The Purchase: Unfortunately, I purchased most of my AB figures over a year ago from The Emperor’s Headquarters. They sold them under the “Imperial” brand name in packs of 8 - however the item numbers do not match AB’s item numbers. AB lists five items B16 Marching at trail, B17 Skirmishing and B17a Skirmishing (prone) B18 Officer and B19 Bugler. Since AB does multiple poses against each item number there is no way for me to know if I am reviewing all the available figural variations or not. At $4.95 for 8 figures that’s a rather hefty $0.62 per figure. Compare that to other brands as low as $0.20 per figure.
I am glad I purchased the Imperial brand, and I’m sorry the store closed - the quality of these figures is so high that it got me started and has kept me interested in the hobby. I can’t imagine what would have happened if my introduction were via an army of Jacobite redcoats! Once I get my backlog painted, I’ll just have to order them from Eureka in Australia.
First Impressions: Many gamers consider AB the gold standard when it comes to 15mm. The quality and easy realism of the sculpts and castings is clearly best of class. Most of the AB figures measure in closer to 18mm, but who’s counting? These figures are just a pleasure to look at. The prone poses are especially nice - realistic without being cartoonish, yet still having a sense of motion and activity. Since the figures I was buying were all manufactured on-site, they obvioulsy were in very good shape right out of the blister packs. Flash on all of the figures was non-existent and the castings were outstanding.
The Thigh Bone’s Connected to the Hip Bone: The overall proportions were what attracted me to AB, and are why I sometimes shy away from other brands. I know legs are boring to paint, but they should be in scale. This lack of anatomical sense creates the well-known gnome-itis that afflicts figures from so many other makes. Feet, hands, heads and arms are all in proper proportion. Let’s face it, a better figures makes a better paint job that much easier.
Beware of Scrambled Eggs: Not to worry - every detail here is clear and crisp. While you may need to take a minute to “see” what is happening, the straps, folds and minor details all sort themselves out nicely.
God Is In. The Details: These figures are clearly well researched. Tony Barton the owner and sculptor of AB obvioulsy goes to great lengths to get things right. Examples you can see here are the powderhorn - these were issued only to riflemen and sharpshooters, not to regular line troops. Riflemen were not issued normal bayonets but a larger item called a “sword bayonet” - accordingly scabbards are larger and you can see the hilts. Likewise the officer’s pelisse is nicely detailed with fur trim and extensive cord decoration on the front. Even the canteens are well shaped and have a little detail.
The Verdict: These figures are not cheap but they are the nicest you’ll find in 15mm. Plus, AB has quite an extensive range of Napoleonics (not just two or three nationalities).
Paint By Numbers (My Paint Choices): Uniform jacket and pants - Colour Party Rifles Green; Bedroll - Model Master Neutral Gray 4757; Rifle - Howard Hues Rifle Butt; Haversack - Model Master Dark Tan 4709; Canteen - Tamiya Medium Blue XF-18; Powderhorn - Model Master Wood 4673.
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