Befreiungskriege 1813-14

Painting and modelling 28mm Napoleonic wargaming miniatures

Exclusive: Calpe French Infantry

Posted by Martin on April 17, 2011

Later in the week, I’ll write up my Salute 2011 report more fully but there’s one outcome from the day that I absolute have to rush to report now. And it’s something I guarantee you won’t see in any other Salute report. Yep, I’ve got some sample castings of the new Calpe French line infantry. Despite being unwell and unable to attend Salute, Peter F. found a way to get the goods delivered to me. Both our thanks go to Paul of Alban Miniatures for doing the mercy dash!

So here they are (apologies for the quality of the pictures – but speed was of the essence in this instance):

Calpe French line infantry: batch #1.

Calpe French line infantry: batch #1.

Calpe French line infantry batch #2.

Calpe French line infantry batch #2.

So what are we looking at here? These are 12 fusiliers from the first set (which will also include grenadiers, voltigeurs and command figures). They are campaign-style figures wearing greatcoats and these particular figures all wear covered shakos though there are also other head variants in the complete set. Even within the covered shakos there are three variations: one with the neck cover down and two others with it tied up in different ways. All these figures sport the lentille style of company pom-pom. The greatcoats come in single- and double-breasted versions and are typically buttoned back in the style that makes marching easier.

The pose of each figure you see here is different and there are myriad other detail differences between the figures like cartridge boxes with and without covers plus a variety of acoutrements strapped to the backpacks, differing forms of legwear, a variety of waterbottle types and some figures wearing neckerchiefs. Where regulation items are worn, they follow the Bardin regulations – a good example being the cartridge box strap with the attached bayonet scabbard.

As ever, Peter’s research has been extensive and he’s typically opted to sculpt figures as they would really have appeared on campaign in 1813. Once, when asked about doing figures in full dress uniforms, Peter joked that he would do some figures with plumes but that the plumes would be strapped to the sabre-briquets of the elite company figures! So, if you’re familiar with the Rousselot plates of 1813 French line infantry in greatcoats or the Knötel plate of 1813-14 French line infantry (Band XII, Plate 24), those sources will give you a good flavour of what to expect.

I think the best thing I can do now to show off how good these figures really are is to get one on the painting desk ASAP. My parting shot this afternoon is to reproduce the Knötel plate that I mentioned above because it’ll form a big part of the inspiration for my chosen paint scheme:

Knotel: Band XII Plate 24 - French line infantry 1813-14.

Knotel: Band XII Plate 24 - French line infantry 1813-14.


11 Responses to “Exclusive: Calpe French Infantry”

  1. rob said

    I would love to get excited about this… they look like fabulous miniatures and the idea of Calpe french makes me want to clear space on my painting table. But without any release date, I find that I just don’t want to get my hopes up again. There are so many things that I’m looking forward from Calpe, yet there is such little news or action. Even the promised monthly website updates have failed to materialize.

    When I see the website get a release date, I’ll get excited. Until then, I’ll just be jealous 🙂

    Looking forward to the Salute report!


  2. Gary Amis said

    Although Bob’s response might seem harsh, it’s unfortunately true. Perry have thrown down the gauntlet and gone public on Prussians, Russians and Austrians as well as their existing French and Allied troops which are top notch. Calpe figures are excellent quality and very attractive, but who knows?


    • Martin said

      Yes, I think some of the criticism is fair. The point where my opinion would differ from yours is over release dates in connection to the Perrys. The Perrys did indeed display 3-ups of six new plastic sets on their stand at Salute (including Austrians, Prussians and Russians) but they also were at pains not to commit to release dates for any of those sets.

      I think experience has taught most of the quality miniatures companies that committing to specific release dates is a hostage to fortune.

      • Rob said

        And again, my original post wasn’t intended to be harsh, as Calpe has wonderful products and I am happy to be one of Peter’s customers. I just wish that I could send him more of my money (and get these wonderful french in return!). But i do feel frustration at it being mid-april with no news of a release date for the French (let along the Saxon). After the machines were fixed last year, we were told of the huge pile of models ready to go and that late 2010 and 2011 would see a number of new releases. So far, this has not panned out.

        And while seeing metal casts is promising, we saw the metal saxon artillery over a year ago. I’d hate to think that we have a wait like that but, without any news of a release, who knows?

        Now, I agree that the Perry’s are in many ways an unreasonable comparision. They appear to have resources that most miniatures companies do not (they also seem to sculpt at an astounding rate). On the other hand, while their Plastics have a long lead time, it’s generally a month or two from the appearance of a green for a metal model to its availability and new product is coming out on a regular basis. I also think that they Perry’s do an excellent job of communicating with the consumer, often with 2-3 short posts a month on TMP to announce new releases, update on plans and explain delays.

        Hopefully this is all just blowing steam and we will see a release date soon. 1813-4 is a fantastic period to wargame and Peter’s models are second to none.


      • Giles said

        It certainly has when the tooling and production of plastic figures is outside of their control. They make the 3-ups and then send them off to Renedra. When the sets are produced is therefore largely dependent on how much other work Renedra have on, but the Perries were making it clear that given the number of companies who are churning out 25mm plastics at the moment it’s very much “get in line and wait your turn” at the moment. Great news for Renedra, whose business is clearly booming, but not so good for the rest of us as experiences to date suggest that the production wait is anything from 8 months to a year.

        Anyway, the Calpe French look great, with lots of subtle pose variation. Sorry to hear that Peter is or has been unwell – hope he recovers soon.

        Best wishes


        • Gary Amos said

          This is the sort of thing Mrs Thatcher and hes descendants told us was what we need. If the market’s too small, drive it to expand. If Renedra are operating at capacity, find anothter source (not in China though!).

          BTW, I wasn’t aware of Peter’s health problem(s). Hope they’re sorted now.


  3. Robert said

    These look great- as if they have stepped right out of a Leopold Beyer print.

    I too hope these become available reasonably soon. My eyesight does not improve with the passage of time!

  4. Phil said

    Nice. I can’t wait. Please post some better pictures soon though.

  5. Peter Royle said

    All good things come to those who wait

  6. It sounds like the first French release will be the usual extensive offering. Twelve fusiliers with covered shako plus potentially fusiliers in uncovered shakos, pokalems and bareheaded. Then there’s the flank companies and the command figures so a largish release to look forward to … hopefully sooner rather than later! 8O)

    Years ago during the first abortive French sculpting I was one of those that got the ” there will be plumes on the figures … strapped to the sabre-briquets”. I had to smile. I’d still like to see the occasional plume attached to the shako (my argument being that not all the French troops in Germany in 1813 were freshly raised some units having transferred from elsewhere in Europe) but will be happy with whatever I get.

    Yes Martin, some better photos and WIP/painted versions would be nice. As would news of the Saxons & Prussians. 8O))

    I’m assuming Peter F’s illness is of a transitory nature and wish him a speedy recovery … assuming that he hasn’t already recovered.

    I’ll keep a beady eye out for the “What Martin did & saw at Salute 2011” post.

    Salute (no pun intended)
    von Peter himself

  7. Simon said

    These do look good, think I will be getting a few of these when the command etc are available. Not totally sure about the pose though, I would have preferred a more march attack one with the musket upright

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