As dictated by duality theory, good cannot exist without evil so today I have turned my web crawling towards getting a good miniature to represent Flash's nemesis on his adventures on Mongo, Ming the Merciless.
Unlike most characters who undergo massive changes depending on the source material you look at, Ming remains pretty much constant throughout all the different incarnations of Flash Gordon, the only notable exception being the slightly under-par* 2007 series (shown above far right image). Ming was typical of oriental styled villains of the 30's and is in effect an alien version of Sax Rohmer's Fu Manchu (perhaps they were one and the same, or maybe even twins separated by time and space; the pulp scenario Flash/Fu possibilities are stirring in my mind already) sadly there are only a few miniatures that could possibly be used for Ming.
Circa Games have an excellent 15mm resource for Victorian and Pulp 15mm miniatures and one of the things they do mention is one of Irregular Miniatures colonials line, their Chinese Civilian FZ 122 who sadly does not have a picture but is described by Circa as "One chap with long robe and round hat looks distinctly Fu Manchu-like." which (minus the hat) could be exactly what I'm looking for but his clothing might be too low key for Mings sumptuous robes. At the low low cost I've decided to get two of these anyway, one for Ming (with a bit of head re-sculpting or maybe a head swap) and one for Fu. That is one of the awesome things about 15mm, you can pick up extra miniatures for future games as you know it's not going to smash the bank to get a new game up and running, especially skirmish level gaming that I'm primarily interested in
After some more trawling of the usual 15mm suspects I actually found a likely culprit on Alternative Armies 15mm site. The meekly named 'Merchant' from their Laserburn Starship crew looks ideal, especially when lined up next to the Defenders of the Earth version of Ming.
Obviously I'm going to have to do a bit of remodelling on the head and the beard is bigger than we'd expect but the miniature looks really nicely detailed. One of these has been added to my Salute buying plans.
Another thing I found right next to him on the site was 'Space Scout', which immediately put me in mind of Ming's son, Prince Kro-Tan from the Defenders of the Earth cartoon.
I like the idea of Ming having a opportunistic power hungry son as well as the femme fatale daughter, Aura. The addition of an extra sibling opens up loads of gaming possibilities for anything from petty rivalries to a full civil war on Mongo so 'Space Scout' is going on my Salute list too !
One thing I'm not yet 100% decided upon is skin tone. I'm not yet sure if I'm going to go with the Alex Raymonds yellow skin, the Defenders cartoon green or the movie's Caucasian. I need to decide on one though as it will affect the painting of all my Mongo troops and Ming's offspring. I'm leaning towards the green but I might just use it foe the 'royal family' as opposed to Ming's palace guards, perhaps suggesting the rule of Mongo was taken by force or even a separate race of higher born humans. Hmm...
Tomorrow I'll be having a think about which rulesets can best accommodate 15mm Flash Gordon gaming...
* read 'tragic'.