Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Plastics? Metals? My Take - The Weekly Update - Tuesday, December 26th, 2017

My first plastics. OOP, I am pretty sure.

I'm hoping that everyone had a good holiday weekend; I had four days off, and I've spent them simply taking it easy, staying hydrated, and getting lots and lots of sleep. I have a slight head cold, but that's nothing to what I used to have to deal with.

Plastics or metals? There has been, I gather, some controversy over the relative merits of miniature figures made from both of these materials. Traditionally, it's been metal, as the overhead costs are very low, but the advent of computers and 3-mold milling has changed that. Costs are very different, and the economics of gaming very different as a result.

I've been doing metals since 1975, and got started in plastics almost by accident. Back in Ye Olden Days, the soft plastic 1/72 Airfix figures were all we had; keeping the paint on them was a no-win situation, and when I got my first Hinchcliffe metals I thought I was in heaven. Yes, you had to prime them, but after that the paint generally stayed on them. Metals have been a big part of my gaming life since then.

I originally got the Wargames Factory 'Amazons' as a gift, and didn't much like them. These were first-generation plastic 28mm figures, and I seriously wondered if the company had actually talked to any gamers before they designed the set. I managed to get them assembled, but used the weapons and shields provided as a source of spare parts - they just didn't look right to my eye with the stuff they had, and these figures really didn't come together for me until I gave them GW 'Tomb Kings' shields. After that, they looked a lot better, and I still use them in games today.

Fast forward to this past year, when I picked up the Victrix and Warlords figures I've written about. I really like these, right out of the box, and I think this is where plastics really shine - they provide somebody like me with the 'big battalions' that I like in my games, and at a very good price per figure. Let's face it - some 28s are now topping $10 a figure, and that's just too rich for my blood. So, plastics for the rank-and-file, and metals for the personalities and RPG figures (same thing, really) in my games.

One of the great things about the Victrix and Warlords figures, for me, anyway, is the ease of assembly and the 'spare parts' you have left over after you build 'em. I can always use spare heads, shields, weapons, and other stuff. It makes the rest of my model-building a whole lot easier, too.

And conversions! A lot easier, like with the old Wargames Factory 'Numidians', who can be used for anything. The older versions of the Warlord Roman sets had a couple of figures like this; two guys in scale armor, that I think were supposed to be used as a trumpeter and standard-bearer. I didn't use them that way - I used the guys in lorica, instead - but I think I'll take a cue from that epic film, "Cleopatra" (1963) and give them legionary helmets and drums, to replicate the drummers in the 'Attack on the Moon Gate' scene. As fas as I know, the Romans didn't use drummers, but Cine Cittia certainly did, so the conversion would help me get that proper epic look to my production.

Building the Moon Gate itself is another subject, for another post. I'll have to watch the finl and take notes. Lots and lots of notes...

Happy Holidays!!!


  1. Interesting I think I will pick up the victrix in the new year. Have also noticed the Agema Velites box which may be worth a look.

    1. I think you'll find it worthwhile. The plastic sets give a lot of troops for low cost, and the detail and posing is still pretty darn good.

  2. Have actually tracked down two boxes of the Numidians which I am getting next week. Will let you know how I get on with them.

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