Slightly overdue, here’s the next in BfK’s occasional series of guest contributions and reviews. This time, the topic is Elite’s 1806-09 Saxon figures and the guest is Dean Burke. Dean is one of a number of BfK’s antipodean followers and hails from Wellington, New Zealand and I’m really delighted to know that this blog seems so popular in such far-flung parts of the world.
Dean sent quite a number of photos to go with his words and I’ve had hard job narrowing down the choice to a representative one to include here. All the figures were converted and painted by Dean himself. So, without further ado, Dean writes…
The Elite Figures are interesting. I think they are an excellent illustration of figures that bridged the gap from the older ranges, compared to high standard of figures on the market today. While they lacked detail gamers alike have always agreed that ‘en masse’ these figures presented well. I have always been interested in the Saxon forces, particularly their involvement in the 1809 campaign. So a couple of years back I purchased these Elite figures to see what they were like. It is fair to say that my first impressions were lukewarm. Compared to the figures from the Perry’s, Front Rank and Calpe, these figures lacked detail, and only had a couple of stances.
After purchasing Kevin Dalimore’s book I decided to explore how I could adapt and add greater detail to these figures. I needed to alter my painting technique to cover anomalies in the figures. To provide additional detail I added bedrolls, canteens and canes and halberd’s for NCO’s (despite halberd’s being removed from service by 1809). Consistent with trends today, I also wanted to give some of the figures a campaign feel. I did this by adapting several figures with overalls and greatcoats, assisted by a Saxon trend to tuck their greatcoat’s in to their tails. Lastly I added an oilskin cover to one of the Grenadiers, along with bicornes that various sources illustrate carried on their backs while in the field.
Personally I feel that the exercise was a success, with the only negative being the static nature of the figures, due to the single pose, but none-the-less satisfying. It is a great reminder, and certainly makes you
appreciate the quality figures that we have access today.
I think Dean’s view of the Elite figures is close to my own. They don’t really stack up against my favourites (like Calpe) and the range of poses is restrictive. Still, I know some people really love them and Dean’s shown a great deal of creativity to get the most from these figures.