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Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Walkerloo Napoleonic Miniatures Review

Miniatures Games

Walkerloo SamplesThe Walkerloo Napoleonic miniatures are the most unique and wonderful toy soldiers I have seen in a very long time.

The figures are large (1/20 scale), die cut from heavy cardboard and printed in vibrant colors. They are kept upright by placing them in round plastic bases. They may be flat, but the illustrations are animated, colorful and full of character. You can’t help but smile when you hold one.

Creator Christopher Walker writes:

I made the first figures for my nephew and myself.  I’m not a marketeer.  I try to make pictures,  perhaps beautiful (the widest definition of the word) ones(?).  I wanted to create a romantic object in the spirit of my interest and fascination with things ‘military’. I also loved the notion of an expansive floor filling battle… in colour…  like that in final scenes of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang!

... of course they have historic resonance in the costume research and poses, (I posed for them all myself! - I’ve come to realize this makes it a weird type of self portrait… ha! Walkerloo) - but its still all just pretend… and made of cardboard 200 years after the event… The costumes are accurate.. and not. After a day and and night of rain not to mention the previous engagements the costumes would have been very scruffy…  Philip Haythorthwaite told me that many of the British Dragoon jackets had not had their dye ‘fixed’ ... and so their trousers and horses after the night of heavy rain would have been streaked with red dye.

The scale was an instinctual decision. I wanted sufficient detail so as it could be read easily.  Later 1:20 seemed to work well regarding the blade manufacture for the die-cut process.  And 1:20 was familiar from my time as an architectural student…  that was also where I began making card models!  I coloured the first soldiers in marker pen…  but yourre restricted with colours so I experimented with paint… Gouache pigments made the colours really sing and gave the pictures an attractive solidity… The original paintings have been getting bigger with each new regiment as my eye for detail becomes more attuned.  The figures are now about 50% of the original art work.

walkerloo_comparisonWhile I wouldn’t roll pots and pans at the figures like Grandpa Potts and Lord Scrumptious, the figures surely will stand up to regular tabletop (or floor) play. My seven year old has been playing with the samples I was sent, and the only damage they’ve suffered is a little bit of dirt dulling the vibrant colors.

A table full of Walkerloo Napoleonics would make a spectacular game at a convention show, or as a neat change of pace for your regular group. They’re perfect for a skirmish game (assuming you can find appropriate trees and buildings—but I think you can), or given enough space, a larger scale encounter. I’d love to see a dozen of these in each of several units massed for combat.

These figures would lend themselves well to two games I’ve been planning for years. The first is a cavalry - swordfight skirmish game. With each player controlling two or three figures, the sides would charge together, and the fight would devolve into a whirling skirmish. Turning templates would help control the movement of the horses. The second game would involve battery and counterbattery, like a tabletop version of that old computer game where two cannons blaze away at each other from opposite ends of the screen. My game would use actual, but scaled down artillery tables.

For those short on time, or weak on eyesight, the Walkerloo figures would be a great way to get started in Napoleonics. I’ve always wanted Napoleonic armies, but have not had the time to start painting. Now I can have them ready made. I’m going to order a bunch of these figures as soon as I scrape together some extra cash.

You can find the Walkerloo figures here.



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  • great post. thanks.

    Posted by Melly Scheneieder on 11/12 at 02:00 PM | #

  • Turning templates would help control the movement of the horses.The second game would involve battery and counter battery,like a tabletop version of that old computer game where two cannons blaze away at each other from opposite ends of the screen.

    Posted by Tina on 12/31 at 07:39 AM | #

  • My game would use actual, but scaled down artillery tables.

    Posted by car insurance company on 04/14 at 03:28 PM | #

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About the Miniature Wargaming Hobby

Miniature Wargaming is part of the "adventure games" hobby, which includes r ole p laying and board games. Wargamers recreate battles on the tabletop with toy soldiers, like a more complicated game of chess. Models range in height from 6mm to 28mm tall, with 15mm and 25mm being the most popular. There also is a growing interest in toy soldiers and military models, such as the 1/32 and 1/35 scale plastic soldiers from Conte, and Marx.

The most popular miniature wargames are fantasy and science fiction based, such as Warhammer, Warhammer 40K, Warmachine and The Lord of the Rings. World War II games such as Flames of War and Axis and Allies are new favorites. Other favorite historical periods include Napoleonics, the American Civil War, and ancients, such as Romans or Greeks. Other gamers enjoy miniature naval wargames, recreating battles like Trafalgar, Jutland and the Coral Sea.

Hobbyists research historical periods and paint their tiny soldiers in accurate uniforms. Others develop "historically realistic" rules sets or build scale battlefield terrain using model railroad techniques.

For pictures, visit the gallery.

Some of the bigger hobby companies are Games Workshop, which produces Warhammer, Wargames Foundry and Old Glory Miniatures. Wizards of the Coast produces several lines of pre-painted miniatures games, such as the Star Wars and Dungeons and Dragons miniatures games, and a historical game with pre-painted miniatures: The new Axis and Allies game. Wizkids produces a fantasy collectable miniatures game, such as the Mage Knight and Heroclick fantasy games, the science fiction games MechWarrior and Rocketmen, as well as the quasi-historical Pirates of the Spanish Main.

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