Back in 2012 I was contributing to a self publishing group 'Old School Fantasy Miniatures Amateur Press Alliance' or (thankfully) OSFMapa for short. We published 2 journals and a 3rd died in its tracks with the articles unpublished. I have added a few pics to my article from the 2nd Journal to fill it out...some of course being my half painted stuff........however have left the text as it was published....and, without further ado, I present;
Legendary Characters of the Lead….John Carter, Fighting Man of Mars
Penned by David Wood, commonly known as ‘The Dozing Dragon’ across the net.
‘I do not believe that I am made of the stuff which constitutes heroes, because, in all of the hundreds of instances that my voluntary acts have placed me face to face with death, I cannot recall a single one where any alternative step to that I took occurred to me until many hours later’
So spoke the man who would shortly be catapulted across space and time in one of pulp literature’s arguably most fantastic adventures……John Carter of Mars
A Princess of Mars
Edgar Rice Burroughs’ Martian adventure first saw pen and paper back in 1911 and was eventually serialised with the title of ‘Under the Moons of Mars’. The first part appeared in the February 1912 edition of ‘The All-Story’ magazine under a pseudonym of Norman Bean. The full series then appeared in novel format as ‘A Princess of Mars’ in October 1917. Burroughs set his story on a Mars dying of thirst in the slow seemingly final eclipse of once mighty civilizations. John Carter was the wandering Civil War Confederate Captain who, whilst prospecting for gold in Apache Indian territory, ends up being transported to an ancient Mars populated by weird and wonderful flora and fauna and, of course, the incomparable Dejah Thoris……
The original cover by Frank E. Schoonover from A Princess of Mars, McClurg, 1917, a Chicago based publisher made famous by the original publishing of ERB’s works.
Warriors of Mars
Six decades later, TSR took up the gaming gauntlet and in 1974 produced an A5 rulebook. ‘The Warfare of Barsoom in Miniature, Rules for individual and large-scale land and aerial conflict’. These days it can be purchased off Ebay for some serious $ but it can also be downloaded from a number of sources…….the original is a nice piece of gaming history to have in your collection though!
Written by Gary Gygax and Brian Blume, TSR never got permission for this - another example of early licences and the casual infant hobby approach.
Various companies attempted ranges however only Heritage Models Inc ever really pursued it with any real gusto – and licence! I have generally only concentrated on John Carter and Dejah Thoris where possible. Perhaps another journal will see more……
Grenadier Models Inc
Towards the end of 1976 Grenadier released a short-lived ‘John Carter Warlord Of Mars’ series – this was quickly discontinued after failing to get the licence or possibly realising there was a licence fee to pay! The figures were repackaged into the Gamma World line. It would be a joy to find the original card artwork if there was any!
Heritage Models Inc.
In the later 70’s Heritage Miniatures Inc. took the bull by the horns and released rules and a licensed range sculpted by Max Carr and David Helber.
Adventure Gaming Handbook
The ‘John Carter, Warlord of Mars’ adventure gaming handbook was published by Heritage in 1978 and penned by Matthew S. Matheny.
Barsoomian Battle Manual
A wargaming rulebook which included separate rules for air to air action between the various navies of Barsoom.
75mm Collector Figures
1500 John Carter, Warlord of Mars (unreleased)
1501 Dejah Thoris, Princess of Mars (unreleased)
1502 Tars Tarkus, Jeddak of Thark
25mm Gaming Diorama Sets
There were some earlier versions of some creatures that did not pass the licence checks.
1503 John Carter, Warlord of Mars
John Carter, the incomparable Dejah Thoris,
and a diorama nameplate. Kantos
1504 John Carter
John Carter riding a Thoat with Dejah Thoris and Woola.
1505 Tars Tarkus, Jeddak of Thark
1506 Cathoris of Helium and Thuvia, Maid of Mars with Gahan and Llana of Gathol
1507 Issus, Goddess of Death upon her throne and Matai Shang, Father of Therns with the Holy Altar of Doom
1508 Ras Thavas, Mastermind of Mars and Princess Tara of Helium with Ulysses Paxton and Valla Dia
1509 Solon of Okar & Dator Thurid of the Black Pirates w Than Kosis, Jeddak of Zodanga & Tul Axtar of Jahar
1510 Phor Tak, Mad Jaharian Scientist Inventor of the Flying Death & Ur Jan, Assassin of Mars w 2 Mercenary Panthans
1511 Red Martian Swordsmen of Mars (3 each of 2 types)
1512 Martians with Radium weapons (3 each of 2 types)
1513 Martian Command Group
1514 Green Martian Thark Swordsman
1515 Green Martian Warhoon Warrior
1516 Green Martian with Radium Rifle
1517 Black Pirates of Barsoom - the Firstborn (3 each of 2 types)
1518 Yellow Martians - the Men of Okar (3 each of 2 types)
1519 White Martians - The Holy Therns (3 each of 2 types)
1520 Kaldanes of Barsoom - individual and upon Rykors
1521 Sythetic Men of Mars (3 each of 2 types)
1522 Orovars - Horz and Lotharians with Bowmen
1523 The Masena (Catmen) of the Thurian Moon
1524 Morgors (Skeleton Men) of Jupiter
1525 Red Martians mounted on Domestic Thoats (unreleased)
1526 Green Martian Thoat Rider (unreleased)
1527 Green Martian (Giant) Thoat (unreleased)
1528 Plantmen of the Valley Dor
1529 Banth and Apt
1530 Malagor with Synthetic Man Rider (unreleased)
1531 White Ape of Barsoom
1532 Zitadar with Red Martian Mahout (unreleased)
1533 Green Martian Chariot (Cart) for Zitidar (unreleased)
1534 Giant Martian Lizard
1535 Great Barsoomian Sader (unreleased)
1536 Rapid-Fire Radium Cannon w Operator and Radium Cannon w Crew (2)
1537 Ten-Man Scout Flyer (unreleased)
Martian Airships (all unreleased)
1538 Scout Flyers (various sizes)
1539 Cruisers (light and heavy)
1540 Battleships & Battlecruisers
1541 Dreadnaughts & Transports
I spoke to Howard Barasch, Head of Operations and the President of Heritage Models Inc in its heyday.
“Honestly my memory is kind of cloudy on the specifics but most of our licensing contracts asked for a guaranteed $5k against royalties. I think this was the case with John Carter. Heritage basically didn't sell enough figures to justify the contract renewal. So Heritage let it lapse. As a footnote, I also negotiated the SPI John Carter contract with the Burroughs estate. I remember meeting Marion Burroughs at the Park Plaza Hotel in NY to get her approval on the cover art for the game.”
SPI (Simulation Publications Inc.) released the boardgame in 1979. Designed by Eric Goldberg and Mark Herman, the box artwork was by Don Maitz.
‘John Carter, Warlord of Mars relentlessly searches for his mate, the incomparable Dejah Thoris, across the hostile Martian surface, pursuing the dastardly villain who has abducted her and fled to a distant city. John Carter must fight his way through monsters and men to rescue Dejah Thoris from the evil designs of her capture. The city contains numerous hiding places and secret passages from which our hero must ferret out his prize……….’
Hinchliffe Martian Science Fiction
A range sculpted by the late Peter Gilder - has anyone else noted how many of the old school sculptors are now ‘the late’…? Sculpting style had some similarities with that of the Heritage line but I always felt that his heart was not in it – Peter Gilder was a historical man from head to toe. There were apparently different versions of some of the figures – I have yet to pick any up but live in the belief that I will at some point. The descriptions below are mine as I have not found an ‘official’ listing…....the Hinchliffe Handbook of 1976 only gives the SF numbers in the painting guide – and only up to SF14. Strangely enough it then gives the ‘Thoats’ colour scheme (a ‘subtle’ hint as to what the range was actually designed for) and does not list any further numbers. See the scan below – line drawings by Norman Swales.
SF1 Red Martian officer
SF2 Red Martian trooper, radium rifle
SF3 Red Martian trooper, long and short sword
SF4 Red Martian Female, radium pistol
SF5 Black Martian trooper, radium rifle
SF6 White Martian, sword, attacking
SF7 White Martian, sword, defending
SF8 Green Martian, swords
SF9 Green Martian, sword and axe
SF10 Hero, possibly John Carter himself!
SF11 Red Martian Princess
SF12 Giant Martian Ape
SF14 Martian Lion
SF15 Unknown release – please contact me if you know it!
SF17 Green Martian mounted on Thoat
Two larger scale (90mm) sculpts by the late Ray Lamb representing John Carter and Dejah Thoris, subtly titled Warrior of the Red Planet (FA04) and Mistress of the Red Planet (FA05).
I am still looking for these…. I have spent the last few years believing I had them in my collection and have just found out the ones I have are Greek God types. Most unfair and shows what age does to memory…..
As a side point though, John Carter was the name of a
New York model maker
hired by Comet Metal Products in 1962. Comet later became Superior Models Inc.
These may come back into production via Perth Pewter www.perthpewter.com who started as a division of
in the mid 70s and still produce
many classic figures from the 70s and 80s. Superior
Check http://www.alnavco.com/c_history.htm for more details on
Stan Johansen Miniatures
Stan Johansen sculpted a small range in the 70s. Apparently his wife was reading the books and said they would make a great range of figures. The sculpts consisted of 5 Red Martians, one mounted as shown, 3 male and one ‘Princess’ Also 2 Green Martians, one mounted on large Thoat and one on foot. They were true 25mm with the Green Martians being a scale 15’ as per the books. Stan told me he was doing them for his own amusement but at gaming conventions no one had any idea of who John Carter of Mars was although they were recognised at some Sci-Fi conventions. He did have plans to sculpt all the peoples and creatures of Barsoom but with the lack of interest and the fact that Heritage got the licence he abandoned the project completely.
Stan is still going strong; http://www.stanjohansenminiatures.com
Martin Goddard designed a small (well….15mm and no pun intended) range in the 1990s……not quite old school (although Peter Pig has been going for 25 years….) but deserved of a mention as they are rather nice…….from his Range 19 “War in the Age of Magic”. The ‘Large Green Aliens’ were sculpted first in 1997 followed by the ‘Red Aliens’ in 1999.
26. Red Alien flyers
Drop in at www.peterpig.co.uk and mention where you found out about them!
Since the days of the ‘old school’ there have been numerous companies producing miniatures suitable for John Carter.
Bronze Age Miniatures – www.bronzeagemin.com
Sculptor David Sonderquist’s miniature company – a wide and growing range of excellent sculpts.
TinMan Miniatures – www.tinminis.com
A small range of exquisite minis sculpted by John Winter, available in both normal and ‘R’ rated version!
A quite varied range sculpted by the legendary Bob Charette, look to the ‘Extraordinary Personages’. Currently distributed by Brigade Games.
RAFM – www.rafm.com
A different type of Martian range, sculpted years ago by Bob Murch for the GDW game Space 1889. Sculpts have stood the test of time although again no JC.
Space Vixens From Mars – www.spacevixensfrommars.com
Just 2 sculpts of JC and DT sculpted by Rob Baker in a wide and varied Science Fiction / Pulp range
Black Hat Miniatures – www.blackhat.co.uk
18mm Martian series – no JC but some nifty pieces in there.
Collecting lead is my passion……or one of them as I am married with 4 children….I run a blog, non-political despite its name, which I update quite regularly these days.
Please come along and visit. Any queries, lead off-loading or whatever please contact me on;
I don’t bite and do love to correspond about miniatures.