October 15, 2001
The equivalent of K2's face in historical miniature painting, may be kilts. I've steered away from the challenge until now. But as my surname suggests, this has been somewhat disrespectful. In a recent nod to mee ancestors, and to the excellent images available on the Perry Miniatures' web site, I took the plunge....
Alan and Michael Perry won't require much introduction to those who've been collecting miniatures for any length of time. The two brothers were the original and primary designers of Wargame Foundry Figures. They left and have since started their own company. While I'm not a fan of the gnome looking Foundrys (Dal mentioned the ECW range is the exception), their new lease on creative life may have provide an opportunity to return to a more earthbound style. The highlanders are a marked improvement over the work I've previously seen and collected.
The turnaround on my sample order was three weeks, as presently they only offer a snail mail address for initial one. I received carefully packed figures which were exceptionally clean. The pics on their web site showed what appeared to be leaner men, and indeed, this was the case. While the miniature height is a dead-on 28 mm, the anatomy is truer in proportion than Foundry's. Placed side-by-side with either Foundry figs, or the Front Rank AWI's I'm painting, they are distinctively ' realistic'. The heads (still a tad large) are truer anatomically, than the giant, if expressive , Front Rank faces /craniums. (Note: FR's AWI range IS an early one. More recent releases also show improvement.)
While I noticed the anatomy first, I quickly moved on to the excellent poses. Samples I've received lately ( from other 15-28 mm manufacturers), have you seriously wondering whether their makers actually studied the period(s) replicated. (Perhaps an example of Perry's research: Eyewitness accounts from the '15 and '45 Jacobite rebellions indicate that when charging, clansmen typically hunched within the last 20-50 paces. The intent was to come up under the bayonets of their waiting adversaries.) This is rendered in a couple of the charging figures, as are facial reactions to fire and the adrenaline of combat.
If I sound enthusiastic so far, good! But there is room for improvement on two fronts....
(1) While the castings are very clean, the figures are not well-defined throughout, in this respect falling short of Foundry. It doesn't occur in the more exposed areas, but a hand that is not center stage may (as in one I've painted) be hard to make out. I didn't have a problem with some sculpting shorthand, but others might.
(2) Some lines on the faces are too sharp (ex. cheek and jowl edges on figures with opened mouths). A little sandpaper will remedy this, but some ridges are hard to soften without affecting adjacent detail. More importantly, a couple of the figs have the brand-mark, cartoonish ''grimaces?' of The Foundry, though these were exceptions (two out of fifteen). It will be interesting to see if the Perrys leave gnomeland behind and shoot for more realism. Lastly, broken noses are fun, but I would have liked the occasional higher bridged variety.
Compatibility: A tough issue for figure designers. One sales goal is obviously to make ranges compatible, if possible, with other lines, thus increasing the potential audience. But how do you do that without mirroring another maker's style? This must be particularly difficult for the Perrys, in attempting to maintain continuity with earlier Foundry releases. They should get a big hand for improving on former design, while accomplishing the compatibility goal. The figures can be mixed with Foundry or Front Rank, though I'd probably do it on a battalion basis. Otherwise, you'll get a sense of just how much girth your other figures are carrying!
Summation: These are among the best 28's I've seen. Front Rank would get the tip of the hat on faces, but for overall symmetry, proportion and historical accuracy, these may be the 'miniatures of preference'. I'm still undecided. Comparing them other 28's (only), they'd rate a score of 8.5-9.0.
Now, the competition in that "mm range" isn't particularly strong, in my biased thinking. The hope is this may be part of a trend away from the dwarf look, for the Perry, Front Rank, Calpe and Elite.
Pricing: Infantry packs (6 figures) = 5.00 BP. Cavalry (3 + mounts) = 6.00 BP. Checks payable to "Perry Miniatures". Accept all major credit cards.
Postage: UK, 10% Europe, 12.5% The rest of us, 15% (realists!... amen)
Check them out.
The Sons of the Freckled-Faced Lad
Recently, received some additional information from Mark Hauck, with on the Perrys and their US distributor:
I had the opportunity to talk with the Perry's -- on several occasions -- over the Labor day weekend at Con Quest. What I found most interesting was their love of history and dedication to a "somatic" approach to figure sculpting. Not only do they do their historical research but they put on the clothes or armor and learn to handle the weapons. They often take photos of themselves in the proper poses (firing, loading, etc.) and sculpt from those.
The Perry figures are available in the United States from Hobby Workshop. The Perry's themselves recommend that I go through that outlet as it would cost me less. (Really nice guys!) Hobby Workshop will pick up the cost of postage if it is being shipped to a commercial address!