A brief rant on the subject of old miniatures.

I was struck by something terrible today. I was idly thumbing through Citadel Catalogue Section Four1 and I stumbled upon something. The current range of Dwarf miners are in there. Now I don't know exactly when the miners where designed, but Section Four was published in 1994. Doesn't that seem an unusually long life span for a miniature? Sixteen years? Game systems don;t last that long. Space marines are replaced every five or so.

Now let's get something straight - I have nothing against old miniatures per se. Some of them a truly awesome, and I would be proud to own them. The old Beastman in bone armour is a favourite, as are the whole range of 1980's familiars (Of which I own the book on legs. No army should leave home without one.) Some of them are fairly silly (The old Slaan2 frogman warriors, the Imperial Guard beast men, and the dreaded Zoats3 spring to mind), but still fun. What I object to is GW's blithe arrogance in assuming we will be content with a whole range of shiny new miniatures, and then some bozzos from '94 who they can't be bothered updating.

The problem is compounded by the fact that the new Battle for Skull pass set comes with eight plastic miners. These guys look the business - big picks, angry faces, lanterns, heavy chain mail, the full bit. Okay, there are only eight, they come in five poses, and three of the poses are the command group. But they fit the new dwarf range. The old miners don't. They come from the comical period of Dwarven history - they have big noses and chubby cheeks, and look jovial. They lack many of the styling touches used on the new range to tie them all together as an army. In short, they don't fit in.

What annoys me about this is that eight plastic miners will not get you far. I've tried, and even at 1000 points they are not much chop. So you have a number of options.

  • You can stick metal miners in the unit, and it'll look like a random hodge-podge of dwarfs who don't match each other. (To see what I mean, try building a unit out of the current range Night Gobbos and the previous edition night gobbos. Notice the difference?)

  • You can buy another BFSP4 set to get your hands on another 8 miners. Of course, three of them are the command group, and therefore pretty useless. So now you have effectively 13 miners.

  • You can do the same thing, but just buy the miners from the box on eBay or from a friend.

It's every bit as annoying as the way the 6th edition Night Goblins came with Spears and Bow, yet their default weapon option was hand weapon and shield. (anyone ever had to do 80 conversions to get their troops to the default option before?) It's as annoying as ranges which include one hero on foot (and he's a special character anyway). It's as annoying as all those ranges which don't include characters with the most popular weapon options. It's every bit as annoying as a range which is missing whole units (this happened in the past, believe me!). I just wish GW would pull their socks up when it comes to releasing a new range of miniature's. Sure, there are some units which don't need updating. The Dwarf Iron breakers didn't, and the Longbeards where great (they updated them anyway, damn them!), but there are some things which need to be fixed. New miners would be very, very good please GW. Oh, and while your about it, the Dark Eldar really do look terrible.

1: Citadel published a complete catalogue of every miniature in their range around 92-94. It came in four volumes, the first two volumes covered everything then in existence. Volumes three and four covered a year each, '93 and '94 respectively.

2: Before there where Lizardmen, there where Slaan. Not big angry floating magic frogs like now. There where Slaan instead of lizardmen – a whole race of Aztec themed angry humanoid frogs. And theye existed in 40K as well...

3: Don't ask. 

4: Battle for Skull Pass in case you couldn't guess.

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