Tuesday, May 17, 2011

The Minifigs Chronicles - Part 2

Once I had established that the ships were Minifigs, I contacted Bob Cordery for further information. He was kind enough to share with me what he knew about them, as well as mentioning that there was a Minfigs catalog listing for these ships.  Inquiring further at TMP, member Old Metal Detector was a great help in posting the list on his blog Vintage Wargaming, reproduced here:

Interestingly, I have several ships which are not on this list. First, there are no "early turret battleships".  They are earlier protected or 2nd/3rd class cruisers. Even assuming that two of the following ships are categorized as such, I still have extra (uncertain ID's in parentheses):

Hull ID       Cat.      Class                                Length
B  VII         BB       Orion                                93mm     
B  IX          BB       Queen Elizabeth                99mm
C  XVI       BC       Indomitable                        91mm
C  VII        AC       Monmouth                         76mm
C  X           CL       (Forward)                           66mm
C  III          PC       Edgar                                68mm
C  II           PC       (Pelorus)                           65mm 
C  V          PC       Highflyer                            67mm   
The scales are variable. For hull length, the lighter ships scale out close to 1/1500 or slightly larger.  On the other end of the spectrum, the larger ships are proportionally smaller, for instance the Lion measures 1/2100.  While the larger dreadnoughts can fit inside a Jane's 1/1920 profile for length, they tower over it for height. Hence given the high freeboards and exaggerated funnels, the nominal scale of 1/1500 mentioned elsewhere is probably as good a generalization as we're going to get considering the overall impression of bulk. 

What I find interesting is that Minifigs could neither specify the scale on the original listing, nor categorize them all correctly.  And what do the Roman numeral ID #'s on the hulls signify as they bear no relationship to the Minifigs catalog numbers ?   While the extra vessels could well be a matter of later expanding the line beyond the initial offerings, there's an element of mystery about these inconsistencies.  All of which lead me to the following supposition: I suspect that Minifigs did not originally commission these ships.  I'm more inclined to believe they came into possession of original molds or masters, or perhaps remastered pre-existing castings. If so, who produced the originals, and when ?  I welcome further comment about this and if you have additional information by all means weigh in.   

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