Friday, January 11, 2019

Little blue men

Happy New Year everybody! :-)

As I indicated before, I had placed an order for the new Strelets Prussian Landwehr. Just a week after my last posting, the package arrived – so far, so good. To be honest, I was waiting for 1/72 Landwehr in plastic for a very long time. The ones that HaT recently produces didn't meet my expectations – too few poses, too much the same poses as in every other HaT set – so I decided to wait for Strelets to make it's own set.

I know – you can easily get Landwehr infantry from several metal figure producers, but as I'm up to mix them with other plastics Prussian regulars sooner or later, you mostly find metal 1/72 Landwehr that doesn't fit in – either the metal figures are modelled too rough or don't fit in size.

Well. Okay. Here they are. And well... I have an issue with them – but let's start from the beginning.

At first – I ordered the figures directly from Linear-A. Due to christmas time, delivery took a little bit longer, but as I'm not one of those Amazon-addicted people who expect a parcel to arrive right after clicking onto the 'order' button, it didn't bother me too much.

Linear-A delivers figure sets 'unboxed' in a large envelope. The set boxes are put flattened into the envelope, together with the figure sprues. This saves shipment costs – if wanted so, you can reassemble the boxes right at home and put the figures back into them.

Let's have a look at the sprues. 

I ordered both sets – the standing ones as well as the marchers. Having a look at the different poses, I found them very convincing. I already enjoyed the standing/marching Brits'n Scots and if you also do so, the Prussian Landwehr will not disappoint you.

Technically, I would date these figures for the period between mid- to late 1813 onwards. Although these chaps are still not all equipped in a similar way (some have water bottles, some not, water bottles differ, some have scabbards, some even the short infantry sabers), all have the same sort of caps, all have muskets, all have shoes. This means that these Landwehr men do not represent the very early, quickly conscripted and poorly equipped troopers of the very early campaign. And another detail – there's a flagbearer with every set. As by the end of September 1813, carrying flags was forbidden for Landwehr units, this figure is only suitable for the battles on German soil – which includes prominent ones like the battles of Moeckern, Grossgoerschen, Grossbeeren, Katzbach and – of course – Dresden.

But that's only for history lovers. Most wargamers won't give a damn about it – they urge to have Landwehr on the gaming table!

So far, so good. Let's get back to the figures. As I said, I have an issuue with them. For a long time, the only Landwehr available on the market were the old Airfix figures. Not that I'd say they're very bad – in fact, they are quite nice – but they are very hard to mix with other Prussians just because of their size. The Airfix Landwehr is far too small, especially when put aside the MAC-Prussians from HaT, that are a little bit bulky. I bought Prussians from 1815 and HaT a while ago. I even have some old Revell-Prussians as well. But as I found them to be too small in comparizon to the regulars, I never bought any Airfix Landwehr, instead I waitied for better things to come.

And now... well, look for yourself. 

This is a comparizon between old HaT Prussian reserve infantry, Revell Prussian line infantry, 1815 Prussian line infantry, our Strelets boys and the MAC Prussians from HaT. You see what I mean? Hell, yeah – the Strelets Landwehr is rather small. It would fit best with the Revell guys. If you want to mix them with the HaT MACs, you better leave some distance between the units, because otherwise the difference in size will be too obvious. And this, in fact, sucks.

'Well – the difference in height isn't too much, what's the matter?', some of you might say. There's one thing about the Strelets Landwehr that is on the one hand really cool and realistic – on the other way, it makes bad things even worse: not all men are of the same size. In Strelet's set, you find men of different body size. Taller guys, smaller guys. 

Yeah. Great idea. But not when it's up to compare sizes with other sets.

Don't get me wrong – I wanted these figures, I'm still glad to have these figures, but I would have expected them to match the size of other plastic manufacturer's products and as they do not, this leaves me a little bit frustrated. In fact, it was unexpected – I put them besides the Strelets Brits and see: the Brits are taller. Recognizably taller.

Okay. Enough ranting. Let's get back to what you get when you buy these figures.
At first – plastic material, thick sprues and slightly concave figure bases remain the same as ever. There's little extra plastic on them, but you should trim away the mould lines because they are considerable.

Here's a primed figure – note the nice details. 

There's not anything dwarfish or bulky about them anymore – modern Strelets figures are really lightyears away from their early counterparts. What I really enjoy is that the modeller seems to have gotten the musket issue under control – while the British/Scottish soldiers were equipped with somewhat bulky muskets that rather looked like arquebuses, the Landwehr soldiers carry good looking muskets. Thumbs up!

And here's the test painting result – trooper of Kurmark Landwehr on the march. 

Took me an evening to paint – there's not much detail about the uniform and the equipment doesn't take lots of attention (not many straps, buttons, laces, whatsoever – simple equip, simple uniform). Apart from the size issue, I don't think that there's much that you could do wrong with buying these sets. Just keep 'em away from too large figures and everything's fine. ;-)