Thursday, 23 February 2017

Bolt Action British Commandos Part 3

Warlord 28mm British Commandos
I am pretty sold on the Artizan Commando miniatures (love the sculpting), but I want to do my next painting test on a figure of the correct scale, but then don't want to ruin one of the Artizen figures. So, I bought a sprue from Warlords range of 28mm plastic Commandos, it's handy that Warlord sell their sprues individually, but don't make the mistake I did and buy the figure sprue without also buying the weapons sprue! (I've had to wait a further few days until the weapons sprue arrived before I could get on with making my next test figure.)

Anyway, the postie brought the additional sprue I needed this morning, so let's have a look...

The additional British Army weapons sprue (£4).
I can see why people like 28mm, after doing 1/72 the extra detail that can be squeezed into 1/56 is very welcome, without the models being significantly bigger (like 1/48 or 1/35). It's a very happy balance between what's good for tabletop gaming and visible interest, 1/72 (20mm) figures are a little less interesting at tabletop distance (but that's a matter of opinion).

Warlord's 28mm Commandos sprue (£6). There are enough
parts to make 5 figures, 5 standing and 1 kneeling.
Close-up on the Commandos figure sprue.
Another difference between the 'serious' 1/72 models I have been doing and the gaming 28mm figures by Warlord is that these little chaps are full of fun, like little 3D caricatures or cartoons of soldiers. They have the look of characters straight out of the Commando comic or the Victor (if you are old enough to remember that). The poses are dynamic and somewhat over dramatic, but are completely in keeping with the fun nature of the Bolt Action game.

Metal or Plastic?
I suppose one of the questions that the Warlord sprues raise is, what is better, metal or plastic figures?

As I mentioned, I am smitten with Artizan's metal 28mm Commandos, but, of course, you get what poses you are given with them. Plus, there are a limited number of poses within Artizan's range. Therein is the disadvantage of metal miniatures.

Warlord's multipart plastic miniatures system allows a much greater variety of poses to be made, meaning that you need not repeat the same figure again in the same unit. You also have a greater ability to customise your figures and add specific weapon poses.

Under construction - One of the eight included choices of heads on the Warlord
Commando sprue. I haven't worked out the number of possible permutations
you can make with all the parts on the sprue...Suffice to say, it's a lot! :)
There is also the cost advantage of plastics...

Artizen's miniature work out at about £1.45 a pop, and while buying Warlord's figures by the sprue - as I did - works out more expensive than metal figures, the real saving is made when you buy a plastic starter set. Warlord's Commandos starter set is £24 and includes enough sprues to make 25 figures (which works out at 96p per figure).

So, are there any downsides to plastic miniatures over metal?

Well, it may be a bit of a personal preference, but I think the extra weight of the metal figures is something of an attractive attribute over their plastic counterparts. I worry that plastic miniatures might break when handling as they just don't feel durable.

Left: A Warlord multipart plastic 28mm Commando (minus weapon, as I have
been advised to paint them separately). Right:  An Artizan one-piece metal
Another issue with plastic miniatures - in my opinion - is that the interchangeable limbs and separate weapons and accessories are a bit fiddly to put together. And they aren't as interchangeable as they first appear. When putting together my first figure I had to try out several arms until I found a combination that seemed to look natural and that fitted the rifle I wanted. (There are no instructions or a guide to assembly with the sprues or on the Warlord website.)

Equipment comparison between Warlord plastic and Artizan metal figures.
The poor old Warlord Commando is very heavily laden!
(Incidentally, I did a straw poll on the Bolt Action Facebook Group and the consensus was almost exactly 50/50 when asked whether members prefer metal or plastics.)

The Finished Figure...
After much messing around - and referring to a couple of other modeller's blogs - I managed to piece together my test Commando. In all, there were 9 pieces in this little kit (and no pilot holes or pegs, so much of the limbs and equipment just 'hangs' where you glue it)!

I am not entirely happy with Warlord's flimsy plastic weapons and I think I prefer the chunky one-piece metal ones. Being an integral part of the figure sculpture the metal weapons look less breakable.

Just a quick note on basing. To compensate for the exceedingly light-weight plastic figure I decided to use 25mm Steel Repair Washers as bases. These not only give the figures a little bit of heft, but can also be used in combination with magnetic sheets (in case you want to 'stick' a group of figures to a magnetic strip so you can move the figures as a unit).

Just about there, my Warlord Commando is nearly ready for priming.
Despite the clean moulding of the plastic, it still needed some sand-
ing and filling where the arms join the body. I also sanded down
the awful beret, it looks a little better now.
Additionally, by using the washers as a base I can equalise the height of the Warlord and Artizan figures. The Warlord figures have no integral 'slab' stand, and fix directly to their disc base. While the metal figures generally come with a 'slab' stand attached. By adding the washer to both figures (with the Warlord's plastic disc base attached) the two makes of figure end up equal heights (see above photos).

Finally, I will be adding some ground effects by slapping on a thin layer of Pollyfilla (mixed with some of Vallejo's 'Black Lava', which has a nice gritty texture). This will not only give the figures an attractive terrain effect but will also disguise the different basing techniques.

Next: Priming the test models.

1 comment:

  1. I like this plastic Warlord, but on the metal washer is best to place the plastic miniatures.