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Book Review: European Armies
1796-1815 (Catalog)

European Armies 1796 - 1815 by D.W. International (Catalog)

A fellow gamer on TMP pointed out this book. In reality, it is a 200 page glossy color catalog for a company called DW-International. DW makes 1:30 scale miniatures and this is their Napoleonic catalog. Well, volume 1 anyway. They eventually plan to publish 5 volumes in all.

First of all, it is hard to believe they can actually remain in business selling what are, after all, just moderately well painted figures (the figures look to be about 65 mm). 44 Pounds (about $80 US) is very steep for a simple infantry figure. They do have what looks to be thousands of unique figures - and they sell dioramas too - but this kind of pricing puts GW to shame.

The catalog is organized by army. Each section starts with a 1-page overview of the army’s organization, followed by the color pages. Each color page features one regiment (some regiments get 2 pages) and has up to two dozen photos of figures from that regiment. Volume 1 covers:

  • Great Britain (1813-1815, 17 plates)
  • France (1796-1815, 69 plates)
  • Italy (1807-13, 11 plates)
  • Naples (1807-1813, 20 plates)
  • Russia (1812-1814, 25 plates)

If the uniforms are accurate, these would be an outstanding reference set for a Napoleonic painter. So I decided to see how these stack up against plates in my other sources. Simply put, there are obvious differences, some more striking than others. To be fair, most of the plates here are of dress uniforms, so some of the variances may be due to dress vs. campaign uniform.

    British 1st Foot Guards: Osprey Elite 52 shows white lace around the edge of the cuff, but the cuffs here are plain blue. The drummer here is shown in reversed colors (blue jacket, red facings, lots of lace) - my other sources agree Guards/Royal drummers wore red coats.

    British Scots Greys: The private is shown in a bearskin, but Elting/Knotel’s Napoleonic Uniforms III shows a covered shako; here the tack is red, Elting/Knotel shows it in leather. The figures here have silver buttons down the pants leg; Elting/Knotel shows two narrow black stripes and no buttons.

    French 18th Regiment: The voltigeur bugler here is shown in a sky-blue jacket with yellow facings piped red, in Osprey MAA141 in the standard dark blue with red facings, piped in the regimental lace. The plume here is yellow over green, while Osprey shows it as yellow over red. This bugle cord is red, Osprey’s is green.

    French 14th Legere: Quite a few differences here. The voltigeur here has a blue waistcoat, while Osprey’s MAA146 shows it as white. The collar is red piped white vs. buff piped red; these boots are piped yellow, Osprey’s green; the shako decorative cloth is yellow piped red vs. plain yellow.

Finally, some comments on the figures themselves. I am confident gamers will have no trouble resisting the urge to purchase from DW. The paint style is very “toy soldier.” Uniforms are mostly unshaded, and the faces are that pasty pale flesh. Lips are bright red, and they all have that surprised, pop-eye look.

Review Posted July, 2004

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