Friday, 5 July 2013

Métaux lourds! From Black Hat

My first foray into the world of FLWs was - and is - being made via modern plastic toy soldiers. They are cheap and easily sourced and if things go wrong you haven't lost much (quite important as I hadn't painted plastic soldiers before). In fact they are the ideal introduction to the world of FLWs.

But very soon you start to cast an envious eye over those who take their hobby to the next level. At Triples I saw a table decked with regiments of metal soldiers and that little devil that sits on one's shoulder started whispering in my ear...

Now don't get me wrong, there is absolutely nothing wrong with plastic soldiers. I am not of an age where I remember 'tin' soldiers being the norm (like my dad, who incidentally would have loved this hobby) as even when I was young my bedroom floor was awash with Airfix plastic soldiers. So the attraction is more an aesthetic than nostalgic.

...So I ordered a few...

The Black Hat soldiers I received today exemplify the aesthetic that I am talking about. Were you a collector of fine historical miniatures you might be tempted to scoff somewhat at the naïveté of the craftsmanship of these figures, but to do so would be to miss the point of these soldiers and the ethos of H.G. Well's Funny Little Wars.

These are toy soldiers - not collectors statuettes, and the harken back to a golden age of toys for boy.

Take the French infantry of the Line that I ordered. If you take time to study the proportions with which they are sculpted you will discern - if you have a keen eye for historical fashions - a certain Edwardian cut of these little figures.

With their barrel chests and finely turned legs which descend into improbably small feet these charming little toys epitomise all that the Edwardians cherished about a 'manly figure'.

Black Hats British artilleryman - a strapping chap to be sure.
Likewise the poses are typically regimented and parade ground, just the sort of thing that a young chap would like to line up in ranks as he troops the colours on his bedroom carpet!

My French Infantry are all slopped arms and marching - no dynamic action poses here, no firing positions or going prone. The very idea. No, these are all about parading ones 'power', and by power I mean numbers, for what a splendid thing it is to see soldier resplendent in their dress uniforms formed en masse ready to take you salute?

Yes, you can say that I am taken by the Black Hat miniatures and there will be more purchases in the future as I have a mind to assemble a second FLW army, but this time a more historically accurate one based on Army Horizon Blue.

Sadly, Black Hat do not do a French standard bearer and so I bought the
British Rifle Regiment one instead and will convert it by changing the head.
I'm not converting from plastic to metal - but variety is the spice of life.

  > You can view all the posts in this project here - link to all posts in this series.

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