With this review we are going back to a historical period - the 17th century. The models are from the Firelock Storming Party box from Warlord Games' Pike&Shotte range.
Me, I'm a fan of Pike&Shotte. My first proper historical wargaming project I did for myself was/is two 10mm scale armies from the Thirty Years War, to be played with the Pike&Shotte ruleset. So looking through that rulebook which is full colour, hard bound and full of stunning pictures from, I do naturally get curious about Warlord's 28mm scale models.
For over a year I resisted but in the end I got a box from the 'proper' 28mm scale Pike&Shotte range from Warlord Games, mainly out of curiosity. There also are some foggy plans for skirmish gaming based on trenches of the 17th century during the Thirty Years War, the Siege of Vienna lateron but it's just one of those dream projects for "some day in the future".
That was all I needed though for getting this box. So let's dig into it.
Very pretty artwork, probably by one of the prolific Osprey Publishing house artists, we got a Warlord games logo, the Pike&Shotte logo, the name of the formation and what you get ('18 multi-pose, hard plastic and metal Firelock Musketeers').
The back of the box has some historical information on Firelock musketeers, a picture of the whole unit assembled and painted as well as a list of the box contents.
In the box we got 16 single one-man sprues of firelock musketeers, a sprue of flat Renedra bases, and two full metal models for a drummer and a Captain. Haven't seen that kind of sprue in a while.
16 times the same monopose body, each sprue comes with two pairs of arms and hats for some variety.
The models also come with oval "bases" cast onto the feet of the models. I'm not hugely into those to be honest but if you absolutely have no patience I guess they come handy when glueing the fellas to their bases. ;-) Otherwise you can either just glue them to the bases as is and smoothen out the bumpy edges with milliput or green stuff or just throw your basing grit and grass onto them. Nobody will notice, especially in a larger armies.
The casting quality is very good of course (cast by Renedra) although I have to say that the fit of the arms and the torsos could be better and there was surprisingly much in the way of flash. Nothing bad, just surprisingly much, going beyond mould lines, having these thin plastic flakes here and there as well.
One thing I really like about this kit (and from what I heard, that's the fact on all the plastic Pike&Shotte kits) is that the hats are seperate pieces. That's necessary too because the period's looks are defined by three things: Big, glorious hats, big, glorious beards and big, glorious trousers.
The thing I like though is that the heads and hair are fully sculpted instead of just having half heads on the models. It's nice having the option to position the hats a bit more "realistically" than just glued straight up onto a head with the top missing.
What disappointed me is the total lack of beards though.
If you're familiar with things like the Gripping Beast Dark Age Warriors and many other plastic kits by several UK companies you will have seen this kind of sprue. To some it's inexplicable in how it's got all these different kinds of square bases. I like the variety.
If I was gaming with miniatures on these bases I think that I would cut down some of them to get something like two models per base. But that's the beauty, you either get to use the many multi-model bases or just cut them apart or indeed glue them together.
In the picture I already had cut out some bases (six single 20mm square bases, a longer 80 by 20mm one and a 40 by 20mm one).
I really like the elaborate downside on these bases with the tiny nubs.
Warlord Games' metal models (glued to their bases in this pictue) are a bit hit and miss at times. The captain and drummer in this set though look beautiful. Captain has a very dynamic charging pose, partizan lowered, shouting. The drummer looks likewise, aiming a pistol forward.
Now here's a thing I like about Warlord Games' boxes: There's a little sheet in there too with further historical background, some painted examples and more background info and pictures. Very, very nice stuff indeed.
The only thing that's a bit of a shame is that all the historical background included is exclusively about the English Civil War. I know, I know, UK-centric company and ..well, hobby really, but I was taken aback a little with no mentioning of anything but the English Civil War on there. It might even limit the possible audience for the box.
I mean I'm a Thirty Years War guy when it comes to the 17th century and these models can be used for that conflict without problems at all. Actually, you could use these models as baggage train guards, city militia/guard, forlorne hope formations, dismounted dragoons, jaegers, single musketeers who got their hands on some firelock muskets and so on.
Here's a selection of models from the box built and based. I put them on round high bases (not included in the box). These are just eight so one short of half of the total box contents. One tip I only noticed when I started painting them - don't glue the hats on before painting. Leave them off, paint and glue them on in the end. Makes your life much easier. ;-)
I also filled the gaps at where arms and torsos meet with putty. This is just a must and you'll be happy you invested the extra time when you paint them.
If you plan to use those in your Warhammer Empire army - they may look a bit 'late' for Warhammer Empire army but it's not too bad. All you need to add is some Warhammer-y square bases and there you go. I was curious, so I made some mock-up kitbash things just to see how some random Warhammer empire bits fit:
The hat is taken straight from the Greatswords sprue, arms with greatsword are from the State Troops champion, pointing arm is from the Greatswords sprue and box arm is from the Huntsmen box. As you can see, the GW bits are a nudge too large but can be overlooked due to wide sleeves. I would say that you can use bitz from the newer boxes without problems. When it comes to the Militia box or the general box I'd be cautious. Overall, good fit as Warlord Games' models are quite on the "heroic" end of 28mm scale.
Here's the obligatory size comparison shot:
From left to right: Wargames Factory's Apocalypse Survivor, Warlord Games Firelock musketeer, Games Workshop imperial musketeer, Warlord Games Firelock Storming Party Captain, Gripping Beast Anglo-Saxon Thegn.
In terms of size - pretty much the same. Warlord Games' models certainly lean towards the 'heroic' 28mm scale, albeit not as much as GW's models of course. Still, they're rather buff compared to 'true' 28mm scale. This is why I'm a bit concerned about mixing say WGF and Warlord Games models in one army (could well be the case with Ancients, WW2 and so on).
I have to say that the details on the Wargames Factory models is more crisp than on the others but the detailling on the Warlord Games plastics is absolutely sufficient.
Picture: (c)Warlord Games, 2013
So what's the verdict overall? The quality is nice, the models are rather flexible in use when it comes to the period from 1600 up to the 1680s. For the price of £12.00 (price from Warlord Games website, Sep. 2013) you get 16 plastic and two metal figures. That's 75p per model plus 2 metal models on top. For plastic historical miniatures, that's absolutely okay.
So wether you play Pike&Shotte, Father Tilly, or any other ruleset of the period or if you want to use them for Warhammer, Kings of War or some skirmish system - this is an inexpensive addition to your collection. The parts are 100% compatible with other models from the Pike&Shotte range and I would definately suggest trying to mix and match a little if you have some other models from that range because the fact that the plastics are eighteen times the same model does show. Adding beards helps though and it's not all that hard to do.
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! :-)