You may recall that I noted my fist impressions of the Perry plastic Prussian infantry box in my Salute 2011 report. I held of from detailed comments at that time because I knew that regular BfK-er Burkhard had promised to provide an in-depth review. Now that review has arrived complete with photos:
Last year I wrote a review of Warlords plastic Prussian Landwehr for Martin. And I also offered to do the same when the Perry twins come out with their Prussian. Now mine spend an awful long time in the mail, but they are here and I finally get to keep my promise.
Contents of the box
The box contains a total of 46 minis. 36 of them are Musketeers, six are Freiwillige Jäger and four command (officer, NCO, standard and drummer). The four command minis come on their own sprue following the idea that people should be able to order command sprues direct from the Perrys if they want more commend minis in their units. There are six infantry sprues, each with six Musketiere and one Jäger.
All are in marching poses, with the exception of the Jäger who are at trail arms advance. All minis come with separate heads and backpacks. The Musketeers have their arms moulded on, while the Jäger and command minis have separate right arms (both arms for the drummer). Do not be surprised that the Jäger is missing his left hand – it is attached to his sword, which is part of the backpack. There is enough variation in the poses of the marching minis to make them look diverse.
On the command sprue all the parts add up and there are no extra parts (with the exception of an ammo pouch, which can be attached the NCO’s front if people want. The infantry sprue contains an extra ammo pouch as well (for the Jäger this time) and nine heads. Seven are in covered shakos, one with a peaked cap and one with a forage cap. Otherwise there are no extra parts on these sprues either.
Also included is a two page A5 sheet with sample drawings of how the minis should be painted, historic uniform information and 3 flags. The historic information is quite good, especially since it explains how the colour coding worked for the region of origin, seniority and sword knots, something that drove me mad when I began looking at Napoleonic Prussians. Since the sheet is printed on heavy and semi glossy paper and I would advise you to photocopy the flags for use. The flags are nice and have a good contrast, although I would still prefer after market flags since the detail is not the best in my opinion. The one thing that is strange here is the choice of flags. You get the Leib- and Ordinarflagge for the 7th Infantry Regiment and the Ordinarflagge of the 10th. But it is still nice for something you get as an extra.
As with any Perry plastics set you get a sprue with bases.
Price (as in June 2011)
As mentioned the Perry sets contains 46 minis. They retail for GBP18, which means a price per minis of 39p (cost of bases not taken into the calculation). This puts them on the cheaper end of plastics. By comparison Warlord charge GBP17 for their 30 Landwehr, which means a price per minis of 56p. How does this compare to metals? If you only compare them to the manufacturers that offer Prussians – Calpe minis are GBP1.10 per mini and Foundry are GBP1.50 per mini. So all in all, these are the cheapest solution out there. But how good are they?
The minis are very crisp and clear in detail. But as with most plastic minis, they are not quite yet up to the level of detail of metal minis (yet). Now this level of detail applies to the whole of the mini. As opposed to Warlord, the Twins were wise enough to make these multipart (on a minimal level – see above). Due to this, you do not get the flat areas required to remove them from the mould. The only place where you get a flat area, is along the line where the rolled up greatcoat meets the backpack on some minis, but this is it. On the other hand, parts are so few, that even those who have no modelling skills at all, should not be too challenged. The only exception here being the greatcoat. There is a gap(at least on those minis I test fitted) where the greatcoat-half cast onto the backpack meets its counterpart from the minis body. This will require some filling to look good.
Mould lines are minimal, and they always run over the easily accessible sides of the minis. The poses are fairly dynamic for marching poses.
The one thing I would like to comment on is the faces. When they first showed pictures of this set the Twins said that they wanted the faces to look Germanic. Which made me afraid they would look like the drawings on some Nazi propaganda posters – which they do not. In my humble opinion they look like any face you might see on a street in Germany as well as the UK. Which is fine by me. If there is one thing, it is that the faces look lean, which I think fits in fine with the economic situation that Prussia had in the late Napoleonic period.
In general terms they fit in well with the other 25mm miniatures for the Napoleonic period on the market. So can these be mixed in the same unit or even the same base?
When compared to Foundry (again since I have no Foundry Prussians, I compared them with their Russians and Bavarians) they are a little taller with their bases being thicker as well. So you would have to slip a piece of card between the Foundry minis and base to mix these. The heft is similar on both, as are the proportions. The style of sculpting is the same. All of this does not come as much of a surprise, since a good part of the Foundry Napoleonic range was sculpted by the Perrys, although you can see the advances in the sculpting skills. So they go fine together.
Next up are the Warlord minis. They are both as tall, bases have about the same thickness. The Perrys are noticeably slimmer. When it comes to the level of detail, the Warlord plastics are inferior to the Perrys, their metal minis are closer. The sculpting style is different, too. This is taken to the extreme with the metal minis, since they have this cartoonish look that Warlord seems to favour lately. Personally I would not mix these within a unit, but then again you do not have to since Warlord and the Perrys have decided not to interfere with each others share of the Prussian army.
Last but not least are Calpe. The Calpe minis are slightly shorter (less then 1mm) than the Perrys, but their bases are slightly thicker so they both end up being the same height. The Perrys are a little leaner and have slightly smaller heads. The style of sculpting is a vastly similar, as is the level of detail. The Calpe minis offer a little more definition, which is partly due to them being cast in metal. I would have no trouble mixing them in one unit.
I could make this rather short. The only mood point I find with this unit is that I would have loved just normal troops in skirmishing poses instead of the Freiwilligen Jäger in this box (much like they did with their French box set). Or alternatively a lower ratio of Jäger in the box with at least two different poses, like they did with the Riflemen in the British box, since I think the set up right now will leave me with more Jäger than I will need all in the same pose. But that is my personal taste.
Other then that all I can say is that they are real good miniatures and offer a great value for money… period. So for most people all it comes down to is the question of “do you like plastics or metal?”.
The one thing that concerns me is the future. And you may ask “why is that?”. Now if you look at the Perrys website you will see that even a lot of the older ranges have gaps in them or that there are only limited poses for the artillery. I had to find that out recently myself. And honestly – I do not expect things to get much better, since they have announced other ranges like Napoleonic Russians and Austrians as well to take up their attention (plus they seem to sculpt more for Games Workshop again). So I am afraid that their Prussians will not be the exception to the rule. The fact that they have split the Prussians between them and Warlord does not make things better, especially when you look at the quality of the Warlords offering. So right now I would say that these are a good set in its own right, but the range as a whole is a different matter.
My thanks go to Burkhard for another thorough and informative review – all the more remarkable given that English isn’t Burkhard’s first language. I’d struggle to write such a review in German.