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Not quite sure what exactly you mean Yevgen, but sure, some armies of the period did have little differences among them. The French infantry for example had no uniformal type of canteen, as you indeed reference. But some armies were very much strictly regulated to the point that even a tiny issue in uniform or equipment could lead to punishment.....sometimes harsh.
The British army was one such army. Part of the whole reason that it was a force to reckon with for the French during the period, was that discipline was total & the men were drilled over and over again. Losing a large piece of uniform/equipment such as your shako would of been looked upon very badly by your superiors.
As others have mentioned, I think the "Sharpe" TV series has a lot to answer for when it comes to the fast & loose details given to such troops. Entertaining as it was, there is a lot wrong with that TV series.
As for sutble differences in a set, I don't buy into the idea of making big differences, for difference sakes. Sure, a marching set etc of British Napoleonic soldiers may be dull when they are all basically doing the same thing, but there are better ways of creating subtle difference than incorrect uniform changes. (e.g Little changes in the direction the heads are facing).
At the end of the day, somebody buying a set of marching men should expect them to be.....marching!!!
If simple repetition is not something a particular customer likes, than perhaps Napoleonics is not an era best suited to them. For me, that almost robotic-esque movement and overall uniform look of the soldiers of the period is part of the appeal.
This particular set Strelets has shown here I think is more masters for the "in square" set. As such, it will have enough different poses within it without needing to change the widely established uniform for change sake.
I for one am just glad the bayonets are present. I am not put off by the incorrect headwear as I will chop those heads off and use the hundreds of spares I have come by. Depending on what other poses are contained, I will be buying a large number of a set of British in square. I have really looked forward to such a set.
For the most part Sharpe is set in the peninsular, and make do and mend was common on both sides, more so the French , but Brits too, so if these guys had stovepipe shako`s not such an issue, but they don`t they have Belgic shakos that very defiantly puts them in the 100 day campaign , and very well supplied and kitted out. So no reason for forage caps at all.
Maybe I have not explained me well. I will try to clarify my message.
In the market of 1/72 plastic figures there are/were two types of companies:
1- those that makes several specific sets for the same military unit. Examples: Strelets and Hat
2. Those that makes/made one set per military unit with several different poses. Examples: Italeri, Revell, Zvezda and more others.
Hat made few poses 4-8 poses for each box and it allowed them to do them very strictly uniformed without using different equipment (for example hats) to make the poses look different. Hat used very general concept of the sets of the same military unit: marching - action - command group.
Strelets used other strategy - they made 14-21 poses per box for specific sets. Strelets made so specific sets that even separated on how was the troops standing.
Taking into account that we are now speaking about Napoleonic era the sets for example like British infantry standing order arms (set 201) and British infantry standing shoulders arms (set 202) is very good example of theirs strategy.
In order to follow this strategy and make some figures look a little bit different - they are forced to change the equipment (in some cases hats) even if this is not historically correct. This is made just to make the figures look different.
I am not judging if this strategy is good or not. It will
Always depend on the buyer and his/her preferences. This strategy has the objective to make the more sets possible (with different poses) for every military unit. It also make the work easier for the sculptor (it is more difficult to make research for making 5 different unit sets instead of making 5 of the same unit sets with different poses).
Finally, this strategy has financial objective for the firm. It should be profitable, if not the firm will close. Somebody who needs all poses for British army for example - will buy now minimum 3-4 sets instead of one set. It is very good strategy as Strelets is one of the few firms that are still in the market.
Strelets is one of the best firms who produced figures in scale 1/72 for dioramas with very big selection of poses (just look at their first sets of 44-46 different poses!!!!).
The wargamers do not need such variety of poses and were more happy with Italeri, Revell and Zvezda as examples. But all these mentioned firms have given up 1/72 figures sets (not counting art of tactic from Zvezda). But we still have good examples of this kind of firms - Redbox, Orion, Linear and some others. This firms also have big advantage - they make rare/unique military units that goes far from “secured area” sets like Napoleonic, ww2 and Rome.
I hope now I expressed my ideas more clearly. Sorry for such large message! I am really fascinated with this hobby and can speak about it hours….
Yevgen I get what you are trying to say in general terms, but in this particular case, there is no reason at all either historically or from a business point of view, to make the figures with inaccurate headwear.
Certain military units lend themselves better to "artistic freedom", and some units do not. British Line Infantry for this period (circa 1812-1815) do not. Equipment within the British army was standardised as was uniform. Other nations may of allowed a little more freedom in certain area's, but not in the British armys case. Peninsular War not withstanding due to supply issues in the beginning of the war.
As Alan mentions above, by the time Belgic shakos were commonplace within the army, supply routes were well established, and the army also would of had certain amounts of spares in its wagon train. Even if a soldier did lose his shako at this time, chances are he would of been ordered to get a replacement from the regimental stocks and more than likely have it deducted from his pay. If he was lucky, that may of been the extent of his punishment.
Now from a business perspective, I honestly believe Strelets would of sold just as many British infantry sets all wearing the correct headwear, so putting in forage caps is irrelevent. As mentioned before, there are other ways of adding subtle differences to figures without engaging in historical inaccuracies just for the sake of it.
If anything, doing that is likely to put people off rather than attract them to buying them.
Case in point, I know a few people who have completely ignored the British firing line set due to the missing bayonets. Thats lost revenue due to a silly mistake (whether intentional or not). Another example is I personally have ignored the newer Napoleonic cavalry sets by Strelets due to the very poor horses and due to the non-Uhlan type cavalry troopers (while nicely sculpted), having very little use for me. I dont need 30+ Prussian Hussars, Dragoons etc in a regiment smoking, drinking or messing around with their carbines. If anything, these "unique" poses when multiplied in a unit using multiple boxes, looks odd. How many troopers would be handing their canteen over to a comrade at any one time? How many would all decide to have a smoke? Did everybody need to have a little play with their carbine? Of course not. So in fact, such poses then harm how much of that set someone might want to buy. But had they been made much more along the lines of the WSS British Dragoons, with better horses and men with sabres drawn, awaiting orders, for such "in reserve" type cavalry sets, then they would of lent themselves much more to it being worthwhile buying multiple boxes.
So whats better? Customers buying the odd box here and there of a set, or customers who will buy multiple boxes of the same set?
People more than ever now will be watching their money. They cannot afford to buy loads of boxes, just to have to discard what they dont need/want. It makes sets more expensive in the long run than they need be, not to mention the amount of wasted figures that someone may end up with. If someone is going to spend a lot of money on buying multiple boxes of the same set, then it has to work for them. As mentioned before, there are other ways of allowing subtle differences in figures without engaging in historical inaccuracy or, in the case of the cavalry, going too far down the "individually different" track, making it ok for buying 1 box, but not multiples.
In the case of these British infantry sets, I am lucky enough to have a large stockpile of spare heads with a belgic shako. I am also someone prepared to do headswaps. I am in such a need for good "in square" British/KGL figures that I am prepared to spend the money and do any work needed to make them right.
But not everyone is.
Roger, then I assume You are wargamer and not dioramas maker.
As far as I know WSS sets are made by another sculptor and even another team but with Strelets label. The regular Strelets sets are made with other sculptor and team. So that’s why You have such differences between sets.
There should be everything for everyone. The dioramas makers will not agree with You for sure.
Firm the historical point of view I am completely with You.
Actually I am a diorama maker, not a wargamer but I understand not only their needs, but when needing to represent large Napoleonic armys on a battlefield, my own needs too.
Am I someone who engages in making little vignettes, No.
Am I someone who is interested in large Napoleonic battles from Austerlitz to Waterloo? Yes.
Sensible sets of Napoleonic figures that allow large formations to be built up, help both wargamer & diorama builder alike when it comes to Napoleonics.
While everyone, including me, enjoys a little sensible variation in a set of rather similar figures, there needs to be a balance between what is practical and what is going too far. Some era's, nations & regiments will allow for more flexability, some won't.
But anyway, fact is the more "unique" you make poses in a set, the more you limit their usefulness, at least for Napoleonics and especially British infantry. While the forage cap may help break up some monotony of a set, it simply doesn't belong in such a set. If someone doesn't want to do headswaps, it will thus mean wasted poses, and how many wasted poses will affect whether someone buys it or not. As I mentioned, subtle differences to break monotony can be done in other ways.
This particular set of British in square can provide variation simply by giving us different poses of those kneeling and standing in defence, but all doing what they are meant to be doing. Rows of correctly uniformed and equipped men with bayonets pointing outwards to fend off horses.
Sure, have some of the men maybe looking in different directions while still maintaining their position in the formation. Maybe have some shouting. Maybe one is standing slightly tilted back compared to another. Here's a really helpful variation....the amount that get given forage caps, have them wearing flank shoulder rolls instead, so all parts of the British battalion are depicted. Do the same for other nations who's battalions had flank companys. Thats variation right there in a set, without going mad.
Thats all it needs to be. Any "special & unique" or "dramatic" figures can always be added like how the wounded are.
Yes, Roger... This would be my solution too, if i really want it:
"As for the forage cap issue, I will be lobbing any such equipped heads off and replacing with the spare Belgic shako heads from the HaT Peninsular War British Infantry set." :wink:
Yevgen, Strelets do seem to listen to an extent which is great. They have at least included bayonets which is a must for Napoleonic British troops. That is progress from the firing line set. Hopefully future Napoleonic cavalry will get some better horses and more battlefield ready troopers too. At least the Uhlan troopers work for maintaining position on a battlefield. Those were very nice troopers. If only the Dragoons & Hussars had been similar, but with sabres drawn instead.
If Strelets really did want to do a set of Napoleonic infantry which was very unique and had poses which did not look much like one another, there is of course one unit that lends itself perfectly to being highly variable.....French late war "Marie Louise's". Lucky if they got sensible footwear...let alone a shako!!
For them, Strelets could really let loose on artistic license!!
Gerd, yes for me, I personally have no issue with lobbing off the forage cap heads and replacing with my spare HaT Peninsular Infantry heads. I must have hundreds of them!!! I have quite a stock of the spares, as someone who bought multiple boxes of the HaT set, sent me the spare heads, along with some figures, as a thankyou for some help I have given him.
I also have no issue with doing the whole process of headswaps. I have put spare HaT French shako wearing heads on their 1805 French in greatcoats, and also on Strelets Bavarians.
Attaching fiddly bayonets however....now that is a headache!!!!
Those of us who are capable of, or have the spares, to convert figures, we can struggle through at times, when issues such as incorrect headwear come along. However, not everyone out there can or is able to do such work.
But personally, from what masters I have seen for the potential British in square set, I will be looking forward to buying many boxes of them. And the forage caps will be correctly replaced.
Well, can't say I'm a huge fan of forage caps as well. Actually I'd prefer a bare or bandaged head or two in a set. Forage caps or bonnets might be ok for the French though, being often less well equipped especially for the 1813/14 campaigns.