I love miniatures- I've painted them since high school, and I still paint them today. What I've found is that there is a TON of miniature manufacturers out there, and I'd like to bring them out to show people just what is out there. For the moment, I'm going to be ignoring GW and Privateer Press, mostly because they're the largest two out there. Both companies have beautiful sculpts, and I've played WH40K a lot and Warmachine less, so I want to show miniature companies that are less well known. (Those of you who remember me from Reddit know that I kinda sorta did something like this before, but much less in depth).
So that enough of explanations- on to the fun stuff!
Name: Dust Tactics/Dust Warfare
Specific Game Involved? Yes
**Specific sizes of miniatures: ** 1:48, 1:32
Dust has had a very curious life thus far- it just can't seem to keep a publisher around for very long, and they seem to have a history of pissing off their distributors. Initially distributed by Fantasy Flight Games in 2010, Dust Tactics is a grid based game centered around an alternate history of World War 2. The Nazis have discovered a material called VK, and it allows them to do all sorts of crazy things with their soldiers (making intelligent apes and Nazi zombies) and with their tanks- the signature unit of Dust, the Walker. Dust is easily recognizable based off of their walkers. The Allies got it, and it's caused the war to stretch on and truly envelop the world, eventually involving a third faction of the Sino-Soviet Union. It sounds like they're going to include aliens soon which might be the source of the VK in story, but the date on that is uncertain. Suffice to say that miniature lines are well made and they look excellent! The miniatures come pre-primed and you can immediately paint them which is quite nice, except when you need to deal with flashing.
The game uses 6-sided dice to count the number of successes, and is grid based. I'm not a huge fan of wargames on grids, so thankfully, there's Dust Warfare. Effectively, it's the same game sans grids, but it gets a lot less love from the developers. Now, that's all interesting, but what's more interesting is how long Dust is going to be around. As this is a heads up about the miniatures and less about the company I'm only going to include high points so you're aware of what's what.
Word on the street (take it with a grain of salt) is that the studio has never played well with its distributors. They apparently worked so poorly with FFG that the second that FFG had X-Wing developed, they dumped Dust. As a sign of how popular it is, FFG's holiday sales put all of their Dust catalog on massive discount- personally, I got about $500-600 worth of tanks and helicopters for about $150. It was about $9/vehicle. That's insane.
It seems like the game was popular at one time as the game has had several expansions- ten, in fact. With six under FFG and the last being kickstarted and a massive product line, the game seems like it should be massively popular. In 2013, Battlefront Miniatures took over distribution of Dust, which has lasted until this year. In May of 2014, Dust kickstarted Operation Babylon, their 10th expansion and it raised half a million dollars. The miniatures were supposed to drop in August of 2014. In July of 2015, it came to light that a major issue came between Dust and Battlefront- specifically, Battlefront was left having to cover almost $20k of free goods that were supposed to come from Dust. They have since claimed that they are done and are no longer working with Dust. This might be the straw that broke the camel's back for a large part of the community; it is worth it to know that Dust is apparently a Chinese company so caveat emptor in this case when not going through a distributor.
Okay, onto the meat of all of this. Dust's miniatures all come pre-assembled, and the majority of them are single mold cast miniatures. The minis are of very high quality and come in a series of default poses. If you like to have a large gamut of different poses, you're going to be very disappointed- I don't think there is a single infantry piece that comes in more than one pose, and they all come pre-mounted on bases (which makes basing them much harder). Now, that said, they are all pre-primed so it means you can literally take them out of the box and paint them up with very little issue. Add to that that the range is quite large and varied, and maybe that won't be an issue for you.
Dust contains Walkers (mechs taking the place of tanks), Tanks, Helicopters, Airplanes, and Infantry. The last coming in Powered Armor, Intelligent Ape, Zombie, and normal Human varieties. The range does have a lot to offer. Check them out. If you're looking for Walkers or WW2 themed infantry, they're likely going to have something to offer you. I personally love the sculpts of the SSU's Steel Guard- so badass!
The 1:48 range appears to be a small number of prepainted miniatures, so there's not much there if that's what you're looking for.
For the exceptionally lazy and rich, Dust Studios will paint your miniatures for you- for about double the cost. For your money, the miniature will come painted as you see in the picture.
Unless you're looking for their painted miniatures, avoid the Dust website like the plague- it's a giant mess. I suggest Miniature Market or FFG, as they 1) usually have the models marked down a fair amount and 2) their websites can be navigated.
- The ranges are varied and diverse
- Alt History WW2 minis that are about the same size as all other systems
- Preprimed miniatures aren't half bad
- Prices aren't half bad at the moment - $6-10 for a squad of infantry (3-5), $10-30 for a vehicle
- Creative as hell; some of the vehicles suffer for this, but aside from the aircraft it's all good
- Single cast minis means that there's no posing at all and multiple units will only net the same minis over and over
- Preprimed means that if there's flashing, off comes the primer
- The Company has issues with finding a distributor and treating them nicely. It might be hard to find product, but it seems like there's a fair amount out there atm.
- If you're not just trying to get the miniature and want to play the game, you're going to have a bad time...
I like the majority of the models, but there's no way I would have bought any of these minis if I wasn't going to use them for another purpose than playing the game. Snap up what you can- there's typically a reason that minis are cheap.