I have been prodded towards making a decision and am grateful for the experience. I spent a 45 minute lunch 'hour' pondering the choice of figures I should use for me two 'imagi - nations' and for a variety of reasons I have now finally made it.
Before I explain the rationale behind my decision I would like to extend an enormous vote of thanks to all those readers that have provided me with some really helpful comments and suggestions. For me this is one of the great advantages of a blog in that you can gain a whole variety of opinions and comments from diverse sources; all of which help to add a degree of clarity to the thought process. The input has been really appreciated.
I am going to go with the Perry Plastics as the basis for my 19th century 'imagi - nations'.
There are a whole host of reasons for (and, to be fair, a few against) this approach but on balance the positives outweigh the negatives and for me, there are more positives than either the negatives or the nearest competitor. The figures are detailed but have been produced in such a way that conversion will be easy to undertake - far more so than with metal figures. They are produced in a material that I am very happy working with. The cost is very attractive at roughly 50p a figure for infantry - slightly dearer than the Spencer Smiths but not excessively so. As far as painting is concerned a telling observation was made to me which I had not considered. The early Peter Gilder 'In the Grand Manner' Napoleonic armies (which would certainly qualify as old school) were painted in a style that I could certainly replicate without too much difficulty and in many ways is almost a forerunner of the Army Painter technique - a wash over flat colours. If I am to be accused of reinventing the wheel then I can only put my hands up and say 'Guilty as charged!'
In many ways having supplies of cheap plastic figures available again (and aside from the hard plastic types there is a positive deluge of soft plastic models available on the market) is almost a reminder of how things used to be - the original Spencer Smiths and Airfix generation (of which I was a part) used to achieve wonders of conversion and improvisation from what was available - but with the benefit of modern detailing and production methods and with a choice that we could only dream of back in 1973. By using the ACW figures that are available for something other than for that which they were intended I am really just doing something that could have easily been a similar project way back then.
In a sense I will be using the best of the new material in conjunction with the best of the concepts and ideas from the old.