Help support TMP

"6mm - 15mm figures in plastic" Topic

49 Posts

All members in good standing are free to post here. Opinions expressed here are solely those of the posters, and have not been cleared with nor are they endorsed by The Miniatures Page.

For more information, see the TMP FAQ.

Back to the Napoleonic Discussion Message Board

1,855 hits since 10 May 2017
©1994-2018 Bill Armintrout
Comments or corrections?

Sho Boki10 May 2017 8:39 a.m. PST

Years ago there were discussions – why 15mm napoleonics is not presented in cheap plastic.
How the situation is now?
We need 6mm and 15mm chaps in plastic?

And if we need, then what sets?

Marc at work10 May 2017 8:46 a.m. PST

Price v volume will always be an interesting discussion.

And 15mm bayonets and plumes and lances will be fragile – 6mm worse.

Personal logo deadhead Supporting Member of TMP10 May 2017 8:56 a.m. PST

You are the expert at casting, so you know the investment needed to create the moulds for plastic figures. OK, once up and running they can then mass produce and use relatively cheap material too.

But that means a real need for high volume sales to avoid ruin.

In the smaller scales I do think getting the definition possible with metal might be challenging too……..

Bill Rosser Supporting Member of TMP10 May 2017 9:29 a.m. PST

Is this not what we are beginning to see in the new PERRY game?

Three Armies10 May 2017 9:51 a.m. PST

Fat chance, not enough sales volume.

steamingdave4710 May 2017 9:59 a.m. PST

We were having this discussion yesterday as one of our group has just treated himself to the Perry's " Travel Wargame". The game contains plastic Napoleonic figures in what is reckoned to be be " 8mm" size ( 1/200 scale). They are nicely detailed, as one would expect from these guys, and look as if they would paint up nicely. No idea as to how much the tooling cost, but the game is quite expensive, at £50.00 GBP It does show that plastic figures can be produced, in smaller scales, to a reasonable wargames standard, so perhaps this is the first of many?

Jozis Tin Man10 May 2017 10:00 a.m. PST

I do not think there would be a significant cost savings for 6mm plastic versus metal given the volumes.

Sho Boki10 May 2017 10:18 a.m. PST

May be producing the troopers in plastic and all other chaps in metal is good idea?

Dr Jeckyll Supporting Member of TMP10 May 2017 10:30 a.m. PST

Yes, 15/18mm marching infantry in plastic! It would make building large armies easier! I would buy them, tons of them;)

Sho Boki10 May 2017 10:46 a.m. PST

But if plastic then have only one pose?

marshalGreg10 May 2017 1:29 p.m. PST

I do not get it!
How is $0.35 USD to AB at ~$.70 for 15/18 an issue in buying qty?
It will take a lot of volume to recover the tooling for plastic!
IIRC 25/28s are the highest vol and a high cost ratio so desirable to recovery/make affordable is there.
So why so much need for plastic at the other sizes?????
Is the option of having head, packpacks etc. and arms separate ( std for plastic) to make more poses per personal taste while using simple glues that is otherwise not robust for metal versions the desire here?- this I can understand!


Personal logo Extra Crispy Sponsoring Member of TMP10 May 2017 1:40 p.m. PST

I can't wait to glue together 450 15mm figures…..

Plastic can have multiple poses if you design them on the sprue that way.

Here are other issues:

  • Small 15m? Medium 15mm? Large 15mm aka 18mm?
  • Old Glory/Blue Moon are 30 figures for $16. USD Call it fifty cents. But if you want bulk, but the army card and get a 40% discount. So a figure is 30 cents. A THOUSAND figures is still just $300 USD and you can specify how many sergeants, officers, you can add zouaves, multiple poses, and you don't have to assemble one darn thing.
  • Do you do commands/specials? At what ratio – 24 troops per command set? 20? 40? Troublesome especially where one unit has multiple uniform types (Napoleonics especially).
  • How fragile will flagpoles, bayonets, spears and swords be?

That said, I see hard plastic for WW2. You can buy en entire company of infantry for $40. USD So one box and you;re done buying that infantry forever!

Mick the Metalsmith Inactive Member10 May 2017 3:16 p.m. PST

as much as I would love 15mm hard plastics…the guys making the stuff are probably looking at the competition of 1/72 soft plastics as well ahead of them, who will definitly not make the switch…

14Bore10 May 2017 5:28 p.m. PST

I would try 15mm plastics

von Winterfeldt11 May 2017 1:06 a.m. PST

"But if plastic then have only one pose?

Certainly no – looking at the Perrys – there are different frames, ok, one could make one frame only, but with 15 / 18 mm being smaller – one could get into a frame more masters.

Aren't there any plastic 15 mm ww2 figures? And how do they do it?

then what scale to chose 1 : 100?

jwebster11 May 2017 12:21 p.m. PST

Would 15mm plastic bayonets survive for very long ?


Mick the Metalsmith Inactive Member11 May 2017 1:45 p.m. PST

they don't survive long in pewter.

Sho Boki12 May 2017 2:21 a.m. PST

There are two types of hard plastic, as I understand.
One for tanks and planes, and such bayonets will break easily.
And another for figures, relatively soft and bendable.

Marc at work12 May 2017 5:55 a.m. PST

Have care with "hard plastic" – especially if it is soft and bendable. Italeri tried a stiff type of "soft plastic" – that is virtually hard – except it breaks – I have lost muskets on figures – not bayonets – muskets!

And as a fan of soft plastic (and plastic reproduces detail very well – look at some Zvezda figures – better than metals in my not at all humble opinion), I would warn you of the wargame general distaste for soft plastic.

If you want to avoid a load of people moaning, make them in hard (kit) plastic. But they will be fragile at that scale.

WW2 figures in 15mm plastic tend to be stocky and not big on flagpoles, spears and bayonets.

Good luck. But the price is interesting, as I am not sure of the savings being there compared to 28mm

And popularity – look how, even in 28mm, only the perceived BIG SELLERS are made – no Austrian/Russian cavalry or artillery etc. SO where is the market outside of French and British infantry to allow costs to be recouped.

Sho, if you are serious, and the politics don't interfere (I believe they are in the Ukraine), I would suggest speaking with Zvezda

Sho Boki12 May 2017 7:03 a.m. PST

Actually Zvezda stays in Moscow, but their initial chief was indeed Ukrainian. But for now he is dead. And Zvezda precisely uses hard type of soft plastic, I presume. For old sets at least, I don't have their new products.

I was offered to produce my soldiers in plastic by Chinese guys. The same company who tooled Linear-A "Folks of Judea".
But this "Judea" set have very soft surface tooling and small figures need very sharp one. So I am a little suspicious..

But if this work out, I thinked to produce mass army troopers in cheap plastic and all other stuff (command, markers etc.) by myself in metal. Because my own troopers in metal will be and stay much more pricey than other producers can offer.

von Winterfeldt12 May 2017 7:54 a.m. PST

"So I am a little suspicious.."

I very well would be, in case soft plastic and good quality, I fear no problem, I never had issues as from what material figures are made, as long as they are high quality, like Zvezda in the past.

However, masters have to be specially designed for plastic figures, in case to be cast in one and not in different parts, there no undercuts are possible.

Before engaging serioulsy, contact a lawyer also.

Three Armies12 May 2017 9:02 a.m. PST

If anybody wants to put there money on the line, I have the technology and the ability as long as you have the £25.00 GBPk ready to invest I'm your man.

Lion in the Stars13 May 2017 7:54 a.m. PST

Dang, initial tooling costs are up to 25k GBP ?!?

I'd think that marching figures would be pretty easy to do as a single piece. But something like Rifles or Light Infantry marching at the trail would have to be done in two pieces. Cavalry might even need to be in 3 or 4 pieces (rider, two horse-halves, and maybe a separate horse-head).

Yeah, the real killer would definitely be figuring out packaging. The Plastic Soldier Company 15mm WW2 minis run about 120-150 models per box. At 1:10 figure ratio, field strength battalions are about 45 troops in the ranks, maybe another dozen skirmishers, and then some bodies for a nice command stand. So you could have two battalions in a box pretty easily. Or 1 battalion a 1:5. At any rate, I'd want a way to buy command sprues separately from the basic infantry, so if someone went nuts and built 1:1 battalions they wouldn't have 5x or 10x the command stands around.

Oooh, idea for you, especially if the plastic details are maybe not quite up to what you'd want for full-dress uniforms: Troops in greatcoats with covered Shakoes, cased colors, etc! Essentially, generic troops!

Sho Boki15 May 2017 6:02 a.m. PST

In plastic only marching figures, mass troops, all others in metal.
I probably do trial order, Chinese asked twice more than I expected, but for trial this is acceptable, if not to use resellers and distributors and sell all by myself. And if their quality is good, then this co-operation may be continued.

Rittmester15 May 2017 7:25 a.m. PST

Sho, which scale are you trying to do in plastic?


Sho Boki15 May 2017 8:55 a.m. PST

1:200 aka 8mm. As Perry's "Travel Wargame".
I started to produce this size long time ago and already have 2 sets available and 2 in worktable.

Along with 6mm the 8mm is the proper scale for big battles by my wargame rules EMPEROR.
8mm basically is 6mm with proper legs, so more proportional.

If Chinese can handle this, then 1:100 aka 15(18)mm may follow.
Smaller ones are harder to tool properly, so this trial order will be as quality check.

Rittmester15 May 2017 2:37 p.m. PST

Good Luck Sho, it will be interesting to see the results :)

Marc the plastics fan15 May 2017 3:08 p.m. PST

Having seen the Perry 8mm figures I am very underwhelmed. The poses are static and the guns are down by their sides – for robustness. And horses legs are solid plastic. I think metal has the edge. Sorry. And this from a 100% dyed in the wool plastics fan

Personal logo deadhead Supporting Member of TMP16 May 2017 3:42 a.m. PST

Funny thing. I thought these Perry 8mm in plastic were far better than I had expected.

TMP link

I'll confess to TOTS and metal prejudice, but love the conversion potential of the hard plastics in 28mm anyway. I discovered AB and 15/18mm too late to change now, however tempting. Metals in 1/72 from Germany seem to show the best animation of any scale or range, but, for me, same applies!

Sho Boki16 May 2017 6:20 a.m. PST

My 8mm looks like this..

..but for plastic I must do new ones.

Personal logo deadhead Supporting Member of TMP17 May 2017 5:14 a.m. PST

Exactly my point. Can you reproduce this quality in plastic? The answer may well be yes I imagine. Your horses do not have fused legs and the figures look superb (of course)

Then the question becomes the economics of investment in tooling vs income and sales

Marc at work17 May 2017 5:24 a.m. PST

And can you make details robust in hard (kit) plastic? Anyone who has used a model tank or half track in 1/72 (like me) will know that mgs break off their mounts, lamps break, aerials snap.

Softer polythene allows parts to survive use, but (sadly) wargamers don't like them (the old chestnut of "paint flaking").

But as I said, I will await these with interest

GarryWills17 May 2017 2:38 p.m. PST

I am surprised no one has mentioned weight as an issue. The Great War miniatures are fine but will get blown around by a decent draft

Sho Boki18 May 2017 1:42 a.m. PST

Lack of weight may be compensated by metallic bases.We need such bases anyway for magnetic transporting and handling sheets, even for metallic figures.

I calculated the possible price. The final price (with taxes and postages) for such 8mm plastic chaps under the same circumstances may be twice cheaper than 6mm metallic (Baccus, Adler) and three times cheaper than 10mm (Pendraken).

But this order takes off all my money reserves, without quaranteed selling even for years. Risky business.
On the other hand, this cover all main troopers for my 8mm Waterloo project. And my metallic troopers are pricey. So the cheap plastic choice may be present there as option.

von Winterfeldt18 May 2017 2:18 a.m. PST

in case it takes all your Money reserves, I wouldn't do it

Marc the plastics fan18 May 2017 3:18 a.m. PST


Sho Boki18 May 2017 3:36 a.m. PST

I must firstly sculpt all this figures for plastic and, slow as I am, this takes time. So I may decide later. Also I must sculpt these figures anyway (for metal).

Sho Boki18 May 2017 4:44 a.m. PST

Crowdfunding may be the good idea, but in this new scale this may not work. How many people may have interest toward 8mm napoleonic to make preorders? Very few I think.
I lately haved order from my 100th customer (hip-hip-hurreigh!) and to cover the risky part of this plastic order there must be 15-40 preorders (depends on ordered box). And, as we don't know the possible quality, this is blind order.

I calculated about estimate selling prices for 2 boxes or packages. Smaller one contains 12 sprues and bigger one 36 sprues. With current postage costs the final prices may be 27.66 and 73.32 EUR.

Sprue contain troopers (as planned for now), all figures different:

1 French Old Guard
1 French Young Guard/Grenadier/Voltigeur
6 French Line/Legere Infantry
1 French Cuirassieur
1 French Chasseur
1 French Lancier (not guard one)

3 British Infantry with Belgic Shako
1 British Infantry with Stovepipe Shako
1 Belgian Militia
1 Nassau Infantry
1 Brunswick Infantry
1 British Heavy Dragoon
1 British Light Dragoon
1 British Hussar

3 Prussian Infantry
3 Prussian Landwehr
1 Prussian Hussar
1 Prussian Landwehr Cavalry with lance

Very small units, like Scots, will be in metal only.

Lion in the Stars18 May 2017 4:58 a.m. PST

Wow, if you can really get the prices down that cheap, I might be able to get the gaming group interested!

But please, don't burn all your cash reserves in the creation of the sprues!

mysteron Supporting Member of TMP18 May 2017 5:37 a.m. PST

Sometimes you have to be bold and take a gamble in business.

The French I think would obviously sell well as they can be pitted against any opposition. The opposition is going to be the tricky one with slightly biased towards the Brits.

Good luck

Sho Boki18 May 2017 6:27 a.m. PST

This is Waterloo battle, you can't avoid the Brits. ;-)
Most of British figures there anyway will present German allies with British uniforms.

Lion. These calculations based on current knowledge about expenses and prices may be rise. All command figures will be in metal and are pricey, available separately from plastic.

Dr Jeckyll Supporting Member of TMP18 May 2017 7:45 a.m. PST

I dont know Sho, 54,28,25,20,18,15,10,6,3,2 and now also 8mm…?
Are you sure this is a possible market for yet another scale?
I dont mean to be negative, but have you done any kind of market research before sinking funds into this?

I think you are a fantastic sculptor, and have no doubt you can pull it off making wonderfull figures in this scale also, but why leave the important work you are now doing in 1:100, which there obviously is both an interrest and an established market for I wonder..

CATenWolde Inactive Member18 May 2017 11:37 a.m. PST

To be honest, I've never been able to figure out why you didn't stick to an accepted scale. Plastic figures will only sell in the volume you need if your figures are either 6mm or 10mm, not 8mm.

von Winterfeldt19 May 2017 5:07 a.m. PST

In case that this enterprise is to be successfull – at least I would like to see a complete line of figures before it is launched. I can speak only for myself, I hate buying incomplete lines and this would be incomplete if there are no staff, artillery, guns, waggons, infantry and cavalry – in case all those figures would be available in metal – before the platic figures enterprise is launched, I would feel it much easier to commit myself.

So there are two possibilities, don'st sculpt any 1 / 100 figures any longer till you have a very complete line in 8 mm for 1815 (within 2017) – or just don't do it.

Sho Boki19 May 2017 6:57 a.m. PST

Thanks! This is good suggestion. I must think about this.

Sho Boki23 May 2017 5:07 a.m. PST

What a strange year! Now I suddenly have several offers from different companies to produce my figures in plastic.

Well, you guys may be right, it is too earlier for 8mm.

But may be we will try 6mm?

pellen18 Nov 2017 6:35 a.m. PST

Any news? Could use a few 100 cheap 10 or even 15mm 19th century/napoleonics, mostly infantry. Would happily pre-order a few boxes.

Sho Boki18 Nov 2017 12:53 p.m. PST

The only news is, that plastic company suddenly doubled their price, because initial price for production they offered, don't included price for mould.
After long consideration I decided to stop this project. Too risky business.

Lion in the Stars18 Nov 2017 11:39 p.m. PST

That's unfortunate, but I understand, Sho.

Please keep cranking out those gorgeous 15mm troops, though!

Sorry - only verified members can post on the forums.