I had the good fortune this past weekend to attend the Open Day at Mantic's headquarters in Nottingham. I had the further good fortune to spend the morning there in a painting workshop with painters from Golem Studio and even further fortune to walk away with a box of Enforcers - Mantic's new army for their Warpath game.
I frame all this as being fortuitous because not only are the folk at Mantic very nice and friendly, they also make some very good miniatures that cost a fraction of their equivalents from Games Workshop.
I have, in the past, been a little critical of Mantic's minis. I checked out sprues for several of their fantasy and sci-fi armies and found them a little lacking. It didn't help that many if the sprues were in fact the same - the same torsos any way, but with different arm options, depending on the timeframe the model is intended for.
But a few months down the line Mantic minis are really starting to develop into something special and cool. Check out the attached photo of one of my Enforcers.
Details are crisp and clear. The sculpts are attractive. These parts all came sprue-free and required minimal clean up before gluing. They come with their own foam-lined carry-case and cost roughly half what ten Space Marines would.
There are still limitations to this awesomeness though, its true. There's little variety between the models and different entries in the army list all use these same models, just varying the number of special weapons they come with.
But this is because Warpath is still in beta - the current ruleset is 2.0. The game, then, is but officially released. The plan is for a Kickstarter to launch the game around April, 2013, shipping product in September. These models are a promise of things to come.
So, there may not be a truly compelling reason for everyone to completely jump ship from the good old S.S. 40k just yet. But its on its way. To of the iceberg, and all that.
I'm already thinking of shifting my Forge World budget over to buying Mantic minis so as to be ahead of the curve as it were, but also to be able to show people there really is an alternative fie toy soldiers from Nottingham.
Who knows, they might even get me playing fantasy wargames!