Skirmisher recently discovered model maker Fantascene
and acquired a number of items from its Gothic Terrain line of resin models for table-top games that use 25 mm to 30 mm miniatures. Located in Lincolnshire, England, this relatively new company has not yet gotten much exposure in the United States and is still unknown to many American gamers and collectors.
“I really started making model scenery when my son and daughter became interested in gaming,” Fantascene owner and sculptor Geoff Broad told Skirmisher. “I made models as a kid but left it until I had children of my own who wanted things they couldn’t buy to go with their toys and games. At first, it was simple stuff like rocks and hills, then more involved projects like houses and watchtowers.”
After Broad won a Games Workshop scenery making contest, however, and people began asking him to make models for their gaming groups, he expanded his operations and finally decided to turn his hobby into a business. He studied under noted miniature building maker John Atkinson (formerly of miniature collectible maker Lilliput Lane), bought specialized equipment like a vac unit (form removing bubbles from rubber molds and resin mix), launched a Website
, and started attending trade shows around the United Kingdom.
Fantascene’s models are made either from a very dense and durable urethane, for items like Halfling holes and ruined buildings, or from hard-cast resin, for smaller items like crypts, tombs, and headstones, as well as buildings with hollow interiors. All of the company’s models are available either painted or unpainted.
It is not always easy to gauge quality from online pictures, however, and the prices of these items were all modest enough that we expected they would be commensurately modest as well. Suffice it to say, Fantascene, which Broad has operated as a full-time business since the autumn of 2005, is one of those companies that has not yet discovered the value of its own products. All of the ones we looked at were beautifully sculpted, well painted, and very reasonably priced.
One of the pieces with which we were most impressed, for example, is the company’s “Dracula’s Crypt,” a cast resin model with exquisite exterior details and a removable roof that allows the interior to be both viewed and used. Almost unbelievably, the company sells this beautiful piece unpainted for just 10 British pounds and fully hand-painted for just 18 British pounds! Those prices convert to about U.S. $19.50 and U.S. $35, respectively.
Fantascene’s models are also clearly designed with gaming in mind and generally have a footprint that is compatible with a 1-inch-square grid pattern, which we found to be very convenient. Its various Statues and Monuments, for example, have 1-inch square bases, Dracula’s Crypt is about 3 inches wide by 4 inches long, and its Small Crypt neatly fills as 2-inch by 2-inch area. Because of this suitability for wargaming, Skirmisher has decided to feature a number of Fantascene models in its upcoming Little Orc Wars
miniature wargaming rules.
In addition to its Gothic Terrain, Fantascene also has four other lines of models, including ones devoted to Bits ‘n’ Pieces, Buildings, Halflings, and Fortifications, and many of the models in them are fairly unique and do not have counterparts in other companies. And, according to Broad, the company will also soon be expanding its offering with lines tying in with science fiction, history, and the Far East. All of its products are available directly through its Website
“Fantascene is here to stay,” Broad says. “We certainly put the effort into meeting gamers and hobbyists needs and will continue to make and offer our customers a diverse range of scenic products.”
Skirmisher has recently cut prices by as much as 50% on a number of its books, games, and miniatures and listed them in its game store on eBay
for a limited time.
Items that this special promotion applies to include the d20 books Experts v.3.5
, Tests of Skill
, and Nuisances
; the live-action roleplaying game Cthulhu Live
and its Companion CD-ROM; and Skirmisher's Orcs of the Triple Death miniatures.
Most of Skirmisher's books are also available through Amazon.com
, where the company frequently uses temporary promotional pricing as well.
"We just like to give people not familiar with our products a little extra incentive to try them out," explains Skirmisher editor-in-chief Michael J. Varhola. "Our games and supplements are some of the best available, and we have found that once gamers try them they will come back to us again and again."