15mm Minifigs - An appreciation?
Martyn Evers, Pretoria Wargames Club
 

Nobody seems to want to admit to owning Minifigs miniatures. This is maybe not surprising. Figures presented themselves as lacking animation, rather overweight, dressed stiffly in over-starched uniforms, faces which had no personality and eye sockets that looked like they had a bad night. The anachronism is that they have been around for over 30 years, but fortunately many new figure manufacturers have entered the fray, the hobby has grown and Minifigs have found their niche and band of loyal supporters - probably the same supporters over the years. But things are changing. Minifigs are introducing 'new' castings.
 

In my search for Brunswickers and Nassauers to introduce into my Order of Battle for Wellington and his allies at Waterloo I turned to the 'new' Minifigs after a fruitless wait for the rather good Imperial figures and the lack of alternative suppliers. My existing British troops being ably represented by figures from Essex who to date do not manufacture Brunswickers and Nassauers. I contacted 'The Keep' in Devizes England who efficiently posted my order and I was ready to go. A pleasant surprise awaited me when Iopened the packets. The 'new' Minifigs were a far war-cry from those of old. Gone was the rigid, lifeless, stodgy pose replaced by well-proportioned and dare I say animated poses. (Don't worry though, they're not going to threaten Old Glory just yet). There was minimal flash to tidy up, but closer inspection revealed a number of casting flaws. Many plumes were half missing, left sides of faces had no discernable features. Even though you could make out the detail of fingers, musket firing mechanisms, buckles and straps the casting (or more likely the sculptor's omission to 'cut' grooves deeply enough to create definition) has removed any definition making the painting of the figure through dry-brush techniques very awkward. Minifigs need to improve their quality control to overcome these major blemishes.
 

The figures have painted up well however, but close scrutiny still reveals the casting flaws. They don't look out of place among other troops on the tabletop and at first glance will not be recognisable as Minifigs. I'm happy with the outcome and have ordered more (Dutch-Belgians) from 'The Keep'. If you are considering trying the 'new' Minifigs the price is GBP1.25 a packet (8 infantry or 4cavalry), but check the catalogue or enquire of the knowledgeable staff at 'The Keep" that the figures you want are the 'new' castings as the range is in the process of upgrading.
 

(Ed - In light of the poor customer service of some manufacturers of wargames figures, Rabbitt Hobby Shop is presently considering obtaining figures from Minifigs.)