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KeepYourPowderDry11 Dec 2022 11:58 p.m. PST

Latest post over on KeepYourPowderDry takes a long hard look at Steel Fist's new(ish) range of true 15mm figures. Are they deserving of the hype? link


Steamingdave212 Dec 2022 8:40 a.m. PST

Think you have been a bit unlucky. I bought into the Kickstarter; no broken swords, a few were bent, but straightened OK, no crushed horses either. I have a lot of Peter Pig and have had to replace swords on a few cavalry. (I do like PP and have 5 or 6 infantry regiments and several cavalry troops)
I am not an expert on the period, so can offer no comment on the details you pick up re bridles, helmets etc. Such details are virtually unnoticed on the tabletop anyway and I am sure similar criticisms can be levelled at most model soldier ranges in any period.
I have well over 100 of the cavalry, not all painted, as the level of detail makes painting a longer job that with some other ranges, and some of the assembly needed is fiddly, but I think they are a very worthwhile addition to the " true 15mm" ECW miniatures. No regrets from me for my purchase.

dbf167612 Dec 2022 9:33 a.m. PST

I agree with SteamingDave. I've painted nearly 300 infantry and almost 200 cavalry and have ordered at one point of another almost every ECW pack Steel Fist makes. I have never had a broken horse. I've had one or two bent, but have been able to straighten them with little problem. The swords are thin and quite often need to the straightened. I think maybe two have broken.

The sculpting is superb and the variety of poses is unmatched. I recently calculated that there are over 150 unique mounted figures. My only gripe is that many of the first wave of figures came with separate sword scabbards which had to be glued to the figures, all the cavalry and perhaps 1/4 of the foot. Not a deal breaker for me though. All the subsequent codes have sword/ scabbards attached.

KeepYourPowderDry12 Dec 2022 10:55 a.m. PST

Good to finally hear that some people are having some luck with SF figures, from the comments and private messages that I have received you are very much in a minority. Lots of bent and broken swords, scabbards, horses, muskets and halberds.

My mounted command figures had the cast on scabbards, two of which broke (possibly miscast as they were very very thin), gluing staples on was a bit of a fiddle, so I can only imagine how laborious a job gluing a large number of scabbards in place must be.

I want SF to succeed because I would like to be in a similar position as those of you who use 28s – a veritable cornucopia of riches from different manufacturers many of which seamlessly integrate with one another. So seeing your calculation of 150 unique cavalry sculpts is to be applauded.

As for accuracy and details – as I often state, the very best that we can ever achieve is a pastiche. There are so many details that we do not know, it is one of the joys of modelling and gaming the period. But to make claims about accuracy and then make such glaringly obvious mistakes… Does it matter? Grand scale of things, not at all. Just don't claim to be something that you are not.

Painting times? Roughly about the same as PP figures in my experience (but then I don't claim to be anything special as a painter).

Puster Sponsoring Member of TMP15 Dec 2022 4:19 a.m. PST

Sadly for Steel Fist I am not into 15mm.
Their 28mm stuff is excellent, their Landsknechts and Gensdarmes are with the best on the market.

takeda33317 Dec 2022 8:03 p.m. PST

I wonder how their units would along side Blue Moon 18mm? Apart from some Khurasan all my pike/shot are Blue Moon. There steel fist are tempting.

KeepYourPowderDry17 Dec 2022 10:02 p.m. PST

Takeda – they would look like two completely different sizes of figures I'm afraid.

A smidge smaller than Peter Pig, so BM will tower over them.

takeda33319 Dec 2022 10:49 a.m. PST

Thanks KYPD, I was afraid of that. Still great figures and wish I had these around when doing my units.

mysteron Supporting Member of TMP14 May 2023 10:46 p.m. PST

I have had one broken horse of which Simon replaced promptly with 3 others . The swords for me are easily straightened and never had a broken one . I have now 5 Cavalry units and delighted with the look.
The service is also excellent as I get most of my orders within a week .
I am using these as an alternative to Warlord and scale very well .

mysteron Supporting Member of TMP15 May 2023 4:45 a.m. PST

I thought I would add more meat onto the bone of my previous post having more time or more Steel to The Fist in this case.

I started collecting Steel Fist ECW when Warlord announced they were going ahead with Epic Pike and Shotte . I saw a video on Youtube done by James Miller of Miller Miniatures a big advocate of ECW comparing Warlord and SteelFist Miniatures and he came to the conclusion that they were compatible size wise .
I guess the seed was then sewn and I started getting Cavalry packs and Commanders packs on a week by week basis to get a head start on the other club members. Whilst I am the best in the club at painting especially the smaller stuff , I am not the fastest .
Sizewise they are compatible but sculptwise they are not. I Therefrore keep SteelFist to their own units and look great that way .
The reasons why I like Steel Fist is as follows
1) The service is great . I order my troops at weekend and normally get them by the following Wednesday .
2) The horses for me are great and look great . I have had one broken horse out of around 10 packs I have ordered in total . That was replaced promptly by Simon with 3 others as mentioned in my previous post.
3) As I paint horses using the oil paint rub method as it gives realistic hues on horses , I prefer my horses being separate models to the riders . Steel Fist gives me this.
4) The swords I have found are easily straightened and no different form those supplied by many 28mm miniature companies . I have never had a broken one to date .
5) There is a tremendous amount of variety amongst the models . So if your are like me dont like having identical posed troops then this could be a range for you .
6) The detail is excellent , negating the need in guessing as what the details is suppose to depict .
7) The owner does listen as my last 3 orders have been delivered in boxes ala Peter Pig style .
8) Perhaps most important for me they paint up very well .

I will be using other makes as well . My Warlord Cavalry will be used to fill out the ranks of my Scots for when they are released.
Peter Pig ,I will be using their dragoons as the horse flesh depicted looks closer to a Nag than one of the Steel Fist thoroubreds.
I will be using some of the Steel Fist Ensigns along side some of their mounted Commanders for the Brigade Commanders .Their model of Oliver Cromwell does actually look like him from the pictures and like the model . My Royalist friends at the club hate it but thats another story :)

Footslogger16 May 2023 2:23 a.m. PST

I have very happily used SF command figures mixed in with Warlord plastic infantry, and PP trumpeters with Warlord cavalry.

I have gone to the trouble of replacing some flimsy SF swords with staples. It's not too much of a job for me, and it saves having to continually straighten them.

The figures are too good not to use, and I'm delighted that I now have three small 15mm ranges to work with.

mysteron Supporting Member of TMP16 May 2023 7:57 a.m. PST


Some of you guys are ingenious . Never thought of using staples as swords :)

KeepYourPowderDry08 Aug 2023 4:48 a.m. PST

Very pleased to report that small orders from Steel Fist are now being shipped in better protective packaging. My latest order has arrived intact. 🙂

Au pas de Charge08 Aug 2023 8:06 p.m. PST

I enjoy your blog.

If you were starting out and could have any 15/18mm ECW miniatures or mix of them in an army painted by one of the finest painters, what make(s) would you opt for?

Bandolier08 Aug 2023 8:52 p.m. PST

I received my first Steel Fist order yesterday and they are great. I didn't want to pay the Warlord price for their historical mounted commanders so I got them from from SF. I made the right choice.
I will definitely be getting more of them to supplement the pike and shot.

KeepYourPowderDry09 Aug 2023 11:15 a.m. PST

I compared the costs of Warlord's resin to Peter Pig, Steel Fist amongst others on my what figures posts. PP came in at £1.10 GBP a mounted figure, SF £1.25 GBP/1.32 depending upon which mounted figure, Warlord came in at a staggering £2.40 GBP per mounted figure from the command packs (nigh on impossible to work out mounted figure cost from the boxed set of plastic cavalry sprues).

KeepYourPowderDry09 Aug 2023 6:33 p.m. PST

Au pas de charge… a difficult question, that I am not sure I can answer.

Firstly I don't want anyone to paint them for me. I enjoy it too much. I freely admit that there are times when it does feel like a chore, but it is mostly something I can do to escape from the real world for half an hour or so.

Figures. The hard part.

Between Peter Pig, Blue Moon and Steel Fist.

SF lots of unique figures. Mostly historically accurate. But their size and proportions make them just a little too delicate. Swords, guns, horse ankles are all much too thin. Beautiful sculpts though.

BM one stop shop for nearly everything I would want. A little too influenced by the pictures in Haythornthwaite though.

PP quite a few gaps (highland pike, lowland pike open hand, wagons, limbers, characters, fully armoured and unarmoured pike), again the Haythornthwaite influence is noticeable (far too many ranges are, unfortunately). Figures strike a good balance between proportions and robustness. Headswap potential.

I think what I am trying to say is that there are elements that I really like from all 3 ranges, but all 3 ranges could be better.

I'd like a range of headless figures (someone makes a 28mm ECW range that are all headless), that would be a one stop shop for everything that I would want (carts, limbers, civilians, characters, siege engineers, petards, musketeers with and without rests, loading musketeers, open handed pikemen, full spectrum of pikemen from fully armoured to completely unarmoured, Royalist musketeers with cartridge bags rather than chargers and bandoliers, monteros and Monmouth caps not broad brimmed hats, dragoons wearing gaiters rather than boots, figures that are a good balance between proportions and robustness, but most importantly zero figures stepping out from the illustrations in Haythornthwaite!). So as you can see all 3 ranges are part way there, but a long way from my ideal. Of course my wishlist is just that, and would undoubtedly be commercially unviable. But this is pie in the sky wishful thinking.

If I had the limitless riches of Bruce Wayne/Tony Stark then I'd probably commission my own range of figures. Not for resale, just for me.

I'm happy with what I have. Although if I was starting again, there would be a heck of a lot more headswapping!

clibinarium13 Aug 2023 7:41 a.m. PST

That's interesting; I was thinking of doing a ECW/TYW range, but have to be cautious as it's not a period I know all that well. I actually got Haythornthwaite a couple of months ago, and I really liked the artwork.
Perhaps that was because it fitted my idea of the ECW, most likely formed from miniature ranges it influenced. So I am curious- in what aspects is Haythornthwaite off, and what alternatives would you suggest?

KeepYourPowderDry13 Aug 2023 10:53 p.m. PST

Haythornthwaite. Firstly it is an inspirational book, the illustrations are beautiful. The intervening years since the book was written have not been kind to it. I am not criticising the book for what was not known when it was written. The following comments refer to what was known when it was first published.

The text was flawed when it was originally published, far too many errors as a result of relying too heavily on secondary sources. Too much supposition given as 'fact'. Every time I pick it up I usually find another error. There are a few good bits in it, but sadly the 'bad' far outweighs the 'good'.

As for the pictures: inaccurate even for the time it was published. Far too many wide brimmed hats. Replicates the Victorian image of the Civil War, rather than what was known. Lots of the illustrations, simply made stuff up – ignoring the existing artefacts. Whilst there are many holes in our knowledge of the clothing of the Wars, the illustrations are just too fictitious.

Helion have a wargamer's guide in the pipeline. Until that is released you are probably best served looking online.

clibinarium14 Aug 2023 4:45 p.m. PST

Hmmm, that's interesting about Haythornthwaite. I agree the plates are still inspirational, and that some slack has to be cut for the age of the book.

I wasn't aware of the Helion guide in the pipeline, though wargamer's guides tend to have information for the wargamer on painting, and not so much for the sculptor as it's a fair assumption that the reader is looking to paint figures that already exist.

In the meantime are there any of the many Helion ECW titles that are useful from a sculptor's point of view? I have some of the TYW books (which I like), but none of the ECW yet- getting them all is a bit beyond my budget for now!

KeepYourPowderDry21 Aug 2023 2:25 a.m. PST

clibinarium apologies for delay in answering you (really like your Pendraken AWI sculpts btw).

Sadly no one volume fits the bill, which probably explains why so many sculptors pick up Haythornthwaite. Warlord proudly boast that they have 4 copies which they based their Epic range on.

There's a few Helion volumes with excellent pictures, and a few where the colour reproduction has gone a bit astray. Then there's Waller's Army which is just plain awful.

Good ones are: Hey For Old Robin, King's Irish, Armies of ralph Hopton, More Like Lions, Raw Generals.

May I ask what size figures you hope to be sculpting?
Please let it be 'true 15', please let it be 'true 15'.

clibinarium23 Aug 2023 3:51 a.m. PST

No worries and thanks on the AWI.

I'll have a look at a couple of those Helions to see what they are like. Thanks for the recommendations. What's the issue with the Waller book? The art or the book?

As to the figures- it's very nascent at the moment. It will be digital sculpting, so it's an experiment as much as a serious project. That means it's scale agnostic to a certain point, but the final release will likely be in metal, and I am leaning towards 18mm, but that's undecided as of yet.

KeepYourPowderDry23 Aug 2023 2:54 p.m. PST

The Waller book is excellent, the illustrations are absolutely awful I'm afraid.

clibinarium24 Aug 2023 7:05 a.m. PST

Was going to ask whether the art was bad or inaccurate, but I googled the book and saw some examples. They appear to be Mark Allen sketches? If so I wouldn't argue they were good art from any technical point of view, but I have a lot of affection for Mark's work from his WI articles on the League of Augsburg. There's something in the graphic simplicity I really like.

Disregarding the technical draftsmanship, is what the drawings depict accurate?

KeepYourPowderDry25 Aug 2023 8:01 a.m. PST

Leaving aside the artistry, the pictures aren't accurate either. Far too many wide brimmed hats. Just a continuation of what the Victorians thought Civil Wars soldiers *should* look like

clibinarium27 Aug 2023 9:24 a.m. PST

Ok, fair enough. I guess a lot of books perpetuate that. I managed to snag "Hey for Old Robin" for about a tenner this week, so that will get me started.

KeepYourPowderDry28 Aug 2023 9:53 a.m. PST

Naval and military press often have Helion books heavily discounted. I remember picking up one of the NMA lists for £5.00 GBP from them.

Paul Meekins often discounts Helion volumes too. Helion have a 25% discount running for the bank holiday u.

clibinarium30 Aug 2023 6:27 a.m. PST

I used to get stuff from Naval and Military, but they changed their postal costs, so it's prohibitively expensive for me to order from them, or at least it brings the price up to what you'd pay everywhere else. But I've recently had good service from Paul Meekins, so I'll probably go back to them.
Got "Famous by my Sword" from Helion in a flash sale the other day too.
I know its a bit cheeky to ask, but what do you think of the Elite Ospreys illustrated by Angus McBride? Obviously the art is magnificent, but does it suffer like Haythornthwaite? I'll take too many wide-brimmed hats on the rank and file as a given at this point.

KeepYourPowderDry31 Aug 2023 4:40 a.m. PST

Here's my take on all of the Ospreys

Men at Arms English Civil War. Just no. Replicates Victorian imagery of everyone in big hats, ostrich feathers everywhere, and lace. Very reminiscent of the Victorian fancy dress cavalier outfit at Discover Bucks Museum.

Men at Arms NMA, only slightly better than the ECW volume.

Men at Arms Scots Armies, this one is pretty good.

Warrior Matchlock Musketeer ECW page, not too bad. Good to see a soldier from the Oxford Army correctly attired*, and equipped with cartridge bag rather than bandolier and chargers.

* according to supply accounts

Warrior Ironsides, difficult to mess this one up, but they managed it the Tangier image should have a smooth helmet (i.e. no crest)

Elite 1 infantry too much lace, feathers and big hats still, but at least we are seeing some monteros and Monmouth caps. Good to see a weatherproof buff flap protecting chargers from the elements (very obviously based on a surviving example at Haddon Hall, Derbyshire). Plate D has been lifted by a manufacturer of 28mm and true 15mm 😉 plastic ECW figures for one of its 28mm sculpts

Elite 2 cavalry probably the best illustrations of any of the Osprey titles. Shame the dragoon page has everyone in boots; there would have been many men wearing shoes and gaiters as boots were expensive. I know most of the artefacts illustrated and utilised in the pictures. Nice to see a three bar siege helmet rather than the made up nonsense in the Haythornthwaite. Also there's a broad brimmed hat with zischagge nose piece illustrated (this was a thing, there's one in Newbury museum), it had a built in steel liner.

Some general notes:

Oxford Army you'd expect to see a high proportion of monteros and cartridge bags (rather than chargers and bandoliers).

Everyone wore a hat, big wide brimmed hats were expensive and probably the preserve of officers and men with a bit of money. Montero variations (but not the blingy versions so beloved by reenactors), simple felt hats, and Monmouths for the majority.

English three bar pots evolved over time, early war the peak pointed down slightly, then peaks became slightly bigger and horizontal, towards the end of the Protectorate they lost their crest. Ignore the statement that zischagges were rare, they weren't. Very popular early war, some appear to have been converted to three bar face guard. And in case you are wondering fancy face guards are later, 1660s things.

Secrets there simply aren't enough secrets represented in 15/18 ranges. Okay you wouldn't see them most of the time (clue's in the name), but officers with hat in hand, you'd see their secrets.

Trained band soldiers were men of certain standing within their communities, and were expected to provide their own equipment and clothing, so expect them to be well equipped (think London Trained Bands and their trained band buff at Newbury). Trained band auxiliaries are a different kettle of fish poorer soldiers who were paid for their soldiering, and provided with clothing and equipment. Probably very difficult to distinguish from the volunteer regiments.

Musket rests or not? Blue Moon address this issue by having a separate pack of rests. At 15/18 very difficult to differentiate between early war and later muskets (early war were longer, heavier and required rests). Muskets with rests didn't simply disappear, they continued to be used, just became less common.

If you want some pictures of real artefacts, or anymore advice email me at admin@ my blog's website address. Had to take email contact and commenting down (there's a post explaining why…)

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