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Muskets: just a thought

Despite all the good and positive aspects of various Napoleonic sets emerging from Strelets over the last 12 months or so, one point of detail which I find a bit frustrating is the quality of the muskets. This has been noted in relation to the British Firing Line set, but others eg: the new Russian Jager set are not quite as good as they could be. And this is a shame, given the high quality of the sculpts and many of the poses.

Is this an issue? Well, it is in relation to creating models which are as accurate as reasonably possible in this scale. There are two things:

- Bayonets: almost always fixed to the muzzle of a Napoleonic infantryman's musket when in action: and that includes most light infantrymen (but I accept not riflemen): Period.

- Musket design: A Napoleonic musket in 1/72 is quite a long and quite a narrow weapon. I accept that moulding a narrow fire-arm, especially with a bayonet attached, poses problems. However, it does need to look the part, and this includes having a ramrod underneath the muzzle. The British Firing Line muskets were not long enough and didn't look like Brown Bess muskets. And no bayonets! The Russian Jager have muskets which are OK-ish, but have no bayonet and no noticeable ramrod.

One of the reasons I am raising this issue is that I have recently received an order of quite a lot of French Napoleonic dragoon muskets for ANOther project, from a specialist and very excellent Swedish company. These muskets were designed, printed and delivered within the space of a month. They are exact replicas of a real musket held in the Royal Armouries; at 1/72 scale they are 19mm long and beautiful little miniatures.

Surely, Strelets might go down the same route and develop a couple of really realistic musket formers for their sculptor to use?

Re: Muskets: just a thought

Whilst not claiming any expertise or first hand experience , I suspect the problem is at least in part the process used in manufacturing, Strelets have always sculpted 1:1 scale and used moulds that do not take high pressure, or at least as high as Steel moulds, thin weapons have always been a problem although of late the WW2 stuff has been very good. Maybe more figures per sprue plays a part too ,as we are often getting thirteen or more per sprue rather than the historical 12 per sprue giving less room for bayonets. That said , as you have stated for the most part they should be on Nappies , I have not purchased the Brit firing line because of it, yet on the Australian's advancing all but one bayonets fixed, hard to understand.

Re: Muskets: just a thought

I am with you Minuteman. Some high quality work has at times been spoiled by some shoddy & maybe lazy details at times
Horses for the cavalry. I know I go on about it but what is the point of going to all that trouble to make some really nice troopers, if their mounts look like they were not given even half the same effort?
Same with muskets & bayonets. These figures are soldiers. Their weaponry should be given the same care & attention as any other aspect of the figures.
The human form on the whole has been well executed & the uniforms (apart from the annoying persistance of forage caps!), have been brilliant too.

Napoleonic muskets were long, slender weapons. And that slenderness went all the way along its length.

And here is a Baker rifle....

I also fully understand what you are saying. But thing is, Strelets has managed before. Ok they may still not of been real slender shapes etc, but the past Napoleonic Infantry sets, marching, in attack, standing at..., all at least looked right when taking the overall sculpt/shape of the figures into account, plus the bayonets were fixed.
I don't believe it to be a manufacturing issue in terms of process used as then surely it would affect all the sets, including WSS etc.
Rather I believe it to more likely be simple human error, either i terms of how the poses are designed or indeed the sculptor. After all, the problems only started to appear once the sculptor was changed. Crimean highlanders who look more like Napoleonic ones?? Thats no mould issue.

Re: Muskets: just a thought

Good images Roger, thanks!

I think Revell got it right all those years ago with their British Napoleonic infantry set: long slender muskets with bayonets. I appreciate that moulding such long items is a problem, but it can be done.

Incidentally, I handled a Baker Rifle (and also a Mk 1 SMLE) last time I was at the Rifles Museum in Winchester. The thing that impressed me with both weapons was how 'right' they felt in terms of balance and being able to hold and aim the rifle. Getting this reflected in a sculpt is quite a thing, and to give the sculptor credit they tried this with the British Firing Line poses...just the 'wrong' musket without a bayonet!! Better with the Highlanders though.

Re: Muskets: just a thought

There is something special about holding old weapons isn't there? I can't quite put into words how it feels. Like we suddenly have a direct connection to the past.

I know it was meant to kill, but when I too examined the Baker rifle, it almost looked like a work of art in it's own way.
The grain in the wood, with the finish/polish given to it, the whole firing mechanism, the little bits of brass here and there. As Hagman would say "she was a beauty"!

The people who built those weapons back then were some very fine craftsmen/women.

Re: Muskets: just a thought

As has been said in this discussion: Strelets has managed to do this better before and is even now doing it with other sets (WSS, perhaps with the exception of the French infantry firing set). So it's neither a problem of the mould nor that it's hard to do in this scale. Imho it's the same issue as with some horses, it's not (yet) a detail the sculptor is very good at. Maybe he should take a look at some old Strelets' masters, viz.:

Interesting, are they not? Perhaps that's one way to do the trick.