Monday, 6 August 2012


I must have spent a large chunk of 1973 studying the above Minifigs catalogue - well it either that or phsyics homework. I guess I must have got a copy during a foray to The Stamp Shop in Middlesbrough. My focus was the colonial section. Eventually after much deliberation I handed my mother a chunk of cash in return for a cheque and posted off an order for 50 S range zulus. About a month later the cheque was returned with a curt note telling me that the figures I had ordered had now been discontinued. No further explanation was forthcoming. S range had gone for ever. The era of the chunky monkeys was upon us.

Back then I wouldn't have been much delayed by the ancient section of the Minifigs catalogue. The only ancient gaming I did in those days was with a friend of mine and his younger brother who had aquired an odd assortment of 15mm Chinese and - if memory serves - Khmer from Peter Laing. Tiny, lumpy little things they were. And the figures were a bit odd too.

Anyway, I have more than made up for that oversight since. At some point on this blog I mentioned that one of the few S range ancients I have never seen is AA2s - Assyrian standard bearer. Oddly enough the only others I haven't seen are also A2s figures - AP2s (Persians standard bearer), AE2s (Egyptian standard bearer) and AS2s (Sassanid levy archer). Apart from that I've clocked all of them, even the Philistine ox chariot and the off-the-wall Gaul or Hun mounted archer.

It's odd that the standard bearers are the figures nobody seems to have bought as they usually rank high on any wargamer's shopping list. I wonder what happened to them all?


  1. If I remember correctly Minifigs were notorious for sending incomplete orders because you had not sent them the right amount of money - they seemed to have a strange way of calculating the total amount of the order that never tallied with my estimation and ALWAYS deduted the most important figure from your order in result . Also they took weeks and weeks to arrive , the advantage of Peter Laing was that he sent the order with free sample figures by return of post.

  2. Peter Laing's service was alarmingly efficient for the time. I recall that the Harrow Model Shop always took at least a month to send out orders of Jacklex figures, while Marcus Hinton would have considered that to be on the Usain Bolt side of rapid. Incidentally Peter Laing's masters and moulds seem to have disappered without trace, a sad state of affairs sinc he was one of the few people who made Turcoman figures.

  3. Perhaps people treasured their standard bearers and have been buried with them, long after the rest of their figures have been scattered to the winds.

    Meanwhile, over the last year, I've been enjoying discovering the identity of the some of the unlabelled ancients in the illustrations in my White Plains version of the catalog, much desired at the time but discovered too late.

    1. I'd think that explanation might also hold true for the difficulty of locating the original PB range Macedonian Companions - oddly hard to find second hand (most of my units are Garrison).

      I suspect this catalogue was issued shortly before S range was discontinued - a poor piece of marketing, but excellent for that traditional strain of British retailer who takes a special delight in telling a customer that he cannot supply what he or she wants.

  4. You got your cheque returned- you were lucky!

    I sent off for the Jacobites when they were advertised in the Wargamers Newsletter. Some time later I got half the figures I had ordered and a big box of sawdust together with a credit note as half the figures were not available.

  5. I think the 'original' PB Companions weren't out all that long. Mine were bought 1972-1973 as I recall - certainly had them before 1974 - and half the unit came with shorter thick spears, half with longer thin ones. Earlier, my S Range Greek hoplites have a PB Range Carthaginian standard bearer - bought later - because I couldn't get my hands on an S Range standard bearer. Can't remember why I ended up with a Carthaginisan though.

    Everyone from that era must have had at least one order from Marcus Hinton that failed to arrive. My only attempt certainly disapeared.

  6. Good to see the cover of that catalogue as my old copies are long gone. My memory of order from Minifigs in 1972/3 is that their mail order service was pretty speedy (but I was used to ordering from Marcus Hinton!) however I was also the receipient of many of the dreaded "credit notes". I'm sure this was just a ruse to make you order again and use up your 7p credit!

    I was always fascinated by the ancients range (the chariots in particular) but only ever ordered single figures as samples. Sadly they're all gone now.