Tuesday, 14 July 2015

Fighters - Poor Bloody Infantry

Well....erm....that caused a bit of a kerfuffle didn't it? Time to move on me thinks. Or move back again to be more precise.

Linked to my inability to get a fantasy army painted and a question on the FB group about suitable figures for a Kislevite unit I've recently grown to be fascinated by the Fighters series of miniatures.

I'm sure we all remember the blisters that these came in.

But it was only as I was flicking through Stuff of Legends that I realised what a fantastic range of figures the Fighters are.

These figures represent the everyday soldiers that defend the empire from the ravages of countless invasions. The men who man the battlements of isolated border castles against the ravages of besieging marauders. The men who carry out the will of the barons, dukes, archdukes and counts throughout the old world.

The old-world of 3rd Edition is based very much on Europe. The Empire is based on the even grander sounding Holy Roman Empire. This Empire had very little to do with Romans and wasn't that holy but it was big and powerful. The Holy Roman Empire was a massively complex amalgamation of states, counties, duchies, bishoprics, towns and cities. It stretch from the Baltic to the Adriatic, from the border of France to the border of Poland and included (at one time or another) Hungary, Bohemia, Austria, the Netherlands, Milan, Switzerland and all of what is now Germany. Within this vast empire there was constant bickering, bitterness, jealousy and obviously a fair deal of conflict. The need for mercenaries to do all the fighting was obvious as many of the statelets had reasonable small populations. From the 1480's to the 1560's the German Landsknecht and the Swiss Reislaufer were  the most famous warriors across the continent and thousands of young men went off to war, joining companies and then regiments, dressing in finery that was banned for the common man.

Now because the Old World is a fantasy one, the Empire doesn't copy the style of early renaissance Europe Slavishly. A great deal of earlier medieval style is mixed in as well some bizarre head gear and inventive weaponry. This gives us figure buyers a fantastic range of humans. Just normal everyday men. Remember I mentioned the 'pathetic aesthetic' ? Well here you are. Many of them look as if they've just walked out of an Albrect Durer print. All beards, hose and swagger.
White Dwarf 87 - march '87



The first release gives us 16 figures and just as many styles and weapons. These were not designed to be a regiment of indentically armed and uniformed soldiers. They are perfectly named as 'Fighters'. Armed men who would equally be at home fighting on the open fields of a big campaign as they would skirmishing in the streets of a big city or desperately hacking through green skins in a cramped tunnel.

White Dwarf 90 - June '87
The next release adds another 19. This lot includes more armoured figures and a wide variety of styles pilfered from history but seeming to focus on a more medieval pallet. This particular group features one of the most enigmatic figures of the citadel golden period. The nuln spearman. Does he exist or doesn't he? 

White Dwarf 92 - August '87

Release 3 has another 19 figures with a fair few variations of some of the other figures but some classic figures and poses. All kinds of armour and decorations. All individuals full of character. 

White Dwarf 95 - November '87

In addition to the 54 figures in the fighter range there was also the dogs of war range. Another 25 fighting men who fit seamlessly into the previous range. Still part of F2 we again have a load of gnarly, dangerous, armed-to-the-teeth bastards. 

Now there are a couple of other sets of figures in the F2 range. Lords of battle designed by Jes Goodwin and Bob Naismith and Big fighters who I think are designed by the Perry's. The reason I missed those out are because they were designed by different people to the wonderful figures I've just showcased.

All of the 54 fighters and 25 dogs of war were in fact designed by Trish and Aly Morrison, two of the most underrated designers of GW's golden age. I reckon the quality of this range alone should cement the pairs place within the immortal 28mm firmament.
For me the most intriguing aspect is that the year after producing these figures. The morrisons went on to start up Marauder miniatures. Whatever the reasons for the birth of the mini company ( no pun intended) and its exact relationship with citadel, Marauder became known for producing regiments of figures with 4 command models and 2 or 3 poses for the troopers. This format became the template for citadel regiments in later days and saw the end of the polyglot regiments that the fighters range encouraged. How ironic then, that one of marauders best ranges (the other being the chaos dwarves) turns out to be a characterful, varied and fascinating range of human fighters. 

White Dwarf 113 - May '89
Another 30 of the empires greatest sells words waiting to burn your neighbours crops or throw back the green tide. 
White Dwarf 113 - May '89
And who better to lead these regiments of men but a pack of pluderhosen packing command models. How much more lansknecht do you want it? 

So I reckon I make that about 114 figures. That's enough for at least 5 regiments. It's about time i had a word with that big fat count next door, always boasting about his nice town hall. It's about time we had another defenestration around here! 

9 comments:

  1. Yeah, those were the days. Take a look at the shite they release today and that's the problem with Warhammer, right there.

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  2. Very nice. There are a few of these I have been on the look out for.

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  3. A great range of figures - one day I'll get round to painting my fair sized Empire army...

    The great thing also is that you can add all sorts of troops to these chaps like Front Rank miniatures, Perry War of the Roses (some really nice plastics there too!) and tons of stuff, including ex-citadel, from Foundry - making an Empire force a pretty achievable thing to collect.

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    1. Front Rank would fit pretty well. I've got some sitting around in boxes as well as mixed into my French/Bretonnian units.

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  4. The Nuln Spearman turned up on eBay a while back. And promptly disappeared again. The mystery continues...

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  5. The Lords of ledgend were originally designed for Ad&D and I agree they don't fit in so well. However the boxed set, BC7 - Heroic Fighters of Known World fits in very nicely with your F2's and can give further heroes.

    Also worth considering fro a stylistic fit are the Perries F4 mercenaries being a bit more fantasy than the more historical F4s and the F5 Paladins which includes a realy useful archer.

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    1. I've got a couple of the Heroic fighters already and I was going to pick up the mercenaries at Foundry in the summer but you're right I did over look the Paladins. Some nice models in there.

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  6. These are fantastic figures - I have a few of them including a handful that I actually managed to paint! I would love to collect the lot but the chances of that are basically nil given how popular these are.

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