Wednesday, March 18, 2009
Walkerloo Napoleonic Miniatures Review
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.
While 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.
Didn't find what you wanted? Try our exclusive Miniature Wargaming Search Engine.