I have been a fan of microarmor (1/285 scale) and micronauts (1/2400 scale) since discovering them in college in the mid 1980’s. The details and the quality of many of the models, given their small size, was very impressive. In the past few years however I’ve found something which is even better – for some applications. The Figurehead range of naval miniatures are smaller (1/6000 scale), less expensive (on a per model basis), and have a larger product range than 1/2400. I suppose now is a good time to caveat my comments with the fact that I’m speaking about post-WWII models. I’m just not familiar enough with earlier ranges to judge which ones are most complete.
Figurehead also seems to offer the most complete line of vessels for a full Falkland Islands campaign. The only other line that comes close is SeaWulf, but I don’t think theirs is as complete and for 1/2400 scale the quality isn’t as high as GHQ, CinC, or Viking Forge/SeaBattle. Don’t get me wrong I like the SeaWulf line because they offer ships no one else does like the Leander class frigates and all the variants of that class but they are gaming quality not collector’s quality pieces.
With a new affinity for 1/6000 scale I’ve launched on a naval expansion program that will provide a significant increase in capability and diversity of my navies. In truth the original attraction to this scale was the breadth of models available. GHQ makes some fantastic models but they have a very narrow selection in modern naval miniatures. They are trying to correct that now but with eight major product lines spanning five scales, modern naval is almost the red-headed step-child. As an example, the announcement for the 2014-2015 product year had four modern naval vessels out of forty-seven new models. About 8.5% of their new model production. The WWI and WWII lines each will be getting four new models as well so overall naval enthusiasts will be getting about 25.5% of GHQ’s attention next year. Just think what wonderful models could be made if a company of GHQ quality focused only on naval units, but I guess its the sales revenues of all the other things that allow them to expand as they have in the first place.
Back on point, it was the breadth of models available that attracted me in the first place. For several years now I have been working on a scenario supplement for the Harpoon ruleset published by Clash of Arms Games. My supplement is devoted to aircraft carriers and naval aviation. I have more than a dozen scenarios from 1962 to 2013 researched and written, some large, some small, some historical, some ‘might-have-been’ and so on. If you follow my blog then you know real life often interrupts my projects and the Harpoon supplement is no exception. At this point I’m not sure CoA will ever speak to me again much less publish my work. Maybe I’ll have to go into micro publishing and do it myself… I digress. Some of the scenarios I’ve written that take place in the 1960’s have no miniatures in 1/2400 scale, only Figurehead makes appropriate ships. Naturally I want to someday be able to play my scenarios on the table top and Figurehead, for the moment at least, is the only solution.
All of this got me thinking about the hobby and scales and names and things. While GHQ has trademarked certain names like Micronauts, is “micro” really appropriate anymore when there is something even smaller? A similar situation exists with Micro Armor, also a GHQ registered trademark. With 1/600 scale tanks and vehicles on the market should the smaller version become ‘micro’ and the 1/285 range become ‘mini’? Or maybe the 1/6000 ships and 1/600 tanks should be called ‘nano’. There may be a marketing downside to that however. The word ‘nano’ makes it sound impossibly small. I doubt GHQ will give up their trademarks so the point is moot.