zaterdag 2 juli 2011

French Fantasies


It's a bit of a sketchy title to this topic, I admit it, but bear with me and all will be revealed in due course. Anyone checking the HäT website has discovered that their 1:72 scale French Napoleonics have gotten a separate page all to themselves

On this page masters and drawings of the new French MAC infantry sets are show:

French 1815:

and French pre-1812

It's about the latter two sets I'm thinking a lot lately. For the diorama I will need heaps of pre-1812 Frenchies of course, and while it is perfectly possible to make such a force of combining all kinds of existing plastic and metal figure sets, I really want my figures to have an overall same-ish look. The new HäT British Peninsular Infantry will set the benchmark (with some converted Revell Brits mixed in for diversity) and this is no problem as most other troops I have for the project will mix with those nicely: Italeri Hussars and Revell Chasseurs of the Guard as the 3rd French Hussars, Revell Life Guards as Portuguese Dragoons and Revell and HäT British artillery as... well RHA and RFA obviously.

The real problem at the moment is the French infantry as stated above. The present HäT 1812 Big Box is not a bad set at all but the figures are pretty chunky and very different in style to the newer Brits and French Légère MAC sets and while I could opt to alter several sets of the latter into regular infantry it would take a lot of work.
Seeing these shots of the pre-1812 masters has convinced me to wait for them and start with the Brits already lying around here. The drawings clearly show the panoply of separate head-options were gonna get with the French sets and these are superb for my purposes because I want to depict the rigours of campaigning in Spain at the time and have a big diversity in headgear and colours of clothing.

Other opportunities arise as well with the spare heads in these sets like using the Tarletons provided for AWI light troops. Or converting Dutch Light cavalry into British Peninsular LD's since the announced HäT set on Peninsular cavalry has been a little slow in progressing so far. The shako's included will be great for loads of conversions: i.e. I want to make several wargames units of French Artillery with shako's rather then the horrible Italeri busby's or the bicornes on the latest HäT set because I don't do the very early Napoleonic Wars.

Still the problem with all this is: we'll have to wait for a while yet before these figures become available. Argh! I want it all and I want it NOW! as the popular saying goes...

While I got a grip on myself again, let's talk about the MAC system. HäT has come up with, in my eyes, one of the best ways to sell plastic troops in current production by dividing the sets in 3 boxes: a box with Marching figures, a box of Action poses and a Command set. Now we can buy just as many boxes as we need figures and so will not have poses lying around which we have no use for and do not need to buy even more boxes to fill out our units with enough troopers that we do need.This system does have an Achilles heel: it will save us money because we need to buy less boxes but will leave HäT with lower sales... Hopefully we will all buy more of these sets in total then we are buying sets that leave us with spare poses but all the same it's a humongous gamble HäT is willing to take for the convenience of us customers; thanks heaps guys!

For my Salamanca project this just works out great indeed, since I need but a few action posed French and quite a lot of marching ones. So I will keep my fingers crossed the progress on these sets is speedy and without much of the trouble which happens during the production process.

Well that's my ramblings for today,

Cheers Sander