One of the quietest re-launches I've seen for some time, of classic and groundbreaking figures, has been that of the former Amazon Miniatures range, which included iconic ranges including Dixon and Q.T models.
Amazon which operated out of a hardware and tools place somewhere over in Mordor (or as those who don't hail from Yorkshire call it, Lancashire) basically disappeared up it's own arse. I'd even dropped them a line about buying the Q.T ranges but they never responded (probably seeking euphoric solace in a backstreet black pudding den in Burnley), so it looked as if the range was dead.
Then, by chance, I came across an advert on Facebook for a company called Wargames Design Workshop (when will people stop trying to use 'games' and 'workshop' in business names)and checking the link out, it proved to be the new home of all the old Amazon Miniatures ranges, and thus a return of some of the iconic ranges of my youth.
Now, I love the old 'balloon head' Dixons Landsknecht range and their rather nice fantasy range, but the Q.T ranges held a generation of lads in a state of almost reverential ecstasy in the very early 80s.
It was not unknown for either myself or Roger Smith (he of the Cult Of Gilder) to purchase a couple of hundred models on a whim either by mail order of even better, by visiting Dave Hoyles' 'Q.T Models' shop in the middle of Bridlington where, we could pick the heads, weapons and bodies which we preferred and the ever patient and always genial Dave would cast up anything we needed whilst we went of for lunch or a general East coast mooch for the local skirt if it was the summer holidays.
The thing with Dave, was that he was so enthusiastic about his hobby and didn't treat kids as if they were a plague, even if perhaps he thought or in fact we actually were. Tis meant that he got a lot of our pocket money and in turn we got to meet people in the trade as we got older and joined in conversations at conventions as we got older.
The beauty of the Q.T range, was the fact that they were multi-part castings in a similar style to the Lamming ranges and once you'd seen a Q.T pike block armed with steel upholstery pins A La Dave Hoyles, it was hard to accept the cast-on offerings of other manufacturers. This was before the current 'norm' of steel pins being commonly available. No sir, you could get the pins from Dave by the box full and many a Connoisseur pike block was similarly retro-fitted.
Many a fucked up finger was caused by clumsy allies or opponents, and in one memorable game, an opponent of mine put is hand down fast and without looking, ending up with a pike block in his palm. You are thinking 'But the pike would have snapped off...' but you'd be wrong because Q.T figures were not 'open handed' so there was nowhere for the pike to separate from the model.
The Q.T fantasy range was a bit of fun, and the 15mm 'Street Football' range was ahead of the pack when it was released.
Those of you who remember the Heroes Miniatures range of 25mm gridiron players will also recall that these were sculpted by Dave Hoyles.
Dave's style and posing were unique and like 'Marmite', but, when you got a unit positioned on the bases, very few manufacturers could hold a torch to the Q.T figures because they had real character. Not that 'snide' use of the term, but real 100% character because you could have ten figures which were all made up from the same components, but all looking in different directions.
The Greek range was by far the best on the market. More fool you if you looked into one of Dave's display cabinets with a pocketful of money, because odds on you were going home with more Hoplites and one arm longer than the other.
Roger and I must have painted hundreds of the renaissance range over the years and more than our share of the Greeks.
Dave of course moved into 15mm with his Museum Miniatures ranges, but whilst they are very much in the style of the older 25mm ranges, they don't have that nostalgic whiff about them.
WDW are selling the figures in packs of 8 for a reasonable and trend-bucking £8 . I hope this continues and that they are getting orders in volumes that will keep the prices low, because it would be a shame to see the models vanish from the scene due to pricing themselves out of the market.
You can see what WDW have to offer by following this link:
These are proper old school models at very reasonable prices, so drop your snobbish attitude if you have one, and buy some eternal classics.
Go on... Do it now!
PS: Roger Smith 'suggested' I blog about Q.T, but to be honest I'd have done so anyway, sooner or later...