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

Monday, 15 October 2012

ECW - High-Ups #3

Let’s be honest about this – I am not unbiased. My liking for the Les Higgins ECW range is of many years’ standing, and the fact that they are available again in unlimited quantities (steady...) is probably the main reason for my opting for 20mm for this period – a choice which, let’s face it, is a lot less convenient than 15mm or 28mm would have been (or 6mm, as I am coming to realise).

Anyway, here is one of the two available Higgins senior officers – mounted on a Higgins horse, as promised. I don’t like Higgins horses all that much – I will certainly use quite a few, but I have a strong fancy for using SHQ horses as a standard default for mounted figures of any make (which is likely to include Tumbling Dice as well). If there is one thing calculated to help make differing ranges of cavalry figures look the same size, it is mounting them on the same horses. Expect, then, to see some Higgins cavalry on SHQ horses at some point.

But the point of this first batch of generals has been to compare and cross-reference men-on-horses as supplied by the various manufacturers, to get a feel for the possibilities without too much fudging. So let’s be appropriately critical of Higgins for a second. The horse is – well, OK. The figure of the officer is lovely – Les H was a sculptor, a real artist, and a proportion of his experience had been in the world of trophies and monumental figurines – thereby hangs a common criticism. His wargame figure poses are elegant, but stiff and without vigour. Lovely sculpting, a machine-quality finish which surpassed anything around at the time (circa 1970), but there is little attempt at natural animation, and a good number of the mounted poses have their weapon arms stuck out awkwardly, sideways, just to simplify the mould-joins for casting.

This little man is handsome, and is anatomically the most authentic of the three, but he lacks character. I guess there’s no answer to this. If I were a 28mm collector, I’d be able to buy bespoke castings for a whole crowd of named celebrities, so I guess this is all part of the consequence of going with 20mm.

OK then – I’m happy enough. The last picture from this episode is to show what I set out to prove in the first place – that three figures from three different manufacturers, each on the correct horse from the corresponding range, are fine together. Painted up, they are all happily and comfortably 20mm brothers – they can exist in the same world and on the same tabletop without awkwardness. The variety of style, indeed, becomes a strength.  

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