Sunday, 31 March 2013

Perry Miniatures plastic AWI British infantry

A lack of painting time over the past couple of weeks means that I don't have a finished painted unit of the new Perry plastic AWI figures, but I thought I'd post some initial impressions now that I've finished painted 4 and have assembled a complete unit of 12.  Each box provides 30 hatmen, 2 NCOs, 1 drummer, 1 officer, 2 ensigns and 2 casualties.  Luckily the Perries are making the command sprue available separately, as this box provides about 2 battalions' worth of infantry at a 1:20 ratio.  The ensigns don't have gorgets, but otherwise are similar figures to the officer - i.e. no lace and no epaulettes; you could perhaps mix and match.  The ensigns don't have to carry the flags, as there are sufficient spare arms to give them swords or muskets. The key feature of this set for a collecting perspective is the different hats - tricornes, "Saratoga" hats and cut-down/uncocked hats.  This makes the figures usable across various campaigns and I very much hope that future AWI plastic sets will continue this theme, as that will increase the variety.

So, the positives: superb detailing and "casting" (I don't know what the equivalent plastic word is!); hardly any mould lines; excellent "Perry" faces; the variety offered by the command figures; ease of painting.  I also like the trail-arms pose (there is a "charging" option too).  This is a new pose in the Perry range and seems an apt one for troops moving quickly through rough and wooded terrain.  I've seen comments from some people who don't like it, but I do.  Marching and firing figures are already available in metal.  Another new feature on these figures are the "tumplines", i.e. rolled blankets in which the troops stored personal items.  These were slung across the back, but the figures are sculpted such that you can leave the tumplines off - all the other necessary straps are sculpted on to the back of the figures.  Finally, these figures are in the one-piece "gaiter-trowsers" (or "overalls" as the Americans called them), which again help on flexibility of use.

To my mind there are two negatives, although I suspect these will dissipate with practice at assembling the figures.  First, there's no obvious place where the tumplines should sit on the figures' backs.  Unlike the French and British Napoleonic infantry, for example, which have clear "bare" areas where the backpacks go, it's tricky getting the tumplines to sit naturally anywhere on the back of the figure. I was expecting there to be a flat bit on the tumplines to indicate the part that is fixed to the figures, but that isn't there either. The back of the figure itself doesn't give any indication, as it's sculpted to work without tumplines being attached. One solution is just to leave them off.  It may just be me, as Eclaireur finds that the tumplines sit well with the upper part across the ammo pouch and thinks a couple of the figures seem to be mildly recessed under the right shoulder to help the fit.  Perhaps I just need to experiment more.  Eclaireur also made the good point of having the folds of the tumplines facing upwards, as otherwise the bits of kit stored inside the blankets would fall out (I think the examples on the Perry website have the tumplines the other way around).  But as it is, I wonder whether the tumplines on the painted figures I've photographed here just look "stuck on".  Another suggestion was to dissolve or heat the bit of the tumpline which is attached to the figure, to bend it a little.  I might give that a go.  I also wondered about the straps for the tumplines, which don't appear to be sculpted on the figures - but apparently the blankets were attached to the canteen or breadbag straps.  (I also couldn't identify the bayonet scabbard belt, but perhaps that is "hidden" under something else.)    

The second issue I've had is that the different hats are very delicate and if you're not ultra careful it's easy to cut chunks out of them when you remove them from the sprue. The hardest ones to cut off are the un-cocked hats (i.e. the hats I'll use most frequently), as they are joined to the sprue by a triangle-shaped bit of plastic that needs to be carefully carved out of the hat.  Again, hopefully this will get easier in time, but it's going to be important to keep some of the leftover hats as spares, I think.

But those two points aside, I have no complaints whatever with the figures and the figures receive a hearty recommendation from Tarleton's Quarter.  The painting guide is right up there with the Napoleonic French hussars box's guide as a model of its kind (almost worth the price of the box in itself).  I had no idea that the troops' overalls came in different colours (white for summer, dark blue, brown or black for winter), and there is a helpful section on loyalist units that are thought to have worn lace on their coats, and so can be modelled with these figures (although, ironically, it seems that the officers of loyalist units often had lace, even if the hatmen didn't; so the command figures here need lace painted on).  And talking of painting, these paint up like a dream.  They are certainly easier to paint than the metal equivalents.  So they officially join the Perry plastic Napoleonic French infantry as being "figures that almost paint themselves".  

So what do I have planned?  Having started 25mm AWI back almost 10 years ago now, I pretty much have every British regiment in miniature.  I'm going to re-do a couple that require larger units for certain scenarios or which appear in "the South" and I only have them painted up in full warrant uniform, and some loyalist regiments as well (ignoring lace issues - I'm not going to bother scraping all the lace off the figures if it transpires that the King's Royal Virginia Rangers or whatever didn't have lace on their coats).  So here's the list:

- 17th Foot: 24 figures (for Princeton);
- 40th Foot: 32 figures (for Princeton);
- 57th Foot: 18 figures (for Hudson Forts);
- 63rd Foot: 30 figures (for Hudson Forts;)
- De Lancey's Regiment: 18 figures - red faced blue, which un-cocked hat;
- Royal North Carolina Volunteers: 8 figures - red faced blue; cocked hat;
- New Jersey Regiment: 12 figures - red faced blue, in-cocked hat (or I might go for the green 1777 uniform);
- Queen's Own Loyal Virginians: 12 figures (green faced red; cocked hat);
- Prince of Wales' Loyal American Volunteers: 20 figures - green faced blue, cocked hat;
- Loyal American Regiment: 16 figures - green 1777 uniform.

And the figures in the photos?  They are the King's Orange Rangers in green coats for the 1777 Hudson Forts scenario (in the third volume of AWI scenarios published by Caliver Books).


Christopher(aka Axebreaker) said...

They look wonderful Giles and just like you I do like the pose.


Rodger said...

Lovely paint work Giles. Thanks for the review too,I will be getting some of these!

The Wilde Goose said...

Very nice figures (lovely paint job too). Thanks as well for the in-depth review, the figures will be added to the Salute shopping list.

Dalauppror said...

Very nice review of the minis !

Best regards Michael

Silver Whistle said...

Thanks very much for the in-depth review Giles and seeing them painted up as Loyalists, superb.
Three boxes and the free mounted officer on the shopping list for Salute I think.

David said...

Sounds too fiddly to me, Giles. Give me metal figures any day! But, you've obviously enjoyed the effort required to get the figure you like.

LittleArmies said...

Hello Giles,
Super stuff as ever. I can't get past the "18th Century, so must be march-attack" mentality (even if I also know that wasn't the case at all) so not wild about the pose. But great painting as ever. And, as always, I admire your dedication to one period - I'm like a damned butterfly!

Sire Godefroy said...

Thanks for the in-depth and honest review (actually, you beat me to it). It's obviously a set worth to have.
Your excellent paintjob pretty much blurred any difference to the metal figs, which's a relief to me.

Cheers, SG

irishhighlander said...

I have friends of mine in the King's Orange Rangers from Liverpool, Nova Scotia, Canada.

AJ (Allan) Wright said...

Another positive is that the more inexpensive plastics will mean an influx of new gamers to the AWI genre. Well I'm hoping this is the case - plastic Napoleonics definitely had that effect on Napoleonic gaming in our area.

Kukke said...

Great looking figs!


painterman said...

Nice work on great looking figures. Plenty of scope and will have to start planning more expansion of my southern theatre AWI for later this year.

Silver Whistle said...

Giles, great idea with using these for Loyalists.
I need to ask your advice on Loyalists please. Did they carry two or just the one flag and do you know who sells them, as GMB doesn't seem to have much for Loyalists.
Thanks Pat.

MurdocK said...

heat up your blade for carving.

I have a soldering iron that can take an xacto blade in it, thus hot all the time.

Stefan (aka. Monty) said...

Honestly I cannot believe that those came out three years ago...
Many thanks for your detailed review. Finally I'll buy one of those boxes.

Deba Sheesh said...

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