2000AD is a stalwart of British comics, having been around since 1977 and gained legions of fans around the world. The comic is often seen as a sounding board for social and political issues of the current time, often using satire as a means to attack the establishment or stick it to the man! To mark the anniversary of the passing of Carlos Ezquerra, I am going to take a look at 2000AD and Judge Dredd I will look at the history of 2000AD in miniature form, from white metal models to plastic kits! I will try to cover everything that has been made and credit where possible,
2000AD has also been the birthplace of some of the world’s greatest comic book writers and artists, many who cut their teeth on the British weekly comic book, and found fame and fortune in America, writing movies or novels. Names such as John Wagner, the late legendary Carlos Equzerra; the co creators of Judge Dredd and Strontium Dog are quite well known, but other 2000AD ilumnis include Alan Moore, Simon Bisely, Colin McNeil, Brian Bolland, Dan Abnet, Cam Kennedy, Garth Ennis and Neil Gaiman to name but a short handful of the famous writers and artists who got their big break via 2000AD!
Naturally when you have a comic book that is successful you will get approached by people who want to use your intellectual property and produce a product based upon your works, and 2000AD is no exception to this.
Every story has a beginning and ours starts way back in 1978. The world was in the grip of a global unemployment glut that had started a few years earlier and would continue for several more. Punk was a huge thing that showed its teeth to society and then quickly vanished to be replaced by that smooth sound of Disco. Star Wars had broken all sorts of box office records and had set the trend for the summer blockbuster, changing the face of cinema forever.
Meanwhile, 2000AD was still in its infancy, just a year old and the comic book, was then owned by IPC Publishing. This first part is a little fuzzy and depending on who you ask in the worlds of Judge Dredd and 2000AD, you may likely get a differing answers, but someone made the decision to license out the likeness of Judge Dredd and Titan Books under the name of Titan Productions (the then-parent company of Forbidden Planet) produced a range of 54mm tall miniatures based on Judge Dredd and other characters from 2000AD.
As to who made the decision I am not really sure, but I would imagine that it came from up high within the comic book and passed down the chain. The miniatures were only available initially at Forbidden Planets stores in London and a short while later New York and were sculpted by Citadel Miniatures under license to Titan and IPC. Again it gets fuzzy as to who sculpted the miniatures but it is down to a selection famous sculptors, Ally Morrison or Bob Naismith, but most likely Alan and Michael Perry, ias we know Sam Slade was sculpted by Alan Perry (many thanks to my dear friend David Woods for the detective work!) If anyone does know for sure however, then please leave a comment in the comments section.
Regardless of who sculpted the miniatures, they were without a shadow of a doubt some of the finest that had ever been done, especially for the time they were cast and the techniques used in the late 70s. Coming in at 54mm they tower over modern-day miniatures and the attention to detail and likeness was amazing. Based mostly on the artwork of Brian Bolland, the range covered mostly Judge Dredd and his early adventures, including the first Mega-Epic The Cursed Earth. The miniatures were released from late 1978 right through till around 1981 and consisted of the following.
Spikes Harvey Rotten
Robohunter Sam Slade (Scultped by Alan Perry)
Fink Angel and Ratty
NB: I am unable to find any images of the ABC Warriors so if anyone has any please let me know.
Here is a link to some images of the long out of production models
The line remained in stores for many years after it was first released and only seemed to vanish once stocks had run out. Again not to sure who sculpted the miniatures but most likely Bob Naismith or the Perry twins. Of the range of miniatures, only Robohunter Sam Slade was not a Judge Dredd character.
I vividly remember visiting Forbidden Planet in London when I was around 17 years old on an almost weekly basis as I used to travel down from Manchester to skate at one of the only decent skateboard parks in the UK, stay with friends and head home on the sleeper train. I was told by staff at Forbidden Planet that there were plans for a Dredd on Lawmaster and even Johnny Alpha but they never materialised. It wasn’t until several years later when I was working for Games Workshop itself that I found out more about the history of the miniatures.
On a side note the metal content of these early figures was pretty horrific and nowadays would be banned due to the high levels of lead, those poor sculptors and casters really suffered to bring us the best they could back then!
Moving on and Games Workshop is now starting to become noticed and fast becoming the place to go to for geeky things. The company land the rights to a board game based on Judge Dredd and designed by stalwart of gaming Mr Ian Livingstone himself! The game would feature an amazing cover art by Brain Bolland and came complete with small plastic judges to represent your players, each in a different colour. These were sculpted by Bob Naismith as far as I am aware.
The success of the board game allowed Games Workshop to further expand its relationship with IPC and a line of other games and products were released. I have already covered the roleplaying side of this in a previous article which you can find HERE, but below is a short list of the games and products (excluding the roleplaying ones) that Games Workshop released from 1980 to 1987
Judge Dredd Board Game 1982
Block Mania 1987 Richard Halliwell
Mega Mania 1987 Richard Halliwell
Rogue Trooper: The Quartz Massacre Richard Halliwell 1987
As covered in my previous article, Games Workshop had the rights for the Judge Dredd roleplaying game for many years and produced a huge range of miniatures to support its game. I will list the full miniatures and were possible the sculptor. They also released a small number of miniatures in 1987-88 for the Rogue Trooper board game.
A few years after Games Workshop had stopped producing the 2000AD miniatures and began to move away from licensed products to concentrate on its own games, Halcyon Models landed the rights to produce several model kits based on Judge Dredd. From 1993 to 1994 Halcyon released three kits, all of which were made from soft vinyl which was a big fad for modelers in the early 90s. These kits were really well designed and the series consisted of.
Judge Dredd 1993
Judge Anderson: Sculpted by Darren E Marshall 1994
Judge Death 1994
All three kits came with bases that featured the famous Judges shield or badge and all were based on Brian Bollands view of the characters.
The following year Judge Dredd was released as a vehicle for action star Sylvester Stallone. The movie was far from a flop and was one of the highest-grossing movies in the UK during 1995, but it was critically panned and a lot of fans really hated it with a passion. Despite this Halcyon had released two plastic injection molded kits from the movie, Sylvester Stallone as Judge Dredd and Chris Adamson as Mean Machine Angel. Both kits were really well sculpted and had dynamic posing with the latter being the better of the two. A third kit based on the ABC Robot was planned but not released in the UK, though many pirated Garage Kits did make their way over here in the following years.
Just shortly after the movie kits were released, Wargames Foundry acquired the rights to produce miniatures based on 2000AD and began releasing their own models shortly after. Wargames Foundry has some of the best sculptors in the industry working for them, often made up from ex Games Workshop staff as CEO Byran Ansell was the former CEO of Games Workshop for many years. The quality of these miniatures is fantastic and they are slightly larger than most miniatures coming in around 35mm each, which means that they tower over the old Citadel models and then some.
The Foundry range was by far the largest yet done and featured mostly Judge Dredd characters, but also included Rogue Trooper, Slaine, Robohunter and Strontium Dog, with each miniature being available separately or as part of a group package. Sadly Foundry discontinued their line of 2000AD miniatures a while ago, though you can still find them on eBay at times.
Although they are no longer available to buy you can see the whole range of Wargames Foundry miniatures by clicking on the image below
Update: over 70 of these amazing models came from the very talented hands of Mr.Tim Prow and the miniatures where painted by Kevin Dillmore. Many thanks to Tim for reaching out
Running side by side with the Wargames Foundry range came a new range of miniatures from roleplaying publisher Mongoose Publishing to supplement their Judge Dredd roleplaying game and later Gangs of Mega-City One; the companies own Dredd based skirmish game!
This is perhaps the second biggest line of miniatures after Wargames Foundry and was made almost entirely of Judge Dredd models, with a few other 2000AD character models added during the games kickstarter campaign in 2013. The line featured a wide range of perps to customise your gangs with, from Fatties complete with Bellywheels to skysurfers, and even a superhero. Though the game was mostly about the gangs in the city, it did of course feature judges to hunt down the perps and bring them to justice, and not only did we get some pretty amazing judges on Lawmaster bikes, but we also got a wide range of judges from differing departments such as Psi, Med and Tek as well as specialist judges such as those from Exorcist or Holocaust departments!
The range was popular and ran until 2016 when Warlord Games took over the distribution and eventually the handling of the miniatures. As mentioned above a successful kickstarter campaign was run to reimagine the game and populate it with more models. These included judges from around the worlds various Mega-Cities, a whole host of bad guys, resin vehicles including the huge Manta prowl tank and a brand new set of rules from Matthew Sprange the creator of the Gangs of Mega-City One game.
All in all the miniatures were pretty well sculpted and animated, and some such as the Holocaust judges were taken from other ranges (in this case Starship Troopers) and retooled to fit in with the 2000AD setting. The rules were far tighter than Gangs and played very fast, but often tended to be pretty one-sided if you played as Judges as they are far to powerful for low-level gangs. That said if you throw the Dark Judges up against a group of senior judges its going to be a fairly difficult game for the Judges to win against the supernatural beasts.
The kickstarter was pretty successful and though it took several years to fulfill all of the goals, it was still a popular game. The problem was that nobody foresaw how popular it would be and raising over £100,000 with almost 650 backers was perhaps to big a chunk of the pie for a small company like Mongoose to handle.
Late 2016 Warlord Games had a huge sale on all of the old Mongoose Publishing stock on its website and offered the products are really low prices. Most sold out very quickly and both the game and miniatures line were then discontinued. Mongoose did, however, continue to fulfill their stretch goals for the kickstarter and in February 2018 the last of the pledges went out, almost six years after the campaign had begun.
We now jump forward a few years and come to 2019. In March Osprey Games announced that they were releasing a new boardgame based on an iconic storyline that had featured in 2000AD many years ago. Helter Skelter saw a huge event that featured dozens of Dredds most famous foes as they teamed up from alternate realities to lay waste to ours and ultimately destroy our worlds Judge Dredd. The story was one of the comics dubbed ‘Mega-Epics’, and ran for many issues in much the same vien as The Cursed Earth or The Apocalypse War had done previously.
The Helter Skelter story has been adapted slightly for the new game from Osprey Games, a company better known for its historical books who only recently branched into gaming with titles like Gaslands and Ash Bakers Last Days Zombie Apocalypse game .
The changes now encompass much more of the 2000AD universe and the factions that come in the game are Justice Department featuring Judge Dredd, Anderson, Giant, Hershey, Strontium Dogs featuring Johnny Alpha, Wulf Sternhammer, Durham Red and Middenface McNulty, Slaine featuring Slaine McRoth, Uko the Dwarf, and Nikole Dante which features Nikole Dante. Other expansion sets may be released and feature characters from other stories such as Halo Jones, Rogue Trooper, etc!
Here are a couple of videos on Helter Skelter and I will be adding my own once I can get a copy.
Already having a working relationship with 2000AD and Judge Dredd owners Rebellion, Warlord Games released the Strontium Dog Miniatures Game in August 2018, written by games legend Andy Chambers and featuring a rebuilt version of Warlords highly successful World War II skirmish game Bolt Action!
Strontium Dog was a pretty popular game and sees players hunting down bounties against other bounty hunters of the Search and Destroy Agency, mercenaries and aliens alike!
The game was released as a two player starter set Strontium Dog: The Good, The Bad and The Mutie; which featured Johnny Alpha, Wulf Sternhammer, The Gronk, who face off against Max Bubba and his gang Lowdown O’phee, The Skull, Impetigo Jones and Brute Mosely!
Several sets were released during 2018/19 which included two mounted versions of Johnny and Wulf, more S/D agents such as Durham Red and Middenface McNulty and the Torso from Newcastle,
Other sets included general nooks and goons, The Weerdz Brothers, Kreelers and a build a Mutie set which allows you to create unique miniatures using both plastic and metal parts.
Due for release in November 2019 is the Judge Dredd Miniatures Game, a brand new game that is once again written by Mr Andy Chambers and uses the modified Bolt Action engine as its core mechanic. The game will be on preorder during October, with few images already teased by Warlord Games and looks set to be a very popular game.
The two player starter set will come complete with the rule book, quick play guide, 2000AD dice, plastic tokens and ten resin miniatures, which will include eight perps and two judges (Dredd and Anderson) and I will fully review the game once I get a copy.
Here is a quick list of the first wave of items for the Judge Dredd Miniatures Game, and according to Paul Sawyer and John Stallard of Warlord Games there is a lot more where this came from!
Core Starter Set
Judge Dredd Miniatures Game Rulebook
Judge Dredd vs Judge Death Limited Edition model only available via pre order
Judge Dredd on Lawmaster and foot (resin)
Judge Dredd: Arch Villains of Mega-City One ( five resin models)
Judge Dredd: Street Judges (five resin models)
Judge Dredd: Denizens of Mega-City One (five resin models)
Judge Dredd: Block Gang (eight resin models)
Judge Dredd: Block Gang Reinforcements (three resin models)
Judge Dredd: League of Fatties (three large resin models)
Judge Dredd: Counters and tokens
Judge Dredd: 2000AD Dice
This is by no means an exhaustive list, and has only touched the most popular stuff. There are lots of model kits and of course, the many action figures that I have missed off the list as its pretty long and if needed I will expand on that in a future article.
All images are copyright their respective owners and all rights reserved. Judge Dredd, Strontium Dog, and all 2000AD related images are copyright Rebellion all rights reserved!