A promised, here's the review of the latest miniatures that I received, some 15/18mm French Old Guard Chasseurs a Pied figures from Napoleon at War and Essex.
Napoleon at War French Old Guard Chasseur a Pied Battalion
Essex French Old Guard Chasseur in Greatcoat and Bonnet de Police Review
|The blisters as they arrived in the mail.|
As has been the case recently, I purchased these figures when I found them on sale at very good prices in the bargain section of one of my favorite online retailers. While I've bought Essex figures in the past and knew about what to expect from them, I was curious about the Napoleon at War figures, which are produced by a Spanish company called Man at War Miniature Games. These figures are bulk packed with included bases, I'm assuming to be used with Man at War's own proprietary ruleset, but the large number of figures per pack piqued my interest: it was nearly enough for one of my 36 man battalions. The pack was advertised as containing 32 figures, but when I broke it open and started counting, it turned out to contain 33! Bonus! At the price they were on sale for, I couldn't resist the deal. Unfortunately, in my opinion, these are the few positive points I've found regarding these figs.
The Napoleon at War figures are approximately 18mm or largish 15mm; it's hard to say for sure, as the minis are sporting the rather large bearskins worn by the Old Guard. I believe that these figures would fit in height wise with AB and Fantassin figures, but never stylistically; these figures are definitely from the "rough and ready" school of sculpting. The Essex figures are the same old same old. They may be Napoleonic dwarf lords, but at least they are consistent.
|The more mundane contents of the Essex pack: 8 standing or marching French Chasseurs a Pied in greatcoats and bonnet de police.|
As I mentioned, the Napoleon at War minis are very rough and ready. The sculpting on these guys makes the Essex figures look like masterpieces; overall, they are kind of lumpy, with mushy details. The metal is also really, really soft; I could see the rifles and bayonets on these lads bend and break quite easily if they were mishandled or dropped. In my humble opinion the quality on these guys is severely lacking and probably one of the worst things about these figs.
Other than production values, the figures are wearing the appropriate equipment and uniforms to represent the Old Guard Chasseurs a Pied. It's also neat that the Essex figures are wearing the bonnet de police fatigue cap, which from what I've read was quite popular amongst French troops of the era.
|Size comparison between the two manufacturers. The larger overall size of the Napoleon at War figures (18mm vs. 15mm for the Essex figs) plus the tall bearskins make them tower over Essex's Napoleonic gnomes.|
The good price I got on both of these packs of figures is why I bought them in the first place. Frankly, if I hadn't have gotten the Napoleon at War figures at a deep discount (I paid $7.19 for them--$0.21 per figure--when they normally run $25.88), I would have felt sick paying $0.78 per figure for them: that's higher than AB figures, and with much lower quality! The Essex figures were also slightly discounted as well, but their prices have always been consistent for what you get from them.
All in all I'm a bit disappointed in the quality of the Napoleon at War figures for what they charge for them. They do come in large packs which is nice for guys like me who have large numbers of figs per unit, but the high prices for low quality is not good. However, I got mine cheap, and if you can too, then you'll have some decent figures to flesh out your armies. I'm looking forward to having some Old Guard to protect the Emperor from the damn Ruskies!
Coming soon: I should be getting my 12 pounder for my American artillery from Brigade Games sometime this week, and I'll post some pics when it arrives. I'll also be on the lookout for my Knuckleduster figs as well.
Questions, comments and criticism are always welcomed and appreciated. Thanks for looking!