31 August 2002
I became interested in RSM 95's figures after looking through some old copies of the Seven Years War Association Journal a few months ago. I had been looking for a range of anatomically proportioned 25 mm figures for the Seven Years War for some time and my enthusiasm for the period was rekindled after finally finding and reading a copy of His Britannic Majesty's Army In Germany During The Seven Years War. I was fired up to build a bit of the Duke of Brunswick's army and so I began my search. I was intrigued by the Willie's and Tradition 30's that I saw on this web site but I was disappointed after reading the reviews...then I found RSM 95.
As I said, I found RSM 95 through the 7YW Assoc. Journal. The newsletters in question where all from the late 80's and early 90's, so I wasn't sure that the company would still be in existence. But by the descriptions in the adds I had seen it sounded like they would be just the thing I was looking for, if I could find them. Happily enough I had no trouble finding the company. The first place I looked was on the internet in The Miniatures Page's excellent manufacturers listing and there they were, along with an E-mail address (there is no web site as of yet. They are now owned by a company called DPC).
I sent off an E-mail asking about a catalogue and samples and the very next day when I returned home from work I found a reply in my inbox with an attached catalogue. In the E-mail I was informed that randomly selected samples were supplied free (you don't see THAT much anymore)! In about a week and a half the samples arrived. During the whole, short, process I found the gentleman at DPC to be friendly, helpful and prompt in exchanging E-mail. I have never dealt with a company with better customer service, DPC gets a 10 in that department on a rising scale of 1-10, and I don't give that rating lightly.
The Big Drawback
To date I haven't bought any RSM 95 figures, so I am basing this review on two items- the catalogue and the two foot figures I was sent as sample. It is in the catalogue that I found the first and biggest drawback with the range, not that it was a real surprise because the gentleman at DPC told me straight out in the first E-mail he sent that "the 7YW range is not complete". And since the original sculptor isn't sculpting for DPC it isn't likely to be completed either. This is unfortunate as I really like the figures that are available. The listing of armies available holds a few surprises, there are the standard nationalities- British, French, Austrian, Prussian, Russian, American Indians and Colonials- but there is also a line of Highland Jacobites, Hanoverians and Ottoman Turks. The problem is that in some of these armies key figure types are missing. Take for example the British- there are Grenadiers and Centre Company figures in four poses: Marching, Advancing, Firing and Firing kneeling as well as Highlanders Advancing and Marching. There is 'British Cavalry' Standing and Charging, there is Artillery and Mounted Generals. There are no light troops, either mounted or foot, there is only one General figure, only one ensign figure, only one drummer and one piper figure, only one officer figure for the different troop types and there is only one type of cavalry (Dragoons).
The British are among the best represented but some of the armies are without ensigns, some have no officers and so on. This can rectified with a bit of conversion work but the lack of figure variations in the command groups and General Officer figures is a bigger problem (at least for me, I like as many variations in these departments as I can possibly get because they are what most people notice first about a wargames unit).
Obviously two sample figures aren't much to base a review on, but I have since seen other figures in the range in other peoples collections and I can say that the two figures I have are a good example of the range as a whole.
The figures are 27 mm from foot to eye and are of a light build. They mix in perfectly in size and style with the Willie figure I have. They are also proportionally correct, which of course has advantages and disadvantages. The advantages are that number one, they look like human beings, and number two they look like human beings. The disadvantages are that they don't have all the deep folds in their uniform or tiny details that one would find in a Foundry or Front Rank figure, they can't (that's why the later two manufacturers figures look cartoony, they have to be distorted to fit the detail at that scale), but the weapons and equipment have enough detail so that you can tell exactly what they are.
The poses are realistic and understated with one major exception; the advancing pose. It is not advancing, it is running at the high porte...in deep sand by the look of the figure. I liked all the figures that I have seen from the RSM 95 range except these ones. On whole the figures are quite stiff when compared to Foundry, Front Rank or Old Glory but they are quite pleasing for 18th century armies and are very like the Willies. The casting quality was excellent, I couldn't see any pitting or flash and only slight mould lines. The metal was hard but not brittle. The marching and firing figures I would rate as an 8 while the advancing figures would only make a 4.
Pricing and Packaging
Those interested in these figures will be very pleased with this section of the review. The figures are available in packs of 36 infantry with command for $23.40, Cavalry in packs of 12 (riders and horses) including command for $19.80, Batteries of 2 Light Guns for $4.00, 2 Heavy Guns for $5.00, or 2 Guns and 12 Gunners for $11.80, 4 Horses and 2 Limbers for $7.00 and 6 Mounted Generals for $9.90. Better yet you can buy figures individually for $.75 for foot and cavalry, and $1.00 for horses. All these prices are in US funds.
For wargamers who don't mind doing a little converting and who don't mind having few figure pose variations these figures are ideal. For me, I am giving up the search and going with 15 mm Minifigs, 15 mm is really the best scale for what I want to do in this period anyway.
PO Box 24185
Huber Heights, OH
45424, UNITED STATES