Tuesday, 1 June 2010

BUM/GerMan Try, Try Again...

...And, unfortunately, fail to clear the bar yet again. PSR has just announced the release of BUM's latest set for the Spanish campaign of the WSS, "Battle of Almenar British Army" with full details here.

To be completely fair, the sculpting does seem a bit improved on this lot, but the set is more noteworthy for it's shortcomings than for it's features. To wit:
  1. There are only six (6) Infantry poses; standing firing (X3 figures), three (3) different kneeling poses (X1 each), a single drummer and a single officer. So, a total of eight (8) Infantry figures to the box, all in a sort of two-deep firing line with no colours.

  2. Three of the four musket-armed Infantry have "belly box" cartridge boxes instead of the more common large hip box suspended from a belt over the left shoulder. Only one has a true shoulder-hung cartridge box, and he has a belly box to accompany it! And, possibly the most grievous error in design, one of the kneeling figures wears a "proper" knapsack with double shoulder strap detail from a much later era instead of the much more common (and period-correct) shoulder-slung haversack or simple bread bag..

  3. There are seven (7) Cavalry poses and six (6) of them have already been offered in previous sets as Catalans or French. There is only one new pose on offer here. Each pose but one is a single with the one pose being offered twice, so eight (8) Cavalrymen total in the set.

  4. All of the Cavalry are really Dragoons, not true "Horse", as all carry their muskets by a shoulder strap over the left shoulder, and have their sword scabbards hung from a waist belt rather than a shoulder belt over the right shoulder.

  5. The horses are the exact same horses offered in the previous sets, including the absurd one stepping over the barrel, and you get two of him!

  6. There is a single, small to medium weight, split-trail artillery piece offered with no crew (as we have seen in many of the BUM sets).

  7. Instead of a "proper" plastic with some durability, it seems that BUM have once again raided the art supply cabinet for all of the available art gum erasers. Trim these from the sprue and handle at your own risk!

All things considered, well short of the mark. If one were to consider fielding an army for this period, you would be better-served by using Zvezda's Russian Infantry of Peter the Great (reviewed here) and simply painting the lower legs as gaiters with painted-on buttons. It's really a bit sad, as many gamers and modeler's were, I'm sure, excited over the announcement of a dedicated range depicting the Spanish/Catalan campaign, and the sculpting quality has improved over time. They just can't seem to get the execution right. As always, the opinions and laments offered are my own.



Corporal_Trim said...

Good review, Bill. And a fair one.

Really a quirky set, falling into the "better than nothing" category. Yes, they are nothing new relative to the previous sets, but I suppose the upside is getting fighting poses without the siege of Barcelona terrain bits.

I guess the belly box guys have to be Frenchmen regardless of what it says on the box. And agreed, the horse prancing over a barrel is just nutty. Why on earth do sculptors do things like that ?


Sir William the Aged said...

Thanks Steve. I freely admit, BUM frustrates the devil out of me. Since the first set I reviewed (which I think was their Jacobite Highlanders) the sculpting has steadily improved and many of their pose selections are good. They are certainly better designs than Mars latest efforts, and better than many Strelets. But their historical inaccuracies and the lousy casting material just baffle me. And I actually like most of the resin terrain features that they've included. Many remind me of some of the old Bellona vacu-formed terrain pieces. I just wish they could solve their problems with their figures or would seek help from an outside source.


Soldadets said...

BUM/German miniatures has no solution. It has nothing to do with the stuff their minis are made of, or searching for better sculptors, or improving moulding/casting processes.

I'm from Catalonia and have happened to meet and talk to Mr. German Domingo at the very start of their projected WSS range, and must admit to be extremely disappointed with the gradual evolution of the range since the release of their first box.

It's just the same story as when they started a promising range on SCW. Mr. German Domingo has the really rare hability to spoil and adulterate everything reaching into his hands.

Like King Midas' story, but replacing 'gold' by 'butched job'. There is no solution for his personal idiosyncrasy.

Sir William the Aged said...


That's really disappointing to hear, but I guess not too big a shock when you look at some of the decisions GerMan have made on the contents of the WSS sets.

The biggest mystery to me (and I think many other people) is still the horrible material they cast with. This has been called out on PSR and in every review that I've read of their products, and was confirmed by me with their Jacobite set. In removing figures from the sprue, with clippers, I still tugged a bit too hard on one figure and actually ripped it in two at the waist! With all of the options available in poly-vinyl products today, their choice of this material is simply baffling.


Soldadets said...


I experienced that very same experience you've told about, of having a miniature part broken by accidentally rubbing it against a shoes box while in the painting job.

Two weeks ago, I happened to meet Mr. Domingo once again, during an Age of Reason festival held at the Catalonian coastal town of Torredembarra, where a significant (albeit small-scaled) battle took place in 1713. There was plenty of stands along streets, offering handicrafts, natural foods and such; others were showing earlier times workshop techniques, and even there was a small representation of three different re-enacting groups!

Some of us had been called by the Festival Staff to set up a Lace Wars demonstration show, mainly consisting of boardgames, and close to our stand it was the BUM/GerMan's one.

Mr. Domingo later complained to me about his nearly null success in the Festival, in spite of having released a new *express* box about the Torredembarra battle. He then ensured me that the consistency issue of his *revolutionary* minis' stuff had been already solved by means of an additive preventing its extreme fragility. And afterwards he showed me some other new boxes, hoping that I'd maybe finally fall and purchase some.

I admit not to have trusted on him, although in the end I agreed purchasing *1* box, another newly released one. This one was devoted to the 1714 Talamanca battle, allegedly including the so long promised *Miquelets*.

My disappointment after opening the box can't be explained. Two dozens minis for EUR 15... none of which was new! All of the minis in that box had already been released in former boxes. Oh yes, a few of them had been ****very crudely*** added a coat hanging from a shoulder in the Miquelet style, or a backpack... and these were the so long promised new figures!!

I might tell you a about lot of issues else with that cunning man, but I've definitely bored with Mr. Domingo and his **gipsy** behaviour.

(Please excuse me for using a word that might be misunderstood for apparently implying some kind of
xenophoby; it's just a crude translation of an older but still quite common expression for cunning, cheating guys)

little keithy said...

What sort of prices are you paying for these figures? 15 euros for 24 figures is steepish but I have seen a lot more for them. Some one, tongue in cheek, hoped that another firm would pirate them for a lot less and maybe better plastic, sort of poetical justice for all those other pirates they've done.
BTW what about using Zvezda Swedes for Malburians although they look as if they could be used for SYW brits with only a few minor changes (pockets, shoe buckles)
Word verfication Quark, which is what I use professionally.

Sir William the Aged said...

little keithy;

I haven't seen this particular BUM set available through my usual sources yet, but comparable BUM sets have been bringing between $17 and $21 USD here in the States. I would certainly never advocate figure piracy, even though as you point out BUM has raided the Airfix catalog heavily and Mars has certainly lived well off the old Revell/Germany catalog.

As to using the Zvezda figures - Yes, the Swedes would make better WAS or SYW troops with their later-style uniforms and turnback coattails. The Russians would be a better "fit" for WSS troops with their full coats, but proper grenadiers would need to be converted, and there is really no available cavalry except BUM with full coat skirts that would be appropriate for the WSS. Sad, but one set of cavalry in the proper coats and tricornes could make the Zvezda figures suitable for many uses.