Doctor Who, especially the Doctor Who Miniatures Game ruleset, have been the bread and butter of my convention games ever since I reentered (with any seriousness) the miniatures wargaming hobby 2010. Designed by Graeme ? and Karl Perrotton, (currently the brains behind 7TV and Crooked Dice), DWMG was simple for new players to pick up and most importantly for me, really captured the feel of the Doctor Who universe. With its status as an unofficial, fan-designed product, it was cheap to adopt and supported by an active and friendly player-base. Even though regular updates ceased during the middle of the Matt Smith era, there are still a wealth of expansions and supplemental material available from the rules website.
Late last year, when Warlord Games announced their acquisition of the official license for a Doctor Who miniatures game, what should have been exciting news, instead had me feeling a bit anxious for all the long term unofficial producers of “Whovian” miniatures. Would Warlord go on an IP crusade and cut off the supply? The notion has already forced a few “not-Who” miniature projects underground.
After some conversation with friend, game designer, and fellow HAWK, Buck Surdu, I’ve decided to inventory what Doctor Who figures I already have so that I can plan to get the few items I need before figure lines potentially disappear.
First up are the Cybermen, who are celebrating their 50th anniversary this year. These silver cyborg precursors to Star Trek’s Borg have appeared many times in my games from my 2011 “Victoria Hawkes and the Silver Menace” to my Schlegel’s Ferry offering for the 2016 HMGS Cold Wars convention.4
I’ve relied on the former Harlequin sculpts (now owned by Black Tree Designs) for most of my force. They have almost every design from the Mk.I Cyber-Mondasians from the Hartnell era, through the Tomb Cybermen and “Invasion” models, but I settled on the Cyber NeoMorphs from the 5th-7th Doctor series, since it was the best of the available sculpts and while not always 100% accurate, mix well in earlier Doctor’s adventures.
First up, are the 3 old FASA/Citadel Models I had lying around in my collection since the late 80s:
I find the detail on these guys to be a slight step above the Harlequin ones, but due to their age, they are a bit vertically challenged and measure up closer to the 25mm than to the 28mm standard.
Next, is the Harlequin/Blacktree Cyber Controller:
A very good mini overall, but he seems to be a bit skinnier and shorter than the rest of his troops.
Now for the bulk of the collection. Over the years, I’ve had some bouts of selective amnesia when placing my Doctor Who orders and have wound up purchasing these guys in groups of 10 every time I wanted something from Black Tree. The results are below:
There they are in all their glory. 24 painted Cyber NeoMorphs, ready to upgrade the universe. As a postscript, I found 6 more of their completed brethren in another box right after I took the photo, so my actual fieldable force numbers stretch to 30.
With this many troops to command, I decided early on to paint up the alternate sculpt as Cyber Lieutenants in order to give the Cyber Controller some flexibility in his force deployment.
- 3 FASA/Citadel Cybermen
- 30 BlackTree/Harlequin Cyber NeoMorphs
- 1 Cyber Controller
- 2 Cyber Lieutenants/Leaders
- 2 Stealth Cybermen
- 20 BlackTree/Harlequin Cyber NeoMorphs
Until recently, sources for the revived series Cybermen have been a bit scarce and anyone wanting to run a Cyberman game from the 10th Doctor forward has had to resort to a lot of “make do” measures. I’m sure this will change under the watch of Warlord Games, but I’m afraid that they will just do the redesigned Cyber model from the end of the Matt Smith era and bypass the tried and true Cybus industries Cyberman.
I was lucky enough to get in on MicroUniverse’s Doctor Who line while it was briefly available and obtain two of their Cybermen. While a bit more realistically proportioned than standard 28mm offerings, they did serve me well as a token presence for the cybermen in my early games of DWMG.
On the complete opposite end of the quality spectrum are these lovelies from the Doctor Who Adventures UK kid’s magazine. Packaged as a free giveaway along with some equally horrid Sontarans, these mildly bendy plastic monstrosities allowed me to bulk up my modern era cyber force quickly at a decent price. The results are really lacking. In fact, I had to draw on their eyes since they weren’t molded on.
- 2 Microuniverse Cybermen
- 16 Doctor Who Adventures Cybermen
What’s to Come?
On the positive side, I was able to obtain 20 “not-cybermen” from an undisclosed source, and they are an absolutely excellent rendition of the now classic Cybus model Cyberman. I hope to have these guys assembled and painted up in time for the 2016 Cold Wars convention.
Next up- Daleks!