Friday, May 16, 2008

Hallelujah! Plastic comes to 28mm

Whilst I was away, what I have been long hoping for has finally begun to happen. Plastic figures for historical wargaming, and in the traditional 25-28mm scale have finally begun to appear on the market.

First off the line appear to be the Perry twins, with a pair of packs providing American Civil War infantry and Cavalry. The castings, as you can see below are classic Perry sculpts, with all the informed design of modern fantasy range's plastic mouldings.

I have to say, that as a subject, it is not one with a huge apppeal for me, but apparently in the near future, Napoleonics are due to arrive; which could be more tempting. At £12 for 36 infantry, or 12 cavalry, these are about 1/3rd the going rate for high end metal castings; a great price!

Elsewhere, two companies are launching into the ancients field. The first to come to my attention was Warlord Games, who are starting with Imperial Roman Legionaries.

The castings are again crisp, and this may have something to do with the company involed in manufacturing - Renedra Ltd, who cut their teeth on old Matchbox kits and large amounts of Games Workshop plastics. At £17 for a pack of thirty these are pricier, but still represent good value.

Lastly, an American company called Wargames Factory is entering the field. In partnership with Slitherine Games and Osprey books, as part of a major attempt to either popularise or conquer the figure gaming genre with history buffs. They are kicking off with Caesarian Romans and Celtic tribesmen.
Fot my money, these figures aren't as crisp as the British models, but they seem very dynamic, and the value is extraordinary: $30 for 48 figures. That realistically will mean £20 in the UK, maybe even a bit more, but is still less than 50p per figure.
Wargames Factory, also claim to be doing figures for the Hundred Years Wars next, amongst other things.
Right now, may not be the cheapest time to buy plastic figures, but it's still a whole lot cheaper than metal. Not to mention lighter and easier to work with. I applaud these efforts, and can't wait for a flimsy excuse to buy a pack or two.
It's about time some one did this, and I for one think three companies having the same idea at the same time is only a good thing. Hurrah!

Saturday, May 03, 2008

Roman glories and castles

So, the last few days of my time in Europe. We recently road tripped to Rimini in Italy. A beautiful city with a great beach , some cool bars and a lot of history.

Obviously there was plenty of Roman history in the city. Mostly of the Imperial period, when Octavian, Trajan and Augustus all supported the city at various times. The city gate in particular is a massive construction; so large in fact that at the time the gates could not be barred by conventional means.
The brick work is the later medieval walls. Impressive. Below is a statue of Octavian himself, I doubt from its' excellent preservation it is a Roman statue though!

There was also time to go to San Marino, Europes' third smallest state. It is home to the most tacky shops and is in particular the place to go if you want to buy [not always replica] guns, sword, chainmail or crossbows. Alongside knock off Italian hand bags and cheap perfume. San Marino has a defensive military tradition and operates a small number of regular units; here being one of the city guards, doing what his title implies...

The fortifications themselves are spectacular, standing on an inaccessible rock some 750m above sea level.
Inside one of the towers is a fine collection of late medieval weapons and firearms, worth the 3€ entry fee on their own, my favourite was the twelve shot twin-barreled revolver; where each barrel was also part of the handle when using the other barrel. Strange.

Elsewhere the English run torture museum was worth a look, if a little creepy. All in all if you like castles; San Marino is a place to go.