28 September 2001
I hadn't really heard much about 10 mm figures. And before looking to review them I didn't think there was all that much available. A few, at most, ranges here and there covering a few periods was the impression I had. Well, I was in for a shock. There's quite a few ranges available, in most periods. Pendraken seem to be leading the way. They cover history from the Greeks, Imperial Romans, Dacians and Gauls to the Cold War years. They have figures and models covering Mediaeval Europe, the Japanese Samurai in 10 mm and W.W.I, W.W.II, Vietnam and the 1990's in 1/200 scale. They also do 1/3000 scale Napoleonic ships. And in the periods we cover on this site, they have figures for the Wars of the League of Augsberg, War of the Spanish Succession, Seven Years War, Napoleonic Wars, late 19th Century (Franco-Prussian, Austro-Prussian, Schleswig, etc.), US Plains Indians and colonial ventures. I was gob-smacked at their coverage. I was also surprised at just how many figures I received for the few quid I paid. It seems Dave was overly generous with the samples, not that I'm complaining, mind you!
Physical Quality. The figures were generally a constant size in each range, but varied between 10 mm and 11 mm from sole to eye between ranges. The metal seems to be lead-free pewter and is quite hard, but is easily bent back to shape. The detailing was quite good and weapons were thin and not the oversized "telegraph poles" I've seen in other ranges. Moderate flash was present, especially on the base bottoms and moulding tabs on bayonets/flagpoles. All cavalry were cast with as one piece rider-and-mount combinations. We didn't receive any guns nor other models to review. The catalogue I was sent included an update and specified which packs contain multiple figure poses.
English Civil War range. The figures are well proportioned, measured at 10.5mm sole to eye and the animation is quite good. The range is comprehensive, covering 22 different codes. There's the usual armoured and unarmoured pikemen, musketeers in cap, dismounted dragoons, Scots pikes and muskets, light and medium guns and several types of cavalry.
ECW infantry- pikemen, dismounted dragoon and musketeers
The ruler graduations are in 0.5mm
The figures are well detailed, with apostles visible on the musketeers, thin and detailed pikes and discernible feathers in hats. The weapons are thin but I had no breakages in the packs I received. The single pose of horse I received looked pretty good, though a little "stilt legged". It seems that the different packs contain a single pose of figure.
This range is available in packs of 30 foot, 15 cavalry or 2 guns (plus limbers and crew figures) for £2.50. There's also "Army Packs", containing 120 foot, 30 cavalry, 2 light guns and command figures for £16.00.
I liked these figures and rate them an 8.5 to 9.0 out of 10.
War of the Spanish Succession (Marlburian) range. There are two lots- the original infantry castings and newer figures that will replace them. These older figures are a little stockier, less well proportioned and more woodenly posed than the ECW types, but the newer infantry I received are slimmer and better proportioned. Dave told me that he was getting these figures redone to improve the range. They came in firing, marching, port arm and "en garde" poses for the infantry. The cavalry included a trumpeter, standard bearer, officer (with a wig big enough to shelter four families clearly visible. At least you'd hope it was a wig!) and troopers. The detailing was a little muddy, compared to the ECW and newer infantry figures, and the proportions make them look very stocky. The horses aren't bad, though the legs are a little out of proportion. The detail is there and, on the new infantry figures, is very clear and easy to see. There are 12 codes in this range. The infantry includes "liners" in tricorne, with grenadiers in various mitres and caps included in some packs for British, North German, etc. The packs appear to be single pose for each type, though the newer infantry suggest multi-pose packs will be (are?) available.
WSS infantry, cavalry officer and standard bearer
This range is available in packs of 30 foot, 15 cavalry or 2 guns (plus limbers and crew figures) for £2.50. There's also "Army Packs", containing 150 foot, 30 cavalry, 2 light guns, crews and limbers for £16.00.
WSS cavalry trumpeter and troopers
I didn't like these as much as the ECW (the newer infantry excepted) and rate them a 7.5 out of 10 (8.0 for the newer grunts).
New WSS infantry figures
Seven Years War range. This is Dave's pet period. Eventually he wants to have "the most comprehensive range available anywhere". And, because it is his pet period, these figures are a little special. I received a pack each of Austrian and British infantry and a pack of Austrian cuirassiers. The detailing, animation and proportions on the infantry were excellent, though the British firing pose all have a moulding "sinkhole" in their chests (nothing some thick paint won't fill). The oak leaves in the Austrian tricornes were discernible as is the large folded cockade and long queue of the British. Prussians are also on the way. So far there are 13 Austrian packs, 12 British and 14 Prussian. The packs are single pose and include officer, drummer and standard bearer figures and were 10.5mm from sole to eye.
7YW British infantry
The cuirassiers are very nice. The riders are well proportioned and there's plenty of detail- from cuirass shoulder straps to their musketoons. There's some very nice detail, such as fringe and cords, on the standard-bearer's flag. While the infantry colour bearers have bare poles, the cavalry have the cloth moulded to the standard's lance. The horses are very nicely detailed and proportioned (remember, these are supposed to be heavy mounts, not Thoroughbred sprinters) though lacking a little bone in the leg and having largish heads. The horses are a little too energetically posed for my taste, however. However the pose and proportions are straight out of many period paintings and this may be deliberate.
7YW Austrian infantry
I think these are the pick of the range and rate them at 9.5 out of 10 (8.5 for the cavalry). I'm tempted by these to look at 10 mm for my own SYW, but I don't know how I'll go painting them up. Something to look at... There will be more releases to follow (French, Russians, etc.). Pack pricing the same as the WSS range. There are, at this stage, no army packs available.
7YW Austrian cavalry
Napoleonic (Peninsular) Wars range. This range is limited to British and French only and seems to be one of the earlier ranges. Detailing is not as crisp and defined, especially the covered shakoes of the French. Some French figures stood at 11 mm but the majority of the range stood at 10.5mm. There are seven packs each for the British and French, including cavalry and artillery. The infantry packs contain multi-posed figures. Although highlanders aren't listed in the catalogue I received, there's a lovely little piper in kilt included. The cavalry horses are reasonable. Overall, not up to the standard of the SYW range. I'd rate these at 7.0 out of 10 to 8.5 out of 10 (with a 9.5 for the piper!).
Napoleonic British infantry
This range is available in packs of 30 foot, 15 cavalry or 2 guns (plus limbers and crew figures) for £2.50. There's also "Army Packs", containing 150 foot, 20 cavalry, 2 light guns, crews and limbers for £16.00.
Napoleonic French infantry
Napoleonic French cavalry
Late 19th Century range. Covering the 2nd Schleswig War, Austro-Prussian and Franco-Austrian Wars, this seems to be another earlier range of figures. (There's a separate range of Franco-Prussian War figures). Austrian, Italian, Danish, Prussian, Bavarian and Saxon figures are covered in the range. I received samples of Prussian infantry in greatcoat, infantry in tunic and cavalry as well as Austrians infantry in greatcoat and tunic, jäger and cuirassier figures. The detailing and animation are below that of the ECW and WSS ranges, with one decidedly gnomish looking pose for the Prussians. The horses I received aren't the best- the Prussian pose is unnatural and you'd be going to get any horse to adopt that pose (especially with a rider on board). It seems to be taken from one of the early books on confirmation, showing a "perfect" yet unattainable pose published in the mid to late 1800's, and so may have been chosen deliberately for a period feel. Austrian horse seems to be better proportions, but has a short head. The helmet also makes the rider's head look too large. The Austrian jäger is a nice little figure, though, well-proportioned and animated. The figures ranged in size from just under 10 mm to 10.5mm.
Late 19C Austrian cavalry and jäger
I'd rate these at 6.5 out of 10 to 7.5 out of 10.
Late 19C Austrian infantry
This range is available in packs of 30 foot, 15 cavalry or 4 guns (plus crew figures) for the troops and command packs of 5 mounted officers, 10 standard bearers and 10 drummers or buglers at £2.50 per pack. There's also "Army Packs", containing 120 line, 30 jäger, 15 cavalry, 4 guns and crew for £16.00.
Late 19C Prussian cavalry and infantry
Samurai range. Phil Barlow sent me scans of the Pendraken Samurai he has, as an example of Pendraken's work. These figures look pretty good, so I've included the scan here for those who want an idea of what the figures are like.
Pendraken mounted samurai with bow
Overall: We started reviewing 10 mm ranges because we were asked to. I had no intention of trying to paint any figure smaller than 15 mm (and these days 90 mm is my preferred scale. Bloody hard to build a decent army in that scale, though.), unless it was with my airbrush. However the detail on the SYW range is making me think again. Certainly the detail and animation is better than I expected. Pendraken are regarded as leaders in the scale (along with GHQ, who have range completion problems) and it's not hard to see why. Compared to GHQ their prices are very good and they don't fall far short in quality, especially their ECW and SYW ranges. If you have younger and/or better eyes than mine, I'd say have a good look at these figures. If you're going to pay someone else to do the painting then most definitely consider them as a good alternative to larger figures. Dropping down to 10 mm scale can effectively double the size of your playing area if you were using 15 mm figures. And they have the detail and presence I've never found in 6 mm.
For contact by mail:
Lynne and Dave Pengilley
1 Easby Grove
PH: 44-1642 460 368