03 November 2001
Foreword. I know very little about the Franco-Prussian War. It's one conflict that has never caught my interest and so I've never delved deeper into the history, uniforms or gaming for this period. However I did have a person I'd met in the US ask me to try his rules a couple of years ago. While the rules were good, the period just didn't attract.
So when Jeff asked me if I'd like to review his figures my first reaction was "No- not interested.". But I thought for a few minutes and realised that this period doesn't get much coverage and we may be doing some people a service by doing a review. So I sent back an e-mail, arranged to buy £10 worth of figures and this review (and a spark of interest in the period- thanks a lot, Jeff! As if I didn't have enough interests tugging for attention.... *grin*) is the result. This range reflects Outpost's interest in the conflict because they supply more than the figures- you can also get rules, uniform booklets and histories. A complete package in fact. And the range of figures available is the most complete I've seen for any period, including all sorts of esoteric troops types. A nice change from the semi-complete ranges that companies offer all too frequently.
Outpost also offer other scales and periods, including Border Reivers (nastiness along the Sassenach border in the 14th to 16th centuries), Peloponnesian War, Highwaymen and Mexican Revolution 1910-1924 in 25 mm scale, Korean War (sans Aussies) in 20 mm and W.W.II and ancients (including Burmese, Khmer and other unusual figures) in 15 mm. There's also 1/3600 ancient ships (biremes, triremes and similar) and 1/1200 100 Years War ships. Something for everyone.
Because of the huge number of samples Jeff sent, I've split the review into two. On this page the Prussians and their allies are featured. You can find the French here.
Physical Properties. The figures are pewter, well cast with minimal flash and are sold in bags. A bag of 8 infantry figures (including command packs and gun crews) or 2 guns for £1.10, 4 cavalry figures (3 cavalry command) for £1.30 and limbers at £1.60 or £2.10 each. There's also "Main Line" bags of 50 infantry or 25 cavalry for £6.50. As well you can buy larger packs for between £27 (French 1st Corps) to £35 (Baden Army).
Note that there's a few different heads included with each pack to add variation to the figures. Some will have a beard with others only a moustache, while other figures will be wearing fatigue caps instead of helmets. There's also some pose variations, such as the three different firing and loading poses in the "Firing Line" packs. The figures themselves remind me of scaled down Foundry products. Which, as regular readers know, is not going to appeal to me. However I know that the Foundry style is quite popular and rather than let my personal bias influence my review I'll restrict myself to basic comments.
Prussians and Allies. This war was fought, basically, to unify the disparate states into the German Empire. And thus most of the German states, if not all, participated in teaching the French that Napoleon III was definitely NOT Napoleon I. Pete Foggin, the sculptor, has gone to town with these figures. You'll find Bavarians, Prussian Landwehr, Badeners, Saxons and even some very modern looking Württemburg troops. The list includes 85 different entries just for the Prussians and their allies. Unless noted otherwise the figures are Prussians. The ruler is in 1/2 mm graduations.
The figures are cleanly cast and well detailed. I can't comment on accuracy but I doubt there will be much to pick fault with, considering the attention that Outpost have paid to the period.
The horses are nicely proportioned with cropped tails. The slim necks and light builds make them look like they have a lot of Thoroughbred in them. I wonder if Pete's been spending a bit of time at the racetrack? Purely for research purposes of course.
I liked the gun very much. Nicely detailed and obviously more modern than the French gun.