Well I am down with the flu and on sick leave. Not much I can do right now (except watching TV), so I thought I should use the time and write some posts for my blog. Now last year and earlier this year, I wrote a review of Warlords plastic Prussian Landwehr as well the Perry plastic Prussians for Martins Befreiungskriege blog. Both went down well with readers so I thought I would do the same with future releases from other manufacturers as well. Now I know the Victrix Austirans have been out a couple of weeks, but I wanted to pick mine up at Crisis last weekend. Since Victrix could not make it, they shipped my order (a whole 10 boxes plus some metal) out to me and it arrived yesterday. To cut a long story short… here is the review!
Now I bought these three boxes:
- Austrian Napoleonic Infantry (1806-1815)
- Austrian Napoleonic Grenadiers (1798-1815)
- Austrian Napoleonic Infantry (1808-1815)
Now they have one more set and that is the Austrian Napoleonic Infantry (1789-1805) since all three boxes I got are vastly similar (more on that later), I shall review them all in one go.
Contents of the box:
The box contains a total of 56 minis, two of them horse-mounted. There are two different types of sprues in there. The command sprue (included twice) and the infantry sprue (included eight times). They are all cast in a light creme coloured plastic, which is a nice touch, since I suspect most people will prime these white anyway and there is less chance of dark plastic shining through this way.
The command sprue contains two officers (one on horseback), one drummer and one standard-bearer. The horse-mounted officer has his left arm (holding the reigns) molded on, the standard-bearer both his arms (the hands are part of the separate flag pole). There are ample arm options for all of them. Now this sprue is universal for all four of their Austrian sets, since it includes heads for Landwehr, infantry in helmets and shako as well as grenadiers.One more word on the horse. I felt that it looked strange in some of the pre-view shots Victrix released a couple of month ago. So I removed one horse from the sprue and dry fitted it (it comes in two halves). And it looks fine in real life. My better half, who understands more about horses then I do, said that the pose is fine, too.
The infantry sprues each contain 6 men all in marching poses. Each pose is represented twice giving you three different poses in total (B1, B2 and B3). Each of them comes with separate heads and backpacks. Now the backpacks are actually irritating me quite a bit since there are twelve on each sprue, giving you twice as many as one needs. [Edit: Half of them have sabres attached, so they are for the grenadiers and for NCO’s] But these can always be used as battlefield debris or to convert a mini from another nation that “foraged” an Austrian backpack. B1 comes with separate arms, B2 has his left arm cast on cradling his musket (shoulder arms) and B3 comes with arms cast on (shoulder arms).
I know the Perrys have caused quite a stir about the Victrix set when they showed previews or their upcoming Austrians stating that a pose similar to B3 would be wrong since the right arm would be too close to the body under Austrian drill regulations. Personally I could not care less, since I really doubt that a soldier marching into combat and being fired at would have cared too much, how much sunlight would pass between his arm and body.
But back to these minis here. There are enough arm options for both B1 and B2 on the sprue, with all kinds of options (firing, loading, shoulder arms, attack, musket butt resting on the ground). B1 one is an excellent pose in a sense that it will look believable in any pose from firing to marching. While only three different infantry poses in a box is little, the variety of arms and separate heads will prevent a cookie cutter look.
Between all three types of boxes I have the infantry sprue was the same, with the exception of the heads, which were unique to each box. Since the heads are always in the same spot on the sprue, I assume the early infantry will share the same bodies, arms and gear as well.
Also included is a flyer with assembly instructions (which arms fit which mini best) and 6 flags. Since the sheet is printed on semi glossy paper and I would advise you to photocopy the flags for use. The flags are nice and have a good contrast. The detail is good so one does not really need aftermarket flags to go with these (no big surprise since one of the owners of Victrix also owns LBMS). Included are the Leib- and Ordinarflagge for the 1792, 1804 and 1806 patterns.
Historical information and information which regiment used which facing colour can be found on the back of the boxes.
Price (as in November 2011):
As mentioned each box contains 56 minis. They retail for 21,95 GB£, which means a price per minis of 0,39 GB£ (cost of the horses not taken into the calculation).
This puts them on the cheap end of plastics.
How does this compare to metals? If you only compare them to the manufacturers that offer Austrian (
to my knowledge Foundry)… Alban, Foundry are 1,50 GB£ per mini, Elite are 0,97 GB£, Old Glory between 1,16-1,25 GB£.
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. Opposed to some other manufacturers out there the level of detail is almost equal to that of metal minis. Now this level of detail applies to the whole of the mini. You do not get the flat areas required to remove them from the mould (undercuts) that you see on some plastic minis, due to the fact that they are mildly multipart. Separate parts are so few, that even those who have no modelling skills at all, should not be too challenged.
Mould lines are minimal, and they always run over the easily accessible sides of the minis. The poses are fairly dynamic for marching poses.
I can not compare them to the Foundry Austrians out there, since I have none. Comparing them to the Foundry Bavarians and Russians… they are slightly slimmer and taller, but not so much so that they should stand out when mixed in a Brigade. I would not mix them in one unit thought since the Foundry muskets are a good deal bigger.
Unfortunately I have none of the others (Alban, Elite, Old Glory) so I can not give you a comparison for either of these.
In general terms they should fit in well with the other 25mm miniatures for the Napoleonic period on the market.
All in all this is a great set. The level of detail and quality is real good and they offer great value for money. Like all later Victrix boxes they require minimal assembly, which should calm those who had problems with the multitude of options in their earlier boxes (although I miss it).
So if you are not one of those people who hate plastics just for the sake of it, this should be a good set for you.