McEwan Miniatures & The Fantasy Trip

Since I mentioned McEwan Miniatures (MM) yesterday regarding their Starguard! game and minis, I though I’d share a sampling of their Fantasy figures. These here were painted by Rob Wheeler at Pennyfew Painting. The photos are just average because they were taken by me. The figure and paint job actually looks a lot better and I’ll post something better in the future. I took the photos to document the mounted & foot versions of the figures and didn’t give much attention to artistic backgrounds and whatnot.

The mounted, foot, and horse without a rider are important in the particular game I play. I use these in role playing games, specifically Steve Jackson’s The Fantasy Trip (TFT). For those unfamiliar with that, it is another great old-school game (OSG). In ’77 a simple gladiatorial game came out called Melee, and then in ’78 a follow up called Wizard was introduce. They were great fun head-to-head quick combat rules. In ’80, the role playing rules were release called In the Labyrinth: The Fantasy Trip. It seems most people refer to it as TFT when talking about the game system or environment in general, and ITL when referring specifically to the In the Labyrinth rule book. The system laid officially dead for years after the company holding the rights when out of business. I say officially because a small but dedicated group of people continued to play and write materials for it unofficially. There were many fan pages and social media groups keeping it alive. Then in 2017, Steve Jackson Games (SJG) announced that Steve was a able to reclaim the rights and he rereleased the game with a lot of new content and online support. The game has a good following in forums, discord, and FB group. There are many new scenarios available… tons of fun. Anyway I meant to be writing about MM and only referred to TFT for one reason: TFT is played quite the opposite of ‘theater of the mind’ games. Distance, facing, obstacle placement, etc. are all very important. The game can be played with cardboard counter (supplied with the game), or with stand up paper mins, or whatever you like. If you are me, you want to play your OSG with with awesome looking old-school minis.

There are pros/cons to everything of course. A con of MM is that their fairly unique size means they do not mix well with most other manufactures’ minis (especially modern 28mm-32mm types). MM, as well as some early Ral Partha, Stan Johansen Miniatures and others, followed Jack Scrubby’s idea of measuring a figure’s height from the bottom of the foot to the top of the head (not including any hat or hair). This makes sense because that is how we measure the height of people. It also comes out nicely that a 6′ tall figure would be represented by at 25mm tall mini at 1/72 scale. MM then noted that not everyone is 6′ tall, so some minis are 24mm or 23mm to reflect beings with slighter builds, and some only 20mm or so for goblin and hobbit types. As a side note, if you are not familiar with modern mini sizing, they measure from the bottom of the feet to the eyes. I’ll post a separate rant about that some day… for now just trust that it is true. For these smaller the other miniatures, we typically call them True25s meaning they are truly 25mm tall… or at least a 6′ tall individual would be. Compared to the one con, there are many pros. They are cast open handed with separate weapons/shields, and mounted figures are separate from the horses. This allows for easy modifications even switching between sci-fi and fantasy. The smaller size makes them way less expensive. The cost of minis is generally based on the volume of material. You can get these in metal as a foot/mounted set for $6-8. A larger size mini on foot can cost that much from other manufactures. And these minis have a long history. They were made in the 70’s back in the early days of RPGs. John McEwan used most or all these characters in his own game campaign back in the day. You can read along in a novelize story in his book: The Curse of Truth. It reads very much like a friend’s character recounting what happen during the campaign. It make me wish that I was there for the adventure. In the book for example, you see that map showing that on a particular island is a lake, and on the lake is a smaller island, and on that island (Everet Island) lives the mysterious Webfooted Everet (shown below with a female elf for scale). Is it friend or foe, magical or mundane? Well, we’ll never know because apparently the game party never traveled there but John was ready with a mini for the encounter just incase. We’ll have to make up our own stats for it. It’s too great of a mini just to leave sitting in a dark box on a shelf.

Painting & Photo by Rob Wheeler at Pennyfew Painting

If you are interested (and I get no kickback for these):
Rob Wheel Painting (contact me and I’ll help you get in touch with him)
SJG TFT materials are available at Warehouse23
MM fantasy figures are available at Tin-Soldier
John McEwan’s The Curse of Truth is available on Amazon

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