Classic Starship Miniatures
Space Gamer 21
Ares issue 5
Starfleet Wars
Terran Federation
Entomalian Empire
Avarian United Worlds
Aquarian Alliance
Carnivoran Republic
Stardate : 3000
United Planetary Federation
Alien Star Empire
Space Fleet
Gothic Imperial Fleet
Space Squadrons Stellardate: 2998
Earth Federation
Auxiliary Belt
Andromeda Aliens
Galaktik Taktik
Sci-Fi Crossover Menu
Full Thrust Fleet Resource
Starships Everywhere
It was a golden age for starship miniatures in the late 1970's and into 1980's.  Even before Star Wars, there were starship miniatures available but after the summer of 1977, they became much more popular.  It is interesting to note that nearly every line had a faction called the "Federation" who were your basic good guys and the componants and details on many of these miniatures were actually bits from model railroading.

We can look back now at an article in Space Gamer Magazine issue 21 from Jan-Feb of 1979 to see what was available at that time.  In the article "Spaceship Miniatures & Rules" it mentions for following lines of miniatures:
Star Trek miniatures from Gamescience and Lou Zocchi for use with is Star Fleet Battle Manual and Alien Space games.  These miniatures were availabe for years  through Gamescience and Amarillo Design Bureau (Star Fleet Battles) but are hard to find today.
SpaceWar 2250 miniatures and rules from McEwan Miniatures - still available from the same company which has evolved to Reviresco at
Starfleet Wars from Superior Models (now available as the Galactic Knights range) which is covered below.  "The models have a lot of detail (bordering on the garish) and are bristling with turrets, sensor modules and a variety of other odds and ends whose purposes we can only guess at."
Stardate 3000 from Valiant Enterprises (still available, see below).  "The ships are very detailed with fuel lines, weapons, and other equipment visible."
Space Squadrons 2998
from Grenadier (coming soon) "the Grenadier line is a nice compromise between the simplicity and economical price of the McEwan line and the detail and expense of the Valiant."

Minfigs starship miniatures are also mentioned but not much information about them and they are very hard to find today.

Another article was in Ares Magazine issue 5 from November 1980, Miniature Spaceships: A Capsule Summary of Models for SF Gaming.   This article covers mainly just the starship miniatures from Zocchi, Valiant Enterprises (Stardate 3000), Superior Models (Starfleet Wars), and Eisenwerk (later to be known as Galaktik Taktik from Pewtercraft).

Starfleet Wars

Back around 1980, I was introduced to starship miniatures by an ad in the back of a kids magazine (Boy's Life if you are wondering).  I sent in my 50 cents and got back a brochure and catalog of games and miniatures which opened up a whole new world to me.

Starfleet Wars had it's 5 races of ships and was clearly influenced by Star Wars with the triangular wedge ships for the Terrans and some of the fighter designs. There were also the Stardate 3000 miniatures from Valiant and Trek miniatures for Star Fleet Battles and much more to fuel my imagination.  I got the Starfleet Wars starter box with the rules and one Stellar Destroyer miniature from each fleet. I kept on looking at the miniatures and wanting more but I was young and could not afford to get everything so life went on.  I did splurge and got the rules expansions and ID sheets but that was it.  Fortunately this line of miniatures never died and they did come back when I was able to get the miniatures I always wanted.From that start I kept an interest in starships and space games but they were not always easy to find.

Starfire and Star Fleet Battles were easiest to find at game stores and Star Trek Tactical Combat System had some great miniatures.  Once we hit the 1990's though, it seemed to dry up and many game stores did not have anything starship based in stock.  Then I found a reference to a game from the UK in a magazine (Vortext Winter 1993 issue) and ordered a copy of Full Thrust from the game store and that opened up some doors to other gamers throughout the world as the internet and email groups connected people with similar niche interests like nothing else could before.

I still fall back on Starfleet Wars for my favorite archtypical backgrounds:

  • Classic humans with the strong and aggressive ships.

  • Dangerous bug swarm with lots and lots of cheap ships.

  • Advanced bird race with the best ships available, but limited numbers.

  • Secretive aquatic race who are hard to see and find unless they want you to.

  • Aggressive predators who's only tactics are to get close to pound and attack.

      "In the galaxy there are five empires ranging from the powerful to the weak, the numerous to the few, the conniving to the naive, the treacherous to the unsuspecting. Two of these powers have been vying for control of the galaxy for several centuries, the Entomalians whose acknowledged ambition is complete Galactic dominance and the Terran Federation whose wish it is to "save" the galaxy from the other empires and bring the thousands of wealthy independent planets under their control."   

Starfleet Wars miniatures are currently available from Monday Knight Productions as the Galactic Knights range.    They have their own Galactic Knights rules that are set in a similar background but I still prefer the original background.  There are also some blogs out there that focus on Starfleet Wars and also feature some of these other classic starship miniatures so if you are interested in learning more about the classic miniatures of that era, please check them out.
Super Galactic Dreadnought          Starfleet Wars          Space Squadrons 2998

Stardate : 3000
The Stardate: 3000 line of miniatures is produced by Valiant Enterprises Ltd. who have been producing these and other gaming and display miniatures since the 1970's and these starship miniatures are still available. 
This line of starships were never tied to a specific game system but pictures of the miniatures were used for the counters of the old game Alpha Omega.

Wichell Chung (who drew the original OGRE tank image and he runs the awesome Atomic Rocket site) used the Federation Orion Heavy Cruiser (bottom ship to the right) to learn 3D modeling with Blender and has a great gallery of the process with images from start to end and identifying some of the HO scale train parts that were used to make this line of minis and others - Stardate3k Gallery


Space Fleet

Before Battlefleet Gothic, Games Workshop released Space Fleet in 1991.  It came with 4 plastic ships to build, 2 Imperial and 2 Eldar.  The lid of the box also was used for rolling the dice and was divided into 9 squares and where the dice stopped would determine if the attack hit or not.

GW followed up the release of the big box with articles in multiple White Dwarf magazine issues covering the background of the game a great deal of additional rules and stats and information on the line of metal miniatures that were produced by Citadel.

The miniatures were quite interesting and the Imperial fleet grew quite large with many new minis but also some of the support ships were actually re-used miniatures from QT Models whose ships had been aquired by Citadel like several of the miniatures in Citadel's Space Cruisers and C43 and C44 lines.

Space Squadrons
Stellardate 2998

The Space Squadrons line of miniatures was procuded by Grenadier Models Inc. in the late 1970's.  Grenadier Models produced miniatures this line of starships between 1978-1982.  Several other lines of minis produced by Grenadier were sold to other companies and are still availble but this line has never resurfaced.
For more information on this line, checkout to the Space Squadrons 2998 blog with pictures and a lot more.

Galaktik Taktik
The Galaktik Taktik line of miniatures from Pewtercraft
That 'Federation' Thing
Federation - 'an organization or group within which smaller divisions have some degree of internal autonomy'

I've noticed someting that has to be more than just a coincidence.  Going back to the 1960's, there was the United Federation of Planets in Star Trek, where all the humans lived. So that is were it seems that the connection between human space powers being a Federation probably started

Now lets move up to the 1970's and 1980's when we get into these lines of Classic Starship Miniatures, and pretty much every human space power is a 'Federation', not an Empire, an Alliance or a Republic. 
The Humans in the Universe Background Source
Terran Federation Starfleet Wars
United Planetary Federation Stardate 3000
Earth Federation Space Squadrons: Stellardate 2998
United Planetary Federation Star Frontiers - Knight Hawks

It didn't contiue though, later in public media there was the Minbari Federation in Bablyon 5 and the Trade Federation in the Star Wars universe but still has to be more than a coinsidense that multiple lines of miniatures had the Earth/Humans in a Federation.