Here comes Santa Claus, Here comes Santa Claus…
My slightly irregular regular gaming group likes a good Christmas game as much as a cup of hot rum punch and a blazing Yule Log. So to satiate their unnatural desires to spill bright green elf blood, I’m trying to submerge myself in full-blown Santa Claus figure lore, and share my findings here. Presuming I haven’t been ridden out of cyber-town on a rail by then, I’ll check in this time next year to see if we have any developments on the Santa front.
The following companies have current lines of what I like to call “delightfully warped Christmas themed figures”:
WARGAME SUPPLY DUMP (United Kingdom)] “Santa Claus Wars” line
TEAM FROG STUDIOS (Texas, United States) “Christmas Wars” line
AMAZON MINIATURES (UK) “Santa Claus Gang” line.
In addition, some figure companies have released onesie and twosie figures over the years. FOUNDRY had a wonderful “Father Christmas” promotional figure about four years ago, and RAL PARTHA (if I’m remembering this correctly) had some Christmas themed figures (never more than two or three, though).
On to our survey. Please note that the ratings and opinions are my own.
Grading in three categories: Depth, Artistry, and Execution, on points assigned to grades, 12 for A+, 1 for D- (there is no F).
Wargame Supply Dump’s Santa Claus Wars line
Depth of Line: A- WSD has a very nice selection, 15 figures including Mr. and Mrs. Claus, “Jack Frost” (that was inspired), a Fairy Queen, 6 animated Snow Men with weapons, 1 Snow Beast (like the Bumble from Rudolph), 4 elves.
My only complaint: no reindeer, needs more elves. Scores bumps up with the addition of the Fairy Queen and Jack Frost.
Artistic Interpertation: B+ WSD’s use of highly modern weaponry for their entire line just doesn’t fit my personal version of “armed Santa’s elves”. Shotguns and pistols, maybe.. Santa with a .30 cal, maybe. But all those assault weapons? And what’s up with dressing the elves in British Army uniforms? They look like trolls.
Execution: A These figures look well proportioned, superbly sculpted with a lot of detail. Santa stands at the ready, the picture of quiet malevolence. Mrs. Claus looks querelous and grumpy. I particularly liked the “Snow Beast” and the snowmen.
Some Pictures (all copyright Wargame Supply Dump)
Overall Rating: Numerical 30, averaging out to a solid A.
WSD Order polcies are explained here. Payment is in U.K. pounds only, but he can also do paypal.
Team Frog Studios “Christmas Wars” line
Depth of Line: A+ Team Frog really shines here. Santa, Fast Eddie, Mr. Winkie, 4 Christmas Elves in 2 poses, the North Pole, “The Snowman Legion” complete with casualty markers, gun-toting penguins, Santa command group, and flying! reindeer, abomniable showman, Scrooge, yeti, cute animals, weapons packs, Sentry Christmas trees. The folks at Team Frog have great imaginations.
Artistic Interpertation: B+ Dovetails into Team Frog’s “Critter Commando” visual style (there are several dogs, ducks, and hamsters in the mix, somehow). Very cartoony, which is not to my tastes. Score bumps up for the idea of “Sentry Trees”, the actual North Pole, and the wickedly funny snowman casualty markers.
Execution: B- These figures are proportioned well when compared to each other, but won’t mix very well with other, less cartoony looking figures. Guns are HUGE… The Scrooge figure not only doesn’t match *my* concept of a thin, ascetic Victorian miser, it likely doesn’t match anybody else’s notion, either. The Abonimable Snowman looks like a walking pile of clay.
Note: The site could use some more descriptive photos. Here are a few. All pictures copyright Team Frog Studios.
Overall Rating: Numberical 28, averaging out to a B+
Team Frog’s ordering and payment policies are explained here. Team Frog does Paypal.
Amazon Miniatures’ Santa Claws Gang
Depth of Line: B+ Many elf figures repeat, but you get a fair number of them in the “Bad Elves” blister. About 6 original elf sculpts. 1 sugar plum fairy “pack” with elf repeats, 1 Santa, 1 Mrs. Claus, 1 “Black Pete” (very inspired, a rarity in the US), A Snow Queen “pack” (with elf repeats). Two Animated Snowmen sculpts. Inexplicably, 1 “gang of naughty children”, and a “Schoolmaster spanking naughty student”. (Couldn’t resist the last one). Score goes up for the addition of “Black Pete”, or “Black Peter”, the mostly European legend of the guy who actually puts the coal in people’s stockings…and the figure is actually “black”! The line needs reindeer!
Artistic Interpertation: AProbably the best elves of the lot, in my opinion. Proportioned well, and sculpted with lower tech weaponry. All the things you expect with elves– pointy shoes, funny hats, pointy ears… they are there. Sugar Plum Fairy is a particularly good concept, as is Black Pete. The professor and kids seem wildly out of place, though.
Execution: A These figures look well proportioned, superbly sculpted with a lot of detail. Santa chomps on a se-gar as he sprays full auto. Mrs. Claus is a bit too cutesie for the line. The elves look like the “naughty kids” recast with elf clothing, which they probably are. This gives them the impression of having big heads. Still, I like their facial expressions, clothing, and weaponry. The line needs to be expanded.
Some Pictures (all copyright Amazon Miniatures)
Overall Rating: Numberical 31, averaging out to a solid A.
Single Figure Section
Noticed on the Foundry website
Figure images and line copyright the Foundry.
A very impressive Ebenezer Scrooge:
and a very comical Bazooka toting Santa:
and Santa being held up at gunpoint by some Greenies:
I’m unsure where you can go to get any of the Foundry figures, they appear to be promtional items. Foundry’s ordering policies can be found here
The Ever Whimsical Mark Copplestone weighs in with his version of Santa Claus.
Santa has a sexy assistant, too. It wouldn’t be a stretch to convert some of Mark’s “High Adventure” line (in the Polar Perils section) to do double duty for a North Pole scene. He also has some dandy Evil Snowmen in the fantasy range. Copplestone is available HERE and from RLBPS in the United States. Ordering policies on the respective pages.
Shadowforge, in Australia, has a nice little vignette that would add to any North Pole setting:
In the Legends of Yesteryear line, Citadel did many HOLIDAY THEMED SANTA figures, back in the day.
You Can Help with the Santa Survey!
If you know of another line of figures with a Christmas theme, please contact me, and I will update this list during the year. If you are a manufacturer with additions to your line, please contact me before December next year and I’ll update next time I publish this in Dec 2006.
Thanks to all of my fellow TMPers for their suggestions!