Books I have read and recommend.

Friday, November 14, 2008

The Results are in!

Hi All
I've already made comment on the service provided by Reinforcements By Post's (RBP), (see my comments dated 15 Sept), but since the actual figures have now arrived, I thought I'd finalize my review of their work.
I sent of several units to be painted, (mainly OLD GLORY miniatues). One unit I was keen to have was A Young Guard Battalion. (seen here on the left). The Young Guard miniatures were actually AB Miniatures with a Old Glory Miniatures mounted officer.
You can see more pictures of the work done by RBP by looking up my 15 Sept comments.
I was very pleased with the results. Very subtle highlighting and washes were applied, and and the units had a level of character about them that the other service providers didn't seem to provide in my humble opinion. I also had the figures based, and am pleased to say that aspect was also done to a very high standard. The OG miniatures, (that really require a good artist to get the most out of them), were very pleasing.
GOOD. I'd have to give them a 7.5/10.
The figures were packed by units in small boxes with foam "peanuts", and then sealed within by tape. Given the figures were based, it would not have been possible to wrap them as MCM or FE had, but I did think that DPS packaging system was superior. All the same, I think only two bayonets were "lost" in shipment.
Accessing the figures from the packaging was hassel free,
As for the figures themselves; they were painted to a very high standard; 8.5 out of 10. Sad
These guys were the "mid-range priced" figures to get painted, (MCM the most expensive, and DPS probaby fractionally cheaper given the miniature was included). I won't include FE here, as they painted my figures to "COLLECTOR" standard, (a level below that of the other painting service providers).
Score? I'd say
8.5 out of 10 Smile.
Finally, a customer service score is now required.
Communication was great! Neil kept me informed every step of the way, asked for clarification where needed, and provided exaclty what was asked for. Banter was polite and friendly, and he offered suggestions that ultimately resulted in a happier customer.
Like FE, the figures also took quite a while to get to me
, but there were some issues at the "customs" end of the line that was beyond RBP's influence.
Lets give RBP a 8 out of 10. Cool
That gives RBP a total of 32.5 / 40.

In summary; fantastic customer service, and beautifully painted minatures at a reasonable price.
Now lets look at all the service providers SIDE BY SIDE!
The Infantry First:

Here we have (L-R) MCM,RBP,FE and DPS

MCM French Light Infantry, (based by me), and RBP French YOUNG GUARD, (based by RBP).
Next we have FE French Line Infantry (based by me), and DPS OLD GUARD, (based by DPS).
Now for the Cavalry:
Here we have them in the following order, again L-R)
MCM Saxons, RBP French Chasseurs, FE Italian Chasseurs and DPS Bavarians. As with the infantry, I'll let the figures speak for themselves. The final results are as follows:
FE- 31
MCM- 32.5
RBP - 32.5
DPS - 33

If you discount FE, (as they were requested to paint to a standard below the other three), you'll see that only half a point separates them.
Personally I like MCM's work the most, but RBP is a very very close second. So much for the scoring system.
I'd recommend buying DPS via EBAY. You can get some real bargains going that way. For me subsequent communication issues with orders I've since placed with them, (DPS) has turned me off. I'd also recommend FE, but make sure you're very descriptive in EXACTLY what you want.

Bye for now!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Fernando's Troops Are Ready For Inspection; SIR!

BELOW: two views of Napoleon and his Household at Boridino 1812.
Painted by Model Citizen Miniatures, based by Trailape
. Napoleon broods as Berthier dictates orders! In the background the Old Guard waits, (and grumbles).

Hi All
I've finally got all my figures back from the various Painting Service providers.
You might remember I sent a swag of miniatures off to the following Painting Service providers:
1. Fernando Enterprise (FE),
2. Reinforcements By Post (RBP),

3. Model Citizen Miniatures, (MCM); and
4. Dr
agon Painting Service
I've already commented on DPS, and MCM. That leaves RBP and FE.

Let's now review the offerings from Fernando Enterprise:
They were the last to arrive. They took about 5 months or so to return to me from time of dispatch at my end to their eventual return.
I asked for about 10 different units to be painted to "COLLECTOR" standard. This is one level down from what I've asked the other painting services to do. The only reason for this was that to
have them painted to "SHOWCASE" standard was going to take a rather long time. As it turned out they still took a month or so longer than expected.
I did send about 300 figures!

VERY GOOD. I'd have to give them a 8.5/10.
Most of the figures were packed and wrapped in foam, (but some were simply placed in individual zip-lock bags and the placed in larger plastic bags. The lot was then packed buy Order Lots (regiments) in boxes lined with tissue and bubble wrap. I dropped the boxes a couple of time and no harm was done. These could easily take the normal Postal Service poundings. All the same, a couple of Bayonets did snap off.

Accessing the figures from the packaging was easy, with little chance of the customer damaging the figs in the process of un-packing! Mad
(Trust me, it happens)!

As for the figures themselves; they were painted to a rather high standard.
They were painted with some shading and highlights. We did have some issues with the occasional unit; (I thought for a while there we'd never get my Provisional Croation Regiment
painted Sad ); but other than that the uniforms were on the whole historically correct as far as I could tell.
The only other issue is that one regiment has the Fusiliers (center Company's) with red cord on their Shakos, (should be white). A minor pain, (and all the other units have the correct white cords on the Fusiliers.
As I did ask for a "Collector standard" I'll give FE a 7 out of 10. Sad

These guys were the cheapest figures to get painted, (obviously as they were painted to a "lower" standard in comparison to the other painting services).
Having said that, they were not that much off the mark in comparison with the other painters.
So on the Value For Money scale let's hand
FE a 9 out of 10 Smile
Finally, a customer service score is now required. Communication was a slight issue. The saga of getting the Croats painted is a good example of what I'm talking about. The figures also took quite a while to get to me
Lets give FE a 6.5 out of 10. Cool
That gives FE a total of 31 / 40.

In summary; I'll be sending more figures FE's way.
I must stress though it's VERY IMPORTANT that you provide as much detail in your painting instructions as humanly possible. Don't assume the artists can tell the difference between a greatcoat and a jacket. The best option is to send a painted sample of what you want done, and/or as many detailed pictures as possible.
I recommend using pictures available from the Histofig site:
Anyway, here are a few pictures of the work done by FE:
Italian Royal Guard (top) and Velites of The Guard (below)

Above is the Guard Conscripts of the Italian Royal Guard behind a battery of French Foot Artillery and below is a French Line Regiment. All painted by FE. Based by me.
I'll soon provide a review of our last Service Provider,
Reinforcements By Post (RBP); and a final SIDE BY SIDE look at the work done.
Cheers Cool

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

When will I find the time?

Hi All
Well, moving into a brand new house, and doing it with a brand new baby daughter will certainly impinge on your ability to get any wargaming or associated activities sorted.
The good news, (other than the arrival of my new daughter and my flash new house), is ALL the figures I've sent off to various painters are now back!
I think I'll without doubt find a couple of hours this weekend to post my final comments / reviews of the work done to my miniatures, and upload some pictures.
The sad news is that with the Aussie dollar getting hammered on the exchange rate, I'll be back to doing most of my own painting for a while.
I guess I'll get to try my new glasses out,..