Miniatures you’ve never seen: High Command sci-fi
Here at Chicago Skirmish Wargames, we're big proponents of 28mm scale tabletop wargaming — on a budget. As well as buying from affordable outlets like Mega Minis, EM4 and Denizen, we also acquire lots of figures from companies or model lines that are now out of production. This occasional series of posts will dig deeper into the great lines of OOP miniatures that we've discovered in bargain bins, swap meets, auctions, and the other seedy locales where miniatures are traded.
Today's miniatures you've never seen: High Command sci-fi from Folio Works
This shrink-card of miniatures was offered to me by a friend at Bartertown who knows of my fondness for odd sci-fi minis. These are High Command HC 3/2 Protectorate Officers.
It's marked at DM14.90, which I assume is Deutschmarks. This pack has been on quite a journey over the past 20 years — from England, to Germany and the USA! The rear of the card has neat pictorial instructions on how to attach the weapons to their miniatures, as well as details about the date (1991) and country of origin (England).
From what I've been able to gather, Folio Works was a relatively short-lived company started by two ex-Games Workshop employees. Birthed in the early 90s, it was gone before Rogue Trader gave way to 2nd edition Warhammer 40,000. They produced a Fantasy Warlord fantasy line and a High Command sci-fi line.
Though short-lived, the figures compare well to similar early-90s miniatures and were notable for including separate metal weapons for each pack of figures, a feature that wasn't very common those days. The High Command line had figures similar to GW's Space Marines and Imperial Guard, as well as sci-fi Ratmen and Lizardmen. Some of the fantasy figures are still rumored to be produced today by other companies. Click here for more information about Folio Works and their figure lines. (EDIT: Just a few hours after this post went live, we received word that UK-based Kennington Figures still produces most of the fantasy and sci-fi figures from this line! Thanks Mike!)
As mentioned above the figures themselves compare favorably to their contemporaries. These
Protectorate Officers seem like pretty blatant compatible-with-GW-figures aimed at the 40k market.
Clearly the two figures on the right are exactly the same figure with a coat sculpted over the one on the far right. This adding or subtracting of detail to make one sculpt go further was a fairly common practice in the past, as anyone who has collected Necromunda figures will attest.
They scale fairly well with current Games Workshop offerings. When the soles of the feet are aligned, the swordsman is the same height as the GW plastic Cadian Imperial Guardsman (converted with a Pig Iron head), and the other is slightly shorter. Of course, the sculpting isn't quite up to the standards of today's generation of miniatures.
The gun sprue is nice, featuring some pretty clear copies of a GW laspistol and autopistol, along with a third gun that is somewhere between an SMG and a bolter. I imagine that hobbyists wishing to use these figures for GW games might toss out the weapons sprue altogether and just use GW weapons.
All in all, I'm pretty pleased with these figs. They'll probably be painted up as commissars when I get around to completing my Imperial Guard platoon composed entirely of Demonblade Shockforce Troopers (now sold by MegaMinis).
Coincidentally, researching these figs led to the discovery of the origin of a couple of sci-fi Ratmen that I had recieved a while back. Apparently the critters below are Ratten from High Command, though I can't tell which pack they belong to.
So there you have it: Folio Works' High Command miniatures, a long-lost line of figures from the golden-olden days of Rogue Trader. Good luck and good hunting for these figs — and if anyone has a few more Protectorate or Ratten figures they don't need, I may be willing to take them off your hands...
— Karl, Chicago Skirmish Wargames club member