.....50+ years of hoarding metal and not enough painting........a site dedicated to vintage 20/25mm wargame figures ........and yes they are old school, mainly all one pose per unit and definitely shiney!......

Monday, December 15, 2008

From my sample box (1) Alberken and Early Minifig 20mm French Napoleonic Infantry Figures

This range of figures were among the very first I ever purchased some 40 plus years ago. At the time I was a committed 'Frenchie' and as such I purchased all the French samples and somewhat neglected the other nations such that I don't have many samples of them. This range of figures were heavily used (and often pirated!) by all the folks I played games against.
They must have been used by hundreds of wargamers and seen vast numbers of table top encounters over the years. After all there was not much competition from other wargame figure manufacturers around then and perhaps only Hinton, which had just started up, was in existence - or at least well known enough to be a factor. At least they maintained a constant scale and had enough different figures to provide the basis for all the major nations of the Napoleonic wars.
Many of the figures were obviously made from the same master with minimal changes made. Plumes and swords were cut off etc. to change the designated figure from one to another. The figures were some of the first produced and show up as really crude when compared against the later beuatifully detailed figures - however it is my opinion that a batallion made up of these chaps (with a couple of exceptions)looks every bit as good, or even better than, some of the really detailed but grossly out of proportion later series. They maintain for me a nostalgic reminder of my younger years!
I always remember the discussions among wargamers regarding the need for high detail when one was using figures on mass. Well I can say that as I get older and my eyesight gets poorer and poorer - then for sure detail is not as necessary - also I have always been of the opinion that less detail engraved on the figures makes them easier to paint.
These figures fit well with Hinton Hunt and in fact in at least one case one could postulate that some piracy between the two series existed! (Hinton FN5 and Minifig FN30) . Anyway at the time of their first introduction they were a constant scale - same as Hinton and were all that was available. I have 3 divisions of the little devils which are over 40 years old now and they are still among my favorites. I, for one, rue the day that the company moved away from 20mm! How the short fat dwarflike figures that followed were tolerated has always astonished me. What on earth was the designer thinking of? I refused to buy any of them! (gets of soap box!) .
The complete listing for these figures can be found here.
So lets start in detail with each sample:

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