For most people in wargaming, it is primarily a hobby and for some a passion. It is only natural for gamers to want to take an additional step and provide some sort of service for the hobby. Perhaps it’s a range of miniatures no one has done yet. Or perhaps it is a model or miniature someone has made that creates a demand for more.
Of course, running a wargames company can be very hard work. Many are run as a part-time endeavour by their founders. Naturally, running a viable company this way can be a struggle for most people. So it is natural that in time some companies will vanish, their names disappearing along with their ranges of miniatures, never to be seen again. After all, can anyone say where we will be in ten years time? If someone had told me I’d be a magazine editor ten years ago, I would not have believed them.
Back then, I remember seeing a range of Mongols that included straw dummies on horseback. To increase their apparent size, the Mongols used to put dummies on their spare riding horses. A great idea, I thought, I must get some of them, even though their practical purpose on the battlefield was perhaps limited (depending on the rule set I used).
Can you get them now? No. The company – whose name eludes me – has long since faded away. I vaguely recall that they did some Robin Hood and other medieval miniatures. I saw them at the SELWG show once and perhaps if I could find a show catalogue from that period it might jog my memory. If any of you know which company I’m talking about, please leave a comment!
A disappearing company can also cause me troubles in my job. Recently, I received an article called “Snow Station Stripey Horse”, which was a great rendition of how to play a scenario from the movie Ice Station Zebra. Of course, any article requires pictures. Now, where could I source some good pictures? A company called Regiment Games did some cool looking miniatures, except that they closed in November 2012. Curses! They also did a nice range of British sailors for the 1940s, another subject rarely depicted in miniature…
Another and oft-lamented example: Companion Miniatures. They did several excellent ranges, including a forest elephant (ideal for the untrained elephant for all WAB Hannibal fans). I have some of their French and British Napoleonics too. Lovely Hicks sculpts; sadly no longer available.
Mongrel Miniatures is another again. I had a good selection of their Soviets and British, with a plan to do some 1980s Cold War gaming (and they would’ve come in handy for issue 69!). They are also gone now, so getting reinforcements is going to be tricky! I always fancied doing a US force but this will have to be in another scale. Anybody know who does an M60 in 28mm?
This may sound like nostalgia, but it isn’t. What is gone is gone and I must have had good reason at the time not to pick up those particular miniatures (I probably spent the cash elsewhere!). I guess the lesson is: only buy what you need (or at least: no more than you can afford), but if a range matches your plans, do so while it is still available!