Category Archives: Perry Miniatures

Perry French Napoleonic Heavy Cavalry Review

I purchased a box of Perry French Napoleonic Heavy Cavalry to make some late wars French Carabiniers.  I’m very disappointed.  I find this set really inadequate, and after assembling 8 of the horses and riders have just given up on it.  Happy to sell if someone wants a partially assembled set.

So, after you read this you may ask, why did I even bother buying it in the first place, so I’ll start with what attracted me and what I think is good about the set.  It was appealing to me to be able to do both Carabiniers and Cuirassiers from the same set.  The math of 14 figures per box doesn’t align perfectly with what I wanted to build, but pretty close and at around 3USD per figure, the price was right.  If you look down through my blog you’ll see that I’ve done quite few Perry plastic WotR figures for WotR and Venetians in the 15th century.  I like those figures a lot.  I am not particularly fond of the mounted figures in that range primarily because of the horses.  But I’d read a lot of nice reviews about the Perry horses in the Napoleonic range so assumed many of my concerns there were fixed.  Lastly, I’ve become quite fond of plastic – not because of the cost but because of the ability to do conversions easily.  For Napoleonics for battles the conversion ability is not that important as I really just want big units of guys marching or guys charging and doing a lot of one off conversions isn’t that important.

The riders in this set are pretty nice.  They all have separate heads and the heads are kind of same-ish.  But what can you do with guys with mustaches in a helmet like that?  So those are fine.  They have arms so you can make shouldered are swords extended and that is a nice touch.  I was only interested in the charging pose really so experimented with positioning the arm at various heights and it was easy and believable in a number of positions.  The scabbards are a little bit fiddly.  The instructions note that the built terminates under the cuirass and the turnback which was a helpful instruction.  The end result is really nice because the strap is clearly separate from the rest of the figure casting for a good result.  I gave up before I glued the carbines on their straps.  I was curious about the note instructions that say to attach them to the saddle rather than the rider?  Maybe if I got to glueing the rider onto the horse I would see what they meant but that’s really a bit of a head-scratcher otherwise.  There is a nice touch with a separate piece of plastic for the sunburst on the carabinier officer.  And lastly, the cleanup of mold lines on the riders was hardly necessary.

That’s about all I have to say about this set that is nice.  The rest of it is, shall we just say, extremely disappointing.  You get a command sprue with two horses, one for the officer and one for the standard bearer, presumably.  Interestingly the officer will set in the standard bearer’s horse, but not vice-versa.  The lower body of the standard bearer was carved too deep for the horse with the portmanteau.  You can’t really swap them because then you’ll end up with two layers of fringe underneath the cuirass for the officer and none for the standard bearer.  I ended up stealing a body from one of the other sprues and sticking the standard bearers torso on that.  You end up still not having fringe under the bottom of the cuirass, but at least it fits the horse.

I’m also not keen on having only one officer’s horse in the set.  I had envisioned doing 4 squadrons of carabiniers, each with an officer and a trumpeter, and the thought of the same horse for every officer in the two regiments sounded a little boring.  I’m told by folks online that I could raid the dragoon command sprue to get additional officer horses and that seems reasonable.

I wanted to do the units as charging so needed the horses in galloping poses.  I think the officer’s horse in the set might be thought to be believably at the gallop, but I’m not quite sure.  At first blush it looks like a horse that has had a mild fright and is starting to rear rather than a horse somewhere in stride at the gallop.  It’s clearly not standing or trotting, so not sure.

The rest of the horses come in two parts.  I fiddled around with them for awhile.  I ended up making three of the horse out to be in a reasonable trot.  I tried making the others somewhere in a gallop.  None of them are really convincing, and only one of them is really plausible even as a horse in a gallop.  And actually apart from the horses that are clearly trotting, I’m not at all sure what these horses are supposed to be doing.  Some kind of horse fantasy contortion I guess.  Of these 4 I think the 2nd from the left is possibly believable as being at the gallop.

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My second gripe is the amount of gap filling that is needed on the horses.  That was kind of my main beef with the war of the roses horses was the seam down the back of the horse’s rump that needed to be filled.  These are better, or so I thought, because there is a strap down the middle of the rump that will hide that seam.  It does, which is nice, but there are still gaps in a couple of places on most of the horse.  Here is the gap in the saddle furniture.

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And in the right front flank.

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On the first 8 horses I put together, 7 of them needed gap filling to hide rather noticeable gaps.  In fact, I prefer fixing the seam on the WotR horses because it’s a little bit of filler and a little bit of careful sanding and it’s done, whereas on these, the gaps are noticeable in places that either need sculpting afterwards (in the middle of the portmanteau in the top picture) or hard to reach (in the neck below the reins in the lower picture).  I don’t know whether this is a sculpting problem or a casting problem, but it’s a lot of work.

And that brings me to my last issue.  I’ve been building a lot of plastic models in the past year – 1/700 ships, 1/48 tanks, 1/72 planes – and coming to these after doing those made me think how awful the casting quality is.  I wasn’t able to get a really good photo of this, but here is my one attempt:

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It doesn’t show it all that well, but there’s a pretty clear mold line down the middle of the horse’s nose and along the front and back of both legs.  This is true and noticeable on the back legs also.  It makes for a lot of work to clean up and I’m just thinking about how these kinds of casting lines are all but non-existent with model making companies.  I imagine these are harder to cast than halves of ships or tanks, or planes, but still, the amount of work on this is quite noticeable.  Is that really the best we can get?

In conclusion, the tradeoff of the extra work required for assembling plastics is worth it to me personally, but not this much work, and not when the end result is pretty hard to believe.

 

 

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Bouchier

A small contingent for A Crown of Paper/A Coat of Steel.

Three stands of archers.  And a stand of men-at-arms.

The flags and the livery badges are from Citadel Six.  This is Henry Bouchier, Viscount Bouchier, who is an inactive magnate at the start of the 1459 campaign.  He might come in on the side of the Yorkists.

I love the green and black and loved the falcon livery banner so much I used it instead of the knot which is the badge on the retinue jackets.

 

WotR gonnes (mostly Perry)

You need a few guns for A Coat of Steel.  It’s not certain that you will ever have one in your army, but when you draw well-wishers in the campaign, you might get one.  Here is a light gonne:

The crew is from Perry Miniatures.  They are fine.  The gonne itself is an Old Glory model – a light gun from the old revenge range.  I spent a lot of time trying to make the Perry gun that came with the crew work, but it just didn’t get there.

This is the Perry Miniatures bombard.  This model required a lot of work, but in the end it’s pretty nice.

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I’m not convinced I did the best job on the guys pulling up the mantlet with the rope.  Lead ropes are hard to work with.  That part came out kind of passably though, so I’m good with it.  I love the model.  The bombards and those support blocks behind them were really clean.  The rest of the figures you see here took a considerable amount of work to clean up the flash.

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I put them in red so sort of Warwick livery-ish but non-descript enough that I could use them for any contingent I hope.  I might do some in blue and white also.

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Ouch.  Now I see that I missed a part on painting the sides of the bases I’m going to have to touch up.

 

Levy Longbowmen

More Perry WotR plastics.  I made this group up as levy longbowmen.  I kind of hated using them as levy as I’d like to use all those figs with livery jackets as liveried longbowmen.  But I painted a few of them up in shades of brown to depict levy.  I also used heads without helmets for these guys mostly.  The main purpose of this is to be able to distinguish them from retinue archers in Coat of Steel.  I really wish Perry would make some suitable figures as levy but alas.

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The figures are great and easy to paint up like this – no livery badges to fiddle with.  I’ll need lots of them eventually.

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In A Crown of Paper/A Coat of Steel magnates can raise levies in the various counties.  Most of them are archers but in the north and west you can also raise a lot of spearmen and in the south you can raise a lot of bills.  So I’ll need levies to use for each of these.  None of them are as good at what they do as retinues, of course, but numbers should count for something.  I have a couple of bills and a few spears done up, will post them here eventually.

 

York

I spent some time finishing the basing on a lot of figures, so there should be a few updates coming fairly quickly.  Basing is the thing about this hobby I just can’t warm to.  So I save it for a long time and then just buckle down and do a whole bunch all at once.  Anyway, here is the Duke of York’s men-at-arms.

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Three stands of men-at-arms.  That is the Duke on the stand on the right.  I painted his heraldy by hand.  It came out well, but perhaps not well enough to photograph up close.  These figures are from the Perry men-at-arms box.  The flags and livery badges are from Citadel Six.

Here’s another pic:

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They are based on 60 wide by 30 deep Georgo mdf bases.  This size is suitable for any wrg system games and I plan to use it for A Coat of Steel.  The size of York’s retinue in ACoS is 3 stands of men-at-arms and 9 stands of retinue archers.  Here are the archers.

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Again 60×30 bases.  I really like the livery flags so I put a stand with one of those on for every stand without one.

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A couple of these livery standard bearers are figures from the kit-bashing I talked about in my last post.  Here are some close-ups of those.  All of them are built up from WotR infantry bodies but with arms from the Light Cavalry set.  The first one was pretty straight-forward, adding a shield from one of the Perry sets.  The guy to the right of the standard bearer is testing the wind.  I had to build up a bit under the arm to get it to look natural like that.  I just trimmed off some sprue and added it in with plastic glue, then a little filler afterwards to smooth it out.

 

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The next one is straightforward also.  The guy to his right is going for more arrows and I imagine he’s yelling at him to get back in line as it’s time to stop shooting and come to blows.  I love the banner.  You can see how I painted around it on the photo though that contrast is hardly apparent outside the photograph.

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And this is the one that was really a lot of work.  The right arm comes from the light cavalry.  The left arm is made up from three pieces from the light cavalry (with the brigandine on the shoulder), not sure where I got the elbow, a hand from the men-at-arms and the mace from one of the command sprues.  I think it turned out fine.

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Now I remember that the join on the left arm was a little tough to get right and I lost some detail when I filled it, but it seems ok now that it’s painted.  I love York’s blue and white livery with the dragon on it.

Building Perry WotR Plastics

I said in an earlier post that I’d make some notes about building Perry Miniatures War of the Roses plastics.  I never got back to that.  Here are some thoughts about that now that I am back on that project.

It is tremendously fun to put these figures together especially when you start creating things that are a bit out of the set – mixing and matching parts from the various sets.  I’ll give you a few examples here on figures that didn’t photograph all that well actually.  The first up is a foot knight holding a head he’s just lopped off.  I admit it’s kind of grim.  I’m not exactly sure who it should be.  I was aware of a lot of heads being lopped off during the War of the Roses but when looking for an example of that occurring in battle, it’s hard to find one.  It seems like it was mostly done to prisoners after battles.

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This was a fairly simple build.  I started with a foot knight.  I liked the arm with the axe in it from the mounted men-at-arms set.  Then I found a corresponding arm from the foot knights set (it’s important to note the subtle differences in armor on different arms and try to find matches).  I took a helmet with a plume, chopped off the plume, then glued the helmet to the bottom of the hand and the plume to the top.

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I shave a couple of pieces of sprue and blued them onto the bottom of the severed head so I can depict blood spilling from the thing.  It’s pretty grim and now I wonder whether I’ll actually use it for anything.  I wish the picture were better – it should look better with paint on it.

The next guy is pretty straightforward but he should go well on the same stand yelling to others that a similar fate is waiting for them:

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I took some arms from the English Army (1415-1429) and added them to this guy to get an archer who has drawn his sword and is ready for a fight.

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The next one is a similar idea, but more work.  I took one of the swords from the mounted men-at-arms set.  Those have half a hand that is glued to the other half of a hand on the armored arm.  I wanted it on an unarmored arm, so cut half the hand off a barehanded guy and glued them together.  There was a bit of sanding to get them to fit.  (It would have been a lot easier just to cut the sword bearing hand off one of the Agincourt plastics, but it’s good to learn I guess).

I’m not sure what archers did with their bows once it came to blows.  I imagine they tossed them or handed them to someone to take behind the line, but this guy still holds his.

I figure archers are pretty constantly trying to figure out what is going on with the wind and that is what this chap is doing:

I’m not sure how well you can see it but the right arm is built up quite a bit.  At first I just stuck it on there held in the air but then realized that he ended up with a very short arm.  When you do it that way the top of the shoulder become the bottom of the armpit and that anatomy isn’t quite right.  So I shaved some sprue and used it to hold the arm up with the top of the shoulder in a better position.  You can stuff sprue in, drench it in some plastic glue and let it set up.   Then I filled it with putty.   After priming I’ll be able to tell what it looks like and sand it to a nice proportion.

This next one is the most major work I’ve done on a figure with parts from 4 different boxes.

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I noticed a standard bearers arm with brigandine in the light cavalry box.  I wanted it for one of my brigandine wearing bodies from the War of the Roses box as a standard bearer.  That was easy enough.  I drilled out the hand to put a wire rod in for the standard.  The other arm was a bit of a problem – the light cavalry arm is meant to be holding the reins of the horse which looked kind of uninteresting on a guy standing on foot, so I decided to weaponize it.  I sliced the arm off just below the brigandine and then started look for corresponding parts.  I got a similar arm from somewhere (I’m not sure what sprue it came from actually – maybe a command sprue?) and an armored left hand from the foot knights box.  I put that together so I had an armored hand attached to the arm being held sort of to the front.  I then decided to put a mace in it from the mounted men at arms box, so trimmed the mace above and below the hand it was on and glued it to the new arm.  It all came together pretty nicely.

A simpler standard bearer is this guy with an arm and still plastic standard from the light cavalry box:

I’m not sure about the left arm – it might be the corresponding left arm with just a shield attached.  Very straightforward.

But I have to say, these are amateurish.  If you want some real inspiration for bashing these kits, you need to read Captain Blood’s thread from the Lead Adventure Forum how a pro does it.

Here are some basic things you need if you are just starting out:

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The plastic side snips make removing the stuff from the sprue a breeze.  I got the plastic sanding sticks at Hobby Lobby.  They are awesome.  There are a lot of seems on these figures that need to be sanded down.  If it’s a fine seem you can shave it with a sharp x-acto (you need to keep a sharp blade and it takes a careful touch to shave without gouging) but most of the time sanding them with one of these sticks is a lot easier.

It’s hard for me to see the seems well on the figures as they come – the plastic is a little too dark.  So I sand them where I can, but after I’ve assembled the figure I prime it with light gray and then go over it again looking for the seems.  The light paint makes them very visible.  It’s a little bit of work but not too bad.

I use this to glue my figs but I’m sure other plastic glues are fine also.

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This stuff is great.  You apply some of it to one surface you want to glue then stick the two things together.  If you hold it for about 3 seconds they are stuck.  It stays flexible for awhile though so you can reposition things.  It is kind of melting the plastic and once it’s completely done, after about an hour, to separate the parts you are just cutting them apart.  You can also use this stuff to smooth over a rough spot, it will melt small disturbances down into something smoother.  It’s awesome stuff.

 

Central Asian Camp Stand

IMG_4163.JPGThese are Perry Miniatures metals.  Lots, and lots, and lots, of cleanup needed.  But once that work is done, they are nice figures.  I need a camp for my Central Asian guys and these fit the bill pretty well.  Turks.  I wish they didn’t have the armbands – I’m not sure how prevalent those were other than during the Crusades, but I didn’t want to file them down and paint them out, so I made the most of them.

For ADLG you need a camp stand, and I have a rally nice Sassanid one, and a nice one for the Venetians.  I need to find cool figures for a Roman camp.  Tents are fine, just kind of dull.  So, if you have any pointers to anything that would look good for middle Romans, please point me to them.

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We’ve been playing a lot of ADLG and for that you need a 60×120 camp.  I’ve made this one that size, but the others slightly larger to fit the figures and make a nice scene.

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Next up is some Middle Imperial Roman auxilia.  They are done and photographed, just need to create a blog post for them.

After that it’s finishing up just a few more figures for the Central Asians.  Not sure what comes after that.