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Grognard Miniatures Napoleonics Review

Grognard miniatures is a new French miniature company preparing to launch a range of Napoleonic 28mm figs. They don't have a website at the moment and since Sylvain was so kind as to send me a catalog and a few samples, it's only right that I review them here. The models are 1815 Chasseurs of the Old Guard in greatcoat and 1813-1814 Fusiliers-Chasseurs of the Middle Guard in campaign dress.

The first general impressions upon opening the packs are of a very clean casting. Flash is very minimal, limited to a tiny metal sliver here or there and the moldline is all but invisible. A few of the bayonets got a little bent during the journey, but were easily pushed back in place without snapping. Looks like a good metal alloy and details are crisp. As a small, but pleasant detail, I found the bases stand perfectly flat and none of the minis toppled over due to imbalance problems. Click on the images to enlarge.

1815 Chasseurs of the Old Guard
1813-1814 Fusiliers-chasseurs

Close examination of the figures reveals a very good sculpting, crisp and detailed. Faces are nice and not too flat and the compulsory facial hair on the Chasseurs of the Old Guard is especially good. I've been a bit out of the whole Napoleonic scene (indeed, this white knight started his career as a Napoleonic frother), but the uniforms look good. Two of the four regiments of Chasseurs à Pied of the Imperial Guard wore the uniform depicted here, with bearskin bonnet (without ornaments), greatcoat and blue overall trousers. As is the case for these minis, epaulettes were worn on the greatcoat, although, by the time of Waterloo this fashion was not universal due to shortage of equipment.

The Fusiliers-Chasseurs, which were disbanded in 1814, were wearing the Chasseurs dress, and are sculpted with covered shako's, which is appropriate for campaign dress. Normally it would be black, with copper eagle, white ornaments (chevrons, cordons, raquettes), green plume with red top and a tircolore cocarde at the base.

So far, so good. Now, the minis from this range were sculpted by two different sculptors. The 1815 Chasseurs are by Bobby Jackson, The 1813-1814 Fusiliers-Chasseurs are from the hand of Todd Harris. Does it show? Once painted and properly based, it won't. That being said, upon close examination of the bare metal, there are a few minor discrepancies between both subranges. I do say in advance that we're well in the realm of nitpicking here.

The thing that immediately caught my eye is the difference in bases. The bases of the Fusiliers-Chasseurs are higher than the others and come with a rough texture, simulating the dirt. Naturally, this will not be visible once based to your standards. It actually comes in handy, as it will cover up the other discrepancy, which is the size of individual models. As you can see in the picture (click to enlarge), when measured with the ruler it is revealed that the Chasseurs are a large 27mm sole to eye (not top of head, which would be pointless with these hats), while the Fusiliers-Chasseurs are only 26mm (again, sole to eye). Naturally, this won't be noticeable once the minis are based and painted, especially given that they won't be in the same unit. Finally, a last difference can be found in the respective bayonets, the ones on the Fusiliers being thinner, longer and generally more realistic than the others (not that there's anything wrong with those, they're just as good as those from other companies). In fact, the bayonet's on the Fusiliers are probably the best I've seen on a 25-28mm mini. As with the other details, the difference will not be visible on the battlefield.

As I said, before, I was really impressed with the quality of these figures. If this standard is maintained throughout further releases, Grognard Miniatures may very well become one of the important sources for Napoleonic figures.

Contact details:
Sylvain Mosca
Grognard Miniatures
9 avenue Thiers
06500 Menton FRANCE

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