Saka Light Cavalry

Saka Light Cavalry

Thursday, 23 May 2013

Adler V Baccus Round Two, Preparation.

So you get that package of figures and after opening it up are confronted with your piles of lead. The experience you will now go through will be quite a bit different dependant on which company you have bought from.

Peter at the open day last year was very proud of the fact that his figures need little if any cleaning up. Well that is not strictly true. Better put would be that you don't have to clean them up most of the time. I will say that even the new released French benefit from a short period of time spent with a small file and maybe even a scalpel. Indeed the old French needed both these and a bigger file for the base before they were ready to paint whilst the ECW musket armed infantry look like they are going to war with an umbrella. 

But it's worth noting that no company supplies figures where the need for at least some knife and file action is required. Indeed some of the most thought of figures need quite a bit of prep time. I think it's fair to say that Baccus on the whole need well below average time spent cleaning them up. However the time spent on this is somewhat less than the full prep time story. But Baccus don't have those chapters for most of it's figures, the cavalry skirmishers and gun crews need the sniping of figures from strips, nothing to write home about. The infantry being on four figure strips facing forwards ready for painting is nothing new in 6mm, after all Irregular Miniatures has been doing ever since...

Adler though is a whole different story. EVERY figure you buy will need to be cut off it's strip. It will also need all the run off's cutting off them, care being taken in both cases so as not to damage either the base or some other essential part such as the sword, arm or bayonet. This is a little time consuming but please for the mother of all things holy make sure you first clean up the figures. If you have never had the displeasure of trying to hold a 3mm square base whilst trying to cut the waste from between the legs of a infantry figure with a sharp knife then my friend you are ahead of me! 

Yes they need the old file around them and in almost all cases benefit from that scalpel to cut off the larger sections of flash and as mentioned just now, most figures have the space between their legs filled in. Not that a good scalpel won't rid the figure of this extra lead but to do it right you have to attack it from three to four angles and your most pointed needle file has to come out to play. Honestly it's a ball ache, and a job that just has to be done. I am not well versed with all the Adler ranges but the French and the Prussians I have come across all have this issue. 

But it does come off, and for the most part relatively easily. What is does not do is come off fast. In fact I timed myself doing the last two battalions from the next Prussian regiment I am painting. The bad news is that it took longer to clean these two battalions than it took me to paint one of the New French Battalions. That's not good and I repeat I painted one whole 24 figure Baccus battalion in less time than I cleaned up two Adler Battalions with slightly more figures per battalion. Clearly that is not a good ratio of prep to paint. You can short cut the process but really why bother in the first place if that's the case.

Then both lots need sticking down to be painted (I use 3-4 lolly sticks glued on top of each other. Baccus take up two of these for a 28 figure battalion (inc. 4 skirmishers) and ten blobs of bluetac. That's 6 blobs for 24 figures and one each for the skirmishers. On the other hand Adler need three sticks and twenty eight blobs of tac. The reason I mention this is that is twenty eight separate actions, nearly three times the number as Baccus and so is actually three or more times slower as the 4 man strips are much faster to position than four single figures. 

The point is, at every stage from taking the figures out of the box to the point of spraying the figures with primer the time stacks up against Adler. No problem when you have all the time in the world but even so do you want to spend extra time on this? My understanding is that it's the least enjoyable part of the hobby.

Adler could have changed their method and stripped the figures in blocks of four facing forward. They have chosen not to and in that they remind me of the British motorcycle industry that refused to turn the engine case sideways so the oil would collect in it, rather sticking with it as it always was and leaking oil all over the place, Funny thing is, like the Dodo you don't see many new British bikes. Not that I am suggesting Adler are due for a trip down the pan but please it would not be the end of the world to change the way the figures are produced. Just a thought.

So once you have the figures all stood up in a row and ready to paint, finally you can see just how they are destined to look. Finally with a nice coat of primer the detail starts to shine through. Is the sun rising on Adler?


  1. I for one probably spend more than the average Jo on prepping figures. Individual figures are a pain and agree wholehearted with your sentiments. One thing I would also add in my pedantic ramblings having just cleaned up a battalion of Baccus Landwehr is that there is a faint front to back flash line in addition to the side along flash line. Not that many would even spot it or even bother removing it.

    There is definately a different figure production ethos behind the two companies. I like them both for different reasons.

  2. @ Mike, now you mention it I also have had that issue with the Line regiments. I have not bought the Landwehr yet so have yet to experience that.

    Again I think you nail it. I approach both differently when it comes to painting tham as well though


  3. I tend to leave any flash between the legs, rather than trimming or filing it away. As I prime with black, I simply do not painted and it makes a nice shadow effect. I agree wholeheartedly about Adler figures not being on ready-to-use strips. I think Leon Adler would disagree, however, because the photos on his website show him painting the strips and mounting them on bases as is. However, I think the figures are spaced too far apart to do that, for my taste. Like you, I snip all of the figures apart, however I do that after I have painted them not before. Therefore, my blob count on Popsicle sticks would be different.

    1. Damn iPad! I meant: I simply do not paint it.

    2. @ Dale, I used to undercoat black but was never happy with the colour afterwards as the black is too strong.

      Now about to experiment with grey with a black wash.

      I will try leaving them on the strips for painting, it may save a bit of time