Wednesday, 19 March 2014

Grenadier Models UK



Arrrh viewed by some as the poor step-child of miniature collecting and loved by others. I have to say I'm a recent fan, maybe with in the last few years I've taken interest in there back catalogue and bought more and more ex-Grenadier figures.

Grenadier Models UK

Grenadier models UK Ltd was created in 1984. Bob Watts approached Roger Higgins of Games of Liverpool, Grenadier's British distributor, to cast Grenadier's products for the European market. Higgins recruited his Import and Wholesale Manager, Doug Cowie and Mal Green to set up and run Grenadier Models UK. Casting equipment was set up above their Birkenhead offices and they learned the trade of casting by trial and error. Public grants through the Welsh Development Agency assisted a move to northern Wales.





By 1991 Grenadier had begun selling Nick Lund's Fantasy Warriors: a game of fantasy battles a boxed game which included 102 plastic figures sculpted by Mark Copplestone with later additions by other sculptors. Branches of the company were established in Auckland, New Zealand and Deeside, Clwyd, Wales to support British and Australian customers, remove the costs of international shipping, and connect with Grenadier's European sculptors. The company in Wales provided a chance for Grenadier to tap into the growing market for larger scale (30 mm) miniatures in which UK designers invoked styles from European fantasy and science fiction. Grenadier's office in Wales became the centre of the company's product design and British artists Mark Copplestone, Bob Naismith, and Nick Lund became the company's chief sculptors.




In 1992 Grenadier Models underwent a period of revitalization. The company's founders Andrew Chernak and Ray Rubin returned to their creative responsibilities.Kim Eastland returned to Grenadier Models from TSR Inc. The return to the early structure of the company may have been prompted by the loss of their partnerships with game manufacturers. By the beginning of 1993, their licensed figures had dwindled to the point that they only produced Andrew Chernak and Sandra Garrity's sculptures for R. Talisorian Games' Cyberpunk.


The resurgence of the Pennsylvania offices was short-lived, and Nick Lund's Fantasy Warriors  was the centre piece of the 1993 catalogue. A similar space-themed game called Future Warriors  was released later that same year. Fantasy war gamers were targeted with the Lost Lands boxed sets of 25mm scale miniatures , Fantasy Warriors artillery pieces and battlefield accessories and a 15mm Warlords line of military units.
The fantasy role-playing market was addressed by Julie Guthrie's large signature series  a Fantasy Legends line consisting of existing models and new sculpts by William Watt, Sandra Garrity, and Julie Guthrie.



 Also in 1993 Grenadier Models released Dragon Lords the Game a 6mm scale skirmish game featuring dragon riders, and 25mm plastic space marines called Space Rangers
Grenadier Models' figures were initially cast in an alloy of lead and tin, but in 1993 New York legislators nearly passed a public health bill barring the use of lead in toys and games.



Despite the additional cost, numerous manufacturers anticipated parental concerns, similar legislation in other states, their own workplace safety, and they began using white metal alloys. Grenadier began converting its lines to a non-lead alloy they called Luminite in the winter of 1992.The use of non-lead alloy marks a clear benchmark for dating old figures. However, Grenadier Models did not return to producing in lead.

The product lines for 1994 were a mix of European and American designs. Mark Copplestone and Bob Naismith introduced new sculpts for the Fantasy Warriors game, and Nick Lund and Doug Cowie authored Fantasy Warriors Companion an expansion of the rules. Mike Daley began a series of large scale Master Wizards. William Watt added a Battle Giant to the Special Edition line, and a signature line of William Watt's Dragons.

That's pretty much where Grenadier ended, sad but alot of the sculptors moved on to bigger and some may say better companies (Including starting there own)

Still lucky for us quite a few webstores stock Ex-Grenadier ranges such as:

Forlorn Hope Games
EM4 miniatures
Battlezone Miniatures
Mirliton
Miniature Heroes

Are you a fan? If so what range?

16 comments:

  1. Love 'em, got a few of the Julie Guthrie miniatures via Mega Minis before the tragic collapse. As for a favourite product line I'd have to go with their Call of Cthulhu miniatures, their representation of a shoggoth seems much more accurate than some of the terrible stuff coming out these days, yeuch! I also own one of the RAFM shoggoths, another great interpretation!

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    1. Arhh a Shoggoth eh? Those are some weird looking creatures.

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    2. Indeed, a constantly shifting mass of tentacles and eyes and mouths and such, I was planning on using them as chaos spawns as they seem to fit the bill quite nicely.

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    3. Sounds like a few ladies I know ;)

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  2. Their undead legion line from the mid 80's (Mammoths, Rhino, chariots etc) is the pinnacle of fantasy undead miniatures. No other manufacturer has ever come close to surpassing the subtle grandeur and believability of their undead.

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    1. Their Undead is one of there ranges I'm not so fond of, bit too tiny for my liking. But the War Mammoth is very tasty.

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  3. Good article, Chico. Good to see Grenadier getting more blogosphere attention. I'm a big Grenadier fan and I have a lot of their miniatures. Perhaps my favourites are Andrew Chernak's dwarves. They were the first fantasy miniatures I ever bought. The later stuff, like the Nick Lund lines and of course Copplestone's stuff is just brilliant. And the Future Wars roster was simply killa! Still really untouchable. I remember thinking how much I perfered those guys to any late Rogue Trader/2nd ed. 40k fig. at the time. Grenadier! Long Live Grenadier!

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    1. Thanks, aye Future Wars are amazing it's why I own 90% of the ranges. We are just lucky so many companies has the Grenadier moulds and chooses to sell them at a low cost.

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  4. Their masterpiece series are fantastic. Dragons too although I've only bought a couple. They also did some great giant miniatures of which I have many.

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    1. Agreed so much wonderful stuff for a collector/gamer to enjoy

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  5. Gary here from Forlorn Hope Games.

    Thanks for the link, and a great article Chico. I must say I really like the undead range ;-) We've also recently resurrected the Amazons and are blowing the dust off other moulds all the time.

    Enjoy

    G

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    1. Hey Gary glad you liked the article, How about some freebies as a promotion aid? ;) Heh only kidding, of course I wouldn't say no though lol.

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  6. Great article. :)
    My personal favorite range were/are the Orcs, sculpted by Nick Lund. I have an army of them waiting to be painted up, they captured the idea of Lord of the Rings Orcs for me. They also fit in excellently with Nick Lunds Chronicle stuff.
    I still keep meaning to buy some of the Half Orcs too for a White Hand army.
    Also quite liked the Undead range too, and was keen to be able to add some in my Undead Warhammer Army.
    I collected the Future Wars miniatures as they were released and many of us at the time were pleased to finally have some good near future/Colonial Marines troopers.

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  7. Yep great article Chico, I too used to love the Grenadier stuff, and actually went to the Deeside factory in north wales, as it was only a few miles down the road from my house. Really nice chaps, just turned up and they gave me a quick tour and I got to meet Mark Copplestone who as I remember was sculpting the bikes for the future warriors range at the time. A real shame it folded they did some great stuff.

    Cheers Roger.

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  8. Have just picked up 2 box sets of minatures and am interested to know their value.
    Dragon Lords Monster Manuscript VI (1506)
    and Dragon Lords Grenadier Models (2006)

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    1. I can't help with any real prices but sadly due to Grenadier being both the cheaper alternative to Citadel and many companies still owning the rights and moulds to make more they haven't held any great value. Best bet is asking on the Oldhammer Forum as they have a price thread which you can ask on.

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