Home Forums General General Sprues or Miniatures?

Viewing 22 posts - 1 through 22 (of 22 total)
  • Author
  • #130198
    Avatar photoPhil Dutré

    Am I the only one who hates sprues? I like fully cast miniatures much better!

    Let me explain: ever since the appearance of plastic sprues in wargaming, I feel sprues have become too ‘complicated’. You can mix and match bodies, heads, arms, weapons, … into whatever pose you want. Some wargamers think this is great (and in a sense I sympathize), but I really don’t like the sprue-evolution.

    Call me old-fashioned, but I strongly feel a toy soldier should be cast as one-piece, perhaps only with a single arm or weapon that needs to be attached. A single cast has character, and gives me the idea this really is a toy soldier as the designer intended. With sprues, I feel like I have a heap of unconnected parts without any character or soul attached to it. Moreover, having to glue your soldiers together destroys the thrill of opening a pack and fondle a miniature right away.

    Does anyone else feel like this?

    Avatar photoMike

    It certainly makes sense from a commercial point of view, so I can see why people do it.
    I am not fussed though.
    My days of playing with armies has gone, so the thought of having to assemble 10 multipiece models for a skirmish game as opposed to say 300 for an army sized game is not a factor.
    Though it would put me off having to assemble hundreds.
    But saying that, if I needed 300 models, I would not buy multipiece ones, so it would not be an issue.

    But going back to the early days of my gaming, I recall my joy at the poses available when assembling the GW beakie Space Marines and the GW skeletons.
    The choice of poses was great.

    That was rambly?!

    To summarise, there are both single casts and multipiece available, surely enough of each to keep everyone happy, so it is good, more choice is good surely?
    Plus plastics are cheaper?
    (Though I prefer the feel of metal)

    PS: You are old fashioned! (You did tell me to)


    Avatar photoNorm S

    I really like plastic, but I don’t like multi-part figures, the putting together is often a frustrating process and worse, I seem to have an increasing sensitivity to plastic weld glues, which has become the deciding factor in me going to single piece castings, which in turn for reasons of cost and storage has me stopping down to a smaller scale.  Life was much less complicated when Airfix was the only toy in town 🙂

    Avatar photoirishserb

    Ahh, you kids and your plastic toys.

    Actually, my view about plastics is broader than just the “sprued” multi-part figs.  With the exception of aircraft, I’ve discovered that I really don’t like plastic for wargaming.  Not only do I like the heft of the metal figs to keep them from being disturbed by the “fluffy” foliage (my 1/72 plastic Vietnam tanks and M113s “float” on bits of lichen that they come in contact with).  I’ve also had problems with light weight plastic figs sliding down slopes, that their metal counterparts have no problem with.  I have some 28mm plastic figs, and have weighted the bases to offset the problems a little, but avoid plastic if possible.  I also have a small number of printed plastic 6mm vehicles to fill in gaps, and though the models are very nice, again, I miss the heft of metal.

    I share Phil’s view that plastic multi-part figs often seem to have less character, they strike me as being more engineered, than artistic in appearance. I describe it as the plastics not having  “soul”.    I also find this true for many of the 3-D printed figs that I have seen, even single pose.  There are exceptions, but they strike me in a similar manner as the off brand plastic soldiers did when I was a kid.  They just look “cheaper”, often lacking character or personality  They can be technically correct, but they just seem less human (or alien or whatever) much of the time.  As an adult kid, I just prefer metal (or resin for larger items).

    Avatar photojeffers

    Even metal figures have sprues. They are cut off for you by the manufacturer. Lightweight!

    I sort of agree, but it’s very much horses for courses. I use plastic militia because they are cheap and I can abuse them with a quick paint job, something I wouldn’t do with metal. No, that’s wrong. I abuse metal figures too. But I’m happy enough to glue bits on if it’s a means to an end (save cash), but when I end up having to glue on the back of thirty cocked hats I call it a day and start browsing Old Glory.

    More nonsense on my blog: http://battle77.blogspot.com/

    Avatar photozippyfusenet

    You’re not the only one Phil. I’ve avoided buying boxes of plastic 28mm figures, even though they look good built up and they’re easy to customize, because I don’t need the PITA of putting them together. I still build armies, and I hate to spend time assembling each figure before I can start painting.

    It’s not just plastic; multi-part metal figures are even more of a time sink, what with drilling and pinning and puttying and sanding the parts that never join quite right. I’m still working on five bags of Old Glory multi-part Plains Indians that I bought…must have been 15 years ago. Vey iz mir.

    You'll shoot your eye out, kid!

    Avatar photoRuarigh

    I like building plastic miniatures from the many parts, so I’m generally in favour of spruevolution. That said, I do prefer the heft of metal miniatures. I also loathe building metal miniatures that come in parts and I loathe painting. So, what I need is a range of plastic miniatures that I can assemble to suit myself, that come ready-painted and with metal bases so they do not tip over too easily. Is that too much to ask?

    Never argue with an idiot. They'll only drag you down to their level and beat you with experience.


    Avatar photoCerdic
    Avatar photoAutodidact-O-Saurus

    I, too, prefer the heft of metal figures, but I’d much rather assemble and paint a multi-part plastic than clean a poorly cast metal figure. To be honest, I spend more time building and painting than playing. I enjoy it. Since I’ve never really been able to afford armies of metal figures, I prefer the variety of poses I can get with plastics since–if I get to play–they will probably be used in more skirmishy games where the individuality adds to the aesthetic. IMHO.

    Self taught, persistently behind the times, never up to date. AKA ~ jeff
    More verbosity: http://petiteguerre.blogspot.com/

    Avatar photoRhoderic

    All things considered, I perceive single-piece metal figures to be equally problematic as multi-part plastic ones. They both have their own downsides, which I try not to get hung up on.

    It does annoy me when other people assemble multi-part plastics in awkward-looking ways. Just because you can tilt the heads every which way, doesn’t mean you should. Some people seem overly concerned with making each pose as different from the others as possible, resulting in some of the figures looking as if they’re popping-and-locking while possessed by spirits that are still figuring out the range of human motion. However, I try to focus on what multi-part plastics mean for my own hobby projects, and not give affirmation to the more peevish part of me that thinks other people are “doing it wrong”. I take care to assemble my figures in more natural poses, even if that means limiting my alternatives somewhat. I also do a lot of converting and filling to make poses more natural, to cover up / remodel areas where the joins between parts are too obvious, and to reduce repetitiveness in clothing and equipment when uniformity is undesirable. I enjoy doing this (it’s part of how I make my miniature worlds come alive, which is the whole point of the hobby for me), and I appreciate how conducive multi-part plastics are for converting compared to the obstinate immutability of single-piece and/or metal figures.

    Same as for Mike, a significant factor for me is that the scales in which multi-part plastic figures are available in the first place, are scales which I only want to use for skirmish gaming and the occasional “small unit” game these days. Customisable figures make skirmish gaming projects more fun. I’m not interested in multi-part plastics for massed-battle gaming in the smaller scales (although it does annoy me immensely when single-piece metal figures in those scales don’t come in enough different poses/sculpts to keep repetitiveness at acceptable levels).

    Also, kind of like what Mike was saying, I think there’s a certain joy to be had in unboxing a sprue of multi-part plastics, “exploring” it by hungrily studying all the different parts on it (which hopefully include some optional bits and pieces for customising), and imagining/planning the many poses and alternative builds I can make from it.

    The “feel” of metal vs plastic doesn’t really mean anything for me. I also don’t think of the “classic toy soldier look” as desirable (even if I do prefer for the proportions of anatomy and items to be somewhat stylised – within reason – as opposed to ultra-realistic like how many of the new CAD sculptors are doing it these days).

    Finally, it’s worth pointing out that there are well-designed plastic sprues, and badly designed ones. Just as there are well-sculpted single-piece metal figures and badly sculpted ones. Generally, I think we’ve seen improvement in the design of sprues over the years. The old GW multi-part plastics were… naive. Since then, mistakes have been learned from, and better design alternatives have been discovered. Sometimes a badly-designed sprue still comes along, but I just think of them as fixer-uppers.

    Avatar photoDeleted User

    I like sprue for two reasons.
    1. I like the options with multi pose minis, I love to convert and having pultiple parts already separated helps a lot.
    2. The sprue themselves are useful for sculpting and terrain. I have used them unmodified as fortification for 6mm.

    I don’t like metal miniatures because of the weight and how paint can chip off them with the way I handle them. I also hate gluing metal and resin miniatures, they’re never as strong as glued plastic.

    Avatar photoNathaniel Weber

    I prefer cast miniatures with a minimum of assembly required, mainly because they are much less work.


    Avatar photoMartinR

    I hate sticking figures together, it is just a right pita. I do however like sprues packed with handy bits for the spares box.

    "Mistakes in the initial deployment cannot be rectified" - Helmuth von Moltke

    Avatar photoHenry

    I used to love multi-part miniatures but as the time (and energy) I have for wargaming declines I find myself more and more opening boxes and just wishing for a a pre-built mini. Being able to just open the box and get the mini on the table holds a great deal of appeal to me!

    Avatar photoGeorge Chambers

    It depends on the design of the plastic figures.  I play a lot of 28mm skirmish games and I use plastic and metal figures.  I don’t like the more free-form design of some plastic sets like the Frostgrave adventurers because it’s easy to put together figures which look odd and there’s lest sense of coherent design about them.  However, I love some of the new GW plastics.  Their sprues are often quite complex and have a lot of parts but the parts are in sets which only go together to make one figure.  Sometimes it isn’t easy to actually put the parts together to make the figure but when you do you get a really dynamic miniature which is way better looking than  anything which can be cast in metal and it very much has the sense of design of the original sculptor.

    Digital sculpts can look a bit soulless but it depends on the skill of the sculptor and the type of 3D design software.  Some of the Crooked Dice metal figures made from digital sculpts are excellent and full of character.  I also read a really nice series of Facebook posts by Kev White about his experiments in digital sculpting.  He’s one of the very best traditional sculptors with a very distinct style.  What was interesting was that his digital renders also had elements of that style, even with the influence of the 3D design software.

    Avatar photowarwell

    Being a lazy gamer, I would not want to take the time to put the figures together. Give them to me already complete!

    Fortunately, I game in smaller scales (from 3mm to 10mm) so I don’t have to worry about multi-part miniatures.

    Avatar photohammurabi70

    Being a lazy gamer, I would not want to take the time to put the figures together. Give them to me already complete! Fortunately, I game in smaller scales (from 3mm to 10mm) so I don’t have to worry about multi-part miniatures.

    My take on it too!  I am here for the gaming.  For those who like the modelling more multi-part assembly is logical.

    www.olivercromwell.org; www.battlefieldstrust.com
    6mm wargames group: [email protected]; 2mm wargames group: [email protected]

    Avatar photoSane Max

    I try to avoid multi-part plastics. I don’t like the way they can so easily end up not looking right because the option to put the arm, the head or whatever in an impossible position is too easy a mistake to make.

    And they are often horribly fragile.

    I still end up using them for some things, but would much rather be using metal.

    It’s not the same when I use 1/72 figures – they are cast in one piece, and the plastic is softer so less likely to break. I like single piece figures I guess.

    Avatar photoPiyan Glupak

    I like figures cast complete.  I do not like sticking bits on, whether metal or plastic.  I prefer metal figures unless the casting is truly woeful.  As I am only painting 15mm and 6mm figures, this is less of a problem for me than when I used to use 25/28mm figures.

    Avatar photoPhil Dutré

    I was at a con yesterday, and saw big piles of unassorted sprues offered in the Bring&Buy. Wargaming never felt so unattractive …

    Avatar photoRhoderic

    I was at a con yesterday, and saw big piles of unassorted sprues offered in the Bring&Buy. Wargaming never felt so unattractive …

    Bits for the Bits Box!

    To me, rummaging in a bits box is one of the more attractive sides to the hobby 🙂

    Avatar photoDeleted User

    unassorted sprues offered in the Bring&Buy

    Unlimited armature for sculpting.

Viewing 22 posts - 1 through 22 (of 22 total)
  • You must be logged in to reply to this topic.