Sunday, 16 August 2009

Figure Comparisons: 15mm Spearmen and Donnington Review

Yesterday I bought some of the 'New Era' figures from Donnington. I'd looked at them before but had assumed that they wouldn't be suitable for the period I wanted. The cavalry are certainly designed for the mid to late 14th century and beyond bit there turned out to be quite a few figures which would be suitable for my period.

The website is pretty good and representative figures are shown although I think there are a couple of misplaced pictures. The useful thing to know for many of us is how well they mix with other brands, particularly if, like me, you are going to get other troop types from different manufacturers.

From the left - Black Hat, Donnington, Mirliton, Touller. I've already based all my Essex and Legio Heroica figures, so they'll have to wait until I do some photos of based figures. The LH figures are a bit taller than the others (as with the crossbowmen). They'll look fine next to other makes but I don't think they'd look right in the same base. I shall keep mine as separate 'units'.

This Touller figure is a bit taller than the others - it isn't just the way his base isn't quite lined up. The other Feudal spearmen I have from Touller are just a bit shorter and are about the same size as Black Hat. I've put a few of these taller figures in with Black Hat figures and they don't stand out. All four companies could mix well although the ones with cast on shields may not look right next to the ones with separate shields.
The Donnington and Mirliton figures are very similar in size and style. Even the bases are similar shapes.

The figures are generally designed with the mid 14th century in mind. This does mean that not all are suitable for the late 13th century - leg armour and helmets in particular. The range includes some plancon bearers for the Low Countries, and these are the best I have seen so far. They are in kettle hat, which is fine for Courtrai/Kortrijk, or in bascinet which is better for the mid 14th century. However, a bit of filing should make a nice cervelliere as worn by the figures in the Kortrijk chest. The shields are separate on these which is useful - depite Heath's illustartion in Armies of the Middle ages, the three primary source pictures I know of which show this weapon show the wielders without shields.

In some cases the only noticeable bit of the leg armour just looks to be knee protectors - poleyns. These could probably be filed off or painted over. This gives then gives a nice range of polearms wielding figures in active poses.
LCF 8, LCF 10 and HYF 20 and probably some others will be particularly useful for 'Auxillia' types - there aren't many figures around which are suitable for these.

I like these figures and will be getting some more. It might even tempt me to do a DBA Low Countries army although this tends to start me on the slippery slope of a full DBMM army. At least Rune has already done the flags!

Here are some Alain Touller Spanish spearmen:
Only the ones with the mail coif are sold as Spanish and have the distinctive round bottomed shield. The others have a more pointed shield. Since I wanted a bit of variety of headgear but all with the same shield, I used a file to round off the points. It was pretty quick to do this.

Here is a comparison of, from the left, Mirliton, Alain Touller and Legio Heroica:
The Touller figures are more simiar in height to Mirliton than the unpainted example above. The Legio Heroica figures are a bit taller than the others but don't look out of place. 

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