Sunday, August 26, 2012

Seven Years War - 54mm Plastic

As I needed a break from the flats, Mark Dudley's very nice HaT Prussians painted as Saxon infantry inspired me to have a go at a box of my own.

Here they are, painted imaginatively, Prussians.

IR13 - Itzenplitz

So far HaT has produced three sets, the first being the marching infantry in two poses as shown here. With 18 figures per box, throw in a 20% discount at Classic Toy Soldiers and @ about $0.60 a figure, they have to be one of the great toy soldier bargains.  The command figure box is also out, or will be soon. The action pose set is more like AIP or Barzso with multiple poses per box.

Who do they fight then ?   Of course, the simple approach of painting these same figures in white coats and calling them Austrians will suffice for some and there's certainly no shame in that. After all, AIP been selling the same sets molded in different colors for years.  Blue plastic ?  Prussians !  Green plastic ? Russians !  Red Plastic ?  British, of course !   But plausible enemies do already exist, Barzso's F&I War French.  I undercoat with Rustoleum Plastic Primer, painted with acrylics.

Penny-pinching Minister of War, curse you for these useless tiny swords !

So where am I going with this ?  Upon further reflection, nowhere.   For one thing, the lack of appropriate cavalry in this scale is problematic.  To my eyes, the Peipp 45mm 7YW Prussian cavalry won't look too badly out of scale as they run large, but @ 12.60 euros a figure, I really can't justify the expense. Not when I have plenty of Prince August molds in the garage and can just pick up where I left off with the 40mm vs. starting yet another project from scratch. 

But I must say, as toy soldiers go, these new HaTs are a good value for your money and quite appealing figures.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Test Tube Racks for Vallejo Paints

Over the years, my old acrylic paints in their squat bottles have gradually given way to the ubiquitous Vallejo hobby paints.  While the Vallejos give nice results in general, the skinny containers have led to storage problems on my workspace.  If they all mixed well enough to be stored right side up, everything would be fine. But you know the drill, some of the tubes don't mix well and seem to work better if stored upside down.  I find this to be even more the case with the Reaper Master Series Paints.

The end result was increasing chaos at my painting area, with bottles randomly propped upside down or toppling over.  The dedicated paint racks such as the ones sold by Progengspere on UK eBay, while very nice indeed, are quite expensive.

Oddly enought, the inspiration for a cheaper solution came at work. I work for a medical device company, supervising R&D production on the evening shift.  We recently renovated our production area, now with a clear view through a window into an adjacent analytical test lab.  While looking into this lab one night, I happened to see a large inventory of empty test tube racks stored there.  Hmmm....what if these could be found in a larger size, say big enough to hold a Vallejo bottle ?!

I did a quick search online, keeping in mind the Vallejo bottle width of 24mm.  It didn't take long to find what I was looking for on Amazon: "TEST TUBE RACK PLASTIC for 24 tubes 25mm - by Scientific Equipment of Houston."   $7.50 each. Bingo.  This is what it looks like completely assembled.

I didn't install the top tier in the interest of viewing the paints better, but there's no reason it wouldn't work completely assembled in stock format as well.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Peipp Miniaturen Dresden - 45mm Toy Soldiers

Sorry for the lack of recent activity.  A couple things have happened. For one thing, I ran out of gas on the 30mm flat ancients project.  Got halfway done with the Lampert archers and could not muster the enthusiasm to finish the formation.  I will get back to them sooner or later, but once I hit the wall, that's it for a while.  Secondly, we had a death in the family, about which I'd rather not inflict the distressing details on the blog readership.  But suffice it to say I wasn't in a painting mood for a while, and it entailed spending a week in New York, away from the painting table.

However, I used the brief hiatus from the flats to finish up a couple of Peipp 18th Century figures which had been sitting in the painting queue for quite some time. For those unfamiliar with Peipp, they are a family business in Dresden Germany, offering rather stylized and charming toy soldiers in two scales, 45mm and 54mm.

They do run large, the 45mm are about 50mm and the 54mm are 60mm.  To illustrate, I have posed a Peipp musketeer with 45mm flats and 54mm scale figures to give a better idea of their dimensions.

L to R: 45mm flats: Schmidttdiel, Rossner / Peipp / 54mm: Barzso, ATKM

L to R: 45mm flat - Schmidttdiel / Peipp / 54mm: Tradition
Peipp's prices are quite reasonable given the pleasing designs and bulk quantity of metal you get with your 5 euros for a foot figure.  And the selection of WSS figures in 45mm would allow for building some nice formations of troops.  Still, painting full armies would be quite a costly proposition. So I'll continue to accumulate a few more now and again, with these figures remaining an occasional and pleasant diversion.

Next up, back to the flats: 40mm Romans vs. Germans.  I got a great deal on a 45 piece set of Heinrichsen castings, beautiful figures which were originally offered in 1882. Needless to say the designs are somewhat fanciful when it comes to historical accuracy but very appealing in their own way. I look forward to sharing them with you.