A little while ago a friend of mine asked that I assemble some of his plastic minis for him. He didn't mind painting them but found assembling the plastic minis a bother, I on the other hand have come to wargaming from a plastic modeling background and enjoy assembling models rather more than painting them, I readily agreed. I have seen articles in the British glossies complaining about the bother of building plastics, this always seemed odd to me as even the very best metal figures need cleaning up before priming so it seemed a trade-off in my mind. I have built many plastic figures before, even customized the poses and figures, but never paid any mind to the time and work involved, it was just me spending a bit of hobby time. To see of there is a significant trade-off in time I decided to keep track of the amount of time I spent assembling the figures so that I could compare that to the period of time that would be spent filing off mold lines, straightening rifles and smoothing bases on metal figures.
The models in question were the British Center Company from the Perry Brothers series. These are superlative models with the classic attention to proportion and pose that is the hallmark of a Perry product. The figures were cleanly cast in a medium hardness glossy gray plastic that cuts cleanly and easily and takes plastic model cement happily (I used Testors tube and liquid for this experiment). I have heard of people using Super Glue to build plastics, this I have never understood as the plastic cement dissolves the surface of the plastic and, when it evaporates. creates a "weld" so that the joint is now a solid chuck of plastic, it will also not bond skin like Super Glue. These are all factors that favor plastic cement in my mind.
the box with contents
the figures freed from the sprue
hats make the man in this kit, these will be standard center company men
the easy way to put hats on the figure, a tiny drop of liquid cement....
....and you lower the figure into the hat,
far easier that trying to pick up the hat with my bratwurst-sized fingertips
at first I didn't realize that the arms are cast as "sets", being right next to each other on the sprue should have been a good indicator, but I have been building Dark Ages stuff where it didn't matter
a tiny drop of liquid cement on either side of the joint and a second or two to let it work,
I always start with the arm that is holding the gun first as I can hold the tip of the weapon and maneuver it into place
I lay the figure down with the arm holding the gun in place toward the surface
and then add the other arm, gravity does most of the work to hold it together
first soldier ready to go, just under six minutes in
another ten minutes and I had five finished
they are ready to frighten some militia with those big ugly bayonets
another twelve minutes gave me an officer, a flag bearer and five more soldiers
The fit and finish of the models was superb, as one has come to expect of everything coming out the Perry Brothers Studio, detail is clean and crisp and the mold lines scarcely visible (although I did remove them, white trousers are an unforgiving color to mold-lines and inevitably show up on the finished model). The one point that I would make is to pay attention to the rear seam of the shoulder joint, if you are not attentive a gap can appear. I built over a dozen figures in under a half an hour, less than three minutes each.