Tuesday, February 7, 2017

The BIG Box Arrives!

Service was prompt from the distributor. As stated in the last post, I wanted Fort Kandahar but AIP didn't have it [altho AIP had an identical fort in different color plastic, it was in the French Foreign Legion playset - queries into obtaining the fort by other means weren't returned, so I went with a distributor]. I used HobbyLinc and got good prices and service - received the box within about ten days.

AIP Foot boxes are about 20 figs - occasionally they are 16 or 18. Guns usually have 1 Gun and 5 figs, but again, there's some variation with a few having a second, small gun, and a Fig more or less. Cavalry are always 5 per box and include officer, bugler and three troopers - you can get special sets of 10 figs that have 5 more troopers so you don't duplicate the office and musician.

I tried to craft an order based upon prices, availability and usefulness for the project. In the end, I received Fort Kandahar - in that box as part of the playset was two boxes of Afghan Tribesmen, one box of Indian Foot and one of British Foot [all 20 figs each]. I also got boxes of Arab foot and Mounted Arabs [5 figs], two Camel Corps boxes [one with officer and 3 troopers, the other with two troopers and two supply camels - camel boxes always have 4 camels, and are huge!], a box of Highlanders, and a box of Indian lancers.

Thus there are a number of large, imposing pieces like the camels and elephants for supply trains, some cavalry, a variety of foot, and a fort. Plenty for eye-appeal as well as interesting skirmish scenarios. The breakdown for forces is something like:

20 British Foot - bolt action rifles [10poses]
20 Indian Foot - bolt action rifles [10 poses]
20 Highland Foot - Martini-Henry rifles [10 poses]
5 Indian Lancers w'command [3 poses]
8 camels [officer, 5 troopers, 2 supply]
2 elephants [1 with 2 wounded, 1 with water tank, both with drover]

20 Pathan foot - [10 poses; 6 rifle, 3 sword/shield, 1 officer binoculars & flintlock pistol]
20 Pathan foot - [10 poses; 6 rifle, 3 sword/shield, 1 officer binoculars & flintlock pistol]
20 Arab foot - mercenary jihadists [I just had to get these, they were so nice!]
 5 Arab mounted - ditto.

The fort is pretty amazing, with 6" walls and 7" towers, sitting 18" square with doors, ladders, etc. The whole thing is quite imposing and the playset was...$41!!
Yeah, 80 foot and a fort for $41 - can't beat that with a stick, not even our Scottish brethren complained [altho they were suspicious with disbelief and kept mumbling about searching for a catch "in the wee small print"!!]. I think the entire order was about $125 with shipping.

Below, huge box on right, contained Ft. Kandahar playset and 8 more boxes of goodies!

Below, closeup of Fort with 80 bagged infantry within.

Below: closeup of additional boxes.

Well, couldn't resist getting all the little fellows out on the table! I immediately played out several playtests of our adaptation of the Neil Thomas Skirmish Rules from "Wargming: An Introduction". I really wanted to see if I liked the figs, their size, the way they handle, etc. Verdict: big thumbs-up! They are easy to see and eye-catching, without being startling. They are actually smaller than they sound, when you say "54mm".

Of course, my 7yo son had google-eyes as soon as he saw them. He begged for permission to "make a set up" and then wanted to play wargames with dad, so couldn't resist that. I quickly developed a simple variation of shooting with dice, melee, etc. Naturally, I "let the wookie win" and it was fun, a nice bonus. All we have to do is remember not to smoosh the figs together when they fight!

Below, Pathans and Arab mercenaries to left. British advancing up valley on right [from top, British, Indian and Highlander foot, with camel trooper acting as officer in center]. I've been pecking away at the Indians in center, but an advance by my swordsmen was wiped out by the Highlanders. My jezails in the rocks are doing OK.

Below, closeup of the carnage among the Indian foot.

Below: Pathans with guns - the set has them armed with a variety of weapons, including 5 jezails and what appears to be a Snider carbine.
They are hiding among an "All Living Things" reptile decor hill, which all the pieces are, obviously, as they've identical paint jobs. Basically, I was in a hurry to try something out and figured I could always return these to Pet Smart if I didn't like them!

Below, Arab riflemen. At bottom is prone rifleman who did a "Hollywood fall" from the heights. These are lovely sculpts; animated, detailed, characterful. They all are, really.

Below, high tide of the nativist uprising. Highlanders gun'em down.
Just visible to right are the ensign with flag and pistol, and bagpiper [of course!].

Well, no complaints here. These guys are even fun to play with unpainted, altho the big steep learning curve for that is well on the way, with books ordered, questions asked, and more, at TMP.

Overall, must highly recommend AIP. The figs are soft plastic, but are pretty clean - about the same mold lines as most hard plastic figs - the only additional problem is they all seem to have 3-5 little circular indentations on the back of the fig, probably from the mold injection. They're visible, sometimes very much so, and will have to be worked out in some way.

Aside from this, they are lovely figs, cheap, and appear quite durable. Poses are as good as most metals, altho they sometimes evoke that "toy soldier" un-natural look, but I think most people will find these very satisfactory.

If you want lots of fun for nearly nothing in small skirmishes, or you'd like to build large armies of huge figs but can't afford All the Kings Men metals, I highly recommend these guys!

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