I have been very fortunate to assemble and paint half a dozen of the new Perry Miniatures plastic Mounted Men at Arms. I was sent some of the test shot sprues to paint by Michael for the Perrys display stand at today’s Salute.
It’s been a year since the first of these 3-ups were shown at Salute and whilst it’s felt like a very long wait, it’s most defiantly been worth it for those who want both historically accurate and finely sculpted figures. A word to describe this box set is ambitious – both for what it manages to achieve in the detail of late medieval plate armour and weaponry and in the quality of mouldmaking that reproduces the sculpting detail so very sharply and also in the breadth of components in the box that have been well planned and thought through in order to offer the maximum amount of build options. I don’t believe that such detail could be achieved in metal castings.
There are two specifics that take this box set to new levels of what can be achieved in 28mm plastic wargame figures, to my knowledge. The first is the weapon attachments. All the weapon shafts (apart from the two couched lances) have fingers moulded in situ. All the right-arms have a flat in-cut behind the gauntlet to locate the weapon; so creating a flat contact area for a strong bond and also allowing any weapon to be used with any arm. The second is the horse barding, which is moulded as separate pieces- front and back for each side for the German style (based on pieces in the London Royal Armoury) and as two side pieces for the Italian (based on that made circa 1450 and in the Historical Museum in Vienna). This allows all the horses to be used as unarmoured or armoured and effectively recreates the armour as to-scale pieces to be attached. Care needs to be taken to ensure that the rear plates for the Italian barding meet when glued to avoid a gap showing – but given the scale of these figures the accuracy of the fit for these pieces is really impressive.
My words of advice are “get to know your sprue”! There are a lot of variations for the riders in this box and it’s worth taking your time to make sure that you align the right bodies with the correct options for the weapon-bearing arms. There are 3 styles of armour, all typical of the later fifteenth century – Italian, German, Flemish/English and Italian with a coat. All of these have three arm options at various angles. Close inspection with the armour style for the body is required before selecting the arm. Also one of the arms (bent at a right angle) is best for attaching an upright lance. There are a large number of variants that can be assembled from these sprues before any poses are repeated and it’s worth taking the time to do some dry-runs to discover combinations that look the best.
Another ‘lesson learned’ was with the horses. I‘d not constructed any plastic horses before and whilst there are locating pins and holes for the two halves, there is also a small degree of tolerance when you glue them together. I was not sufficiently careful to ensure that the joint across their backs was good enough, which resulted in a small ridge being visible – normally easily remedied with scalpel and file, but because of the trappings on the backs of these horses it’s difficult to smooth away and I had to resort to brushing on GW Green stuff to cover up (not visible on the pics). I will aim to avoid repeating this error next time.
Twelve new heads also extend futher the options that can be used with the previous Wars of the Roses plastic sets (or to convert metal figures). There’s a useful bareheaded figure (perhaps with a passing resemblance to Gerry Embleton?), one wearing a chaperon, with end flowing in the breeze and an closed armet with upright plumes straight from a Paulo Uccello painting.
In summary, the box contents do not disappoint in any way. These are exceptionally well sculpted figures that have been well thought through to maximise the options and have been matched by Renedra’s mouldmaking that I think sets a new standard for 28mm wargame figures – all for £18. I’m now looking forward to using them, mixed with a few metals, to create the backbone of my Burgundian Ordonnance army.
I’ll post pictures of the other painted samples later this week. Happy days...