28mm on the cheap: Mega Miniatures

Though not as cheap as the dollar-per-miniature goal that we strive for, a few companies today make quality metal 28mm miniatures that range from $1.50 to $3 a piece. Building a 100-figure, Warhammer 40k-style army can be expensive even at this low price — though less so than with Games Workshop products — but warband and platoon skirmishes are quite manageable, and being able to choose exactly what you need is a definite benefit.

One of my favorite companies in this price range is Mega Miniatures, aka MegaMinis.

Mega is owned by Johnny Lauck and produces a large selection of fantasy, modern and sci-fi miniatures. MegaMinis has some proprietary figure lines, some of which are as low as $1.89 a piece!

In the opinion of the author, however, Mega's best offerings are the defunct figure lines it has acquired and rereleased. This includes ranges of figures from Grenadier, Metal Magic, Demonblade Games and Alpha Forge.

This review will give you a brief look at some figures from the Demon Blade and Alpha Forge lines as well as a couple of Mega Minis' proprietary designs. Though they have been selling off the molds to many of their older fantasy ranges, Johnny has been re-releasing Demonblade figures at a rapid rate and assures us that he plans to keep releasing nearly the entire line in the near future.


Demonblade Re-Releases
Among other games, Demonblade was the producer of Shockforce, the game that originated the club-favorite ruleset WarEngine — as well as a massive line of figures, a few of which are described in detail below. Note that the figures are exactly as they came from Mega. No flash has been trimmed and no mold lines have been removed.

Frontier Defense Force
These figures were originally released as Shockforce Megacom Troopers. They're well sculpted, though perhaps with not quite the same level of clarity as the classic Games Workshop Cadian troopers that they are fairly obviously based on. So far there are 15 to 20 sculpts released for this line, covering all manner of troopers armed with a basic lasgun and a selection of special weapons such as grenade launchers, missile launchers and flamethrowers.

These figures were originally scupted by the great Bobby Jackson to supplement the K-Force troopers that Demonblade had acquired from Grenadier. These earlier troopers are similar in style, but a bit bulkier and not quite as crisp (I have almost the entire line) but have not yet been reissued by Mega.

Here's a trooper leader and a kneeling trooper.



Here's a trooper with a plasma gun (called a heat gun by Mega) and a flamethower. The flamethrower is called a "Heavy Machine gunner" by Mega.


Despite its similarities to the smart gun from Aliens, this long-barreled weapon has a hose on the bottom of the barrel and is attached to a set of tanks on the back of the model, all of which strongly suggests that it's a flame weapon. That said, with a magazine and removal of the tanks, this would make a great SAW.

Mega also makes a flamethrower trooper with a more traditional GW-style Flamethrower that they call a vaporizer.

As a nice touch, these figures come with separate backpacks. I liked the backpacks so much that I contacted Johnny, who sold me some separately.

Here's a pair of scouts. There are four of these in the figure line. Each is armed with a sniper/assault rifle and is posed in a crouching or kneeling position. The backpacks for these figures are cast-on.

The treads on the boots seemed like a nice touch and the detail overall is good.

All in all, I'm very pleased with these figures. I ordered about 10 of the Demon Blade trooper miniatures

Moonshiners

These figures are a rather goofy range of cartoony rednecks previously released as Brethren models for Shockforce. The figures below are the only ones I purchased from this line and I chose them because they looked more like post-apocalyptic survivors than the rest of the range, which is a delightfully wierd mix of cartoony inbred redneck men and Daisy Duke-looking women.


The overall sculpting is a bit softer than the troopers, but the look is well excecuted and they will fit right in with my other post-apoc figures.

Alpha Forge
Alpha Forge was best known for it's Star Mogul game. Mega has released all these figures, which includes two races of aliens, human troopers and salvage crew, androids, robots and even a vehicle or two. They also had a line of zombie survivors, two of which I purchased.

I've purchased most of the Alpha Forge Salvage Crew figures. The link above has them, as well as quite a few Demonblade figures, mixed in the same section. The Salvage Crew models come with 2 random heads from a selection of 10 to 12.


The heads are hit or miss, some are quite nice, some are just OK.


Zombie Survivors

These are really nice figures with lots of character. They are mixed into the "Modern Civilian" section of the MegaMinis website. You can tell them apart as they are the figures that are shown unpainted.

I liked all the figures that I reviewed, but these had the sharpest detail and were the best sculpted.


MegaMinis'
Designs
Here's a couple of examples of scupts that Mega has commissioned for itself.

Robot Small is a really cute fig, and the model is notable because he may have use in a 15mm as a full-sized robot or 10mm as a hard suit.

I picked these animals from a few different product codes and packs just to give you an idea of the size and sculpting of Mega's animals. Even though many of the larger animal molds have been sold, at 166 different codes, Mega still has what is probably the largest selection of 28mm animal figures on the market today. The cat and dogs pictured are all only $1.43 each!

Overall, I'm very pleased with these figures. No one is going to confuse them with the hyper-detailed high-end figures from companies like Infinity or Privateer Press, but they are all well sculpted figs that are a good representation of their subject matter.

While many of Mega's propriety sci-fi and designs and reissues of classic fantasy figures are somewhat dated in scale and style, the ranges they have acquired from Demonblade and Alpha Forege are mostly from the late 90s and early 2000s and still compare very well with current styled figures in size, style and proportion.

It is also worth noting that the casts are very clean. Mold lines are no more than you would expect from the major brands, which is surprising when you consider that Mega does their own casting!

I do have to mention that one of my troopers did have a very small miscast hole in the side of his boot that will have to be filled with putty, but it was not a major issue.

I highly recommend these figures to anyone seeking sci-fi figures on a budget. Mega Miniatures has done the hobby a great service by making these great figures available again and at such a low cost.

— Karl, Chicago Skirmish Wargames club member


2 responses to “28mm on the cheap: Mega Miniatures

  1. I love miniatures and I love cheap miniatures even more! Thanks for the info, oh and by the way I’m one of the artists from the ShockForce Rule book, see below!
    http://www.chaos-arts.com/2009/10/gaming-art-work.html

  2. Glad you enjoyed it. Nice artwork on you site!
    -Karl

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