|Micro Armor Manufacturers
Heroics & Ros
In Service Miniatures
Nichimo 1/300 Scale Aircraft
Accessories And Minor Manufacturers
What they make: An
extensive range of vehicles, figures, helicopters and aircraft.
They also have rules for both WWII and Modern and sell a hex-based
terrain system. In addition, they have extensive lines of
buildings and scale decals.
GHQ is the class of the industry. The models are extremely detailed and generally quite accurate. Details on models tend to be slightly overscale, though this makes it much easier to highlight them when painting. Aircraft and helicopters are also outstanding, particularly the photo etched brass frets that come with the newer helos. Their individual infantry line of figures run large, but have tremendous detail. They are now coming out with a range of artillery crewman for their WWII lines; the Soviet and US crews make great stand-ins for modern artillery crews. Additionally, the artillery crews are far more true to scale than the infantry, and look great with the artillery pieces. I have also found that the brass rotors (available at $2.00 a sprue) are a great way to upgrade older GHQ models or those from other manufacturers. GHQ also has an excellent discussion forum. GHQ is also the only company that appears to be making a significant effort to increase its range of models.
Pricing: Typically $8.95 for a pack of five models. Models are about $2 if ordered individually from GHQ.
Favorite Models: Soviet SA-8 SPSAM system, any of the newer artillery pieces (particularly the M198 and the M-46 130mm howitzer), various Challenger tanks – in truth, the models are almost universally good.
Least Favorite Model: BMP-1 – an old model, definitely go with the CinC version for this one.
What they make: A mid-sized range of vehicles, figures, helicopters and aircraft. They also make some battlefield accessories such as fortifications.
While not as detailed as GHQ, they are probably the sharpest cast miniatures out there. They have an excellent line of trucks for various nations which come in multiple parts and have a high level of detail. Their infantry figures, while appropriately scaled, are really to thin to be of much utility. At the time of this writing, there are no new models being produced, although the existing line continues to be manufactured. Their helicopters use cast rotors, and are generally masterpieces, although the rotors tend to be a bit fragile. CinC sells packs of 50 Soviet and US vehicle-mounted HMGs, which are great for updating older models. Most models they make are also made by GHQ, but not all (such as many of the Soviet air defense units). They make the most extensive range of well-cast HMMMWVs available. CinC has a discussion forum, but it gets less attention now that GHQ’s is online. CinC models ship in small plastic storage boxes, which make for great long-term storage.
Pricing: Typically $1.25 per model, varies with size of model. Typically sold in packs representing a platoon-strength unit.
Favorite Models: CH-53E, M60A3, LARS, most of the Soviet air defense models (absolute masterpieces)
Least Favorite Model: AH-1 – way too narrow, lacking in detail.
Scotia Micro Models
What they make: Virtually everything. They have, far and away, the most comprehensive range of modern micro armor of anyone out there.
Quality: Mixed. Some pieces, such as their UK Saxons, are very good. Other, such as some of their French engineering vehicles, are a bit rough. Additionally, Scotia models seem to run small. Scotia models have also been manufactured by SimTac in Connecticut and by New England Hobby Supply, also in Connecticut. It does not appear that any new models have been added in the last two years, although they are still in production and their customer service is excellent. They also sell a good line of neutral equipment, such as generic towed 120mm mortars and 20mm Oerlikon AA guns.
Pricing: Typically about 60 cents a model, with large ones a bit more. Shipping from Scotland is surprisingly reasonable.
Favorite Models: Various UK Saxons, French Trucks
Least Favorite Models: Their M113s are kind of dreadful.
What they make: A medium-sized range of modern vehicles. They are better known for there 1/200 line.
Quality: Mixed. Armor is generally the correct scale, but lacking in detail. Road wheels don’t have the detail of GHQ or CinC, but they aren’t likely to be as rough as Scotia or H&R. Helicopters and aircraft are not good, and should be avoided. The Skytrex line of aircraft is extensive, but the detail is mediocre and they are expensive for what you get. Skytrex models are also cast in a slightly different metal than other manufacturers’, which I believe contains more nickel. Consequently, they are very hard, which is both good and bad. While barrels and details are far more sturdy than those from other manufacturers, the models are very difficult to modify. Skytrex is not currently adding to its line (as far as I can tell), but they are still in production and customer service is good. Skytrex also makes a limited line of decals for aircraft, including those for UK, France, Belgium and Italy.
Pricing. Models typically run about 90 cents apiece.
Favorite Model: UK Conqueror heavy tank
Least Favorite Model: FH-70 155mm gun
Heroics & Ros
What They Make: A fairly extensive line of modern vehicles, including many UK vehicles.
H&R models are or have been also produced by NavWar, Viking Forge and possibly several others.
Why They Matter: Since teaming up with Armstrong Models, they are now the most prolific producer of new microarmor, currently releasing about four new models a month. The company is now owned by dedicated micro armor fan Andy Kirk, and he is set to roll out a newly-revised and heavily upgraded website.
Quality. Mixed. Armor tends to run a bit small, but aircraft and helicopters are pretty good. Their infantry is also good -- many different poses, and correct in scale. Range is good, but not as extensive as Scotia. They also often a large line of reasonable-quality infantry. Their line of UK models is extensive. Quality can vary widely, but tends to fall somewhere between CinC and Scotia. They accept orders via email and payment via PayPal. Service is quick and efficient.
Pricing. 40p or about 60 cents a model.
Favorite Models: Chieftain ARV, FV-180 CET, Tracked Rapier, Sultan, any of the Armstrong models
Least Favorite Models: Any of their M60 series, FV432 Fitters vehicles (though a new cast is an improvement)
For more details, and an ever-growing catalogue of miniatures made by ISM, see the January 2007 Special Feature.
What they made: a large line of (mostly) modern vehicles that breaks down in to three categories: original models of unusual subjects; others’ models fitted out with camo nets, sand bags, on-board gear or cargo; and items from the H&R range (marked with CM on the bottom; more on this later). They are no longer in business.
Quality. Mixed, but generally not as good as CinC or GHQ. This was a rather unique company that put out some interesting models. They are the only (I think) manufacturer to consistently have vehicles with on-board baggage and camo netting, hence their name. The origins of the line are not entirely clear; it is possible that they purchased a license to produce H&R/Navwar miniatures. Many of their vehicles have "CM" on the bottom (as do some H&R) -- this may be Cresecent Miniatures or Croissant Miniatures, both older manufacturers whose lines were later (I believe) incorporated by H&R. One thing that really makes them stand out is their willingness to package different vehicles that constitute a unit together, particularly effective with air defense forces that have about 5 variations of a basic vehicle.
Favorite Models: SA-12B Grizzly air defense unit.
What they make: A smaller line of modern vehicles, plus some figures.
Quality: Poor, although that is kind of their thing. I don’t want to discourage anyone from visiting their site or ordering from them, as they make a line of just about every possible subject in 6mm/1/300 and that is to be applauded. Their modern range is limited, however, and of subpar quality from the few examples that have passed into my hands (and generally right out again).
These guys have great service, and make a wide variety of storage boxes (PanzerKeepers etc), all reasonably priced. They also have probably the most extensive line of decals available for micro-scale miniatures. As of September 2012, they are also the producers of the Raiden Miniatures line of 1/285 scale aircraft, a newer, high-quality line.
Easily the most innovative company currently producing 1/285 accessories. Allen Rockwell works in a variety of mediums, from resin to cardstock to acrylic, and it is all good. His embrace of technology has led to a sea-change in the quality of accessories available in this scale.