Monday, 31 October 2011

Sitting and waiting ... and finding things to do

My wife and I are currently in a state of limbo. Until the Coroner is happy with the cause of death, my father-in-law's body cannot be released ... and until that happens we cannot make any arrangements for the funeral, nor can we begin sorting out his finances and his estate. The post mortem should take place tomorrow, and assuming that the Coroner is satisfied with the results, we came begin making arrangements on Thursday. We have managed to sort out my father-in-law's 'filing system', and the documents are now neatly filed in date order in a number of properly labelled files that cover our dining table.

At present I have some spare time available to devote to wargame-related activity, and so far I have managed to finish revising my imagi-world map. The next thing I want to tackle is the background information that will go with the map, and with luck that should be finished later today or a some point tomorrow. After that I want to think about the number of wargame figures that I need to buy and paint so that I can begin using my imagi-world.

As I want my figures to be painted in the style of 'toy soldiers' (i.e. blocks of colour, no shading, and gloss varnished) I want to use figures that are fairly simple. In the old days my choice would have had to have been Peter Laing figures, but these are no longer available and I have to look for suitable substitutes. I suspect that I am going to end up using a mixture of Essex Miniatures, Irregular Miniatures, and Warrior Miniatures, but I am also considering Miniature Figurines figures as well. I have toyed with using larger scale figures than 15mm-scale (20mm, 28mm, 30mm, 42mm, and even 54mm-scale figures have all been given serious thought) but considerations of cost, convenience, and storage have influenced my thinking to date. That said, the Irregular Miniatures 42mm figures are exactly the right style for the sort of battles that I want to fight and I am finding them to be a very tempting alternative to 15mm.

32 comments:

  1. In the bigger scale have you considered Spencer Smith???

    http://www.spencersmithminiatures.co.uk/

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  2. Steve-the-Wargamer,

    I have given serious thought to using Spencer Smith figures, especially as they are very similar in style to Peter Laing figures. They would certainly take up less room to store than 42mm figures, and painting them would not be too much of a chore. The range is a little limited, but their simplicity makes converting them a possibility, and the cost is very reasonable when compared to similar-sized 28mm metal figures ... and even to Perry plastic figures.

    Using them has distinct advantages and your suggestion is giving me pause for thought.

    All the best,

    Bob

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  3. I got some Irregular 42mm Balkan Wars figures--lovely. I like all of their early 20th Century stuff. Their website has a picture of a game in progress pitting 1914 Belgians against the Hun--very inspiring. I found especially interesting a building in the shape of a "+", placed where 4 squares meet. It allows for cover without filling up any of the squares. Definitely food for thought. I wish I lived on your side of the water, as postage is a bit daunting, but I will be expanding my set up, that's for sure. Hmmm....about those Belgians...

    Best rehards,

    Chris

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  4. Chris,

    I do find the Irregular 42mm figures almost irresistible, which is one reason why they were/are a serious contender for my imagi-world project. The problem is cost and storage ... which is why I am as yet unable to make my final decision as to which range of figures to opt for!

    The '+'-shaped building is very Morschauser-like, which has influenced me in the direction of 42mm figures, as has the forthcoming 100th anniversary of the publication of H G Wells' LITTLE WARS book ... and the knowledge that there are likely to be battles staged using both 54mm and 42mm-scale figures.

    Decisions! Decisions!

    All the best,

    Bob

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  5. For my twopennarth I would also suggest Spencer Smiths. The first thing I saw when I walked into a wargame club for the very first time was a glorious Seven Years War set up. It still resonates even after all these years.
    What a great dilemma to have though!

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  6. I find that 42mm are no harder to paint than 15mm - painted in a 'toy soldier' style - no shading - high gloss . But price is a problem £1.50 (?) a foot figure .

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  7. Bob,

    My question to you is . . . "for how many of your imagi-world nations do you actually NEED troops?"

    I can't imagine your actually NEEDING to paint up forces for the whole world . . . and can't some forces "double" to represent differing armies?

    We are all getting older, sir . . . and with that our eyes are tending to age as well, which means that larger figures are definitely worth considering.

    I'd suggest that you consider getting a few figures in each of the ranges you are truly seriously considering . . . then paint them up and see what you think. You can always sell off the ones that you decide against.

    Finally, if you really want the 42mm figures or the Spencer Smiths or whatever, get them or you'll regret not doing so.


    -- Jeff

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  8. I have a bunch of Peter Laing FPW 15mm figures if these are any good?

    Mark

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  9. Hi Bob,

    I realise it will seem like a practical cop out but given the amount of 15mm kit you already have would it not be better to reinforce that particular scale rather than tackling another one (or even two!)?

    It would ease the cost, storage and painting angle - not to mention the consideration of suitable terrain.

    Unfortunately most wargamers can resist everything except temptation and so a larger scale with all its wargaming historical pedigree is a very hard one to swerve!

    Spencer Smith would be a good choice and with a little imagination much could be done with them.

    It is not an easy choice by any means!

    All the best,

    DC

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  10. The thing with using 42mm figures when space is an issue is to focus on unit footprint rather than numbers. Four 42mm figures don't take up as much table space as one would expect, especially on a grid. Certainly no more than 28mm do.

    In 15mm, I would think seriously about Minifigs, their clean lines, classic poses, slim figures and subdued detail are as close to the old toy soldier look as any 15's I have seen.

    That said, if I weren't committed to 40mm homecasting, for late 19thC, I would be seriously tempted by the Scruby 30mm Colonials from Historifigs and the new Franco-Prussian War range from Spencer Smith (as well as some of the other classic figures).

    -Ross

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  11. Jfidz,

    I have spent quite some time this afternoon looking at both the Spencer Smith figures and the 42mm Irregulars ... and at the moment I cannot decide which of the two to choose ... if at all!

    Both have things that commend them, but buying one or the other would mean yet another scale of figure etc.

    Not an easy decisions to make by any means.

    All the best,

    Bob

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  12. Mosstrooper,

    The price is a factor ... but they are still not a lot more than the price of an individual Foundry figure and they are much more attracive in my book.

    All the best,

    Bob

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  13. Bluebear Jeff,

    I am not going to need a lot of figures to start of with. My intention was to paint enough for each of the likely candidates to fight a war and then add to them as and when I need to.

    Painting the figures is a factor. I do find small figures difficult to paint, and as I get older I do not want failing eyesight to stop me enjoying my hobby.

    I think that you advice about getting a few of each size of figure and seeing how I get on with them is a good one. Thanks for that very sound suggestion.

    All the best,

    Bob

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  14. Mark Dudley,

    Thanks for your kind offer, but the one range of Peter Laing figures that I do have quite a few of is the FPW range.

    All the best,

    Bob

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  15. David Crook,

    I have given long and hard consideration to staying with 15mm figures. There are lots of advantages (as you have pointed out in your comment) ... but I am finding that trying to paint them is getting difficult as I get older. I might have one more try before buying 30mm or 42mm figures, just to see if I can get the 'look' that I want to achieve.

    All the best,

    Bob

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  16. Ross Mac,

    I must admit that I had not considered the figure 'footprint' as a factor ... but it is a very valid point that you make.

    The funny thing is that most 'modern' figures are anatomically absurd ... and yet I have heard wargamers make rude comments about properly proportioned figures not looking right! Peter Laing, Spencer Smith and the other 'older' figure makers at least made figures that were in proportion. Give me a 'toy solder'-style 30mm Spencer Smith figure anyday, but do not try to foist a multi-shaded 28mm grotesque on me please!

    I just cannot make up my mind what to choose ... so for the moment I think that I will follow Bluebear Jeff's advice ... but not until I have given painting some 15mm figures one last chance.

    All the best,

    Bob

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  17. Ross Mac is of course right - in 15mm there are few figures more cleaner than the superlative Minifgs range but I hear you on the issue of eye sight! One question - do you have an optivisor/magnifier or similar?? I swear by mine!

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  18. 40/42mm sure is a contender these days, especially if you're aiming for a "toy soldier" style. As you say, pricewise they work out around the same as most 28mm figures. With generally less moulded-on detail they also lend themselves more to the sort of conversions-by-paint that you'll need for Imagi-Nations.

    Ross Mac speaks wisely, and I'd definitely second his recommendation of Minifigs in 15mm. When I was building up 15mm forces, I found Minifigs to be very primitive compared to the Irregular and Lancashire Games figures that were the backbone of my collection. But that would make them perfect for "toy soldier" style painting.

    I guess the million dollar question is: are you looking for a grand new adventure? Because I think that's what buying into 42mm would be. 15mm, the "sensible" choice in light of your existing collection, is just carrying on with what you've done before. 42mm is going to look very different on the tabletop, painting will be a different experience and sculpting/home casting unique figures becomes a much more realistic proposition with larger, toy soldier style figures.

    There's nothing wrong with choosing a grand new adventure, just as there's nothing wrong with choosing to stick to the sensible course. Have fun whichever way you end up going.

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  19. Bob, As I was finishing my comment the first time around, windows bliupped and I lost it. When I re typed it I left out the following offer.

    Its probably best to sample the figures that you intend to actually use but if you would like a cheap 40mm option sa a test to see how painting them feels, I could cast up some Zinnbrigade 1900 Prussians and send them to you. Perhaps a crew to man one of those Crescent 18pdrs.

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  20. Enjoy yourself - order some samples - nothing like having a figure in the hand to help make your decision...and on top of that it's exciting waiting for the parcels to arrive! :o)

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  21. Bob,

    There is nothing wrong with "staying the course with 15mm Minifigs" . . . but if you are already having troubles seeing/painting them, I'd say go for larger figures.

    Yes, I know that Peter Berry would say move to 6mm (and his figures are nice) . . . but they certainly aren't suitable for "toy soldier" style.

    Bigger scale means fewer figures to paint, easier to see and more "toy soldierish" . . . isn't this what you want for your new project?

    Take up Ross on his kind offer and see what you think . . . and get some Spencer Smiths and Minifigs (15mm and 25mm) . . . remember that you can always sell off the ones that you don't choose.

    I know that I can't recall the last time I put some of my painted 15s on the table top . . . and I keep thinking about what project I can use the larger figures for that I don't already have painted up in 25mm or 30mm.


    -- Jeff

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  22. Steve-the-Wargamer,

    The problem that I am finding with painting 15mm figures is that I cannot focus on them for very long before my eyes begin to feel tired. Over the years the sight in one eye has got worse than the other, and even using glasses does not seem to have cured the problem.

    I have tried using a magnifier ... but then I saw all of my painting imperfections and I seemed to spend more time trying to correct the errors on one figure rather than just painting another one.

    Minifigs do sound like they might be a way forward if I stick with 15mm-scale. I might do what several people have suggested and buy some of each scale of figure, paint them, and see which I find easiest to do.

    All the best,

    Bob

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  23. Dr Vesuvius,

    I just cannot make my mind up what I want to do, and I think that I will take the course of action that several people have suggested and buy some of each scale of figure, paint them, and see which I prefer.

    A very practical solution to the problem.

    All the best,

    Bob

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  24. Ross Mac,

    Thank you very much for your kind offer. I would love to paint some of your homecast figures ... and even if I do not go down the 40/42mm-scale road, they will look great alongside the cannons in my display case!

    All the best,

    Bob

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  25. Steve-the-Wargamer,

    I am off to see the family solicitor in a while, and when I come back I hope to send some figure orders off to Irregular, Spencer Smith, and Minifigs!

    All the best,

    Bob

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  26. Bluebear Jeff,

    I have decided to try the 'samples' route ... and even before I send in the orders I am getting excited!

    I hope to write about the outcome of my 'experiment' in the near future.

    All the best,

    Bob

    PS. I tried painting 6mm-scale figures once; never again!

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  27. Hi Bob
    Have you considred commissioning your own 42mm figures.... with swop-et arms. This might reduce the cost for the regular line infantry

    Kind Regards

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  28. Gunnery Sargent Rock,

    I must admit that it was not something that I had considered ... but it is not a bad idea!

    All the best,

    Bob

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  29. Geordie an Exiled FoG,

    Many thanks for your condolences. They are much appreciated.

    All the best,

    Bob

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  30. Bob - if you are looking for additional figures that aren't readily available, it may be worth contacting Dorset Soldiers:
    http://www.dorsetsoldiers.com/
    They have kindly produced a number of special figures over the years for our Continental Wars Society demonstration games.

    Mark Dudley - if you are interested in selling some of those FPW (or other 19th Century) Laings you mentioned, please drop me a line:
    ian.dury@hotmail.co.uk
    Ian

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  31. Ian Drury,

    Many thanks for the information regarding Dorset Soldiers. If they are willing to create special figures for customers, they may well enable me to fill in some (if not all) of the gaps in my requirements.

    All the best,

    Bob

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