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HISTOREX COLLECTOR'S GUIDE
THE ESSENTIAL GUIDE TO PLASTIC SOLDIERS, THEIR CONSTRUCTION, MODIFICATION, AND PAINTING
WHY I ENDORSE THIS LINE OF PLASTIC MILITARY MINIATURE FIGURES
Long ago, a friend of mine and I were avid model builders, mostly tanks and airplanes. Tamiya comes to mind as a brand that substantially contributed to mass availability and high quality of plastic military model kits. We were "sparked" to build World War II German panzers and Japanese aircraft of such high quality that the hobby industry moved from the ancient days of plastic Aurora kits to modern museum-quality military miniatures. However, soon, competition grew quite rapidly and that was good for modelers. A few companies, Tamiya being one, spent a little more effort on differentiating their products by spending development money of military miniature figures to accompany their 1:35 scale tanks and vehicles and /1:32 scale aircraft.
The fascination with painting figures began for me with these kits. I soon discovered metal 54mm figures made by Imrie-Risley, Rose Miniatures, and Monogram's Merité series (others I'm sure). However, these kits were relatively expensive compared to, say, a Panzer III with crew supplemented by a box of Afrika Korps infantry. Was their alternative historical periods? Napoleonic Wars? World War I? Ancients? Medieval?
Then I discovered Historex 54mm plastic figures. For the price then and now, the best value for the money. Although the line was and still is dominated by the French side of the Napoleonic Wars (1804-1815), I jumped in. I myself to paint in oils and especially concentrated (as I always do) on the most incredibly difficult models. For Historex and for me at the time, it was painting the horse. I'm satisfied to say that today, I still paint horses in oils . . . . the only way. I painted well over 200 Historex foot and mounted figures before I opened the doors of Historical Miniatures back in 1980.
So why have I waited so long to "push" Historex NCO (as they are known today)? Over the years, my growing collector base have largely demanded metal figures. The most common reason was, "I like the heft (weight)"! As a modeler (or modeller as they spell it in the UK), I have a respectful remembrance of those early modeling years. I sold most of my early pieces but still have a collection of about 50 of them. I look at them often. Over the years, I have done a few for collectors . . . . but only a few. I have a recent commission to do one of each of the regiments of the Union Brigade at the Battle of Waterloo 1815: 1st Dragoons, 2nd Scots Greys, and 6th Inniskillings. Coincidental with this project, was the need to review my large Historex spare parts inventory from which I could build two of the kits and purchase the third. I needed a few more spare parts and that process re-opened the Historex NCO question: what have they been doing of late and should I think about looking into carrying the line. My biggest concern was would they sell as kits, spares, and painted by me. The answer was, "I don't care. These kits are as interesting to me now as they were back in the 70s." The modification is so much easier with plastic than metal so a great number of significant alternative regiments can be created with existing kits and spare parts.
Since those early days, Historex NCO have added quite a number of kits of the Ancien Régime, 1730 - 1789, and few more into the French Revolutionary Wars, 1792 - 1802. Of course, their rather large line of Napoleonic figures is the mainstay, 1804 - 1815. I resurrected all of my Leliepvre plates (produced by Le Cimier and Hussard du Marais), my old Uniformes (France), Tradition (France), and Military Illustrated (UK) magazines all of which contain outstanding uniform and equipment articles on all of these periods, but especially the Ancien Régime.
One note of importance and the item that "pushed me over the top" on adding Historex NCO, is gradual introduction of "spare heads" by Historex NCO and others, MIG Productions in particular. For the longest time, Historex NCO ignored alternate 54mm heads and so did everyone else. There were always hundreds of 1:35 scale heads but these are substantially out of scale. This problem limited the visual effect of scratch-built and kit-modified works of art. I will be offering spares including heads from all available manufacturers.
So, this process of organizing my reference library, setting up my database, and creating my web pages for Historex NCO has taken me months but I am ready.
Copyright by George Grasse