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Author Topic: Falling out of love with plastics  (Read 188 times)

Colonel Kilgore

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Falling out of love with plastics
« on: August 08, 2018, 11:26:45 PM »
Some time ago, I bought a box of German plastic Early War infantry, with another of support weapons.

These seemed like great value, and I thought they'd be good to knock up a force for which I didn't need to bother too much about the detail of the painting (since they're just plastic anyway...).

The figures are quite nice and in realistic proportions. Poses are a little limited (9 frames of the same set of "grunts" in the box, plus 3 of command / heavier weapons) but not too bad (although I'm not sure how every prone LMG gunner in a company would find an identically-shaped rock to rest his weapon on...).

I've spent an unexpected amount of time cleaning these all up (the mould lines don't always scrape off nicely, and there is some assembly to do).

And now I'm done, I'm not sure I want to invest the time in painting what are - after all - just plastic figures, and sometimes quite fragile at that.

So I've now got out some PP figures and am enjoying getting these ready for painting instead. Lead is somehow better behaved than plastic, and much more satisfying all round. Plus the outcome should be more robust and long-lasting.

Am I missing the point of plastics here? Or was it sacrilege to have bought them in the first place...?

Duncan

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Re: Falling out of love with plastics
« Reply #1 on: August 09, 2018, 01:22:13 AM »
I don't  like plastics, they may in some cases give higher levels of details, but generally take longer to clean are often greasy  and require washing before painting, also they can be rather flimsy and prone to breaking, but for me the biggest thing especially when it comes to tanks and other vehicles is that they just don't feel like you have something substantial in your hands.
I noticed this and first realised what the issue was back when GW swapped from lead to mainly plastics. I bought some plastic terminators and made them up, they looked OK, painted OK, but when held in the hand next to a metal one, well they just were not Terminators. For me those old metal figures had mass behind them like what they are supposed to represent, they plastics were not real, sort of make believe, like to inflatable tanks used to fool the Germans on the build up to D-Day.
Metal just feels right.

Sean Clark

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Re: Falling out of love with plastics
« Reply #2 on: August 09, 2018, 03:08:55 AM »
Nothing beats a new pack of 8 metal Pig figures and an our or so listening to an audio book whilst I prep them ready to paint.

Leman

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Re: Falling out of love with plastics
« Reply #3 on: August 09, 2018, 08:24:00 AM »
I quite like 28mm plastics, particularly the multi pose properties they exhibit. I started wargaming 52 years ago with soft plastic Airfix figures, but rapidly changed to metal after about four years. As yet I have never used hard plastic 15s, although somebody did give me some 15mm plastic WWI German artillery, which may get some use if I ever do some late war stuff. Unlikely to actually buy 15mm plastic.

Colonel Kilgore

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Re: Falling out of love with plastics
« Reply #4 on: August 09, 2018, 09:31:30 AM »
Metal just feels right.

I totally agree!

Colonel Kilgore

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Re: Falling out of love with plastics
« Reply #5 on: August 09, 2018, 09:40:45 AM »
Nothing beats a new pack of 8 metal Pig figures and an our or so listening to an audio book whilst I prep them ready to paint.

That too - I'm glad it's not just me that takes a little while to get them ready for the paint!

The second-best point for me [the best of course being having everything varnished, based and ready to play; and the third-best being choosing and organising the force in the first place] is having everything primed and ready to take that first slap of paint, and discovering how the sculpting will react to it and bring the whole thing to life.

Leman

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Re: Falling out of love with plastics
« Reply #6 on: August 09, 2018, 12:04:17 PM »
Yes indeed - they really do paint up well.

Smiley Miley 66

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Re: Falling out of love with plastics
« Reply #7 on: August 09, 2018, 06:16:47 PM »
Well the Modeller in me loves plastic AFV's so much easier to convert. I personally don't get this about they don't weigh as much ? Or i like to feel the chunky metal ? Maybe as i was brought up on Airfix and Matchbox tanks ? I work with the medium i have in front of me period. But like i said plastic is easier to work with,I am just stating a fact !

Mike6t3

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Re: Falling out of love with plastics
« Reply #8 on: August 09, 2018, 06:48:35 PM »
Plastic AFVs everytime for me. Figures I prefer in metal. I can see some merit in multi part 28mm figs for skirmish level games where it's nice to individulise figures but I wouldn't want to assemble several battalions worth.

Leman

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Re: Falling out of love with plastics
« Reply #9 on: August 09, 2018, 07:56:15 PM »
Well the Modeller in me loves plastic AFV's so much easier to convert. I personally don't get this about they don't weigh as much ? Or i like to feel the chunky metal ? Maybe as i was brought up on Airfix and Matchbox tanks ? I work with the medium i have in front of me period. But like i said plastic is easier to work with,I am just stating a fact !
Sorry to quibble but I think you are stating an opinion. My opinion is that metal is considerably easier to clean up than plastic, which either seems to leave a little indentation or a little lump no matter how hard I try to get it smooth. This usually happens when a head (not neck) or an elbow has been attached to the sprue.

Smiley Miley 66

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Re: Falling out of love with plastics
« Reply #10 on: August 10, 2018, 04:25:32 AM »
You missed the bit about AFV's not figures. I never mentioned figures in my previous piece. Must admit though a lot of 15mm TANKS and A/C i do usually replace the barrel with metal tubes. Where 15mm barrels can be so delicate, they might look good but as a wargamming piece, not so good.
 This is the problem. Having a model as a model. Plastic everytime. But as a Wargaming piece metal is a lot sturdy and hard wearing to handle.
To be honest i just love when someone casts an AFV and figures of a particular period, saves me having to convert it, to get what i need.
 What you forgot to mention about figures and maybe this is there problem, is actually the manufacturing process. How to mould them etc (plastic) yes these can be more detailed but at the expense of being more delicate, but they do seem flatter, maybe to fit into the mould.

Leman

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Re: Falling out of love with plastics
« Reply #11 on: August 10, 2018, 07:40:29 AM »
Perhaps one of the many reasons WWII leaves me stone cold as a wargames period.

Duncan

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Re: Falling out of love with plastics
« Reply #12 on: August 10, 2018, 10:49:22 AM »
Yes, when I started collecting 15mm WW2 stuff for FOW one of the main reasons was that the figures were metal, the vehicles were solid resin and metal and felt like you were getting something substantial. Now they have changed to plastics I have not bought anymore FOW stuff and don't  plan to.
As has been said plastics just feel flimsy, insubstantial. They feel like they are going to break at any point simply by being looked at. I do wonder though if the flatter figures represent better what people used to look like? A lot of metal figures were a little chunked, which was fine by me. Interestingly though Peter Pig figures do not seem to suffer from fatness or thinness and seem just about right.
One thing I don't want though, worse than plastic is resin figures, Chunks of resin in vehicles is fine but resin figures just don't seem to work and I think in 15mm it is even worse! They are too thin and prone to bending and breaking.

mellis1644

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Re: Falling out of love with plastics
« Reply #13 on: August 10, 2018, 02:01:58 PM »
I got some of the FoW 15mm plastic infantry from a LFGS for my 8th army project and have to say I don't really like the figs. The relief (i.e. inset) is quite poor especially on the faces so does not come out well unless you really want to paint details in the faces vs, just a wash and a highlight or two. I find I can have the same issue with some 28mm plastics but it tends not to be as bad.

P.S. Got some PP figs to fill in the project along with oh 15 year old metal's I already had from battlefront.

Plastics are ok but in 15mm I still think metal is king.


NTM

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Re: Falling out of love with plastics
« Reply #14 on: August 10, 2018, 03:53:22 PM »
For tanks I prefer plastic the options in the box are great for personalizing or converting a model. Despite owning half a dozen is so plastic figures I'm unconvinced by them. Quality is fine but lack of variety and quantity of command and specialist figures mean I need to supplement with metal which don't really the style of the plastics so may as well gone all metal in the first place.