19 August, 2001
The War of the League of Augsberg (also known as the War of the Grand Alliance and the War of the Palatinate) was fought by most of the states of Europe, from 1688 to 1697. As such it falls in the early part of the period covered by our reviews (1670 to 1870). It was a time of military innovation and change, with the pike disappearing from armies and the use of firepower deciding the issue. While most nations had instituted "national" uniform colours, there were still nations where a colonel's whim dictated the clothing of his troops.
The figures I used for this review were bought from Nic Robson at Eureka Miniatures. Regal Miniatures are a North American stockist for the figures while Europeans interested in obtaining them should contact Hallmark. Prices will vary from country to country, but I paid 55c for foot and riders, 60c for horses and $2.50 for the gun.
Physical Quality. The figures were cleanly cast with few mould tabs and little flash to be cleaned off. They range from 14mm to 14.5mm in height (sole to eye) and are a small figure in the very elastic "15mm" range. The proportions are generally quite good though the animation, at times, is a little wooden. Ensign's colour pikes, pikemens' pikes and other bits of gear have to be made from wire (thin brass or piano wire will do the trick).
Infantry and Gunners. There's a rather large selection of figures, including the usual officers, ensigns and musicians. At first I thought the weapons were accurate despite the very large stocks and butts, but a look at some references shows these are too big for the scale, looking more like early 17C firelocks. The faces are basic but it's surprising how well they paint up.
The ensigns and pikemen will need to have wire pikes supplied.
There's a surprising amount of detail on the figures. There were few differences in dress between nations at the time, so the different figures available will suit a number of different armies from about 1660 to the introduction of tricornes.
I like these figures and, having seen Craig Burnett's painted figures, recommend them. Rating 8.0 out of 10.
Cavalry. The cavalry come with the saddlery moulded on to the horses. There's a number of different saddle and gait types- walking, standing, trotting and galloping. Not all gaits are available for all saddle types.
The horses are very well sculpted, generally being in proportion and with realistic depictions of gait. Some look a little too broad through the barrel, though, or have smallish heads. Plus the poses are a little wooden. However these models look like horses, not upholstered whippets. Some more poses would have been a nice touch, especially where one horse is obviously used for two saddle types.
The riders are as well detailed as the foot, with a nice range of figures to choose from. Horse, dragoons and hussars are available, with the mounted drummers of the dragoons being a nice touch.
Very nice figures, I'll rate the horses as 8.5's and the riders as 8.0's again.
Artillery, wagons and field works. The wagons made by Hallmark have long been a favourite of mine. They're well-detailed, accurate and look great. The guns and field work pieces are just as good and rival anything the larger brands offer.
The detailing on the carriages is subdued, without the gouges that some other makers try to pass off as "woodgrain" on their models. The guns are surprisingly large for the weighted calibre, but remember that this period came before many of the breakthroughs that saw guns become lighter, smaller and stronger. Rating- 9.0 to 9.5.
Overall. An unusual period from a maker more known for ships and models. Obviously a labour of love, I don't know enough about the period to judge the accuracy of the troops. But I'd say they'd be at least as accurate as the artillery pieces and ship models- which means very accurate indeed. Worth a look for different and very colourful period.