Sunday 27 February 2022

Sale of AB Figures

Anglo-Portuguese Army

Finding a new owner for my AB Napoleonic army has proved far more complicated and disappointing that I ever imagined it would be.

I have not attempted to sell any figures for more than 20 years, and even then it had proved to be a complicated and time consuming operation.   At that time I was upgrading my 25mm and 15mm armies to 28mm and 18mm.    The aim was to replace a large collection of mostly Miniature Figurines with Front Rank and AB.  

The intention was to sell the older figures in national lots and then replace them with the new figures with the cash received from the sale.   There was no rush to sell or replace, as my main interest then was painting the new figures.  And this would obviously take weeks and months.

I remember that there was a lot of research to discover the best way to sell the old figures.   In the end I opted for EBay, which involved higher fees but which also offered the widest choice of buyers.   I lived in the UK at the time, and using EBay and PayPal was simple and straight forward.

It took me years to complete the sale and replacement of the two scales, but it also provided a cost free period of painting up all the new and shiny figures.   It was a very satisfying and enjoyable exercise.

So when I decided last year that the time had arrived to find a new home for my much loved, but unused, AB army I was well aware of the problems.  I had put the whole thing off for years, because I was sure it would not be an easy task.   But the option is to leave them on the shelves in the wargames room gathering dust.   

The first task was to find out how much I should ask for them.   Having completed the sale of my Minifigs I lost interest in the whole buying and selling of second hand figures.   I had not used EBay since then, and had not the slightest idea what my collection might be worth.   I got quite a bit of feedback, and the general advice was double the cost of a new figure would be reasonable.   The current price of AB foot is £0.80 and mounted £1.55.   Much more expensive than I had realised, and asking £1.50 and £3.00 for painted figures seemed to me to be asking quite a lot.

The whole collection consists of 210 mounted and 1320 foot figures, plus a collection of vehicles.   Not to mention an extensive collection of European and Spanish buildings, mostly scratch built.   It soon became apparent that I was not going to be able to sell them as one lot.   The obvious answer was to break them down to national groups.   For example see the photo of the Anglo-Portguese army above.   However even this would cost £320 or 530 euro.

Next came the price of postage.   I now live in Spain and am well aware of the stories of post going missing.    So I wanted to be able to offer full insurance on any post sent.   I was surprised, and not a little disappointed, to discover than it is not possible to insure packages sent through the national postal service.   There is a tracing system, but it is not possible to insure against loss.   My grasp of the Spanish language leaves a lot to be desired, and I did not relish the prospect of trying to trace a lost package with the local post office who do not speak any English at all.   Fortunately there are private courier services, and one has an office about half an hour drive from where I now live.   However the cost is not cheap.   Normal post to UK or EU would be £22.   Courier to EU would be £36 or to UK £60.   USA or Australia would be out of the question.   

It took many weeks of research to come to the above conclusions.   But now came the most difficult part.   Where to offer them for sale.

During my research a lot of very helpful people suggested online options.  All suggested not using EBay, largely due to expensive fees.   Most recommended Facebook sites which offered a free option to sell.   Towards the end of last year I put the the first post, complete with a good selection of photographs.  I got a lot of “likes”, but no buyers or even offers.

I now decided that I would have to try the dreaded EBay.   This would allow me to quickly adjust the asking price until I got to the level that folk were actually willing to pay.   I would not have to accept low offers, and I would quickly be able to get a feel for the actual market.

I went online and selected EBay.   I was confronted with EBay ES, which is the Spanish EBay.   Not really surprising, as I live in Spain.   But the immediate problem was it was in Spanish and I immediately realised that any prospective buyers would also be Spanish speaking.   This was not going to work.

I suspect that the main market for second hand model soldiers is UK, USA or Australia.   Postage excluded USA and Australia.    But EBay UK would put me in touch with UK buyers, and also possibly Amercian and Australian.   Perhaps the cost of postage was acceptable to them?   But most important all prospective buyers would be English speaking.   As I have a UK address and bank account it was possible to open an account with EBay UK.    Not easy, but at least possible.

Next came method of payment.  Previously I had used PayPal, and always found it efficient and safe.   It was obvious that this was also the main method of payment on EBay.   I already have a PayPal link to my Spanish bank account.   I contacted PayPal and was assured that it was possible to transfer to my UK bank account.    The mechanics of changing the bank account was simple, and I soon received an email confirming that two payment had been made to my UK bank, and I only had to confirm that they had appeared in my account to complete the transfer.   However when I tried to confirm the payments on the PayPal site £0.05 turned to 0.05 euro, and showed as an error.   When I contacted PayPal they confirmed that as I lived in Spain I could not change my bank account to UK!

So after about four months I appear to be back to square one.

I am sorely tempted to abandon the whole project.  

But if I do, each time I pass the AB figures on the shelf in the wargames room I will feel guilty.

Sunday 20 February 2022

Gera Campaign – Day 3

3 May 1813 – Central Germany – Day 3

In the north 5th French army attack 2nd Russian army at Naumburg


The rest of the French and Russian corps move into battle positions either side of t he border. 

Battle of Naumburg

The French have both corps in position to attack at daybreak

3rd Russian corps is in postion, but 4th corps is further east

Despite this the French lose the battle


In the north 4th Russian corps arrive in time to halt the French advance

They win the initial cavalry melee, forcing the French infantry to form square

The Russian infantry then advance and rout the three of the five brigades

Only one French infantry brigade, and the artillery, are left to cover the retreat


In the centre both commanders have formed a reserve

The French have two infantry brigades and 7th corps artillery

The Russians have two infantry brigades, one of which is the town garrison

At nightfall the Russians still hold the town, both French brigades have been routed


In the south a long cavalry melee results in a draw with 30% casualties each.

Both corps suffer heavy casualties, but the French hold their position


The Russians still hold the town at nightfall and win the battle.



The first battle of the campaign is the French attack on Naumburg


4th and 6th French armies halt short of the border, to await the outcome of the battle

1st Russian army halts at Jena, also waiting to see  who wins at Naumburg


However 3rd Russian army has moved right up to the border, from where they can attack Saalfeld.


This redeployment moves them out of supply range of their rear depots, who now forward all available supplies to the forward depots.  


After a very hard fought battle the French fail to take the town and retreat.


A disappointing start to the campaign for the French, despite having the element of surprise on their side.

Sunday 13 February 2022

Gera Campaign – Day 2

2 May 1813 – Central Germany – Day 2

In the north 5th French army advance and deploy on the border.

The remainder of the French corps hold and resupply

The Russian army are unaware of the move, and also resupply


The initiative lies with the French, who are the aggressors.   They take advantage by stealing a march on the Russians.  By nightfall they are in position to attack Naumburg at first light.

In doing so they have moved out of supply range of Wiessensee, who has sent forward one days supplies to Sommerda.

The remainder of the French army remain in their current locations and resupply.   There is no point in moving out of supply range of their rear depots, unless they are prepared to immediately attack.

The Russians also remain in their current locations, and also resupply.  They are not aware until late nightfall that the French have advanced towards Naumburg.

No battle has been declared because there is still at least one square between all of the French and Russian corps.

Sunday 6 February 2022

Gera Campaign – Day 1


1 May 1813 – Central Germany – Day 1

This map shows the location of both armies at the start of the campaign.

Both armies are deployed as close to the border as possible.   There must always be at least one empty square between the two sides.   If one side moves into that square then a battle is declared and a wargame set up.

Once more there are six corps per side, organised in three armies per side, each consisting of two corps.  

Each army has an operational area three squares deep by twelve squares wide.   This is divided into four squares each three by three squares.  This one days march in the campaign, it is also the size of a wargames table.   There is one town in each area, providing an objective for each campaign day.


The initial deployment is to allow both armies to get as close to the border as possible, whilst still having each corps within supply range of a depot.

To resupply a corps must be within three squares of a depot.   Each side has six towns/depots.  

As always supply will play a vital role is this campaign.   Each depot will provide one days supply per day.   Each corps will use one days supply per day.   In this deployment both sides can resupply all six of their corps each day.   However when one side moves forward they will immediately be out of supply range of the rear town on each side.   This will require each of those town to start forwarding supplies to the forward depot.   Each army can move a maximum of two days supplies up to three squares each day.

Unlike Spain, there are no guerrilla bands to interrupt the supply system.   However when a town is taken the supplies within that town fall to the winner.   This makes their supply easier, and the loser much more difficult.