Friday, October 5, 2007

Some Responses to Comments on Plastic Figure Availability

Jeff and Andy;

I use other plastic cavalry with mine. The only available sets that don't require conversion are (a) The out of production Revell Austrian SYW Dragoons, which are excellent. These do still turn up from time to time, especially in Germany and Canada. I recently acquired 10 boxes, which fills out my needs and provides me with an opposing force in the future; and (b) the currently produced Strelets-R Swedish and Russian Cavalry for the GNW. Will McNally has done some great work with these figures, but I just don't care for them personally. 12 different poses to a box? Great for diorama's or skirmish gaming, but just doesn't fit my mental picture of OSW unless you buy about 9 boxes or more so you can match them up. I have been barraging Zvezda with an e-mail campaign to produce matching Cavalry sets and finally received an answer that they "do plan on doing so at some point", whatever that means.


In metal, the only figures that I know of that mix well are (a) Musket Miniatures AWI Cavalry, however its all in Tarleton helmets or Lt. Dragoon helmets except for some mounted officers in tricorne that can be converted, (b) the old Scruby range of "true 25's" from Historifigs, which don't match the standard of sculpting on the Zvezda figures, (c) the very limited SYW range from Garrison, which is slightly larger but not bad if you only use their Cavalry, (d) Warrior Miniatures in Scotland, but their sculpting isn't up to the same standard, much like Scruby, and (e) the VERY limited ranges of Charles Stadden Tradition 25mm AWI, WSS and SYW which are extremely difficult to find anymore. They match the anatomical proportions well, but are nowhere near as detailed.


However, all is not lost, plastic conversion is much easier now than it used to be. Pinning major joints is still recommended, but there are adhesives that work very well, especially some from LocTite. And, if you pre-coat the figure with ModPodge or diluted PVA, this will seal and reinforce your joint. The Napoleonic Saxon Cuirassiers from Zvezda have the correct one-sided cuirasses and are excellent figures, the Grenadiers a Cheval from Hat will suffice for the few Caribiniers you might need (or convert them to Horse Grenadiers with some mitered Grenadier heads), and almost anyone's Dragoons will all work with new heads in tricornes. Figure it this way: If you use my "model" of buying 12 boxes for 12 battalions (your usage may vary depending on the rules you use) and convert the pikemen to more suitable standard bearer's, you will still have 12 unused standard bearers and 12 unused pikemen, if you buy one more box of "spares", you now have a total of 72 tricorned heads to convert cavalry with.


And, more good news, Hat and Zvezda are even now working on Austerlitz-era cavalry in longer coats with bicornes, which should look a little better, and Hat are working on early Prussian Hussars in mirlitons. They did decide to do their hussars in overalls instead of breeches and boots, but this can be remedied with a little carving and some paint conversion, or you can simply do them in campaign dress. The do have excellent slung pelisses and the greens look very good. Also, Italeri does a set of Cardigan's 11th Hussars from the Crimea with busbies, slung pelisses and tight overalls that convert very easily for elite hussars. Finally, if you choose to do English, or an English-inspired Imagi-Nation, Italeri's excellent English Lt. Dragoons from their AWI range make excellent Dragoons in helmets from 1759 onward. They are what I'm using for my two regiments of "English-style" Lt. Dragoons. So don't give up on the idea yet, look carefully at the pictures on Plastic Soldier Review and consider the possibilities. I'm also going to be doing some conversions and will detail the build and painting here, so stay tuned.


With regard to Artillery: in metal, Musket Miniatures works very well and they do excellent gun models as well. In plastic, if you can find a set or two of the Revell Austrian Artillery, you have all the gunners you will ever need and you can get guns from a number of sources. If you can't find the Revell, or don't want to pay the asking price, look at Will's page. The Strelets-R sets are very nice. Buy a couple sets of Swedes and one of Russians and you should be set. Then use Napoleonic guns or metal ones.
One more note: If "A Call To Arms" continue their recent trend, they should soon be duplicating their new Cromwell's Ironsides in 1/72nd, which will make excellent Cuirassiers for a WSS Bavarian force. Keep an eye out for them. Also for WSS, they do a set of Royalist Artillery that includes 4 decent light guns with the crew in civilian dress with broad flat hats. These can be mixed in as civilian crew members and transport crews along with your uniformed troops.


Sir William


Bluebear Jeff said...

Thank you for the response.

-- Jeff

Fire at Will said...

Bill, on artillery have you considered the Esci French Napoleonic Artillery for your heavier guns?


Bill McHenry said...

I have Will, but to be honest, I like the Zvezda set better and it includes an ammunition wagon. Also, with Zvezda's usual flair for re-creating uniforms, they modelled the French in long-tailed coats and high gaiters, which gives them some conversion potential.