The Fishman Showcase

Merfolk have had all the good press. With the bodies of humans and the tails of fish, mermaids - for they dominate their menfolk in terms of public interest - are rarely shown anymore as evil creatures who lure sailors to their death. Instead, thanks partly to Disney, merfolk are good, solid people who live an idyllic underwater existence. Another sort of Fishfolk, those with the legs of humans but the tops of fish, are the binary opposite: freakish, unnatural creatures to be shunned. Maybe it's harder to look a fishman in the eyes, maybe it's the lack of a bosom, but we certainly regard them differently.

Nevertheless, both live in the sea and occasionally venture onto land, albeit with difficulty. They're also underrepresented in wargames. Alright, so mermen aren't going to be razing orcish strongholds too often, but you can fight underwater battles, have coastline ruckage or, if you're really desperate, play 'capture the duck' during bath time. Of course, to do that you'll need some figures...

For the purposes of this showcase, I've included fishfolk, merfolk, sharkmen, squidmen, lobstermen and frogmen as well as their monstrous auxiliaries. Basically, anything fictional that's found mainly in water. (What do you mean mermaids aren't fictional?) Duckfolk have been noted only when a company is appearing for other reasons, because they're ducks. The emphasis is on available models, which means this listing includes everything currently in production, but a lot of older goodies are also present. What would ebay do without us?

West Wind

West Wind's Gothic Horror line has steadily produced interesting figures, including the perfectly suitable 'Pirahna Men of the Amazon'. With two types available in a pack of four, these sleek, streamlined creatures have fish-like heads and webbed hands. Unfortunately, they've also got disproportionately large limbs and, although I like them, not everyone does. "Those Pirahna-men are hideous" (White Knight). Ahem.


Of course, he's perfectly correct when it comes to the Pirahna leader (one figure per blister). This grass-skirted monstrosity with bone clenched in its mouth furniture is just silly; it ruins the rank and file shown above. Nevertheless, there's little in the way of flash or mould lines, but a combination of flat webby feet and integral ovoid stands will make rebasing tricky.

Black Tree

Britain's finest purveyor of GW compatible fantasy offer a pack of explicitly named 'Fishmen'. The three figures (two of each in a pack) are chunky and - to my mind - somewhat poorly sculpted, but the scales, bulging eyes and lippy mouths perfectly evoke fish. Each is armed with a shield, while two have swords and the third a trident.


However, ignore what the name suggests and look at Black Tree's Troglodytes. The body shape and mouths are similar to the fishmen and, in this context, the fans atop their heads resemble fins. In short, at least two are perfect fishmen, especially for players after low technology: the 'troglodytes' are armed with flint spears and axes. As with their kin, there are two of each in a pack of six. Both types are ably supported by the frightening Sea Troll, a fantastic sculpt combining human anatomy with the scales and fins of surface fish and the teeth of those deep sea ones you can't see without a television, diving bell or specialist fishmongers.


Black Tree also produce a Doctor Who line from their previous incarnation, Harlequin. Fans of the show will want the Sea Devils, creatures whose aquatic faces and torn net clothes are reproduced perfectly, while others might feel able to field the Silurians (fans will know they were land-based lizards, but they look a little slimy and sleek). At 25mm they're smaller than many other figures, but they are slottabased.

 Finally, Black Tree also produce a giant frog; he's been sculpted mid-meal!


Fenryll, the French lords of resin (a slightly brittle material capable of holding great detail) produce three excellent Shark Men (Les Hommes Requins). Although the heads are still on the large side, each is generally well proportioned and the shark features - head, fins - blend seamlessly into the bodies. In short, these are among the more believable sharkmen on the market.


Whereas other fishmen in this showcase have grass skirts and a South Seas feel, the Fenryll models are informed by African culture: the grass shields are easily recognisable (what do you mean you haven't seen Zulu?). The results still blend with other ranges, walk the line between cartoon and realism and get a high recommendation here. The only problem is the material: resin is far harder to convert than lead (where a few dry bends can alter poses) and many interested gamers will want a lot more of these.


Privateer Press

Privateer have released a pair of the bulkiest fishmen on the market. Forget sleek creatures who glide through the sea, these are the steroid using bulldozers of fish kind, but there are still enough fins to keep them looking aquatic. Both come armed with large hooked spears, pieces of armour and angry faces.


Former front page stars of the Colonel Marbles homepage, Dragonrune's Komodons have both webbed feet and fishy tails, fins on their backs and fishy heads: everything you'd want in a fishman in one package. Weapons and equipment are suitably aquatic too, with coral, tridents and a piece of fisherman's netting at the standard bearer. There are five rank and file supported by four character pieces: Champion, Shaman (with sea horse topped staff), Musician and Standard Bearer. Prices are fair too.


Off The Wall Armies

They might not be the best sculpted figures in this showcase, but the pieces in Off the Wall Armies 'Something Fishy' range are among the most characterful, including a lobster in armour riding a giant sea horse. The style seems to be the bodies of fifteenth century Europe and the heads of various types of fish, including a swordfish and shark among the more generic fishy mouths. They also like a pun: one is called the Halibuteer... Ahem. There are twelve figures in all, and pricing is excellent, currently at $2.00 each for the rank and file, more for the cavalry.


Lance and Laser

While Lance and Laser don't mention the Glorantha Herowars range on their own website, Discount Hobby (L&L's main online retailer) provide a full listing, including some excellent fishfolk. 3020 and 3022 are a pair of matching merfolk: both the merman Maslasp and mermaid Ysabbau have particularly fishy tails and are scaled all over, resembling fish with humanoid torsos rather than the traditional half-man/half-fish merfolk. A mermaid called Ludoch (3019) provides a glamorous alternative, combining the body of a dolphin with the torso, head (and, err, bosom) of a young woman. All three have good poses, just don't consider the family dynamics... There's a fourth mermaid in L&L's generic fantasy range. With a fishy tail, trident and conch shell (into which she's blowing), this is as Hans Christian Anderson as the Lance team get.

Lance and Laser's sea nymph (3036) is much less effective. A naked women mounted atop a sea-effect base, there's nothing to suggest she isn't simply having a nude bathe, while her harsh face won't be attracting many sailors. Of course, she's recognisable, which is more than the Paludal Shark Frog (3041). To be fair, it's a great creature, all scaley limbs and big maw, but the shark appendages look like they were tacked onto an unfinished swamp beast as an afterthought.

The Zabdamar Shaman Walrus (3021) isn't much better - great dolphin/walrus body, good leaping effect, supremely dodgy face - but the Walktapus is superb. Yes, someone's combined the words 'walk' and 'octopus' to make a name, but this is a marvellously realised octopoid on legs and, although it looks like someone's just stuck an octopus onto a body, the tentacles are nicely animated and the 'hands' have suckers. Finally, the Warchest range contains a Water Elemental formed from frothy, rolling waves.

The Lance and Laser figures are fairly well sculpted and most come with sea effect bases (the walktapus and generic mermaid have integral bases while the water elemental is, well, the base itself.)

Wizards of the Coast

Wizards' sadly defunct - but still widely available - Chainmail range included the Drow and their unusual allies. One of these, the Kua Toa Trooper, was called 'fishlike' in the official text, a description matched by bulging eyes, sleek skin and a large round mouth. The Kua Toa is clearly an amphibious creature of some sort and a nice addition to fishmen armies but, with only a single model available, large units will be impossible (or very, very repetitive). They're also quite small: Chainmail figures were 25mm or a small 28mm, while the Troopers themselves are very slight. Nevertheless, with their spears and wide eyes these have potential as scouts or skirmishers. Circular slottabases are the norm.

There are also some Kua Toa prepaints available.  


Eastern Front

Eastern Front's 'Fathoms Deep' line might not help you build out the rank and file of a fishman force, but they'll certainly add some excellent character to your collection. A traditional looking Neptune can lead forces, while the 'Bastard of the Sea', an obese male top half with tentacles instead of legs and groin can lead the opposition, while both an be accompanied by a mermaid. Cavalry comes in the form of 'sea elves', who look humanoid but ride giant sea horses, while support is in the form of squids, serpents and sea unicorns (the top half of a unicorn and the bottom half of a fish). There's also a poor sailor tied onto an abandoned anchor and a 'Revenant', a sort on underwater zombie.



Reaper is now the second best-selling miniature company in the world (well, North America). As befits such a presence, their line has diversified enough to produce some fish-related products...on which note: do the best-selling miniature company produce fishmen? No. Clearly evil.

  There are two types of character figure: D'Khul M'Broon Bathalian from the Dark Haven line (28mm) and Cthal T'Chuk from the Warlords line (roughly 30mm+). While clearly 'inspired' by H. P. Lovecraft and his Cthulhu character, the robed figures - both with staffs and squid heads - are detailed and characterful. What better to lead an army of fishmen than intelligent squidmen?


Dark Haven's three frogmen are harder to define. One is clearly rank and file, one is a shaman or standard bearer while the third could be a leader or regular trooper, creating a ramage level of 1 in 3 for anyone collecting a large unit. However, their cartoon look makes them innocent, amusing figures and the comedy Hawaiian styling enables them to fit alongside West Wind's Piranha leader (not necessarily a good thing). Support comes from two excellent giant frogs - one sits bulkily on the ground while another leaps, revealing a vicious mouth - and the Demon Lord of Frogs, a bloated nightmare sat on skulls and bones.

They also have two packs of different fish men, with two figures in each. The first, called Slithe Riders, are sleek, long limbed humanoids with piranha style mouths and fins on the back of their heads. The second type are called Gogglers and contrast with the Slithe by being shorter, stockier and covered in scales. While both types are good figures, there isn't really enough to make up a unit, let along an army. There's also a wereshark and a mermaid called Pearl.


Reaper produce an interesting oddity too: The Well of Doom. This typical fantasy well might have something nasty at the bottom, but it's the tentacles at the top people need to worry about! Conversion fiends will find plenty of raw material, while rulesmen can design some tabletop use for it. Perhaps setting the well up before a skirmish and then, halfway through, slitherrrrr...?

The figures are usually well cast, although flash is common, while bases are moulded ovals; cutting these off could be tricky.


The Sahuagin date from the mid 1980s, when they were produced for the Citadel AD&D range. They are currently out of production, but they can still be found on ebay. They came in packs with three different poses, with each pose having six variants for a total of eighteen unique figures: the best army building options currently available. While the Sahuagin are noticably aquatic, with fins and tridents, they look more like underwater people than fishmen, despite being name as sharkmen in the fluff.


Darksword Miniatures

Darksword made their name producing well sculpted figures based on some of fantasy's most famous artists, and their mermaid, armed with sword and shield and based on a drawing by Larry Elmore, doesn't disappoint. They also have a 'sea-nymph', a nude, lightly scaled female seemingly able to ride the waves, a sleek sea dragon and a 'sea titan', a long tailed beast armed with a trident, horns and toothy maw. They also have some quirky frog people in the shape of 'King and Queen Ploogak' and Phlunkies.


Four Colours

You'd expect a superhero line of figures to include aquatic baddies, and Four Colour's SuperFigs seem to have done just that with Lord Tridan and ten Shark Troopers. Unfortunately, these are just blue-skinned blokes with slightly finned helmets. However, Four Colour's salvation is Spine-Strike (Brawler 5), a finned female with flipper-like feet, a scaled bikini and arms outstretched ready to grab (or hug, depending on your fantasies). She'd be well accompanied by 'Brick 7', a large and scaley creature called Megladon. With fish-like eyes, a mouth of shark-esque teeth and two inches of height this figure is easily your heavy assault. Toes aside, he's well sculpted, well cast and mounted on an integral oval base.


Alien 9, alias Krong the Mighty, is just about a contender. Sharing the same toes and slab like body of Megladon, Krong has five small tentacles around his mouth. Although clearly inspired by the Cthuloid squidmen of popular fiction, he doesn't look like he's been near water (and the spikes are atrocious). His moulded base is banana shaped.



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