I though it would be helpful to have a place to compile our experience with various alternative companies, their miniature quality, customer service, shipping charges and times and anything else useful.
This section needs more input, as my personal experience with alternate manufacturers is very limited. Please comment and I will update the list.
Individual companies and miniature manufacturers:
Black Tree Design
- it seems they have (or had at some point) a serious problem with very
long times to fulfil their orders (but they were fulfilled eventually), no personal experience.
Custom Made Minis - no problems, good personal experience.
Darksword Miniatures - their models are excellent, but their shipping seemed rather high to me. I ordered their models from Battlefield Berlin, so I have no experience with them beyond their models.
Hasslefree Miniatures -
smaller company with models closer to real scale than Warhammer, but
their quality and approach to customers are both excellent and shipping
Mierce Miniatures - I was warned
about the company's link to Maelstrom Games, who had gone bankrupt
leaving many orders (already paid for) unfulfilled. Since then I haven't
head much about them, which might be a good thing, but caution would be
Raging Heroes - excellent quality and communication (at least when contacted directly), I can highly recommend them.
Reaper - not the fault of the company, but at least here in the Czech Republic I had to pay very high customs fee when I ordered directly from them (and their shipping seemed also rather high for me). Otherwise I have very good experience with them. Their Bones range is supposed to be a cheap line of models made from some kind of hard rubber, the prices seem great but I have not seen the material myself yet.
Shadowsea/Antimatter Games - no problems, good personal experience.
Papo, Schleich and other toy companies - Often very detailed and high quality models that should be easily available in toyshops around the world. In my experience they can serve as a good cheap alternative to larger monsters.
Third party resellers:
Battlefield Berlin - huge store (also physical) with almost everything. I have great experience with them and can recommend buying through them to avoid dealing with suspect companies or buy from multiple manufacturers for single shipping fee.
Wayland Games - independent retailer with huge range of stuff, recommended to me as very dependable.