This unit is my second attempt at building and painting 28mm Perry Plastic figures. Having previously painted twelve of the Perrys' British hussars I didn't find the experience particularly satisfying. Well it seems that this was largely as a result of my choice of using spray undercoat - never again. I wasn't sure if these plastic constructions would handle my normal hand-painted enamel undercoating but they do as it turns out. This then enabled me to conform to my usual wash-painting technique. I have enjoyed painting these figures so much more and can pretty well guarantee returning to these Perry sculpts for more Napoleonic cavalry in future.
They are superior to their British hussar counterparts to my mind. They have a variety of faces - even though the moustache is once more universally applied to all figures. Perhaps someone should have informed Murat of his inadequacy? The three horse poses come in two halves (lengthways with two legs apiece) and can be broken up a little with mixing the opposing halves for a total combination of nine possibilities. I mixed up the legs with overall trousers and breeches (deliberately) and posed the torsos left/right/straight-on and fixed the heads at different attitudes. Greater variety might have been achieved had these sculpts not come with fixed sword arms in three poses. I fixed the pelisse only on the trumpeters and officers.
Each box set comes with fourteen figures to assemble with one officer and one trumpeter. For wargamers like me; however, I require two boxes for most regiments at 1:20 representative troop scale. In this case, I required 21 figures for three seven figure escadron. I would have preferred a second officer per box and trumpeter. In fact, if the figures had pose-able sword arms a second option with a trumpet would have enabled this easily for those like me requiring one. Given that the box set comes with an eagle, it should have come with a second officer mount (with shabraque) for the officer who more properly carried the standard - I regard this as a genuine shortfall.
The sides of the head of each rider where the chin-scales might meet the shako brim are 'confused' - or at least I am. If they are supposed to be chin-scales, then they totally lose definition toward the rider's chin. At least this is the case with the late war shako head variant I used. The fur busby of the elite company does not have this confusion - clearly they have chin-scales. With my shako riders I have elected to paint this area as side-burns which they may very well be for all I know. The eyes slits on these figures for the riders are narrow and heavily lidded, making the task of painting eyes and eye-balls a very precise exercise. The uniform creases really take my paint-wash rather well. I just love what I suspect might be over-sized sabres and whilst the sword arms only come in three poses, a twist in positioning the torso breaks this up effectively.
The necessity of having to construct these models (seven parts each including horses) and particularly with the way the scabbard and sabretache form a separate attachment renders these figures truly three-dimensional. This makes it fiddly getting in behind outer elements of the model which isn't usually an issue for metal figures; the sculptors having to consider the practicalities of the casting process in their designs.
Last time I blue-tacked the figures to their painting stands (corks) which tended to shift a bit during painting. This time I returned to my practice of gluing them - far better. They are of course much lighter than a metal horse and rider and a couple of times they have popped out of their painting tray and tumbled to the floor accompanied by my obscene commentary. They bounce well on carpet; however, and suffered no damage - nice one
I had difficulty with gluing the shabraque to the figures. I lost one early on and opted to continue without one for further variety. Two more, I re-glued at the end. I cannot emphasise enough the need to ensure they are fixed well before painting. I shall do better next time.
The end result is extremely satisfying and they really do paint up superbly. This lot took me an awfully long time to finish; about four months. All my other life tasks just get in the way, but I think they have been worth it. I went for a very muddy, drenched field look.