Do I paint over the plastic pieces that come with the game?
You can but the small, soft plastic miniatures aren’t ideal for taking paint. The ones like the boats with flat surfaces should do fine. You can prime them first, but its hard to do detail at this scale unless you’re really good. Another consideration is that you will have to mass produce quite a few minis in order to have full sets for most of your games, otherwise you’ll end up mixing painted and unpainted stuff which is kind of confusing to the eye.
-What if I mess up? Do I just wash the paint off and start over?
Not after things dry. You can use the technique of wiping wet paint (I use cotton gun cleaning rag) away from unintended areas, this works like an eraser. If you recoat/re-dip a small mini like these all your detail will be lost in layers of paint.
-What is the purpose of buying the expansion miniatures?
for fun. FMG sells a lot of cool sculpts but they are not universally used in AXA, primarily in other similar games (eg Global
-Are expansion miniatures already painted?
No, unless you buy them that way eg Axis and Allies Miniatures Game
-Can expansion miniatures be used to play my 1942 2nd ed?
Yes, but they are only variant sculpts (eg different halftracks, different tank models) or house rules.
-Is it difficult to learn?
Yes, though not for a wargame. Rules are fairly simple though subject to much interpretation if not read carefully. Should take 3-5 games to get good then 3-5 years to get awesome.
-How long does a came last on average?
42.2; About 4 hours to surrender, a bit longer until victory conditions. G40/G42 take more like 10 hours-14 hours. WW1 5-7 hours.
-How does A&A compare to say, the hexagonal war games of the 70s and 80s?
It is much less complex than a chit game. Logistics and “rock-paper-scissors” unit balance aren’t in AxA. Combat and movement are dramatically simplified. Where chit games (aka Avalon Hill) games are a detailed, complex and abstract slog, axis and allies is a lighter, more “army men” sort of game with the depth coming from repeat play and learning from mistakes. The quality of the pieces and the layout of the map are a huge draw in comparison to large paper maps, hundreds of similar, boring pieces and rules that are incomprehensible outside the context of each game. Games like Memoir 44 and AxA try to capture strategy, tactics in a more playable and engaging format than a realistic, unit by unit, “order of battle” style game, but try to be much more in depth than games like Risk where there are no unit types and every team is essentially the same.