A converted kit beside an original pre-painted figure.
Tragard Master asked for more about Preiser/Elastolin kits. I don't actually know alot but here goes. Many among us are familiar with the beautiful painted hard plastic 4cm and 7cm toy soldiers made by Hauser under the brand name of Elastolin. Production of these plastic figures began in 1955 according to all-knowing (sic) Wikipedia. (Production of me also took place in that same year, a coincidence? Really?). Originally the figures were only sold as painted, boxed sets but apparently they were eventually released as unpainted kits as well. Hauser ceased production in 1982. When they declared bankruptcy the next year, the molds were sold to Preiser. Preiser has continued to sell the 7cm figures as painted figures and as kits and may have periodically released batches of the 4cm figures. For a short while Michigan Toy Soldiers had them listed as did Germania and I foolishly talked myself into believing that they would be available for a few years and kept putting off an order for some of the figures I needed, especially the mounted figures from the Prince Valiant range of which I have none. AARGGHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH I should have known better!
They do crop up frequently on ebay at prices ranging from ridiculously expensive to ridiculously cheap with most being in the middle.
The kits in front, the finished figures behind them. The one on the left is a damaged original that I touched up, with a spear from some other range, the one on the right is an original with broken axe. I will get around to drilling his hand and replacing it one day. The guy in the middle is one of the kits that followed me home from Historicon.
I have occasionally treated my self to intact, pre-painted figures, but not often. Early on I bought a number of broken pieces since they were all that I could afford but for a while there was a glut of cheap kits, usually in mixed lots, (ie instead of all Romans or all ACW, there would be 1 or 2 from each range) probably left over stock or from someone's estate. I also made 1 really useful buy, 100 gold vikings from a dealer in Germany, all the same pose unfortunately. I believe these were sold as novelties but the price worked out to pennies apiece and has provided a useful supply of shields, heads and arms for conversion and repair. They have also been the foundation for my "Pictish" spearmen, all with shaggy bareheads and bare knees.
The kits only go together one way but being hard plastic, the figures cut well with a razor or jeweler's saw, can be shaved or sanded, adhere to epoxy putty and may be glued easily and securely. They also take paint well. The historical accuracy of the Ancient and Dark Age figures is variable and dated but that on the more modern periods such as the Landsknechts can't be faulted. More than that, the anatomy, animation and attention to detail is amazing. WHY CAN"T I HAVE MORE!!!!???
One of the golden vikings in front. Needing some mounted "bad guys" (a "Pictish" Noble) to add depth to my Saxon invaders, and having some mounted Roman and Hun kits, I did some simple surgery to get mounted barbarians such as this one. Dismounted Huns are a "maybe" for the future.
The figure at the top of the blog was a kit but received an arm from one of the golden vikings to add variety.
For those they missed it, here is a battle report of Prince Michael trying to hold a pass against a Picto-Saxon incursion last year.