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Subject: Toys for My Boys rss

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or Building My Plastic Armies

This article is meant to give an overview of how I converted C&C:A to plastic minis. If you're looking to do something similar, perhaps you'll find something useful here. Or decide that the blocks are just fine, thank you.

Let me start with a disclaimer: I don't claim that this is the only way, the most efficient way, the most visually appealing way, (as it is surely not when compared to Dan Becker's stunning 6mm version), the least expensive way or the best way. It is simply the way I did mine.

This project was not cheap. I spent around $150 in minis and $30 or so dollars in paint, Plast-Dip, nails, insulation board, blades, etc. If you’re looking for exact dollars, I don’t have ‘em.

Originally, I planned to fully paint my armies. But a realistic look at my time constraints and a quick glance at the literally 1000s of metal and plastic figures stashed in boxes suggested otherwise.

Choosing the Miniatures
Currently HäT makes the most extensive line of Ancients including elephants and war machines that will fit the standard C&C: Ancients board. At first, coming from a diorama approach to miniatures, I was turned off by the limited poses and simplistic details, but I quickly came to appreciate HäT for what they are — miniatures made for wargaming. With as many types of units in the game and as fast-paced as C&C:A is, I wanted relative uniformity in units so that they were quickly recognized on the battlefield. And I wanted a semblance of historical accuracy. HäT fit my requirements.

Note: If you haven't already done so, I encourage you to spend some time at www.PlasticSoldierReview.com. It is the most comprehensive source of 1/72 scale plastic miniatures on the planet. Not only do they have pictures of all the figures, they give you a piece count by figure and some credible reviews and historic background that each set covers.

Here’s a list of troops and the figures I used to represent them:

CARTHAGINIANS
Light Infantry X16
Warrior Infantry X12
HäT 8058 Carthaginian Allies



Light Bow X4
HäT 7011 Ancient Britons (Airfix reissue)


Light Sling X12
Auxilia X20
Medium Infantry X12
HäT 8019 Hannibal's Carthaginians - Spanish Infantry


Heavy Infantry X16
HäT 8020 Hannibal's Carthaginians - African Infantry


Light Cavalry X24
HäT 8024 Numidian Cavalry


Medium Cavalry X9
HäT 8055 Spanish Cavalry


Heavy Cavalry X12
Leaders X3
HäT 8056 Carthaginian Command and Cavalry


Heavy Chariot X4
Nexus ATL02 The Egyptian Cavalry


Elephants X6
HäT 8023 War Elephants


ROMANS
Light Infantry X24
Auxilia X24
HäT 8018 Republican Romans Hastati & Velites
HäT 8035 Roman Catapults


Light Bow X8
Light Sling X4
Warrior Infantry X8
HäT 8074 Imperial Roman Auxiliaries


Medium Infantry X32
Heavy Infantry X16
HäT 8017 Republican Romans Princeps & Triari


War Machines X4
HäT 8035 Roman Catapults
(not yet built)

Light Cavalry X9
HäT 8054 Italian Ally Cavalry


Medium Cavalry X18
HäT 8021 Roman Cavalry


Heavy Cavalry X3
Leaders X3
HäT 8051 Roman Command


Heavy Chariot X2
Nexus ATL02 The Egyptian Cavalry
(not yet built)

Elephants X4
HäT 8023 War Elephants
(not yet built)


From that I pulled together a shopping list. Keep in mind you can get away with less, if you use multiple poses for some units.

1X HäT 8058 Carthaginian Light Infantry, Warriors
2X HäT 8019 Carthaginian Light Slingers, Auxilia, Medium Infantry
1X HäT 8020 Carthaginian Heavy Infantry
1X HäT 7011 Carthaginian Light Bow
2X HäT 8024 Carthaginian Light Cavalry
1X HäT 8055 Carthaginian Medium Cavalry
1X HäT 8056 Carthaginian Heavy cavalry, Leaders
2X HäT 8023 Carthaginian & Roman Elephants
1X Nexus ATL02 Carthaginian & Roman Chariots
2X HäT 8018 Roman Light Infantry, Auxilia
2X HäT 8017 Roman Medium Infantry, Heavy Infantry
1X HäT 8074 Roman Light Bow, Light Sling, Warriors
1X HäT 8054 Roman Light Cavalry
2X HäT 8021 Roman Medium Cavalry
1X HäT 8051 Roman Leaders, Heavy Cavalry
1X HäT 8035 Roman Light Infantry, Auxilia, War Machines


I did not build any Roman Elephants, Roman Chariots or Roman War Machines as they weren’t used in any of the base scenarios. But I did pick up an extra box of HäT Elephants and Nexus/Atlantic Egyptian Cavalry to have on hand for the expansions.

Prepping the Figures
Sprues were washed thoroughly in warm (not hot) water with dishwashing soap using a soft toothbrush. I found that washing off the mold release helps the glue and paint stick better. After a proper rinse and letting them dry, I clipped each figure from the sprues using a good pair of hobby sprue side cutters or an xacto knife, and trimmed off excess flash with a #11 xacto blade. Now this is perhaps the most tedious and time consuming part of the prep work. It takes a bit of practice to cleanly clear the figs of excess plastic and you cannot scrape it off (unlike metal figures). Blades dull fast and I buy them in packs of 100. I spent a lot of time cleaning the elephants and reshaping where their legs meet the body. How much or how little is done is a matter of personal acceptance.

Gluing
In the case of Elephants, Cavalry and Chariots, they needed to be glued. I was unsuccessful using standard model glue or even super glue. What worked for me was Loctite Super Glue with Activator. It’s a two-step process where you use a marker type applicator to apply the activator to both surfaces that are to be glued, wait a few seconds until it dries, then apply the super glue and hold together. Worked like a charm.

Pinning
I chose to pin all riders to their horses before gluing. I was determined not to have to go back and re-glue sealed, painted figures and this seemed like the best way to insure this. Picked up a tiny box of 1000 pins from the local craft store for a couple of dollars. Gripping a pin tightly in a pair of needle nose pliers, I pushed the pin into the center of the saddle or back of each horse about a 1/4”. Using wire cutters I trimmed the exposed pin to 1/4”. I then applied the Super Glue Activator to the horse/pin and to the underneath of the rider, added Super Glue and then carefully impaled the rider on to the pin. I used this same technique on the elephant driver. There are a lot of cavalry and this was the second most time-consuming task. And I nearly stabbed myself once or twice while pushing the rider onto the pin. (Starting a hole in the rider by pushing a pin in before impaling tends to lessen this from occurring.) To date, none of the riders have come loose or even wiggle in their saddle.

Chariots
I chose the Nexus/Atlantic Egyptian Chariots not for their accuracy (they’re not) but for their size. As they are only two-horse units, they just fit 2-up in a hex (with a little overhang.) Built chariots were glued to 2" x 1" (50mm x 25mm) pieces of .060" (1.5mm) Evergreen sheet styrene. Note that I cheated the horses closer to the cart — easy to do, as the pole slides through the yoke — to get them to fit on that size base. Trimmed off the plumes from the horses’ heads.

For the rider I used an unused figure from HäT's 8056 Carthaginian Command & Cavalry. Cut him from his base and eliminated the shield boss (though it probably could have been left on and a shield used.) The figure's right arm was replaced with one from a figure in HäT's 8020 Hannibal's Carthaginians - African Infantry.



Ready for Paint
Each figure was then mounted onto its own 3D 3" finishing nail by putting a dab of hot-glue on the nail head and then pressing it on the base of the figure. This allowed me to easily paint the base on each piece without touching the figure. I then stuck each mounted figure into a 1-1/2" thick chunk of pink insulation. I used Owens Corning Foamular from my local home improvement center. In addition to making it easy to mass paint the figs, it also allowed me to reposition and angle the miniatures between coatings to ensure solid coverage.



Painting the Armies
I didn't primer, but used two coats of Krylon Fusion spray paint. Satin Espresso for the Carthaginians and Satin Pewter Grey for the Romans. This stuff is made specifically for plastic, but others swear by Rustoleum Plastic Primer. If I was going to detail paint the figs, it's what I would use for a base. Sprayed everyrthing while they were still attached to the nails and stuck in the Foamular.



After the second coat of Krylon, the base unit color was applied using acrylic paints with a brush. Used some Games Workshop paints I had lying around — Goblin Green, Hawk Turquoise and Blood Red. I opted to use a lighter shade of green for the Auxilia (FolkArt 956 Fresh Foliage) and added white paint to Turquoise for a lighter shade of blue for the Warriors rather than paint a white line around the base. Used Reaper 08105 Brass for the leader bases.

Protecting the Armies
Finally, I applied two coats of clear Plasti-Dip spray. This stuff is key. It's a soft rubbery coating that encases the figure. Its the same stuff they dip tool handles in, only in aerosol format. I had a hard time finding it in clear and had to go the mail order route. We've played well over 50 games with these figs and my youngest likes to play with the casualties while we play. I haven't seen any signs of chipping.



After letting the stuff cure overnight (can says minimum of 4 hours), I just popped the figures off their nail heads and was good to go. (If one was really anal, one could touch up the bottom of the base where the nail was attached with either brown or gray. Not me, I gotta draw the line somewhere.) Grabbed a couple of Plano boxes for storage.



Summation
So was it worth it? Personally, I’d rather play with the blocks — easier to move and less fuss with entangled and falling units (the Auxilia can be a PITA.) And a helluva lot less expensive. But the minis did get my kids wanting to play, as well as a few friends and neighbors who couldn't resist the eye candy. I’ve already got the Perisan and Greek armies planned, and am just waiting to see how HäT’s recently released Macedonian and Indian elephants fit on the board. Besides, can't think of a better way to play with toy soldiers and get away with it.





Edited for grammar. Edited for picture size. Edited for spelling. (Sorry Dan.) Edited picture commands for inline viewing. Cleaned up the links.

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Aaron Gelb
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looks wonderful! If you don't mind, can you give use a rough estimate of how much the models cost you?
 
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Well, I probably spent around $150 just in figures. I paid between $5.99 and $6.99 per HaT set depending on the kit. (I believe that command sets, elephants and war machines were $$6.99.) Most of them I bought off of an ebay seller:

http://rover.ebay.com/rover/1/711-53200-19255-0/1?type=4&cam...

I've bought off of him multiple times and he's very reliable. What he didn't have, I bought off of another seller who has since gone out of business.

You can also check these folks:

http://www.michtoy.com/

http://www.toysoldiers.ca/

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Quote:
It's funny, though, I'm in the processes of plannig the exact reverse for Battle Lore, going from minis to blocks.



Hmmm. Have you looked at these?

http://www.highhopes.com/safe-t07.html

And though pricey, Columbia has red, blue & green blocks in two sizes (and currently free shipping):

http://www.columbiagames.com/cgi-bin/query/cfg/bits.cfg
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Dan Becker
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Your figures look fantastic. Thanks for taking the time to post the lists and the detailed instructions for painting. Also the photos are a great illustration of the process. Even though I paint my own metal miniatures, there are many tips that painters can pick up from one another.

I hope some savvy retailers pick up your lists and offer a package deal on CCA miniatures.

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Ken Takacs
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Thanks a lot for sharing your advice and pictures. It should inspire some players to create their own armies using miniatures.
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Fernando Lopez
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Kudos, they look great!

Any chance you could post a few more pics, say of some midgame action?

Thnx!
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Thanks for the kind words, guys. Started this article last year after already prepping the figs and wish I had documented more of the process. While working on the expansion (which I have all the figs for), maybe I'll update it with some additional photos.

Since ogling beckerdo's 6mm version, I'm inspired and have amassed another set of figures that are primarily Zvezdas for detail painting. Amazing figs worth the effort of properly painting (IMHO).


Quote:
Any chance you could post a few more pics, say of some midgame action?


Only have a couple of set-up shots of Castulo:



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Fernando Lopez
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Thanx

Wow looks great, kudos again!
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Bob Hansen
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This looks really awesome. I am already starting to get the boxes of figs together to start on this. You mentioned that you had all the figs for the expansion and were starting that. That was back in May. Have you done those yet? Which miniature boxes did you buy for that?

Thanks for any advice on the expansion!
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Quote:
You mentioned that you had all the figs for the expansion and were starting that. That was back in May. Have you done those yet? Which miniature boxes did you buy for that?


I do have all the minis (I think) for the expansion, but my attention has been elsewhere of late. Unlike the first set, which was more of an assembly project, the Greek/Persian armies are demanding a little more consideration. For instance, I want to use the new HaT Macedonian and Indian Elephants, but want to add towers to the ones used for the Successor Wars. (BTW, the new elephants are bigger, but only come two to a box — three for the initial run, versus the six in the War Elephants set.) Also, I want to use Phalangites and Hoplites for heavies, but need to fabricate spears that aren't proportionally correct in length so that they don't impede set-up and play, and can hold up to constant handling. And since the Indians would look different, I am hoping to utilize HaT's soon to be released infantry with their elephants and cavalry sets for an Indian specific army.

The good news is that having just pre-orderded the two upcoming Roman expansions for C&C:A has rekindled my interest in the project. I've built a workable prototype out of styrene for the tower and am ready to prep the figures. As soon as I verify my counts and am sure of which figures I want to use, I'll post the list.

E
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Bob Hansen
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Thanks! I look forward to seeing the list! I know very little about this time period (have been reading up on it, though as the game has piqued my interest), so I am never sure what would fit where. Your shopping list for the base game was VERY helpful.
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Unfortunately, HaT's Classical Greek range isn't as complete as their Punic Wars range -- it currently lacks command sets and chariots -- and will require some mods here and there to complete the conversion.

Here's a list of what I'm planning on using for the Greeks and Eastern Kingdoms expansion:

Persians
2X HäT 8057 Persian Light Infantry — Lights, Slingers, Archers (1)
6X HäT 8059 Persian Heavy Infantry — Auxilia, Warriors, Mediums, Heavies
2X HäT 8077 Persian Light Cavalry — Light Cavalry, Light Bow Cavalry
1X HäT 8076 Persian Medium Cavalry — Medium Cavalry
1X HäT 8050 Persian Heavy Cavalry — Heavy Cavalry, Leaders (4)
2X HäT 8023 War Elephants — Elephants (2)
1X Nexus ATL02 Egyptian Chariots — Eastern Chariots (3)

Greeks
2X HäT 8044 Alexander's Light Infantry — Lights, Slingers, Archers, Auxilia
1X HäT 8046 Alexander's Thracians — Warriors (10)
3X HäT 8045 Greek Mercenary Hoplites — Medium Infantry (12)
2X HäT 8043 Macedonian Phalangites — Heavy Infantry (5)
2X HäT 8047 Alexander's Macedonian Cavalry – Light, Medium Companion Cavalry (8)
1X HäT 8144 Parthian Light Cavalry – Light Bow Cavalry (11)
1X HäT 8049 Alexander's Allied Cavalry — Medium Cavalry
2X Caesar H023 Arab camel Riders and Bedouins — Medium Camel Cavalry
1X HäT 8048 Alexander's Thessalian Cavalry — Heavy Cavalry
1X HäT 8023 War Elephants — Elephants (6)
1X Nexus ATL02 Egyptian Chariots — Greek Chariots (3)
1X HäT 8035 Roman Catapults — War Machines (7)
1X Zvezda 8007 Macedonian Cavalry — Leaders and Alexander (9)

(1) one box would work if multiple (three) poses used for the light infantry
(2) or use 4X HäT 8142 Indian Elephants with custom-built towers — less generic and bigger (3 boxes will work if from the initial run — packaged three to a box, though packaging states two)
(3) minor conversion work and sacrifices some historical accuracy
(4) leader conversion using standard bearer arm from Persian Heavy Infantry, or use figs from Zvezda 8006 Persian Infantry and Zvezda 8008 Persian Chariot and Cavalry
(5) use multiple poses, can be mixed or matched with HäT 8045 Greek Mercenary Hoplites
(6) or use 3X HäT 8142 Indian Elephants or 3X 8141 Macedonian Elephant with custom-built towers — less generic and bigger (2 boxes will work if from the initial run — packaged three to a box, though packaging states two)
(7) possibly swap heads on crew with figs from HäT 8043 Macedonian Phalangites
(8) additional medium cavalry to be used as Companion Cavalry without a marker — paint base lighter blue to distinguish from regular Medium Cavalry
(9) or use extra figures from HäT 8047 Alexander's Macedonian Cavalry
(10) could also be used for Greek Mediums
(11) could also use an additional box of HäT 8077 Persian Light Cavalry
(12) use overhand poses with shorter spears to differentiate from heavies, can also be used for Persian mediums


edit: grammar and format
edit: additional footnotes
edit: added Greek Mercenaries and additional footnote
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Bob Hansen
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Awesome list! This will definitely help in my purchasing the armies for the expansion. I am reading up on both the Punic and Peloponnesian wars right now so I am getting more of an idea as to what the various units were and how they operated in the field of battle. I would love to see pics of these guys when you get them done!
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Sam Healey
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How much would you charge someone to do this for them?
 
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Mark Zielinski
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Quote:
How much would you charge someone to do this for them?


Good question.

I am interested in CCA, but the blocks do not do it for me.
 
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Quote:
How much would you charge someone to do this for them?


Boy Sam, I would't even know how to begin to price something on this scale. Or if I would want to. Even knowing what I know now, it would take me a minimum of 20-25 hours a set. A project like this makes you appreciate the price value of games like BattleLore and M '44, not to mention those that come with pre-painted figs.

I might be coerced out of my existing one, though;-)




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Don Joseph
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Eric,

Loved your work. I'm thinking of doing the same with Zvezda line for basic game. Any recommendations before I launch into it?
 
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Ryan Kruse
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GAWD wrote:
Yeah, this looks great.

It's funny, though, I'm in the processes of plannig the exact reverse for Battle Lore, going from minis to blocks.


I have been thinking about the same thing lately. Any idea where to get the blocks? (I see I should have kept reading to get this answer.)

Ryan
 
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Quote:
I'm thinking of doing the same with Zvezda line for basic game. Any recommendations before I launch into it?


Don,
The Zvezda's are really nice. I'm thinking of doing a detailed paint set of them myself. You can get most of what you need out of the four Punic Wars sets that they make. One thing I noticed, though, is that the Zvevda figs seem to be lighter with thinner bases. Which makes them more susceptible to tipping when moving around on the board. The HaT figs have, for the most part, large, oval bases. Which gives them a sturdier feel. But as I mentioned above, the Auxilia can be a PITA.

I've been playing around with some air-dry plastic clay called Lumina, and have been mimicking the bases used in BattleLore. Stuff makes for a heavier, solid base and when dry, has the touch and elasticity of plastic. If you look closely at the Battlelore figs, you'll find that the bases are made separate from the figs and that they are actually glued together. Being square and thick seems to be why the BC, M'44 and BattleLore figs stay put. (Plus the fact that they don't have longer weapons like spears to contend with.)

I guess the simplest way to see if it's an issue is to just go ahead and play a game with them prior to painting. A lot of Miniatures Wargamers base their miniatures on pennies, but I don't like the idea of a base on a base.


 
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Frank Prisciandaro
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Hi read this posting with great interest, and I am going to start putting together my own Base Set using your suggested list for Rome and Carthage, but I was thinking of also starting expansion 1, I saw the list you compiled for this expansion and though that maybe, I could use the new HaT Alexander's Macedonian Army set, my only question is how can I use this to convert to this expansion, by the way the model number for this set is HaT 8088, I'm not to familiar with this period and I thought maybe you or someone on this forum could translate what all these figures basic types are... Thanks in advance for any help...
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mortificator wrote:
Hi read this posting with great interest, and I am going to start putting together my own Base Set using your suggested list for Rome and Carthage, but I was thinking of also starting expansion 1, I saw the list you compiled for this expansion and though that maybe, I could use the new HaT Alexander's Macedonian Army set, my only question is how can I use this to convert to this expansion, by the way the model number for this set is HaT 8088, I'm not to familiar with this period and I thought maybe you or someone on this forum could translate what all these figures basic types are... Thanks in advance for any help...


The HaT 8088 Alexander's Macedonian Army contains one sprue each of the following:

8043 Macedonian Phalangites
8044 Alexander's Light Infantry
8045 Greek Mercenary Hopolites
8046 Alexander's Thracians
8047 Alexander's Macedonian Cavalry
8048 Alexander's Thessalian Cavalry
8049 Alexander's Allied Cavalry

So by getting 4 boxes of these and an additional box of 8044 Light Infantry (to get enough archers to without buying 8 army boxes) you could cover all but the Greek Light Bow Cavalry, Camels, War Elephants, Chariots, War Machines and Leaders.

HaT also has a Persian set similar to the Macedonian one -- 8117 Achaemid Persian Army, and it contains one sprue each from the following sets:

8057 Persian Light Infantry
8059 Persian Heavy Infantry
8077 Persian Light Cavalry
8076 Persian Medium Cavalry
8050 Persian Heavy Cavalry
8045 Greek Mercenary Hopolites

Four boxes of this set +1 box of 8059 Heavy Infantry and +1 box of 8144 Light Cavalry could cover all but the Persian elephants and chariots.

Hope this helps.

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Frank Prisciandaro
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earache wrote:
mortificator wrote:
Hi read this posting with great interest, and I am going to start putting together my own Base Set using your suggested list for Rome and Carthage, but I was thinking of also starting expansion 1, I saw the list you compiled for this expansion and though that maybe, I could use the new HaT Alexander's Macedonian Army set, my only question is how can I use this to convert to this expansion, by the way the model number for this set is HaT 8088, I'm not to familiar with this period and I thought maybe you or someone on this forum could translate what all these figures basic types are... Thanks in advance for any help...


The HaT 8088 Alexander's Macedonian Army contains one sprue each of the following:

8043 Macedonian Phalangites
8044 Alexander's Light Infantry
8045 Greek Mercenary Hopolites
8046 Alexander's Thracians
8047 Alexander's Macedonian Cavalry
8048 Alexander's Thessalian Cavalry
8049 Alexander's Allied Cavalry

So by getting 4 boxes of these and an additional box of 8044 Light Infantry (to get enough archers to without buying 8 army boxes) you could cover all but the Greek Light Bow Cavalry, Camels, War Elephants, Chariots, War Machines and Leaders.

HaT also has a Persian set similar to the Macedonian one -- 8117 Achaemid Persian Army, and it contains one sprue each from the following sets:

8057 Persian Light Infantry
8059 Persian Heavy Infantry
8077 Persian Light Cavalry
8076 Persian Medium Cavalry
8050 Persian Heavy Cavalry
8045 Greek Mercenary Hopolites

Four boxes of this set +1 box of 8059 Heavy Infantry and +1 box of 8144 Light Cavalry could cover all but the Persian elephants and chariots.

Hope this helps.


Thanks Eric, I think doing it like this will be more cost effective,I did a quick calculation of your prior list and I came out with a figure of over $200 in figures alone, at least this would cost approximately $44.00 to at most $60.00 not counting the odd sets to complete the collection. Thanks again...
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Kevin Duke
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I fear that having different figures representing the same units will be a problem in actually playing with these... Especially with the light troops. One of the harder things to get a new person up to speed with is green lights compared to green auxilia. For Carthage, I see three different figures for Lights and 2 different for Aux. (and the difference between one of the two shapes of warriors is fairly close to medium infantry.)

I'm really not throwing rocks at something very pretty, but the detailed recipe for the sets may encourage someone else to follow exactly.

The 3 different Roman medium are a little disconcerting, but at least there isn't anything else much like them (the only other blue infantry is real different- so that's not such a big problem).
 
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Matthew Jones
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Forest Grove
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Kudos to you. Your pics make C&C:A shine. (And me jealous)
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