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"AB vs. Blue Moon" Topic


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3,350 hits since 1 Jun 2012
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Fireymonkeyboy01 Jun 2012 1:52 p.m. PST

Hi,

So, it looks like I'm taking the 15mm Napoleonic plunge. I'm currently thinking either peninsular Brits, 1813-14 Russians, or Poles (undecided on era).

I've seen AB in the flesh, and they're beautiful. The pics I've seen of the new Blue Moon figs are also impressive, however. The sculpting looks a little less clean, but they're more animated, which I find appealing. I had thought about picking up a small sample of each, but wondered how well they'd mix, so, for those of you with experience of both:

1) Which would you say are better? I'm not concerned with cost here – this is going to be my indulgence. If it's not a case of better / worse, what are the strengths and weaknesses of each line?

2) Could the figures be mixed within a unit without drawing attention?

Thanks for any info.

FMB

Ken Portner01 Jun 2012 1:57 p.m. PST

If cost is no object then I think you'll find the consensus is that AB are the best in 18mm.

Timmo uk01 Jun 2012 2:14 p.m. PST

AB are the best there is. Proportions are superb, they are very nice to paint. The thing is with AB is they tend to make everything else look a bit crude in comparison. I wouldn't mix them.

John Leahy01 Jun 2012 2:39 p.m. PST

AB are very nice! However, I'd question if they are a better buy at 70 cents a fig in the USA vs 30 cents for a Bluemoon which are also quite nice. For myself that's an easy choice. Quality pretty close and I can buy 200 Bluemoon for 60 dollars vs 200 AB figs for 140 dollars. They aren't THAT much nicer! grin

Thanks,

John

Fireymonkeyboy01 Jun 2012 2:45 p.m. PST

Hi,

Where are you getting the $.30 USD per figure price? Eureka US lists them at $.50 USD per. I'd definitely have to think them over at the lower price.

FMB

JeffGrein01 Jun 2012 2:47 p.m. PST

I think John is right on this one. AB are the superior sculpt but the cost difference is huge. I have pretty good sized AB Austrian, Pole and Bavarian armies but if I were starting from scratch I would really have to think about going with Blue Moon.

If I decide to do a French contingent I am probably going with Blue Moon.

baxterj01 Jun 2012 2:52 p.m. PST

AB Napoleonics are the best wargaming figures ever made. You will pay more than BM clearly, but there is a difference in quality. You can also buy them singly which helps in making units up. Send me a PM and I will send you some photos of my Peninsula Brits.

Under question 2, you probably could mix them on the table, but I wouldn't within a unit.

John

Personal logo Lluis of Minairons Sponsoring Member of TMP01 Jun 2012 3:00 p.m. PST

If concerned about budget issues, what about combining both ranges at the level of your choice?

I've ever got a taste on Blue Moon's Napoleonics, but I do know their WSS range. So that I guess they're fully compatible by size with Barton's figures, so there would be no problem on this particular side.

If not concerned by their respective prices… well, if in your place I'd have no doubt at giving them a chance to get combined at some degree :)

VonBlucher01 Jun 2012 3:14 p.m. PST

Fireymonkeyboy,
The $0.30 USD a figure price comes when you purchase an Old Glory Army Card for $50.00 USD then your purchases are at 40% off for one year. So your first 250 figures are at $0.50 USD and all purchases after are at $0.30 USD figuring in the cost of the Army Card.

I think you need to look at how many figure you'll need and weigh in the total costs and make a decision at that point, after comparing some figures.

nsolomon9901 Jun 2012 3:19 p.m. PST

A comment on your potential periods – from that list of 3 I'd choose late Russians – way more versatile. They fought French and allies and in 1812 that included Austrians and Prussians.

On the figures decision I look at it this way – the real cost is in the painting, either your time or someone else's. You only pay for the figures once but you have them for life. I choose the very best I can find, the ones that regularly get mistaken for 28mm.

Chocolate Fezian01 Jun 2012 4:38 p.m. PST

I've been playing this evening with my AB Brits vs my mate's AB French, while I agree that AB's are probably the best 15mm figures on the market at 87pence per figure in the UK last time I looked, I would not now consider buying anymore. At 87p it costs £3.48 GBP to cover an area 20 x 25mm, an absolutely ridiculous price. When I get round to painting a French army I plan on using CGM figures link These are 18mm and are probably the next best after AB.

doug redshirt01 Jun 2012 5:07 p.m. PST

It depends also on what you are getting cavalry, infantry or equipment. I just love ABs cavalry. The problem is that the horses are realistically proportioned. That means they are bigger then anyone elses, but Oh God they are beautiful.

As to infantry I like BM just as much. Since what you need the most of is infantry, I can see buying BM infantry and spending the money you saved on AB cavalry.

Since there is no BM artillery yet, cant talk on that.

CPBelt01 Jun 2012 9:19 p.m. PST

FBM, how good a painter are you? A crappy painter will make even the best figure look like crap, so spending money on excellent figures is a waste for that guy.

The big problem with BM right now is their scattered selection of packs. If I were doing 18mm, I would do 1812 Prussian. But BM makes that impossible with only one pack of line and its command. I don't have years to wait for the Russ to flesh out the other required figures, so AB would be the only way for me to go.

BTW I tried painting a pack of OG 15mm Prussians, but tossed them in the trash a few weeks ago. Cheap, yes, and cheaply sculpted. Not worth my effort. Battle Honors might be a better alternative.

Ashenduke01 Jun 2012 9:53 p.m. PST

Few suggestions on your choice of nationality and I think those are all great choices.
If you don't like painting cavalry than I would go Brits. I may be wrong but I always felt there was a lower percentage of cavalry to infantry in Spain.
If you don't like artillery than I wouldn't do the Russians of 1812-14, I think Russians have one of the highest proportions of men to guns of that era.

ancientsgamer01 Jun 2012 11:13 p.m. PST

AB are the best but are fragile in the bayonet and drawn saber area.

Battle Honours was done by Anthony Barton (AB) as well and are a bit smaller in size. Same fragility. Substantially less than AB in cost. Don't mix well on same stand as AB

CGM are awesome but are harder to get in the U.S. (I know they can be ordered overseas) Mix well with AB.

Napoleon at War are bigger figures still, have raised details and seem robust. They sell their figures in larger packs to play their rules with. Worth looking at though. Great Hall Games is the distributor in the U.S.

Blue Moon may not have a complete range yet but they are releasing figures extremely quickly. Detail is good. Where AB is an A+, I would probably put Blue Moon at B+ to A- in comparison. Where they really shine is in durability and cost. They will eventually have the most complete line available. Check them out on their release schedule. It is quite aggressive. Contrary to a previous poster, I don't think availability should hold you back unless you are a speed demon on painting. You may find that they are releasing what you need sooner than you think. They mix with AB.

Warmodeling are worth a look too. Scale Creep sells them. Size wise they mix with AB.

Old Glory are a varied lot. I have some but prefer Battle Honours. I don't care for exaggerated animation that much of the line has. Some of their line is superb though. The latest stuff seems to be the best. With Blue Moon releasing more and more, I don't see the advantage of Old Glory from any angle anymore.

My suggestion is to get AB for your stand out units, leaders , etc. Your rank and file will look great with the other lines. Why not order some of each line and decide for yourself? There is nothing wrong with mixing lines; especially if you don't put them on the same stand. However, AB, CGM, Blue Moon and Warmodeling will probably be just fine in the same unit (cavalry will be the exception, I would think)

John Leahy01 Jun 2012 11:36 p.m. PST

I agree. Old Glory will have much of the Naps line out by the end of the year give or take. Knowing most gamers you shouldn't have much problem working with BM figs.

Thanks,

John

Littlearmies02 Jun 2012 12:07 a.m. PST

@CP Belt
"FBM, how good a painter are you? A crappy painter will make even the best figure look like crap, so spending money on excellent figures is a waste for that guy."

I'm not sure I agree with this. I find AB's figures relatively easy to paint (in the sense of mostly getting the right colours in the right places) purely because they are well sculpted – there are no tangles of ill defined "stuff" on the figures at all. This, along with the figures having more realistic proportions, make the figures much easier to paint – even for me. The fact that they don't have much flash if any is just as big a bonus.

This is my best efforts with AB: link

Here in the UK Ian at Fighting 15s does Brigade Packs which saves a good bit off the cost – knocking Russian infantry down to 73p a figure.

"The big problem with BM right now is their scattered selection of packs. If I were doing 18mm, I would do 1812 Prussian. But BM makes that impossible with only one pack of line and its command. I don't have years to wait for the Russ to flesh out the other required figures, so AB would be the only way for me to go."

I'm such a slow painter that this wouldn't be an issue for me – but I can see it might be a problem in that while the Prussian Line look great, I'd want to see the rest to make sure quality was maintained across the rest of the line.

"BTW I tried painting a pack of OG 15mm Prussians, but tossed them in the trash a few weeks ago. Cheap, yes, and cheaply sculpted. Not worth my effort. Battle Honors might be a better alternative."

Totally agree – I bought some Austrian in casket helmet years ago and thought they were just slag in a bag. The guy who bought them from me on eBay thought they were great…


Battle Honours is a bit hit and miss in my opinion – the good packs are well up to the AB standard but some are showing their age. I struggle to tell the difference between AB and BH cuirassiers for instance – but people who have looked at painted examples on my blog could tell straight away (including the fact I accidently mounted my BH figures on AB light cavalry horses – I blame the officer responsible for remounts!).

Warmodelling (what used to be called Fantassin) is again hit and miss – some figures are right up there with AB and others (often in the same bag) are horrendously poorly sculpted. They are also cast in a really hard metal that makes cleaning flash a nightmare. I now only buy any pack by them when I have it in my hand and can actually see what I'm buying (so I don't buy much). Find the right figures and they will fit in with AB.

CGM – have a good range of 1815 figures. There is something funny about the proportions on their infantry (leg to torso ratio looks wrong) – but the French infantry in greatcoats I have are fine and will be mixed in with their AB counterparts soon. I think AB's horses are better though.

Timmo uk02 Jun 2012 1:44 a.m. PST

The OP said that cost wasn't an issue but the quality of casting and animation is.

AB casting quality is superb sometimes you don't have any cleaning up to do at all. Regarding animation, AB poses are realistic so they aren't made in exaggerated poses. The charging cavalry are full of drama.

Regarding broken bayonets on AB: I have had two broken ones in over ten years…

@Chocolate
You are right in that single ABs are 87p each but if you buy in packs they are 75p each and there are discounts on big orders.

Fighting 15s02 Jun 2012 3:36 a.m. PST

@Chocolate
You are right in that single ABs are 87p each but if you buy in packs they are 75p each and there are discounts on big orders.

Actually, the price I charge for a single foot figure is 83p (75p in packs), including VAT at 20%. The single figure price also includes delivery. This is for the simple reason that the shopping cart only works in 10g increments for delivery, and so I zero-weight the single figures so they don't increase the base delivery charge in the shopping cart. I add an average delivery charge to the single figure price based on the delivery charges on all orders placed at Fighting 15s over a year. Tax also has to be levied on the delivery charge.

In addition, for orders over £50.00 GBP within the UK, standard delivery is currently free. So it is possible to avoid having delivery charges unduly increase the price, simply by spending what is slightly above the average order value at Fighting 15s.

There are also discounts in place for large orders, which a good number of customers seem to make use of. :-)

In addition, some online customers also benefit from a loyalty discount for their repeat and valued business. You don't need to buy a discount card to get it. You just have to place enough online orders in a year (five), or spend enough (over £1,000.00 GBP) in fewer online orders, ask me for the discount and I'll give you a discount code provided that the orders haven't been difficult (such as requests for special figures that take far longer to sort out).

The comparatively high price of AB Figures in the UK is a result of three main factors:

1. Poor exchange rate with the Oz dollar. The rate is currently around AUD1.58 to GBP1.00. When I started importing from Eureka in Oz it was around AUD2.40 to GBP1.00. The pound has lost about a third of its value.

2. VAT at 20%. VAT is, of course, removed in the shopping cart for customers outside the EU who specify their tax region as non-EU.

3. Royalties. Tony Barton licenses his figures to be produced and charges a royalty. It's a very sensible approach as it continues to earn him an income even though his health increasingly becomes an issue other sculptors should really take note.

In the happy days before one customer's orders helped push Fighting 15s through the VAT threshold, and when the exchange rate was favourable, I charged 45p per foot figure. It was still comparatively expensive, but none the less lower than the price had been through AB UK. Changes to the exchange rate alone would have pushed that ex-tax price to 60p which is pretty much where it is now. That ex-tax price is usually within a penny or two of Eureka Miniatures' own ex-tax price in the fair land of Oz.

Ian

Timmo uk02 Jun 2012 5:00 a.m. PST

Ian

My apologies for getting the price of single figures wrong. It probably needs to be said that Fighting 15s provide a level of service that is second to none. I've had orders arrive in less than 24 hours!

That you can buy single figures is a huge bonus, you might pay a few pence more per casting for them but ultimately you've saved if you just need the odd one or two figures to complete units.

Fireymonkeyboy02 Jun 2012 5:13 a.m. PST

Thanks for all the replies so far, they've given me plenty to think over.

In terms of period and army, I'm increasingly leaning toward 1812+ Russians, as they seem most flexible (after the French, and I've a soft spot for the Russkies.

Figures I'm still undecided. I may start with a unit's worth of each, and go from there. Looking at the available pictures, the AB sculpts are cleaner – compare bayonettes, for eg, but the animation on BM pulls me in.

As I originally posted, this is an indulgence for me. I don't mind spending the money as long as I'm going to enjoy the process.

In terms of my painting skills, here are some recent samples:

link

link

I'm confident I can do the figures justice, especially given my approach to the project.

Do please keep suggestions and comments coming, this has been extremely helpful.

FMB

FMB

VonBlucher02 Jun 2012 5:33 a.m. PST

FMB,
I've seen you on Paul's (Paulalba) Blog. I've checked out your blog and you're a talented painter and you've seen Paul's Armies and my Prussians on his Blog.

I would recomend AB's as I think these will show off you're painting abilities much better, than some of the other ranges. Pick up some AB's and see the ease of painting them and with your talents, I know you'll be impressed with the results.

John

Tarty2Ts02 Jun 2012 6:38 a.m. PST

I love my ABs…..their going with me. You can't go wrong FMB. Here's some of my Prussians.

picture

picture

picture

and my pretzel break casualty marker…..
picture

yes……. he's onto number 4

Steve W02 Jun 2012 7:08 a.m. PST

Although I have neither AB or Blue Moon figures I think just for he variation I think I would go for Blue Moon ( this is just looking at websites)as the variation is something tht would appeal to me

FMB What rules are you thinking about?

JCBJCB02 Jun 2012 9:16 a.m. PST

I think AB is better, but the cost differential makes me go with Blue Moon. I just can't justify the extra expense in this economy.

I just cut and primed my first BM figs, so in a few days I hope to have some idea of how good they look painted.

Littlearmies02 Jun 2012 9:32 a.m. PST

Ohhh Tartty – wargames porn in the afternoon! Those look lovely – I've never really subscribed to the idea that Prussians are dull because of all that blue, and those are a great example of why. The casualty marker is first rate too!

FireMonkeyBoy – of the three original choices I'd suggest going for the Peninsular Brits for a number of reasons.

1) AB's Peninsular British are some of the nicest figures in the range – as are the Portuguese and Spanish. Painting Peninsula British naturally starts to include Portuguese units as well. Spanish allies add extra colour and spectacle.

2) The Peninsula was a small war in Napoleonic terms – if you go for recreating historical orders of battle you can make real progress.

3) If you start painting the French opposition they also fielded a number of allied battalions (Swiss, Polish, various Germans) that look pretty.

Having said this I haven't taken my own advice at all (just painting whatever figures meet "the urge" at any time rather than to any plan).

But if you are purely concerned with getting maximum use out of your army – then Austrians might be the way to go. Okay there are oceans of white infantry but the cavalry is pretty colourful. And they were Napoleon's most consistent enemies of the war.

Littlearmies02 Jun 2012 10:28 a.m. PST

@FMB – if you can make Old Glory figures look like that then you'll adore the AB painting experience. Welcome to the world of Napoleonic button counting and line infantry by the hundred.

Which of course segues nicely into your next big question… which rules?

Fireymonkeyboy02 Jun 2012 12:44 p.m. PST

In terms of rules I'll start with Lasalle, as these are far and away the dominant rules in the club where I play (I'm also a fan of Sam Mustafa's rules). Down the road, not sure, though I've an eye on BP and have taken a quick look over La Feu Sacre.

Odd you should mention the peninsula. I'd very nearly gone for them (might at the last minute), but have been informed they are very hard to win with in Lasalle. At least to begin, I'd like a force without a terribly steep learning curve.

In terms of period, the peninsula and 1813-14 are the ones that draw me the most in terms of the history.

FMB

Fredloan02 Jun 2012 12:46 p.m. PST

FMB, I too am new to building 15mm Naps. I selected AB because they offer more figure variations in the larger nations and have a more extensive line. Yes they are a bit more 0.5 vs 0.7 USD. I have seen both painted and they will mix well but Blue Moon only offers march figures at this time. so unless you want your whole army looking like they belong on the parade ground.

I will be looking into Blue Moon as they expand their line, I like them as a second choice. BAttle Honors and Old Glory will not mix as well because they are the smaller 15mm class not the larger toward 18mm.

Fredloan02 Jun 2012 12:49 p.m. PST

PS I just bought Lasalle rules as well but, also looking for rules that allow corp size commands I figure why not flood a large table with lots of 15mm Naps

Fredloan02 Jun 2012 12:50 p.m. PST

Tartyy, very nice Prussians. I hope my Bavarian Chevau leger come out just as nice. I just started panting again after 18 years away.

Dr Jeckyll02 Jun 2012 1:30 p.m. PST

Firemonkeyboy: check out this for a comparison of AB and BM figures.

TMP link

These are now part of my collection, and I have litteraly thousands of AB's, but I have now started to fill out the ranks of my French line infantry with Blue Moons.
So, being far from objective about the matter, I would consider getting a "backbone" of beautifull AB's and then use loads of BM's to swell the ranks of the line units, after all most of a napoleonic army was composed of line infantry anyway, and AB and BM mix well together on the table, if not perfectly in the same unit..that being said I am really looking forward to seeing some skirmishers soon from BM, but I have learnt to be patient, and in my opinion, they have been well worth the wait so far:)

Erik

Personal logo Miniatureships Sponsoring Member of TMP02 Jun 2012 1:41 p.m. PST

Gentleman, there is a lot more Blue Moon on the Way. Some it is done, but our web person has been busy with some family issues related to her mother. I would look more to the end of June to see more releases and by Fall In, there should be a lot of new releases, which will start to fill in those gaps you were talking about.

Hey, we are going as fast as we can, while still bring you other Blue Moon lines, such as the War of 1812, Alamo, FFL, and 3 Musketeer's.

Steve W02 Jun 2012 1:59 p.m. PST

I think I would be interested in Age of Eagles so I can play Brigade level games or maybe Grand Armee

Littlearmies02 Jun 2012 4:03 p.m. PST

FMB – the basing in LaSalle is similar to that of General de Brigade (at least in terms of recommended base sizes). I'm by no means a regular wargamer but I've played with these a few times (including an introduction to the rules by the ever pleasant Dave Brown). I'd recommend taking a look at these if you are looking for a game where the basic unit is the battalion / brigade (and there are some excellent scenarios for the Peninsula too).

I recall reading Sam Mustafa's earlier rules in MWAN and being interested in the mechanisms and design rationale. I've no real knowledge of LaSalle other than the fact the book looks pretty. I'm curious as to why Peninsula British should be hard to win with in LaSalle (although this probably isn't the thread to discuss such matters) – as opposed to your other possible choices.

foot soldier03 Jun 2012 8:00 a.m. PST

Firemonkeyboy,
If you go the Eureka Miniatures USA site you will find the AB Lasalle sets available. These sets were determined by Sam Mustafa. If you don't like the composition of the set, change it.
If you need information as to the actual cost of AB figures & shipping here in the States & Canada just email me.

cheers,
rob
eureka miniatures usa
robwalter556@yahoo.com

Fireymonkeyboy03 Jun 2012 8:35 a.m. PST

Rob,

Thanks for the reply. It's not so much a question of like, as I'm still fairly new to the period, and am looking for some guidance.

FMB

Fredloan04 Jun 2012 11:08 a.m. PST

FMB,

Rob at Eureka USA offers great fast service, if something comes broken he makes it right as well.

Fireymonkeyboy04 Jun 2012 12:50 p.m. PST

Good, since I just placed an order with him ;)

Actually, I've been impressed with both the Eurekas for customer service. They've been really good about answering questions.

FMB

Marshall Ken06 Jun 2012 4:06 a.m. PST

Tartyy, excellent looking Prussians! Do you have a blog?

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