Saturday, 12 April 2014

Another quick comp.

By way of celebrating his 100th post, The Mad Tin Hatter is having an interesting competition.

He describes it as a small competition, but the prizes are two books (both good, particularly the Peninsular War one) and a set of rules, which is an interesting mix. Closing date is 25th April so you'll have time to digest your Easter Eggs. Details can be had here.

Friday, 4 April 2014

Blue Moon ACW Command Packs

Not much to report since my last (proper) post, but I have begun dabbing again. Done some touching up on older stuff and rattled off four 15mm Confederate field officers. They’re from the command bags from the Blue Moon range so it’s probably worth making a few comments.

I have a hang up about command figures, which goes back to the days when companies produced just the one ‘general’ for each army. The ability to have whole command groups without hours of butchering and a sea of Araldite is a relatively recent luxury so I have a habit of going over the top when command figures become available.  Consequently, I got all six mounted officer packs from Blue Moon’s 15mm ACW range and, having been to confession, I can now give a reasonably unbiased view.

The horses aren’t bad. Although they fall short of the gold standard set by AB, they’re pretty decent. There are a variety of poses (can a horse actually ‘pose’?), all of which are within the physical capabilities of a horse, although there are a couple that suffer from what I think of as the peacock’s tail effect – the tail is disproportionately large for the animal. I already have some of Blue Moon’s French Napoleonic Carabiniers (first uniform) and it appears that only a few of the ACW commanders’ horses are unique. I don’t think this is a bad thing as there seems to be a tradition among sculptors that requires commanders to be portrayed in heroic poses. This is all well and good, but I think it has a couple of drawbacks.

All but the most egotistical commanders had more important things to do than continually strike a pose, particularly in the days before the photo opportunity. Worse, all sculptors are equal, but (with apologies to Eric Blair) some are more equal than others.  It would be unfair to name specific sculptors and figures (though probably a good laugh), but, whereas some of the actively posed command figures do look truly heroic, others look like both horse and rider have been stricken with St. Vitus’ Dance. The ones I find funniest are those produced by an American company named after their national flag (vague enough?) which seems to specialize in command figures riding impossibly energetic horses, while waving both arms in the air like they’re sending a message in semaphore. Course, they could all be in the act of falling off.

Now, where was I? Oh yeah, the Blue Moon ‘general’ packs.  Well, I’ve ended up with lots of generals performing a variety of sensible functions on pretty decent horses. This includes a good crop of hat wavers and a reasonably sober number of sword wavers. There are quite a few ‘pointers’ (not the canine variety) and some very good ‘looking important’ figures. It’s hard to believe that all the riders have been sculpted by the same person as the quality is variable, particularly the faces. No alarm bells here: they range from very good to okay so they’re not a hazardous buy.

To be fair, I was glad I was able to afford the full batch because there are some good figures in different bags and, to my tastes, the Federal groups are more attractive (though I do need both sides). However, all in all, a good buy. The ones illustrated below are done in a 'get it on the table' style, but will probably stand a bit of detailing when I have the drive to do so. Do I really need all these generals? If you’re as good a gamer as I am, you’ll need all the help you can get, but yes, they’ll all eventually get used.