Thursday 24 July 2014

Orlygg's Top Ten Miniatures of all Time!

Now axiom has posted up a fantastic post on his blog, Magpie and Old lead, that goes into detail about his favourite top ten miniatures of all time. No aggressive 'I'm right you're wrong' list this, oh no, just an honest, personal journey through the models that mean the most to him and why. In the comments section, Edward George Gladdis has gone on to state that he hopes that other people jump on this particular goblin pump wagon and join in on this idea. By doing my own list, I hope that many more Oldhammerers in the future join us and list their own favourite models. We have done similar things in the past (the miniatures wishlist comes to mind) but the Community has grown enormously in the last couple of years and I suspect that many new faces would like to share their views on this most personal of endeavours. 

Right, before we continue I suppose I should offer some criteria about how I am going to make my ten choices. Here they are...

1) No numbers - the list will just include my top ten models in no particular order. Trying to organise them in this way would be very difficult.
2) Sets of miniatures/plastic kits can be included- though not a 'single miniature' I feel that choosing from releases such as these is fair, but an avoidance of Big Boxed games is important to avoid comparisons between 'best game' lists. 
3) These are just 'my' personal favourites for lots of reasons - nostalgia, design, pleasure painting them, avarice, covetness etc.

The Great Spined Dragon

I adore this model and I have written about it a great deal. It is an exquisite piece of art let alone miniature sculpting. In my opinion it still remains the best dragon produced by anyone anywhere and I very much doubt that it would ever be surpassed. A timeless creation that seems only moments away from flapping into life, even when just pinned together as bare metal. In case you are not aware, it was sculpted by Nick Bibby who has gone on to become a world class sculptor in bronze. If you are going to own a dragon - make sure its this one! 

The Skeleton Horde

Still the best plastic skeletons ever produced. I love them for their realistic proportions and accessibility. In fact, they were originally released in 1986 and were available for a long time, well into the 1990s. The plastic set that replaced them was inferior in many ways. I love the creepy look the models have and the way the flat round shields inspire freehand designs. Rarely for such a seminal release, the sequel, Skeleton Army, was even better than this as it included rusty pieces of armour, a chariot and skeletal horses. Nothing beast the sight of ranks of these models in a collection or on the battlefield though. They were developed by Bob Naismith who still does a great deal of plastics today. 

 Dragon Ogre

More gigantic sculpting prowess from Nick Bibby. The Realm of Chaos era Dragon Ogre is a nice weighty model that takes a bit of time to assemble so makes you feel that you have accomplished something before you are rattling the spray paint can. For me, this model is the perfect blend of dragon and chaos warrior only on a larger scale than normal. The ogrish face, heavy armour and drooping layers of chainmail produce a monster that reflects many of the most common design elements of 1980s miniature sculpting and imagery. I am lucky enough to own one of these though it resides in storage somewhere and similar to both the skeletons and the spined dragon it was replaced by far inferior models later on. 


Jes Goodwin's ultimate chaos warrior has everything going for it that you would expect of a chaos warrior, only he is sporting two gigantic axes. The pose, the design, the authority of the figure make it the greatest chaos warrior model for me, and one that I own and have painted up. As you can see in this photograph. If you have any interest in chaos warriors you really need to own this model. 

Citadel Giants

These giants are a curious entry on this list. If you had asked me a couple of years ago about these models I would have laughed all the way to the Marauder giant but time has changed my attitude of them to such an extent that I now love them. Especially since Steve Casey gave me a complete example a couple of weeks back, so thanks again Steve! You may be asking why I like these models so much, well the answer is simple - they are just soooo Warhammer Third Edition. The look, the style, the sculpting, the ethos, in fact everything about them just fits in with my preferred edition of the game. They may look as ugly as sin in the photograph above, but with a little skill and painting ability these models can be made to look really impressive. Again, these models are the work of Nick Bibby. 

Chaos Toilet

Its just so silly and so zany that it just works! Aly Morrison's bizarre model dates from a time when anything went with everything else! Any wild idea or concept imaginable was sculpted into existence and were bought up by eager miniature fans who just didn't take themselves too seriously. I have actually witnessed an argument between two gamers over whether or not this model even existed, with one GW fanboy refusing to accept that such a model was once produced by Citadel Miniatures. Was it actually canon? he asked me nervously after I informed them that such a model was made. Sadly, I have yet to lay my hands on one of these though I once used a petrol station lavatory that looked similar on the A34 once.

Reaver Titan 

I have always loved the concept of these giant walking robots ever since an example was printed as the front cover of my first White Dwarf (108 if you are interested) and I once owned two of them. I think its something about the suggested power behind them as well as the graceful design. I cannot recall who first designed them, but looking at the shape of the model above something about them suggests Jes Goodwin. Somewhere in my bedroom cupboard is an old plastic pint glass full of bits to these wonderful models, a sad remnant of my once might Space Marine collection. 

 Giant Spider

Trish Morrison produced quite a few great monsters back in the day and this one is my favourite. Its so well done that the model can make your skin creep, especially when the legs are flexed out in a realistic manner. I own three of these models, though I have yet only painted one example (which you can see above) which is part of a Tzeentch force. A word of warning about these models though, the legs are about as weak as can be and often snap off. 


Kevin Adams did most of these and his zany style and great sense of humour is obvious throughout the range. I own loads and have yet to see a definitive collection of them. These models are great fun and come from a time when horror was made more horrible by including a little dark humour into the mix. Sadly, all the subsequent versions of these models have not had one hundredth the charm of these originals. Much like many of the other miniature types on this list.

Alpine Dwarf

If I ever had to put my finger out and point to my favourite model of all time it would have to be this lovely, lovely example of a fantasy miniature. Still wonderfully original today. I don't think anything else needs to be said really does it?

So then, what is your top ten miniature countdown of all time? I am sure that you will have one, just as I am sure that your lists is likely to be completely different from mine. So I hereby lay down an Oldhammer Gauntlet and challenge you dear readers to do the same. Share with us your favourite models either by blogging your own list or starting a thread on a forum you use, using the comment section below or whatever. I would really like to see other people's lists.

Big thanks to axiom for having this great idea.



  1. Great selection! I'd forgotten Nick Bibby's Dragon Ogre; a real masterclass which has never been bettered. It's a sad realisation that classic figures have been replaced with inferior versions. I wonder how that game to pass? Demands of the game? Changing technology? Less skilled sculptors?

    1. "Less skilled sculptors?"

      I'd go with that one.

  2. Nice to see this subject rolling on! A lovely descriptive piece there with some great selections and some unexpected ones; as Axiom said earlier is all part of the beauty if this topic.
    So if I post my own one with pictures and more detail on my blog, do I use the same title picture as yourself and Axiom?

    1. Why not? I would create a kind of internet meme thing that would connect all the posts together. great idea!


  3. I agree with you about the Reaver Titan for the same reasons. I'd have to have a long hard think before I came up with a list of all time greats. But the Genestealer Patriarch sitting on his throne next to his whispering (or possibly cackling) Magus advisor would be on there. I don't think they could better it. Although I'd like to see them try.

  4. Nice. The skeleton horde was amazing, and IIRC an amazingly good buy it first came out. I bought two sets but I wish I got like 12...
    Slambo is absolutely the archetypal chaos warrior too. Nice paint job.

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  6. Nice post! The Alpine Dwarf really is a great sculpt. Too bad Citadel doesn't really make these "random" minis anymore.

    The Chaos toilet is also a very nice mini. I came across one a few months back and luckily managed to get it. Now I just need to strip the bugger and apply a new paintjob

  7. A great idea and I've jumped on this bandwagon (I could quite easily have used some of the same examples as yourself) but you can see my eventual choices here:

  8. I'd forgotten about the giants. The one on the left is "inspired" by Bob Naismith and the middle one by Kev "Goblinmaster" Adams. I'm not sure they were flattered!

  9. Great idea and another great read, spurred me to make my own list but since links somehow don't work I went with
    * Leman Russ with Freki and Geri
    * Heroquest Barbarian
    * Squat Pirate with bionic hook arm
    * Space Ork Flash Git Nob
    * Blood Angel Captain ( proto Tycho )
    * Big Momma Sky (spear and dagger)
    * Space Ork Bad Moon Boss 1
    * Chaos Snakeman S'lararet Slintered Fang
    * Night Goblin Clubber 2
    * Champion of Nurgle with mace

  10. Great list, I'll have to have a think on it. I also enjoyed your thugs and the Gladdis army.

  11. Good Choices, great post.
    I agree with you on many of you choices, although they might not make my top 10.

    I have never owned a Spined Dragon, but the look of the face is enough to give it character alone.

    The Skeleton Horde was the best plastic skeleton set made, and the flat shield did suggest painting or using Arcane Armourials, or just decaying designs.

    Supidly, I had five titans, but sold them all in the 1990's, but personally I think the model has a feel of menace akin to the tripods of HG Wells.

    Slambo seems a deceptively ordinary model, butfor some reason people keep liking him. I think it might be the cocky menace of that stance.

    I remember when the Dwarf Mountineer was released and it was a 'What's this?' moment, but it was a fun model with crazy rules, and there was a lot of quiky strangness at the time which added to the gerneal feel of 3rd Edition.

    The Giants are sooo 3rd Edition, and full of character, and seem to be a natural progression from the early 1st/2nd Edition solid based Ral Partha Giants.

    I like the spider, if the legs are postioned right it works very well.

    I have a Chaos Toilet model somewhere, I will find it and post it on my bold if you want (it's not painted). It's a great model.

    The Dragon Ogre is Great, I loved painting it, and it is still an imposing model.

    Good spot with the Nurglings, they are often overlooked but full of charm.

    Enjoyable post, even if there were no Goblins ;)

  12. Some great minitures there and great blasts from the past. I always had a soft spot for the Nurglings (aaww! ain't they cute)

  13. I think the inspiration for the dwarf mountaineers came from Paul Bonner. He always liked the Finnish/Scandinavian look, as you'll see from some of his art for Something Rotten in Kislev.

  14. Great list. #9 is spot on. Skeleton Horde was my gateway into mini painting in 1988-89. I wanted a Dragon Ogre day one, and still do!

  15. That alpine dwarf, along with the simple diorama, has a subtlety that ironically bursts with character and atmos. A bit like Slambo, I suppose. Would that modern GW understood that kind of understatement.

    I don't know what my top ten list of old citadel minis would contain, but it'd have at least a couple of C11 halflings in there.