Monday 8 July 2024

Flash Gordon in 40mm - Ragnarok 2012

Confessions of a Serial Flasher

by Tony Harwood

This short article was originally produced for the Society of Fantasy and Science Fiction Wargamers magazine - Ragnarok 60. The magazine that this article was included in was never produced in printed paper form but can be found as an electronic copy. I have reproduced it with the images as it appeared in 2012. For more information of Ragnarok issue 60, see this link.

(Birdwatchers are called Twitchers – Flashers are a much rarer breed - gamer's who collect Flash Gordon miniatures).

As I browsed ebay, looking for some large resin Dwarves to convert into statues, I came across a mint, in-blister pack of (CH001) Flash and Ming from Graven Images a pair of 40mm sculpts by Jim Bowen that I believe to be some of the very best miniatures ever cast-up.

A bid was placed and very soon I was the proud owner of yet another set of 40mm Flash Gordon and Emperor Ming figures.

A similar pair of character miniatures were the first Graven Images or 40mm Cliff Hanger figures I ever bought from Monolith Designs and the start of my 40mm Flash Gordon adventure, which today boasts over 100, 40mm scale Flash Gordon themed figures based on Alex Raymond’s comic hero.

Thun (the Lionman) a converted Werewolf from Graven Images. Dale, a stock figure from the Graven Images Cliff Hanger range. Flash, a slightly modified Flash Gordon miniature from the Graven Images Cliff Hanger range and Doctor Zarkov again from the Cliff Hanger range

The original two figures quickly grew to include Professor Zarkov, Dale and some Mongo minions. With promises of more characters to come I waited patiently for Graven Images to produce more Flash inspired miniatures. And waited, and waited…..

The classical Ming the Merciless figure from the Graven Images Cliff Hanger range. Prince Vultan, a major conversion/scratch-built figure. Princess Aura, a converted Dale miniature from Graven Images and Prince Barin, another major conversion based on the Graven Image figure of Zarkov

Mongo Minions – converted soldiers from Graven Images

It soon became obvious that the promised new releases would be either delayed or as it happened never sculpted. Not being one to be hampered by the lack of similar sized or themed figures, I started looking around for suitable proxy figures to increase and supplement my collection. One of the first was Thun (the Lionman) who was a simple conversion of a 40mm Werewolf miniatures from the same manufacturer, Green-stuff and Milliput were used in the modifications and basing the miniature on the same 40mm bevelled-edged or premium round base of the earlier figures I had produced my first Flash conversion. Price Barin, Princess Aura and even Klytus followed.

(By basing ALL of the miniatures on to the same style round bases, then building the groundwork and painting them in a similar style, I believe that I have been able to maintain a level of uniformity across the widely differing models and manufacturers). 

Dragonman, a Drako figure from Alternative Armies. Moleman, a converted Reaper Ghoul. Mudman, a Reaper Elemental miniature and the Lobsterman, a Disney Pirates of the Caribbean toy figure

Some time later another set of Mongo minions and both pairs of officers were added – all three sets modified or converted in some way to follow one of my many reference sources. The inspiration I use are numerous, firstly the Alex Raymond original comic strip, secondly the Buster Crab black and white cliff hanger series, thirdly the iconic Flash film with the fantastic Queen soundtrack and then (and this may surprise some) the Flash Gordon cartoon series. Other less well know or less well advertised reference sources for Flash Gordon include the Internet, foreign language annuals and even the film Flesh Gordon!

Green, Crystal Entity from Reaper Miniatures. Frost Giant from Ral Partha. Sharkman from Reaper and Monkeyman from the Monster-in-my-Pocket toy figure set

I knew that to increase my collection I had to be more inventive in sourcing suitable figures and started to search through current and out-of production miniature manufacturer catalogues, even resorting to bargain bin purchases from traditional toy stores and UK Pound stores. To help ‘size’ suitable minis, I converted a small plastic ruler cutting it down to credit card size so I would always have a 40mm scaling chart in my wallet (and yes I still have it!)

As well as the individual figures or miniatures, I have scratch-built a Flash Gordon Rocketship, a Sci-Fi tank (from a second-hand GW Rhino) and four large terrain boards, The Tomb, The Rock Kings Throne Room, The Amber Shrine and finally, my personal favourite – The Crashed Rocketship.

Gorillion from D&D, Beastman from Reaper Miniatures, Umber Hulk from Grim Reaper and Rockman a Stone Golem from Reaper Miniatures

So far I have the obvious character miniatures, Flash, Ming, Zarkov, Dale, then Prince Barin, Aura and even Prince Voltan. The Mongo minions and a whole host of creatures – Mudmen, Lionmen, Molemen, Beastmen, Hawkmen, etc. The collection also includes Harpy Bats, Mud Monsters, Lizard or Insectmen, Robotmen and Robots, Dinosaurs, Ice Giants and Dragons, the list is almost endless.

Spaceape, a converted Werebear from Graven Images. Lizardman, a D&D/Marvel Dragonman. Swampman, a converted Swamp Monster/Troll from Privateer Press and resin Wind Elemental from Grendel 

In addition to the original Graven Images figures, the collection includes miniatures from; Games Workshop, Mithril Miniatures, Privateer Press, D&D plastics, Superheroes, a Tescos Dinosaurs, Foundry, Hoards of the Things, Disney franchise toys, Monster-in-my-Pocket, Reaper Miniatures, Heroclix, Spartan Games, Grim Reaper, Lance & Laser, Alternative Armies, Dick Garrison, Bronze Age Miniatures, Grenadier Miniatures, Ral Partha, Flashing Blades, Dark Age, Hydra and even Star Wars. Most are converted or at least modified. The huge variation in manufacturer linked by one thing – their scale, 40mm tall or can be used alongside my 40mm tall Flash Gordon miniatures.

The Robots – Dick Grayson Robot, modified Hydra Legionnaires Robot, Tomb Guard from Privateer Press and modified Salute limited edition Robot

As well as the figures, the books, the annuals and the magazines, I have a number of ‘Golden-Age Sci-Fi or Pulp Wargame rules, however, I have still to find the perfect Flash Gordon Skirmish Rules. A challenge for the future!

You can read more about this even increasing collection by checking-up on my Blog and searching the Label Flash Gordon (link;

I hope you enjoy this blast-from-past.



Codsticker said...

Oh man, I haven't seen that Ral Partha giant in ages. For a few years when I was an early teen I played D&D and that giant was one of my favourite minis.

Tony said...

I believe that there are two versions of this iconic miniature (not so miniature). While I was searching for this figure I remember seeing another slightly different sculpt.