WHO EVER HEARD of the CAPE WARS?
A Review of 1st Corps Limited Cape War Range
by Darryl R. Smith
I have a problem. I am a gamer. Like many gamers, I enjoy the ďmainstreamĒ periods, in my case the American Civil War. But like many gamers, I occasionally delve into the obscure. See for example my fascination with the Legion of the United States. But this time, I must admit I might have stretched myself beyond the obscure. I used to have several of the 1st Corps Limited Mexican-American miniatures, when Elite Group and then RLBPS was selling them at a reduced cost. I fell in love with the figures; big honkiní castings with a lot of character. But, I realized I was never going to get them finished, so I sold them to a good friend. But the 1st Corps figures kept calling out to me, almost beckoning me as it were, to buy something from their line. So, I decided to pick up a couple bags from their 8th Cape Wars range (also know as Cape Frontier Wars, Cape Xhosa Wars, and the not so nicely named Kaffir Wars). Iím glad I did!
I decided to go small, just two bags of British to get me started, just to see if I liked the figures. The pictures on the 1st Corps site sure were nice, but seeing the figures in the flesh...er, lead...um, pewter, makes a load of difference. Ordering was easy, done right on the 1st Corps site with a credit card, and I received the figures in less than two weeks (nine days to be exact). I could order these figures from the States, but at the current conversion rate, plus the remarkable reduced shipping cost to overseas customers, it was cheaper to get them from the U.K.
Some overall details...first, these figures are quite as tall as their Mexican-American War cousins, they seem to be in better proportion than that great line. Next, the ďlong fingerĒ syndrome that the Mex-Am figures have isnít nearly so apparent in this line. Also, these figures arenít made out of lead, but some sort of pewter (love that ringing sound when a figure is dropped). There are very little mold lines, some very minor flash, but there are some sprue chunks at the bottom of the base that need to be cut away. The figures are 26mm to 27mm in height sole to eye, with a medium to heavy heft (Barrett Scale). And lastly, they are very clean and detailed, not suffering from any mold overuse.
Into the bags, shall we? The first bag I have is CW01, British Firing Line. There are eight figures in this bag, having five different poses (really six, more on that below). These figures are not all firing, but actually in various stages of the firing process. They all have canteens, backpacks, haversacks, and belly ammo boxes, and all are wearing a short tunic and trousers. The first pose is standing, musket in left hand, biting off a cartridge in his right, while sporting a floppy hat. The next post is standing, cradling his musket against the left side of his body, head cocked against musket (does that burn?) as he reaches into his ammo box. He wears some sort of his hat, almost like a toque, but I am not sure what it is called as I am just now getting into the period. Unlike the first pose he has a bayonet scabbard. The next post is standing, holding his musket in his left hand as he drives the ramrod home with his right. He wears a tall BlŁcher cap and also has a bayonet scabbard. One problem I have, and itís a minor one; the ramrod, while being used in the barrel, is also still under the barrel! Apparently the sculptor forgot to remove it from its normal position. There is another very similar pose, this time placing the round in the barrel, otherwise the same. The next pose is firing in a kneeling position, bayonet attached. He has a full beard, and that mysterious hat again. The last pose is advancing with his musket while bearing a floppy hat.
The second bag I purchased was CW03, British Command. Six figures (and six different poses) comprise this bag. This is one tough crowd, three of the figures are bearing double-barrel shotguns (we donít need no stinkiní Geneva Convention)! The first post is walking sword scabbard over his left shoulder, right hand resting on his pistol holster. He wears a very high round hat with a very small brim, has big sideburns that merge into his moustache, has a short jacket thatís closed only at the top button, and his pants are tucked into knee-high boots. The next figure is advancing with his shotgun at porte arms, and also is carrying a pistol for a sidearm. He has the same hat as the first figure, and his face is covered by a full beard and moustache. His trousers cover his boots. The next figure is advancing with his shotgun at a 45ļ angle. He has a small sun helmet on his head (looks like something Sherlock Holmes would wear), full facial hair, a pistol, and a quilted hunting jacket over top of trousers. The next command figure is walking, shotgun opened and cradle in his right arm, ready for loading. Same hat and facial hair as the first figure. He also has a pistol worn over top his quilted jacket. The fifth figure is something a little different. He starts off by having a pillbox cap, a shirt with the sleeves rolled up, trousers held up by suspenders, a haversack carried on his left hip, and a short sword held upright in his right hand. The last figure is probably an NCO. He is advancing with a musket, has a round top hat and haversack, and is carrying a pistol. Looks like a Royal Marine.
Letís talk numbers, shall we? First, figure cost. The 1st Corps bags are £6.00, which comes out to $10.97, or $1.37 for an infantry figure (command $1.83). Letís see, thatís A LOT cheaper than many other 28mm figures (even Old Glory is now $1.10 per foot figure). Okay, so you are thinking ďyeah, but I bet shipping is a killer.Ē Did I mention the reduced shipping costs? My postage was £1.50, thatís $2.74! That beats A LOT of U.S. companies. Keep in mind that shipping is based on the amount you order, so large orders will obviously cost more to ship. So I paid a total of $24.68 to obtain 14 figures shipped from the mother country. Thatís hard to beat!
If you havenít noticed, I am very pleased with my first 1st Corps order. I hope you will take a look at their website (they carry a wide variety of figures) and place an order soon. Heck, maybe one day weíll game the Cape Wars together!
1st Corps Limited
Lower Howorth Fold House
For more information
Cape Frontier Wars Yahoo group - http://games.groups.yahoo.com/group/CapeWars
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