Ten years ago I bought Corvus Belli metal Early Imperial Romans, high quality, easy to paint, unfortunately the series was out of production for many years because the company has focused on their successful Infinity 28mm game since. I bought a second hand metal army and an Ultracast Plastic Soldiers Pacto Box to game bigger battles., see my first impression, unboxing.
I finally found time to paint the two armies and compare the original metal miniatures with the plastic miniatures.
- the plastic figures have the same quality, perfect copies of the metal originals
- the plastic figures are just as easy to paint (brown undercoat, blockpaint, Army Painter dip)
- the shield decals (Litle Big Men Studios) fit, and they stick to the plastic figures just as good as to metal figures
- no strange mould lines or bend spears that couldn’t be fixed
Price: 0,50 GBP per figure, same as metal 15mm figures. “But metal figures are sturdier!” Yes, they are, but CB metals are gone. The past. I recommend these boxes. A few pics.
I mixed the metal miniatures with the UltraCast miniatures on the bases. I see absolutely no difference anymore after painting. The only minor difference might be that the original metal pack contained a few figure poses (legionaries throwing pilum, walking with long pilum over the shoulder) that were not copied in this UltraCast box. I suppose that this is a technical thing, thin spears away from the body of the figure are probably too difficult to cast in UltraCast. As a whole the Pacto Box is a varied pack.
Plastic is the future. Warlord is now producing ‘epic’ Waterloo scale – homebrew 15mm, battalions in hard plastic for 0,10 GBP per figure. GW also switched to plastic, Ultracast injection technology is improving and probably the current or next crisis will inflate the price of white metal more than the price of hard or semi-hard plastics.
I also wonder what 3D-printing will bring to the hobby. IMHO it’s not easy and cheap enough yet. Choosing and buying a 3D-printer, installing it, learning a new technology, learn how to use filaments or resin, my god, I’m a middle aged man, I’m too old for that… just let me paint. I see great examples of home printed 2mm, 6mm and 15mm miniatures, though, if it ever breaks through, metal casters and miniature manufacturers might need to change their marketing and sales.