Back in the mid 80s my old friend ‘L’ introduced me to Essex Miniatures via a couple of Medieval and Roman figures he’d picked up at a Wargaming Show.
I sent off for a copy of the Essex catalogue and spent far too much time flicking through it wondering just what the ‘Wizard in hood with magical staff’ or ‘Early Medieval Spearman in Scale Corselet and Helmet with Shield’ looked like. Back then, pre-digital, many small companies couldn’t afford to produce decent photographic images of their miniatures. You had to hope the imaginative descriptions applied by the manufacturers didn’t end in uninspiring lead blobs plopping through your parent’s letterbox 3 weeks later.
To be fair Essex did occasionally advertise in White Dwarf with photos. Although their products looked okay they weren’t strong enough to hook me in as I was preoccupied by Citadel Miniatures like a lot of kids in the hobby back then. Other manufacturers rarely got anything more than an annual request for a catalogue from me.
Come the early 90s my tastes had expanded beyond Games Workshop and I starting to get interested in historical wargaming with rulesets like DBA played with 15mm figures. Miniature Wargames Magazine occasionally showed Essex Miniatures in photos accompaning their articles and expansions for DBA. My interest piqued again.
I sent off for an Essex Miniatures catalogue and this time instead of just idly perusing I actually ordered a couple of ancient DBA armies in 15mm. I wasn’t disappointed. They were wonderfully sculpted, painted up beautifully and were inexpensive to boot. And then, for reasons unknown, I once again forgot all about Essex Miniatures.
Fast forward 25 years and a job lot of old miniatures purchased from eBay stirred my interest in Essex again. They’re still going and of course offer online ordering nowadays however somethings never change; not every figure has a photo, the Amazons are still dodgy (although none of them are portrayed as victims so there’s a minor plus) and not every sculpt is great – some could even be described as absolute howlers that were terrible even 35 years ago. After choosing a mix of fantasy and medieval figures I placed an order and it arrived very promptly.
Behold! Not a bad miniature amongst them in my opinion. Some of these figures were originally sculpted in 1981 whilst others are from slightly later – 1986. The keen eyed amongst you will spot the sculpting talents of Bob Olley here, pre-Iron Claw Miniatures. All came without problem mould lines or excessive flash which can often marr older sculpts and moulds. Splendid stuff. Please give Essex Miniatures consideration if their postage rates are sensible for you.
Here’s the Bob Olley Zombie figure from above painted up for use in my D&D game with the Cleric who enjoys the ‘Animate Dead’ spell a little too much.