Monday, 5 January 2015

Frugality: my HotT goblin army for less than £10.

So I commented on The Back Bedroom that I'd been playing some Hordes of the Things and De Bellis Antiquitatis using 1/72 scale plastic miniatures.

(I am actually playing with the older second versions of these games. I wonder if the 2.2 version of DBA is in English?)

I love 1/72 models, but they don't seem to have a lot of traction among wargamers and I'm not sure why. I suspect it's because older 1/72 figures were typically not of great quality -- they were stiff in their poses, inaccurate in their equipment, and very bendy and difficult to paint. These days that's still true for some kits, but a lot of new stuff is really very good -- and for fantasy, of course, inaccuracy goes out the window. There isn't a whole lot of choice out there for some things -- they're great for humans, but there are only a very small number of fantasy or sci-fi manufacturers. 

Regardless, here's one of my armies. Again, my photography is terrible; in fact, I think it's getting worse. Perhaps it's the winter light. 

The king of the goblins -- a Behemoth general in Hordes terms.
I mounted him on a charity-shop plastic dinosaur and
built a howdah out of craft sticks and bits of paper. 
The bulk of the army -- four stands of Horde and two of Warband for a little punching power. 
Another Behemoth -- note the little goblin prodding him into action.
In the centre are two stands of Beasts (fast cavalry), and two of Flyers.
The army assembled -- 12 stands containing 40 models.
The goblins are from Caesar Miniatures -- a lot of the Caesar fantasy models are hard to find these days, but you can still get the goblins from Model Hobbies for £5.39 plus shipping. I wanted to vary the army up a little, so I bought dinosaur toys from a 10p basket at my local charity shop. There are eight in total, so that's 80p for a total of £6.19. I used precut MDF bases from East Riding Miniatures but you can get bases anywhere. I also used a couple of spare GW flying base stems I had, but again you can get those anywhere -- em-4 will sell you 15 for a quid.

Even counting the cost of the bases and all, then, this army cost less than £10, and I think it looks pretty good! I could have spent a little more time on the paint jobs and I could certainly have spent more time on the bases, but with a little elbow grease you could create a really beautiful army. 

And if you want to do a historical army for DBA, or a human-dominated fantasy army (I keep wanting to do Orlanthi and Lundar ones), it's no problem at all. There are hundreds upon hundreds of boxes of human historical figures from all periods, with dozens of models for under £10. The best place to find out about 1/72 historical miniatures is undoubtedly Plastic Soldier Review, which gives good images of every figure in every set.

I've got a couple more of these fantasy armies, again based on Caesar figures but also some Imex/Emhar and some HaT and so on. If people are interested, I could do some future features?


  1. I have a bunch of Xvezda and Redbox medieval Japanese in 1/72. I like the scale, I was going to use it for Force on Force (lots of great little humvees and what fun to convert up some tacticals!) but that never got off the ground. I like the gobboes, looks like an actual playable army too (sometimes playability is *gasp* sacrificed for theme)

  2. I have a load of little 1/72 plastics -- WWII Soviets from Zvezda and HaT, Vikings and Anglo-Saxons from Zvezda, Imex and Emhar, Sea Peoples from Caesar, a ton of Civil War guys, Custer's Last Stand, Robin Hood, some Italeri (?) HYW guys, some Caesar and HaT Persians, some Orion gladiators I was going to make into a generic evil army, some Airfix Romans. I've got a Marian or maybe Early Imperial Roman DBA army I need to do sometime.

    They're just the kind of thing that turns up cheap in shops, and I buy them compulsively. But I have plans for them ... one of these days.

  3. This was really interesting - I didn't know anything about the 1/72 side of things before this.

    1. Well, I will try to post up some more of my 1/72 stuff. I have a ton, and I do have the box out already.

      Painting it is completely different.

  4. I might now be looking at playing this at 28mm using some elves...

    1:72 is 20mm right? It always seemed like a bit of a bastard scale - too big for the roof size of 6mm or 15mm but too small for the detail of 28mm. but its not something I've seen a lot of.

    1. 1/72 is very popular for certain periods like WWII and Vietnam because it's such a common scale for model tank and vehicle kits. It's about the largest you can have a model airplane and not have it be absolutely ginormous. It is more or less equivalent to the 20mm size, yeah, and I believe most 20mm gamers use 1:72 or maybe 1:76 model vehicles and buildings. Although honestly you can get away with 1:72 buildings in 28mm as long as you don't look too closely at the windows, since 28mm building models are ludicrously small.