Now I am not good at going back to older projects - the aforementioned Prussian cavalry being a case in point…there was a gap of nearly ten years between when I "finished" that army then went back to complete the cavalry arm – but these Crimean cavalry are a bit of an exception. First of all it has only been a couple of years since I finished the Crimean armies and second the Great War Miniatures Heavy Brigade figures were not released at the time I was collecting the armies. Now I could have bought the Foundry Heavy Brigade figures and finished the army back then, but 85% of the army is Great War and I wanted to maintain consistency.
The Heavy Brigade figures were released either late 2016 or early 2017, but the need to finish off other projects meant that they were pushed back in the schedule until last November. Then the French in Egypt came along and they were displaced until late December, then there was Christmas...so not until 6 January did I place the order.
Never let it be said that I don’t learn from the past. The Great War figures are supplied by Northstar and I have had bad experiences with Northstar – they take the money up front, then take excessivly long times to ship orders, don't communicate about delays, have no published volume discount offers, don't offer free shipping at a certain level, and they don't remove the VAT – so, as I did with much of the main Crimean War orders, I placed this order through a third party who only charges me when the goods are shipped and doesn’t charge shipping. That said, my lesson here has been that whenever purchasing Northstar products, even through third parties, is to factor the delay into my schedule - when I ordered my Crimean armies a couple of years ago I gave the supplier a firm order six weeks so that some sort if schedule could be managed. As anticipated the goods have taken a month to be supplied to the third party and then only half the order was supplied with the balance on back order (and I am not talking about a big order, just 30 mounted figures).
Then last Saturday, before the first part of the order had arrived, I get an email from the third party supplier telling me that Northstar has advised that they had "lost the mould" for the missing items and that they won't be available for some time! What a disappointment after having delayed the project for so long.
Last Tuesday the figures arrived. The first unit I worked on is the Scots Greys. It is a small unit, just six figures, because all the British cavalry units in the Crimea were small. Only two squadrons of each regiment were sent to the Crimea and both men and horses suffered dreadfully in the campaign. By Balaclava in October 1854 the brigade, all ten squadrons, numbered less than 900. In the winter that followed nearly all the horses of the cavalry division perished and the regiments served dismounted
The second unit is the 6th Dragoons (Inniskillings) - the only other one I can complete with what has been supplied (there is a single pack of the Dragoon Guards troopers, without any command).
I am not sure at this point where the project will go from here. At first I was not certain if I would even bother with the rest of the heavies, but I have enjoyed these two units. I might wait for a month or two and see if the figures get re-moulded, or I may try a different manufacturer.
The experience has also caused me to abandon a long considered Danish Army of 1864 - the last army of the German Wars of Unification outside my collection - for which Northstar are the sole manufacturer of figures.
I am, however, very excited to see that the Perrys have now released the first batch of Napoleonic Swedes, but I must not deviate from the plan.