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FIgure Painting: Which do you prefer, White Metal or Plastic?


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#1 BEAST

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Posted 11 October 2016 - 12:35 PM

I'm thinking about getting back into model figures, primarily in 1/32nd or 1/35th scale. I've worked with both white medal and plastic, but the last figure I did was somewhere in the early 1980s.

Which do you folks prefer? I like the details that you can get with plastic figures, but there something about the way the metal takes the paint and gives it a certain look.

#2 BEAST

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Posted 11 October 2016 - 12:55 PM

Also, any thoughts on resin?

#3 Teamski

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Posted 11 October 2016 - 01:21 PM

I personally like metal but that is coming from my wargaming background.  It is less likely to break and has weight to it.

 

-Ski

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#4 Old Marine

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Posted 11 October 2016 - 03:53 PM

In my experience once the figure is primed and ready for paint I have never noticed much difference in painting metal, plastic or resin figures.  To me, the thing that always mattered was the crispness of the casting regardless of the figure's medium.  A well cast, crisp, clean figure is a pleasure to paint.  Trying to paint, highlight and shadow a poorly cast figure with soft detail and prominent mold lines can just get annoying and usually results in less than hoped for results.

 

1/35 and 1/32 Metal figures are a lot more expensive and have a lot smaller range and it's not gauranteed that metal figures are better than plastic or resin.  I have encountered some poorly cast white metal figures.  Plastic figures in those scales are much less expensive and today have a huge range from the American Civil War to OEF/OIF.  

 

The plastic figure kits require more work to assemble and prime the figures but, as I said the range of figures is extensive and the price is a lot less.  The quality of the castings, crispness and detail in the newer kits is so much better that there is almost no comparison to the detail in some of the old figure kits of the 1980s.

 

It's all about what you what you want to do,  If you want one high end metal figure or smaller vignettes and dioramas of multiple figures the plastic and resin figures can give you nice results.  

 

Here are links to some figures that I have done, they are a mix of plastic and resin.

 

I have some other plastic foreign figures, mounted Cossacks, French Moroccan Camel Cavalry, and Japanese Naval Infantry if you want to see any photos of those just PM me.

 

What ever you do, Good Luck.

 

http://www.usmilitar...owbox-vignette/

 

http://www.usmilitar...igure-vignette/

 

http://www.usmilitar...igure-vignette/

 

http://www.usmilitar...57-with-nurses/

 

http://www.usmilitar...n-team-figures/

 

 

 



#5 BEAST

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Posted 12 October 2016 - 05:17 AM

I personally like metal but that is coming from my wargaming background.  It is less likely to break and has weight to it.
 
-Ski


Thanks Ski. I got my start working with metal figures when I was wargaming also. What scale are those figures?

Edited by BEAST, 12 October 2016 - 05:27 AM.


#6 BEAST

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Posted 12 October 2016 - 05:25 AM

In my experience once the figure is primed and ready for paint I have never noticed much difference in painting metal, plastic or resin figures.  To me, the thing that always mattered was the crispness of the casting regardless of the figure's medium.  A well cast, crisp, clean figure is a pleasure to paint.  Trying to paint, highlight and shadow a poorly cast figure with soft detail and prominent mold lines can just get annoying and usually results in less than hoped for results.
 
1/35 and 1/32 Metal figures are a lot more expensive and have a lot smaller range and it's not gauranteed that metal figures are better than plastic or resin.  I have encountered some poorly cast white metal figures.  Plastic figures in those scales are much less expensive and today have a huge range from the American Civil War to OEF/OIF.  
 
The plastic figure kits require more work to assemble and prime the figures but, as I said the range of figures is extensive and the price is a lot less.  The quality of the castings, crispness and detail in the newer kits is so much better that there is almost no comparison to the detail in some of the old figure kits of the 1980s.
 
It's all about what you what you want to do,  If you want one high end metal figure or smaller vignettes and dioramas of multiple figures the plastic and resin figures can give you nice results.  
 
Here are links to some figures that I have done, they are a mix of plastic and resin.
 
I have some other plastic foreign figures, mounted Cossacks, French Moroccan Camel Cavalry, and Japanese Naval Infantry if you want to see any photos of those just PM me.
 
What ever you do, Good Luck.
 
http://www.usmilitar...owbox-vignette/
 
http://www.usmilitar...igure-vignette/
 
http://www.usmilitar...igure-vignette/
 
http://www.usmilitar...57-with-nurses/
 
http://www.usmilitar...n-team-figures/


Excellent work Old Marine. Actually your Marines in Nicaragua helped motivate me to start again. What you wrote about the newer plastic figures intrigues me. One of my biggest gripes that I had with the plastic of the 1970s was the poor fit of the parts. It seemed like I was constantly using putty to fill in the gaps and I just wasn't happy with the results. Also I felt the facial details on the plastic figures was sorely lacking when compared to the metal figures. I'll take a look at some of the new kits and see what is available. Right now I am thinking of doing some Indian War/Span-Am figures.

#7 Teamski

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Posted 12 October 2016 - 06:53 AM

Thanks Ski. I got my start working with metal figures when I was wargaming also. What scale are those figures?

 

 

They are 28mm.

 

-Ski



#8 Old Marine

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Posted 12 October 2016 - 07:07 AM

Hi Beast,

 

Unfortunately the choice is pretty slim for Indian Wars/Span Am figures in the Plastic kits.  There are a few CW Cavalry figures and only one nice mounted Indian War Cav Sgt and Indian Scout figure that I know of presently.  The figures being produced today by ICM, Master Box and the newer Tamiya and DML kits are nothing like the old poorly fit toy soldiers of the 1970s and 80s the detail and fit is MUCH better.  

 

Michigan Toy Soldier Company has a good selection of plastic and metal figures, and they are a US company.  

 

I look forward to seeing some of your figures. 

 

Good luck.

 

Dennis



#9 ArtyScout

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Posted 12 October 2016 - 07:52 AM

I personally like to work with resin, due to the great details. I also like plastic figures but they also have to have clean crisp details. I've never worked with metal, but I don't know if I'd like the weight in my hand. 

To each his own. Just my two cents.

 

Semper Fi.

 

Manny



#10 Joe55

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Posted 14 October 2016 - 04:56 PM

Ditto what Old Marine stated above!

 

For me its resin and metal :).

 

Joe



#11 BEAST

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Posted 15 October 2016 - 03:43 PM

Thanks to everyone for their input! So it sounds like the quality of the figures is light years beyond what I used to work with, and I could be happy with any of the three materials. Unfortunately, I don't know of any hobby shops around here that carries figures.  I looked at eBay and the Michigan Toy Soldier Company and it does look like there are limited choices for Indian Wars/Span-Am so I may have to change my focus. 

 

Thanks again for the input! If you have more recommendations, please keep posting!



#12 Joe55

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Posted 16 October 2016 - 11:31 AM

Try:  www.andreadepotusa.com

 

Joe



#13 TrenchRat

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Posted 17 October 2016 - 06:36 AM

When I first started in this hobby, the only decent figures were only produced in white metal, but now, it seems the hobby is going to resin (especially with the larger scale figures). So much easier to work with being super light. Also, the details are much finer...

 

TR

 

Oh, for figures representing the 1870-1890's I would suggest looking out for the white metal 90mm models from maker Series 77. These date to the 1980's but they were pretty good for the time. There is a website for them online and they may or may not be reissuing them...

 

And you never know; some do appear on eBay from time to time...


Edited by TrenchRat, 17 October 2016 - 06:36 AM.


#14 BEAST

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Posted 17 October 2016 - 07:53 AM

Try:  www.andreadepotusa.com

 

Joe

 

Thanks Joe! Looks like they have some interesting 7th Cav figures.
 


Edited by BEAST, 17 October 2016 - 08:00 AM.


#15 BEAST

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Posted 17 October 2016 - 07:57 AM

When I first started in this hobby, the only decent figures were only produced in white metal, but now, it seems the hobby is going to resin (especially with the larger scale figures). So much easier to work with being super light. Also, the details are much finer...

 

TR

 

Oh, for figures representing the 1870-1890's I would suggest looking out for the white metal 90mm models from maker Series 77. These date to the 1980's but they were pretty good for the time. There is a website for them online and they may or may not be reissuing them...

 

And you never know; some do appear on eBay from time to time...

 

Thanks TR! I went to the Series 77 and the had (have?) some great miniatures.  The "American Empire" series appear to be the type I am looking for. I'll have to keep an eye out for them on eBay.
 



#16 Custermen

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Posted 02 December 2016 - 06:59 PM

I would like to try painting a few more figures.  Long, long ago, I painted lead and plastic.  I built the Historex plastic figures which required a lot of work as you had to make all the straps and such.  The figures were stiff but you could swap legs and arms etc.  Then the plastic could be kit-bashed to make the poses more realistic.  I finished a few figures and a mini-diorama but i was never that good.  

Metal figures were what you got---I never modified one except to add a weapon or a strap.  Just glue a few pieces and paint it.  It is what it is.  

I have a resin 90mm figure of Stonewall Jackson that I would like to paint.  I worry about selecting the right shade of Gray.  Maybe get around to painting it some day.



#17 ArtyScout

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Posted 05 December 2016 - 09:27 AM

Thanks to everyone for their input! So it sounds like the quality of the figures is light years beyond what I used to work with, and I could be happy with any of the three materials. Unfortunately, I don't know of any hobby shops around here that carries figures.  I looked at eBay and the Michigan Toy Soldier Company and it does look like there are limited choices for Indian Wars/Span-Am so I may have to change my focus. 

 

Thanks again for the input! If you have more recommendations, please keep posting!

Hey Beast,

Try getting on the Military Miniatures Warehouse site (www.milminwh.com). They might have what you're looking for. Plains Indians, Custer and Spanish American War figures. I hope this helps.

 

Semper Fi.

 

Manny


Edited by ArtyScout, 05 December 2016 - 09:28 AM.


#18 BEAST

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Posted 05 December 2016 - 11:24 AM

Hey Beast,
Try getting on the Military Miniatures Warehouse site (www.milminwh.com). They might have what you're looking for. Plains Indians, Custer and Spanish American War figures. I hope this helps.
 
Semper Fi.
 
Manny


Thanks Manny! I hadn't seen that site yet.

#19 Tailspin Tom

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Posted 06 October 2019 - 06:57 PM

Greetings, everyone!

 

There is new technology being applied to the hobby of military miniatures. Digital scanning and 3D printing. Check out Reedoak on Facebook or at reedoak.com.

 

Their products will blow your mind! 

 

Tom



#20 ScottG

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Posted 06 October 2019 - 11:04 PM

I have a huge selection of 54mm unpainted metal figures available at my museum. Any period of military figure, astronauts even princesses etc...All are American made and many are made direct from Osprey Art. Most start at $15.00, obviously larger figures such as mounted troops are a bit more. Feel free to pm your interests and I can tell you the prices and availability. Your purchase would not only support an American Company, but also a military museum!    Scott

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#21 BEAST

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Posted 17 October 2019 - 06:22 AM

I have a huge selection of 54mm unpainted metal figures available at my museum. Any period of military figure, astronauts even princesses etc...All are American made and many are made direct from Osprey Art. Most start at $15.00, obviously larger figures such as mounted troops are a bit more. Feel free to pm your interests and I can tell you the prices and availability. Your purchase would not only support an American Company, but also a military museum!    Scott

 

Thanks Scott for the info, I'll drop you a PM.




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