Thursday, 4 April 2013

Xan Miniatures Legere

So, as a couple of people have expressed interest in these new figures I thought I'd give a brief review, along with some pictures of the Xan Miniatures next to a few of their competitors. I have to confess I've had these for some time just sitting on my desk looking at me - since I got them Empress Miniatures have become the main agent Xan Miniatures in the UK and USA ( ). Anyway, here we go...

So, just to re-affirm my position on 15/18mm Napoleonic figures (for anyone who doesn't already know it), I regard Anthony Barton as pretty much the Chosen One where sculpting is concerned. A few people manage to get in the same ballpark every so often - but in terms of consistency of output he is the daddy. So, my test of a figure is will it work with AB (either on the same table or, every once in a while) within the same unit? And, are the figures consistent enough to buy sight unseen?

Now, as you can expect, most figures fail one or both tests.

Old Glory have some nice packs within their 15mm Napoleonic ranges - unfortunately other packs are dire looking sculpts, so I'd never buy a pack sight unseen.

Minifigs don't really appeal (although they are cleanly cast, and more in proportion than many other makers out there) because of the lack of pose variation.

Battle Honours figures, many of which were sculpted by Mr Barton more than twenty years ago now, are showing their age a bit based on the examples I've seen, and were clearly sculpted by Mr Barton while he was still learning his craft - but these can work with the current AB range for obvious reasons.

Fantassin (now Warmodelling) are extremely variable in sculpting quality - you can get superb figures and monstrosities in the same pack - and are made of a really hard alloy that makes cleaning them up an awful task. I've rather given up on them for those reasons - which is a shame because they've tackled subjects that others haven't.

Blue Moon -the new kid on the block - I have only seen a four packs of these in the flesh (see my last review ) and was fairly underwhelmed - on the other hand some packs look like they may be very good from the photos I've seen. I'm rather tempted by their artillery.

Campaign Game Miniatures (CGM) - previously they concentrated on the 100 Days campaign so lots of nice figures but not many that interested me. I own a few packs and can say the figures are nicely sculpted and cleanly cast. In pictures their legs always look a bit odd to me but aren't so bad in real life - apart from that quibble I'd say they were very good. Over the last few months they have begun to add new ranges (1812 Russians and British Line Infantry suitable for the Peninsula to name but two) that have caused me to take a bit more notice - in fact I've ordered a few bags of each  to have a look.

So, for those of you too lazy to look at the last review, Xan Miniatures are sculpted by JAGomez Bautista. Now this chap used to be the sculptor for Fantassin so, given what I said about their figures above, why buy Xan Miniatures? Well, so far, Mr Bautista has exercised rather more quality control over his output - all the figures I've seen were as good as the best Fantassin figures but with none of the problems. So, cleanly cast, made in a softer alloy, the French infantry packs are a much better size (Fantassins were tiny), better proportioned and generally just a big step up in quality over his Fantassin work.

So, the picture above shows three rank and file from Xan Miniatures (NF21) alongside a painted AB French Line Infantry figure, and in the background are some Blue Moon British Infantry from the Peninsula. As you can see (hopefully) two of the figures are a tad shorter and more slightly built than the AB figure but not unduly so, and the third is a very good match. The sculpting is crisp and clean and there are plenty of details there to work with.

And here we have the same AB figure with the two Xan Carabiniers in bearskin (NF23), and two figures from the command pack (NF24) - I don't know why but Xan doesn't seem to do command packs with much elan.
And the AB figure with two of the three figures from the Carabiniers in shako pack (NF22) - these are really nice.
Finally, a pack which seems to appear on Xan Miniatures own site, but not on the Empress website - above are the six skirmishing voltigeur you get in NF28. These are probably my favourite figures from Xan Miniatures to date.

Overall, I suspect that once painted up alongside some AB Legere and based together Xan Miniatures would fit right in (which is about as high a compliment as I can give a 15mm figure). I'd rate these a solid 8 or 9 out of 10. Some of the Xan figures are possibly a bit shorter (and more slightly built) than their AB brethren but probably not enough to worry much about and other figures would fit right in.

Empress are selling them at £3.75 for a pack of eight figures (£3.50 for six command) so you can pick up rank and file for just under 47p each. Now with AB weighing in at £6.00 for eight figures (so 75p each) that is quite a saving (obviously it works out a bit cheaper to buy unit or brigade packs from AB). In summary I think these are nice figures at a competitive price - I think they'd paint into a very nice battalion, and the skirmishers are cracking figures.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the review, Its quite helpful.