Modern Miniatures for Skirmish Games - Figure Review


Since this page first appeared, several new figure ranges have appeared on the market, so I have decided it was about time that this review got updated. I am defining 'modern troops' as those suitable for use in 'present day' or recent history scenarios; the Gulf War, Operation Restore Hope, Afghanistan, the Falklands, "what if" third world war etc.

I have chosen to ignore companies that only produce SWAT or anti-terrorist figures. The companies that produce these in 28mm are:

Foundry - Over 20 packs of figures in their "Street Violence" range, all armed with current weaponry.
Eureka Miniatures - A small range of SWAT figures. A 'mix and match' set of 5 bodies, 5 legs and 11 heads.
Tactical Miniatures - A small range of SWAT and terrorist figures.


Modern Miniatures - Picture Comparison


Modern Figures 1
Modern figures examples (left to right) : HLBS Co, Chiltern Miniatures, Britannia Miniatures,
The Assault Group, Foundry, Brooks Miniatures

Modern Figures 2
Modern figures examples (left to right) : Britannia Miniatures, Devil Dog Design, MoFo
Brooks Miniatures, Mongrol Miniatures, Kriegspiel Miniatures

The current range of modern figures can be split into 4 distinct categories: 40mm, Heroic 28mm, "standard 28mm" and 25mm

40mm
The Honourable Lead Boiler Suit Company.

"Heroic" 28mm
Chiltern Miniatures.
Britannia Miniatures.
Devil Dog Design.
The Assault Group.

"Standard" 28mm
Brooks Miniatures.
MoFo Miniatures.
Mongrol Miniatures.

25mm
Kriegspiel Miniatures.

Overview and Conclusion.


Each company is rated in several categories:

Sculpting Quality How well the figure is sculpted, including anatomy, detailing and scale
Size of Range The number of figures that the manufacturer has available
Compatibility How well the models fit with other ranges, or with other accessories.
Value Are the figures value for money?

The catagories will be rated in the following way:

Poor
Average
Good
Excellent

THE HONOURABLE LEAD BOILER SUIT COMPANY, Ultramoderns
Size: 40mm (Base to Top of Head)
Sculpting Quality The figures are well sculpted, with excellent detail. They are well proportioned anotomically. Weaponry is sized to the correct scale, and kit is well detailed and accurate. Many of the figures have neutral 'patrolling' poses, which might not be to everyone's taste - especially those who require more dynamic action poses for their figures.
Some modelling skill is required, as most are supplied with seperate arms and/or weapons that require gluing into place.
Size of Range There are currently 80 packs available. These include US, British, Russian, Eastern European, African and Taliban troops. HLBS are also currently working on a range of vehicles to complemrnt the range.
Compatibility These are the only figures produced in this scale. However, they go very well with available plastic kits of AFVs and helicopters in 1/48. They are also compatible with several die cast vehicles.
Value A pack usually costs 6.00, and contains 4 figures. Postage cost is 10% within the UK.
WEBSITE : www.hlbs.co.uk
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CHILTERN MINIATURES, Modern Range
Size: 35mm (Base to Top of Head)
Sculpting Quality The figures are a little on the 'chuncky' side, though generally well proprotioned for their size. The weapons (especially on the Somalis) are oversized.
Faces are very stylised, being of cartoon-like appearence, and the scuplting on the Deltas helmets is poor - they are supposed to be wearing 'Hockey' helmets, and not 1950's American Football helmets.
Size of Range The range currently contains 15 packs including Africans, Delta Force, SAS, Afghans, Russians and Balkans
Compatibility The figures are 3mm oversized, when compared to the other 28mm ranges This gives them a problem when used 'up close' with other ranges - they are very apparently larger. Due to the bulkiness of Britannia's figures, the problem is not so apparent with that range. I would be reluctant to mix the ranges in a single unit on the tabletop, though.
Value A pack costs 4.25, plus p&p. A little more expensive than some of the competiton, but not too much difference.
WEBSITE : www.chilternminiatures.co.uk
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BRITANNIA MINIATURES, Special Ops Range
Size: 32mm (Base to Top of Head)
Sculpting Quality The figures are quite well sculpted, with some nice dynamic poses. They are a little oversize, with thick limbs and large heads - giving an overall 'chunky' appearence - quite stylised, but nice if you like that sort of thing.... In common with other "Heroic" ranges, the weapons are also oversized.
Given the way the figures are sculpted, they almost provice their own shading, as the contours of the clothes are quite pronouced.
Unfortunately, the facial detail, whilst adequate, really leaves something to be desired.
Size of Range Britannia currently has two "Modern" ranges under their "Special Operations" title.
The first range is of "Black Hawk Down" figures: 28 packs of US Rangers, Delta Force, Somalis and Vehicles
The second range, of 17 packs, covers the war of independence in the Belgian Congo of 1960.
Compatibility Although the body size of the figures is a little more "chunky" than other ranges, Britannia's figures will fit in well with those from TAG and Devil Dog.
Value The figures are 1 each, with the resin vehicles being individually priced. Postage cost is 10% within the UK.
WEBSITE : www.britanniaminis.com
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DEVIL DOG DESIGN
Size: 32mm (Base to Top of Head)
Sculpting Quality Typical "Heroic" sale sculpting, with oversized heads and weapons. Anatomy proportion is pretty good, and the detailing and accuracy of weapons and kit is excellent. Many of the range come with seperate heads, and even different weapon options for some figures.
The figures are sculpted with tabs, and are intended for use with slotta bases
Size of Range Over 30 packs currently available. Many US packs, plus British, Canadians, Iraqi, Taliban, German and Russians
Compatibility These figures match well with those from TAG and Britannia.
Value A pack of four figures costs between $8.95 and $10.95, which already places them at the expensive end of the pricing bracket. It is also unfotunate that the company uses the policy of pricing it's command packs as more expensive than it's troop packs.
WEBSITE : www.devildogdesign.com
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THE ASSAULT GROUP.COM
Size: 32mm (Base to Top of Head)
Sculpting Quality The figures are well proportioned, though they follow the typical "heroic" style of having oversized heads and weapons. Some of the weapon sizing is ridiculously large - the M249 SAW being the worst example. The facial detailing is good, although the quality does vary. The kit and weapons detail is OK, but a little under-detailed when compared to other ranges. They also have a tendency to equip their figures with weapons that are not historically accurate. The helmets are not quite right, especially on the earlier models in the range - looking a little more like motorcylce helmets, and the feet are too small (need to be about 1mm or so longer).
Size of Range The range currently has over 50 packs available, which cover US troops, Afghans, Iraqis, Somalis and other African Militia. Several seperate weapons packs are also available
Compatibility The figures fit in well with those from Devil Dog and Britannia, although they are noticable different from Britannia's due to the helmet design differences. You should be able to mix the models on the tabletop without too many problems.
Value A pack of four figures costs 4.95 which includes UK postage.
WEBSITE : www.theassaultgroup.com
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BROOKS MINIATURES
Size: 30mm (Base to Top of Head)
Sculpting Quality The figures are well sculpted, with well proportioned anatomy. The sculpted detail is nice and accurate. Weapons are of 'real' size.
Size of Range The range currently contains 52 figures; 20 British troops, 16 Taliban/Northern Alliance, 12 "Genforce" troops, which can be supplied with a choice of 6 heads to make Russians, Chechens, Serbs or Bosnians, and 4 SAS.
Compatibility With the release MoFo and Mongrel ranges, these figures now have a very good range of compatible models.
Value The figures are 1 each, or 3.50 for a pack of four figures.
WEBSITE : www.brooksminiatures.co.uk
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MOFO MINIATURES
Size: 31mm (Base to Top of Head)
Sculpting Quality The figures are well proportioned, with 'real' sized weapons. The facial detailing is good. Kit is well detailed and accurate. Poses are realistic and dynamic.
Size of Range The range is still relatively new, but already contains 35 packs. These include US Rangers, Deltas, African Militia, British and Mercenaries
They have just released a new range of figures for the 1982 Falklands War. Many of the British troops come seperate heads, and there is a choice of no less than 9 different type of head!
Compatibility The figures fit in very well with those from Brooks and Mongrel, giving an excellent range.
Value A pack of four figures costs 4.00. UK postage priced at 10%.
WEBSITE : MOFO MINIATURES
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MONGREL MINIATURES
Size: 31mm (Base to Top of Head)
Sculpting Quality The figures are well proportioned, with 'real' sized weapons. The facial, weapon and kit detailing is very good.
Size of Range The range has Russians, British Army Of the Rhine, Afghans and US Marines .
Compatibility The figures fit in well with those from Brooks and MoFo (they are sculpted by the same guy who sculpts MoFo) Together these make an excellent range. Also fits the "Slopy Jalopy" modern vehicles range.
Value A pack of 8 figures costs 8.00, with 10% for UK postage.
WEBSITE : www.mongrelminiatures.co.uk
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KRIEGSPIEL MINIATURES
Size: 28mm (Base to Top of Head)
Sculpting Quality The figures are well proportioned. Detailing is very good, and they have good, dynamuc poses.
Size of Range The range has just started, and currently consists of 20 Australians and 10 Musorians.
Compatibility Unfotunately, the figures are right at the small end of the 28mm scale, and have a noticeable difference of both height and build with even the smallest of the other ranges. This meansthat they are not really suitable for using with other ranges.
Value Unknown Figures should be available from Eureka, but are not currently on their website
WEBSITE : www.kriegspiel.com.au
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Overview and Conclusion

There has never been a better time to get into 28mm modern gaming. There are now several ranges available to suit most peoples style and taste. All the ranges will allow you to game conflicts such as Operation Restore Hope, The Gulf War, the Balkans War and the war in Afghanistan. I would suggest that any gamer has 3 options:

Option 1: 28mm gaming in 'real' scale"
The arrival of MoFo and Mongrel Miniatures has really set a new standard for 28mm gaming. Use these figures along with those from Brooks, and you will be able to game most conflicts with, what is in my opinion, the best range of 28mm figures on the market.

Option 2: 28mm gaming in 'heroic' scale"
Those figures produce by TAG, Devil Dog and Britannia go well together. The figures are more stylised in look, and are slightly more expensive than their smaller counterparts, but if you like your 28mm figures big, with big weapons,look no further.
I must admit, I have a real fondness for Britannia's Somalia range - they are not the best 28mm figs by any means, but I just love them.

Option 3: 40mm
Still my personal recommendation when it comes to modern figures is to go for the HLBS Ultramodern range. They were the first set of modern figureson the market in 2001,and they are still the best IMO.
The size of the range is huge (although no support weapons - yet). The quality of the figures is excellent, both in detail and accuracy, and the range of vehicles available is good (both AFVs and helicopters).

As with everything, personal taste will colour your opinion. I hope that you have found this overview helpful. Go forth and purchase!


Last Updated: 29th November, 2004