Saturday, September 28, 2013

The Future for Fife & Drum and Minden

Celebrations abound over the news of the Minden and Fife & Drum merger.

The response to the news of the Minden- Fife & Drum merger has been very favorable across the various forums and outposts of the wargaming community and I want to thank everyone for their kind comments. I am currently working up some advertising copy so that we can include a full page announcement in the next issue of (#367) of Miniature Wargames so that we can introduce the fine Minden range to the wargaming public in general.

Minden Prussian infantry painted as IR1 von Winterfeld Regiment with GMB flags. These figures will also work as AWI Hessian musketeers.

So what happens next?

Moving The Inventory: The first thing is to start the process of moving the extensive pile of inventory from the UK to the US and according to Frank, there is a LOT of inventory to move -- something on the order of a dozen or more boxes. Yikes! I figure that it could take 4 to 8 weeks to get all of that done, and then unpack and store the new figures in parts bins, etc, etc. before I will be ready to open the doors for trading.

F&D Still Open For Business: In the interim, Fife & Drum AWI figures and AWI/SYW era artillery equipment are still available for order shipping now. It is rather fortuitous that we can directly pair the F&D artillery equipment up with the Minden SYW artillery crews. It's not that I foresaw this merger coming, by any means, but rather, that I commissioned the French and Prussian artillery because (a) I had found a good sculptor for the equipment, and (b) I needed 1/56 scale artillery for my own Minden armies. Now that Minden is in the fold, we will certainly want to add Austrian artillery pieces to the range as well as add more to the existing French, Prussian and British range of artillery. Can you say Brummers ?

Setting Up Shop (on-line ordering): Next on my list is setting up an on-line web site with a shopping cart feature so that our customers can order direct rather than via e-mail. Now that our range has close to 400 different figures, the sheer size of the venture requires bona fide on-line shopping.  I would also like to develop the web site so that it includes informational content such as wargame scenarios, uniform information, down-loadable rules and much more.

UK Distributor: This is probably the number one question asked of me by our Euroland customers, "are you going to have a distributor in the UK to serve the UK and Europe?"  It would certainly make sense to have both Fife & Drum and Minden figures available in the UK, especially since the figures are manufactured in the UK by Griffin Moulds. This will take a bit of time to work on as I don't personally know anyone in the UK who is in the figure sales/distribution and in my book, having a good personal relationship with your potential business partner is the most important variable in the mix. So if I can find that person, and the distribution arrangements are economically viable for both parties, then I can foresee having a UK distributor in the future.

In the interim though, I plan to subsidize Euroland purchases by"eating" a large portion of the shipping cost (up to say, $25 in shipping costs) by providing free shipping in Euroland for several months to see how this works out. This should help to even out the purchasing cost for someone who was previously buying the figures directly from Frank in the UK.  The rest of world: you will still have to pay full shipping cost with your order as you were already doing so before the merger. Obviously our customers in the USA will benefit from lower shipping costs and quicker delivery, now that the Minden figures will be warehoused in the USA.

New Figures/Additions to the Range: We will continue to add new figures to both the Minden and the Fife & Drum figure ranges. In the short term, Richard Ansell and I are working toward meeting our Kickstarter commitments for AWI cavalry, Hessians, Highlanders and French. At some point in 2014, I expect to add some new Minden figures to the range and then going forward, alternate releases between AWI and SYW on a regular basis. The first Minden releases under the new regime will probably cover the Western Germany theatre of operations (i.e. French, British and Allies). It pains me to say that as personally I would rather add more Prussians for my own selfish purposes, but the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few, as someone once said.

Some of these would look nice in the Minden range of figures.

Hessians for the AWI: Yes, we still intend to add Hessians to the Fife & Drum range for the AWI, but in doing some research, it occurs to me that the Hessians still wore gaitors for much of the war and only a few regiments converted to the one-piece "overalls" leg wear. So that means that you could use Minden SYW Prussians for your AWI Hessians. So if you absolutely can't wait for the F&D Hessians, why not consider buying some Minden Prussians to get a head start on your Hessian army. I have been doing the same thing in my own AWI British/Hessian army. Since both ranges are made by the same sculptor, why not?

Are You Going to Add Russians to the Minden Range? :  Eventually, I am sure, but I have a lot of other things that I want to add to fill out the existing Minden range of figures before embarking on adding Russians. I really can't stray too far from the AWI until we meet our Kickstarter obligations. Once those have been put into production, then due consideration can be made for adding Russians and more of the things that I want for my own collection (see below).

What is on Fritz's Minden Wish List?
Owning your own miniatures business is sort of like handing over the keys to the candy store to a 10-year old. It seems that you could have almost anything that you wanted. That is true with a miniatures business to some degree, but consideration has to be given to what the customers want, while at the same time, not pushing Richard to the point of exhaustion with endless demands for new stuff. But if I could snap my fingers and have it all, here are some of the things that I would want to add to the Minden SYW range, in no particular order:

1. Prussian Guards (IR6, IR15/I Liebgarde, IR15 2nd and 3rd battalions.)
2. Prussian von Kliest Freikorps (dragoons, hussars, Kroaten infantry, lancers)
3. Prussian horse artillery
4. Prussian Bosniaks
5. Firing line poses for all the nations in the range
6. Austrian horse grenadiers and carabiniers
7. French Maison du Roi cavalry and Gardes Francaises
8. French infantry and cavalry in bearskins
9. Irregular Croats for the War of Austrian Succession (i.e. an assortment of unmatched uniforms) both       in skirmishing and "looting" poses.

This is by no means the ultimate list of Minden additions, so if something has been left off the list, do not fear, we will probably get to it in due time.


  1. This really sounds great. Do you think a painting service could ever be part of the venture?

  2. I think that commission painting will have to be discontinued for awhile as I have a lot more to handle these days.

    I have quite a few commissions in the backlog related to the Kickstarter project so I will have to clear all of those out before accepting any new orders.

  3. For what it is worth, I'd try Empress Miniatures as your UK partner. A small company, focussed on quality castings that have distinctiveness in the market.

    There would be no overlap at all in the ranges.

    I have no connection to the company.

  4. Congrats on the merger, that's two superb ranges in one!

  5. Interesting times ahead for you Jim and for hobbydom generally.
    Best wishes for the new venture!
    Duke of Tradgardland

  6. Fantastic news. So good that I´m now thinking about to begin a SYW project...
    The idea of using Empress is not bad. They have a great catalogue of other´s products and their service is very good.

  7. Hello, Jim.

    I really like your "wish list", especially the French cavalry & infantry with Bearskin hats. I hope this includes the Cuirassiers du Roi.

    As I really like the marching pose for the line troops, I would be ok with delaying the firing line pose in preference for the other types.

    I would also hope that some Hanoverian/ British Horse grenadiers might come along.

    As far as the Minden line goes, I was a little disappointed that the French Hussars didn't have the ribbon & plume on the side of the mirliton. Any chance the moulds could be slightly modified to fix this? Or perhaps a small glue-on accessory of same would be easier?

    Would you consider a kick-starter program for the SYW ranges?

    All the best with this venture,

    Cheers, Rohan.

  8. I am considering using Kickstarter to fund a Russian range in the future. However, I want to hold off on this until the AWI Kickstarter obligations are fulfilled, otherwise the backers of the Russian project might have to wait two years before they see any figures.

    Cuirassiers du Roi and French cavalry in bearskins and the Royal North British Dragoons (the Grays) will probably comprise our first new Minden releases.

  9. Any plans on adding a few F&I War figures?
    Thank you

  10. Salut!
    ....firing line poses for all nations.
    OMG (my not loved internet shortcut language ;)), that sounds very fine.
    Ok, organisation 'problems' must be solved, but your ideas are only great. Also russians... sure then not only for 'Minden' battle, then its an overall SYW. But remember russians had summer and winter uniforms, factly in summer without green coat. Should be regarded.
    And clear, hessians adopted absolutely prussian fashion, like other german countries.

    I have momentary only one wish, that the plans you have 'Alte(r) Fritz' will be successfull enough, you are able to realise all you want, that seems what i want :).

    I am really nosy now when the new blog will be online, or perhaps a homepage with 'real' shop... anyway most important i am able to order the figures and they will find the way over the sea to me!^^ then i am happy.

    Best regards, even better wishes from Mid-Europe from a real 'half-prussian' (not a Brandenburger) ;-).

  11. All I can say is best of luck to you Jim! The future is bright for the Minden range - and NOT just because I'm considering adding some Minden French to my F&IW collection!

    It's exciting to watch your miniature line grow and prosper!!


  12. Reich Duke Wilhelm is extremely excited by your new venture. Finally, I will actually be able to have computer connectivity with Minden figures. What a marvelous world we live in. Best regards, Bill

  13. Wow..that was unexpected news. I loved doing business with Frank and think Mindens are the best! Now I learn Jim purchased the Minden line and though I will miss Frank, I could not imagine a better man than Jim to continue the outstanding work and service. I look forward to purchasing more Mindens for my still growing collection. Huzzah!

    Mesa, AZ

  14. Great ideas for the future potential releases - especially for the French. firing lines are also a great idea.

    Re a European distributor I can only recommend you have a word with Henry as I'm sure he would be able to advise.


  15. Regarding the F&I War, that is something that I am strongly considering too. It's not my favorite conflict to game, but there are some obvious synergies between the two ranges ( regulars and militia, and Indians could be used in the AWI) so,it would make sense to delve into this period too.

  16. Huzzah! Huzzah! Huzzah!

    I'd second the comment re Empress Top company with a focus on quality. I've had a very good experience commissioning my Third Afghan War range with them.

  17. Hi,

    Thanks for the suggestions about us supporting these great ranges in the UK and Europe.

    The short answer is yes we would be very interested in chatting about the idea.

    We do carry other companies ranges that we believe have the same attention to historic accuracy and detail and these figures certainly tick that criteria. Added to this we have a passion for the period ourselves, infact I am just painting some US Militia : ) Honest!

    If you want to chat about it then please drop us a line on;
    Kind regards,

  18. This merging movement of Fife & Drum and Minden has been great news, specially for the chance both to merge both in Imagi-Nations and then to save on shipping costs.
    Good wishlist too, but if I may ask, being that we got jägers and grenzers (and legion d'Hainaut) and it seem we'll get croats, is there any chance that you consider French (/Spanish) miquelettes?

  19. Great News!!

    Still hoping for Hessians, or if not, could we at least vary the Prussian poses? All march attack does not give much room for diorama type work.

  20. Great and sad news at the same time
    It is sad that Frank won’t continue with Minden but I am glad he did pass his ranges to Jim. Your plan for the SYW is great news. Will the AWI horses Richard is doing at the moment fit to the Minden cavalry-figures? That would add even more variation. I have one request: the only real missing figure in Franks ranges so far is the Prussian Fuselier Standard Bearer. Is it possible to close that gap?
    Thank you and all the best

  21. Hello @additz,

    with the standard bearer you are right, i solved that 'problem' in the way i headed a musketeer standard bearer and a fusileer and put the fusileer head on the 'former' musketeer body. But perhaps there will be a fusileer with standard as figure in future. Who knows.

    One aspect for prussian fusileers, perhaps as idea. The fusileer models have lapels, but if i remember right there were 1756 seven regiments without any lapels, seven with lapels and two with laces (two is few ;)). Removing lapels is more complicate than painting some.

    Best regards

  22. I plan to add more of the Prussian uniform variations, and there are so many, so there will be musketeers, fusiliers and grenadiers without lapels in the future.

    I did not know that the fusilier colour bearer wore a mitre. I had assumed that they would wear a hat. Can you confirm this?

    And yes, all of the Fife & Drum horses are suitable for the Minden cavalry. As Richard said, we now have one of the largest selections of horses in any range by combining the two companies.

    I'm always open to ideas for new Minden figure poses, so keep them coming.


  23. Hello, Jim, Gentlemen. I also thought that the Prussian Fahnrich wore a tricorne as an officer, but this quote from that wonderful site Kronoskaf suggests that this may not be so :-

    Here follows an excerpt from William Faucitt's 1757 translation of "Regulations for the Prussian Infantry" explaining how the colour bearers were organized:
    Chapter I, Article IV:
    " Two of the ten non-commissioned Officers to every Battalion-company, are to be gentlemen; one whereof must be the Color-bearer: of the eight, which remain, are one chief-Serjeant, two Serjeants, one Captain at Arms, one Fourier, and three corporals. The Grenadier-companies having no Colors, are consequently without color bearers, their ninth non-commissioned Officer, is therefore a Corporal. The eldest of the two Gentlemen, appointed to every Battalion-company, carries the Colors, and is called the Color-bearer. This is a post, which all persons that come into the Prussian Army, are first obliged to serve in, from which they are appointed Officers according to seniority. This rule is never deviated from, but upon extraordinary occasions; neither can anyone be promoted to the rank of an officer, who is not a Gentleman born, as no commissions are allowed to be sold."

    Cheers, Rohan.

  24. Hello everybody,

    all the (German) sources I have clearly state, that the Fusilier Standard beare wore the mitre. All German producers of Flats (I know) designed them with mitre.


  25. Salut,

    its easy to explain, the standard bearers were lower seargents, (frei)corporals, and so dressed like seargents, with mitre, like for Grenadiers. If they would bear hats then they must! wear officer uniforms. But they were no officers.

    Best regards!

  26. Dear DAF,

    Proposals for the MInden figures sound FANTASTIC! All power to you, Jim, for stepping manfully into the breach!


  27. when can I order MIndens from you Jim? I'm after 120 French infantry for four battalions of Wild Geese


    Steve (based in the UK)

  28. We are shipping the inventory to the US in groups of 2-3 boxes at a time. I hope to have all the stock on hand around the first week of November , at which time I will post announcements here and around the Internet and start accepting orders.

    And to think, this all started with me asking Frank if he had any Prussian cuirassiers in stock. :)

  29. "Regarding the F&I War, that is something that I am strongly considering too."

    That would be great.
    Thank you

  30. Thanks Jim

    My only worry now is the relatively arbitrary and expensive handling charges and taxes the UK postal service charge on packages from the USA. I used to be a big Brigade Games customer, until these levies were introduced several years ago. I've heard various forum rumours that if you mark the package as a gift or some such, they only apply the handling charge, though I couldnt vouch for that. Worrying. Maybe a UK agent isn't such a bad idea.....

  31. It is hit or miss on the taxes, so it would seem. Within the past several days I had one customer report that he paid no extra charges at the post office while another fellow paid a large amount ( although he had three heavy boxes in his shipment, to be fair)

  32. More hit than miss in my experience.......:-))))

  33. And mine!, seriously the UK post office are getting much more consistent in applying the charges which does make a significant difference to the cost.
    Many congratulations on the marriage of the 2 ranges I am sure it will be a great success.
    If everyone is putting forward new figure suggestions can I plead for a new Austrian infantry officer in a stiff formal pose. Not everyone likes all their officers waving!
    best wishes
    clive waterhouse

  34. Guys,

    And now wehave the John Ray book for further inspiration!


  35. Theo: john's book is very inspirational. In fact, I've just decided that I really really need some Saxon Lieb Garde Grenadiers.

  36. Hello, Jim. I sent an order for F&D figures to the email address stated, and am not sure it got through. However, I am also aware you are very busy with the Minden acquisition. Cheers, Rohan.

  37. Rohan: yes, I received it and will process it within the next couple of days. Thank you in advance your order.


  38. Thanks, Jim. All sorted. Cheers.



    Has anyone an update on this with regards to possible appearance?


  40. I think that the book has been postponed indefinitely. Duffy seems more interested in the Jacobite Rebellion

  41. Hi Jim,

    Many congratulations with your purchase of Minden Miniatures: it's reassuring the range is to continue and is in good hands. I hope you'll be able to secure a sound UK-based partner when you're ready to take that step.

    You have a very exciting Vision for developing the range further.
    As a small suggestion, it would be useful to have a marching Austrian Grenzer figure, which IMO would nicely round off that unit type.

    All the best with your expanding venture!

  42. That's great news. the best of luck with the new venture. If you're building an online shop I can recommend Open Cart. it's what I used to build my own online store (Orinoco Miniatures).
    Best regards,

  43. Hello,

    I am a regular visitor of both Minden and F&D websites. I like the general style of the miniatures, but I must confess one thing is keeping me off: The lack of variations within each general figure pose. Without variations, units look robotic for my taste... :-(
    I think the current market leaders in 28mm now are very conscious of the importance of offering variations. Have you considered this?

  44. @ Anonymous: perhaps you don't understand the original premise of the Minden SYW range, and that is that the soldiers were professionals who were trained extensively in close order drill. Anyone who was out of step or busy doing a "Hi Steve" glance at his neighbor to his left or right would have to face the wrath of his NCO. Accordingly, the Minden regular infantry march in step.

    The pose has the added benefit of the sculptor being able to use the same Dollie over and over again in order to save time and effort on the sculpting. This has allowed Frank to turn out an incredible number of new figures since Minden began in 2008.

    I would also point out that the light infantry come in a greater variety of poses that you might fancy. To my eye, I like seeing regular formed infantry in lock step and irregular troops looking rather, um, irregular. :)

    Now that said, I would like to add some firing line poses for each of the major countries to add some variety to the look of the tabletop forces. Hopefully, we can entice you into buying some Minden Miniatures. :)



  45. An additional thought: take a look at the British range and the Highlanders therein to see quite a nice variety of poses. We might do the same for the other armies.

    Also, the Fife & Drum AWI is less formal than the Minden range and has a lot of variety in the poses.

  46. Looking forward to seeing the Minden range back on sale in due course. I'm keen to order for a syw project I'm kicking off inspired by John Ray's book "a military gentleman" and a conversation with him.

    Sight concerns about ordering from the us and customs charges, etc but I hope you are able to find a uk distributer in time. The aforementioned Empress Miniatures might be worth chatting to - I'm sure you'll be able to get some references for them thru various hobby sources. Either way I hope the new venture goes well and I'm looking forward to seeing the we store up soon.


    The Emir