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Strelets continues to impress. I have some observations on the French sets, though would preface this with the caution that, relative to, say, the Napoleonic period, we are viewing the uniforms of the period through a glass darkly and it is hard to be dogmatic.
1. French Fusiliers, set 236
These are superb and exquisite sculpts.
They are a good match for the British WSS troops we have seen, and certainly fit the WSS period.
There are examples of both horizontal and vertical pocket flaps, allowing many different regiments to be depicted. That is useful and much appreciated.
I am unsure why they are specifically labelled as "early war". They all wear the ventral cartridge box attached to the waist band. Prior to that the French wore a cartridge box on a strap over the left shoulder (like the British, Dutch etc).
Referring to the newly published The Armies and Wars of the Sun King 1643-1715, Rene Chartrand, 2020, cartridges are given as introduced during the 1690s, and the shoulder suspended boxes were first used. Naturally, reasons Chartrand, these would not have been replaced overnight by the ventral boxes, so, he reckons, the latter would be adopted by most, if not all, soldiers by 1705-1710.
The British sets are most suited to early war, so, where the French and British sets best overlap is probably the Blenheim-Ramilles period.
As, in any case, these are clearly figures showing a later stage of evolution than set 234, I am unsure as to the thinking behind identifying them as "early".
Sets 236 and 234 do not represent different troop types, rather, they both represent ordinary French infantrymen at different stages of their development.
2. French Musketeers, set 234
These look great, but present us with more of a poser, and I would agree with what Minuteman has already said in the topic French musketeers firing? Just WOW.
What period do they represent?
If set 234 was intended as a further WSS set, that does not seem to work. If it was intended that sets 234 and 236 should be complementary and fight together, they should not. Yes, c.1668-1700, French regiments would have contained both matchlocks and flintlocks, but the ventral cartridge box worn by the flintlock-armed "Fusiliers" of set 236 in all likelihood post-dates by an interval the extinction of the matchlock carried by set 234's "musketeers".
As matchlock men, that seems to make set 234 pre-WSS. Again, referring to the Chartrand volume cited, on peace in 1699, the regular establishment was reduced sufficiently to allow, finally, for musket production to catch up and supply all the infantry with flintlocks. When war came again in 1702, Chartrand reckons that improvements in production allowed the expanded infantry force to all be equipped with flintlocks, and the French were also able to re-equip the Spanish.
So, no matchlocks in WSS. I also do not believe there would have been pikemen taking the field in the WSS.
These figures are best seen as c.1690-1700. So, who are they going to fight within the world of 1/72nd plastics?
OK, so they're pre-WSS, but are they accurate?
The point has been made that the fully-formed tricorn seems to be a thing of the Eighteenth Century, yet both these "musketeer" figures and the breast-plated pikemen masters wear tricorns.
Well, Rousselot shows both pikemen and (matchlock-armed) musketeers of the 1690s in tricorns. Evidence from the few contemporary pictures I can find is less clear. It might be that we have a rather romanticised and idealised view from the early 20th century and that a more modern interpretation would be to have depicted them without the fully turned up brims on all sides. I note, though, the illustrations Strelets have posted in the topic French musketeers firing? Just WOW, which show a range of styles, up to and including fully-formed tricorns. I would be happy to accept what Strelets has done here.
The remaining issue is the barrel length. The illustrations tend to show that matchlocks were every bit as long as the flintlocks that replaced them.
Chartrand cites an order of 1670 specifying a barrel length of 3'8". There appears to be no standard pattern, but I would be guided by that order as an indication of length.
3. So next?
What would we like Strelets to produce next for WSS?
Good though they look, I am bound to conclude that set 234 Musketeers and the projected pikemen are irrelevant for WSS.
If Strelets want to do more WSS French infantry (which could include figures with tunic lace (please!), or figures with shoulder-slung cartridge boxes (covering c.1700-1710 and overlapping with set 236)), that would be fine, but I could live without more in favour of:
Finally, it would help me to build up battalions if the WSS command sprues were available separately. Could/would Strelets supply these directly?
Totally agree with what Edwardian said, and I would add a nice set entitled "WSS staff" with some generals inside (the duke of Marlborough, prince Eugene of Savoy, Claude de Villars...), that would be great in my opinion.
perfect analysis,I'm agree with what Edwardian said. strelet, please, listen to advice!do not waste magnificent miniatures with historical errors!
WSS italian Fan :smiley:
Some great analysis and thoughts from Edwardian - Thank you!
I'd echo thoughts stated here and elsewhere, which are the desire amongst all of us collecting this excellent WoSS range, that cavalry, dragoons (including dismounted), artillery, command sprues (as separate mini boxes??) and generals/personalities would be very useful indeed !!
I agree with Edwardians analysis... but please don´t forget the austrians!
The austrians had behind the french the biggest army. They participated on most battles. And they are also very attractive for many collectors who are interested in Prince Eugen campaigns against the ottomans.
Please, don´t forget the austrians!
Yes, some boxes for the austrian infantry would be great too, also because they can be useful for the ottoman wars and the famous battles of Turin and Denain.
Long post, sorry.
Adding to the WSS range?
Yes, I forgot to mention a command set, preferably mounted, would be greatly welcome. Some identifiable personalities, as mentioned, but a number of mounted officers, who could command brigades etc would be useful.
While I'm all for other nations, including Austrians and Prussians, and, particularly, Bavarians, I'd like to see a coherent all arms range for the English & Scots/British and the French have some priority.
Expanding the French Infantry?
I was thinking again about the French infantry. The presence of Set 234 and the pikemen masters confuse the situation, as they really have no place within the WSS range. Perhaps they could be re-labelled for the Grand Alliance/League of Augsburg/Nine Years War? I'd feel a lot happier about the musketeers, however, if they had longer barrels to their matchlocks. I infer that Set 234 ("French Musketeers Firing") was intended as a companion for set 236, and that, therefore, only one set of "fusiliers" was intended, but that will not do as Set 234 is useless for that purpose.
So putting these aside and concentrating on the WSS, we have 3 British infantry sets. Clearly there is scope for more than one French, excellent as they are.
Set 236 is labelled "French Fusiliers (Early War)". As more sets are made, I would take the opportunity to drop the "early war" label, which is unhelpful. By the WSS there is no distinction between fusiliers and musketeers, but I don't see why you cannot still call them fusiliers. However, there seems to be nothing specifically "early war" about them; they seem fairly typical of much of the WSS, but in the early years of the WSS, probably not all fusiliers would be equipped with the ventral cartridge box worn by all of these men. Only a set that included some figures with shoulder-slung cartridge boxes would seem to justify the label "early war".
Frankly, I'm not sure what's wrong with simply calling Set 236 "WSS French Infantry", and, indeed, having sets "1", "2", and "3" of them.
Presently, we just have Set 236, and a very fine set it is too, so what might any further WSS French infantry sets usefully contain?
My suggestions, very much open to comment, would be:
- Set 2: Much as Set 236, but with the inclusion of some Grenadiers (grenade pouch, flintlock with sling, hatchet and frog).
- Set 3: Laced coats. I'd be inclined to label these "Garde" to cover both Francaises and Suisses, but equally they would do for Regt. du Roi.
- Set 4? Returning to Set 234, you could also produce a set of flintlock-armed Fusiliers with shoulder-slung cartridge boxes, as these would potentially over-lap both Set 234 and 236, representing a probable maximum c.1690-1710 coverage. For WSS armies, they would be present early in the conflict alongside Set 236 men with their ventral cartridge boxes, though assumed to be increasingly rare from c.1705 and extinct by c.1710. These actually would warrant the title "Early War" in the WSS context, but would fit the League of Augsburg too.
I suspect that Strelets have misdirected themselves with regard to Set 234. No matter, with longer barrels they'll do perfectly well for an earlier conflict, but it does seem to me to expose the risks of relying on internal research and not widening the pool of input.
Particularly in this early period, where matters are much less certain than many of us are used to, I wish Strelets would be open to informed comment and not just 'do their own thing' and ignore contributions as 'debate'.
At the risk of being presumptious, between us, I'm sure we can find the answers the manufacturer needs. I pretend no expertise, and am merely regurgitating secondary sources, but, in doing so, I am standing on the shoulders of giants to an extent. The Chartrand work that I have cited (vol.2) is a product of modern scholarship by someone very knowledgeable. There are people here who know far more about this than I do, and we've had a learned French article referenced in relation to the length of small arms of the period.
My impression is that there is a fund of both knowledge and goodwill in this little forum community and I feel that Strelets would benefit, and, perhaps, avoid avoidable errors, if they embraced the available assistance. Yes, there is always some chaff along with the wheat, but those quoting reliable sources and displaying a command of them surely have the ability to help out here, if only by prompting Strelets to check its own research and assumptions?
By the time PSR is pointing out the inaccuracies, it's too late!
There are lots of good ideas and thoughts here, which is all very inspiring and positive.
Just a few further thoughts to add to the debate further, if I may:
Strelets are doing a fine job with this range and, indeed, so many other of their sets which are improving in quality very rapidly; and also because they are prepared to take on historical periods and conflicts which have not previously been covered in our hobby.
As the manufacturer, it is of course their decision what to design and produce. If every single set was a matter for lengthy debate then they would find it difficult to maintain the output that they are currently achieving! However, sharing early stage masters in this Forum is a very good way of flagging up 'problems' at an early stage. I very much hope that the historical difficulties that have been identified with the French Musketeer set can be resolved and before this set makes it to production. There is much about the set that is good, and with some re-design this may yet have a place in the range - although this may be for a slightly earlier period than the WoSS, as Edwardian has so lucidly explained.
So...Yes, let's help Strelets where we can; but also remember that they need to get on with designing and producing figures as well!
With regards future WoSS sets, my vote would go with the following (several of which already mentioned):
Complete the French and English/Scots/'British' first: I agree that a set with some French grenadiers would be very useful; and please can we have a French infantry drummer or two? A set each of French Maison du Roi cavalry and line 'light' cavalry are much needed. A set of French dragoons as well? And a set of English dragoons.
The generic personalities/mounted commanders set would be fantastic, and extremely useful.
That's already quite a lot of new sets. If Strelets and we still have the stamina, then how about in addition: A set of Bavarian or Dutch or Austrian infantry (or all three); a set of Bavarian/Austrian cuirassiers; and perhaps a set of hussars.
Artillery sets would be useful, although there are of course already some on the market which can be used. But something that does not exist and would be very useful would be a 'generic early C18th transport' set, with a large 4 wheeled wagon (four horse team), a small two wheeled wagon (single horse), and perhaps some civilians and a sutler/sutleress or two. This woudl add a whole lot of character to any early C18th collection!
i have a dream.
Dont forget the Wonderfull Danes
and of course
and German States
Artillery with siege weapons
Staff with Famous persons
And to Strelets Just love your Figures and thanks for the free speech on this Forum
greatings from Wonderfull :flag-dk: Denmark
There is nothing like a Dane
Nothing in the world
There is nothing you can name
That is anything like a Dane
I just received my WSS sets in the mail today! My first impression is "wow" These are some of the most beautifully sculpted figures that Strelets has ever produced and I think this is now my new favourite Strelets range (although I love other ranges too).
Yes please produce more figures for this range!!
Thank you Strelets
For those yet to indulge in this set, probably the largest, clearest pictures are those on Plastic Soldier (http://www.plasticsoldierreview.com/FirstLook.aspx?id=2742), which as I type are awaiting review.
I agree, these are some of the best Strelets sets I've seen; detailed, fine, elegant and poised. How they make me wish Strelets would turn its talents and attentions to the Seven Years War and produce British and French sets!
Reflecting on recent posts, I wonder, do we need sets for all nations?
Uniforms are fairly generic at this period.
True, there are myriad detailed distinctions: Different patterns of spontoons, liveried musicians etc, but, really, uniform items are pretty similar across the nations.
The French need their own sets, as they are distinguished by their ventral cartridge boxes and differently patterned coat pocket flaps. Yet, some of the French could just as easily be painted up for Spanish and the British sets suit many nations. I have British figures, for instance, ready to be painted as Dutch and Danes.
What, specifically, would make an unpainted set of figures for this period Danish for instance?
Austrians might be distinguished by fur grenadier caps or Prussians by cutaway coats, but many nations' infantry just involved a change of colour for this period in this scale. Fertile ground, these sets, for Imaginations, too, I should have thought.
Wow Edwardian! Your posts are like mana for me!!!! Thanx a lot!!!!!
As suggested before, I would be glad to see an infantry set labelled as "generic european" in order to cover other nations which were important as well such as Austria, Prussia, Denmark, the Netherlands, Spain and Italy.
Cavalrywise, I would like the more unique types of horse to be covered, and some of these are to be found in the Imperial Austrian army:
-Austrian/Bavarian cuirassiers (a kind of mandatory one)
-Hungarian hussars in Austrian service,
Then, among the others, probably 3 or 4 sets would see it done:
-Maison du Roi cavalry (may do with 3 or 4 figures of each unit)
-a British Dragoons set (just in name, generic enough to cover whatever)
-French Dragoons mounted AND dismounted, wearing distinctive headgear. 1 of each?
So, that's a total of 5 or 6.
One thing I would love to find in future cavalry sets is some smart-looking kettledrummers! There are not many around, you know, and they quite add to the visual appeal of the era.
I really like the idea of a single French Maison du Roi cavalry set, with 3-4 figures from different units:
Could we then, please, have sets of:
- "Light" Cavalry - standard French "Horse"
I wonder in what volumes people buy figures for such ranges, and I have no idea whether my consumption is above or below average? So far, I have invested in 30 boxes across the range of 4 WSS infantry sets, which, I feel, represents sufficient investment in the range so far as to justify commenting on what else it might usefully contain!
Dear Edwardian, I'm very interested in your plans when creating such a large-scale project of VSS in 1/72? Are you suggesting creating a diorama or popularizing this conflict in wargame? Is it possible to get acquainted with your works?
You are very kind, Valentin, thank you.
I tend to paint up wargames units (to a rather generous 1:20 figure ratio, because that gives units a meaningfully sized appearance to my eyes), but have never wargamed!
Sad, I know.
I would be happy to post pictures as and when I have them, probably on Benno's, and let you know!