A discursive look at Napoleonic & ECW wargaming, plus a load of old Hooptedoodle on this & that

Wednesday, 28 September 2011

Beauties & Beasts

I've been putting together some mixed bataillons de marche, and I was rummaging through the spares boxes - reaching layers that usually don't see the light, and I was also thinking of the very pleasant email I received from Jean-Marc recently, in which he noted his disappointment at my lack of enthusiasm for ROS 25mm figures - he being a big user of their 6mm chaps.

So this is simply a small collection of pictures of odd figures which caught my eye - not particularly significant or collectible, but some of them are examples of things which I like very much (sometimes for reasons I would be pressed to explain) and some are things which are somehow classical in their - well, simplicity, shall we say. I criticise nothing here - these are just a tiny sprinkling of the rich variety of wargames figures which have been available to us over the years.

Scruby OPC infantry colonel

Scruby infantry drummer - you can be a sculptor too

Qualiticast Rifles Officer - you can't do this, though

NapoleoN Light Dragoon officer

Minifigs 20mm Brunswicker - why is this such a satisfying figure?

ROS 25mm - the French were the ugliest

And, lastly, simply because they were well received when glimpsed in a recent wargame pic, here's a proper view of the Phoenix Model Developments Royal Horse Artillery. Guns are Hinchliffe 20mm, and the mounted officer is the notorious Minifigs BNC20, which sold in surprising numbers because a bunch of optimists like me hoped (vainly) that they might convert into Light Dragoons. Painting is by the great Jez Farminer, slumming it a bit to conform to my house style!


  1. I like the Heroics and Ros 6mm myself, but I love to see all the Jack Scruby stuff. That was pronounced 'scrubby' around here, but those guys also pronounced union like onion. I think Jack Scruby could also arm-wrestle, besides sculpt and publish.

  2. I've recently been getting a good few Scruby figures painted up, and they surprise me (every time) by how well they look when they're done. I think we've come to accept the quality of modern castings, and the older stuff can be a bit of a rude shock, but they paint up OK. A separate issue is the deterioration in the old moulds - I abandoned a few dozen Scrubies simply because the castings were too lumpy to clean up.

    The ROS 25mm Frenchers make me think of my unstoppable grannie, who used to say "If you can't fight, wear a big hat" - I've tried unsuccessfully to find a source for that one, which appears to be from the North of England.

    By 'eck.

  3. Those horse artillery are stunning. I looked on the Phoenix Model Developments site, but it just seems to be 1/12 dolls house stuff.

  4. Mr Kinch - I hadn't realised PMD were still going - well well. In comparison, the wargames output of Les Higgins/PMD was fleeting, really. Napoleonics were introduced 1971, and Les Higgins died in 1972. Tim Richards took over as chief designer, and he mastered all the Nap cavalry after the Polish lancer and the KGL hussar, plus the horse artillery crews and the British command set. [By the way, I believe that the bloody awful Higgins/PMD 'carousel' Napoleonic cavalry horse was originally intended as a stopgap, derived from the company's colonial range, which was designed by Brian Marlow. Higgins' own horses for the ECW and Marlburian ranges are lovely. During the even more fleeting period when NapoleoN Miniatures reissued some of the Higgins/PMD figures, they apparently considered offering PMD cavalry with their own horses as an option, which is yet another grand plan which never materialised - now that would have been something.]

    Around 1978 PMD abandoned the wargames ranges, starved out of the market by the tall Hinchies and the fat Minifigs. After that they concentrated on 54mm stuff - including the notable Sanderson(?) range of distressed ladies - and, as you say, dolls house things.

    The RHA figures all have the same face (brothers?) and show just a touch of gentle upward scale creep compared with Higgins' original infantry. One characteristic of PMD is the beautiful finish on the masters - critics consider the range to be stiff and unnatural. Higgins own background was in the worlds of jewellery and commissioned sporting trophy sculpture, and it always seems to me that the little soldiers are a bit like miniature trophies.

  5. It looks like the bucket really works, too.