Monday, February 27, 2012

Black Tree Design's Frustrating Random WWII Packs: There Must Be A Solution!

16 poses from WW2371
Black Tree Design have an interesting and frustrating way of selling many of their figures, especially those in the WWII line. Take "WW2371 Wehrmacht Infantry with SMGs I" for example. Black Tree Design has 28 poses of Wehrmacht with SMG's but only sells this code in random 4-figure packs. To make matters worse, the code includes some figures dressed in caps, while others have helmets, and some are even officers! Just to top off the frustration meter, some poses come with MP40s and others with captured PPSh-41's.

But wait! There's more! Nick Collier began BTD's WWII line back when the company was Harlequin Miniatures. If memory serves, he did the Soviets, Germans, and Americans. Then he left the company with the line unfinished. Cut-rate clean-up sculptors then came in and added more poses to the packs. While Nick's figures are excellent and the research top notch, the opposite can be said for the later sculpts. As a friend recently put it concerning my non-Collier Soviet figures, "Some of those fella's must have been hit with an ugly stick!"

Those Big Platoon Packs Really Frighten Me!
WW2378 - 24 poses but random 4-fig packs!
So there you go. All those different poses, uniforms, weapons, and sculpts all tossed randomly into the same 4-figure packs! And the same is true for their larger figure packs and platoon packs. While I bought my BTD figures second-hand, the gentleman had purchased one of those large assorted packs where you get something like 20 riflemen poses. The downside was that he got 7 of the same rifleman pose! It just so happens that this is the worst of the poses to boot! (This is the only bare-headed Soviet soldier they sell.) Now, I painted two of them and have left the other five primed, figuring I can let a newbie painter take some whacks at them. (Thankfully, I didn't get any of the useless prone riflemen!) Still, I paid so little for the figures second-hand that I can't complain, but if I had paid retail I would have been ticked off! (The original owner was ticked off and just wanted to dump them IIRC, getting them out of his sight.)

I will be honest. I am terrified to purchase any more Black Tree Design WWII figures. Not because I hate them, quite the opposite, or fear bad service, they have turned that around from what I hear. I fear those random packs!

The Solution? I Contacted Black Tree Design USA
I only want these circled in red, please.
Tonight I emailed the good folks at BTD, asking them if there would be some way to specify what poses I want and then just order those instead of random figures I don't need. For example, I really want some of those Wehrmacht carrying captured PPSh's! I'd also like to have some Soviet's carrying captured MP40's. That would really capture the look and feel of city fighting, where both side kept stealing (good) weapons from each other. I asked if maybe I could send them a copy of their jpg's with the figures I'd like circled, like I shown to the left. Or maybe they could consider selling them in pre-made 4-figure packs. After all, WWII gamers tend to be a picky lot, wanting exactly the uniforms and weapons they need.

Here is the kicker. While I did buy a load of Crusader Germans and Americans, I would love to have some more BTD figures as well. They mix without any problems and offer figures no one else seems to make. They were also cast better than the Crusader I had ordered from Old Glory (I know this is a touchy subject, but I have witnesses I tell you! Witnesses!) I'll post back if I hear anything from Black Tree Design.

One Final Yipee Note!
The Soviets are finished! Everybody break dance! Ok, we can stop break dancing now. I'm getting too tired.... I began these Soviets something like 13 months ago or more. I forget because I'm getting old and we oldies forget a lot. What? Oh right. The Soviets are done. Back on topic. Well, I had worked sporadically on them until recently but 13 months is still a long time!

Yesterday, I finished painting the last details on the infantrymen and some officers. I also repainted the helmets--the green was too light, the photo I posted a while back didn't lie. I even made one of the officers an NKVD fellow, making sure the riflemen know which way is not retreating. I need to base them, varnish them, and finish off the bases. That is planned for my Spring Break next week. You know photos will be coming!


  1. I'll be very interested to hear the responce from BTD.

  2. I haven't heard anything yet, but hopefully I will.

  3. What a stupid way of selling figures? What ever happened to buying what you want?

  4. You are so right, Ray! I'm very disappointed that I haven't heard back from them at all, but their sales email still comes. Oh well. It's not like I don't have a pile of unpainted metal to work through. :-)


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