Befreiungskriege 1813-14

Painting and modelling 28mm Napoleonic wargaming miniatures

Thursday night musings

Posted by Martin on March 8, 2007

It’s been one of those not-so-quiet weeks.

Today my in-box contained the latest Foundry e-mail newsletter with the announcement of price rises. Now there’s nothing alarming abut the basic fact of that – after all, a business has to keep pace with increasing costs if it is to survive. No, the thing I found perplexing was the sheer lack of specificity. The nearest thing to a clear indication of what customers can expect is the quote:

“as well as a significant general price rise, we will be creating a price difference between blisters where there is a notable difference in material and manufacturing costs”

Hmmm – sounds like a big price hike is coming and perhaps that’s why Foundry isn’t being specific. Perhaps they’re worried customers will vote with their wallets. Still, you’ve got until 12th April and, depending on your outlook on life that’s either nice early notice or a cynical attempt to boost orders before the end of Q1. Take your pick…

On a much more cheery note, this week has marked the return of German paint meister Sasha Herm. Since picking up laurels at last year’s Salute painting competition, Sasha has moved back to Germany and we haven’t seen much of his work. But he’s resurfaced on Steve Dean’s forum with a couple of super pieces of work on Perry Dutch-Belgian command sets. Add to that a new camera and some tweaks to his technique with a wet palette and you’ve got some very impressive results.

It’s always interesting to see how other painters work and pick up tips from them. Steve’s forum is one of the very best and friendliest places to do this and all the best painters I know chip in there. In another thread, Sasha’s been kind enough to share how he’s made his own wet palette and is using it. His latest work includes a couple of horses which, as regular readers will know, is something at the forefront of my mind at present. I’ve been comparing Sascha’s horse style with my own efforts and other people’s comments would be interesting. Here’s a shot of the current horse-in-progress:

Horse work-in-progress 2

There’s a couple of mistakes and a bit of touching up to do (see if you can spot where) but then this one’s ready for varnishing. Oh yeah, and the NMM experiment has extended to the “steel” bits – like the stirrups. What do you reckon?


11 Responses to “Thursday night musings”

  1. Chris said

    Hi Martin,

    With ref to the Foundry and their price hikes. Please check out FrontRank. They say about the cost of tin etc but I think 15% on postage and a minimum postage of £8.25 leaves a real bad taste, and check out £1.47 per horse. I think that this will have a serious effect on the Napoleonic 25/28mm period. I for one will now be hassling Mr P Fitzgerald to get his Frenchmen on the table.

  2. Martin said

    It’s fair to say that the price of tin is definitely a factor in miniature pricing. What’s more, it affects all manufacturers of metal figures though economies of scale might suggest that it would affect smaller businesses more than larger ones.

    The thing I find interesting about all this is the emergence of 40mm miniatures – the Perrys have been doing them for some time now and Front Rank has just launched an AWI range @ £2.95 per figure. Figure for figure, these require far more metal than 28mm miniatures and are therefore more expensive. However, I imagine that most collectors would use these for skirmish games and so their total outlay would be lower. Which in turn means the total revenue for manufacturers would decrease.

    Postage prices are something about which I don’t feel qualified to comment but I will make a prediction: if customers do feel that postage prices are unfair they’ll either stop ordering or switch to only buying figures at shows. The latter, of course, is something that not everybody has the opportunity to do, so we risk losing people from our hobby.

    For balance, finally, let’s not forget that figure manufacturers are businesses not charities – they can only survive if they make a margin. If they have pricing that leaves them running at a loss, they’ll go out of business. In what state would that leave our hobby?

  3. Chris said

    Hi Martin,

    Thanks for your rounded argument. You definitely made some valid points with ref to 40mm and the decrease in profits etc.

    P.s. Thanks for getting you blog back up and keep up the good work.

  4. Cyril said

    Hi Martin:

    I don’t believe the folks at the Foundry are hatching some cynical plan to misinform/mislead their customers. I’ve been buying their stuff for years now, and they’ve always been dead decent: taking numerous returns and exchanges, giving refunds without any questions asked and always extremely courteous and helpful when I telephone them for FREE from the USA. Cool stuff really!
    Speaking of cool, your horse is HOT!! One of the best I’ve seen: straight out of an oil painting almost; however, I think your camera is letting you down: too shaky or blurry or something? Cheers.

  5. Murray said

    Hi Folks

    I have to say that there is a growing number of gamers using 40mm for unit based gaming. Sash and Saber makes this very affordable, with battalion packs at USD40 for 20 figures (at USD 2 per figure that is cheaper than many 28mm ranges). Also, Trident Design figures, which are slightly larger and IMHO of better quality than S and S, work out at around USD3.20 if you’re smart about how you order. I’m using these two ranges to complete AWI armies. I will grab a few units with the Front Rank, but personally they are a little expensive for 20 figure units and (from the photos) still look a little FRish for my tastes, compared with the Trident range. My units will range from 12 to 30 figures, with most in the 18-24 range. AWI is perhaps the perfect period from Horse and Musket gaming (smallish armies, moderate numbers of units AND RED COATS!), so the attention this period is getting from sculptors in this scale isn’t surprising.

    I already have completed ACW armies using S and S figures. Approx 25 regiments per side and average 12-16 figures per unit. I find this combination is visually stunning and can be played on tables no larger than would be used for 28mm.

    I think the skirmish point is fair for figures 3 pounds or more (have you seen the Durant figures?). I don’t know too many people doing 36 figure Perry French units to play general de Brigade! Also, whilst AWI might be perfect for battalion based games in 40mm, I think 28mm (or smaller) is going to be more attractive for Napoleonics etc. Like everybody, I’m really looking forward to Peter F’s Prussian cavalry and French.

    As for economics, I would think that 40mm figures are a more attractive proposition for “collectors” than 28mm, though I have no idea how big this market is.

    Thanks for the heads-up on Steve Dean’s forum – awesome site.



  6. Martin said

    Hi Cyril: I’ve carefully avoided accusing Foundry (or any other manufacturer) of cynicism. Having Peter F. as a friend gives me a rare insight into the delicate economics of being a figure manufacturer and I think each of us, as customers, must take each supplier as we find them. I’m delighted to hear you enjoy the service Foundry provides for you and I’m certain that it plays no small part in you continuing to favour them with your custom.

    Thank you for your kind words about the horse. You have a valid point about the camera. I use an old Kodak 2 megapixel one my wife bought a few years ago for our daughters to use on holiday. I’m actually pleasantly surprised that the pictures come out as good as they do! However, other painters have much better photography set-ups and it certainly shows. Ah well, maybe the “financial director” will allow me to invest in a new one later this year.

    Hi Murray: good to hear from you. I have seen a couple of 40mm demonstration games at shows and at least one of the was ACW. I agree that AWI is well suited to this scale too and I’d love to see some games done this way. However, as a dyed-in-the-wool Napoleonics fan, I’ll be sticking to 28mm. You don’t know how many times I’ve had to summon up the will to resist the temptations of another scale/period – the one I find consistently hardest is 1/48th WW2, especially with those beautiful Tamiya kits and it’s only going to get harder now that AFV Club has started its range of 1/48th kits.

  7. Murray said

    I’m a 1/48th WW2 buff myself. I have been collecting the Richard Ansell figures, coupled with Tamiya, Quarter Kit and Skybow and Hobby Boss vehicles. Just getting into the photo etched kits for side skirts etc. Hot stuff. Have you seen the post on TMP re: Fox miniatures about to release a new range of figures…
    Hate to do that to you, mate.

  8. shadowman said

    Hi! How r u?
    nice site!

  9. Emil said

    Hi Martin,

    great article. I’ve used the combo on my horses except the highlight, which was Valljo light brown. Thanks for sharing.


  10. Martin said

    Hi Emil,

    Your horses look excellent. I can hardly tell the difference in colour between your last highlight in light brown and mine in orange brown. It’ll be really interesting to see how they finish up nce you’ve mounted the riders.


  11. Emil said

    Hi Martin,

    I’ve added some pics of nearly finished horses. The riders are to follow soon.


    P.S. Thanks for putting me on your “linklist”, I’ve also put you on my. 🙂

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