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Dienstag, 22. Januar 2019

Review: 1/16th Cuirassier by MiniArt



Today I would like to chat about Miniart's 1/16th scale French Cuirassier kit.



For the longest time I've wanted to do a larger scale figure, just because they look so nice. Of course the first place I looked at was the usual suspects (Andrea, Pegaso, Alpine Miniatures, ...), but I was out for a horse-mounted figure, and while these companies' offerings look gorgeous, I wasn't sure if the genre was for me at all, so I didn't want to pay all too much for the first figure of this size. Of course I also ran across those sites on which companies offer recasts, but those are to be avoided. It's theft, plain and simple. And it hurts the companies which we generally like to exist, so the most counter-productive one can do is buying recasts. 



Anyway, I ran across a company called MiniArt Figures, who offer 1/16th figures in plastic (among other things)! They're not the only ones who do this, but the only horse-mounted and non-WW2 figure I could find in plastic. At just under EUR 30,00 the price is perfectly acceptable I thought, so I placed an order. 

I went with a French Cuirassier, because in my European ways I have a soft spot for heavy cavalry.



What's in the Box?



The model arrives in a traditional cardboard box, no bells and whistles, but really nice box art. Inside I found some injection mold plastic sprues, a pretty good assembly and painting instruction folder (showing the figure from the front/left and back/right). 

The box is also said to contain a little sheet of thin plasticard for modelling straps of all kinds (more on this later). I think I immediately misplaced that one though.


Assembly


After some dry-fitting I went on to assemble the guy and his horse pal. 

 

The fit of the parts is less than perfect. Especially on the two halves of the horse's body I had to do quite a lot of shaving, gap-filling and all of that. So be prepared for that. I didn't assemble everything of course, but left a bunch of parts separate for painting.

One of the more demanding tasks was modelling the sword's basket. The kit only comes with the plastic bits, which is the reason you sometimes see this model online without a basket at all. 


Modeller's price dictated that I had to build one myself then. 

Photo source: https://swordscollection.blogspot.com/

Fast forward a few months, the guy was almost painted. A little shock was had as I thought I'd misplaced the scabbard, found it again, had some trouble building the straps the scabbard's dangling from. In the end I went with thick craft paper. Let's see how long that'll last. So far it's half a year and it's doing well. Knock on wood.

Right at the end of the painting process I had to tackle the biggest challenge with this model: Bridles. Unless you're a horseman I think it's an incredibly complicated thing to figure out. At least for me it was.


Thankfully the kit is pretty supportive in this in that buckles and such are all sculpted on. But you still have to figure out what goes where, cut out the reins from plastic, and glue them on in a halfway convincing fashion. Took me a while and a lot of groaning.


In the end the chap was done though.



Painting


I had opted to paint him as member of the 7th Cuirassiers, simply because I didn't want to go with the ever-popular red. 


The regimental number on the valise (the boxy thing in the back of the saddle) and the grenade symbol on the saddle cover are free-handed.




Paining the face on this guy was great fun. It was probably the first thing that was finished, along with the horse.


So yeah, a very, very interesting experience. I spent a few months working on this model on the side, and I'm pretty proud about how he came out in the end. Technically he should be on some sort of scenic base and stuff like that, but for now this is how he looks and this is how I take him with me on the show circuit.




Verdict


This is a nice, affordable large-scale figure. Perfect for beginners and advanced modellers and painters alike. Well, maybe a bit more for the latter (especially when it comes to straps and the reins and such), but I'd like to encourage anybody to try this. At this price it's barely wasted money.


If I had something to critizise (and I guess I should, because this is a review after all) it's mostly small things: The pose is a little stiff. Less appearant on the horse, a bit more so on the rider. I also noticed that compared to the rider the horse is a tad small. Especially as this is heavy cavalry. Sure, the French army was pretty much always short on horses, but I'm not sure if this is a reflection of this fact. I'm almost inclined to believe that this has something to do with the size of the box and thus of the sprues, but that's just me guessing. In general the details could be a bit deeper, surface textures could be a bit better here and there.

These kits being plastic automatically calls for an economic approach. This horse model for example is used in several other kits by MiniArt, same as many parts of the rider.


All these chaps share the same horse and saddle covers and some other parts as well. As I said, economical. MiniArt are really good at that, as evident in their large scale figures on foot as well.

The fit of the parts is less than perfect. As I mentioned above, quite a lot of shaving, filing and gap filling is required. But once the model's done it's really pretty. And large. Here's a size comparison with a handful of 28mm Gendarmes d'Élite by the Perrys:


By the way, here's possibly my biggest gripe with the model: I don't like the way the plume is done. I just find the texture to be not satisfying. I seriously consider building one from scratch. In the photos with the white background above you can see I actually took the plume off.


But yeah, for what I was looking for it's a perfectly fitting model with which I had a lot of fun (and some bad times as well). I learned a lot doing this chap. So yeah, see, I can do all the sizes and scales. 2mm up to 1/10th and bigger. Hope you like him too and that you found this review informative and possibly entertaining. 



If you would like to have such a beauty on your shelf as well you can of course feel free to contact me about commissions. :)






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