Plastics and 'God's own scale'

We don’t usually have space for letters in the magazine and by the time they are in print, their subject matter is usually an issue or two old. However the website offers us an opportunity to post them while they are still relevant. Here is a recent and self-confessed slightly tongue in cheek email I received from Andy Copesake on WSS 65. Do you agree or disagree? Let’s hear what you think…

Dear Sir

I read Wargames Soldiers and Strategy issue 65 with - as always with that publication - considerable interest. The various Opinion columns were of especial interest as it’s not usual these days to see opinions expressed other than “You don’t need a brain it’s only a game”, so it’s very pleasing to see articles containing reasoned logical thought being produced. This is true even when or indeed especially when I might disagree with some of the points raised.

First, the ‘plastics debate’. Now, here I’m a metals-only man and despite the ‘rush for plastic’ in some quarters I know comparatively few chaps who have any. In our own local group none of the lads have any plastics at all - they simply don’t fancy them - none of the periods on offer in plastic 28mm interest them.

Of other chaps I know personally, several decided that they didn’t want to ‘dilute’ their metal collections with what they perceived as a more insubstantial product - I think - though it’s not a term I’d use that this would centre around ‘heft’ . Other wargamers I know personally have tried 28mm plastics and have rejected them - usually on the ground of “I lose the will to live building them - how long will it take me to do a whole army?” A good friend managed a whole brigade before he decided never again, others a unit or two. I have heard this quite a bit and to be sure it’s one reason I’ve avoided the little monsters thus far - even though I enjoy building individual figures. The other reason - so I’m told - is battlefield survivability, they are apparently a bit fragile. Certainly I’ve seen units with missing arm and heads - I’d have to replace pikes and spears with wire as a prerequisite. This last of course does not apply to the rather nice tanks that are about. Personally I still prefer metal but I’d have no problem with plastic if there was a model I needed. There simply hasn’t been yet.

Mind you plastic aficionados, it’s a case of which runs out first the oil or the tin….

Now, ‘Gods Own Scale’. Richard Clarke is absolutely right here - there is simply no such thing - I and most of the chaps I know have collections in more than 1 size - from 10mm up to 40mm. And of course in wargaming ‘scale’ is often misused terribly. 15mm size, for instance, is roughly 1/100th scale and 40mm size is 1/43rd.scale… This can become of importance when you need items from other disciplines such as aircraft or scenic items.

Having said all that, I do - slightly, take issue with Richard’s remarks on 15mm. Were I writing this three or four years ago I’d be agreeing wholeheartedly about 15mm and ‘mixed fortunes’ - especially outside of WW2. However in recent years 15mm has made something of a comeback in the ‘pretty periods’ - if indeed it had ever truly gone away. I suspect that many 15mm outfits had simply stopped paper advertising for at least some of the photogenic reasons Richard cites.

However recently European companies such as Capitan, Alain Toullier, Warmodelling and Fantassin amongst others have produced new 15mm or 18mm as the taller of these are sometimes called. In the Antipodes Eureka have several fine ranges and latterly Bluemoon manufacturing from the USA are pouring out 15/18mm figures in a flood.

Now I freely admit to have an axe to grind here as I import Bluemoon and you get ‘em from Old Glory UK. In the last couple of years I’ve gone from only WW2 and moderns in 15mm to having most major and some minor periods, or at least started with new items coming out as fast as I can stock them. Since most of these ranges are selling very well indeed and at least three new ranges are due out this coming year, it’s hard to agree any longer with Richards assertion that 28mm has hegemony in Europe. I have no reason to think that other companies are faring less well than I. Indeed as I write this I wonder - says he archly - how many columnists looking down upon us from sundry, mostly Nottinghanshire based, Ivory towers, Eagles Nests or ‘Wolfschanzes’ actually know what it’s like in the trenches out on the ‘thin lead line’. Staff versus regimental - what would you!  I’d even put forward a case - based upon my experience - that Western Europe (as distinct from purely the UK) is mainly 15mm and except for plastic - and has been for many years.

With all said and done - congratulations on a fine magazine.
Yours sincerley
Andy Copestake
Old Glory UK

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