Saturday, March 3, 2012

Great War Miniatures British Light Dragoons: Figure Review

CBC06 Trooper 1
One of the few and new lines of miniatures available for 28mm miniature wargaming in the Crimean War are those sculpted by Aly Morrison and Dave Andrews for Great War Miniatures. Together with the simultaneous release of the Crimean figures by Warlord Games, this growing range (now 61 figure packs not including unit deals) represents one of only three suppliers for this period and scale. Introducing competitive prices as well as figure ranges, like minded enthusiasts for the battle of Balaclava and the Crimean war are now capable of collecting and building for the first time in 28mm. I have recently purchased my entire British Light Brigade from Great War Miniatures through Nick Eyre's North Star Military Figures company which represents the first alternative to the long standing Wargames Foundry range of cavalry.
CBC06 Trooper 2
CBC05 and CBC06 are the figure codes for the British Light Dragoon Command and Light Dragoons Charging respectively. The first thing to notice with these figures is the integral casting of rider and mount in the one piece. I have not previously experienced this in the 28mm scale. For me, I always fix my rider and weaponry to the model prior to priming the model for painting anyway. In this respect I am unusual, most painters preferring to complete the rider separately before attaching to the painted model. If you aren't used to mounting and handling a 'whole' cavalry model in this way, this casting technique may present difficulties at first but the integrity of the model is far superior and you will never see riders coming off in a player's hand during a game.
CBC05 Trooper 3
The other potential down-side to the one-piece casting is that it limits the model builder in the ability to maximise variation within the completed unit. We shall see what is possible from the alloy used for the figures but aside from twisting the horses heads, tails and perhaps the rider's heads, the only other obvious options are provided through the separately and variably cast sword arms. Bent and straight sabre holding arms for the officer (CBC05) and the troopers (CBC06) allow for adjustable positioning necessary to breakdown unrealistic uniformity. I say 'obvious' options because a closer examination of the troopers in CBC06 reveals variation in the faces. One trooper sports a simple moustache, one has his joined to his prominent side-whiskers and the other is clean shaven. Similarly with the Command pack, two have extended moustaches and the bugler has a full beard.
CBC06 Cornet
Continuing on the variation theme, of the three (3) troopers, two different cantering mounts is offered with one at the full gallop. Whilst I have yet to take full possession of all of my Light Brigade I can say that from the two (2) packs of CBC05 which I do have, the horse positioning is consistent between the castings in each pack. In other words, there is no more variation between rider and mount - and fair enough. Even I admit that further variation would be simply too much to ask.
CBC05 Officer
I find the size of the mounts to be spot on, neither too large nor tending toward the 'pony' end of the scale which I find to be so often the case with this range's only current rival, Wargames Foundry. The horses are approximate to an Australian Galloway horse size, from 14-15 hands at the withers to a full Hack at 16 hands plus, which I expected for light cavalry mounts. On that note, it seems likely that the Light Brigade would not have progressed beyond the horses they took with them from Britain, nor resorted to much in the way of remounts by the time of Balaclava.
CBC05 Trooper
Similarly, the riders themselves are in superior proportion and certainly fall squarely within the realistic end of the figure market. They are in no way representative of those more 'toy like' figures some miniature companies have produced within some ranges. In short, for a wargamer such as myself, these are just the ticket and if you are in need of a quick comparison, then look no further than what the Perry brothers are creating these days.

The quality of the casting is all you could expect, there being little flash with these light dragoons but I must say from a cursory scan of the rest of the figures I have received, this is not consistent. Having said that, what flash is apparent looks to be easily cleaned up and in no way are the casts misaligned like you can get in some of the Old Glory packs (for instance). On that note, the alloy is what I suppose is now a more traditional white metal - as opposed to pewter. Again, this will enable some manipulation for the 'modeller'. As at the time of posting, these packs come with three figures a piece at GBP10.00 per pack, making for GBP3.33 per figure. Compared with the Wargames Foundry single unit price of GBP5.05 before deals, these better looking miniatures are a real bargain and represent in my view the best figures also at the best price.

I am looking forward immensely to painting up the first of my light dragoon regiments and I am certainly looking forward to Great War Miniatures expanding their range further and providing us with the ultimate British Heavy Brigade. When that happens, I'll be sure to contact Nick of North Star also to look after me as his service is not to be bettered in my experience. As far as I'm concerned Great War Miniatures and North Star Military Figures can have my endorsement for what it's worth - they are a winning combination.

5 comments:

  1. Hello Unlucky General,
    Very nice review.Do you intend to review the 'Warlord Games' lancers also?
    Cheers.

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  2. Having not long ago finished my Foundry Dragoons I am delighted to here that quality of these Great War Miniatures is such that might tempt me to complete the unit properly. As you have alluded to in your great post, I found the Found Mounts to be a little 'pony' like, but I was very fortunate to have been given them!

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  3. Hello back Carbine. I hadn't planned to as I don't need to buy any more. Limiting I know.

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  4. Well Michael, I still regard the sculpting detail of Foundry figures to be superb - I mean who wouldn't. I too would field them if they were given to me also and they still look very good.

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  5. nice review, now paint them all, then I will buy some ruskies!!!

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