Thursday, 18 November 2010

The Proxy Vote

No, not a mid-term election article, but an age old frugal debate.

First a bit of background. I generally play generic rulesets. I loath being tied into one particular range of minitures when there are so many lovely sculpts not attached to any game. Yes, yes I know that they tie in with the background fluff of the game and provide (can) provide a continuous feel across the army, but sometimes it feels that these factors are used to "extract the michael" somewhat whan it comes to pricing.

The past 6 months has seen me take up Warmachine, a game very much with it's own style. I've been happily collecting a small Cryx (undead) force, but for a few reasons have decided to expand to a small second force, Cygnar (tech humans). Now my main army is the Cryx force, which have very distinct figures, but the human Cygnar are slightly more generic. So to keep costs down I am going to find and use proxy miniatures in this army where possible.

This opens up the whole proxy debate:
PROS: Cost, choice, fun research
CONS: irregular force theme, wrong miniatures, difficult/irritating for some opponents, illegal for tournament play, in some cases quality of sculpt is worse.

As far as I'm concerned in this instance, as long as the replacement miniatures are reasonable representations of the official figures I'm good with it. As such, I don't plan to proxy the warjacks (robots) as they are very distinctive. I've bought some appropriate bases as well, as base size and position is important in Warmachine. I've already bought the Cygnar mkII Stat card pack.

Another good frugal reason to use proxies is that I already have some suitable minis waiting to be used. A few years ago I took advantage of a free postage offer from Prince August for their bag of 80 plastic Warzone figures - 40 Imperial, 40 Bauhaus. The Imperial Trenchers are WWI theme based and, to my eyes, ideal to replace the Cygnar Trenchers. I also have a load of them pose and customise, as the Cygnar forces have quite a few varying Trencher based troop types.

We'll start with the basic Cygnar Trencher. 5 Grunts and a squad Leader. I've snipped the gun slightly to make it less M16-esque and given a squad leader the head from the Warzone trencher heavy machine gunner to help him stand out. Cost per figure (inc full base cost) 41 pence - squad cost £2.46. Official squad RRP ~ £18.
Next is a proxy for the HMG wielding Captain Maxwell Finn. All I've done is take the Warzone HMG trencher and replaced the head (which is now on the Trencher squad leader) with a spare from an old, partially used GamesWorkshop Fantasy Empire militia boxset I had lying around. Figure cost 41 pence, Official figure RRP ~ £9.
Next is a Journeyman Warcaster. He is armed with a pistol and a sword, so I've given my Imperial Trencher Officer a spare GW sword and a spare GW head (both from the same box set as the Cpt Finn figure). Total figure cost 41p (can you see a pattern developing?), Official figure RRP ~ £6.

And Lastly I have clipped the weapons off of an unused Mage Knight Steam Golum to proxy as Squire. No idea what I paid for this (it was in a job lot years ago). Official RRP ~ £6.

Next proxies? Well it doesn't take a great deal of imagination to see that the a carefully place bead or putty blob on the end of a rifle will make a Grenadier, and if I can find something to use as a sniper scope I'll have an officer/sniper Unit attachment (the peaked cap of the Warzone officer will come into play here), and perhaps even I'll manage a blunderbuss/sword conversion to make a Trencher Master Gunner. Moving away from the plastic trenchers, Void Viridian snipers could make a slightly cheaper alternative to Cygnar Rangers, and I'm toying with the idea of using ACW troops with their long muskets as Cygnar Long Gunners.

Any other suggestions are warmly accepted.


Papa JJ said...

I really like your choice of miniatures to serve as proxy Cygnarians. The trenchers look great and if I were your opponent I would not have any problem with you using these in a game. Great example of frugality!

Von said...

This is the kind of proxying I can get behind! You're right about Cygnar being a good one to try this with, too: enough of their core troops are fairly generic for you to get away with it.

The Perry twins have probably sculpted something that would pass as a Long Gunner, y'know. Just a though.

Astranagant said...

May I suggest repositioning the Steam Golem so that he doesn't appear to be hanging off the end of the base? I've got a number of these myself, and I understand that their horse-riding stance is a bit awkward, but the model would look more balanced if it was placed further forward on the base.

arabianknight said...

Thanks for the comments,guys.

@Astranagant: I have to admit that the Steam Golem isn't actually glued to the base in that photo yet, and I completely agree with your assessment. Some careful cutting down at least one leg joint is in order to make it less "Duke" like!

Frugal Dave said...

Excellent article AK! As with all things, I'd say this is not a black and white issue, just shades of grey. Most people (and perhaps even some tournaments) will be happy to accept good quality, similar looking proxies like you've made. Try turning up with a bag of green plastic army men and it may be a different story though.

Anyway, 80 figures for 20 Euros?! Who can resist...?