Sunday, March 25, 2012

Redoubt Enterprises Figure Review: SYW British Grenadiers


INTRODUCTION
This is a new review for an older product but a product which remains very competitive. I have already done a size comparison review against most other ranges in 28mm; namely Blue Moon, Front Rank, Old Glory and Crusader Miniatures. As I have almost finished painting up my Louisberg Grenadiers (composite grenadier battalion at Quebec 1858) which for me is modelled mostly with Redoubt figures, it may prove of some use to people considering building armies using this range.

More specifically, this review will cover the British Infantry: Grenadiers Standing Command pack (F&I 230) and the Standing Firing pack (F&I 231).

PRODUCT AVAILABILITY SALES AND SERVICE
Redoubt Enterprises offers their infantry packs for this range in six (6) figure packs currently retailing for GBP7.00 representing a unit price of GBP1.16 per figure (before deals) which in the 28mm scale represents a very competitively priced product - notwithstanding the quality of the sculpt.

I found and am sure I will continue to find business with Redoubt Enterprises easy and they were truly accommodating. They were flexible and highly efficient in meeting my order and I have no reservations in recommending them to anyone on that score.

F&I 230 STANDING COMMAND
The Redoubt Enterprises website contains no image for this pack as of the date of this posting and that is something which may put off some would be buyers. In this day and age of Internet shopping a high quality image for each and every product on sale is a must. Hopefully this posting will in part cover that gap and I regret not having the forethought of photographing my purchase before painting. My paint job obscures the casting detail but this is the only Grenadier Command pack I require for my project.

The Standing Command pack comes with six (6) figures in four (4) variants: an Officer, Sergeant (2), Ensign (2) and Drummer.

Officer in the command pack
The Officer is a solid casting with one arm raised ready to give an order and he wears a sash across his right shoulder. The face is neutral in expression. The officer's mitre cap is detailed on the front face with a generic-style relief not particularly representing any design known to me. Having said that, when painting, it lends itself reasonably well to those units with the King's Cypher (GR) which for me was fine as all Lousiberg Grenadier companies had that Cypher.

In general; however, I think that across the variations in all British grenadier cap designs, the cap would have been better sculpted with only the top crown detail which features in all units. This was certainly the option preferred by Front Rank Miniatures which the figure painter is free to detail as they wish. As with all of the mitres in this range, the piping detail stands out clearly and is easy to paint. The front flap detail is nevertheless confused and ill defined.
 

NOT REDOUBT
Front Rank converted to Sergeant
The inner and outer piping merges just above the Hanoverian white horse relief (centre of the flap) and allows for no detailing between the piping. Again, this is in contrast to the broad flat surface offered by Front Rank. Then again, you'd need more than an eye for detail to bother - requiring a mania to attempt it with a 00000 brush and a microscope.

Incomplete Ensign
The Ensign(s) is advancing and looking slightly upwards. There is nothing particular to remark on with this figure pose or sculpt except to say it is entirely consistent within this particular range and is a solid, competent sculpt. It also made for an easy conversion to an additional sergeant which I required, handier still because I only needed one ensign.



Sergeant converted to officer
Similarly, the Sergeant(s) is a broad figure with open coat and turnbacks un-buttoned, falling fully at the hem. The only remarkable thing about this figure pose is that it is quite unremarkable. The Sergeant stands in a neutral, 'at ease' pose looking a little vacant if anything.



The drummer in this set would have to be the worst detailed figure and markedly so. This is where you are reminded of the age of these castings falling squarely in the period when Essex and Dixon Miniatures ruled the world in 25mm. In a standing-playing pose, the lace detail and even limb definition disappears in the depths under the arms which are just 'filled in'.

Again, in contrast to my plain Front Rank fifer, this musician has the lace detail shown which is cut into the casting which I find a bit old school when compared to the raised piping featuring in the modern and more superior castings on offer in newer ranges. If you hadn't gathered, if ever I needed another grenadier drummer ...

PACK SELECTION
The six (6) figure range in this pack is fairly reasonable for my composite grenadier battalion but I even had to make a few conversions to maximise it's utility. I converted one ensign to a sergeant and one sergeant to an officer and I could have done with another officer. This is the dilemma when the product is not readily available for individual figure sales.

This is a figure pack largely suitable for gamers collecting in the older 1/50 representative troop scale of the Wargames Research Group era and is only really efficient for a composite grenadier battalion. Even for this size battalion, is of little use for grenadier companies attached to their parent line battalion given the wastefulness of the ensigns or standard bearers.

ACCURACY
Anyone who knows anything about the Seven Years War period and the uniforms which went with it will tell you that the range of variations within armies of all nations presents enormous problems in figure manufacture. In fact, thus far there hasn't been any real attempt to tackle even one national army near to comprehensively.

It logically follows that in both sculpting and in painting those figures, compromises have been and are continued to be made - some more palatable than others. In this matter, Redoubt Enterprises are no exception. These figures do; however, present a very adequate representation. They were my preferred choice when purchasing British Grenadiers and whilst not my only purchase, they remain my favourite.

F&I 231 STANDING FIRING
I'm not going to mince words on this figure - I really like it. I say it because this pack is simply a pack of six of the same sculpt, a British Grenadier standing and firing. The depth of detail is good, the sculpting lines are clear and crisp and it takes painting well. I have enjoyed painting this miniature which is as well because I have and will be painting quite a few of them. The detail of the mitre cap is the same as with F&I 230 as is the rest of the figure from its well defined gaiters to the turned-back coat. The lapel lace is in single 'loops' or rather no loop at all. The musket is superb if not possible a trifle too short? To sum up, these figures looked good to me on-line, they looked better in my hand and even better once painted up.

FOOTNOTE
To my mind there remains plenty of room in the Seven Years War period for a new company or two to really take on an army properly. Old Glory and Redoubt Enterprises are probably the only two companies which have made any real effort to cover in any depth the armies they have chosen to represent and have done so quite a while ago. Until that happens, it looks to be Redoubt Enterprises who will be the core supplier for my 400+ Quebec build and I look forward to seeing how their line infantry compare.

As a group, F&I 230 is a competent selection but if I had my time over I'd have opted for a different drummer.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Quebec: Figure Compatibility Review

The following is a compatibility review (as the title suggests) of the ranges of figures I have chosen from what is loosely termed the 28mm miniature scale for my project, the battle of Quebec on the Plains of Abraham. Before continuing I will note that there is one notable exception to the figures under review which I still intend purchasing and that is the Conquest Miniatures range. I will undertake an updated compatibility review at a later date once they are ordered and arrive.
What this is not is a figure review in the general sense of the word. It is not a critique other than to inform gamers so that they may make better informed decisions when purchasing figures which they may wish to mix and match. I will provide a more comprehensive figure review in the near future on the selections I have made.

RANGES

For your scrutiny in this comparison is (in no particular order) Old Glory Miniatures, Redoubt Enterprises, Blue Moon, Front Rank (Figurines) and Crusader Miniatures.
SET-UP

The photos have been taken with a Canon PowerShot S70 using a macro setting without flash. The figures were not trimmed or 'cleaned' and were arrayed on a base and back-drop of 5mm ruled grid. The back grid was raised 2mm from the base line to allow measurement from the top of the cast base of the figures. In other words, the measurements against the grid and the inset set square (in millimetres) begins from the sole of the foot to measure the height of the figure rather than the whole casting.
SUMMARY

In this posting I am of the view that the photos pretty well speak for themselves and it is up to individuals to make whatever judgements are pertinent for them. I will be using all of these figures in my army and I have often written and spoken about the size difference in figures and real life. Just in case someone isn't aware of my perspective ... I feel figures can and even should demonstrate size differences between human beings.
I have worked with and observed men whose height and proportional size varied from 5' nothing to 6'4" plus. If 28mm is taken to represent an average 6' tall man, then 4.66mm represents one foot. Applying representative or scaled measurements to the real life equation therefore could see variation in figure height from 23.33mm (5') through to 29.49mm - a variation of up to 6.16mm between figures. Please don't take my word for it - take some Jockey's to a Rugby function and see for yourself. As an aside, ever thought whether light cavalrymen were shorter and slighter built than heavy cavalrymen or infantry? Just thinking out aloud.
I am really very satisfied with the compatibility of the ranges sampled for my army. Particularly well suited are Crusader, Redoubt and Front Rank. There is only really one exception ...
Blue Moon and Old Glory

It is really with these two figure ranges that I have the only genuine difficulty. It is just as well, therefore, that both of these ranges comprise my light battalions and will be fielded in permanent skirmish order - on separate and scattered bases. With the exception of the grenadiers, my Blue Moon miniatures will not be based with other troops and most probably will not form up near them - being out skirmishing mainly on the flanks. Similarly, my Old Glory will form my two independent artillery pieces and separate skirmishing light battalion. It is only really the compatibility between these two ranges which might have been an issue. I have no reservations with mixing Blue Moon grenadiers otherwise and in fact quite like my grenadiers to be slightly bigger fighting men.