Friday, January 18, 2013

Schmittdiel Cavalry - 45mm Flats

This post will cover some of the 45mm flats edited by Zinnfiguren-Offizen Schmittdiel of Neustadt.

Schmittdiel is one of the smaller editors, offering three main categories of figures: Christmas ornaments and holiday-themed flats, erotica (clashing a bit with the Easter bunnies), and what is of interest here: Soldaten des Barock und Rokoko.  The pdf catalog shows what's offered but as the catalog shows only painted figures, a better idea of the castings can be gleaned from which Schmittdiel seems to use more than eBay these days.

The castings show some really good, large 18th Century flats.  As you might expect from "Barock & Rokoko", there's somewhat of a mixture of styles which look right for the WSS era and others (chiefly amongst the cavalry) which look more like 7YW.  Additionally, there's a good supply of musicians and several civilians & aristocrats in sedan chairs. But some irritating design quirks and lack of focus really detract from what could have been a great series of figures.  Issues:

* Cavalry are in profile, infantry in frontal poses.
* Odd scale - 45mm. 
* On the expensive side.

It's the first which looms the largest, really a deal-breaker for anyone who'd care to use them all together for wargaming purposes. Why on earth the designer chose to make most of the infantry in frontal poses really boggles the mind. I would really have been down with collecting these had they been cast in conventional poses.  But as it stands, they don't match the cavalry: what can you do here - stage a cavalry review with the infantry lining the parade route ?  The other option would have to make the cavalry in say, 3/4 profile, more consistent with the infantry and then maybe we'd have something. 

Further, the mounted generals, the dragoon and what looks like a guards cavalryman are cast in an "eyes right" pose.  This somewhat spoils the utility for anyone who had in mind creating credible battle squadrons and makes them needlessly harder to paint.

As for the latter two issues, they really go together.  The price of 3 euros foot/ 6 euros horse is more than most will care to pay for flats, but they are thick and substantial figures as flats go (with stable bases, no dreaded domino effect in formation) so I don't think the prices are too far out of line for the volume of metal.  As for size, they'll work with Meisterzinn, almost with Prince August. But once again, Schmittdiel missed an opportunity in making these 40mm.  The smaller size would've kept the price down and nice as some of the cavalry are, I'd be down with using them in my semi-flat armies.

Well, enough with the catalog of complaints, let's look at some figures. First the other side of the pistol rider. This figure handily comes with both pistol and sword, cut one or the other away for your weapon of choice. His hairstyle looks more 7YW to me, and overall a pleasing, toylike figure.

Next we have the dragoon.  You'd think riding around with fixed bayonets could be hazardous for man and beast alike but it's something easily solved with a slice of the x-acto knife.  There's a good standard bearer figure, no dragoon drummer but the kettle drummer probably would stand in well enough.

And the lobster-tail helmeted cuirassier, in the Austrian or Bavarian style. A good and useful conventional flat. There's also standard bearer, a flamboyant African trumpeter and on officer (eyes right again, but tolerable), meaning you could assemble a nice, complete cuirassier unit.

Next up, some of the infantry.


  1. Nice figures and great paint job , always been tempted by flats but not tried them yet . Can you recomend a source of figures ?

  2. Again lovely painting. Will you game with them? Would be great for Imaginations.

    Cheers, Simon

  3. Thanks, Mosstrooper. Glad to hear you'd like to give flats a go ! For starters, I recommend Alexander Wilken. Good guy: speaks fluent English, shopping cart system with Paypal, reasonable shipping costs and fast shipment.


  4. Thank you, Simon. Good question about the gaming. I must confess to being the wargaming equivalent of the porn film character who says, "I like to watch." I'm much more of a painter and dabbler than a player. But yes, the ultimate goal is to game with the figures.

    Probably not with these though. Funny you asked the question because I was taking stock of my flats sets over the last few days with just that question in mind. The Heinrichsen 40mm sets are a joy to paint but they're the 19th Century equivalent of Marx playsets.

    The troops I have which measure up for wargaming purposes are 30mm, mostly WSS era and enough French for a starter army if I overlook some overlap to WAS/SYW. For "Almost WSS" imagi-nations, quite good enough.