02 November 2009

The switch to plastic, has technology improved? Is the day of the soft plastic figure over?

I'm going to speak on this because of my experience with the Valiant 20mm WWII line (they're closer to true 25mm IMHO, but that's my only complaint about these figures.) and the new plastic Battletech miniatures that have been released as a proof of concept from Catalyst Games. I am very intrigued by this development in the hobby with the advent of very high quality hard-plastic customizable miniatures for the rest of the hobby. The 40K crowd has done this for years, and I think that's where the prejudice against such things has come from. Personally, it's a development, in this era of rising commodities prices, that I can only approve of. It will also make the hobby more accessible as now teenagers can use their plastic modeling gear to work on their armies! Customizing their armies will become easier as well. For all of us conversion happy folks, this can only be a good thing.

I do wish the intermediate scales, aka 15mm, especially sci-fi got some of the same treatment. I do wonder how much cheaper this high impact plastic process is cheaper than the traditional resin and metal parts for vehicles is?

I do think the hard plastic trend for wargaming will continue, and I do think it might become the industry standard, as it looks as if the detail on these figures is captured better than the traditional soft plastic we see.

I do want to see what happens when my Battletech 'Mechs arrive. And I do promise a full review.

As for the Valiant, I found the figures to be an extremely easy build. The hard plastic took glue well, and with a little light scoring to the gluing surfaces with ye standard ol 11 blade, I couldn't have asked for an easier build. The figures scale well with the true 25s I still have left, not very many, but they're not going to fit in with either the 28mm lines on the market, or any 20mm lines I happen to be aware of. The details are excellent, and historically correct, frankly, I think the detail holds up better than on some lead I've seen out there. And, with typically 50-60 figures in a box, you can build a skirmish army in the scale with one box. So, if it's a bit pricey, it's worth it. I find that the amount of weapons and equipment found in the set are ample and in some case, more than ample, I've used some of the extra heads and gear to do some conversions with other figures and vehicles I have. Used in limited quantities, it all comes out in the wash. What flash there was, and there wasn't a lot, was easily removed with ol'number 11 and a measure of patience. My sanding was minimal and I don't recall that many, if any mold lines.


  1. I'm all for the conversion to plastic mini's the pewter mini's are a pain in the you know what. Mold line and flash can be down right impossible to get rid of in a pewter mini and plastic is much easier to file and glue together. I'm all for plastic and I can't wait until everybody switches over to it.

  2. I think it depends on the materials on the metal side of the isle Blackstone. The pewter IWM uses has got some sort of weird mix. And it makes any kind of work with it damn near impossible. Also, I have ALWAYS had my doubts about some of those molds....there's an older Masakari sculpt. I can't put together because the hip assembly has got this massively lopsided metal "plug" in the damn socket. No amount of sanding, drilling or cutting I did would clear it to a point where I could get everything to lie flush.

    Now, look at recent parts debacles with new releases, and there being a few items where the parts as designed will not fit (this doesn't bode well for figures that are these massive multi part-pin-it-to-within-an-inch-of-it's-life affairs.) I am not happy with what's coming out of Iron Wind these days. We'll see what happens, but the fact that most of the 3070 releases I have seen or heard about required somewhat major surgery, or were missing one or more parts? Yeah, color me a bit not impressed.

  3. "I do want to see what happens when my Battletech 'Mechs arrive. And I do promise a full review."

    I will look forward to it!