I have become a big fan of Perry Miniatures Hard Plastic Afghan Tribesmen over the last year and wanted to pass on some tips that I have learned now that I am starting my second box. Now these are only the "tips" and "techniques" that I use and learned while putting together the miniatures - don't feel you have to do it my way. This is what works for me and I have had fun!
I base my figures for The Men Who Would be Kings, and fortunately, it works for other popular rules. I like to do circular bases with 1 figure, 2 figures and 3 figures which allows some creativity and the ability to make some "vignettes". What I do first (after experimentation with the first figures!) is get a minds eye of what I what on the bases and the overall look of the unit. The unit I chose to walk you through is a "Tribal Infantry" unit - so expect a lot of swords and men that want to get up close and personal with the enemy. Here is my preferred method step by step:
The first thing I do is to make sure the figures I want to use will fit on the base. Even though there are 4 figures above, for now I'm going to concentrate on a 3 figure base. The figures will be charging and note that I have trimmed one of the figure bases so it will fit properly on the circular base I am using. I then use white glue to adhere the bodies to carbonated beverage lids.
Once the bodies have dried on the caps, I then start experimenting with how I want the arms positioned. I have found it easier to do the arms on the bodies once they are firmly affixed to the caps instead of putting the whole figure together and then gluing it to the caps. Whichever method works for you I would do. Regular modelling glue is what I use and since it melts the plastic to get a good bond, check the position of the arm you want!
Get creative with the placement of the heads. The first figures I did I positioned the heads facing forward in line with the direction of the bodies. It's amazing that just by tilting or moving the head left or right adds a dynamic to the figure.
Now some fun which is why I love hard plastic figures. (The price doesn't hurt either) I have the decide that the figure all the way in the back in the picture of unpainted that I just added the heads to will be carrying a jezail. Well, there are no arms that are carrying a jezail for a charging figure - but there are plenty of spare jezails with the box.
What I did next was look at pictures of men running with rifles/muskets to get an idea where the closed hand that is gripping the jezail will actually be holding the jezail while running. I then brought the jezail up to the hand, carefully marked with my hobby knife where to cut and the then sliced that wonderful weapon apart.
I glued the bottom stock first and once dried, lined up the barrel and held it in place because let's face it, no one wants a crooked gun.
Here are two more of the figures that will be carrying shields. I do not glue the shields, scabbards, etc., on at this time because it makes it hard for me to paint the figure with the shield, scabbard, etc., in the way. We'll do those later.
It really doesn't matter whether you use white, grey, black or the color of your fancy to prime your figures. BUT PRIME YOUR FIGURES!!! Okay, that's the only part of this tutorial I'll make mandatory. Note I said nothing about washing the figures in warm, soapy water. Some people do but with hard plastic, I don't think it is necessary. But always prime your figures. Paint sticks to paint better and you'll thank me later. I usually use black as it can hide a multiple of painting sins and for me, helps with the shading.
I paint figures for how they will look at gaming distance.We'll get to my painting style in Part 2.