Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Work and tests on AIP Plastic Figs P.1

So this is definitely a learning curve. None of us have worked with soft plastics in ages, if at all. I had some as a kid, some 1/32 NATO Germans, and some Old Guard from Waterloo that I did a kid's paint job on.

Our determined [and forgiving] TMP scout Queen Catherine did posts there and got some good pointers on PREP and GLUE for these figs. The upshot is that there's no one way to do it, but I'm going with something like this:

- scrape mold lines with new X-Acto blade perpendicular to the line, OR run a hot hat pin along them [!?]

- clean in hot/warm soapy water with dish soap,

- fill mold ejector pin marks with miliput / green stuff, etc
- priming in the basic color of the unit / group,
- block painting the rest,
- quick highlight by drybrushing darker bits,
- dip in shading solution of some sort for a light shading,
- gloss coat? Maybe, certainly enhance the toy soldier look.

I'm loving Martin Rapier's POSTS on his AIP armies, and they are quite inspirational. Certainly makes it hard to decide how and where I want to roll with this project in the future, or future projects. I'm quite aware that this is the 100th year[s] anniversary of WWI, and that's a pretty appealing prospect to game. In any event, more for the future.

For now, we are learning PLASTIC.

Below, several figs partially worked up. I've a French officer to left, and three 1880-ish Brits in "shirt sleeve order" all of whom've been cleaned up and had Elmers coated. The coating wasn't as obscuring as I feared. Above are two more untreated or even touched Brits, and two blue Boxers, the one on left has been cleaned with soap and water only, the one on the right has been cleaned and given a coat of Super Tacky glue by Nicole. This is a shinier and stickier glue than Elmers. Hard to see are the circular ejector pin marks and mold lines, but I took a couple of pics in various lights.

The Dremel sanding bit has worked nicely to scrape mold lines. The toothbrush helps clean off some - not all - the plastic fraying bits, and the two glues look and feel very different from each other - uncertain which is better.

Below is my first squad of 1898 Brits. They've bolt-action Lee Enfields or something, certainly look like the venerable SMLE. Behind is a lovely officer charging on a horse. Incidentally, the horses and cavalry are really fine in these sculpts, with lots of the animation one desires in cavalry. A couple of stray gunners are at the back, one with a swab and the other carrying Gatling drums.

Below are the three cans I'm testing for primer. The two on the right were almost $6 each. The left was 97 cents. But I've had great luck with cheap flat black in the past, and I'm going to give it a go again!

Below is the first round of work. I did clean the mold lines on all three Brits, but not the Boxer. It's hard to see in this view but yeah, he looks, well, "moldy". The Brits have little patches of Testors sculpt on them, already dried. I've filed it down a bit. I tried Dremel-ing the injector marks, but that still didn't work, so I used some Elmer's to soften them more, but after the priming you could still see them.

Above, the grey and white Rustoleum primers. They are on there, but don't seem "particularly" durable.

Below, the flat cheap junky black. I also brushed on some junky, beat-up old GW Chaos Black on the Frenchy to the right. He looks quite good, and will make a great test fig.

Interestingly, none show the mold lines and other annoyances very well in these pics. I'm probably going to scale back a bit on cleaning them up, as I learn what matters and what doesn't. And hey, I'm looking for a few things from this project:
  1. Inexpensive,
  2. BIG figs with impressive visual appeal,
  3. Quick, easy painting that looks good at distance, and invokes some "toy soldier" appearance in a good way,
  4. Characterful battles with a skirmish-y feel; sort of a TSATF thing but playing a bit faster and a tad more realistic in some aspects.
So far, I think the project is ticking all the blocks nicely. I also had some time to tinker and work on the rules a bit, and pushed the focus back into single-fig action, about a squad or two a player. We'll have to give them a play tomorrow!


  1. I'm a big fan of AIP toy soldiers, and have painted up a few myself. I'm looking forward to the continuation of your project!

  2. Cool stuff! Also looking forward to more.

  3. Hey Chris C. thanks for your interest - if you've any painting tips and thoughts, please do share, or provide a link as you see fit!

    Hope the detailed commentary is useful to you both. Honestly, it also helps me keep track of things and recap what I'm learning.

    Learning to like the little guys more and more!

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