Despite the temporary setback in connection with my 54mm painting experiments I have managed to salvage much from the experience. I tried looking at the end result after a good night's sleep but this did not seem to make any difference to my opinion and so I have consigned the said figures to the nether recesses of one of my storage cupboards to take a look at them in a few days time. Perhaps the passage of time may soften my outlook somewhat!
I did have a very circuitous brainwave though as I pondered this project further. Without going into finite detail (which I will happily do once I have cemented the idea in place) I am on the lookout for some suitable figures to use for a Portable Wargame based pair of late 19th century 'imagi-nations'. This has been inspired via various sources and so I make no claims towards being original with the concept! This is also why I am hankering after an 'old toy soldier' style of figures as, in my opinion, this technique lends itself to the required figures. Using larger scale figures serves to enhance the effect.
The pair of forces I am looking at are Turkish and Russian based - originally it was to have been Greek inspired but I took the view that using the Russians would have a lot more historical resonance. I found myself thumbing through my Osprey Men at Arms on the Russian-Turkish War of 1877 and was immediately struck by a thought. The Russian line infantry of the war of 1877 look very similar to ACW Union troops whilst the Turks look very much like ACW Zouaves. The Turkish Egyptian troops were wearing what evolved into the later Turkish uniform of a plain fez, tunic and trousers but the line wore the more ornate uniform - as did the dreaded 'Bashi Bazouks' - at least in terms of similarity of cut. The Turkish line cavalry were dressed similarly to the Egyptian infantry which was in turn, very close to what a Union cavalryman was wearing. Visions of chopping and swapping around heads etc loomed large - which I am not averse to but it does add to the production time - especially in 54mm soft plastic. However, using the Perry option would merely entail a minor paint job in each case (Green tunics for the Russians and some tweaking for the Turks) there would be the two protagonists - not so much historically accurate; more like close enough for the purposes of an 'imagi-nation'.
This was fine up to a point but I had not reckoned on the Perry twins. Why not use 28mm Perry plastic figures as they produce both the infantry, cavalry and Zouaves with the option for changing heads etc already factored in?
This is for me very dangerous ground as Perry figures are very detailed and may not suit the painting technique I want to use but - and again in a very circuitous way - I am sure that a flat colour scheme in conjunction with Army Painter would work out very nicely - certainly if the various examples of painted plastic Romans kicking around on the net are anything to go by. Hold that thought, as they say!
So what does all this mean then? In a nutshell I think that using plastic Perry 28mm figures may - and I emphasise may - have the answer to the question of what figures I should use for this project. It is flying in the face of my original intention to use larger scale figures (ironically some might consider Perry to be 'larger scale figures'!) but it does have some enormous advantages - cost, hard plastic rather than soft and with much in the way of easier conversion potential. Again, the primary consideration will be the painting as I shall have to overcome a lifetime's phobia towards painting anything organic or highly detailed.
Much to ponder with this methinks.