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15mm Side-By-Side Reviews

Size Does Matter

If your experience starting out in this hobby is anything like mine, you probably found a local club or shop that piqued your interest in miniatures. In my case, it was a birthday gift from my wife. By that time I was deep in the Sharpe’s series of historical novels about the Napoleonic Wars, shortly followed by Napier, and Oman. I thought a miniature Napoleonic army would be fun to build. I decided on 15 mm miniatures as a nice blend between individual detail and being able to build a large army. So I started buying miniatures and painting them.

The reason I wanted to use a lot of manufacturers was to get as wide a variety of poses and variations as possible. Remember, I was building a scale model here, not an army for the gaming table. I decided to start with the armies at Talavera and began with the British.

I found, upon diving in, that my local shop had a good selection but limited assortment of miniatures. Since my goal was more modeling than gaming, I wanted as wide a variety of poses as possible. I started looking at combining miniatures from different manufacturers. I quickly learned that the description ”15 mm” has a wide variety of interpretations. As a result some manufacturers’ figures are significantly larger than others. How to decide which brands mixed well with which? Unfortunately I had to do it the hard way - order one or two packs from every manufacturer I could find.

Since I could not find a resource that let me see all of these brands side by side, I decided to do it myself. The following pages are the result. I began with British infantry from the Napoleonic Wars, since that is the first army I decided to build. Over time I have expanded the idea, and now have Napoleonic infantry for four countries, and a complete assortment for the American Civil War which includes infantry, cavalry, and mounted officers! At present I am working to get the American War of Independence (aka the AWI, known to us Yanks as the Revolutionary War).

SBS Nap 15 Sizes
The figure on the left is by AB, the figure on the right by Naismith Design

There Is (Or Was) A Method To My Madness

For each set of reviews, I try to pick a similar pose - advancing. Of course, not every manufacturer makes every pose, but I try to get close. Then each figure is primed in black and painted. At first, I decided to do my very best basic block painting job - no highlights, no shadows. Also, I painted the figure “as is.” So if a strap “broke off” in the middle, I painted it that way. Of course, anyone can paint a straight line. The idea was to show the figure itself, not my ability (or lack thereof) to paint. However, I have since changed my mind. Moving forward, I will now show the best paint job I can muster. Now that I have painted about 1,000 figures in 15 mm (as of May 1, 2005), my best is not too shabby. At some point I will go back to the old pages and repaint them (but don’t hold your breath).

For a similar approach to figure reviews for World War 2 and other periods, drop by Wargames@Nordalia.

Page Updated May 1, 2005.

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