Update on earthquake damage

Stacky has reported in with an update on the damage to his wargames armies during the recent Christchurch earthquake:

The salvage operation is nearly complete and although casualties have been high, the only fatalities have been some large resin figurines that have been decapitated and shattered beyond repair.

I have been extremely fortunate that I should have my armies back to fighting strength with some rebasing and a lot of glueing and touch-up paint work. My medieval army has lost a lot of broken spears that were part of the castings (mainly Bretonian spearmen from Games Workshop) and the cavalry units seemed to have come off worst, losing riders, swords, carbines and standards. That said, most should be repairable. However, the long awaited display cabinets are write-offs … but will be covered by insurance.

I do wonder how any plastic figures would have stood up to such an episode. Although some cannons, limbers and wagons came to pieces, most figures only had bent or broken muskets, bayonets and shako plumes. Almost all the standards broke away from the bearers, as to be expected, but the florist wire that I use for them is very strong and none broke.

My scene investigation revealed that the two drawers at the bottom of each cabinet were open at the time the units toppled. In fact, it is most likely that is the reason they toppled, as these drawers had all my unpainted lead in them. Hence, with the quake moving in a south to north motion, the drawers swung out and the weight in the drawer brought the units crashing down.

So I have learned three lessons from this experience:

  1. Always secure such furniture to the wall.
  2. Don’t have your lead mountain all together in a drawer that is not secure … the weight of it may surprise you.
  3. Don’t use balsa wood for bases! All the mdf bases remained undamaged (so I will be eventually rebasing all my units to mdf).

I have my miniature collection insured and separately named on my policy. However, this is really only for a total loss such as a fire, hurricane or burglary. It might be something worth considering, taking into account the cost of replacement and the hours of painting.

I have spent today bracing all the other book cases and wall units in the house for when we get the next big one … but hopefully not in my life time!

My 8 year old son, Seamus, has been more concerned for my figures than I have
been. He has put all the recovered ones into line, placing all the broken
standards together on my gaming table … and it looks a bit like the roll call
after the Charge of the Light Brigade … riderless horses, bent and broken
lances … some figures are bent sideways as though wounded or drunk … and many figures are missing from stands. When I first saw the mess I was disappointed and just closed the door and thought that I could deal with it later. I also knew that it could have been preventable if I had secured the units when I had thought of it a week or so ago.

C’est la vie!

Wayne (just sitting through another wee jolt as I write)

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