Monday, October 10, 2016

Hessian Grenadiers

These are a set of 9 Hessian Grenadiers painted for my SYW Sharp Practice project.  They are 28mm hard plastic figures from the Warlord AWI Hessian Infantry boxed set.  They have been some time coming as it took a long while to get them together and then painted and then photographed and blogged.  Basically problem children, with many of the problems lying somewhere between the chair seat and the tip of the paintbrush.

These were my first experience with Warlord figures and they were a learning experience!  Ok lets start with the plus side.  
  • The box includes enough figures to do a reasonable sized unit and options for  a Prussian/Hessian Fusilier (the early pickelhaube helmet), Musketeer (Prussian style tricorn) and Grenadiers (classic mitre) plus command stand and a handful of Jaegers.
  • The figures are well moulded and have a good set of accurate kit for the AWI.  I am fudging the trousers a bit going back to SYW but otherwise they fit the earlier period well.
  • There's a good variety of poses, and some of these (firing, loading and priming) are very good.
  • The box comes with a good full colour insert with instructions on putting them together and painting, plus flags.
  • I managed to put together a usable group for SP2, so they are mostly idiot proof!

 OK now for the not so good.

  • They are fussy to put together, way more so then the Perry boxes (the gold standard IMHO).
  • As always some of the figures are not so great.  The figure at the trail (the NCO and one ranker in my unit) go into this category.
  • Most of the torsos have exactly one set of arms that work with them.  This limits the variety of poses greatly.  I far prefer the Perry approach and love mixing and matching bits from different figures and boxes.
  • The heads are two-three piece constructions!  The musketeer hats have to be glued onto the heads and then the pigtails come separate (really?!?).  I went with Grenadiers in part because  their hats come cast on the heads reducing the number of steps/chances for error.  And let's just say that frustration is maximized trying to glue a pigtail on a 28mm figure, or trying to find a grey pigtail on the floor.  Several grenadiers have gone with a more cropped hair style as a result.
  • Down at the feet we have more issues, namely the figures have separate bases and the feet end at the bottom of their feet.  This gave me more conniptions trying to figure how to get these painted.  Eventually I went with the Warlord individual square bases.  They'll work well for skirmish games but be a pain in kiester in a larger game.  They are also fall over easily and I had to apply a quick fix in the form of ballast in the base.
  • You'll note that I managed to get the facing of the figures off in some cases so some grenadiers are firing at a 45 degree angle to strait ahead and will be hearing from their Sergeant shortly.
  • The seemed to take a while to paint, this may be me or it may be the figures.  But I painted a set of Perry metal AWI figures shortly after wards (post to come) and they took the paint very well with far less do overs and fixes required.

Herrs Schultz and Muller need to adjust their aim.  Eyes front soldiers!

Hoffman at least has his eyes on the prize and is aiming dead ahead.  I am not a huge fan on the head down at the trail figure that doubles as an NCO with a swap of a partizan carrying set of arms.

The other problem with the bases, being hollow they don't have much ballast and the figures topple over easily.  I compensated by supergluing a small washer into the hollow space.

Rear view showing the kit and the problematic pigtails (or lack there of).

Again from the rear and above.  Much of the slowness in painting came from the cross belts (and lapels on the front of the figures).   The detail wasn't crisp enough to get it right first time out.


  1. Quite agree with your comments on these figures.

    I am slowly plowing through a box worth.

    I am basing mine on hand cut plasticard circles and then glued them to UK pennies. I'll be using them for Sharp Practice so I'll sabot them in due course.

    1. Glad to know that I'm not the only one Jim. I can't really fault the end product too much, but there has to be much easier ways of getting to the destination.

      Having started with the warlord bases I finish this unit of 2-3 groups on them. I think I'll try magnetic bases as sabots.

      If I start another unit from the box, I figured I'd mount them on tiddly-winks or bingo chips for painting, and then mount them in groups of four on renendra bases. Most of my life SYW troops are mounted in fours and it's worked well with our SP games using casualty markers. It also lets me field them for larger scale rules like Maurice and Black Powder.

      Cheers, Peter

  2. Not sure I could cope with putting together two/three piece head constructions with additional pigtails, so bravo you for such a great effort!

    1. It's not quite as bad as that. One piece head off the grenaiders, two for the musketeers. The pigtail is the second or third piece spending. But they did tax my patience.
      Thanks for the kind words, Peter

  3. Nice work Pete - great mitres! I have an ambivalent to sorta like opinion of plastics. Some are great (Perry's usually do a good job) but they are often fiddly (three-part heads!?), too light and prone to breakage. I have to say I still love my heavy metal.

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    2. Thanks Curt. These were bought as an experiment. I'll try and finish a unit out of this box set, but I don't think I'll get another.
      Cheers, Peter