I really like Ancient Greek history and mythology, I mean, I REALLY like Greek mythology. Over the years I have created various historical and fantasy armies to address this fascination. I have bought multiple rule sets to explore the genre and generally had a great time doing so. There is however one army which I find difficult to find figures which match my expectations, and that is the Amazons. Unfortunately most interpretations of these figures tend to be more along the lines of Raquel Welch from One Million Years BC, in minimalist fur bikinis, or is a more medieval theme, chain mail bikinis or miniskirts. It seems as if the figure sculptures are old interested in scantily clad women with excessively large breasts. Rarely has there been any attempt to portray the warriors which can be found in the Ancient Greek art.
Sometime in the early 90’s I bought into Grenadier UK’s Amazon army.Unfortunately they did have somewhat short skirts which resulted in me painting leggings onto the archers. These figures were more of a pseudo medieval fantasy range, and despite theme having big cat riders and chariots pulled by giant cats, these weren’t the answer I was looking for.
Corckodile Games did bring out a range of Amazon warriors who were wearing a more realistic set of clothing, at least seemingly more appropriate for battle, however these were more of an ancient fantasy interpretation, but not really Ancient Greek inspired.
Wargames Foundry did release a range of amazons for the Scythian ancient wargames range. These were a lovely understated set of figures which address the light cavalry types portrayed in the Greek pottery art.
In the brief existence of Wargames Factory it produced a box set of plastic Amazons which were in the same range as their Greek Hoplites and skeletons. Whilst being in the very affordable price range they did suffer from high skirts (or rather no skirts). They were however in a vaguely appropriate Greek hoplite panoply despite the lack of tunic or leather pteruges.
Around 10 years ago Wargames Foundry released a Greek myth range of figures to link up with their Tribes of Legend rules, which coincidentally worked out quite well for the Osprey release of their great Of Gods and Mortals rules. The Foundry range included Centaurs, Satyrs, Greek Heroes, Ray Harryhausen skeletons, harpies, and within the mix Amazons. These did have hoplite warriors in full armour, were fairly well endowed, but not to the extent that the figures were overly sexualised. Whilst not the best figures in the Foundry stable (now caught under their Casting Room Miniatures range) these were a breath of fresh air. Unfortunately the range was somewhat limited, and didn’t really get much support. They are still available though, and does even include a chariot (thought he rider is a bit odd).
With the advent of small hobby suppliers breaking into the wargames market with their niche resin ranges during the early teens I had expected to see someone address this area. There were the odd figures which might have worked, but most simply continued to provide skimpily clad female fighters. One company which has been earnestly attempting to address the poor representation of female warriors in the miniature market place is Bad Squiddo Games who have been slowly working through the historical genres filling in the gaps.
3D printing has become a reality over the last 5 years or so. I appreciate that it had existed prior to that, but the prices of the high end machines required for the standard needed for miniatures took a while to come down to the hobby gamer level. So I kept an eye open for designers addressing this gap. Unfortunately those who did provide designs tend to address the Raquel Welch end of the Amazon market.
Then I found Hero Forge. This is an online service where you can effectively design your miniature, equip and clothe it and even pose it to however you want. Initially the scope of the clothes and equipment was limited to the more in demand fantasy tropes, but gradually the library of designs increased significantly (and is still increasing). Hero Forge then allows you to either order a resin printed version of the figure which you have designed, or alternatively download the design as an STL file so that you can print it yourself. The only issue I find with the models is that they tend towards the ‘chunkier’ endomorphic body type. I presume that those who are expert with the printing tools can scale the x and y axis to ‘thin’ the figure somehow. but I haven’t got to that level of competency yet.
So through Hero Forge I have designed a few variants for archers, javelin throwers, a variety of phalanx spear armed troops in different poses, various heroes and musicians, along with standard bearers and seers. I waited to take advantage of one of their discount promotions which significantly reduced the cost before purchasing the designs to download. Now I can print off figures in batches of around 9 to 15 figures (depending upon how dramatic the pose is) and have slowly been building up my forces for Mortal Gods Mythic, which also double up for Oathmark, and Of Gods and Mortals. I’ve had mishaps along the way, but it has all been part of the learning journey, and given the unit price of the figures to print, those mistakes haven’t been as expensive as I had feared they might. The beauty of this system is that I don’t have to look for compatible ranges for figure poses to fit with my army, since now if I need a new troop type or another pose for variety, I can simply design a new one to download and print. This is particularly appealing for those games where characters or units evolve, so the figures can be modified; if your hero loses an eye, then add a patch, loses and hand, add a hook, gets a fancy new helmet, add a different helmet. There are of course issues with the tool. You are limited to what is currently available in their design ‘wardrobe’, and the clothing still has a chunky, somewhat cartoony appearance; I would like to see the clothes hang more naturally. That said though, as a free to use design tool for those who aren’t initiated in the art of using the real 3d design software applications, this is a great place to experiment and bring to reality your ideas in a very quick timeframe. I’m sure that these solutions will only improve a more people challenge the tools to improve.
What this has meant though, is I now have to decide whether to keep the older figures, or go completely with the new style. I think tat I can get my new figures to ride giant cats, and cat drawn chariots shouldn’t be too much of a challenge….
Manufacturers referenced (where they still seem to be available)
Croccodile Games – Wargods range
Wargames Foundry – Scythian ancient Amazons
Casting Room Miniatures – Wargames Foundry mythic Amazons now under their Nymphs and Warmaidens range
Grenadier Miniatures – now available through various providers including Campaign Miniatures and Mirlton
Wargames Atlantic – I’m unsure whether these are available through Warlord Games still
Bad Squid Games
Other providers of Amazon miniatures include;
Eureka Miniatures offer an extensive range of Amazon miniatures in the Greek myth which includes some nice civilian character types. The range does include a fair amount of nudity and short pteruges.
Fenryll Miniatures do a range which is available through Noble Knight. These will probably fit more with a Conan the Barbarian setting.
North Star Figures
Make quite a nice Amazon in a style of Britannia which looks like it would do quite well as a spear unit, or in a chariot.