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Well I certainly like the idea of command sets in the Strelets style, but like James, I dont want to be messing about gluing arms, heads, drums etc on. Gluing a Colonel on his horse I am fine with though!!
Reason I am all for it is another companys command sets have suffered some poor moulding of recent. Both their Napoleonic French & British sets have had officers with swords barely the length of a dagger! So I have steered clear of them since my last disappointing purchases.
To take your idea of specialized sets a bit further, how would you feel about casualty sets? For wars such as WSS and Napoleonic (to an extent) it would be pretty easy to make a generic set consisting only of casualties. The only problem with this I feel though, would be its limited demand. For diorama makers it would be incredibly useful but I'm not sure who else would buy such a set.
A set of wounded/dead figures would interest me. Especially if it included a field hospital.
as I said, it might be useful for wargamers too. Many wargames units are something like 20 figures strong. So a box of 40 gives you two units, but only one command unit (unless you buy a Mars box that is and then you may end up with too many command figures). That's the reason many of my Napoleonic command figures and drummers are metal.
yes a hospital set is nice. Strelets have done this and other specialist sets before (Napoleonic army camp and for the Crimea), but I fear it might sell even less copies than a command set. Though many diorama builders might love the idea especially for ACW and the World Wars.
Separating the command figures from the rank and file however makes the boxes more or less a "must buy" even if you'd have to produce slightly less of these than of the normal ones. However if you add some really nice and useful figures they'd still sell pretty well I guess.
Indeed, I think there has to be some sort of split like this to increase efficiency as much as possible. I don't like being overly wasteful, so sometimes these command/at rest/civilian sets that have four copies of a pose that is only useful in a one time diorama setting is not my cup of tea.
I think the best split would be two overall sets. The first one set would be able to provide a proper looking formation of 24+ figures (shieldwall, sarissa, pike, firing line, or marching), then the second set would be more of a miscellaneous bag including all command, associated civilians, 'siege' infantry poses (poses which don't work in formations), camp/at rest poses, etc., etc. Strelets have somewhat done this particularly with their 1066 line and it works out well.
The problem with having one or two command poses embedded within the main set is if the company makes a mistake you lose a massive amount of efficiency. For instance, if I want to simulate a French fusilier regiment for the WoSS using set #236 I need at least one drummer, which the set does not provide. So I need to buy another set which I may or may not need just to get the bloody drummer, and I hate buying full 25+ piece sets for what essentially amounts to one figure. This becomes an even bigger issue if I want to do multiple regiments. As PaintDog can attest to this is one of the things that made the Caesar Bronze Age boys SUPER annoying as well, so I don't mean to say it is just a Strelets thing. Command/miscellaneous sets such as what HaT did with its Gallic [pedantic historical note: actually Ancient Briton] Command give more leeway in this regard.
Well this became an essay, sorry about that. What can I say? I am a writer at heart. :sweat_smile: :grin:
I'd be all in favour of command sets. Casualty sets too.
Certainly for Napoleonics at least the market is relatively big. More niche or specialist Nap sets may well sell better than more general sets for less popular eras.
I am a gamer rather than diorama builder and use casualties as unit status markers, objectives and for scenic pieces etc...
Whilst on the subject of future sets we'd like to see I'd also be interested in British Intervention troops for 'What If' ACW scenerios. Revisited Crimean sets could do for British Line etc... to maximise utility.
For ancients I'd love to see a more realistic Spartacus set. The majority of slave rebellion troops wore just simple tunics and had spears and either home made or captured shields. Few if any would have worn gladiator equipment. Fairly generic basic troops would do and may have uses for other ancient armies too.
I think command and wounded/dead figures are such that they cross over into both camps whether that be wargamers or diorama makers, maximising the customer base.
As Rupert says above, casualties work as markers for a wargame and for diorama makers they are essential to convey the realism of a battle.
Command staff/drummers etc are something that again both wargamers & diorama makers need. Sometimes the issue is not having enough such as standard bearers or musicians depending on the regiment. Dedicated command sets would change this.
What I would add is if this is to work, I personally believe we would need command sets/casualty sets either nation specific or campaign specific. For example, someone currently working on Waterloo, wouldn't be looking for figures that are for Borodino. By the same token, someone who is doing Borodino will not require figures for the 100 days.
So making them in this niche way would help prevent waste & thus perhaps even an ignored product if someone is trying to watch their wallet!!
They would be smaller sets to produce too, so could be squeezed into the production line here and there, not taking up too much time & space that should be for the normal sets.
Lastly, maybe to get the most out of such sets & increase their appeal, the sets could possibly cater for the various types of soldiers? E.g: infantry, cavalry & even maybe the odd artillery pose? (Moreso horse artillery perhaps due to their more often unique look).
While we're on the topic of specialized sets this is something that I have been thinking about for awhile now; sets dedicated to horses or mules only. Horses as well as mules have played a tremendous role in military campaigns throughout all of history. Whether that be in the form of transportation, cavalry, pack trains, artillery, etc... I feel like a set of just generic harnessed horses would be extremely useful for a variety of things.
I agree as to mules or pack animals in general. "Generic" horses might be a bit difficult unless they come without saddle etc. Especially generic Napoleonic horses with full gear are near impossible (Hussars, Cuirassiers, British Dragoons to name but a few had all different saddles and saddlecloth). Things are a bit easier earlier on, generic horses for WoSS should be possible as well as for Ancients.
My thoughts on command are a little out of the box. I understand why manufacturers are reluctant , limited sales, there are a lot less commanders than foot soldiers/cavalry, so we will buy less. So sell them in a different way, sell single sprues, charge a premium for them , and make it work for all. I would like to see obviously the WW2 desert army commands, but I would also buy British Zulu war command, Napoleonic 1815 British command to name but a few.
Interesting idea Alan. This could have been done with the sets where the command figures were cut off three of the four sprues in a box ( I believe Strelets recycled the plastic, which probably saved them about 2c). It could be done for future sets made the same way. If Strelets don't want to bother with it perhaps they could be sent to Rupert at D & F for sale as single sprues. I'm sure I would have bought some spare Napoleonic and Jacobite command figs. The customers get the figures they need and Strelets and the retailers get money for old rope.
That said, I'm also in favour of separate command sets and also personality sets (which Strelets do so well), everyone can buy what they need. I understand the fewer sales argument but I would point to Strelets set 013 Napoleonic Command Set I. I don't imagine there are many people who bought more than one box but the set is completely sold out. The only way you can lay your hands on one now is by being scalped for $100 on E-Bay.
Strelets has done a couple of pretty exotic sets the sales figures of which must have been hard to predict (Russian army sledge train sets 135 and 136 for instance).
Command sets would probably sell better and be easy to calculate. In my book: For wargamers box of infantry = 40+ figures = 2 Batalions. 3 boxes = 6 battalions. Needed: 6 command stands = one box of command. It would also have the benefit of having more varied command poses than always the same officer etc. as in the standard box.
I agree with Flambeau. Generic horses for the Napoleonic era just isn't possible, not as a single set anyway. There was much variation. Saddlecloth styles for example varied widely. You would have to make the horses for each type of saddlecloth/type of cavalry used. So a box with horses using smaller, simpler, sheepskin saddlecloths such as those used by Prussia, the smart, rectangular saddlecloths of units such as French dragoons/cuirassiers, the more practical square cut type saddlecloths such as those used by British cavalry & then there is the more "flashy" type with more of a shaped cut such as those used by various hussars such as the traditional Austrian shabraque.
Horses in relaxed poses, just with a head harness, and maybe a sheet/blanket over their backs, as if in camp conditions, are the only way currently of creating "universal" horses for Napoleonics. But then if you were going to do the horses like that, then you may as well make them as part of a army in camp set.
So I personally don't see universal horses for Napoleonics as an easy or viable idea. (As much as it would possibly help replace the poor animals in the recent Napoleonic cavalry sets!!).
Indeed, agree with you guys in regards to generic military horses. Even for Ancients and Medievals generic horses are not really possible, as everyone had vastly different riding arrangements depending on era/faction/status/etc.
I do like Asher's idea of having a set or sets that are devoted to horses/mules that are shown bareback, without any riding equipment. Horses did not always have saddles on even in Nappy times, and given their obvious overall importance to armies throughout the eras a bareback set of horses, mules, and/or Steppe ponies certainly seems valid. I could certainly see them as being useful for the United States west or, a personal favorite of mine, during those wild times in Mongolia when they were riding around stealing sheep, horses, wives, and all sorts of other stuff from their neighbours. So good idea overall. :sunglasses:
The big box set of generic horses by Eagle Games has been a very useful addition to my herd replacing broken or older, poor quality sculpts, it's a shame no one makes a similar set in basic draught harness.
Another vote for command sets too, as most infantry regiments carried two flags, and as many as five in the SYW, so in a box of 40, one pose isn't enough. These guys were young officers too, so sticking a pin and a paper flag in the hands of a musketeer isn't really ideal. Such a set would be a great place to put the casualty figures as well which make forming battalions from multiples of musket men in similar poses easier, without having the 'odd man out'
I like separate command sets, but as several mentioned, I want a full set of troops, not 24 troops and 48 bits of kit. I do like extra heads, but give me enough to do something with, four heads don't help much.
The last couple months I have been buying British HaT Zulu Wars and Hat Napoleonic French Command sets for a couple projects I am working one. Neither of them are for the intended wars. I am using the Zulu Wars figures to make Police and the Napoleonic figures to make "toy" soldiers for a Disneyland project.
I am also in need of any Strelets Scots command figures, flag bearers, pipers, drummers, even officers for my police project. American police have a strong Irish and Scots heritage and often have drum and bugle corps who appear at parades, and funerals. I am reluctant to spend a few hundred dollars on getting two dozen figures!
We need draft mules. The US Army used mules to tow wagons from at least the ACW until 1943, almost never used horses to tow wagons. A simple set of 16 mules in harness, and no human figures would be great. No boxes as loads, no machine guns, no bare back mules, just a simple harness to tow a wagon.
This suggestion comes up over and over on all the figure forums and has for at least 20 years, and never gets made. Some always suggests metal, but way to expensive to buy 100+ mules in metal. Or one of the plastic sets with two or four pack mules in it, again too expensive.
16 mules, in harness, in four poses. Very simple set.
Mike Bunkermeister Creek
Bunker Talk blog