Monday, August 30, 2010


I was about to "kill off" this project and blog, when fate intervened.

I originally wanted to field a Prussian brigade to go alongside my Russians, but a number of considerations made me consider the folly of it all.
  • I already had loads of miniatures that needed painting, and progress was glacial.
  • I wasn't gaming any Napoleonics at the time, and it didn't seem likely that I would at any time in the future.
  • Expense.  I'm no cheapskate, and I'm quite happy to spend money on good miniatures.  But I do have to be responsible about how much I want to spend, and costing out the price of a Prussian brigade using Calpe miniatures poured cold water on my enthusiasm. 
So it seemed that doing the brigade of Mecklenburg-Strelitz was dead in the water.

But in the space of a month, a number of developments have come up that have made it look like the project is "do-able" again.

First, I'm gaming Napoleonics at last.  A number of guys at the club here have small- but growing- collections of their own, so now it looks like my Napoleonic miniatures are about to go "live".

Secondly, I'm outsourcing a number of my Russians for painting, which takes pressure off my time and allows for larger games.

Thirdly, and most significantly,  plastic Prussians are on the march from both Perry Miniatures and Warlord.  This changes the financial equation.  Considerably!

Now, I love the Calpe figures, and I realize that they are unequalled for accuracy.  But the fact remains that I have other uses for my hobby money too, and the prospect of a whole brigade of metal miniatures was, as I mentioned, just too rich for my blood.  Not to mention having to carry them all back and forth from the club (I don't drive here in the parking hell that is Tokyo).

The plastics will allow me to save both money and weight.  Now of course I want Calpe minis, and I will indeed have them in my collection.  But to those who criticize the rise of plastic figures, consider this.  If the plastics hadn't arrived on the scene, my gaming partners wouldn't be doing Napoleonics at all, and this project would be dead and buried. Plastics in this case are encouraging sales of metals, not hurting them!

Finally, a word on the accuracy issue.  I am a good painter, and I like a 100% accurate miniature as much as the next gamer.  But I'm not painting a 54mm or larger figure for the display case, I'm painting a wargames army.  I need to reach a critical mass quickly so that I can get the minis on the table.

Accuracy counts when it stands out on the tabletop, but a lot of the detail that is criticized on many wargames figures these days doesn't always make a bit of difference when viewed from three feet away.  And in truth  I find it frustrating that I have a few, well painted and detailed miniatures rather than a colourfully  painted army on an attractive terrain.

If plastics help this to happen, then I'm not going to sweat over minor errors in detail.  And I can always replace them later with metal miniatures if I feel the need or inclination.  I expect I won't!