Monday, June 27, 2011

Battle Flags - Napoleonic Russian 1797 Pattern flags

Competition in the Flags market is really hot these days, it's hard to remember that there was a time when all flags were home made, and even in the recent past Napoleonic Flags used to mean just GMB!

Well last week it was Flags of War now this week it's the turn of Battle Flags to release some new Russian 28mm Flags, as yet only 1797 pattern but I am sure that more will follow with the Perry's having announced they will release late Russians (at some point!).

From their announcement:
The latest 28mm flags from Battle Flag sees the release of the long promised )1797 pattern wargame flags for the Russian Army of the early Napoleonic period. (See the September 2009 posting for more details)

15 beautifully detailed plates allow the wargamer to add both the white (Colonel’s) and the colored (Regimental) standards to their Russian wargame Regiments.

Using Battle Flag’s stunning “living silk” effect these flags are designed to create the impression that they are mde of real silk blowing in the wind. This effect gives the model army much greater visual appeal whether on the wargames table or in the display cabinet.

As with all Battle Flags range of wargame and collectors flags they are printed using only archival quality inks and papers for superb quality and lasting value.

Each set is GBP1.85 and the range currently comprises of the following sets:
Leib Grenadier
Grenadier Ekaterinoslav
Grenadier Caucacus
Grenadier Astrakhan
Musketeer Regiment Nachebourg
Musketeer Regiment Narva
Musketeer Regiment Neva
Musketeer Regiment Riazsk
Musketeer Regiment Viborg
Musketeer Regiment Tomsk
Musketeer Regiment Rialsk
Musketeer Regiment Moscow
Musketeer Regiment Riazan
Musketeer Regiment Poltava

For more info click here

Not sure what the "living silk" effect really looks like in the flesh, would be interesting to do a comparison of flags at some point, in the mean time you pays your money and you takes your choice but we are spoilt for choice these days.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Perry Update for June

Time for the Perry monthly update.
We have seen the shots of the Prussians and Hanoverians last month on the workbench, now they are ready for release.

There's some Prussian Fusiliers, so full regiments can now be built, along with a conversion pack to convert the plastic Musketeers into Fusiliers. No stick-on mustaches, I'm afraid! They'll just have to be painted on.

The poor old Hanoverian Militia finally get a look in, too!

These are all available now, and very shortly we'll have them up on our site.

Prussian Napoleonic Army 1813-15
28mm figures designed by Alan Perry

PN 11 - Fusilier conversion pack (this is to convert the plastic Prussian set into Fusiliers. It includes 36 packs/equipment and 4 command, officer, bugler and two NCOs)
PN 12 - Fusilier command (2officers, two buglers, two NCOs)
PN 13 - Fusiliers attacking
PN 14 - Fusiliers skirmishing
All sets GBP6.50 except PN11 - GBP10.50

British Napoleonic Army 1815
28mm figures designed by Alan Perry

BH 55 - British infantry casualties (includes line, Rifleman, Highlander and a wounded officer)
BH 56 - Hanoverian militia command marching casualty
BH 57 - Hanoverian militia marching casualty
BH 58 - Hanoverian militia (Osterode battalion) command advancing
BH 59 - Hanoverian militia (Osterode battalion) advancing
All sets GBP6.50

I thought I'd show you some KGL which are coming up, too. These are skirmishers of the KGL 2nd Light battalion. On the face of it they look like 95th Rifles, but there are a few differences such as the cap, moustaches, round cuffs, and the very short, near non-existent, jacket-tails. These are armed with Bakers; the rest of the battalion (well, two-thirds of it) were armed with the Brown Bess which will be coming next month, too.

Great to hear of the KGL addition, nice timing as well, I have just ordered a KGL Line Brigade from MMPS, so as soon as these Lights are released I will have to get some painted up for me by ABrushTooFar. If you are ever going to criticise the Perry's it's going to be about their sometimes heavy recycling of some poses but in this case they have done a great job of resisting the temptation to simply replicate the 95th Rifle sets, nice work!

Also interesting to see the conversion pack for the Prussians, will we be seeing more of this type of thing from the Perry's in the future?

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Flags of War update - Russian Napoleonics

As I mentioned last week Flags of War have been working on some 28mm early Russian flags and they have just let me know they are now up on their site with a promise of yet more to come. Seems like they must be very busy at the moment!

The flags are all GBP1.50 per set with two flags in each set.

The Russian 1803 range:
RUA001 Brest Litevsk Inspection
RUA002 Caucasus Inspection
RUA003 Crimea Inspection
RUA004 Dniester Inspection
RUA005 Finland Inspection
RUA006 Kiev Inspection
RUA007 Lithuania Guards Regiment Inspection
RUA008 Lithuania Inspection
RUA009 Litov Guards Regiment Inspection
RUA010 Livonia Inspection
RUA011 Moscow Inspection
RUA012 Orenburg Inspection
RUA013 Siberia Inspection
RUA014 Smolensk Inspection
RUA015 St Petersburg Inspection
RUA016 Ukraine Inspection
Click here for further details.

The Russian 1797 range:
RUS001 Apsheron Musketeer Regiment 1
RUS002 Dneiper Musketeer Regiment
RUS003 Ekaterinbourg Musketeer Regiment
RUS004 Kazan Musketeer Regiment
RUS005 Koursk Musketeer Regiment
RUS006 Lieb Grenadier Regiment
RUS007 Moscow Grenadier Regiment
RUS008 Moscow Musketeer Regiment
RUS009 Orlov Musketeer Regiment
RUS010 Pavlov Grenadier Regiment
RUS011 Poltava Musketeer Regiment
RUS012 Riazsk Musketeer Regiment
RUS013 Siberia Grenadier Regiment
RUS014 Smolensk Musketeer Regiment
RUS015 Sofia Musketeer Regiment
RUS016 St Petersburg Grenadier Regiment
RUS017 Staroskol Musketeer Regiment
RUS018 Tomsk Musketeer Regiment
Click here for further details.

Thursday, June 09, 2011

Grand Battery: A Guide and Rules for Napoleonic Wargames Released

A new set of rules supposedly aimed at 15mm/28mm has been released.

Despite the fact that everybody and his mother seems to be releasing new Napoleonic rulesets these days, they are all welcomed, whether they fit my own personal preferences for Napoleonic gaming or not, they add more choice and for some reason in Napoleonic's we burn through rulesets at the speed of light, and you never know when a new 'gem' might come along, though I don't think this is that 'gem'.

As seems to be common these days for new rulesets this is a 'rules++' book where the rules occupy only half of the book, though it's not on the same level as the 'big' glossies like Lasalle or Black Powder but then neither is it priced as such.

Despite the reviews below there doesn't seem to be much (any?) detailed info on the game mechanics or how these rules play and personally I would like to see a lot more before making a purchase decision or not.

If I were ever to release a set of rules, which won't happen, I would give them away free to a couple of Nap Nuts on the condition they play at least 3 games with them and post an AAR. Reviews based on read through's are IMHO worthless, even more so when they don't actually convey any detail on the game mechanics. Failing that the authors themselves should have released something or failing that a sneak peek at some of the pages would be useful.

Apparently the rules are aimed at playing a divisional engagement which would pitch this set just about into the scale I prefer but I get the feeling it's really meant for larger multi-division grand tactical games, but who knows for sure with the current lack of info.

The book also contains an 'up-to-date' buyers guide, it's a nice idea for the novice but the problem with such guides is they never are and never can be 'up-to-date', ranges change too fast these days (and always did) and cross range comparison are too subjective and need side by side pics of figures to be of any real use.

Anyway, all that said, it doesn't necessarily make it a bad set of rules.

From their announcement:
How would you have fared as one Napoleon's marshals, or in command of a division of redoutable British redcoats under Wellington? Grand Battery offers you the chance to find out. This book includes all the rules you need to play miniature wargames set in the Napoleonic Wars, plus plenty of useful background information you need to get started.

There is a concise historical overview of the events and battles of the period, as well as sections on the weapons and tactics of the various armies. The buyer's guide gives an up-to-date survey of the wealth of ranges of miniatures available and advice on which are compatible with which. Organizational tables give a breakdown of typical formations for all the major combatants and most of the minor ones (any one for a Wurttemburg infantry division?), allowing you to structure your collection and also to organize hypothetical games quickly with 'off the peg' orders of battle. Three historical scenarios are also included, each with their own specific orders of battle, maps, objectives and victory conditions.

The rules themselves, which utilize an innovative card-driven turn sequence to simulate the unpredictable ebb and flow of battle, are designed for playability, while still giving 'realistic' results and rewarding sound tactics. Though designed primarily for division level games with 25 or 15mm figures, the command and control sysyem takes account of corps or even the largest army level games and they are easily adaptable to any figure scale.

Get ready to march to the sound of the guns!
More info and to purchase from Pen and Sword Booksclick here

Perhaps a little more informative is this review:
I was a little surprised to be asked to review the first of a new range of wargaming books by Pen and Sword Books, perhaps I should not have been.

The authors are husband and wife team, who have written a number of military history books; they also run a residential wargaming centre in Norfolk. The hardback book is produced to a good standard, as one would expect from Pen and Sword books, full of images, packed full of information and including a new set of wargaming rules Grand Battery.

The book has an introduction to European warfare 1792 to 1815 and discusses the armies. It was good to see that the weapons and tactics chapter covered more than the usual British/ French focus of many books covering the period. My stereotype is that standard Napoleonic books have pages devoted to British and French tactics and then a paragraph at the end saying the Austrians, Russians etc. had similar tactics. This work is much better balanced between the armies of the protagonists.

The Grand Battery Wargaming Rules are designed for the divisional level Napoleonic battle, though they will work for army games. They use a card driven activation system for corps, with each corps having a card in a shuffled pack. Their sequence of activation, movement and firing is determined by the drawing of the cards. The authors implementation of the card activation system has an interesting twist, the other player can challenge once a turn based on their leadership rating. This represents a commander attempting to seize the initiative back.

The rules aim to portray the battle from the divisional commander’s perspective, with emphasise on commander’s ratings, unit training and experience, giving orders, defenders resolve and morale. The rules are detailed, but are well explained and are supported by playing aids and play sheets. I have tried the rules and they work fine.

Like all academic reviewers, I realise the need to be pedantic to demonstrate whatever academic reviewers are trying to do by being pedantic. The contents page has two of the chapters in the wrong order. The excellent photographs lack captions to explain what they show. The Bibliography omits the key work on Napoleonic Wargaming Paddy Griffith’s Napoleonic Wargaming for Fun (but perhaps as the editor of the latter work, I was bound to say that). I could ramble on for several pages saying my whim would be add another paragraph here, or subtract a paragraph there, but there is no need. The book is a good piece of scholarship, with an interesting set of rules for representing the divisional level Napoleonic battle. I like it and have no hesitation in recommending it to my fellow enthusiasts.
John Curry, Editor of the History of Wargaming Project
I don't know about you but 'a good piece of scholarship, with an interesting set of rules' is not what I would be looking for, shouldn't it be 'a good set of rules, with an interesting piece of scholarship'.

There is another review over at 'A Year of Frugal Gaming' worth reading if your are interested in this ruleset.

I will say that it's not really clear if either of these reviewers has actually played the rules though one would hope so as otherwise it's not really a review more just an announcement as this post is.

Subsequently frugal has commented:
As an non-napoleonic player, I don't believe I would be qualified to discuss the details of the system as I have no frame of reference with other similar rules systems. I played a couple of small games to get an idea of the rules. All I could say was 'Yes, it looks great and I'd enjoy to play a few full games with friends'.
Well at least he has played the rules, but given the above you wonder why the authors sent him a review copy.

Perhaps the point to take from the 'Frugal' review is:
If I had a friend or older child who fancied getting into historical gaming, or an interest in learning about the period, this book would be an excellent starting point; steering clear of the ‘rules lawyering’ that is present in other systems. Though I wouldn’t attempt to take this along to my local club or try to win over some hardcore 40k players, but thats just me and my group and is no way a reflection in the book.
So good for your teenage nephew as an xmas present but not exactly going to find many takers amongst the Napoleonic aficionados?

Does sounds like it doesn't it, though I wouldn't dismiss a ruleset just because it's a bit 'lightweight', depends on how it plays, could be a great 'beer and pretzels' game, you never know but as I said at the start of this post, for me I will pass on this set for now, at least until I see some AAR's.

The rules are currently going for GBP15.99 from Pen & Sword Books which is not bad but watch out for the postage whilst UK postage is only GBP4.00, international postage is a minimum of GBP14.00!!!

Thanks to Anibal Invictus for pointing out this book is also available from Amazon here and at a cheaper price (cheapest is GBP10.99 new).

There is also an in depth review of the game mechanisms on Amazon here.
The review is not really positive at all, as Anibal mentions, and reckons they are more of a Corps than Divisional level game, old school, tedious, with some quirky results but read and judge for yourself, best review so far.

I don't know why but I still don't think there is enough out there yet to really write off these rules completely, though for sure there are enough flags to say at the moment don't buy the book. They do sound very old schoolish, which seems strange if they were really meant for the Nap novice but that doesn't automatically make them a bad set. It really needs the author's to step in and tell us more, who is this book aimed at, what is the background to these rules, which came first the idea for the book or the rules, who has played them and where are the AAR's.

All that said I get the feeling that probably this ruleset would have been better released as an ebook without the novice bits.

Monday, June 06, 2011

Flags of War update - Portugese, French and Russian Napoleonics

I just heard from Flags of War that they have recently added some Portugese and French Napoleonic Flags to their existing British range. They also mentioned that they have completed some Russian 1797 and 1803 Patterns which will be uploaded soon, so stay tuned.

I think the Portugese were released back in March, so whilst this may not be exactly 'new' news, it hadn't come up on my radar before so maybe neither has it on on yours.

Additionally it appears they are also running a buy two get one free deal which makes them a real bargain, you can't argue with that can you.

To briefly recap, Flags of War make several sets of 28mm Napoleonic flags (amongst other items), currently each set is priced at GBP1.50. The flags look quite nice, though maybe a bit hard to see because of the watermarks on their site. However if you look at their gallery their are examples of non-Napolenics and a close up of the British Napoleonic flags and they do look very good.

The Portugese range:
There are currently 21 Portugese flag sets in the range priced at GBP1.50 for a set which consists of one King's Color and one Regimental Color plus the Regimental Cravat.

POR001 Central 1 Regt de Lippe
POR002 Southern 2 Regt d Lagos
POR003 Northern 3 Regt I de Olivenca
POR004 Central 4 Regt de Freire de Andrade
POR005 Southern 5 Regt I de Elvas
POR006 Northern 6 Regt I de Porto
POR007 Central 7 Regt d Setubal

POR008 Southern 8 Regt de Castello de Vide
POR009 Northern 9 Regt de Viano
POR010 Central 10 Regt de Lisboa
POR011 Southern 11 Regt de Penamacor
POR012 Northern 12 Regt de Chaves
POR013 Central 13 Regt dde Peniche
POR014 Southern 14 Regt de Tavira

POR015 Northern 15 Regt 2 de Olivenca
POR016 Central 16 Regt de Veira Teles
POR017 Southern 17 Regt 2 de Elves
POR018 Northern 18 Regt 2 de Porto
POR019 Central 19 Regt de Cascais
POR020 Southern 20 Regt de Campo Maior
POR021 Northern 21 Regt de Valenca

Click here for more info

The French 1812 Pattern range:
There are currently 24 French flag sets in the range priced at GBP1.50 for a set which consists of three different Regimental Colors.

NFR01 1st,2nd,3rd French Regiments of the Line
NFR02 4th,5th,6th French Regiments of the Line
NFR03 7th,8th,9th French Regiments of the Line
NFR04 10th,11th,12th French Regiments of the Line
NFR05 13th,14th,15th French Regiments of the Line
NFR06 16th,17th,18th French Regiments of the Line

NFR07 19th,21st,22nd French Regiments of the Line
NFR08 23rd,24th,25th French Regiments of the Line
NFR09 26th,27th,28th French Regiments of the Line
NFR10 29th,30th,32nd French Regiments of the Line
NFR11 33rd,34th,35th French Regiments of the Line
NFR12 36th,37th,39th French Regiments of the Line

NFR13 40th,42nd,43rd French Regiments of the Line
NFR14 44th,45th,46th French Regiments of the Line
NFR15 48th,50th,51st French Regiments of the Line
NFR16 52nd,53rd,54th French Regiments of the Line
NFR17 55th,56th,57th French Regiments of the Line
NFR18 58th,59th,60th French Regiments of the Line

NFR19 61st,62nd,63rd French Regiments of the Line
NFR20 64th,65th,66th French Regiments of the Line
NFR21 67th,69th,70th French Regiments of the Line
NFR22 72nd,75th,76th French Regiments of the Line
NFR23 79th,81st,82nd French Regiments of the Line
NFR24 84th,85th,86th French Regiments of the Line

Click here for more info

Thursday, June 02, 2011

Victrix British Peninsular Cavalry and more

I noticed Victrix have added this brief comment to their Austrian announcement:
On the subject of metals:
Paul Hicks is currently working on some metal British light and heavy dragoons for the Peninsular. He is also going to be making some Russian dragoons, and firing lines for the Russian Musketeers and Grenadiers. We should have some images of these in the next few weeks.

Also there were some older comments on Russians that are worth raising again.

Speaking of metals leads us nicely into our Early Russian Napoleonic range! This range has been growing steadily over the past few months. We have Musketeers, Grenadiers, Pavlovski Grenadiers, Chasseurs, Cuirassiers, Colonels and command packs and a large flag range.

We are working on Musketeers and Grenadier firing lines at present, plus Russian Dragoons and Cossacks. Artillery will also be added in time as the Russians need lots of Guns!

We are really happy with the way this range has been received and are seriously looking at some elements being done in plastic.

British Cavalry!
Very interesting indeed, always good to hear of more releases from Victrix whatever they are.

Doing British Peninsular cavalry makes an awful lot of sense, with this Victrix at least have one army/period with infantry, cavalry and artillery which means you can now actually get them on to the tabletop. It's also a period that isn't covered that heavily elsewhere and at least you know the Perry's won't be doing anything in this period for many years to come.

But even though they are welcome, when they should be trying to convince people to invest in building Austrian armies I do find myself once again scratching my head over Victrix's choice of what they work on, wouldn't Austrian cavalry have made much more sense at this point in time?

Doing the Brits, it seems to me, should have been a thing that was either done before the Russians or after the Austrians.

Don't get me wrong it's not that I don't appreciate what fine work the guys at Victrix do, like the Russians, which really is a stunning collection, superb work by Hicks, but I wonder what is the 'master plan'.

Anyway I look forward to seeing the Brits, I might even buy a few Light Dragoons when they are released, I recently had 24 Cacadores painted for skirmish games and some dragoons would fit in nicely.

I sometimes think Victrix maybe do make life a little bit difficult for themselves.

One other point from the above, Cossacks, assuming they are just your general run of the mill cossack they should do for any period during the Napoleonic era shouldn't they? If so these could be useful for Project 1813-1815, actually I have been sitting for quite a while on an 1813 Scenario for Capitan that requires Cossacks, for lack of any cossacks.

Wednesday, June 01, 2011

The Austrians are coming - Big Victrix Update

Big update from Victrix, seems the Austrians really are almost done.
Great news!

We have a bit more of an update and more detail about our upcoming plastic Austrian Napoleonics

Tooling is proceeding well and we are looking at release some time in July. Two of the box designs are finished for the Austrians 1798 –1809 wearing helmets and the Austrian Grenadiers 1798-1815. Currently working on the boxes for the Austrian infantry 1806-1815 and Austrian Landwehr. We have some fantastic cover art on the boxes which reflect poses in the box and are great guides for painting your miniatures. Regimental colour guides are on the back of the boxes.

Each box contains 56 figures. 48 infantry, 2 officers, 2 drummers, 2 standard bearers and 2 lovely mounted colonels. The infantry can all be in marching poses but we do have some arms to enable you to make some figures, firing, loading and advancing with levelled musket or at porte. Most of the figures are easy to assemble so you can get your units built quickly, however we have added a few extras to add some individuality and character to your miniatures so they don’t all look like production line robots!

Austrian infantry 1798-1809

These are the classic looking Austrians that most people think of when envisaging Austrians of the Napoleonic wars. Wearing the helmet with yellow and black crest.

The helmet was officially replaced in 1806 by the shako. However as in most armies of the Napoleonic wars equipment was replaced slowly. Many Austrian infantry, possibly more than half continued to wear the helmet in 1809 and some time after.

Austrian Grenadiers 1798-1815

Grenadiers were part of the Line regiments, however they were mostly brigaded to together in combined Grenadier battalions. These proudly wore their distinctive Fur mitres and moustaches.

Austrian infantry 1806-1815

This set depicts the Austrian infantry from the 1806 reforms wearing shako’s. These can happily fight alongside helmeted Austrians up to 1809 and a bit after.

Austrian Landwehr 1808-1815

The Austrian Landwehr came into being in 1808 and were present in large numbers during the Wagram campaign. They were the distinctive Corsican style hat. Looking a bit like a top hat crossed with an Australian bush hat! The Landwehr wore many varied colour schemes and will add a nice uniform change to your armies if you want to break up the white ranks a bit. The Hat decorations were many and varied from regiment to regiment. We could ot cater for all hat decoration styles. However we will include uniform guides to enable to you alter the hat decorations simply by cutting bits off or cutting off pompoms and gluing elsewhere on the hats.

We have included 2 types of backpack in the sets. The first type has a bayonet attached. The second type has a bayonet and sword. This is due to the fact Grenadiers and some Landwehr carried swords and bayonets, whilst the ordinary infantry simply carried a bayonet. The backpack has the water-bottle, bayonet and cartridge box attached. This enables a greater level of detail on these itmes and prevents undercut issues. They very easy to glue on with no tiny parts.

And finally in each se there will be 2 flags. The regimental flag and colonels flag. There will be the 1792, 1804 and 1806 patterns. The earlier 1792 pattern was used by some units up to 1815. We will also be producing some extra flag sheets sold separately.

We will also be producing a range of metals to support our plastic sets. More on those later
For the Victrix site click here

Well where to start, obviously with a 54 figure set there is more than what we can see here, but these do look great sculpts, poses are very good as well, predominately March Attack which is the favored wargamer pose, and with Grenadiers, Line and Landwehr all ready at the same time there is quite a chunk of your Austrian Army ready to go. As we already knew these will have fewer parts and be quicker to assemble than previous Victrix releases, more in the Perry mold, though hopefully still with enough of a Victrix twist that there will still be plenty of scope for conversion, which has always been a Victrix strong point.

I am sure these are going to prove to be hugely popular.

I have to mention the Perry's, I know the Perry's also have Austrians in the pipeline but they are I feel still a long way off, too long in fact to put off buying these Victrix, especially when these are so good.

I think that when the Perry's figures do come along we will just mix and match, in any case there is still an awful lot to be done to complete the entire range from 1798-1815, Hungarians, Grenzers, Jagers, cavalry and artillery, so that I am sure we will find room for figures from both companys, not sure whether I am being myopic or optimistic lol, though clearly this is an significant issue.

It will be interesting to see what comes in the metal range, command and cavalry for sure but I would love to see artillery done in plastic rather than metal. I wonder though if Victrix still feel plastic is the appropriate medium for artillery sets, it would however be a shame if they do turn there backs on plastic after the British Artillery set, I could understand why but I still think it would be a shame if it does happen.

This is an important release for Victrix, it is also the first from them for a long time that includes anything in the 1813-1815 sweet spot, I do hope they will seize the opportunity and give more emphasis on this later period and that it just isn't simply a byproduct of doing 1809. Clearly they have invested a lot in these sets and it looks at the moment like they will have a winner.

Project 1813-1815 - Painting Service MMPS

Well my 1813-1815 project is finally beginning to get some traction and the memorial day holiday gave me a chance to take some pics of the newest recruits.

As I mentioned previously, for this project I have decided to have the majority of the units painted for me, so over the last few months I checked out a few painting services, you're probably familiar with all the names so I won't list them all. With the house move in December and other things happening in my life, my gaming budget this year is very, very tight indeed, so more than ever I am looking for the impossible, really cheap and really good!

However, for once I think I have found it in Mabuhay Ministure Painting Service (MMPS), a new Asian painting service that started up in the Phillipines a couple of months back. MMPS make no bones about what they provide, well painted, ready-made wargames units at competitive prices, good quality figures for the wargamer! No not every last button maybe painted but these are designed purely and simply for the tabletop, and their focus is squarely on the new 28mm plastics from Perry and Victrix, which is exactly what I want.

I will admit when I first saw the pics of their figures from their site I was a little concerned about the painting 'style' they used. I had seen similar 'styled' figures at various shows over the years and often they were executed badly, and my main thought when I placed my first order was that they are cheap, which is all I can afford, but how much am I NOT going to like these. I was so very, very wrong.

This one pic is from MMPS site, for once WYSIWYG

My grown up daughter is no 'aficionado' but her lack of wargaming knowledge makes her useful at times, as you get an opinion that doesn't have 40 years of wargaming 'baggage', no preconceptions, well she was comparing the MMPS figures to another high quality painting service, I won't name them as this is not about criticizing another service, she commented that when you hold the figures from the other service up to your face you can see the incredible detail, buttons, eyes and the beautiful shading but when you place them both down on the tabletop 'oddly, you can see far more detail' on the MMPS figures. She said for tabletop gaming the MMPS were clearly the better, irrespective of price, I have to agree and so far everyone who has seen these figures says exactly the same thing.

The colors and the detail really pop when you see them on the tabletop, which is exactly what MMPS are aiming for. I must say that this presented a problem when trying to take pics for this post. Normally you expect to see close up pics of a figure taken from a couple of inches away, but that is exactly not what these figures are about, they are for viewing from 3 feet away but we have almost conditioned ourselves to not appreciate long shots of figures on a tabletop. The reality is these figures look vastly better in real life than I can convey in these pics and I simple can't praise them too highly.

One frequent complaint you hear of Asian painting services is about the lack of or difficulty in communicatiing with them. With MMPS this just isn't an issue, MMPS is run by Fons Liebert, a now retired veteran of 30 years in the Belgian Army, who not only cares passionately about the product he sells but also knows his stuff about Napoleonics. When I placed my first order he picked up that I hadn't specified the pompom colors, as I was not ordering a complete 6 company battalion, with other services I have experienced unless you basically give them something to copy you can guarantee it will end up painted incorrectly. A minor detail you might say, but to any Napoleonphile this is very important and proof of MMPS's attention to detail.

I guess with any company you tend to get 'special treatment' for the first order, the best painted, the fastest service, but as you order more you hit the 'production line' and quality and service drops. So far I have placed two orders for 7 battalions and I am just about to place another order for 6 more battalions, enough I think to say without a doubt that the 'production line' quality is no different from the first unit to the last, or put simply, the quality control at MMPS is first class.

MMPS are very flexible on basing, just name the size you want, I wanted 8 figures on a 60mm x 40mm, no problem and very nicely done as well, impressed me enough to ask Fons for the 'recipe' so I can match them. Just in case the eagle eyed spot it, all the bases in these pics are thicker than the standard MMPS bases, the one pic below shows the standard base thickness. I will cover the how and why of 1813-1815 basing in another post but just to say the top surface of the base you see in all the pics is in fact the original MMPS base.

The figures are well packed for shipping using custom made boxes with foamcore inserts, they arrive in perfect shape and as Fons has commented the boxes can be used as storage and to transport the figures to and from the games, you can catch a glimpse of them in some of the shots, it's a neat solution and one I intended to copy for other figures.

Turn around time on the order was fantastic, one advantage of 'ready-made', they tend to have stock when you place the order and after basing they are ready to go in a day or so. Delivery time from the Phillipines wasn't exactly the fastest at around 3-4 weeks considering our proximity but that's hardly under MMPS's control and at least it all arrived in perfect shape, which is all that matters in the end but if you do order, take a deep breath and don't worry if the package hasn't arrived on you door step in the first couple of weeks, they are well worth the wait!

I am often overly critical when writing a review, I tend to focus on the bad simply because I think that's what really matters, that's what can and should be improved, you can skip the platitudes, just tell me whats wrong with them then I can figure out whether they are worth it!

With MMPS there is nothing I can fault, if I was to sit down with a blank piece of paper and write out what I wanted in a painting service and what I would like to pay for the figures, MMPS is it.

If I am really stretching for something that is less than ideal it would be that they don't do any commissions, but when a service is aiming to be cheap by mass producing ready made units can you complain that they don't do time consuming 'one off's', I don't think so. Mind you the first unit I might commission would be the 3eme Swiss, I covered them the other day on this blog, and I see MMPS have them on their upcoming list anyway, so at the moment it's a moot point and the fact I want them to do commission is of itself a recognition of how pleased I am with the results so far.

So kudos to MMPS, I am a more than satisfied and MMPS will be the service I use for the bulk of the armies in Project 1813-1815. I would unquestionably recommend them to anyone, do check them out you won't be disappointed.

If you wan't to know more about Mabuhay Miniature Painting Service then check out their site here.