The Fishman Showcase


There's been plenty of 'Cthulhu inspired' figures in this showcase, but RAFM produce the real thing in their Call of Cthulhu range and what better place to start than RAF02011: The Great Cthulhu itself. A massive tentacled creature who lives beneath the ocean in sunken R'lyeh, but who can also traverse the surface (depending on the story), this large multi-part model is gloriously aquatic. Unfortunately it's also a near indestructible Great Old One, which might make wargames difficult. And as I'm a bit of a Cthulhu geek, I don't like the sculpt.


The 'Deep Ones Mutant Fishmen' are more practical. Three to a pack, these sinewy, slimy beings are large mouths on legs, although intelligence is indicated by one reading a book (presumably an old, arcane book). The Ghasts are equally amphibian in appearance, with bulbous eyes and domed heads reminiscent of frogs, as opposed to the sharklike deep ones. The sculpting isn't great, but they're perfectly serviceable figures. Heavy support can be found in the 'Lessor Other God', whose design - two large pincers, domed carapace, saucer eyes - resembles a mutated crab on two legs.


Finally, RAFM's 'Expedition to the Mekong' boxset includes a large tentacle reaching up out of the water. One of these makes a threatening weapon, eight an octopus beneath the sea and 20 some god-awful monstrosity about to drag you all down, although the ramage (five humans and a boat) would be obscene.

Many thanks to Pictors Studio for allowing me to use their Deep Ones, Ghasts and Lessor Other God images (pictures 2, 3 and 4).

Steve Barber Models

Steve Barber has a nasty sense of humour. His Prehistoric Settlement range includes, besides plenty of 'cavemen' going about their daily lives, two on a small raft and one in a small coracle. Oh, and a ruddy great Giant Shark (or Carcharodon Megalodon for the scientific among you). Bigger than Jaws' daddy, this serious beast could have any 25mm caveman in half a bite and is perfect support for your fishmen forces. It won't make it onto land, but your opponent won't make it through the sea...

Incidentally, I know that A: I said "anything fictional that's found mainly in water" in the introduction, and B: the Megalodon was real, but there aren't too many of them kicking around today...


The team at Reviresco aren't shy about their influences: "That Creature from the Black Lagoon must have been a close cousin to these gillmen" exclaims the website and they're spot on. The 1/64 scale (that's somewhere between 25mm and 28mm) gillmen are fully scaled humanoids with webbed appendages and finned heads in the mould of the black and white horror icon. However, Reviresco have created an excellent range of figures via targeted poses: one pack contains 3 gillmen swimming horizontally, one has four emerging from the sea with a dead companion, while the final pack has three walking along. Only 11 models, but your troops are ready for all possible missions. Tridents and spears are the weapon throughout.


At $6 a pack, the gillmen seem like excellent value... but just look at Reviresco's Deep ones set. Three standing deep ones - a squat, scaled creature with a fish's head and body but amphibian arms and legs - two half submerged in water, one dead and another armed with 'spear gun'. That's seven 28mm lead figures at less than a dollar each. Alright, so the sculpting great by today's standards, but they're cheap and very recognisable miniatures.


Aside from the gillmen swimmers, who come with separate sea effect bases, all have integral oval bottoms which, in the case of half submerged figures, are part of the sculpt.

The Honourable Lead Boiler Suit Company

The HLBS Co.'s Plesiosaur (Elasmosaurus Platyurus) is a deliciously serpentine model, a vast neck snaking out of the water jaws agape. Modellers could remove the visible flipper to create a serpent, but most will be happy with the sheer darting viciousness of the piece (although some teeth wouldn't go amiss). HLBS also do a Tylosaurus Dyspelor; this tank of a creature is hauling itself out of the shoreline sea, massive jaws ready to clamp around something. Both are enough to scare any 25mm figure and come with integral, sea effect bases you won't want to change.


Thunderbolt Mountain

Thunderbolt Mountain is the personal vehicle of Tom Mier, the (rather guilt-ridden) father of modern fantasy miniatures. Although production is currently frozen, he once produced a range of detailed dioramas; were they well sculpted? Of course they bloody were.


His main entry in this showcase is suitably grand. 'Triton's Sea Chariot' does everything you could want: two surging dolphins pulling a shell-like platform through rolling waves, a majestic Triton commanding from the back with trident poised and a fishtailed nymphet alongside. It might be difficult to convert for land-based games, but this rules the seas.


Mier also made 'Sea Changes', where two rather curvy young mermaids (and some lobster bearing fishboy) admire themselves in a massive mirror. Aside from the obvious aesthetic value (just look at the seabed and those poses, they look underwater) there's little obvious wargame value without conversion. That said, the mermaids can easily be fielded separately and the mirror makes an ideal focal point for conflict (say it's magic or something).

Both diorama's are 25mm in scale.



Eureka have never been afraid to anthropomorphise creatures, so it's no surprise they have aquatic creatures for your armies. Their 'Warrior Frogs' line contains both frogs and turtles. While not fishmen, there are plenty of different troop types enabling an army to be built: four types of frogs with mallet, five types of frog with pike in poses enabling a phalanx to be built plus spears and different posed muskets. There are also command and an injured frog with one leg missing. There are also four turtles with spears, four with bows, a standard and commander with telescope.


Eureka's Pirates line includes some massive 25mm ships and a mermaid figurehead. Crucially, this latter piece could be easily adapted and fielded as an independent mermaid, although the sculpt is far closer to a wooden dummy than a living merlass. Her back looks too arched and her hair too together for someone underwater (divers may feel the opposite) and she certainly isn't 'on land'. Oh, and anyone offended by nudity can't help but notice her pointed boobs.

Brigade Models

The Formorians may be the orcs of the Celtos world, but that doesn't stop them having an aquatic looking mount. There are gills, webbed feet and something of the shark about the 'Blood Reaver'.

Team Frog Studios

Critter Commandos is the 'crazy' game of cute animal warfare where players adopt one species of critter in order to lacerate the others. The accompanying figure range is strong on cartoon images, puns and sci-fi weaponry (including full body robot suits). The Frog Federation (eight figures) are perhaps the best of the amphibians thanks to some wonderful heads, while the Sharkpack, Turtle and Duck forces (four figures each) all have positive aspects (and many negative ones). Although clearly unsuitable for fantasy battles, diehard converters, children and the drunk might find a way of using them.



Fantasy Productions, the people behind Armalion and DSA (extended and translated as The Dark Eye) are part of the growing German sculpting scene. Unfortunately, Armalion also make two 'Lobsteroids'. These four armed things have two human hands and two large lobster claws anchored to an armoured humanoid form. Both have pretty ugly heads, the sculpting is far from perfect and, to be honest, I think they look terrible.


A different type of Lobsteroid is found in The Dark Eye creatures range. Simply called 'Large Lobsteroid', this creature really does look like a huge lobster rearing up to attack you and is thus much better than the above. Even the halberd seems to fit, adding a sense of civilisation and character to a model that could have looked wholly b-movie. Meanwhile, the DSA Aventurians-at-Arms line includes the (surely incorrectly) named Krakonian. The name says Kraken-man, the figure says fat frog-man with sickle.

Unfortunately, DSA's best fishman figure is hidden away in the boxset 'Myranor: Heroes 2'. Amongst the admirably diverse group of eight figures you'll find a scaly humanoid very similar to The Creature From the Black Lagoon. Great figure, difficult to justify the price.

All of these are 28mm leads with rudimentary moulded bases.

Dark Ages Grenadier

Dark Ages are producing 'very limited' editions of Archive Miniatures' 1976 - 78 Glorantha range (that's the Neville Stocken sculpts for all you trainspotters). The Glorantha Classics thus feature the first Walktapus, a later version of which is listed above under Lance and Laser. That was criticised for looking like a squid stuck onto a human torso and this Walktapus might be better if it weren't for rather basic sculpt; however, it does create an element of horror. 

Quantities (and probably buyers) are limited.



Rackham, the French company behind the exquisite Confrontation line, rarely produce bad figures but, alas, their three 'Familiars of Water' contain such an anomaly. Familiar 2 is an eye-patched dwarf pirate with two huge lobster claws instead of arms and a turtle's shell for a back. Yes, it's well sculpted. Yes, it could be quite funny. No, it isn't any good.

Don't worry though, because Familiar 1 is a piece of haunting beauty and startling ambiguity. Her delicate face and body seem so fragile, almost anorexic, while her twin tails - themselves unusual for a fantasy figure - are healthy but spread in different directions. Holding (or is she leaning against?) a large sword, the figure could be one of exhausted victory or mourning after defeat. She's also small.


Familiar of Water 3 is far more straightforward: a heavily armed, heavily toothed and clearly angry squid/octopus who could do some real damage, either on his own for as part of converted rank and file. Both figures come with slotted bases, quality casting and some game card thingies.


The Grendel range is gloriously imprecise when giving sizes, but their multi-part 'Swamp Creature' (Gre F0070) renders that irrelevant: it's large. With just a bulging head and tentacles reaching right out of the water there's a real sense of size here, although the substantial swamp-effect base obviously helps.

 In truth, it's only 25mm scale, but you can still trouble a large Rackham figure with this beastie. Ironically, the base is the greatest problem as the thick, swampy surface is bound to stand out against most other 'watery' surfaces, giving the impression of a swamp creature trapped in an imaginary hole; rebasing would be insane.




Steve Jackson

Forthcoming in Steve Jackson Games' (re)release of Richard Kerr's Off the Wall Armies range is the 'Something Fishy' line. Not only are SJ Games reproducing the 1980's classics (although that's never been much of an endorsement) they're also creating new figures. Good news for us, bad news for collectors...thought you had a full set, did you?

Given that other armies include Scottish Highland Badgers and the Otterman Empire, this is one to watch; indeed, we've been promised: "two things in common -- a genetic base of sea creatures, and a cultural base of Renaissance Europe." The first image shows a lobsterman riding a sea-horse...


Evil Gong

Evil Gong are currently offering limited releases of their 25mm Fantasy Range, including a Giant Octopus, Water Lurker and Giant Squid. Sculpting on their other figures is basic, and there are no pictures at present so judgement will be reserved. However, 15mm fans should delve deeper into the site to find both fishmen and squidmen ranges.


'Pirates' is Flagship's game of human and ship combat between, well, Pirates. The designers seem to feel that cannons and cutlasses will eventually lose their appeal (that or they're sadistic sods) because a line of sea beasts is available. The excellent Sea Dragon is first, a multi part figure composed of separate head and tail pieces accompanied by as many middle sections as you want. I'm not sure how tall it is, but Flagship claim it towers over their ships, and they've been made to hold 25mm pirates! The Kraken is also nice, a four part kit which assembles into the upper head and tentacles of a supposedly much bigger creature. There's also an Ictheasaur (sic) (nicknamed 'Sea Monster' in the catalogue), but this looks like a dolphin wearing a WW1 flying helmet.


 The main problem with this range is the price. The Sea Monster costs $35 and the others slightly less, which is an awful lot for only the upper parts of each creature. They might be big (and victory should be easier with that Nessy swimming up your rivers) but are they worth it?

Emperor's Choice: Arduin

The Arduin Trilogy was a seminal 1970's rpg with fans so passionate they've been able to resurrect the system and plenty of material in the 21st Century. Emperor's Choice are supporting Arduin with the re-release of miniatures, including some of the most logic-molesting figures in this showcase: air sharks.

At first sight, the main question about these three pieces of cavalry is what's riding them. The 'knights' are wearing highly stylised armour with fins, bulging eye pieces and scale-mail: so, are these humans dressed as fish, or fish in the only armour they can fit in? (In the Arduin fluff they're goblins, but let's ignore that.) It's now you begin wondering why an underwater race would wear full metal armour. After all, these might not be anatomically perfect, but they're a brilliant realisation of underwater cavalry: fishman knights (with lance, bow or sword) riding on sharks via detailed saddles.


The answer is they're not underwater. Although clearly perfect for an aquatic game of fishmen vs. merfolk, Arduin have dubbed these Air Sharks. Yes, for reasons which don't so much contravene science as leave it tied up in a trunk, these three steeds are floating through the air. Which I find really rather cool. You might have to sweet talk your opponent, but every fishman general needs these! (Although you might want to convert/replace the riders)

They come with easily changeable flying bases and are 'High Fantasy', 30mm scale; this translates as Sharks which are 10cm long.


Dragontooth produced the figures of Tom Loback in the 70s/80's, including a range of amphibians which helped earn him a reputation for originality and, well, oddness. His character range included the intriguingly titled 'Seawitch (Mermaid)' while the amphibians spanned fishmen, frogmen and crocmen. Models of note include the Tritonite Rivers Marines (fishmen of the black tree variety) with Tridents and Sea Shell Shields, as well as the Tritonite Deep Sea Marines with harpoons (and Sea Shell Shields). Unfortunately the sculpting is, by today's standards, rather poor and the figures equally rare.

Heroes Miniatures

Another old range lost to ebay and the usual second hand markets, 'The Nightmare World Of Gothic Horror' from 1985 included a Sea Devil and a Tentacled Terror. I've not been able to source pictures and have no idea of the content or quality.

Parroom Station

Ah, Parroom Station. Think Jules Verne and H. G. Wells, think H. Rider Haggard and 1950's serial adventures, think the Victorian era on Californian strength LSD. Or Steam Punk if you want to be trendy. Parroom specialise in science-fiction Victoriana, a genre where gilled men rule Atlantis and dinosaurs are still to be found in the Amazon (but that's another showcase entirely).

The gilled men, known as both Martian City Dwellers and Sverdvolk in the Parroom mythos, already form a substantial collection encompassing twelve musketeers (the guns), three types of artillery, 10 sword wielding fanatics, 5 fanatics with pole-arms, the large crew of a float ship and numerous character figures. There are also two cavalry minis whose steeds, given your imagination, could be giant seahorses. However, with only 'gills' - large fishy fins instead of ears - to their name, the Dwellers aren't that exciting. Indeed, many of the figures have their fins obscured by helmets and look indistinguishable from humans (blue/green/red skin colour aside). You're trading off aquatic features for 'modern' weaponry and the cost will be too high for many.


Parroom also offer three Cephalids. These marvelously tentacled blobs could represent squid, octopi, alien matter or just about anything soft, although the substantially sized laser guns will cause fantasy gamers a few problems. One even comes with a tripod-mounted 'ray projector'!


The Korovar's are arguably Parroom's best fishmen, with their ridged heads, bulging eyes and smooth, webby skin. They're part of the Germ Plasm Hybrid range, which means you get one torso randomly selected from four (how hard is it to let people choose?). Swords are generally weapon of choice, although some guns creep in. 

All of these are metal figures with adequate sculpting.


Archive Miniatures produced plenty of figures during the 1970's, including Giant Octopi, Sea Demons and the worryingly named Sharkadillo and Octorilla (which I assume is a mixture of Octopus and Gorilla). Nevertheless, despite some modern reproductions by Dark Ages they're hard to find and, without pictures, I can't comment further. But, and it's a big but, Archive seemed to have a duck obsession; how else do you explain Sinbad the Duck, E'corcist Ducks, Barbarian Ducks and the six duck Quack Pack. I've not seen pictures; neither do I want to!

Alternative Armies

The Flintloque range imagines a world where the Napoleonic wars were fought, not by humans, but animals. Here, the troops of Naples are recast as the Todoroni of Nepolise, squat frogmen with muskets, uniforms and unhappy facial expressions. There appear to be fifteen figures in all: 7 are doubled (and tripled) up in packs as either two different units of ten (one including command group, one just basic soldiers) or a group of 24. They're also sold separately, as are two grenadiers (bigger, leathery frogs), two skirmishers (smaller, plain clothed frogs) and four other infantry models.


Although the sculpting is basic throughout, the results vary hugely: some figures carry naturalistic frog-faces and others are bug-eyed caricatures. The detail is basic - simple uniforms - but someone has clearly thought about the army, as the unit's 'singer' is a bullfrog complete with bulbous throat. Standard figures are cheap and supplied on small, moulded bases.

Viking Forge

The 'Hideous Octopoid' was released by Viking Forge, but it's actually part of the Asgard/Tabletop range. Nothing else is known about it, beside it being a 25mm figure from a company who usually do adequate sculpting. At $1.95 it's obscenely cheap, but it might really be a hideous octopoid...


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