A Comparison of Naval Miniatures

Top to Bottom: Shapeways, GHQ, Navwar

If you’ve not read my article “The Voyage Begins” you might start there before reading this.  There are several companies that produce World War 2 Naval Miniatures, and while I’ve collected GHQ on-and-off for several years before I made the decision to collect and catalog every GHQ WW2 vessel, I took an honest look at a few of the other options out there to see if they would be a fit for my collecting preferences.  I will say that each of them have their strengths and weaknesses.  Scale was not a major factor for me as long as they were small enough to store a large collection in my space-challenged hobby room; so I tried 1:1800 3d Prints from Shapeways, 1:2400 from GHQ, and 1:3000 from Navwar.  It’s worth noting that I’ve owned and painted 1:6000 Figurehead before (and they are nice) but they are smaller than I wanted and so they were not an option for me going forward.  If you like large scale naval engagements, 1:6000 is a great way to go.

Top to Bottom: Shapeways, GHQ, Navwar

Navwar – I first took a look at Navwar 1:3000 scale ships.  This is represented by the bottom ship in the photo comparisons.  Navwar has an extensive catalog that rivals GHQ.  They also are the undisputed winner on price…  even when shipping overseas from the UK to the US (where I live).  For example, the Navwar Destroyer in my photos is about 1/4 the price of GHQ and Shapeways.  However, they are the least detailed and often times have very rough castings.  If you don’t care too much about detail and you want to field a large navy for a very reasonable price, then Navwar is something you should consider.  Be aware that you will have to order through a mail-in order form that includes your credit card number.

GHQ – GHQ 1:2400 scale ships have been a known quantity for me, as I’ve collected, assembled, and painted numerous ships over the last 10 years.  Their quality and detail are outstanding but they are a little more pricey.  They do require some assembly and gluing, so will take a bit more time to prepare than the other two options discussed here.  Many of you know that I designed a set of Aircraft Carrier Decals specifically for GHQ Ships several years ago and due to the quality of GHQ castings, these decals fit very well (FYI:  these decals are still sold today by Dan Arute @ Flight Deck Decals)

Shapeways 1:1800 IJN Akagi

Shapeways – 1:1800 scale 3d Printed models on Shapeways were a potential option for me because they require very little assembly and some of them look really good.  Some of the 3d models that have been designed and offered are very good and can achieve very fine details.  However, as you can see in the photos, the printing process still produces inconsistent results.  I suspect that this will get better over time, but as of right now, it’s a deal breaker for me.  Price is also an issue here; I can purchase a GHQ Japanese Aircraft Carrier Akagi for $19.95 USD (I got it for ~$16.00 during the Black Friday sale) and the same ship in a slightly larger scale was $31.00 USD on Shapeways.  The results on the Akagi I ordered, were underwhelming at that price.

Print striping on Shapeways model

Conclusion:  I went with GHQ and have decided that over the next several years, I’ll find more enjoyment in collecting and painting GHQ.  GHQ combines the best of quality, availability, accuracy, and price.  GHQ typically offers several 15% off sales throughout the year (New Years, 4th July, Labor Day, etc.) and often 20% on Black Friday.  Regardless of my choice, each of these models have positive points and may be worth your time and money.

Please be sure to check my Instagram page, and if you’re an Instagram user then feel free to follow.  I’ll be posting hundreds of images of GHQ World War 2 miniatures over the coming months and years and your comments and suggestions will be helpful for me.  Thanks for stopping by and taking a look!