Today I would like to talk about models from the Napoleonic era. More specifically Austrian Napoleonic Infantry with shakos by Victrix Ltd.
As always I will start by taking a look at the box. Very nice artwork. Large illustrations of infantrymen, cleverly arranged so you see one from the front, one to the side and one half turned so the pictures almost serve as painting guide. To the left we've got pictures of three models as in the box but they seem to be a tad smaller than the actual models. The box also lets us know what we get: 56 models plus regimental flags.
The box looks a bit beat up around the edges because I had them tightly packed along with other stuff in my hand luggage on my flight back from Salute.
The short sides of the box display a lovely pink.
The back of the box gives us some historical background, more details on what's in the box as well as a nice overview of some different regimental uniforms.
This box is big (28,5cm by 19cm by 6cm) so let's see what's rattling on the inside:
The meat of the box is this - the infantry sprue. Six men per sprue, six heads with shakos. Four out of the six models on the sprue have arms cast onto the torso with muskets shouldered. For the other two models there are several arm positioning options on the sprue, namely musket shouldered, lowered for bayonet charge, firing, 'at porte', or loading.
There are twelve backpacks on each sprue. Six backpacks with bayonet sheathes, six with bayonet sheathes and swords. The first are meant for line infantry (such as in this box) and Landwehr, the version with swords is meant for Sergeants and Grenadiers.
Reason behind this is that Victrix does four not-so-different plastic boxes for napoleonic Austrians: Infantry (1789-1805), Infantry (1808-1815), Grenadiers and Landwehr. The sprues are identical in all of the sets except for the heads.
Infantry aside, there are the command sprues. Three models on foot to act as commander on foot, flag bearer and drummer. Then there is one mounted officer with horse. The left is casually holding the reins. There are four different arms to choose from for him and the officer on foot, all either sword in hand or hand resting on sheathed sword. Then there's one more waving arm and an arm with hand resting on the hip.
In terms of heads there are three with bicornes (again, for the officers), two with grenadier helmets, two with the older Austrian helmets, three with shakos and one head without any hat at all.
All models are cast in ivory coloured plastic and come with little stands cast onto the legs.
There are no bases included in the box. Clearly a shame on one hand but on the other hand - have you ever seen Napoleonics wargamers argue about how 28mm models are to be based properly? It's not pretty. ;-)
There are eight of the infantry sprues and two command sprues which means 56 men in total. Plus: two horses.
The casting quality is pretty good, the plastic is rather bendy - not bad given the rather delicate scabbards and of course bayonets the models come with. Building the models is rather unproblematic and the assembly instructions are very clear on which arms are to go together.
Mold lines of course have to be removed. In this regard, the ivory coloured plastic isn't too easy to deal with. In several cases I only noticed mold lines after the models were primed and I had started painting.
Sprues aside, there is a very nice little folder in there.
It's got an exact description of each part in the box and how they're supposed to go together as well as a very pretty flag sheet. Seriously good stuff. The same folder is included in all of the Austrian kits.
I decided to put together a bunch of models to depict a small unit/marching column because Napoleonics are made to stand in formation and they just don't work as well on their own I think. The poses of these models clearly support this notion as well. Apart from that, a few models to show the posing variants. An officer on horseback was mandatory as well.
So here they are, wearing the colours of Regiment 3 "Archduke Charles":
The officer on horseback and some line infantry. I based them on Renedra square bases, 40 by 40mm for the officer, 20 by 20mm for the infantry. I know, it's not quite correct as the guys are meant to stand "elbow to elbow" when in formation.
Researching the uniforms was pretty cool. I recently got myself "An illustrated Encyclopedia of Uniforms of the Napoleonic Wars" by Digby Smith and Jeremy Black.
Very pretty overall and great illustrations but weirdly enough the Austrian army after the reforms (which these models are supposed to depict) isn't really mentioned. It's more like an overview of the Austrian army around the end of the18th century. But then it's a British publication so ...let's say the Austro-Hungarian Empire isn't quite the focal point. Kind of a let-down when I noticed though.
Here's a little marching formation:
You can see how there essentially are two stances on the models.
A general little bit on Austrian uniforms: Imperial Austrian infantry was roughly divided into 'German' (including every nation in the Empire that wasn't Hungary so apart from "German" Austrians there were Walloons, Czechs, Poles and many more) and 'Hungarian' regiments. The former were known for being of high morale, apart from being well-fed and -educated and a bit ponderous but I guess compared to Napoleon's armies everybody seemed a bit slow. Hungarians were generally viewed to be fierce in combat (if the Empire had managed to conscript them at all).
by the industrious Dinium (check out his Loft at: http://diniums-loft.blogspot.co.at/)
German regiments wore all white uniforms, shakos from 1806 on (before that crested helmets). Cuffs, collars and turnbacks showed colours to identify the regiment. Hungarian regiments wore the same uniforms except for light blue breeches and ankle-high boots instead.
In this picture you can see the possible poses:
From left to right:
Regiment 9 "Count Clerfayt" (apple green) - firing
Regiment 11 "Count Michael Wallis" (pink) - musket at porte
Regiment 3 "Archduke Charles" (light blue) - loading
Regiment 55 "Count Murray" (pale blue) - musket at porte
Regiment 30 "Prince de Ligne" (pike grey) - charging
Regiment 16 "Baron Terzi" (violet) - musket at porte
Some single pictures of the officer:
What people usually look for in Napoleonic Wars miniatures is different to what you look for in things like say the Apocalypse Survivors I reviewed recently. Napoleonic Wars usually are played as large battles with very neat formations of line infantry, cavalry and artillery so fancy poses aren't really sought after, especially so with infantry. What you want is lots of models of nice quality and preferrably for little money.
Victrix's Austrian Napoleonic Infantry 1806-1815 does deliver in these regards. For £ 22.95 (prices from Victric Ltd. website, September 2013) you get 56 models at 41p each. This is an excellent price really. On a per-model basis, they are essentially the same as the Perrys' plastic Napoleonic Austrians.
Reenactors of IR3 "Erzherzog Karl", I.Grenadier-Compagnie (http://www.ir3.at/)
Assembly time is minimal albeit with enough options to have a front rank of each unit fire/charge/etc. and you get some really pretty looking officer figures and flags are included.
Casting and detailling are alright. It's not tip top quality in some places but that's due to the bodies being cast in one piece mostly (sans heads and backpacks) and as I said - these guys will show up en masse usually.
If you're interested in playing tabletop miniatures games set in the Napoleonic Wars, there is a whole host of rulesets to try. Most of them depict larger engagements (La Salle, Napoleon at War, General de Brigade, Shako, Black Powder and so on and so on) but there are also a few skirmish games like TooFatLardies' Sharp Practice or Ganesha Games' Song of Drums and Shakos.
Waterloo game at Salute 2013. These are all 28mm scale models.
Painting and researching these models got me a glimpse of why this period is an all-time favourite of wargamers all over the world. This stuff looks great on the table, especially so en masse and these inexpensive plastic models certainly make it more affordable to get into 28mm scale Napoleonics.
I hope that you enjoyed the review and found it useful or even entertaining. If you have any questions, maybe review requests, suggestions or ideas feel free to use the comments section below or just contact me via e-mail or Battle Brush Studios' Facebook page. The same goes of course for commission requests. See you soon! :-)