Conquest Games Norman Infantry
The latest plastic box set to hit the streets is Norman Infantry from Conquest Games to accompany their rather nice Norman Cavalry set. Over the next few days I am going to assemble and paint a few of the figures so we can all have a good look at them. The box set is £20 for 44 models and are available now them from the Great Escape Games shop. Just click on the thumbnails to view a bigger picture that opens in a new window.
Ther are 8 infantry, 2 command and 1 extra weapons/shields sprue. Below is the infantry sprue which has 5 bodies - one in mail, one in gambeson and three unarmoured - 5 different heads (one with a rather nice Norman hairdo), 7 shields (5 kite, 2 round; all with bosses and arm attached), 3 spear-arms, 1 sword-arm, 2 two-handed axe arm sets and a spare sword. The detail is crisp and they look easy and pleasurable to paint. There has been a lot of thought into how these models will work as there seems to be no areas of flat plastic - the areas between arms and torsos or scabbards and torsos that you end up painting black or dark brown - that you sometimes find in other plastic sets.
A fair criticism is that there are no extra heads and that weapon options are not extensive enough. I do not think that the set could ever have included missile troops but an extra spear per sprue would have been welcome. I have worked out that there are enough spears throughout the set to arm 27 models. Considering you may have 6 command models this means that 11 minimum will be armed with swords or axes. I can actually live with that.
There are two command sprues, each with a mailed torso and an unarmoured one. 2 heads, 2 kite shields with arms attached. 1 horn, 1 standard, 3 sword arms, an extra kite shield and, as always with Conquest, a very wounded and unhappy casualty! These bits are all different from the main infantry sprue and I really do love the dying fella. You also get a third sprue (unpictured) with 6 extra shields, 3 spear-arms, 3 sword-arms, and a left and right arms. Also note that you get enough plastic bases to mount all of your troops; they are perfect for CoE (20mm x 20mm) and also comprise some multi-bases.
Cleaning them up is pretty quick as the casting (by Renedra) is very good. The arms fit very easily but you may need to take a bit of care positioning the heads. All of the parts are strong enough to withstand breaking during this process. I put one infantry and one command sprue together. One of the important tests we gamers judge new figures on is whether they will fit in with existing armies we already own and the best way is to picture them beside these other figures. I have one armed with a Dane axe and the leader-type fella next to Crusader mailed infantry/dismounted knights and they look like a pretty good fit to me. The Crusader figures are a bit chunkier but they are close enough.
In the next shot we have a Gripping Beast crossbowman and a Crusader spearman in gambeson next to the Conquest standard bearer and gambeson spearman. The Conquest figures are very close in size to Gripping Beast.
Here's a final picture from the assembly process showing unarmoured spearmen and the casualty figure.
I have decided that I will make myself one unit of 10 mail-clad dismounted knights and one units of 32 spearmen. The extra two figures will become a horn blower and a filler for the dismounted knights. Two boxes would make a very powerful unit of 16 foot knights and two units of 36 normal infantry. So, with a few figures undercoated it's time to get some paint on 'em.
I just speed painted three figures to see how the brush liked them. They were very quick and easy to do - these three were painted in a two hour session one evening - and the process highlighted some of the different merits, and otherwise, of the figures. Overall I can judge that I will find painting a whole box rather pleasurable; the detail is good enough to enable a good finish in a short amount of time. The surfaces take to quick shading and highlighting very well and will reward those who like to spend extra time on their figures. The only slight downside is that a bit of filling may be needed where the head meets the body for modellers that pay attention to details. Overall I like 'em. I would have liked to have had the time to be more detailed with the paint job on these three figures but work has been very busy this week, so I only had one evening session to finish them.