Thursday, May 13, 2010
Perry French Dragoons - Initial Impressions
Some time ago I reviewed Victrix Miniature's line of French Napoleonic foot soldiers. Recently I picked up a box of Perry Miniatures French Dragoons. Both are significant in that they are plastic miniatures as opposed to lead. Plastic miniatures are generally cheaper, easier to tote around, and most significantly, contain no lead. I was interested to see how the Perry brother's work stacked up against the nice figures from Victrix.
The box of dragoons included several sprues of pieces, some bases for the completed figures, and a painting guide. The guide was helpful without being incredibly detailed, more than sufficient for a casual hobbiest. The bases were an assortment of sizes but didn't include any for the dismounted figures. I use thicker bases anyway so that was hardly a deal breaker.
Once I started assembling the figures I was struck by how much simpler they were to construct compared to the Victrix infantry. There is some variety in how the figures can be completed, mainly in how you pose the sword-holding left hand. The horses come in two parts and their stance can vary depending on which two parts you glue together. In comparison the Victrix box included a multitude of poorly identified arm variations that really slowed down construction. The bottom line was that assembling the Perry dragoons was fast and easy.
I did have some worry that the lack of variety would lead to a homogeneous looking group. I was happy to see that once lined up the figures all had some individual character. To be sure they had less than the Victrix infantry but on a tabletop I don't think the difference would be striking. I did notice that the Perry figures seem to be modeled after healthy, slender fashion models while Victrix based their figures on thugs, roughnecks and hillbillies (see redcoats on left). Historically this seems about right and I'll probably continue to use Victrix for foot soldiers.
The Perry Dragoons story had an unexpected happy ending. After assembling the troops I left them out on the kitchen table. My three year old son found them and started examining them. In a minute the troops were lined up in neat rows and we spent the next half hour having horse races across the table. I think it was probably a welcome relief for the dragoons to take a break from harassing Richard Sharpe across the length of Spain and just race around for a bit. Mainly it was heartwarming as h#&% to play with toy soldiers together. As an addendum the figures held up to play just fine and worst case scenario was that I would have to reglue something.
I was very happy with the Perry Dragoons. They assembled easily and the box is a great value. I like the absence of lead which allows me to clutter up the house with the figures, much to the wife's delight. For gaming purposes they look terrific and for playing purposes they are a hit with three year olds. I got my box at the Hobby Bunker in Malden.