Well it seems to be a case of another day, another review. This time it is going to be Warlords new plastic Russians. I bought all three of their recent box sets and since their contents are vastly similar, I am going to review them all in one go, like I did with the Victrix Austrians the other day.The box sets in question here are:
- Russian Pavlovsk Grenadiers
- Russian Line Infantry 1808 – 1815
- Russian Line Infantry 1812 – 1815
Contents of the box:
With all the box sets you get a total of 32 minis. 28 of them are plastic and four are a metal command (officer, two standard bearers and drummer), all in marching poses. Just as with their plastic Prussians the metal command also contains sharpened brass rods as staffs for the flag and metal finial with tassels. The brass rods seem to be thinner though and all off them were already bend to some degree when I opened the boxes. Regardless of the box set they all come with separate heads, the drummers and officers with a separate right arm. There is some variation within the metal contents. All three boxes had different drummers and officers (although with both the drummer and officer two of the poses are quite similar). One of the standard bearers was the same in all boxes, one was the same in both the line infantry boxes. With the officers there is a clear difference of uniform, so I assume, that this is due to the different boxes. With the others there is no difference in uniform, so I assume that this is a chance variation.
The 28 plastic soldiers are spread out over seven sprues, each containing four different minis. They all come with separate heads and backpacks. Each infantry sprue comes with both four heads with grenadier and musketeer shakos. In case of the 1812- 1815 infantry all shakos are uncovered, in case of the 1809 – 1812 box two of the musketeer shakos are covered. The sprues for the Pavlovsk Grenadiers are identical to the 1809 – 1812 sprues. In return there are 64 metal heads in Mitre (half are the grenadier variety, half the fusilier variety). The backpacks are all cast with the swords and ammo pouch hanging down from them. The ammo pouches all have grenadier markings (the leaflets included in the boxes state which parts you have to cut away to turn them into fusilier ones).
Although only four different poses per box might seem few, I do not think that this is the case here. The poses are varied enough and with the separate heads, one should get enough variation out of the sets. So one really has to applaud the fact that they seem to have learned from the shortcomings of their Prussian Landwehr set.
Also included in each box is a two-sided A5 sheet with a few photos of painted minis, basic historic information and flags. In case of the Pavlovsk Grenadiers these are their regimental and white colours. The 1809 – 1815 set contains eight flags, the 1812 – 1815 set ten (one of them is the white flag in both boxes). Since the sheet is printed on heavy and glossy paper one would need to photocopy the flags for use. The flags are OK. Unfortunately the contrast is even lower than with their Prussian set and the details on the flags designs are a bit undefined. All in all the sheet makes for a nice addition, but I would really advise the use of aftermarket flags.
Price (as in Nov. 2011):
As mentioned the Warlord sets contains 32 minis. The two infantry sets retail for 18 GB£, which means a price per mini of 0,56 GB£. The Pavlovsk Grenadiers retail for 20 GB£ due to the number of metal heads, which means a price per mini of 0,62 GB£
This puts them on the expensive end of plastics (although the 4 metal minis in there blur the equation somewhat). For example the Perry sell for between 0,45 GB£ (British Infantry) and 0,39 GB£ (Prussians) and those boxes include bases. Victrix sell for between 0,39 GB£ (Austrians) per mini and 0,36 GB£ (French Guard) .
But they are still cheaper than metals. For example Front Rank are 1,10 GB£ per mini (or 1,03 GB£ if part of a Battalion pack) and Foundry are 1,50 GB£ per mini.
So in the end they are more expensive than other plastics but still cheaper than metals.
I am going to sub-divide this into the metal and the plastic minis.
The metal minis are very crisp and clear in detail. Unfortunately mould lines are strong on some of the minis. There are no casting imperfections to be found, but a lot of the minis contained vast amount of flesh (I removed some of this before taking the pictures to give a clear view of them). Most of the officers and drummers have nice energetic poses. I especially like the option to have the drummers carry their shakos / Mitres under their arm. The standard bearers still come with closed hands, like the one in their Prussian set. It still irritates me, that Warlord state they want to keep the number of parts minimal for those who lack the assembly skill and still force them to drill the hands of the standard bearers open.
They all are similar in size and heft, with one exception. The standard bearer I only got with the Pavlovsk Grenadiers seems much bulkier then the rest of the minis.
Now on to the plastics. There is some scale creep between them and the metal contents of the box. The bodies are bulkier, but not enough to really stand out on the table. The heads on the plastics are larger and I think it will be noticeable on the bare heads. The detail is good although not as crisp as with the metals (or indeed Perry or Victrix plastics). The crossbelts and especially the buttons make a softer transition into the coat. The hands still look large, although not as bad as on the Prussian set. The sides of the minis have good detail as well, but the definition deteriorates on some of them. This is still due to undercuts from the process of plastic castings. Again they have clearly learned from their Prussian set since they have now made the heads and backpacks separate, but it is still not as good as on Perry or Victrix minis.
Size wise these minis should work well with the Napoleonic minis produced by the other mayor companies. Obviously the real test comes if you want to mix them in one unit or even on one base.
When compared to Foundry they are a little taller, which will be enhanced by the fact that their bases are thicker as well. The heft is stronger on plastic and similar on the metal minis. The heads on the Foundry minis are slightly smaller when compared to the plastics. The style of sculpting is vastly similar. So one should be able to base them together without either standing out if you slip a card under the Foundry minis.
All in all one can see improvement in the Warlords plastic Napoleonics. The variety has grown better and so has the detail on the minis due to the fact that they made them multipart. On the other hand the general detail is still not as good as it is on both Perry and Victrix plastics and the same goes for the undercuts. Given the fact that they are still the most expensive plastics out there, one could hope for better.
Given the fact that Warlord and Perry have a strong cooperation on their Napoleonics sets, one can hope that these will mix nicely with the Perry Russians when they come out. But given the fact that the Perry´s will most likely be cheaper, have better detail and more variety in their boxes, Warlord will still be the junior partner in that relationship.