Some of you might remember my review of Offensive Miniatures French Artillery last year. Well a couple of weeks ago Dave from Offensive Miniatures asked me if I would be willing to do a review of their French Napoleonic Artillery Casualties pack (FNFR252). Obviously I was happy to oblige, especially since there is a general lack of artillery casualties on the market and I was keen to lay my hands on them.So what is in the pack. You get two small vignettes. One is a dead artilleryman laying facedown besides a wheel, the other one is a dead artilleryman lying sprawled over the half buried carriage of a 12pdr gun. The later features a displaced barrel and a broken wheel on the carriage. Both are cast mainly in resin. Why mainly? Well the axle on the carriage is definitely a brass rod and while cleaning them up the pieces up, the soldiers became very shiny where I scratched them with the hobby knife, so I suppose those are white metal. The barrel and broken wheel were white metal. Everything was already primed in a mid grey, which is nice, since cleaning up resin can be a pain in the behind at times. The official retail is 10 GB£, which I think is fair for what is essentially two minis, a gun and two diorama bases.
So my first impression? Well I was a bit skeptic to be honest. Having painted their original set of artillery last year, I quickly realised that the two dead soldiers were not dedicated new sculpts but slightly rearranged versions of the original artillery crew. With the uniformity of the grey primer, it was hard to tell, if they would look like proper casualties or too animated to be dead (sorry for such a grotesque wording) and I decided to leave my final decision to the moment they were finished. Otherwise I was quiet happy with what I got. The castings were very clean and flesh was minimal. Over all I think I spend less than five minutes cleaning these up and I am pedantic about these things. The nice thing about the carriage piece was that there were impressions on the base. So it was easy to know where the barrel and dead trooper were supposed to fit for the best look.
A little word of advise regarding the preparation and painting. The bottom of the pieces is very smooth and if you want to glue them to a base you should definitely roughen them up before you paint them. I found it best to paint the carriage piece un-assembled. Since the dead soldier, broken wheel and barrel come as separate pieces, there are lots of open spaces between them and the base carriage itself. These would be hard to reach with a brush when already assembled. Also I would advise to paint the soil first followed by the rest. The soil has a nice structure that lends itself to drybrushing and it is easiest to do this first.
Talking of structure… The carriage itself has the nice defined structure I have already seen on their artillery set and this worked well for drybrushing as well.
So final impressions. Well my first scepticism evaporated when painting and assembling them. Even though the dead crew are “just” variations of the living crew, it does not show. I was very impressed with the soldier hanging over the carriage in this respect. If you place his feet and knee in the locator impressions on the base, he really looks like he was made for this piece. As I said before, the casting quality and detail / structure are superb and made these a joy to paint.
Overall I can highly recommend this set. It is unique, since to my knowledge this is the only set with artillery casualties on the market. And not only casualties, but also broken pieces of equipment that add lots of character to the set. Actually character is what this set has in abundance and I think that it will be great on any tabletop either as battlefield debris, casualty markers or just decoration for a command base.
By the way, watch out for the next post, which will feature some Prussian officers. One of these pieces already found its way onto a command base as decoration! 😉