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A New Step for Figure Production?

Hello! Just finished reading PSR's Linear-A review for the second Cunaxa set and I have one word... ouch. Certainly have to agree that it is not one of my preferred offerings on the market right now, but as can be said about most sets there are some possibilities for these guys when utilized in the right circumstances.

I am excited to see what Linear-A has to offer in the future (I will purchase the Babylonians no matter what if they make it that far) and appreciate the transparency they, HaT (well at least in the old days), and Strelets show with their figure production. Linear-A categorizes their steps as such:

1. Epoch, Research, Review...
2. Drafts of Figures/Poses/Modelling Beings
3. Modelling Completed
4. Mold Construction Begins
5. Mold Finished
6. Production of Masters Starts
7. Production Finished
8. Shipping
9. Arrival at Bavarian HQ
10. Release for Sale

Seems logical enough for the most part, but in my opinion there is a noticeable flaw with this basic approach that leads to some otherwise avoidable historical accuracy issues. Modern historical research is all about revision, peer-reviewing, etc., and so I find it peculiar to see that there is no analysis of the poses after the initial historical research is completed (Step #1). In essence there is nobody checking the historical accuracy of the artists AFTER they complete the drafts of the initial poses (Step #2), only BEFORE they begin.

Now I think we can all agree that due to the expense of plastic and making a mold that once Steps #3 & 4 are completed the "ship has sailed" so to speak, but does anybody think it would be possible to insert a step between the current #2 and #3 where historical accuracy can be checked? Based on my logic (which could be flawed on the production side, I am a novice there) it should still be possible to make changes between the initial drafts of the poses before the modelling starts. I think this would improve the historical accuracy of future sets and let their beautiful craftsmanship stand out to their fullest potential.

What do you guys think? Does this sound plausible or am I missing a part of the process that would make this impractical? Hope you are all doing well and have a nice day! :sunglasses:

Sincerely,
TheBabylonian109

Re: A New Step for Figure Production?

These days the ship has sailed by the time we see them with all manufacturers, sadly the heady days of Hat tweaking sadly are long gone. But I looked at these figures knowing nothing of the historical accuracy some weeks ago and though they looked great, now we know they just need to be used in another context to the one suggested by the title on the box, so there will be lots of happy sword and sandal types irrespective of PSR`s review.

Re: A New Step for Figure Production?

I suppose that in an ideal world we'd inject an extra 'stage' around the stage 1 or 2 in the Linear A programme which would be titled 'Peer/Customer review of historical accuracy and poses'. However, I think any of us who have ever tried to design something by Committee' in the real world' knows what a futile exercise this would be; it ends up with a myriad of ideas, much wasted time and no-one being entirely happy with the end result.

HaT have tried this in the past and (may) still be attempting to do do this. Wasn't the farce of crowd-funding a few years ago something along these lines? If HaT still are, then the lack of new sets and the snails-pace of design of any future sets shows that this really, really does not work.

We need to trust our figure designers/manufacturers to make something that is at least 90% historically accurate, with useable poses and the 'right' mix of figures. We can do the rest via conversion/modification, or using a set for something which is not what it says on the box, but is actually a better application.

There is always the option of designing and casting our own figures: a few, a very few, manage to do this. But is takes a rare mix of skill, patience, resources and dedication that few have.

Let us simply be pleased that the likes of Strelets and Linear A are bringing out new sets, and lots of them.

Re: A New Step for Figure Production?

Who does the reviewing? With different sources telling us different things about the units our figures portray I think the only useful review would be consensus of customer opinion, and that's a minefield.

One company offered their figures for customer review prior to production and, it seemed to me, it earned them a lot of, sometimes quite nasty, abuse. If other companies choose to avoid this I'm not surprised.

I suspect most of the manufacturers are much smaller operations than some people imagine them to be. Maybe one or two guys using soft moulds to spin off sprues in the back shed (all credit to them for what they manage to achieve).

If they outsource the production of masters to a sculptor or cad firm then presumably they have the right to say "yes that's what we asked for" or "no you stuffed it up, do it again".

If they make their own masters then there's no point in reviewing them, they already know what they look like.

In both cases there's no benefit in producing masters and then looking for some expert to tell them they're wrong. Better to do research beforehand and have a clear idea of what they want and that it's right. More diligence in step 1. would not be a handicap.

Re: A New Step for Figure Production?

I agree with Graeme. I think its more a case of making sure the research is done properly in the beginning and then having excellent communication between the company/researchers and the sculptor/designer.

As mentioned its about showing due diligence, communicating what you require & insisting on quality control at each stage.
With CAD i imagine its not too awkward to alter any mistakes, a sculptor however would have more work to do, thus better to get communication right from day 1.

Of course if a sculptor or CAD designer makes glaring errors, then the company has a right to insist on the masters being redone, its their money & investment after all.

On the other hand, if the company hasnt done proper research or not said clearly what it wants, then they only have themselves to blame.

Thorough research and communication is all whats needed, no need for additional stages. Quality control should exist between each manufacturing stage anyway.

Re: A New Step for Figure Production?

Interesting to read as always. Two points.

First, I am also not a fan of crowd review for the reasons mentioned above (it turns into a circus). When I mentioned the peer review process I was discussing what happens at universities between professors who specialize in a said topic, whom I believe are the ones who should do a hypothetical accuracy check. Unis are overflowing with PhD grads in most Arts & Humanities fields these days, so I don't think it would be that expensive to hire one of the young ones for an hour or two to quickly look over things before proceeding with the mold.

Second, I think maintaining historical accuracy throughout the sculpting process makes it difficult for the artisan. Art is a field unto itself and sometimes dimensions have to be reshaped, angles softened, different shades used, etc. I can sympathize with artisans who may, during the course of creating such pieces that are worthy of our money, become a little lost in the process and tweak something here or there that may alter their historical reality more than some of us may otherwise desire.

I do agree that all of these sets have their uses. The only one intended for a pre-French Revolution era that I would say is virtually impossible to have a non-fantasy role for is Lucky Toys' set of Attila Huns, I cannot find those armour styles anywhere outside of a movie set! :joy: :sunglasses:

Re: A New Step for Figure Production?

I agree that there is a amount of artistic license in sculpting figures.
Thing is, the sculptor(s) are paid by the company to produce figures and if they ask for them to be historically accurate, then the sculptor really should do that. If they want to make artistic representations thats fine, so long as its in their own time.
However some companys may be happy to have some artistic license in their figures, not being so bothered with historical accuracy.

It then comes down to the customer. If we want accurate figures or dont care. Sales would then tell a company whether their philosophy is the right one.

Personally I would like figures to be as accurate as possible based on resources for the subject.
Any artistic license can go into pose designs, portraying drama such as like Linear-A's recent Waterloo sets, or Strelets Bavarian casualties in their Bavarians in attack.
Uniform & equipment wise however, I like them accurate. Not to the excess that each and every button is present, but the obvious details like, if a set is Napoleonic French flank companys, then the epaulettes are present or if they are fusiliers, they dont have 2 cross belts.

Re: A New Step for Figure Production?

GooD question,

i looked it up also, but i'm not really convinced about the review. Too much "this is okay/good" in the text to have such point given at the end.

PSR does a really good job and helps us a lot, but sometimes they're a bit too american for me with the typical "this is the academic standard view and we believe there's nothing beside it" historical view.
Dismissing some gradual processes in development or just changement and also crazy stuff like cuirassiers in world war with such a stance.

I need these Hoplites and might buy more than good for me :sweat_smile:

Re PSR Review...

TheBabylonian109
Hello! Just finished reading PSR's Linear-A review for the second Cunaxa set and I have one word... ouch. Certainly have to agree that it is not one of my preferred offerings on the market right now, but as can be said about most sets there are some possibilities for these guys when utilized in the right circumstances.

I am excited to see what Linear-A has to offer in the future (I will purchase the Babylonians no matter what if they make it that far) and appreciate the transparency they, HaT (well at least in the old days), and Strelets show with their figure production. Linear-A categorizes their steps as such:

1. Epoch, Research, Review...
2. Drafts of Figures/Poses/Modelling Beings
3. Modelling Completed
4. Mold Construction Begins
5. Mold Finished
6. Production of Masters Starts
7. Production Finished
8. Shipping
9. Arrival at Bavarian HQ
10. Release for Sale


TheBabylonian109


Well in this case I would say PSR has not actually read at least the first and most important source that they have quoted "Xenophones Anabasis"...
According to that:

Appearance:
1.2 "And the Greeks all had helmets of bronze, crimson tunics, and greaves, and carried their shields uncovered."

Which implies that shield on the march should be covered...

Note: Xenophone is never going to say what type of helmet is being worn, though he does describe some of the Barbarians in detail down to their helmet shapes, likely because his intended readers are Greeks and they know what Greek stuff looks like, here is where Archeology takes over and there are many helmet types, though not the classic Corinthian...

Xenophone himself appears to have carried more then one set on kit, how many others did likewise?, see pack animals later... This could be a quote from Mel Gibson "Patriot"...

3.2 "Hereupon Xenophon arose, arrayed for war in his finest dress. For he thought that if the gods should grant victory, the finest raiment was suited to victory; and if it should be his fate to die, it was proper, he thought, that inasmuch as he had accounted his office worthy of the most beautiful attire, in this attire he should meet his death."

Armour:
3.3 "And the Greek rearguard, while suffering severely, could not retaliate at all; for the Cretan bowmen not only had a shorter range than the Persians, but besides, since they had no armour, they were shut in within the lines of the hoplites; and the Greek javelin-men could not throw far enough to reach the enemy's slingers. Xenophon consequently decided that they must pursue the Persians, and this they did, with such of the hoplites and peltasts as were guarding the rear with him; but in their pursuit they failed to catch a single man of the enemy."

This implies that armour was normal for many in the 10,000, and here again:

4.1 "Then it was that a brave man was killed, Leonymus the Laconian, who was pierced in the side by an arrow that went through his shield and cuirass"

Shoes and pack animals:
4.5 "Meanwhile they were being followed by the enemy, some of whom had banded together and were seizing such of the pack animals as lacked the strength to go on, and fighting over them with one another. Some of the soldiers likewise were falling behind—those whose eyes had been blinded by the snow, or whose toes had rotted off by reason of the cold. It was a protection to the eyes against the snow if a man marched with something black in front of them, and a protection to the feet if one kept moving and never quiet, and if he took off his shoes for the night; but in all cases where men slept with their shoes on, the straps sunk into their flesh and the shoes froze on their feet; for what they were wearing, since their old shoes had given out, were brogues made of freshly flayed ox-hides."

Finding these quote took a lot less time then writting this .-)

In regard to the actual question though once you get past stage 2 the ship has definatly sailed, since the toolmakers dont usually know about the subject and it wouldn't matter if they did! their job is to make the tool to the customers requirements...
Theres no replacement for decent research at stage 1 and good pose design at stage 2...

For me the set is of little use though I may buy a single set, to my mind it has too many other problems to consider more, though I wouldn't consider accuracy to be the main one...

:wink: