Vive L'Empereur! 20mm Samples by NapoleoN Miniatures | Print |  E-mail
Written by Dwarfman   
Tuesday, 22 May 2007


NapoleoN Miniatures is a new and growing company that specializes in 20mm Napoleonic models. I received two sample figures, one French Voltigeur and one French Artilleryman.

Here are the unpainted models. I mounted them on bottle caps for painting.

The Models

Though the Artilleryman looked nice, I was initially not pleased with the Voltigeur: The unfortunate chap had a great big miscast chunk of metal in the middle of his face and lots of mold lines, and I was unable to see his eyes because the shako was sculpted low on the model's head. In real life, men would never go to battle with their hats covering their eyes, and I found this annoying when painting as I could not put eyes onto this model. Fortunately, there were eyes sculpted onto the Artilleryman, and there were no miscasts on this mini. I'm not sure if the miscast I received is common of all this company's French Voltigeurs or just the "ugly duck" that, unfortunately, I was sent.

The painted Voltigeur, front and back.

In addition to the headgear problem, the Voltigeur took an extremely long time to clean, much more than an average miniature. I had to essentially re-sculpt most of the detail on the left side of his face and scrape off seemingly numberless mold lines. As a collector, I was not too frustrated at the time spent cleaning the model, but if I was a wargamer building an army of these miniatures, the cleaning process would indeed be a very time-consuming step. Before ordering an entire unit, consider buying a few samples to see if miscasts are a regularity in the troop type you're interested in. In stark contrast to the Voltigeur, I found the Artilleryman extremely easy to clean, and the process went very quickly.

The painted Artilleryman, front and back.

Once cleaned, I began painting both models. The Voltigeur became a trooper in the 1st Voltigeur of the Guard, using the book "Soldiers and Uniforms of Napoleonic Wars," by Francois-Guy Hourtoulle, as a reference. I painted the Artilleryman as a landlocked Naval Gunner from 1813, using the same reference material. I found both miniatures extremely detailed and was able to use the techniques that I normally use on 28mm models on them, thanks to the exceptional sculpting job. The musket, epaulets and shako were particularly well done on both models.


As I usually wargame the Napoleonic period in 28mm, I was not able to compare these miniatures with any existing 20mm Napoleonic figures. However, I do wargame the American Revolution with 20mm plastics, and found that the 20mm NapoleoN models fit in quite well with my 20mm plastic models. As usual with metal models compared with plastic ones, the limbs and heads were slightly larger. However, the difference was not too great with the models produced by NapoleoN Miniatures.


Despite my initial unhappiness with the casting of the Voltigeur, I was quite pleased with the way both of the models painted up. They looked amazing on the tabletop, and I imagine will look even better when formed into units! However, NapoleoN Miniatures are not the least expensive 20mm Napoleonics on the market; for example, Newline Design sells some 20mm Napoleonics for a good deal less than the models sold by NapoleoN Miniatures, so buyers might want to sample both ranges before deciding on which to use for wargaming. It is a nice bonus that NapoleoN offers preconfigured units in a box, but some other vendors make similar deals, so it is not that great a benefit.


Strengths Weaknesses
� Models paint up very well� Miscasts
� Sculpts were very detailed � Higher pricing than competitors
� Fit in well with 20mm plastics 

Rating: 3.5

Vendor: NapoleoN Miniatures



EU: �1.00 Each
US: $1.35 Each
(Note that purchasing units works out slightly cheaper than per-mini

NapoleoN responds: The flash in the Voltigeur is incidental, specially because we had a malfunction with the cast machine and had lots of flashed figures, fortunately solved now.

We're good with that, every company goes through tool problems, here's hoping they've got it solved.

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