Saturday, October 31, 2009

SENDING OUT SCOUTS



A decade and 3 rule set changes since their last real outing, my Persians come out of the box and take the field in 2006. Note the white shielded hoplites, in the background, these are RAFM multipart figures painted up as Carians then later washed with burnt umber over their flesh and drafted into my Armati Carthaginian army. What goes around....

OK so I have this ramshackle gathering of figures and need to organize it. Rather than the old blundering forward, its time to scout out the road ahead, analyse the "enemy" and form a plan. So, what do I really want to achieve?

1. Use as many existing figures as possible. The rest must be sold off or added to the melting pot (for homecasting). Now I don't 'repaint' other than occasionally touching up damaged figures but the RAFM multi-part figures are so useful that I may strip some of these and reconfigure them.

2. I want to end up with 2 and ONLY 2 matching armies suitable for playing out a protracted campaign. This may seem harsh but, for nearly 40 years now, I have been painting up armies primarily to face other people's armies, then they move or I move or interests change and I am left with another orphan. Even worse, time after time I get an army almost "complete" only to start another and rather than playing with the finished one, it sits on a shelf while I rush to paint figures and field "stand-in" units. For the next 20 years I want the figures on the shelf to have a reasonable chance of taking the field if only once every 3 to 5 years. In addition, they have to fit on one 11 foot shelf. That's it! The rest are taken and all painted troops must be on display. (ok exemptions are being considered for troops smaller than 25mm...)

3. Despite the above, I want to be able to field a small but credible opponant for any friend with an army from Europe or the Middle East between say 700 BCE and 700 CE. That sounds like a tall order but consider for example, a Saka army, if you replace the Noble cavalry with Cataphracts, you suddenly have a Parthian army, the variations in dress and tactics of the horse archers that make up the bulk of both forces are minimal.

4. The matching armies must be ones that fought more than a short, one sided campaign settled by a few big battles. Something like the Punic Wars where the 2 sides engaged in prolonged low intensity warfare inbetween the major campains is ideal. More than this, a little documented campaign would be best, a sort of plausible fictional campiagn between historical opponants.

The newest troops eagerly await a decision:

Garrison Persians, my Immortals in campaign dress.

Rose Prestige Ethiopeans


Something old, something new. The chariot on the far right is a Garrsion one painted out of the box in 1976. The other 2 are RAFM Successor scythed chariots painted this week. The drivers are RAFM figures, the crew are Garrison apart from the fella in purple, holding on for dear life, he is a Rose Prestige figure. Yes I know it should be 4 horses and scythes or 2 horses and archers, not both, but there is that marvelous picture in Funkens "Le costume et les Armes des soldats de tous les temps" which has been inspiring me since 1967 and besides, can anyone really proove that Cyrus was the 1st guy to ever put scythes on a chariot? I can see that photographing gloss coated figures is going to a challenge!

Well OK, we know that one army is going to be Medes and Persian. Next Post: Figuring out who the Medes and Persians should go to war with.


10 comments:

  1. Some splendid stuff there Ross. I've been pondering a Garrison ancient project for a while and the Persians are becoming more attractive with each article you post. Cheers.

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  2. Don't delay, Rob is retiring lines that don't sell, Assyrians and Sassinids are already gone. -Ross

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  3. Excellent stuff - I love those Rose Ethiopians - very simple figures, but very elegant...

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  4. Regarding Garrison figures, Greeks and Persians sell well, the Persians really need to be reorganised a bit as far as new moulds, etc, go. So at some stage I may pull the Persian range while I do that, if I did they would soon return. Rose Prestige have gone for now - literally, no-one was buying them, very few sales and the old moulds are difficult.

    One thing I am considering is putting some figures out on Ebay, more of a way of advertising than anythng else, if that pulls in more interest then I will be able to reassess where I am.

    If I put some out, it would include Greeks and I would price them at below 'normal' prices - more time effective for me as I would be putting out a limited number of variants of figures that are easiest to cast. I may include some of the Prestige range as well - would be nice to be able to justify some new moulds for them if they sold.

    Rob

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  5. The Rose figures are superb. I was amazed when I saw them that I'd never even heard of them, the handful of Rose Napoleonics I had in my teens were fairly crude but these are the best sculpting that I've seen in any scale, every detail there buit in scale. Pity I don't have either the eyes or patience to do a proper job on them. Many of the poses are too static for most people and of course these days people expect a bunch of poses and the idea of animating your figures seems to come across as black magic. If I hadn't prematurely retired 2 years ago, I'd have a unit of each by now. (and of course now that I'm getting properly organized, I find I need 6 more figures for the Ethiopeans, was considering trying to maybe fit in some of the Nubians)

    I'm glad to hear the Gks & Persians are selling. I've been watching with dismay as ranges disappear, esp the Sassinids. Have you considered slipping some of the infantry at least into the Achaemenid list as levies? I suppose a cast on demand with mininum order quantities and premium price service isn't a practical proposition? Hopefully by winter the warchest will be functional again, I'm going to need Phrygians.
    -Ross

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  6. It's down to practicalities I'm afraid. The basic situation is that new moulds are needed for quite a few of the figures. To replace every mould would cost abot £30-40,000. Originally, I was building up so that figures I didn't sell off from a casting session went to 'stock'. This saved me then casting them if I later got orders for them. Fine, if figures sell or cash is limitless. However, if figurers don't sell it's just tying up cash. So I've eliminated a lot of stock, so I have to cast most orders from new - and on the older moulds that normally takes a lot longer. Eliminating stock has 'saved' me over £1,000 to date.

    It is worth reading what Paul Ashton said on TMP about Garrison moulds when he had the company, my copy/paste doen't seem to be working, 4th Nov 2004 - a search for Garrison on the TMP message boards gets it. It's still true today apart from the fact that I am making new moulds.

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  7. Yes I know its not easy or cheap & I'm not complaining, esp as I haven't been in a position to put money where my mouth is, but I was thinking of alternate business models. Something like a variation on the Eureka model.

    For molds that don't sell but where the molds are still useable, you could offer a special order service BUT with 3 explicit conditions: premiumn price, minimum order and upto a 3 month waiting period.

    For those molds that need to be replaced, anyone wanting to special order the figures must pay the cost of the new mold upfront and then buys the figures.

    I'm not suggesting that you'll be flooded with orders but the only costs if no one ever orders any would be maintaining lists and storing the molds. The idea would be to make the figurs available to those who can afford and really want them while making it worth your while.
    -Ross

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  8. To a certain extent I am already willing to do something similar - I used to say (on a regular basis) that I would always be willing to try and cast any figure for people. The case with moulds that don't sell is more a matter of time. If the figures don't sell, normally they are on moulds that have perhaps one or two of that figure, and possibly hard to cast/lots of rejects. The idea of spending 4-5 hours on a £10 order does not appeal (done that). The new moulds are needs to make them viable.

    Likewise, the Rose 20mm figures were brought out because someone offered to fund the moulds. I didn't take him up on his offer - the fact that I have potential custom for the figures is all I need - but the offer was there. Likewise, these ranges are expanding because 2 customers have provided me with figures I could use as masters.

    The S&S range was brought back because an individual said @I will be buying £300 worth of figures plus more later'. I brought them out, no orders materialised from him but the range itself started selling in small numbers so I kept them going. On the other hand, a number of people kept asking me to bring out the 30mm Barry Minot figures I have, I started a test run from a new mould, no sales, range dropped.

    So, simply, if an individual were to say 'Could you bring them out and I'll buy so many figures', I'll try it though I know that there is only about a one in four chance of it happening.

    Rob

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  9. hmm yes, that's why I was thinking cash or cerdit card up front. But that has its own issues. Ain't mixing hobby and business fun?

    -Ross

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  10. Yep. That's why I never want to look on it as a business. I look on it more like the people who run steam railways or restore things - it's a hobby subsidised by selling some figures.

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