Historical Accuracy –
This review is of the 28mm French Infantry 1812-15 hard plastic miniatures sculpted by Alan and Michael Perry. They Perry miniatures are highly regarded and rightly so, this hard plastic set is incredibly good and accurate with opportunities for customization and a very useful leaflet included to help with the organization and painting of the miniatures included. I have broken down my review into different areas to properly digest the merits of these miniatures, although the set receives high marks all around in all of these different areas.
The set contains 42 hard plastic miniatures to represent one battalion of French Infantry and a variety of bases to arrange them as you see fit. It includes 36 figures in march-attack poses to be arranged across 6 companies and a further 6 figures that can be used as skirmishers.
Of the 36 figures 3 are the regimental command which include one officer with sword drawn, one drummer and one eagle bearer (both the eagle bearer and drummer have covered shakos while the officer has an uncovered shako).
There are 12 Grenadiers/Voltigeurs of which:
3 are in battle dress with uncovered shakos (these are in fact the same 3 miniatures all in the exact same pose)
3 are in battle dress with covered shakos (again these are the same 3 miniatures in the same pose)
6 are wearing greatcoats and have covered shakos. There are no Grenadiers/Voltigeurs wearing greatcoats with their shakos uncovered.
There are 21 fusiliers of which:
3 are in battle dress with uncovered shakos (these are the same miniatures in the same pose)
9 are in battle dress with covered shakos (3 groups of 3 different poses)
2 are wearing greatcoats with uncovered shakos (both are the same pose)
7 are wearing greatcoats with covered shakos (2 have one pose, 3 another, 2 another)
There are a variety of bases that can be used:
4 bases of 4.5cm x 4cm that I assume are meant to be used for the 4 fusilier companies.
11 bases of 4.5cm x 2cm that can be used for skirmisher units and the Grenadiers/Voltigeurs, although the choice is yours as to how you wish to arrange your basing as two of these add to the same as the larger 4.5cm x 4cm base. I would point out that there are not enough of these bases to completely outfit the battalion with the smaller base as you would need 12 and that is not including bases for the skirmisher units.
1 base of 1.5cm x 2cm and 1 base of 3cm x 2cm. These are bases that I assume are to be used for skirmishers.
The Perry Miniatures have been excellently sculpted. The proportions look good and there are no distorted body parts. Some miniatures can have tiny legs and massive heads which make them look a bit alien however these Perry miniatures look nice and human and have excellent levels of detail everywhere. The miniatures have come out extremely well from the moulding process. Most of the moulding lines run down the side and are noticeable only on the legs; however this is to be expected and will be found on most miniatures. The only problem that I can see from the set in regards to the moulding is to do with one of the changeable heads for the officer. The head that has him wearing the Bicorne hat is positioned with his face facing to the side rather than towards the front, the problem with this being that the mould line runs down his face rather than the side of his head by the ear. Unfortunately this makes the use of that particular head pretty much impossible –you can
use if you like but all the features are distorted and look terrible. I have included a picture of the sprue with the head to the right so you can see what I mean. There was some minor flash but it was limited to a couple of the Grenadier figures and was only around the musket and the pom-pom which were easy to reach and remove so they were not really an issue.
The set does offer a fair amount of customization options however these pretty much all revolve around changing the heads. The miniatures included already come with heads attached and either have uncovered or covered shakos. The alternative heads provided include extras of both covered shakos and uncovered ones in case you want some to change the amount that have either, however there are not enough for you to completely outfit the entire set with one or the other so it will always be a mix of the two. There are also further heads with no shakos at all and have either the “Pokalem” or the “Bonnet de police” fatigue caps if you want the soldiers to have a more relaxed look. A picture showing these can be seen to the left. These head customizations however are very hard to do in my opinion due to the fact that the miniatures are all hard plastic. Using my exacto knife I sometimes struggle even just cutting the appropriate parts out of their sprues without too much damage. I imagine trying to perfectly cut a head off a miniature without any parts jutting out and causing a blockage is very hard and not worth the effort due to the possible damage to the miniature itself. Other than the heads the only other customization is through the skirmishing Voltigeurs who can be arranged to provide actionable poses, although even here it is simply a matter of deciding on different arm poses rather than being able to customize the whole figure. Examples can be seen to the left.
As the set is designed for war-gaming the poses for the miniatures (other than the skirmishers) are all in march-attack. This means that they are all a variety of marching with the muskets shouldered. In fact I would say that there are a good amount of poses as there is enough difference to make it seem as though there is a difference between the soldiers rather than them all being the same model over and over again.
The historical accuracy is very good. There are some very minor issues but they are not serious can generally be resolved with a bit of paint. The habit-veste is the correct length for the time period of 1812-15 as these would be the shorter versions with the simpler front. All the miniatures are wearing trousers which is also correct as these would often be worn when on the march as the miniatures depict. The shako plates are also correct for the period for the miniatures that do have them uncovered. An extra strap is provided for the fusiliers but I believe this is just to show that they are carrying their water bottles. The minor issues are just that they all seem to be missing a button on the wrist cuff part of the uniform and the cockade seems to be missing for those with the uncovered shakos – both minor points and not completely necessary and both of which can be resolved with a bit of paint if you so choose.
The set includes some nice extras. For one the unit bases are very nice and not always included in miniature sets, although if you are using certain rules to play they may be the wrong size. The box also includes examples on the back of it of the uniforms of the French Line infantry of 1812-15 with them face fronting and flipped to show the back. This is extremely useful, especially for those who are just starting into the Napoleonic Uniform realm as they clearly lay out what colours are needed where and the difference in colours between Voltigeur, Grenadier and Fusilier.
Further to this a sheet (seen left) is included in the box with further examples of uniforms including the difference between line and light infantry uniforms and an example of Swiss Infantry Uniforms. The sheet provides a little detail of the French infantry during this period for some flavour and provides an example of how to base the set, including what colour pom-pom each company should have. This is incredibly useful as I had to struggle and trawl through an awful lot of stuff when I was first starting out to find this information. The box says that it comes with 2 different flags however the only thing I can see in my box is two examples on this sheet. I assume these are the flags and I should just cut them out and use them however I have to say I was expecting them to be separate to this information sheet as cutting it up ruins its usefulness at a later date.
Overall this is an excellent set. The models are accurate, the sculpting is well done and there are generally no issues which the moulds. The only thing I can think of, and this only really comes down to preference, is that the set favours covered shakos and the mix of greatcoats and battle dress may seem a bit strange.
One of the things I love about Napoleonic miniatures is seeing all the uniforms brightly aligned and presented, whereas the inclusion of half greatcoat/ half not and many covered shakos makes this set seem a bit ragtag. Of course this is most likely correct to do, especially for the time period, and the miniatures still do look very nice when painted up and standing next to each other it just would be my preference to have a complete battalion in either battle dress or greatcoat rather than a mixed one.
I would still wholeheartedly recommend this set however as they really are excellent, in fact if you have the same preference as me you could probably just buy 2 sets and swap around the models to get full battalions looking as you wish!