Tom Meier shutting down Thunderbolt Miniatures on Christmas

Tom Meier, famous miniatures sculptor since his teen years in the 70s, is shutting down his online store - Thunderbolt Miniatures - on Christmas Day.

"Who is Tom Meier and why should I care?" you might ask? Tom is one of the preeminent sculptors of the miniatures world. He started as a teen in the 1970s, helped to found Ral Partha and has gone on to define a style and look all his own. He's won tons of awards and if you craft in Green Stuff, you owe a thanks to Tom for (according to him) evangelizing the approach in the 70s/80s.


You can read some speculation as to what this all means on the Facebook "Old School Miniatures" group. One poster, a Jim Ludwig, says "Yup - I spoke with Tom about it at length a week or two ago. It is simply not worth the time and effort for him anymore as molds get worn out and need to be replaced. It never did gangbusters business in the first place, but was a fun place for him to sculpt whatever the heck he wanted and get it out into the world. He can pretty much do that with Dark Sword still. "

Tom himself commented on the website that "Toy company work is quite different from the miniatures industry, for one thing, they’ve got real money, for another they don’t have a clear idea how long it takes a sculptor skilled in miniatures work to do something. ... On the whole if you know the meaning of a deadline, can work in any style, to any parameters, and read minds you can make about triple what you can freelancing miniatures."

(By the way, that page is a fascinating read of personal recollections of how one of the best minis sculptors got started in the 1970s.)

I had collected many Tom Meier figures without really knowing who he is. That changed in 2010 when I stumbled across "Slug Eat Your Face!" The story is that his son Theo asked him to create a slug monster with "crazy eyes" who will "eat your face!" From that point, I read a lot about Tom and saw the magnificent minis he had made over the years.

That mini, and many other of Tom's work, fight and explore across my tables in almost every game.

I'm sorry to see Thunderbolt Mountain go. Much like Mega Minis closing shop, when the figures vanish, I realize that I didn't get the things I had wanted. In this case, though, I've ordered the peasants, the King Arthur and Guinevere figures, the Fairy Ballerina on a Pink Unicorn figure and, of course, another Slug Eat Your Face.

Tom, I wish you the best of luck. Thank you for all the great memories from Thunderbolt Mountains!

(PS. If you love old school miniatures, check out the Facebook Old School Miniatures group. It's a really wonderful group full of history and great figures. In the true 25mm scale, of course!)