. In the past, they have produced a few Old West figures, but they have just landed on the map with their latest release on figures based on the 1973 film "The Three Musketeers".
These figures are sculpted by Mike Broadbent, and are a pleasure to look at, being both well detailed and well cast. The figures are available either with display bases, or with flat metal gamin bases, which shows the dual nature of this scale of figures.
The full set consists of 9 figures: the 4 Musketeers, Rochefort plus 4 Cardinals Guards, and a set of scenery, which is a nice touch for 40mm. The set can be seen in all it's glory in the picture on the left.
This comes complete with a free set of rules, And all for One, which are available to download from Eureka's website, which means you can get a complete game for approx. £35 - a bargain!
They have now released a second group of miniatures for this range, which includes Planchet, Constance, a Rogue with 2 swords, plus a couple of serving wenches and some wildfowl. It also includes some more scenery.
Also available are various counters which are used with the And all for One rules - 'Stunned' and 'Lost Weapon'
Eureka are distributed in the UK by Fighting 15s
Rough Price Guide - Single figures are approx £3.50 each
I recently discovered these excellent looking figures for sale on the Gamers Quest Website (Tabletop Games).
Flashing Blade are, I believe, A new company. They are producing 40mm figures of Ancient Greeks and Spartans. These figures are multi-part.
I now own the entire range of these figures (which now include Spartans and Peltasts) and can honestly say that they are excellent figures. They are sculpted well, with good, non-heroic proportion, and are cast well with very little flash or cleaning to do. The figures usually come in 5 or 6 parts. Most have seperate arms and weapons/shields, and also give a choice of two different helmet crests. Some figures also have seperate heads. Because the arms are seperate, they allow a certain amount of flexibility in posing options, and there is also the possibility of swapping arms between different figures - this obviously means that you can increase the variety of available poses for the figures by the way they are assembled - several of the figures with spears are also suitable for weapon swaps with swords, although a little modelling work (sculpting of swords) would be required in these cases.
In short, an excellent range. I'm looking forward to seeing more from this company.
Price Guide - Foot figures are £3.50 each
Front Rank have now released the first miniatures in their new range of 40mm figures for the American War of Independence. These are all British troops - I have several examples below of their line troops and the new command figures.
Graven Images are one of what I would call 'The Big 3' when it comes to 40mm figures. They have an extensive range of figures - the vast majority sculpted by Jim Bowen - which fall into several genres.
Jim has a distinctive sculpting style, which means that heads and weapons are oversized, and the figures are bulky - even at this scale! - It's not everyone's taste, but they are generally excellent in detail, a pleasure to paint and look great on the tabletop.
Jim is also a prolifc sculptor, which means that Steve Mussard (who runs Monolith/Graven Images) is kept busy updating the catalogue with new releases - there are usually two or three new packs released every fornight - sometimes more!
There is also a large and extremely active Yahoo! group attached to the range: Jim Bowens Disturbia
Rough Price Guide - Single figures are £3.50 each, whilst packs of four figures are £10.99. Mounted figures are £10.99 each
The second of the 'Big 3', HLBS Co are a two man company comprising of Richard Kemp and Mark Jones, and they have been sculpting figures in 40mm for several years now. They started with a range of 'Ultramoderns' which consisted of modern infantry from several different countries. (The pack shown on the left is one of the first that was produced - a pack of US infantry).
Following the success of this range, they started to produce a range of 'Collectors figures' in 40mm. One thing led to another, and the single collectors range has turned into several different ranges.
The figures are well sculpted and excellently detailed. Many come in multiple parts, having arms and weapons seperate to provide more dynamic poses.
Probably the largest range after the moderns is their Old West range - which is now pretty huge, and includes Plains Indians, US Cavalry, townsfolk, various gunfighter figures and several references from films such as Tombstone, the Outlaw Josey Wales and the Dollars Trilogy.
Other figure ranges include:
Mark and Richard are quite prolific, and their ranges are expanding all the time. At the time of writing they have moved back to expand the moderns range with MMGs and Heavy, crew-served weapons.
Richard's latest range is called 'Dead Reckoning'. This is a range of figures inspired by the 'Resident Evil' video games and films. Currently the range includes several heroines, some monsters and several packs of zombies. I'm sure that this range is set to increase in future...
Rough Price Guide - Single figures are £2.50 - £3.00 each, whilst sets of four figures (Ultramoderns) are £6.00. Mounted figures are £6.00 - £8.00 each.
I have only included Irregular Miniatures in this list as a last minute extra - their figures are 42mm (the same scale as Steve Barber), but their ethos is very different from all the other manufacturers on this list.
Rather than producing highly detailed sculpted miniatures, Irregular produce Toy Soldiers. 42mm is equivalent to the old English 'B' scale of toy figures, and Irregular's ethos is to produce a range of figures that reflect this older style of figures.
So, rather than being highly detailed, Irregular's figures are flat finish toy soldier reproductions.
Their range is huge, and covers all of the following conflicts...
So, why include them in this list?
Firstly, for the sake of completeness. This guide covers a range of scale from 36mm - 42mm, so I thought I would mention Irregular.
Secondly, Irregular produce some accessories that might be useful for the 40mm gamer, and it's good to know what's available by looking at something that you might not originally consider.
Rough Price Guide - Single foot figures are £1.00 each, whilst Mounted figures are £2.00 each. Other packs are priced individually.
North Star fall into the 40mm figure bracket, even though their figures are not, strictly 40mm, but rather 1/48th scale (Meaning that they are approx 37mm tall).
North Star's main figure range specialises in 1/48th scale World War 2, and now contains troops for all four of the main European protagonists (Great Britain, USA, Russia and Germany). The figures are sculpted by Richard Ansell, and are excellent - both in detail and accuracy (See British Airborne above)
The range now includes figures for:
North Star also have an excellent range of 1/48th vehilces and tanks available from the likes of Tamyia and Academy - more than enough to keep the average WW2 gamer busy!
And then, if you like something a bit different, North Star also produce a range entitiled 'Project X', which is an alternative World War 2 genre. The picture below is an example of a "Walkyrie" squad, but the range includes various genetic 'super-soldats', zombies, armoured fighting suits, character figures etc.
The only down-side with North Star's rane is that it is not compatible with other 40mm ranges, but this is a minor worry for WW2 buffs...
Project X has it's own Yahoo! Group - Project X
Rough Price Guide - Single figures are £2.80 - £3.50 each, whilst packs of four figures are £6.00
Manorhouse Workshop are an Italian company that produce 40mm figures, primarily for their 'Fast Mindstalkers' game, which is a miniatures game set in Medieval Italy.
The Fast Mindstalkers game is available in a boxed set. In addition to this, there is a growing selection of 40mm figures available for several of the game factions.
The range now includes figures for:
Manorhouse also produce what looks to be an excellent range of scenery.
Whilst I haven't seen these figures 'in the flesh', they have a gothic look and feel, so they seem very 'Mordheim' like. The figures look superb in the pictures - I'm looking forward to seeing some at a much closer range in the future.
Rough Price Guide - Single figures start at 7.5 Euro upwards, whilst mounted models start at 16.5 Euros. The Fast Mindstalkers box set is 85 Euros
Having the Perry twins releasing 40mm figures is a fantastic bonus. They are currently producing two ranges of figures in this scale - Penninsular War Napoleonic (See Left) and Border Reivers (See Below).
The Napoleonic range is growing steadily, with a further half dozen figures being added every couple of months. Currently, the brothers seem to be concentrating on the French, having produced only a dozen or so British Light Infantry and Spanish Guerillas in a range of almost 50 figures. From the comments on the website, they are hoping to sculpt figures for all the major protagonists in the campaign, so I can only assume that more British & Spanish troops are on their way. In the mean time, these figures match very well with HLBS's Napoleonic range so gaps in the current range can be filled easily.
As you would expect from the Perrys, the standard of sculpting and detail on the figures are superb. Many come in multiple parts, to improve the dynamic look of the model, and several have multiple head variants. Whether you simply wish to collect some for display purposes, or whether you are intending to game with them, these figures are a must.
Another genre that has become popular over the past year or so are Border Reivers. This is a ideal genre for small scale skirmishes, and therefore if the size of the force is small, you can always increase the size of the figures...
The Perry miniatures in this range are well studied and put together, and the entire range, although not that extensive, can still provide a dozen figures a side for games.
Rough Price Guide - Single figures are £3.00 each, whilst mounted figures are £8.00 each
Sacred Blade Miniatures are currently one of the smaller producers of 40mm figures. In fact, they currently only produce about 16 figures in a single range of sci-fi miniatures.
It would appear that the Sacred Blade website has not been updated since July 2005, so I suspect that this company has now ceased trading.
The figures are well sculpted and detailed, and they seem to share a gothic style imagery - much like GW figures - except with far fewer skulls...
The pictures shown on the left are painted examples of the figures, and show a Cyber-Paladin and a Cyborg. Which is which is pretty self-evident...
Although the range is labelled as 40mm, many of the figures are considerably bigger, and so they are not readily compatible with other ranges. However, there are enough figures within the range for an Inquisitor style campaign to be put together.
However, since the range hasn't been added to for several months, it is still to be seen if it has a long term future.
Rough Price Guide - Single figures are between £3.50 and £9.00 each
Sash & Saber models are the last of the "Big 3" of 40mm figure producers, and these guys seem to have a slightly different approach to 40mm.
Whereas most other manufacturers currently seem to see the 40mm scale as a skirmish scale, using much fewer figures than in smaller scales, Sash & Saber appear to have leaped into the scale wholeheartedly, and appear to treating it similarly to the way other manufacturers treat 28mm.
Sash & Saber's range currently covers several different conflicts:
So, whilst other companies release figures individually, or in small packs, Sash & Saber have produced various infantry packs , each of which contains 20 foot figures. Then there are packs of 5 more specialist foot figures, including command packs. Finally, mounted figures can be purchased either as a set of 3 or individually.
In addition, the ACW and AWI ranges also include Artillery, complete with crews and limbers, which can be converted for use with Napoleonics - although there is not an artillery crew set available for Napoleonics as of yet.
In short, Sash and Saber are treating this scale as a mass battle scale, rather than a simple (small) skirmish, and therefore you have the opportunity (given sufficient available funds!) to create a large spectacle of units.
Even as a dedicated skirmish gamer, I'm very tempted by some of these figures - especially the ancient Romans. In Napoleonic games, a couple of packs of French or British Napoleonic troops could help transform a game, so that suddenly the French side could well appear to have a column, for example.
I haven't seen these figures "in the flesh" yet, so I will have to waive judgement on them for now - although they do look good on the website. They are available in this country from Old Glory UK - it's good to seem them actually appearing 'in stock' on their website for a change...
Rough Price Guide - Packs of five figures are £9.00, whilst packs of 20 figures are £35.00. Mounted figures are £18.00 for 3
Steve Barber models do not have a large range of 40mm figures available, but what they do have is definately worth a look.
These figures are actually classed as 42mm scale, and are therefore slightly larger than most other manufacturers ranges - the Musketeers, for example, are noticeably larger than Eureka's, and so are not really compatible. The Ninja's from the Samurai range, however, will just about fit with the Graven Images range...
There are currently two ranges of figures available: Samurai (above) and Three Musketeers (below).
The Samurai range is based on the Sengoku period and has quite a numerous selection of Samurai, Ashigaru and Ninja. These figures are, simply, superb. Well sculpted, excellently and accurately detailed. They are fantastic either as display models or gaming figures.
Most of the figures are single piece castings, but some are multi-part - the largest being the horse. The horse itself comes in two pieces (front and back) with the intention being that these parts can be mixed and matched with further horse bodies to create several different horses. The range also includes a set of spare weapons, which aids in converting models.
The range is not yet complete, and Steve plans to bring out more mounted Samurai in the coming year.
The Three Musketeers range also very well sculpted and detailed. All the figures are multi-part having seperate torso, legs and arms. All the parts are interchangable, which gives a good variety of poses for the figures. The figures are more historically based than their Eureka equivalents - however, if you wanted a painting reference you could always use the 1993 Disney version of the film.
The only fault of this range is the current lack of figures for D'artagnan and Rochefort - although Steve has assured me on several occasions that these will be released in the next year.
The only current downside to these miniatures is that Steve has his finger in so many pies, when it comes to figure ranges in different scales, that the size of the range only grows slowly.
Steve Barber Models has it's own Yahoo! Group - Steve Barber Models
Rough Price Guide - Single figures are £2.50 - £4.00 each, whilst mounted figures are £9.50 each
Trident Designs released their first set of 40mm figures - 6 packs of Gladiators (See Above) at Salute in 2004. These figures are pretty good, although the detailing on some of the figures appears a little rough in places. Gladiators are an ideal subject for larger figures, as you normally only need a handfull in order to play a game, and this range provides all the usual required variants. The highlight of the range is a nice Russell Crowe (Maximus) look-alike.
Trident are now releasing a range of 40mm Medieval figures. Originally, the range was based on 'Robin Hood', but this has now been expanded to include severalmore figures, including several new mounted and foot knights, plus new men-at-arms and peasent figures.
The range is now being distributed by 'The Figure Trader' - who are also distributing a set of rules to complement the figures - Vanguard: Men at Arms.
Rough Price Guide - Figures are £3 each, but they also sell box sets for £25 or £50
Trident are also producing an exstensive range of figures for the American War of Independence, entitled 'Battle Road'. These appear to be only available from the Miniature Service Center.
Currently, they produce the following figures:
Rough Price Guide - Figures are $3.50 each