It happened! A change of painting period. It took a year but I finally switched away from English Civil War. The reason was a desire to build up my old Norman/Anglo-Saxon armies into something playable. With this in mind I bought a box of Conquest Games excellent plastic 28mm figures.
Please excuse the lack of painted in 'border' around the edge of the base on the left hand stand. It's amazing what errors and omissions posting pics up on here show!
The figures are a joy to assemble and give quite a large variety of poses. The arms attach to the torso at about elbow height so there are some figures which look wrong with certain arms, however a dry run before glueing will prevent completely bizarre figures from being created.
The weapons are cast in the hand which is such a great idea. This means no fiddly weapons to try to fix into unwilling hands. Likewise shields are already cast onto arms so no shields popping off over the wargames table when units are moved.
There are a number of figures who are well clad in chainmail hauberk. There are others in padded fabric hauberks which I find a bit tricky to paint. I find it hard to decide whether the dirt would settle between the fabric 'pillows' along the stitching or would dirt be found on the tops of the padding, leaving the stitching relatively clean (as per an excellent artwork piece in the Osprey 'Hastings' campaign book). I have gone for a mix of the two dirt painting styles.
The un-helmeted figures all have the usual portrayed Norman hairstyle of being shaved bald up the back of the head.
Shield transfers don't come in the box so I ordered a set from 'Battleflag' who make them specifically to fit the Conquest Normans. I have to say that these were probably the easiest to fit shield transfers that I have ever had to put on and I think that they really look the business. Blood, dirt and damage is already printed onto the shield design.
I started my Hastings armies in the mid-90's with Old Glory then Gripping Beast figures. I never managed to get enough for a game which was a shame. I decided to re-vamp my Hastings armies in much the same way as I did for my English Civil War armies. Figures would be re-based from single stands on card onto MDF in decent groups. This suits me well as large battles appeal to me more than skirmish games, so basing in groups gives me all the convenience I want.
I have moved away from using static grass (or non-static grass as my last purchase of the stuff appeared to be!). Instead I will use larger glue-on grass clumps of various types and try to obtain a more wild look to the bases rather than the tennis court extracts that static grass seems to give me. More clumps of Autumn grass may be added to give a slightly more October look to these bases.
Re-commencing my Hastings armies appears to be remarkably well-timed seeing as they are so well catered for in plastic now. The Gripping Beast Dark Age Infantry box is going to be so useful (perfect timing!). The only difficulty I have now is in trying to stick with this period for a while since I have just purchased 'Spearhead' rules for WW2 and I'm also trying out 'Black Powder' for Franco Prussian War this week!