31 March 2014

Erasing my plastic prejudice (part 3)

In this final instalment I shall go into the costs in a little more detail to show how this can be a real winning factor on its own but when combined with the previous posts HERE and HERE, becomes a bit of a no brainer if your budget is tight.

Right we all know that I have always had a preference for 28mm metal figures, there is something about the feeling of a bunch of lead that warms the cockles. However that warm feeling comes with an increasing cost in today's economy. With the costs of a single metal foot figure varying from £1.20 to £2.00 depending on who is selling them, large armies require deep pockets.

So having sat with my Hail Caesar rulebooks and worked out a few ancients armies, I had a figure count to work with for each of them. Now I could weigh up the relative costs of doing the projects at different scales. The one thing I knew was any ancients armies were going to involve a fairly high figure count even playing with our adjustments.

I will use my 24 figure Celt warbands as my first example.

28mm Metal figures from Crusader £9.75 for 8 which equals £29.25 per 24 figures
28mm plastic warband from warlord £ 25.00 for 40 plastic figures which equals £15.00 per 24 figures

20mm metal warband from newline £9.50 for 24 figures
1/72 plastic from Hat £5.00 for 48 figures so that equals £2.50 for 24 figures.

Now based on this information the clear winner on cost is the 1/72nd plastics simple maths here shows I could build 6 warbands for the cost of 1 x 28mm plastic one and almost 12 warbands for a single 28mm metal one.

Now that is just a basic example so to increase the effect lets look at my entire Nubian Army.

Now this army is comprised of a few extras so I have stripped those out of the equations. So in total I needed 313 figures to build this.

So I purchased 6 boxes of 48 Hat figures and 1 box of 42 Caesar miniatures for a total of 330 figures , now the Hat sell at £4.25 a box and the Caesar cost £6.00 for a total cost of £31.50.

So using 312 x 28mm metals the Nubians could be purchased at £20.00 per 24 figures making for a total of £260.00 pounds. (One of the command stands can lose a figure without detracting from this example)

That is a massive difference of £228.50, yes I have had to make some compromises on poses and had a little bit of conversion work to do for these but the money I saved cant be argued with and thus makes funding other armies in 1/72 plastic a very tempting proposition.

Now add into the mix, that there are some very good retailers on E Bay of 1/72nd plastic, and you can make even bigger savings as I did purchasing the 6 boxes of Hat Nubians for £2.75 each bringing my actual spend down to £22.50 for the Nubian army.

Even if I have to pay full retail cost for the plastics. I make huge savings that to be honest are hard to knock, if you don't have extensive funds or just want to build a large army for new periods and have fun with it. I am not concerned with resale value as I wont be selling them. I am able to give them a decent paint job as they are larger than 15mm figures and dont need the level of detail of a 28mm figure but above all they work for my Ancients army builds nicely.

So that brings me to the end of this current series of posts on plastics thanks for taking the time out to read them.


30 March 2014

Climbing back into the saddle

I have had a break from all things blog and painting related save for my commitments to Warbases these last couple of weeks. I had a few things to square away around the home and generally get caught up with other matters. I apologise if I haven't commented on your blogs, I have been reading them to keep up with things and will return to normal next week as I continue in my usual fashion.

I have found that whilst having complete focus on the challenge worked for that. It caused chaos elsewhere as normal routines were not followed and things did not get done. Even worse was the discovery that 4 parcels I had given to my step daughter to post had got no further than the boot of her car for the last don't know how many weeks. (Which has taught me a valuable lesson)  So I have had to rectify several things this past week to get back on track.

My first job next week is to complete this unit of French for my client. They should not take too long and will be the final element of a sizable force that I painted during the challenge.

I have done a little bit of painting in the last couple of weeks and have started the first battalion of British for the Peninsular force I will build this year. The figures are a mix of Perry and Victrix plastic with some metal thrown in for good measure.

I made a start on my Koryu Buntai as well, though I am in no rush to finish these at the moment as they are going to be sold off when completed.

Gaming has been good though I am unable to blog about it currently as myself and Kevin have been play testing a game for the new Pike and Shotte supplement a friend is compiling. I of course am also preparing myself for Salute and look forward to reacquainting myself with some fellow bloggers during the day.


26 March 2014

Warbases Wednesday #4

So I am having a small blogging hiatus at the moment and as far as the workbench goes that is very unproductive as I take a wee rest at the end of the challenge. I have not been completely idle though and continued to work on the display figures for Martin to bring you this weeks edition of Warbases Wednesday.

This week we continue where I left off last week with the other 28mm animals in the new range of miniatures being released by Warbases at Salute this year. They will be on stand TA18, along with myself who will be working for the day or ably cocking things up as usual!

So if your going to be having a farmstead scene what better than some chickens to liven things up. A pack contains 6 hens in 3 different poses and a rooster for £1.50

 Next up is a pack of 4 Collies or Rabid mutts, nice randomly posed dogs that will take to painting up as a variety of breeds. £2.50

This pack contains 2 Longhorn cattle and are able to be constructed as either European or American breeds as extra horns are supplied to make both. £3.50

Wild Boars, perfect for any a wide time span the pack contains 2 adults and 3 young for £3.00

Mouflon sheep another ancient breed here and good fun to paint as they have a distinctive pattern 2 adults and 2 young in the pack for £2.50

Finally Iron age pigs complete the range, these represent the earliest domesticated pigs, pack contains 2 adults and 3 young for £3.00

That brings us nicely to a conclusion of all the new releases for Salute so far. I am sure you will all agree this range could be a welcome addition to many a table and they are keenly priced as well.

Now if you have not already done so pop over to the companies Facebook page  find the 19th of March post and take part in the competition they are having and you might win some of these figures.


21 March 2014

A Summary of My Analogue Hobbies Winter Challenge this year.

Firstly let me start this post by thanking Curt for the titanic effort he puts into organising the winter challenge each year. It takes a dedicated person to co-ordinate and steer a project like this and it could not be done without him. Thanks also have to go to Sarah his wife for allowing him the time to dedicate to this venture yearly. I must also thank my own wife for putting up with me for the last 3 months as without her support I could not take part.

Now before the challenge had started I had a whole heap of figures sat on shelves and in boxes mounted onto painting strips, cleaned and primed in black, ready for the off. Alongside this I had worked out that to keep on track of painting I needed a schedule of sorts hence the spreadsheet. This served me well throughout the challenge as it enabled me to track what I had left to do in various projects or bonus rounds. Together with a set of spreadsheets for the relevant armies or units I was organised as best I could be. I stocked up on basing materials and essential paint colours that were low and of course plenty of bases to mount them all on.

I had always planned to go really hard for the first month, because I wanted to beat my good buddy Kev to the 1000 point mark. After all I have heard about my failings last time out for a fair proportion of the year and I wanted to level the score. There is always plenty of banter flying between us, its what good mates do and its all in good spirits.

I opened my account with some French Indian war civilians from redoubt
This was followed up fairly quickly with a Skraeling warband for Saga
Then a Unit of French Napoleonics in greatcoats.

I hit the 1000 point mark three weeks into the challenge and managed to restore my dignity. However now I had a level of confidence to raise my target too 2750 which I thought would be achievable as I planned to take the rest of the challenge at a more relaxed pace. Then I changed my game plan a short while later and decided to go for the win. To prove something to myself more than anything, I have struggled badly with illness this last year and was unable to beat back a bad bout of depression, so I used the challenge to focus my mind and block things out and hopefully I would come out the other side in a happier place. It did not always work and at times the depression was a hindrance but I carried on regardless.

The big thing for me this year was a new focus on biblical armies and the challenge was an ideal setting to make a good start and set about building the Nubian Army. I worked three units at a time on this until it was completed.
While assembling this I also worked several other projects to break it all up and provide some much needed variety.
There were 28mm Saxons.
28 mm French Indian wars.
 A Banshee and a Druid

 Lots of 20mm Celts

The Celts / Ancient Britons were a big addition to our existing forces enabling us to play larger games.
Lots more 28mm Napoleonics, which gave me enough to field a full Brigade for our games in the coming year ahead.
Then 20mm Sea people the second biblical army that I will be working on heavily.
There were also the Bonus rounds of which I met my second side challenge of having entered an item for them all. However one entry with Spidey caused a lot of controversy!! Something I am not too proud of in reality and may refrain from out of the box thinking in future. However you can always rely on Loki to bring some mayhem to the party so maybe not. Alongside this I did a fair bit of blogging to boot. The facebook group was also a nice added extra, with encouragement coming from the members. The challenge is a most enjoyable event and some stunning work this year from everyone really made this special. I am totally exhausted after all the effort and hours I put into it this year but enjoyed every minute.

Now I even have a fair few items of shame as I lost some desire to paint at times and shoved them to one side. These will have to be done over the coming months and after Salute now.
A battalion of Peninsular British, 2 units of French allied Hussars and a set of Lukka Pirates. I just plain ran out of time with these.
A whole box full of French Napoleonic Infantry in various stages of being painted. Definitely a casualty of the butterfly effect.
30 Parthian Horse Archers, horses done and then I stopped (still trying to figure out why!)

When all is said and done though I am rather pleased to have pulled off a first place in this event, but more importantly I am pleased with how my work was received by the wider community as I tried to keep a certain level of quality in every submission.

Onto the final scores and breakdown:

Ranked #1 out of 61 participants.

I Painted 830 figures during the 3 months: 285 of those were 28mm, 545 were 20mm.

This amassed me a grand total of 4180 points. This equates to 44 points a day over the 95 Days.

I am going to take a couple of days off from blogging and put me feet up for a bit to recover. I sure I have earned that much at least. Thank you all for taking the time to visit my blog throughout the event and all the comments.


19 March 2014

Warbases Wednesday #3

Welcome to the third edition of Warbases Wednesday.  One of the big releases for Warbases at Salute 2014 will be a new range of 28mm miniatures and they are jolly nice indeed. I always like a bit of scenery on my tables and often source things to just dress things up a little. So this new range of animals is going to come in very handy indeed, especially with the Dux Raiders about to be released.

I have been privileged enough to be given a set of the full range to paint up for the companies new display case, and am furiously working my way through an extensive number of figures. So for this first batch I bring you:

I just had to open with the Highland Cattle, and these are big beasts with plenty of heft to them. The Sculpts are very nice with the horns coming seperately and were a perfect fit. As you can see the pack contains 2 Cows and a calf and will retail at £4.00

 Next up are a pack of 2 Shire horses, again lovely sculpts and easy to paint up this pack will cost £3.50

A pack of 4 Soay sheep, these were an unusual paint job and required a bit of internet research before painting them up, they are an Ancient breed so will fit in with many periods of game and at £2.50 a pack.

 3 Anglo Nubian goats, a painters dream as anything goes with these, patches, spots and pretty much most colours too. the pack cost is £2.20

 A Blood Hound a great sculpt and good value at £0.80 very useful for border reivers games etc.
Finally this week we will finish with "Churchill"  (sorry couldn't resist that) A British Bulldog, this is a great sculpt and has character and a bargain at £0.80.

There are a lot more animals in the range, and I am already aware of what will be coming in the future, with additions for the Hansom cab model and there will be something that every western town needs later in the year. I hope to have the full range completed ready for next weeks post so stay tuned as you will see them here first!


18 March 2014

Erasing my plastic prejudice (part 2)

So in my earlier post HERE. I went into some details of why Myself and Kevin decided to go into the world of 1/72nd plastics, and I promised you all some further explanations and practicalities of painting them in particular was a major concern.

Now my memories of trying to get paint to adhere to these little buggers is not good, back in the day it meant hours of scrubbing and then giving every figure a coat of PVA and praying to all manner of deities for the paint to stick to the plastic.

Fast forward 25 odd years and things have improved slightly, the development of better plastics for a start is one heck of a major step forward. There are also a variety of primers that work very well on plastics now that dispense with the need for pre-coating with glue etc etc etc.

Now I hate scrubbing anything, and with my less than agile hands, soap and small figures are a bad combination. However the wife has a very good dishwasher ( I only recommend doing this without plates etc). So after I have taken all the figures from the sprues and cleaned the mould lines I pop them into the baskets for knives and spoons into the dishwasher, bung in a tablet and let it do its magic. One big point to note is you need to remove the figures before the drying cycle, trust me you dont want to see what can happen if you forget.

Once you have your nice sparkly figures they are ready to mount and prime. Here is where I make no compromises and only use one primer:

This stuff is possible the biggest asset in my paint stock because it primes anything, and because it is polyurethane based its damn well flexible so does not crack when you bend a figure.
Now in theory if your primer is good then so will the paint job on top. Now I will go on the record and say that the dishwasher is not a perfect solution and possibly not eco friendly and the odd figure may not get cleaned fully requiring a further application of primer to spots that get missed or refuse to take first time but 99% of the time it works.
Then once the primer is dry its time for some colour, using your favoured paints. Now having painted a fair amount of these figures recently I think it does qualify me to state that all my worries and horrors are a thing of the past. I am converted to the benefits of using these ranges for certain periods and to build large forces for them. Now large forces mean big costs, well not neccessarily as we will see in the concluding part of this series of posts.

17 March 2014

Challenge Day 93 - Final bonus round

I am not going to do much of a ramble about my entry into the last bonus theme as to be honest it is not what I had planned and ended up being a fraction of what I intended. but none the less it is going to count for 50 bonus points.
King Leonidas
Originally intended to be part of a larger scene, giving thanks to the Gods before going off to battle. Flanked by his body guards but alas time and circumstances conspired against me.

Well to be honest a complete lack of focus is more the case, as I had planned this originally but changed my mind started something more complicated before realising I was in danger of not making a submission at all.

Any way I digress there are some truly inspirational pieces and at least one excellent but down right insane one as well to feast your eyes upon HERE

16 March 2014

Challenge Day 92 - weekly round up 16/03/2014 - Nubians completed

A busy week in the Hall this week, mainly basing troops that had been painted and put to onside for finishing whilst I continued to paint more figures.

However I did managed to grind through the painters block and finish the Nubian army. I really had no idea how big this project was going to be as I had only seen the numbers on paper - yes I even have spreadsheets to refer too when building the armies and to help co ordinate me on the painting front.

When I took the photographs outside on a 6ft x 4ft table it became apparent that it was big in fact very big.

The entire army which takes up a fair bit of table space. Built to play Hail Caesar and is a 500 point force.

This is the first division which contains :- A divisional General (3 figs) or Army commander (5 figs), 2 skirmish units (16 figs), 3 Warbands of light infantry (48 figs) and two units of royal guards (16 figs).

This is the second division which contains :- A divisional general (3 figs), 2 skirmish units (16 figs), 4 warbands of light infantry (64 figs) and on the right are 4 optional command stands to change warbands to standard units (8 figs).

The third division consists of :- A divisional command (3 figs), 2 skirmish units (16 figs) and 3 light infantry warbands (48 figs).

The fourth division is composed exactly the same as the third.

I was really pleased with the use of the plastic figures for this project as it did keep the costs of the build down. I also learnt a lot about painting on modern plastics which I shall share in another post. In total there are 313 figures for the entire force. All of which were received on Christmas day as a present from my boys and painted during this years winter challenge accounting for a fair proportion of my points total. The units are composed of Hat figures except the two units of Royal guard which are from Caesar. Some of the Hat figures had to undergo some conversion work as there were not enough spear men in the boxes to work correctly for Hail Caesar's requirements but the conversion was fairly straight forward and in the main involved cutting away clubs and melee weapons and replacing with pins.

The basing was all done to represent fertile but rocky ground and hopefully sets the figures off correctly.
Anyway that's enough of my waffle for today. I hope you enjoyed seeing these as much as I did painting them (except the last couple of units anyway).


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