une 4, 2002
Dal recently purchased some SYW samples from Chris Hughes (of Sash & Saber). As they’re located in North Carolina and I am geographically closer, it was determined I’d review them. (Lucky Chris!) Both of us were impressed with his prompt and courteous handling of the order, and a very quick delivery.
My only expectations were based on what Chuck Rainbow had written for "Spanner & the Yank" sometime back, on ’S&S Napoleonics. So I opened the box with palpable interest, a clear slate and immediately noted the line’s potential. Unfortunately, there were drawbacks.
Stats & Major Quibbles
The figures measure an exact 25 mm from shoe-sole to eye-level. A couple of figs weighed in at 26 mm, but were appropriately grenadiers. The majority were well proportioned anatomically, with one notable exception: They all have either huge calves, or are making the gaiters out of blankets. The latter was really disappointing and inexplicable, as the designer is otherwise on the right track proportionally. We ‘conversion’ people will have no problem whittling down the offending ankle-to-knee girth; the question is… are people willing to?
The weapons are more in proportion than the Crusader SYW 28’s I recently reviewed, and the smaller size is preferable. However, the another drawback are poorly formed bayonets. I noted a painted image of a Napoleonic figure on S&S’ website, where it appeared the end of the bayonet had broken off. Well, I can’t state with any certainty whether it is a sculpting issue, or a casting problem (my guess is the latter), but the irregularity of the bayonets is annoying.
(It should be stated here that the common challenge for those replicating, particularly, the Seven Years War, is consistency, as conformation in appearance was so important to all the Continental armies.)
I liked Sash & Saber’s feel for the drill of the period. It’s one of the first line of miniatures that renders a march step more-or-less accurately, as used in the Prussian and Austrian armies. It accurately does not depict a goose-step, but has the leg fully extended in front, without the knee locked. A tiny quibble is that the toe should be pointed.
This is a tough review to write as the line has much going for it. Of the concerns addressed so far, the major one would be unevenness in sculpting quality. Several of the figures were good and demonstrated the designer’s ability to achieve nice results. Others were decidedly sub-standard. I received a command pack, and both of the standard-bearers were missing the right side of their faces! *Another figure’s musket was curved and was joined with the tricorne to such a degree, that it was impossible to straighten with simple modifications.
In the above pic, you’ll note the nice, if somewhat laconic face of the grenadier on the left. Juxtaposed to it, is that of a musketeer NCO, who has a humungus jaw and lips thicker than Mick Jagger’s. The one expression can be painted a variety of ways with good effect; while the other is cartoonish –reminiscent of OG – and the only remedy would be some resculpting.
That given, there are those of us who like over-animated figs. My quibble is not with an NCO yelling his guts out… it’s with proportions.
My take on this somewhat bizarre variance in quality, and for that matter, style, is that the designer may have veered in-and-out of decisions on what look he was after. Additionally, it appears that some of the work was rushed. It shows up in some sharp angles vs. more rounded, natural ones. I can only guess that the Russians may have come along after the Prussians, as they’re more consistent.
Sash & Saber’s 25 mm figures are sold in packs of 10 infantry, or artillerists… 4 mounts and troopers in the case of cavalry. The price is $12.50USD.
They do sell singles figures, but the price jumps to a high $2.00USD for infantry, and $4.00 for cavalry. As I consider the line collectible, IF you could separate the good sculptings from the weaker ones. The pack concept is an impediment.
Recapping the pluses and minuses….
1. Capture the drill and positions of the period PLUS
2. Anatomically correct PLUS
3. Good-to-substandard casting quality MINUS
4. Poorly formed bayonets minus
5. THICK gaiters minus
6. All indications are that this line will continue to expand PLUS
7. Horse(s) need work? MINUS
8. Nice compact size plus
I’d rate these between 5.5-8.0. 70% probably would fall into the 6.5-8.0 range, but some glaring oddballs extend things.
This line has potential. It has scored well on anatomy, movement and size. I would recommend some redo’s/re-works to bring the range up to snuff, and getting up close-and-personal with equines.
*Chris confirmed this was a casting problem and that he'd happily swap those for new figures.
Sash & Saber Castings
119 Dublin Road, Raleigh,
NC 27609 USA
Phone (919) 870-5513