Operating in the early 1980s from the London
area, Knight produced a small range of 20mm figures that included
ACW cavalry and infantry, 1812 Americans and French 1812 Russian
Campaign. The figures have been described as “mostly
rubbish” by the only person we know that has seen any
though he does praise a couple of the French subjects: a standard
bearer leaning into the wind and a veteran smoking a pipe.
Also did 2mm armies sold as battle sets. The moulds may later
have been sold to a company based in Cornwall.
A mystery. Wargamer and collector John Cunningham
found a hand-written note scribbled to himself amongst his
files reading “Ashworth Miniatures do 20mm”, but
can’t remember where he got the information from, what
figures they made, or where they were based.
Field of Battle
A British company based in West Yorkshire. They
produced a range of Foreign Legion and ACW figures and some
resin buildings and terrain. Began life in the late-1990s.
Our source describes the figures as “a bit rough, but
6 Swallowfields Drive, Hednesford, Cannock,
Staffs WS12 5UQ.
Range of 1/72nd scale ACW and a small
selection of French SYW figures. Well reviewed by the redoubtable
Mike Siggins of Wargames Illustrated. Recently (July 2001)
reported to have ceased production due to family illness.
GB. Little Lead Soldiers
Boxed sets of reasonably well painted 20mm that
were sold through Hamleys, Harrods and tourist shops in the
late 1980s. Included some British Napoleonic subjects and
possibly Colonials. 1815 Lifeguards set includes three two
piece castings: officer, trumpeter and trooper.
Operating from Western Park, Leicester in the
early-1970s, Kirk produced 1:300 scale AFVs, 54mm figures
and a 20mm range of Napoleonics and Crimean subjects. Airfix
magazine describes the 54mm figures as “superb”,
but our informant is less complimentary about the 20mm efforts,
“very crude compared to Hinton Hunt” he says.
The Hudderfield based company run by Frank Hinchliffe
and designer Peter Gilder produced a wonderful range of 20mm
equipment, including a superb colonial elephant gun which
Airfix Magazine praised as “one of the most delightful
wargames pieces we have seen”. Other items included
ECW artillery, colonial baggage wagons and WW2 artillery.
Still available through Skytrex or Tabletop?
Based in Valencia, Spain Alymer was founded in 1947. Angel
Comes Placencia designed the Miniploms ('little leads') ho/oo range
of figures during the 1950s and 1960s. Figures were sold ready painted in sets
of three infantry, two cavalry or a gun and limber. The figures are soldered to
a cream plastic plinth. A Perspex cover completes the box. Alymer's range
extended to close to 300 subjects ranging from Ancient Egyptians to Nato
forces. The Napoleonic range is extensive covering everything from line
infantry to supply wagons. Particularly noteworthy were the sets of Napoleonic
Generals covering 50 different subjects from Napoleon himself to the Duke of
Alberqueque. These sets featured the general, an ADC and two mounted escorts.
In April 1965 such sets were selling in the US for 3USD, a fair price
considering that at the same time six SAE 30mm infantrymen were retailing for a
dollar. It is hard to disagree with Garratt, "The prime objection to them
is their prohibitive price when imported". The figures were scaled at 1/8th
of an inch to the foot and are therefore considerably smaller than most UK 20mm
figures - pictures of some of the ancient subjects can be seen in
Featherstone's Complete Wargaming. Though the ho/oo range is no longer
made Alymer is still a going concern, now producing the ubiquitous
'traditional toy soldiers'.
R Cardoza was an individual maker based in New York.
Cardoza's 20mm range, designed in the late-fifties or early sixties
featured figures from the Ancient world, American War of Independence,
Napoleonic Wars, ACW, Plains Indian Wars and modern. Like John
Greenwood's early figures Cardoza's models seem to have been aimed
at the collector rather than the wargamer as, according to a Military Cast
catalogue c.1965, they cost close to three times as much as similar size
figures from Rose Miniatures.
The Silver Cross 20mm range was designed by Arthur Graham
who worked at the Harrow Model shop where, amongst other things, he cast the
Jacklex range of figures. Silver Cross (named, presumably, in honour of Model
Shop owner Arthur Cross) first appeared around 1972. First releases were some
Ancient Britons. A limited range of Napoleonics followed shortly afterwards
(see listing). Made from the same shiny metal as Jack Alexander's models
the figures were never very heavily advertised and are often described as
Jacklex on second hand lists. Jack Alexander remembers the Silver Cross
soldiers as "funny little things", but David List of Model World
was more complimentary, "The figures are generally very good, with
realistic animation which will please the wargamer and diorama builder
Swedish African Engineers is most famous for its range of 30mm figures designed
by Holger Eriksson. In the 1960s Eriksson also designed a range of HO/OO scale
figures for the company. The range included subjects aimed at the model railway
enthusiast, a farm set, cowboys and cattle herd and a pair of sets of passengers
and railroad personnel, and two clearly produced with the wargamer in mind:
set 6002 Union Army – Infantry, Cavalry, Artillery and set 6003 Confederate
Army – Infantry, Cavalry, Artillery. In the early 1960s these sets were
sold for 3USD each. They contained around 30 pieces. The figures we have seen
are very nicely done, but small.
A US maker that started up around 1964, according to Garratt they made 20mm
Greeks and Romans as well as 54mm figures of the Plains Wars. Arrington’s
figures were sold by Le Petit Soldat of Santa Anna, Calfornia which was advertising
them in 1968.
Based in Turin. Italian brothers Franco and Primo Marletti made 20mm naval
figures to crew model ships. Also made 54mm figures.
Californian company that started up in the early-seventies.
20mm range included Punic Wars with separate weapons (Romans, Greeks,
Carthaginians and Gauls were produced). These were sold in boxes of 12 infantry
and six cavalry. “Nice little figures” says our American informant. The one
example we have been able to get our hands on, a Roman signifer (code CRL-3),
bears out this assessment. Slender in style and slightly smaller than the
equivalent figure by Garrison 20mm he is mounted on a thick rectangular base
that is noticeably longer than it is wide. Bresica also issued a 54mm range
designed by Ray Lamb.
US Company that began trading in the early seventies. Made a range of 20mm
Napoleonic figures. “So small they were close to HO gauge or 1/87th
scale,” says our man in America.
USA. George van Tubergen’s company was best known for its 30mm figures
but the heavily annotated and vastly complex 1972 catalogue we have appears
to list 20mm figures too.
A one-man band that started around 1968 in southern England. Apparently made
20mm figures of the British army.
Based in Southampton and run by a man named Noyce, Hampshire started up in
the early seventies. An unusually splenetic Garratt notes, “an extremely
small range of 20mm solids for the wargame, which were so badly cast they were
soon withdrawn”. (So there!). A review in an early issue of Military Modelling
is more supportive. However, the accompanying photo of some of the Napoleonic
cavalry suggests another possible reason for their sudden disappearance –
they bear an uncanny resemblance to certain Airfix models.
A US company originally based in Minneapolis and best known for
its micro-armour range, GHQ began life in 1968. Some time
in 1972 the company, owned by Gregory Scott, issued a range
of 20mm Napoleonic figures which were described by one reviewer
in Wargamer’s Newsletter as being “smaller and
more delicate” than the Les Higgins 25mm Napoleonic
range. They came with separate heads and were apparently very
highly detailed. An article in the December 1974 issue of
Wargamer’s Newsletter states that Old Guard (New Hope
Design) of Rothbury, Northumberland would soon be importing
these 20mm figures to the UK and selling them at 6p for infantry
and 12p for cavalry. A Seven Years War range that included
Prussians and Highlanders was added in 1975. According to
Garratt the range were issued under licence in Britain under
the name Guardsman presumably by Old Guard. There may also
have been a range of buildings.
The January 1966 edition of Sligshot carried
an advert from Robert O'Sullivan of Cork, Ireland who was
offering 20mm solid figures of the Roman period at 4 (old)
pence and 6 (old) pence each. The figures included spearmen,
slinger and legionary. A later review in Slingshot was enthusiastic:
"All the types are of excellent design and well worth
the money". An Assyrian archer and chariot wheels were
added to the range and O'Sullivan announced a "big expansion"
to the range would soon occur. However, the Irishman - an
enthusiastic early wargamer - seemed to suffer some kind of
nervous collapse brought on by overwork shortly afterwards
and he and his figure range disappeared off the radar.