Pax Britannica began life in Burnley, Lancashire in the early 1980s, brainchild
of former-policeman Steve Hezzlewood. Against the prevailing tide for 25mm and
15mm figures the company first produced a series of elegant 30mm figures that
called to mind the work of Charles Stadden and Edward Suren, then in the autumn
of 1984 they launched a 20mm range “sculpted to be compatible with the
old Airfix 00 scale figures”.
These smaller figures included some beautifully executed ACW subjects, Napoleonics
(British, French, Austrians, Brunswickers, Spanish and Saxons) and a colonial
range amongst which the Pathans in particular were outstanding. The figures
were generally slighter and more refined than those of Jacklex or Hinton Hunt.
They were also smaller, the horses noticeably so.
The history of the company as we have been able to find it is sketchy to say
the least. From an early catalogue it is plain that extensive ranges were planned.
The Colonial list, for example, was due to include Naval Brigade, Mahdists,
Egyptians, Boxers, Indian Army and Russians and an impressive array of equipment
including a Second Boer War pom-pom gun. How much of this was actually ever
made is hard to discover.
What became of the original British company is equally difficult to divine.
However, in 1985 the Rusty Scabbard gaming store in Lexington Kentucky obtained
the Pax Britannica moulds and the figures, cast by Ral Partha, were marketed
as Rusty Scabbard Miniatures. Whether the ranges were added to is, again, hard
to ascertain. Certainly the RSM range included an Ottoman Janissary, which does
not feature on the Pax Britannica list.
For a brief period, or possibly two brief periods in the late-1980s/early-1990s,
Vandrad of Exeter imported the Napoleonic and Colonial 20mm figures into the
UK but the arrangement was stopped after unspecified problems.
The Rusty Scabbard store closed down in the early-1990s and the moulds were
sold to the Dayton Painting Consortium of Dayton Ohio. DPC have recently issued
a new catalogue. The 20mm range is now sold in unit packs of various sizes that
include command elements.
In October 1992 Wargames Illustrated carried an advert for Pax Britannica promising
“We’re Back and for good!” and announcing a future 20mm range
from Steve Hezzlewood that would be “of a quality surpassing previous
ranges” as well as new 25mm and 35mm ranges. A further advert for the
company, based in Accrington, appeared the following month, then nothing. In
May 1993 Wargames Illustrated carried a notice next to the editorial asking
for anyone owed money by Pax Britannica and/or Echelon Designs to contact the
editor. They have not been heard of again.