22 Mar 2023

Corvus Belli / Plastic Soldier Medieval Infantry

At SELWG last year I picked up a box set of PSC's plastic re-casts of Corvus Belli's Medieval range - a set of figures I'd long admired but which had been OOP for quite some time. 

My main interest was in the mounted knights, but the box set on the Bring & Buy I saw was nominally a full 100YW French army, but the composition was a bit limited being about 20 mounted knights, 20-odd foot knights and the rest being a mix of pavise-holding spearmen and a LOT of crossbwmen - which I already had far too many of in metals. 

Whoever had originally owned them clearly didn't fancy the Siocast figures all that much once they'd opened the box though, as this £45 RRP set was on offer for just a tenner - so at that price I snapped it up as I could just use even a few of the knights and get decent value from it!  

Of course, once I got started I decided to have a dabble at painting up some (but not all) of the others too, starting with these Pavise/Spear/Crossbow infantry units.

And here they are finished, in a pavise pattern inspired by the 28mm figures of Tony Rodwell that I faced at the PAW competition in January 2023. 

Once painted they (of course...) look no different to metal figures. These have always been a nice range IMO, and I'm happy to finally have gotten hold of some. 

The Siocast debate does chunter on though, and having painted some up now I am starting to think that it might well be a case of over-selling the features and benefits of the material rather than anything else. 

Flash is the thing that does keep being mentioned, and there was a little bit of flash on these figures, but there is on metals too - because this is a soft (actually surprisingly soft - almost Airfix-esque) material it is a little more tricky to scrape off any flash, especially in hard to reach areas as you are walking a bit of a tightrope between scraping the flash and cutting into the soft material of the figure. 

However on reflection I suspect there's a different technique for removing flash from soft plastic figures to the one for scraping it off metals, so it may be "user error" here as much as anything else - again if this was made clearer then perhaps it's not a "mistake" I'd have made?   

I also primed them in black before painting - I have seen suggestions you can get away without doing so, but honestly why would you want to (or more to the point, why would anyone suggest that this is a selling point of the material)?   

You can of course paint metals with no primer too - it'll work, the paint will almost always stick onto the figure, but a primer coat is just, well, better - for paint adhesion, and for giving a base colour as well, and that's going to be as true for these guys as it is for any metal or resin range. 

Here are some foot knights, again a figure range I have wanted to have in my collection for a while. All these figures have fairly short spears and I didn't seen any of the bendy spear stuff I have read about elsewhere as a result. 

So, all in all once painted (sensibly, with a primer) they end up looking the same as metals - which is no real surprise I guess. 

But perhaps that's the issue - they are "the same" models, but because they are made in a different material we somehow expect them to be "different" (or have at least been led to believe this by some over-enthusiastic marketing). 

I'm very happy with how these guys came out, but there is still a small niggle in that I was surprised how soft the SioCast material actually was - and so for a material that feels "only a little more resilient than 1/72md scale Airfix" it's hard not to feel that they should somehow be on sale at a much cheaper price point than the current "pretty close to the price of metals", no matter how nonsensical that thought might be given the huge differences in production methods and sales volumes between a niche 15mm medieval figure range and a box of Airfix 8th Army.



Unknown said...

Thanks for posting, Tim. I have likewise been eyeing these models for a while and wonder if it would be possible to drill out the hands and install (non-bendy) metal spears? If so, what type of glue would work? I seem to recall Airfix models being a b*tch to glue.


Diesel said...

Can certainly drill them out, and the resin/plastic hybrid that Siocast is quite durable.

Madaxeman said...

Yep, incredibly easy material to drill out - I think even easier than the hard plastic ones.

Mr JSW Boorsma said...

I bought the metal CB Romans and Celts years ago, and later the plastic figures. Similar painting results. Best figures in the market.

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