Here are the side-by-side comparisons of 15 different brands of British infantry in 15mm. Detailed reviews and close up photos can be found by clicking on the manufacturer’s name. Group shots are here.
AB Figures: Let’s get right to the point: I think these are the best miniatures on the market.
Battle Honours: At its best, a very good miniature line. Many of these were sculpted by Anthony Barton who has since founded AB. Smaller and cheaper than AB, they would probably be one of my second choices. My major issue is that the quality varies quite widely from one bag to the next.
Chariot Miniatures: Limited, but easy and quick to paint. A good choice if you don’t need a lot of detail or variety in your army.
Essex Miniatures: Attack of the killer gnomes. Nicely detailed, well cast, gnome soldiers.
Falcon Figures (UK): More gnomes in uniform.
Fantassin Miniaturas: Very nice - almost on par with AB. Based on the few packs I ordered they are the 14 carat standard to AB’s 18 carat.
Irregular Miniatures: Nicely cast soldiers with moderate, but crisp, detail. Pity they don’t make Peninsular Brits.
Jacobite: Also known as makers of the lead pancake. These things are almost flats...This line has been bought by Stronghold Miniatures.
Lancashire Games: Well, they’re better than the Jacobite brand.
(May 1 2005 Update: This figure is, in fact, a rifleman which was mis-marked and which, with my lack of experience at the time, I simply painted as line infantry)
Minifigs: Moderate detail and very limited variety in the poses. But the sculpts are good, well proportioned, and easy to paint.
MJ Figures: They can be hard to get in my experience, but these are very good figures. Crisp, well detailed, and in generally good proportions (though the hands are a bit large).
Museum Miniatures: Better than many but not great. Some proportions (like hands) are off, and the poses are only so-so. Still, clean and easy to paint up nicely.
Naismith Design: A good solid entry. A bit small, but nicely sculpted, cleanly cast, and a pleasure to paint.
Old Glory: Reasonably detailed and lots of poses. The casting quality varies from good to poor and the detail can be a bit muddy. However, they are well priced and generally well proportioned.
Table Top Miniatures: Slightly mis-shapen (again, what’s with the big hands) but still will make a good looking unit on the table.
Warrior Miniatures: Portly at best, gnomish at worst, but on a par with Essex.
Wildly Inspired Miniatures: A company out of New Zealand. The figures I ordered needed a lot of cleaning up. Once completed, they are average figures. Not as “gnomish” as Essex, they remind me very much of Irregular.
Here are two group shots, showing what a unit comprised of figures from all 15 manufacturers might look like.