Old Glory 15mm Don Cossacks – First Look

I sat down tonight and cleaned up a pack of Old Glory 15mm RIC1 – Don Cossacks.  The sculpts themselves are fine… the horses are smallish, and unfortunately all in the same position, and the figures are a mix of lancers, a few with pistols, and two regarding a captured French shako.   Pretty standard stuff for Old Glory.  

The casting of these figures sucked.  A long time ago, I worked as a caster for both GHQ MicroArmor and CinC Microarmor for about 3-4 years.  (sidebar:I still remember when I turned in my notice at GHQ and hearing the owner tell me it was the best job I would ever have… whatever…)  I don’t remember everything about casting, but I retain enough to know crappy casting when I see it.  The horses were very shiny and in a few cases, under-cast.  One was missing part of a foreleg.   If I remember correctly, shiny & undercast means the metal wasn’t hot enough when it was poured into the spincaster.  If Chris S. or Mike R. is reading this, perhaps they can confirm.  

The riders themselves suffered from bad mold lines and the mold shift in the lances was significant.  This means the molds were being run too fast and got too hot.  When I worked at the ‘Q,’  either underdone or shifted minis were sacrificed back to the metal pot.  Apparently whoever’s casting for Old Glory now either doesn’t know that, or perhaps wasn’t paying that close attention.  I guess it’s a case of getting what you pay for.  The AB figures I purchased had slight mold lines, but not shifting or under-done figures.   Ah well… they’re just Cossacks, and odd are good they’ll be swept off the table early in the big game tacking place on the 22nd of November.

I’ll finish cleaning the cossacks tomorrow evening and prime them.


6 Responses to “Old Glory 15mm Don Cossacks – First Look”

  1. 1 Chris October 22, 2008 at 10:58 am

    Hi BJ:

    From what I can recall your assessment is correct: Shiny surface and soft detail generally mean the metal cooled before it could fill out the cavity properly, either because it was too cool to begin with, because the lead/tin/(other hard alloys) mix was bad (not enough tin IIRC or too many impurities/hard alloys like antimony/bismuth/etc.), or because the gates/vents were badly placed/non-existent (metal cooled before the air in the cavity could be forced out).

    I’ve had the same problem with figures from another manufacturer who, from what I understand, uses Old Glory for their contract casting — lots of shift, lots of flash, soft details (mis- or unformed bayonets, rifle butts rounded and shiny), and short-shot figures. My impression is that the problem is a combination of bad mold-making (many of this manufacturer’s figures have shift lines of 1mm or more — at the Q, that generally would’ve meant trashing the mold and starting over because it clearly lacked sufficient buttons) and cheap materials/labor.

    Glad to hear your projects are progressing!

    Best regards,


  2. 2 Mike R October 22, 2008 at 8:30 pm

    My Old Glory horror story. I bought and painted some Dwarfs from their fantasy line a couple of years ago, and they had the exact same problems… shiny, unformed details and edges(due to a lack of vents, I suspect), shifting along the mold seam, and patches of “mud” where the mold cavity had started to tear out.

    On top of that, I think the masters had gotten smashed in the process of making the mold, because they were more than slightly flattened, rather than fully rounded. They were nicely sculpted figures with a lot of character, but the casting definitely let them down.

    I have the impression they don’t particularly bother with quality control, they just scoop up whatever comes out the mold and dump it in a bag.

  3. 3 Bart October 22, 2008 at 8:36 pm

    Yeah, after finishing up the cleaning this evening, I’m glad I didn’t spend a whole lot of cash on these figures. The more I looked, the more shift & mudding I encountered. Too bad, for the regular figures were pretty good.

    I also have a package of Ural Cossacks and one of SYW Prussian Infantry. Hopefully those packs will be better.

    Note to self: Any future 15mm projects should not count on Old Glory 15mm figs… there’s more to life than cheap figures. 🙂

  4. 4 Jeff October 23, 2008 at 8:50 am

    I had to laugh at your OP BJ. I have a pack of OG 15mm Don Cossacks that I purchased in 1990 or so that I have been working on over the past week.

    Yes my horses are small when compared to other OG horses. IIRC the horses ARE smaller because the original caster decided to make them smaller because are SUPPOSED to be. The Cossacks are renowned for riding thier smaller horses in comparision to Eurpoean mainland horses.

    As for mold lines on the Lance. Yeap still there on my pack. I guess that was a problem when they pressed the masters and not a mold shift.

    As for the mold lines on the riders themselves, sorry my were clean.

    As for the six packs of SYW figures I have cleaned up and started painting I haven’t found a bad figure yet. I do wish there was another pose or two involved however in the figures.

  5. 5 Bart October 23, 2008 at 9:26 am

    I wasn’t bitching about the size of the horses… just pointing out that they were indeed small.

    I do wish the poses picked were a little less dramatic, since about 2/3 of my horses look like they’re bucking or otherwise staring at the sun. For what it’s worth, from what I’ve seen most figure manufacturers make their horses on the small side… saves metal costs.

    The riders definitely came from a bad mold. I had a lot of flash on mine, which is what triggered the hot/shift issues. Probably a combination of a crappy molding and then poor casting.

    I guess the moral of the story is that with Old Glory you get what you pay for. The sculpts can be decent… you just need to get the figures soon after they are released to be assured of getting decent castings. Hopefully the other packs ain’t so bad.

  6. 6 Chris October 23, 2008 at 12:01 pm

    Hi Mike — long time, no speak! I hope all is well with you (all we need is for Fitz to chime in and it’ll be like old GHQ week here at the Great Redoubt).

    Although everything described here sounds like bad mold-making and bad casting (even on a new mold, if there aren’t enough buttons and the mold is run hot, you’ll see a shift), there might be something to Mike and Jeff’s comments on deformity of the masters — I was horrified when Frank from Minden Miniatures posted a photo of how badly knocked about the masters of his mounted colonels (IIRC) got when they got pressed:

    The resulting castings are lovely but, man, I’d be depressed if I spent a couple of hundred dollars on a master just to have it mangled in the press. To this day, I have all of my masters hand cast and only submit metal masters for pressing. I suppose that could be the source of the flattening that Mike describes, too — whereas GHQ’s metal masters are all hand cast using a gravity pot, everyone else’s masters (with the possible exception of C-in-C) seem to be second-generation pressings — first the putty master gets squashed and then a first generation casting get cleaned and pressed (squashing it a little, too) to make the library mold.

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