Wednesday, 9 December 2009

My Two Favorite Commanders Meet Osprey and Del Prado

During my recent mental health hiatus, I did indulge in some "retail therapy" which some of you might find interesting. I'm sure many of our readers are already familiar with Del Prado's 1/32nd scale figures offered by subscription through various retail outlets or direct from Del Prado. For those that are not, these encompass various subjects throughout history, grouped into sub-categories by subject matter, and are reasonably priced with the quality falling somewhere between "toy soldier" and true "miniature as art". One of their subscription series is titled "Cavalry Through The Ages" and features individual subjects ranging from Ancient Assyria (850 BC) to a German 1st Cavalry trooper in Russia in 1941. There are currently 25 different figures available, with "open" numbers left for 5 more to bring the total subscription to 30. However, they indicate that it will eventually comprise 80 different figures! Some of these are accompanied by a brief pamphlet produced by Osprey (hence their inclusion in my title).

Figure number CBH-009 is the subject I purchased, "Marshall Turenne, Battle of the Dunes, 1658". Included with this figure (of reasonable quality, both sculpting and painting) is a pamphlet by Osprey entitled "Cavalry Through The Ages, Turenne and Condé". Much of the material contained in the pamphlet is derived from the Osprey on Louis XIV's Army by René Chartrand, however, there is some excellent artwork that is not from Mssr. Chartrand's book. There is a brief outline of both Gentlemen's lives and careers along with some very nice woodcuts and the two paintings I have shown here. I have identified the painting below of Turenne as Lariviere's "Batalille des Dunes, 1658" (I think the correct title), and the Del Prado painters almost got it right, choosing for whatever reason to paint his sash and plume as a light blue instead of the correct white, as in the painting and the proper French "field sign" of the period.

This painting below is described in the pamphlet as "The Great Condé at the Battle of Lens", but I have been unable to find a painting with that title in the various on-line collections that I'm aware of. Perhaps one of our readers can help? I am hopeful that one of the "missing" titles in the series will be taken up with a figure of Condé based on this painting. Just in case it's not, I am already thinking about what would be required to convert an Airfix 54mm Royalist (really Charles I) to represent this subject. I love the pose and attitude of the white horse!

I happened to find my figure through a retailer closing out some "out of box" samples at a very favorable price, but even at the regular subscription rate of $20 US per figure, these are fair value. Do watch the accuracy of the painting however, they also do a figure called "French Captain of Musketeers, 1670" which has the figure on the gray horse of the 1st Company, but with the black hat of the 2nd Company. Easy enough to correct, but annoying none the less! Still, all things considered, not a bad way to add a little extra color and inspiration to the gaming room, den or painting table. I have my figure of Turenne on a shelf above the area where I'm working on his 15mm counterpart. Until next time....


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