Befreiungskriege 1813-14

Painting and modelling 28mm Napoleonic wargaming miniatures

Passing of the Old Guard?

Posted by Martin on March 7, 2008

I’ve been reflecting on making this post for several days now waiting for the right moment. To be more precise, I’ve been mulling it over since the day the Perry twins returned from their trip to New Zealand.

Foundry has released its first new French Napoleonic figures since Alan and Michael stopped working there. In one of life’s strange twists of fate, these figures happen to be chasseurs a pied of the Old Guard. Oops Foundry! The Perrys’ most recent addition to their French Napoleonic range also happens to be chasseurs a pied of the Old Guard. And now is the right moment for this posting because the Perrys have just added pictures of these figures to their site.

These releases from Foundry and the Perrys invite obvious comparison. Nah, who am I kidding? They scream to be compared. So, with a big covering caveat that I haven’t actually seen any of these figures in the metal, side by side to make a comparison, here some observations that immediately spring to mind.

First up, the extent of the release:

For Foundry, there appear to be seven packs, mostly comprising six figures (but some packs have fewer – for example a casualties pack where there is more lead in some of the castings of a wounded chasseur being supported by two colleagues). Note, I’m not counting the one pack of Old Guard foot artillery in this. By my reckoning, there are 18 distinct poses across the seven packs. For the Perrys, there are eight packs, each comprising six figures. Each pose seems to be unique – making a total of 48 – but the 12 march-attack poses show only minor variations.

Secondly pricing:

For Foundry, there’s no specific pricing information for these packs yet. But the current price of an individual pack of Old Guard grenadiers in their existing range is UKP10. Again, caution is called for here because the number of figures in a pack may vary and Foundry offer discounts for bulk purchases. For the Perrys, their packs of chasseurs are currently UKP6 each. In both cases, P&P may also be a factor.

Finally, quality:

No contest. The Perrys look much better than the Foundry ones in the photos. There’s gonna be a huge scrum at Salute to buys packs of these at Dave Thomas’ stand. I for one can’t think of any reason why anybody would buy the Foundry figures rather than the Perry ones. Well, maybe one… If you’ve got an existing collection of Foundry figures and you want your new ones to be in keeping with them.

My parting thought here is whether this juxtaposition of new Foundry and Perry figures covering exactly the same subject matter is a portent. Does this signal the terminal demise of Foundry as a force in Napoleonic 28mm wargames figures? Has Foundry finally been eclipsed and are these chasseurs and the new Portugeuse figures the last flickering flames of a once-great empire? If so, how ironic that former Foundry sculptors are surpassing their old paymasters.

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10 Responses to “Passing of the Old Guard?”

  1. Phil said

    I disagree on one account – legacy. If you’ve already got a bunch of Foundry Naps it may not make sense to change vendors if the Perry figs are larger (and my guess is that they would be) and there are a lot of folks out there with legacy armies. For someone like me, the legacy comparison would be between Front Rank and Perry since I have a lot of FR already (and no Foundry Naps). If I were starting from scratch, Perry would probably be at the top of my list.

    One thing about Perry Miniatures though is that they require a LOT of cleanup work – at least the Sudan lines do. That’s fairly off putting.

  2. Martin said

    Yes Phil, I alluded to the legacy as a reason for choosing Foundry in the last but one paragraph of my post. But you extend the point about legacy fit with other ranges well. If you already have figures in a style that doesn’t go well with the Perrys, then perhaps Foundry might be a better fit.

  3. Robert said

    Not an issue for me as the Perry twins do not do Russians, and seem unlikely to do so so at any point in the near future. That leaves the contest between Foundry and Front Rank- and Front Rank, with my ability to order figures singly from them as well as in discounted packs, win over the Byzantine shipping policies of the Foundry any day of the week.

    I’m living in East Asia, which for some reason Foundry feels that it is necessary to levy an enormous shipping charge regardless of the actual cost.

    Truth is, there is nothing “special” about the Foundry anymore. Times have moved on, and there are better deals- and indeed miniatures- in town.

    Now about these here Saxons…

  4. Hello Robert … and Martin … and everyone else! 8O)

    I agree totally with your comments on Russians, Foundry & Front Rank.

    As a New Zealand resident who also fits into the ‘rest of the world’ category for Foundry postage I feel you pain when ordering Foundry figures. All the more galling when someone in NZ checked and was told that Foundry did indeed subtract the VAT portion on our orders! Not that we appear to see the benefit!!!

    As a plus for the Foundry Russians you do get variants on the rank and file figures. As a minus the blisters mixtures are a pain as I can’t get the number of standard bearers I need for my battalions without having to buy way too many blisters. I like to have the two standard bearers per battalion and from memory the relevant command blisters all supplied only one standard bearer each. The result is that my two Foundry Russian battalions each have one Foundry and one Front Rank standard bearer!

    I will show my age and hark back to the days when Foundry figures were bought singly, were first class castings and had top draw response times on orders.

    And yes, about those Saxons ….

    Salute
    von Peter himself

  5. Andrew said

    Foundry have used the same tactic of bring out the same figures of another manufacturer at the same time. They did this with their Napoleonic Prussians at the same time as Calpe were releasing and adverising their Prussians with different poses! Admittedly this was a long time ago now.

  6. Alan said

    I looked on the foundry website, no sign of the new Chasseurs. Where/when can I see them? Anybody know?

  7. Martin said

    Alan – the link is in my orignal posting but I’ll repeat it here for convenience:

    http://www.wargamesfoundry.com/collections/NEWPAINT/95/index.asp

  8. Craig said

    Andrew – Hmmm! Comparison between Calpe and Foundry Prussians? Lets see, outside of price, quality of sculpts, variety of poses, research and historical accuracy and transport costs, Foundry must really have applied some pressure! Peter must have been quaking in his boots with that sought of competition.

    Foundry must really take those of us living outside of Europe and North America for idiots. The gall of having completely different prices for the UK and Rest of the World, using cookies to track you back to the more expensive pricing, when you have foolishly advised them that you live in the third world and then claiming that the price is “Post Free”.

  9. Giles said

    Nice post, Martin. With the usual proviso that I can’t sculpt for toffee and admire anyone with even a modicum of talent etc, I don’t rate those Foundry sculpts at all. Cartoony poses, disproportionate anatomy and what looks like the same head on each of the figures, so no variety in facial expressions (which is the standard for 25mm rank and file these days). The casualties are nice and I could see a vignette use for those. But Foundry need absolute top product to charge top dollar, and these are nowhere near that standard.

    I could rant for hours about Foundry, but life’s too short. Instead, better just to leave them to do what they like and celebrate the fact that Messrs. Sims, Owen, Perry, Copplestone etc seem to be thriving on their own.

  10. Robert said

    “I could rant for hours about Foundry, but life’s too short. Instead, better just to leave them to do what they like and celebrate the fact that Messrs. Sims, Owen, Perry, Copplestone etc seem to be thriving on their own.”

    Seconded! Add Peter Fitzgerald, Alec Brown, and Richard Ansell to that list. The bar has been raised- significantly- since the Foundry saw their heyday.

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