16 January 2012

Plastics and Metals Work Well Together. . .

Metal RSM figures mix it up with some plastic Revell dragoons in a 2008 refight of Charles Grant Sr.'s "Action" from The War Game, which I retitled The Action at Pelznikkel, to fit into my ongoing campaign context.

One of you visitors to the Grand Duchy of Stollen asked, in the last day or so, whether I used 1/72 plastics together with my metal figures, or not.  Guilty as charged.  I freely mix the two.  The first several units I painted for the GD of S project back in 2006 and 2007 consisted of the sadly defunct, increasingly hard to find plastic Seven Years War sets by Germany's Revell.  Larger than some makes of 1/72 scale plastics, those produced by Revell are, in fact, very slender, understated 25mm figures.  Like many brands of 25mm used to be before the mid to late 1980s and the advent of Wargames Foundry.  So, there was no question in my mind about using the Revell figures on the table next to the larger ones by RSM95, Spencer Smith, and Holger Eriksson once I was seduced by those little metal sirens. . .  and promptly crashed on the rocks. 

Longtime visitors to the GD of S blog might recall that I use 25mm Austrian and Prussian standard bearers from MiniFigs within my units of plastic 1/72 Revell figures.  And while the two are rather different in stoutness, and the Revell figures are actually a bit taller, the combination works fairly well in large units of 60-80 line infantry.  Here, what your eye typically notices is the large size of the unit as a whole rather than the individual figures that comprise it.  Think "in the grand manner" like Peter Gilder, Charles Grant, Charles S. Grant, and Brigadier Peter Young here.

And while it might seem strange at first, painting and assembling large units of troops is also a way to cut a few small corners in the painting process.  Besides, only pedants will notice that you have not painted the fingernails and buttons on the coatees of those 48 Grenadiers of the Old Guard.  Or the golden hoops in their earlobes!

It is for this reason that I have thrown caution and perfectionist tendencies to the wind during the last couple of years and have decided to ignore fixing the most minor mistakes made with the paintbrush.  If it is something so small that no one else will notice, don't bother going back to fix it.  Move on to the next color!  This approach is very much in keeping with what my artist mother once told me many years ago about "real" artists and painters, who simply work around their mistakes on the canvas, disguising those mishaps and working them into the overall composition of their pictures and portraits.  Some might not necessarily agree with that assessment, but it has always made a weird sort of sense to me.

Returning to the point at hand, while I like well-painted miniatures, and try to produce the best work I can at the painting table, I don't like taking months to finish a single unit.  Anyone remember those 30 Minden hussars that took me most of 2011 to finish?  I am not working on 54mm or 90mm display figures after all.  A reasonable wargaming standard that looks good at arm's length is the compromise that I have gradually made with myself after 28 years in the hobby.  That said, it has taken me the last 5 1/2 to get to the current point with the Grand Duchy of Stollen project thanks to things like work, marriage, starting a family, purchasing a house, moving into it, and a host of other  mile stones (or is that millstones?) that have come along in the meantime since beginning things in July-August 2006.  But, you do the best you can in the time available for a hobby pursuit I suppose.

From the same action in Augsut of '08, here is a unit of Revell plastic Austrian grenadiers, a.k.a. Zichenauers in my alternate corner of 18th Century Europe, entering the village of Pelznikkel after trouncing the Stollenian Army.

5 comments:

Bloggerator said...

Stokes,

Those plastic Austrian Grenadiers are still one of my favourite of your units.

Glorious little soldiers.

Greg

Pete said...

I was thinking about compromise just recently - dashing off some terrain in a consciously haphazard way, aware that I had some flashier terrain to distract the casual eye from it. Funnily enough, there's a corollary to your 1/72 thoughts. WI gave away some free plastic US paratroopers in the past few years, and they're ginormous! I have a few old-school 25mm chaps about, and they fit well - er, aside from the 25mm lads being 18th Century as opposed to 20th! Anyway, I quite agree with your sentiments, sir.

Izzak Grimnebulin said...

As my alter ego Paintpig has whispered to me on numerous occasions one standard for commissions and 'this will do' for us.

Jiminho said...

This has been a really nice and useful set of posts, many thanks. Very nice grenadiers as well!

Jim

Wargaming said...

Lovely work! I fully agree; a figure is well painted that holds up to an arm's length inspection. While I appreciate the high detail thing, My army of the IInd Polyester Freestate has to get finished someday in my lifetime...

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