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Sunday, 13 February 2011

Putting the Fantasy into Warhammer Battle Miniatures

They're called Mini Monsters and they bring a heck of a lot to the Warhammer battlefield in the way of superbly painted and converted Fantasy Battle miniatures and imaginative terrain and scenery.

Vampire Ogre miniature picture

I've been looking forward to writing this because I haven't posted anything wholly Fantasy Battle related for a while I really wanted to share a new painting and modeling site I stumbled across. If you're wondering why I'm so excited then you'll get a clue by taking a close look at the Ogre on the right... or should I say Von Ogre.

I discovered Mini Monsters' miniatures on Facebook and they kindly granted me permission to show off some of their Fantasy Battle offerings. I'm not in anyway connected to their company, this is just my review of their miniatures and I get to add some great model and unit pics to my blog ! :)

Mini Monsters run a website (click above logo to see their miniatures gallery where you can find stacks more mini photos) and they are available for commission work.

They also have a presence on coolminiornot and eBay (Mini Monsters) and are well worth a look*.

* Note: I checked out some of their eBay completed listings to see what their miniatures go for and I was pleasantly surprised because in some cases they are a lot cheaper than their competitors (the Buy It Now prices on many of the lots also looks very reasonable).

Anyway, enough of the free advertising, here's what I think of the miniatures...

What I really like about their miniatures is that they make them look "fantasy-like" and unique. They're not drab but colourful and they're inventive with bases, banners and conversions to the models. The banners are distinctive, large and nicely styled and they don't make the mistake of adding too much detail which can lessen their appearance on the battlefield where intricacies are lost in the massed ranks.

When someone like myself tries to achieve this kind of result the miniatures can all too often come out looking "over-modeled" and generally overdone if you get my meaning (hopefully, you know where I'm coming from). Mini Monster's (Dargo000 seems to the the painter) seem to have been able to avoid this and don't go over the top and make them look, for want of a better word, silly. They make them look just right. Bright and original enough to stand out on the battlefield but not so glaring that your opponent dons his Miami Vice shades and complains that eye strain caused him to lose the battle.

In the range of miniatures on their Gallery there is more focus on the baddies than the goodies, hence you'll see mainly Chaos, Vampires, Dark Elves and Skaven below but I don't think they're limited to evil races. There are other armies on their site but in fewer numbers. I suspect most of the commissions (and thus pics) come from the more lazy, evil minded gamers who have embraced sloth and become greedy for painted miniatures without having to lift a brush of their own - just like me :)

Check out this miniature, it looks like a GW one but I certainly can't find it on their website under the Warriors of Chaos section because it definitely looks like it could be Valkia The Bloody (it's been based on the picture in the army book that's for sure).   It looks like a conversion to me, maybe some wings from an old Vampire model and possibly some 40k bitz. I shall ask Mini Monsters.

Valkia The Bloody miniature picture

How about this Vampire Counts banner, a simple design (albeit applied very skillfully) and all the more striking for it.... The contrast between the moon and the wolf should ensure that even the stunty cannon crew cowering on the top of the hill have a decent target to aim for ;-)

Painted Vampire Counts banner
Below is another example of a mini I don't think I've seen before. This is Malekith on a Cold One. I could be wrong (I usually am and I'm ready to be corrected if you want to leave a comment) but this doesn't looks like your regular cold one to me. The "gills" or whatever they're named around the mouth and the tail set this apart from any Dark Elf cold one I've seen and it's certainly not a Lizardmen cold one or a Carnosaur (although it's big enough - "tip to toe").

Anyway, that's not the point I was going to make with this model. What I'm impressed with here is the colouring and the base.  This model will definitely make an impact because it's err.... almost pink !  Not what you'd expect from Malekith, I was thinking more black on black but that's why I like this model. Let's face it, if Malekith wants to ride a pink Cold One who's going to whisper kind advice in his ear ?!  (maybe Tyrion, a Blood Thirster or a very drunk giant but that's about it I think). Bold and superb - nice work.

BTW, I didn't mention the excellent gold effect. It's very difficult to make gold work on miniatures but they've done the job nicely here. It's also nice to see the extra work that's been done to the base, this is afterall a Lord character and thus should be worth that extra time and effort because he's likely to be "showing off" on the battlefield a lot longer than a mere harpy - or at least that's what the Dark elf player will be hoping.

Malekith mounted on Cold One picture

Now, how about this for an excellent idea, flagellant ghosts ! I guess they could also be used as Cairn Wraiths (although their weapons of choice aren't quite right, actually forget that idea !)

These are, in my opinion, frankly... awesome. Let's face it, not all of those flagellants who reckon that they have appeased their god by whipping themselves for a decade are going to make the grade at the pearly gates (if you have to whip yourself that much you really have been a bad boy!). So, if you're not in heaven but you managed to edge yourself up from the flaming pits then I guess there is only one vocation left - a ghost.

A great idea by Mini Monsters and very well implemented. Copy it !

Human Empire Ghost miniature picture

Here's a small but effective example of attention to detail. This, I presume, is likely to be The Empire players Battle Standard Bearer so it should stand out and look larger and of course higher than your every day grunt unit standard so... put the model on a higher base. Simple right ? I bet not many people think of it and even less people actually do it.

Empire Battle Standard Bearer photo

Now, what about this... I mean, I have no idea what it is (it's incomparable with the GW models) but it's perfect for a Skaven monster "thing". I love it and it makes a perfect Hell Pit Abomination. Afterall, the Abomination has the Regenerate, Shambling Horror and Too Horrible to Die special rules and if any Skaven model deserves those then this is it.

Converted Skaven Abomination picture

Mini Monsters deserve a lot of credit, they're injecting imagination into their miniatures and bringing us something slightly different and yet in keeping with what we know and love. These guys think before they paint and they think what they're going to paint.

How about this one, it makes a perfect Abyssal Terror but I don't recognize the model - do you ? I'm not an expert in the miniatures out there but I think I would have remembered this one because I was looking for one when the the last Vampire Counts army book was released.

Vampire Abyssal Terror miniature picture

I could go on and on but I need to finish before it gets too long and before match of the day starts. So just a few more to whet your appetite...

An Ogre in a Dragon / Cold One cloak... (another one I don't recognize so presume it's custom made)

Dragon Scales Coat for Ogre model picture

Here's a very proud Ogre Battle Standard Bearer who is basically saying "I am the Man (read: 'Ogre')". It looks like his tribe have put it to the Dwarfs, High Elves, Bretonnia, The Empire and lopped off the head of a Dragon for the hell of it. Personally, I wouldn't take this model into battle because I'd be too scared of having to take him off the table !

Painted Ogre BSB picture

They also do Warmachines... how about something completely different, a Chaos Warshrine pulled by giant forest spiders !

Converted Spider driven Chaos Warshrine picture

And just to prove that they don't just paint baddies, check this one out. A proper Red Dragon (as far as I'm concerned they should all be red or green - don't hold it against me Joel [private joke]) with a good High Elf Lord atop - although I suspect he probably has a bad side to him on a "bad hair" day ;-)

Dragon Lord High Elf picture

I was going to talk a bit about their terrain and scenery but I'll have to put that in another post, this one is already too long, here's just a taster of what you can expect, some gothic ruins...

Temple Ruins picture for Warhammer Battle

I suspect this has sounded like one long advert for Mini Monsters, I didn't mean it to I just got carried away. I know they're in it for the money but given the quality of their ideas and that what they're producing craftily breaks the mold of what we're used to, I think they deserve the credit.

Anyway, enough said, you know where to look. Thanks for reading and enjoy their gallery.


  1. Wow- those are some great looking minis! Thanks for the find, as ill at least take some inspiration from them.

  2. Thanks for the comment Max. It's good to hear you're getting some inspiration from the mini pics.

  3. Too bad they have not updated their news page in 8 months. The work is really top notch.

  4. Hi Anon, good point. I'll let them know.

  5. Sort of necroposting but I think I know what Valkia is converted from. The body is an old Bloodletter, the weapon/shield are from the Chaos Knights kit. The rest is sculpted on.