All opinions expressed in the following review are my own. The review has been sent (without the photographs) to the supplier for comment and any response will be published here..
Wo-Fun Miniatures 18mm English Civil War
Two or three years ago, when I was first made aware of Peter Dennis’s excellent depictions of English Civil War soldiers as cardboard cut-outs in book form, I bought the book. The depiction of the figures is first class.
Having seen just how much work was required to produce the two dimensional figures for the table top I sold it to a fellow gamer at the (pre-covid) annual Don Featherstone tribute weekend auction in aid of Combat Stress.
I recently became aware that the same figures were now available printed onto plexiglass in 28mm or 18mm scales. I thought they might be useful for the games I play with young chaps in my ECW reenactment cavalry regiment during downtime on the campsite. I ordered the basic 18mm ECW pack.
My first shock was the cost when I came to the checkout process. First the bases are an extra cost. The price on the website does not include delivery from Romania (expected), nor the EU VAT added to the base cost plus postage (unexpected).
Thus my base pack of ECW 18mm figures was no longer €81 but closer to £100. But it was my Christmas present to myself.
The figures arrived yesterday. The packing was excellent with a strong card box and several layers of protective foam. The figures are supplied ready to press out on sheets like this.
I cleared the game table and set to work with preparing them.
I made the mistake of starting with a cannon. The guns are printed on a 3mm MDF sheet and pre-cut for assembly.
There are no assembly instructions. While I was trying to work out which of two rectangular holes in the trail pieces was intended for the axle I snapped with unintentional undue pressure both the trail and the axle. By use of a trimmed matchstick and a dab of glue I was able to assemble a gun, but I am still not sure I got it right. I had to trim some bits off to make it fit together. Ah well, there are six more to practice on.
The next issue was the figures for the artillery. The little men press out from the sheet quite easily with a little care. When it comes to fitting them to the pre-cut MDF base (picture below) great care is needed. The slots are the same width as the thickness of the plexi-glass so some force is needed.
The plexi-glass is very brittle and my first attempt resulted in the loss of the locating peg and one foot from my gunner’s assistant. There are 32 figures to fill the 28 slots available, so a replacement was possible, but I am a parsimonious git and managed to stick the man in by use of his wheelbarrow.
That was the first assembly problem. I then started on a foot regiment.
A standard foot regiment comes with twelve ranks of four figures: one colour party, three pike and eight musket. However, only two of the musket are firing, the rest are in what is commonly known as the “port” position with the musket carried across the chest.
This is fine if you want to deploy in four ranks, but then your regiment is only 9cm wide and 4cm deep. Deploying in two ranks means you have two “companies” firing and two standing ready. It’s a small point, but I feel an equal split between poses would be a better mix.
Assembling my first foot unit one of the men snapped off the end of the rank while I was trying to push the peg into the slot. I reassembled the rank with superglue.
Here is a real oddity. The figures are supplied about 25mm. wide and the base is 30mm. x 20mm., with two 25mm. X 5mm. slots. But the location is a single point about 1.5mm. X 1.5mm. Apart from the issue of the fit being too tight, why not make the locator peg fit the slot?
I took the precaution for all future bases of taking a craft knife to widen the slot where the peg would be fitted. With hindsight I would source my own bases and drill a 1.5mm hole for the locating pin.
Cavalry come in ranks of three. There are nine ranks to a regiment, but the bases are slotted for two ranks. Again an odd decision. Later comment. I found single slot bases in the pack but only 4, when there are 6 “flag” strips. Also all the units have white or off-white standards, not useful for identification. When fitting the cavalry, even to a “slot-widened” easier base, I broke a couple of the “over the head waving” swords. (By the way, the only time I have seen that pose in action is when our re-enactment commander signals that the troop is coming to the ground crew for water and incidental tack servicing.)
If I were producing these figures, given that they are printed on transparent material, I would put a protective screen around the more fragile parts like swords and pikes, and make the location peg for each rank at least 1cm wide. Also the base slot should be slightly wider than the thickness of the peg.
And one final point. How did the Irish musketeers manage to source four left-handed muskets with the locks on the wrong side?
On the whole, a simple way of creating a good-looking army without all that painting. But some practical aspects need to be addressed.