Sunday, 7 November 2021

Finding a new owner for Large Napoleonic Collection

I am making progress in my latest project of finding a new home for my 18mm AB Napoleonic collection.   I am still at the planning and research part of the project, and in particular photographing the collection.

I have long recorded my 1813 campaign by photographing all of the many wargames.   I also have a weekly blog of our hill walking activities, and these have many photographs of each walk.   But I am no great photographer by any means, nor do I possess a camera of sufficient quality to photograph large quantities of 18mm figures.

I think the photographs I have taken give a reasonably good illustration of how the figures look on the wargames table.   But I am very aware that they do not give a good impression of the standard of painting.

When anyone mentions selling wargame figures the response is always based on “the standard of painting”.   How can I determine whether my standard is good, bad or reasonable?   The phase “a good wargame standard” is often used.  But my good wargame standard may be far below the prospective buyer.

So this week I have been trying to take clearer close up photographs.   On this blog you will see my initial results.  I hope that you will agree that they do at least show the detail?   I am a little concerned that they may show too much detail.    Given the size of these figures you, or at least I, could never see  them in such detail with the naked eye.   And that is how they will always be viewed.   Mostly they will be seen on the wargames table, which my earlier photographs do quite well.   Or you may pick them up and look closely.  But I doubt you will see much more details that in my earlier photographs of groups of 4-8 figures.

I have used a dice to reinforce the size of the figures, and to remind everyone that you will never actually see them this close unless you use a magnifying glass.   I just hope that showing so much detail does not detract from the actual impact of them with the naked eye.

I must now turn my attention to price, packing and postage.

Once more I am very grateful for all of the advice and encouragement I have received.   In particular to Lee Gramson, who has given me lots of good advice.   Many of you will know Lee from his blog “A figures painting therapy project”.   He is a prolific and gifted painter of many different scales.   I have followed his blog for quite a few years, and am fascinated by the wide range of projects he takes on.   Until recently most of them had the objective of wargaming, but once completed he seemed to lose interest and move on to the next project.   I was particularly interested to see that he seemed to be able to find buyers for the painted figures for the abandoned project.    He has also painted figures commercially for a few customers, and has now expanded to commercial painting full time – at least at present.

Lee was one of the first to write and offer assistance in the project, an offer I was quick to take up.   He suggested an asking price of twice the current cost of a casting.   At present AB are £0.80 for foot, £1.55 for mounted and £3.80 for a gun model.  It is a long time since I bought any wargame figures, and I was quite surprised they are so expensive.   But I would be very pleased to get £1.50 for foot, £3.00 for mounted and £7.00 for a gun model.   Slightly less than double the casting price, but more than I anticipated when I started the project.

Not sure how I will tackle packing.   My initial thoughts are to use plastic storage boxes which you can buy in all of the Chinese shops here in Spain for a couple of euros.   I will have to see what packing material is available, but I would probably prefer bubble wrap if I can find it.   In the past I have always removed figures from the stands, which helps to avoid damage and results in tight packing.  I am not sure that prospective buyers would be happy with this suggestion, and may well prefer them with the bases.

Finally I will have to find out the cost of postage from Spain.   I would hope to be able to offer them throughout Europe, and perhaps USA and Australia.   But that will depend on the cost of postage.

So plenty more research to do next week.   Hopefully within a couple of weeks I will have solved all of these problems and be able to offer them for sale.

Any thoughts or suggestions very welcome as always.


Ross Mac said...

It is a huge undertaking. When I reluctantly decided that I needed to sell off my 15s more than a decade ago, overseas postage from the boonies and exchange rates were a problem. At first I was finding buyers and getting a low but acceptable price, then overseas postage doubled and that was that. ( Luckily for me a local friend was building a 15mm collection and gave them a home. I didn't make any money but I had already had my money's worth of fun out of them,and this way I still get to command some of them on the table from time to time )

Your market is larger and closer to hand and hopefully you will find new homes and fair prices.

Heinz-Ulrich von Boffke said...

Aim some diffused light on the figures from at least two different directions. Your photographs will turn out better (brighter) with the figures easier to examine.

Best Regards,


Steve said...

I recently posted many parcels/boxes from Wales to Poland. I found once the weight went over 2kg the price became absurd. Hence I ended up posting 30 plus parcels, each under 2kg, instead of my original plan of heavier but fewer. Hope this helps and well worth getting a good understanding of postage BEFORE packaging or you may well be repackaging as I had to do! Regards Steve

thistlebarrow said...

Hi Ross

The more I look at the logistics of the whole thing, the more I come to appreciate why I have not attempted to find a new home for the AB figures for so long. However now that I have started the project I am determined to at least get to the stage where I can offer them for sale and be confident that I can pack and post them to the new buyer.

I do not know of any local wargamers, so it is very unlikely that I will be able to sell them within travel distance. Nor do I know of, or attend, any wargame shows. So a bring and buy is also out of the question. So I will just have to carry on and hope that I can find a buyer when the time comes.



thistlebarrow said...

Hi Heinz

Thanks for your suggestion for taking better photographs. So far I have tried to take them in my wargames room, where the lighting is far from perfect. It is ok for taking photos of a wargame, but not for close up of 18mm figures.

My latest attempt were using more natural light. I think this is about the best I can achieve, and I just hope that it is acceptable.



thistlebarrow said...

Hi Steve

The whole question of postage is made much worse because I live in Spain. We have a basic grasp of the language, but not really sufficient to do other than ask simple questions at the post office.

I take your point about the weight of the parcel. I am coming to the conclusion that it might be best to offer the collection in nine groups, each a mini army. The weight of the resulting parcel would be about 550-580 grammes. Well below your 2KG. However I now have to visit the local post office and see whether I can get some information about posting to UK, EU, USA and Australia.



JWH said...

Just a thought Paul, but if there are potential buyers in the UK, could you offer to bring them to the UK yourself on your annual visit to Rothbury (if you are still doing that) and then post at UK rates?

Pompey Dave said...

You probably already know that some parcel services provide an online calculator like

I don't have all the details to get a quote for your expected weight, but Google suggests that it's likely to be around 12 euros for a 1 kg parcel to the UK.

thistlebarrow said...


Good idea, but unfortunately it seems likely that we will not be returning to the UK for Christmas due to the covid restrictions. But I am hopeful to be able to sort out Spanish postal rates shortly



thistlebarrow said...

Hi Pompey Dave

I had not heard about that online calculator. However I did visit the post office in Calpe last Friday and they quoted about 20 euro. They said that would include insurance, but due to language difficulties it was difficult to confirm how much.

There is also an English run post office in Calpe, which most ex pats use. However they could only offer courier, which was 46 euro and included up to £320 insurance. This would be a much better option, and would make it much easier to pursue a claim for loss or damage. But I am not sure a buyer would want to pay so much. I guess I could offer the option and leave it up to them.