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"Completely newbie starting his first Napoleonic army." Topic

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06 Jul 2019 7:53 a.m. PST
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TonyNawalony06 Jul 2019 6:55 a.m. PST

Hi, I'm starting my first army and need help. Austrians or Russians and Victrix, perry or warlord? I'm looking for plastic miniatures with some options to customize the command. Perry has awesome miniatures but their officers look all the same. Thanks for reading and any help.

Personal logo Artilleryman Supporting Member of TMP06 Jul 2019 7:07 a.m. PST

If you are determined on plastic Austrians and Russians (what, no French?) then I would stick with the Perry's as much as possible. Also look at Avanpost, a Russian company specialising in , funnily enough, Russians from 1812. Just be aware that the cavalry and artillery options are limited though the Perry's have Austrian cavalry planned and Avanpost post have field guns and crews.
On the next rung, Victrix are good, but I am afraid that I find Warlord a bit chunky.

coopman06 Jul 2019 8:59 a.m. PST

Do you know if there are other Nap. gamers in your area? If there are, maybe get in with them and see what forces are needed to complement what they already have and in what scales. French or French allied forces will be needed in pretty much every battle. British & Austrians were Napoleon's most common enemies on the battlefield. Many of the French allies' uniform styles were similar to the French so French minis could be used for them.

14Bore06 Jul 2019 9:01 a.m. PST

Don't have them but everything I see here 1/72 plastic armies are the way to go. I think I am in the minority on this but whatever/ wherever you can get them. There are a lot of products to pick from, I have the entire 1st Western army of Borodino, would be boring to me to be of 1 manufacturer.
Lots to work with in the Russian army alone, and think of all that artillery to buy.
Have fun.

coopman06 Jul 2019 9:07 a.m. PST

If there are no others in your area that are into Nap. wargaming, you will have to face the possibility of raising both the French & their opponent.

setsuko06 Jul 2019 9:15 a.m. PST

For Russians I'd go with Perry. For Austrians I haven't tried Victrix yet, but I'm eyeing a possible Austrian Project and if so I'll use both the Victrix and Perry boxes. You don't have to go with just a single brand, even when styles are a tad different it works if you use them for different units. You can always use bits left over to customize the officers, such as swapping a head or two.

rmaker06 Jul 2019 10:03 a.m. PST

If there are no others in your area that are into Nap. wargaming, you will have to face the possibility of raising both the French & their opponent.

Not necessarily. There were several nice Austrian v. Russian actions in 1812.

robert piepenbrink Supporting Member of TMP06 Jul 2019 10:46 a.m. PST

Nothing illegal or immoral about building a predominantly Perry plastic army but buying officers from all over and even in metal to get yourself some variety.

And welcome to the madhouse which is Napoleonics.

rabbit06 Jul 2019 11:45 a.m. PST

Before you get into this too deep,
Unless you are doing both sides, go find people you will play against, there is no point in having a 6 millimetre army if the local opponents are all using 28mm. (there is little point in a 3/6/10/15/18mm army anyway as far as I can see but that is my personal opinion)
It is your army, do what you want.
There is a saying in my group that it is funny how everyone gets the best first. Please do not start with the Guard, everybody gets the guard. As your painting skills progress, in five years time your Guard is going to look shabby against the newly painted grunts. Remember there are odd units that will break up the uniformity of a generally uniform army, Opolchenie, Cossacks, Grenzers. All that without winter and summer distinctions and parade dress vs realistic.
After 40 plus years of collecting and painting 1812 period Russians, I still do not have a Russian Guard unit, though I do have 1700 plus painted 25/28mm figs. (I do have the Pavlov's but they were Line grenadiers in 1812.)
Are you an anorak? Are you likely to get wound up if the buttons don't show or the braid is the wrong shade?
Are you old, approaching 60 my eyesight is going and I need a lens to paint even 28s.
If you get bored, will you want to sell them?
If the answer to any of all of the above is yes, then I would go for larger figs, they are easier to paint and hold value.
Your next dilemma is which army.
French fought everybody everywhere, but lots of people have it, everybody turns up for a game with French and it is going to be Dull!
Russians, Austrians and Prussians fought both for and against the Ogre, so you will probably find an opponent.
Neapolitans and Spanish a very pretty, but lousy troops, in Rules like General de Brigade it does not matter too much, in Bruce Quarries Napoleon's Campaigns in Miniature rules they stink.
Once decided, whose figures?
Front Rank, Perry, Steve Barber are all nice (Steve does a nice range of Russians, but hasn't got pics on his website??? email him for a list)
I don't like foundry, because they sell in packs, and Old Glory, mainly because their faces are ugly (especially the women). If you are going Prussia CALPE miniatures win hands down, no contest; they are the reason that Front Rank didn't do Prussians for so long.
I am old, so like the feel of metal, but some of the plastic figs are exceptional. GW has moved into resin so I do not think it will be long before the other big companies do too. New kids Warlord are doing some nice stuff but the range is limited.
Hinds figs have apparently recast / moulded the Hinchcliffe ranges and they have some of the best Carts and Guns on the planet. Views from a colleague are that they are now as good as they were in the 70s.
I would not touch Minifigs but some folk love them.
Do you want an army that is "uniform" with all the troops in the same pose (old style) or more random with all troops out of step in ragged trousers and different hats, a more modern approach? Your choice of figure may dictate what you can do in this regard so think ahead, although units by different manufacturers will look ok next to each other if they are not too different in scale.
Keep the Mem Sa'ab / GF / partner on-side, keep them sweet, you could buy and paint a unit of Neapolitan troops for there birthday, they may never use them, but you could… and they would be soooo pretty. but as Napoleon said, no better than no troops at all!
For speed, paint the front rank of the unit as well as you can, with the rearmost lines done in blocks.
Choose your rules with care.
I wouldn't stress about keeping to one maker, the range of figures available is fantastic, this means that if you want three regiments of Cossacks, you can get them from three different makers and paint them differently. People complain that Front Rank are bigger than Hinchcliffe, some figures are fatter than others. Unless we are talking 1st gen Minifigs against Steve Barber, it should not matter too much if that's what you want. Look around, we are not all 5'10" tall 13 stone!
Before you really take the plunge, if you can join a club, most will welcome new blood.
But first and last, it is your army do what you want
Good Luck and welcome to this mad, mad world.

Personal logo Flashman14 Supporting Member of TMP07 Jul 2019 1:44 a.m. PST

Old Glory is great too.

Doing all the white put me off Austrians when I made this decision. It's less daunting to me today though I like all the Russian background, cossacks and culture better.

Personal logo Old Contemptible Supporting Member of TMP07 Jul 2019 11:18 a.m. PST

15mm is a good choice. You can do larger battles with them. They are cheaper as are all the terrain and they take up less storage space.

Cerdic07 Jul 2019 1:51 p.m. PST

I would go with a mix of manufacturers, just for variety.

Also consider metal figures as well as plastic. Again more variety.

If cost is an issue you could use plastic figures for the bulk of your Line troops and metals for other stuff.

There is a list of what is available in 28mm here…


coopman07 Jul 2019 4:42 p.m. PST

Some manufacturers sell individual figures, which is great if you want a variety of officers, although the postage costs are prohibitive for buying them several at a time.

Personal logo SHaT1984 Supporting Member of TMP08 Jul 2019 4:03 a.m. PST


Rabbit has given a lot of clues "Your next dilemma is which army.
French fought everybody everywhere, but lots of people have it, everybody turns up for a game with French and it is going to be Dull!"

Do your research first, if you haven't already really determined on a theme 'army. And you will have to decide as well, is it the period, history and tactics you want to play, or just a 'colourful' game you want?

There are a lot of barrack-room lawyers who use 'trick' armies and rule followers in all scales, and who just want to beat the crap out of people, especially newbies.

Take you time to decide the 'right' troops.
My personal take is for historical formations and creating replica units as much as possible.

My 40 year old minifigs have been repainted and reorganised several times and still are; augmented by Front Rank Austrians as opponents for more than 20 years.

Best of luck,

Steamingdave209 Jul 2019 12:10 p.m. PST

@rabbit – smaller scales give you the option of fielding armies that are big enough to look like armies on the size of tables that most of us actually have access to without needing a secondj mortgage. If you are lucky enough to have a 30 x 6 table and deep pockets, then 28mm may be fine. Personally, I dislike plastic figures as they have to be assembled and are very fragile on the table (I have ECW plastics and am forever gluing swords, arms, muskets etc back in place), but they have the advantage of cheapness.
I have large collections of 15/18mm and 6mm but if starting from scratch would go with 10mm. As the French say " chaque un a son gout" or something.

rabbit11 Jul 2019 10:03 a.m. PST

@steamingdave2. good points well made, as I say, your army, your pocket, your table, your opponent and your choice.

I have spent 40 years collecting Russians, many of which would not pass muster now, many makers, many scale representations. I remember not "investing" in a load of Minifigs for a Duchy of Warsaw army when I was at school, because they went from 8p to 10p per figure.

But 10p then was worth more in real terms than £1.20 GBP is now. Units are not cheap if you buy them painted, but it is still a cheap hobby, how much does a 90 minute football match cost 4 btns? 2 regts of cavalry? 2 batteries?

and lead doesn't eat anything, painted or not!

Evil bay can be a good source of figs if you are prepared to buy odds and get spares

ce n'est qu'un jeu

coopman11 Jul 2019 11:33 a.m. PST

I find myself more & more using some of Peter Dennis' various paper soldiers on a hex grid and some version of "One Hour Wargames" or "Commands & Colors" for the rules. Less time painting = more time playing.

Aebel9018 Jul 2019 2:26 a.m. PST

+ Great anatomy, easy to assemble. Poses are natural. Plenty of options in metal for command.
- Details are less defined than Warlords, so they require a more careful approach when painting. Faces generic with less character or should I say cartoonish look. Some like that, others don't.

+ Easy to assemble and paint. More folds and raised details.
- More cartoonish look with bigger hands and round faces that troubles some. Separate heads have collar attached for some weird reason making conversions using other manufacturers heads a hazzle. Command is metal, and leaves little room for customizing.

+ Lots of varied poses. Anatomy good.
- Imo a mess to put together, brittle parts and not as defined details. They have a certain wooden look to them, especially the firing poses. Bayonets have a habit of breaking easily.

It comes down to Your painting skills, patience and which style you like. Some miniatures look great when sculpted having an impressive anatomy, but require more effort and experience due to less defined details.

There are single sprues available for all manufacturers that could offer you a taste before settling for one of them.

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