I recently had a chance to have a conversation with Matthew Alleman of Astro Miniatures.
Charles Platt: I like to start with a bit of background. How did you end up in the wargaming hobby?
Matthew Alleman: It may have started when my mom bought me Star Fleet Battles through the Sears Wish Book. My brother and I were big Star Trek fans. I also had a friend who got me involved in Dungeons and Dragons. There was a local toy store that carried D&D modules as well as some SFB expansions and eventually some FASA stuff. I still can remember saving up my money to buy the games and modules.
When I was a Senior in High School a hobby store opened up in town. BattleTech was the big game locally. I joined the local chapter (Stalking Rhinos) which had tournaments once a month. The store also carried a couple of copies of 40k Rogue Trader and the Space Marine box set. The Space Marines were the coolest thing I had ever seen. I have been hooked on painting minis since that day. I had painted the occasional hobbit before seeing the Space Marines, but something about Games Workshop made me want to paint.
CP: So, where does the Astro Miniatures name come from?
MA: I choose the name Astro Miniatures because I feel that it reflects my interest in the hobby. When I think of he word Astro, I think of man’s exploration of space, and that feeling or idea is what I am trying to reflect.
CP: Astro Miniatures has a very retro 70’s science fiction aesthetic. What would you say your influences are?
MA: My influences definitely include Star Trek TOS and Battlestar Galactica TOS, but I would also include Logan’s Run, Planet of the Apes, and even Buck Rogers from the early 80s.
MA: I am proud of the quality and detail of all of the miniatures I offer. For the Astro Crew, I was looking for a set miniatures that could be easily painted to represent any science fiction show from the late 60s to the early 90s, and I think that I was successful in that task.
CP: What games do you see people using your miniatures for the most? What games do you personally use them for?
MA: I think that most people use the Astro Crew for RPGs and small scale skirmish games. For the Sybots, I see most people using them for squad size games. I personally use them for small skirmish games based on my favorite TV sci-fi settings.
CP: Why 15mm? Was it a scale you prefer for gaming or was it the lack of sci-fi crews in that scale?
MA: I think that the 15mm scale is perfect. The 15mm miniatures are affordable and the scale allows for more table terrain for people with a limited amount of space. Also, when I was looking for a sci-fi crew in the style that I liked, there were none. I wanted a sci-fi crew that I could easily convert (either through painting or the use of green stuff) to represent my interest and I felt that I was not alone in this desire.
CP: Where do you see Astro Miniatures heading in the coming months? Years?
I started Astro Miniatures because I felt there was a lack of generic TV science fiction figures in 15mm. In keeping with my theme I would eventually like to offer villains to oppose the heroic deeds of the Astro Crew, hopefully by next summer. I am also currently considering offering plain clothed civilians to be used for various science fiction settings.
CP: I like to give the people I interview a platform to sell their products in their own words. What would you like to say directly to someone considering buying your miniatures?
MA: First and foremost, I am a fan of TV sci-fi and of 15mm. I hope that my miniatures help fulfill other fans desires in having miniatures to represent their favorite sci-fi setting.