Delving into the Napoleonic period and the Italeri Waterloo Set.
I’ve been a table top gamer for over 25 years, and in all that time I’ve never delved in to the Napoleonic period, even though its one of my favourite periods in military history. So this year being the anniversary of the Battle of Waterloo, plus the Italeri 1/72 scale Waterloo set arrived on my desk, I decided to take the plunge.
I’m also tinkering with the idea of skirmish gaming in this period at 28mm scale, but for large scale battles I’ve decided that 1/72, also known as 20mm scale would be better suited. 28Mm is my normal go to scale for war-gaming, so having to paint below that scale generally takes me out of my comfort zone. I have painted and played smaller scales in the past, but generally that’s been mainly items such as tanks or aircraft. When it comes to infantry I have a tendency to stick with 28mm.
So why choose 1/72 scale apart from the obvious, I have a 1/72 scale Waterloo set on my desk. Well price is a big plus, when I decide to add to that set buying figures is a lot cheaper. Storage is another aspect that pushed me towards this scale. I already have armies at 28mm, (Dark Age, Fantasy, WW2 etc) and they take up a huge amount of space. An army at 1/72 takes up far less space. The only downside is that I now need terrain for this scale, some of the natural feature terrain I have can be utilised, but any buildings are too large, but thankfully there is the La Hayne Sainte Farmhouse in the Waterloo set.
Italeri Waterloo Set
So one of the great features about this set is the farm building, La Hayne Sainte. It can be utilised for a number of historical periods from the 18th- present day, so its ideal for WW2. So what’s in the set.
LA Hayne Sainte Farmhouse
British Infantry 32 figures
British 95th Rifles 32 Figures
French Infantry 32 Figures
French Artillery 2 Guns and 16 Figures
This is a great starter set for Napoleonic war-gaming, but you will need to expand eventually to recreate larger battles. Italeri produced a range of Waterloo related figures for the French, British and Prussian armies. There are also several other manufacturers that produce a vast array of possibilities for gaming this period as well.
So lets look at the building first, you get the walls, gate and farm house in this set, there are additional building that can be bought separately to complete the farmhouse as it was during the battle. This piece of terrain has been produced in laser cut MDF with finely etched details. This has been designed and produced by Sarissa Precision Limited. Its well constructed and quite easy to build, though I would recommend using super-glue rather than PVA or wood glue. Another tip is to dry fit parts before applying the glue, as super-glue will bond the MDF rather quickly. Once built my next plan is to paint the building, though to be honest its not necessary to do so straight away. You can use it as is, especially if you want to get playing as quickly as possible.
Onto the meat and gristle of this set, the troops. They’re produced in a hard light brown plastic, though as can be expected at this scale some of the weapons are a little bendy. There is some flashing on the miniatures, but the sculpts and casting is exquisite. They are as good as any I’ve seen at 28mm scale. To be honest I was quite surprised with the quality, in the past I’ve been disappointed with some of the plastic miniatures at this scale. So in regards to prepping there is some but its very minimal. There are two sprues of artillery, and being ex-British Royal Artillery I’m always drawn to these no matter what period the figures are. The limbers and cannon are quite sturdy and well sculpted again. I’m planning a small diorama for these, rather than basing the cannon individually.
Next are the army I’ll personally opt for the Brits, there are two units, a regiment of redcoats and a regiment of rifles. In both sets there several poses, with NCO’s and officer figures, along with a range of infantry/riflemen in a variety of poses, that includes firing, loading and advancing. The only downside with the British is the lack of a standard bearer, there is a French standard bearer which is nicely sculpted. Both the French and British armies provide enough to recreate skirmish battles, including the clash for La Hayne Sainte, but as I said earlier you will need to invest in more miniatures to recreate larger clashes.
As a starter set for gaming this period at this scale, it a good start. The building is really well made, looks good and will add a focus point on the battle field. You get enough troops on both sides to get started playing some small skirmish battles. If you want to expand there are a plethora of choices out there from a wide variety of manufacturers including Italeri. The one thing this set lacked was some simple rules to play an encounter, but as a friend pointed out to me its a period that well catered for, meaning there are a wide variety of rules systems to appeal to all types of gamers.
So going forward in the next issue I’ll be looking at how I got on with painting the farmhouse, basing the figures, and making a start of painting the troops. I’ll also be looking at some of the different rule systems out there in the market place and making a decision on which to go with. I will also let you know how I’m getting on with skirmishing at 28mm for this period.