Archive for the ‘Martian Empires’ Category

Fighting 15s opens soon

Work is well under way on our new web shop, and Fighting 15s should be open for business again in July at – we’ll set up pointers from our existing URLs once we are ready, so it should be no trouble finding us.

We’ve been with our existing web shop provider, EKM, for more than 15 years. EKM served us very well in the early years, has been easy to setup and use, but stopped being reasonably priced a few years ago. The costs were bearable while we were the agent for AB Figures and Eureka Miniatures, but are not sustainable as just Gladiator Miniatures and Fighting 15s. EKM justified a massive hike in prices as a transformation to being “the best” ecommerce provider, but sadly it continues to fall short, with parts of the software clearly not working as intended. Squashed product images has been the latest quirk that was not been solved for months. My constant disagreements with members of EKM staff after it ditched its customer forum in favour of a community Facebook page tell me I should leave. 🙂

Fighting 15s is jumping ship to Andy at Tradestands, which provides webshops for a number of businesses in the wargames community and has come highly recommended by three people we know who use his services. Our products are now uploaded to the new shop, including 375 new images for all the flag sheets that did not have them.

We will shortly begin work on inking and photographing figures to replace the existing pictures, or to simply provide pictures for items that currently do not have pictures. This will take a long time and will be nowhere near completed by the time we reopen. Obviously we have been at work on adding pictures of painted figures to the site, but photographing figures and editing pictures to a commercially acceptable standard is slow work. It also depends on having a reservoir of cast figures to ink and photograph, which we have now built up after 21 months of running Gladiator Miniatures.

We’ve been working hard to get a cleaner website design with a number of more modern features, particularly when it comes to working on mobile devices. We are able to integrate all three of our payment gateways – PayPal, Stripe and Square – in the new shop, providing a choice of secure third-party payment systems. Apple and Google Pay should also work via the Stripe gateway.

We are still getting to grips with the software behind the new shop, although a lot of the Woocommerce setup is familiar because it’s just like using the WordPress blogs we use for news. The system feels much more modern.

Customer details are not being transferred, so regular customers will have to set up new accounts and passwords. Although this is an inconvenience, it will also purge the shop of a lot of out-of-date or irrelevant information.

Our new website is at and just to repeat we will reopen in July – hopefully at the start of the month!

Fighting 15s

Temporary closure at Fighting 15s

Fighting 15s is shut from 1 June 2020 for one month. We will be cleaning up the shop after the removal of AB Figures and Eureka Miniatures products, and working on much-needed new pictures, plus a redesign of the online shop.

All remaining AB and Eureka miniatures will either be reincarnated as new figures (melted down, if you want it brutally), or, if viable, disposed of through a specialist in secondhand figures.

We have new products of our own to develop and launch, and it is time to focus on what lies ahead, not on our past.


Fighting 15s acquires Gladiator Miniatures from Black Hat

Fighting 15s is taking over the 15mm and 18mm ranges from Black Hat Miniatures, and ownership officially transfers this weekend at Colours.

All the 15mm ranges will be sold as Gladiator Miniatures – as they were before Black Hat produced them. The 18mm Martian Empires range will be sold under the Martian Empires name in the Fighting 15s shop.

All the codes have been uploaded to the Fighting 15s shop and will go live within the next week. I have been working hard to make descriptions consistent, and remove quirks of spelling. There will still be errors that I will kick myself over each time they become apparent…

Until the moulds and stock arrive, the pictures will be the same as used by Gladiator and Black Hat – some of these go back to 2002 and the era of modems and tiny image files, and are not satisfactory for today’s website. Some codes were never photographed. I will be updating and adding photos as soon as possible, but there are more than 800 codes to ink, photograph and edit, so please bear with me.

I have all the masters and production masters, and I should take delivery of the moulds within the next week.

Looking ahead, I aim to use Fighting 15s’ shows rep, Stuart Armstrong at Colonel Bill’s, to offer army packs of the Gladiator Miniatures ranges at UK wargames shows, but this will take some months to organise. Stuart already takes some AB, Eureka and Fighting 15s figures to shows.

Mark Severin at Scale Creep Miniatures will continue to carry the figures in the USA so there should be no disruption in service to US customers. Olympian will continue to carry them in Australia.

In future, all Gladiator Miniatures will be cast in lead-free pewter. This affects the costs of figures, originally priced for a much cheaper lead-tin mix, and because adding VAT will also affect the price to customers in the EU I have taken the opportunity to reorganise the contents of many of the packs to reduce the impact on the overall price.

Standard packs of Gladiator Miniatures 15mm infantry and cavalry therefore now contain 8 infantry or 4 cavalry to fit in with the rest of Fighting 15s’ ranges – and most of the rest of the wargaming hobby. A standard pack is now £3.40 inc tax. Chariot packs and elephant packs are £3.60 inc VAT. Command packs typically contain 5 foot or 3 mounted, and cost £2.55 inc VAT – the number in a command pack varies from range to range and descriptions of command as being “1 set” will be changed as soon as possible. Standard Martian Empires packs will be £3.60 inc VAT and continue to include 8 infantry or 4 cavalry.

Note that Mike at Black Hat Miniatures will continue to produce and distribute Coat d’arms paints, as well as focus on his 54mm toy soldier business, Imperial Miniatures. Fighting 15s will continue to represent AB Figures and Eureka Miniatures in the EU.

Fighting 15s and Gladiator Miniatures


Fighting 15s:

Gladiator Minatures:

Black Hat Miniatures:


One day, all the pictures will look more like this

Martian Empires Venus supplement

The Venus supplement for Martian Empires is at first proof stage, and Mike is currently checking it over. We still have pictures to take and some maps to get drawn.

The supplement, working title From Venus With Love, includes:

History of the Anderson expedition to Venus
Lizardmen army list
Two scenarios
Revised British army lists taking in errata
FAQs and errata

I believe Mike intends it to be available as a free PDF. Mike will also no doubt think of a better title than one I pinched from The Avengers.

Designing something in anger again has sparked renewed my enthusiasm for print editions of the Huzzah! Napoleonic rules. I am currently looking at the fast-play grand tactical edition again (project title: Huzzah! GTx) with a view to publication, particularly as it would suit the forthcoming 3mm Napoleonics from Oddzial Osmy. The rules for this are complete and work, but the army lists need knocking into shape. It’s conceivable that something may be available by the time the 10th birthday of Huzzah! comes around.


Martian invaders overwhelm Surrey


Martian Empires has arrived back from the printers, and Mike now has boxes of the rules overwhelming his office in leafy Surrey. The rules are available to buy from the Black Hat Miniatures website and will also be available at Warfare in Reading.

Mike and Black Hat Miniatures are handling all sales of these rules, which will not be available though the Fighting 15s or Oozlum Games websites.