The unsung heroes of wargaming are the small manufacturers operating out of modest premises and surviving by the skill of their hands and a great deal of hard work. Without them we would have access to very limited ranges indeed.
One such is Frontline Wargaming who are a family company based locally to me in the Medway Towns. They kindly allowed me to have a snoop around on a cold snowy January afternoon, when my Ford Focus was leaking like a trawl net.
The first thing one notices when entering the nerve centre of Frontline to meet Tim, the local warlord, is that this is the domain of a wargamer, one of us, a genuine nutter. The gaming table with the assortment of replica weapons on the wall above proves that.
And here is Tim, himself. Frontline had its inception in Leicester in the 1980s when he was retailing wargame gear and models. He organised a WWII game and made scenery for it including resin trench lines. Pretty soon other club members got him to make terrain for them and he had a business.
Frontline is perhaps still known for its resin models especially an extensive and very good range of WWII vehicles in 20mm (1/76). I have bought a number of these over the years and can recommend them. A number have already featured on this blog in earlier posts, notably, his early war and Dad's Army British range which is perfect for VBCW games. he even has some armoured lorries and 1930s Vickers medium tanks.
I had a peek in the resin production room, which reminds me of the surfboard factories in my home town of Newquay. I have played around with resin myself and it is very witchcrafty. It all ain't as easy as the hobby books would have you believe.
Frontline 20mm resin models in my collection
Some early war 1940 British tanks.
An early war and colonial warfare Rolls Royce armoured car.
Beaverette improvised armoured cars to replace the losses in France, used later to guard airfields.
I might add that I paid full price for all these models and intend to buy more.
In recent years Frontline have branched out into 15mm metal production and have built up a massive range of WWI figures including all the minor powers. These are marketed under the IT brand.
Metal moulds are radial, with the molten metal poured in at the top.
A mould split open to show the solid figures. Now you know why 15mm is sold in small batches.
Some idea of the range is given by the racks of moulds.
And this is why the mould are round. Molten metal has a high viscosity and you need a centrifuge to force it down the channels into the figure bays. Apparently, everything depends on the rate of pour, coupled to the spin speed and the metal consistency and the background temperature and and and...
Some of the finished product.
I am a wonderfully cack-handed person and it always fascinates me to watch craftsmen in action.
Many thanks to Tim for taking time out in his busy schedule to show me around.