Preface: Folio Works
Fantasy Warlord sought to inject the game with numerous innovations from the historical wargaming hobby, from the point of view of which Warhammer's system was seen as a bit antiquated, even in the late 80s. This included elements that would later be utilized in Warmaster, such as a command/control system and emulation of fog of war, as well as more unique approaches such as simultaneous movement. The game eschewed the options and dynamics of Warhammer Fantasy Battles for a more overtly "balanced" approach. And like Warhammer, the game included an original fantasy setting: the world of Vortimax. An in-house magazine was even launched to support the game, cheekily entitled "Red Giant".
Simultaneous with Fantasy Warlord's release, Folio Works launched a full range of 25mm miniatures, produced under license by Alternative Armies. Our old friend Bob Olley is known to have done some of the sculpts.
HC6/1 Ratten Pack Troops (above), Lost Minis Wiki also lists HC6/2 Ratten Pack Commanders and HC6/3 Ratten. Overall, I like them quite a bit. (I don't know who the sculptor was , but considering these were done by someone at Alternative Armies, let me scrunch my nose in frustration once again that their Highlander Ratmen of Joccia line couldn't have had this level of quality or general "Rattyness").
After Folio Works Inc. was dissolved, the rights to some of the figures went to Mayhem Miniatures, who were in turn bought out by SHQ Miniatures, which still offer the Ogres and Hill Orks from the FW line. If either Mayhem or SHQ's acquisitions inclued the Ratten molds, I've seen no indication thereof. Apparently Alternative Armies also retained a number of molds which they are willing to cast on request, so we will see if my enquiry in that regards bears any fruition.
I'd like to take this moment to thank Karl Tebb of The Old School Miniatures facebook group, who inadvertently called my attention to these minis when he was looking for identification (and Geoff Solomon-Sims for summoning me).
The Lost Ratmen Range
But there was another company in the 90s that attempted to undercut GW in a very specific market. Being a Warhammer fan in Australia has always been a bit of a rough going. With GW's non-standardized pricing structure, the cost of the hobby down under verges on twice that of those in Europe or North America. And so it was that an Adelaide-based company by the name of Inquisition Miniatures created a range of fantasy minis to compete with GW. Offered through Military Hobbies and at half the price or less than contemporary Citadel miniatures, Inquisition provided a viable alternative for Aussie hobbyists and produced an admirably-sized range of fantasy armies full of variety. This included the "not-Skaven" Vermin Rats.
And so I thought for a while that Inquisition would never be featured in this series beyond a mention, which is a tragic shame as their Vermin Rats line was not only extensive, it featured tantalizing descriptions:
IVR01 General with sword & rifle
IVR02 Champion with axe
IVR03 Fighter with spear & shield
IVR04 Fighter with sword & shield
IVR05 Fighter with halberd
IVR06 Priest with magic club
IVR07 Magic user with ball & totem
IVR08 Assassin with fighting claws
IVR09 Assassin with 2 daggers
IVR10 Slave with club & shield
IVR11 Slave with spear
IVR12 Animal handler
IVR13 Standard bearer with sword
IVR14 Flame thrower team
IVR15 'Rat' Cannon
IVR16 Gatling gun team
IVR17 General with rifle riding giant rat
IVR18 Rat rider with sword & shield
IVR19 With bow
IVR20 Klu Klux Klan style priest with sensor
IVR21 Firing rifle
IVR22 With mace & shield
IVR23 With sword & knife
IVR24 With sword & shield above head
IVR25 War altar with wizard & bell
IVR26 Grand war general on 2 giant rats
IVR27 High priest pointing
IVR28 Hero with 2 handed sword
IVR29 Gladiator with net & trident
IVR30 Fighter with poleaxe
IVR31 Fighter with 2 swords
IVR32 Fighter with sword & shield
IVR34 Vermin Rat with crossbow
IVR35 Command pack
IVR36 Spear pack
IVR37 Hero pack
IVR38 Assassin with blowpipe
IVR39 Assassin with cloak & dagger
IVR40 Seer with horns & dagger
IVR41 Gas grenade thrower
IVR42 Oriental vermin with 2 handed sword
IVR43 Oriental vermin with halberd & helmet
IVR44 Oriental vermin with double ended blade
IVR45 Oriental vermin with halberd
IVR46 Assassin pack
IVR47 Magician pack
IVR48 Oriental vermin pack
Of special note is IVR16, the Gatling Gun, premiering over a decade before GW released their Ratling Gun weapons team.
And there we have it folks, the final entry in this series. One may note one significant omission here: the wererats and ratmen of the pre-painted ranges such as D&D minis, Pathfinder pre-painted miniatures, and the various click-based gamelines. This was intentional, I'm afraid. While they perhaps deserve some exploration in a later post, they represent an adjacent hobby to the miniature wargames that spawned The Skaven, and would largely not be presented as alternatives to Ratmen for inclusion in an army.
I'll leave you now with another curiosity, a 1/15 scale model Ratman sculpted by Chris Clayton of the now defunct ccmodelworks.