Where did my joy in painting go? I don't know, but there is surely none right now because I am not...painting! :-( I know, that today is only the 11th of the month, but I feel that it is turning into an emotional and production value loss. This is directly attributable to my recent foray into 28mm plastics. These plastics are rapidly becoming a ball and chain around my ankle, and I am running from the gang boss.
To be fair, I decided on a plastics purchase out of the extreme pricing difference; $.68-.75 US per figure as opposed to $1.00-2.40 US per figure. The figures have excellent relief, and accurately patterned equipment. They sport very dynamic faces and a good variety to boot. The figures are also nicely proportioned and do not exhibit any one detracting anatomical characteristic. Unfortunately, the pose designs are not consistent. They are a mixture of believably spontaneous action and department store mannequin.
I am a sporadic plastic scale model builder, first having done so approximately 30 years ago. I have built both straight from the box as well as having done a share of complicated scratch builds. I say this so as to qualify my opinions not as a newcomer to things plastic, but rather a guy who has been around the block a time or two.
Issue #1: The pieces as moulded on the sprues suffer from a mixture of light, medium and heavy parting lines. Thankfully, since these so-called hard plastics are actually only semi-hard, the lines clean up in short order with the use of a hobby knife #11 blade. I will give credit in that none of the halves are so far out of alignment that they look like worn out moulds, and as we all know, mould lines are routine in figure preparation no matter what the medium is. Still, the legs are bad enough to cause an overly narrowed appearance once fully cleaned up.
Issue #2: There are also some minor fill problems which mainly manifest themselves in the shakos. These have dimples and even obvious holes in their sides which must be filled and sanded.
Issue #3: The components on the sprues are not all numbered as one would expect from a plastic model. You might say that this is not a big issue for the intent is allow for minor variations in figure pose, anyway. My plan was to build the first 13 based upon the manufacturers recommendations to acclimate myself to the plastics experience.
Issue #4: The next bit of bother came from the recommended component matches having fit problems. I also chose to follow the manufacturers recommended component matches as they were likely patterned to be assembled in this way. Arms do not properly align with hands, and shoulders can often protrude in peculiar fashions, or worse unintentionally expose the flat mating torso surface.
Collectively all of this sounds quite routine for a plastic modeler, and it is. My personal complaint is not that these are plastic models with plastic model problems, it is that they are figures with plastic model problems. I buy figures to spend time painting, and boy do I need the time for I am as slow as slow can be. The cost per figure savings simply do not justify the added plastics-specific time, or the anguish incurred. From here on out, unless I am in a premeditated mood to combine modeling with figure painting I will stick with metals.