Review: Avanpost Historical Miniatures

by David

Disclaimer: I received the products featured in this review as a free sample from the publisher. This will not predetermine my review, which will be a fair summary and assessment of the products' strengths and weaknesses as I perceive them.

Hey all,

Welcome back, folks, for another Massive Voodoo review. This time it's about a line of historical miniatures brought to you by the exciting company

Avanpost Historical Miniatures

Avanpost is run by Oleg Derbasov and Maxim Voronin, and they have specialized on producing high-quality and, for what I can tell, well-researched historical resin miniatures. They are situated in Russia and mainly operate through their Facebook site.

Currently, the company's portfolio features military-themed minis for two different time periods: the 30 Years War/English Civil War (pretty much generically usable for 17th century Europe armies), and Napoleonic (currently focusing on the French, Russian, and British armies). In addition, they also produce a couple of accessoires and equipment sets. In terms of scale, Avanpost focuses on 28mm and 75mm. Most of their production is in resin, but recently, they have begun to also offer (some of) their minis as metal-casts.

Knowing that I am interested in the earlier periods of history and particularly like the smaller miniature scales, Oleg was so kind and sent me a handful of 28mm-scale miniatures from their 30 Years War/English Civil War line for a little review. Four of these figures are infantry soldiers, three are cavalry, and all of them are cast in grey, high-quality resin:

The foot soldiers

Let's start our in-depth review with the foot soldiers. The first guy is an ensign of flag-bearer; he has a more elaborate helmet than his compatriots, with a nice feather bush, and his belts are a bit more fancy, with a nice, flashy sash that he has strung around his mid-section. His arms and hands are made such that he carries a spear or flagpole in front of him, a flagpole is included in the set (sorry, no pics of that...), but the flag you have to create yourself.

The remaining three infantry soldiers are typical heavy swordsmen of the late 16th and early-to-mid 17th century. All are armed with heavy rapiers, wear helmets and three-quarter armor and are equipped with round buckler shields. The latter indicates their function as rondachiers, foot-soldiers who were supposed to break up the enemy pike formations. The first swordsman is wearing a heavy burgonet helmet and is shown in a carefully advancing pose, with sword and shield held in front of him.

The other two foot soldiers wear the classic morion helmets, which originated from Spain and have been made famous by countless depictions of conquistadors wearing them during the Spanish invasion of South and Central America. Both soldiers hold their swords drawn and their bucklers in a protective pose in a stable, strong stance. They both sport beards and long hair - which would make them excellent for a little vignette depicting a scene during the (later period of the) Conquista.

The cavalry

Let's now turn to the cavalry figures. All three are equipped in typical fashion of the era's heavy cavalry units, the cuirassiers, with three-quarter armor, different types of closed helmets with feather bushes on top, sword, and two pistols. All are pictured on horseback, aiming one of their pistols with their right hand, while the left hand holds the horse's reins. The riders mainly differ in the design of their helmets and, of course, their poses and those of their horses. The first cuirassier's horse is depicted in a slow walk, with its head turned left, while the rider is aiming his pistol at about 2 o'clock, as if he was shooting at something close by.

The second horse is shown as if rearing from something in front of it (or as if it was coming to a halt out of fast movement). Its rider is shown shortly before or after firing his pistol with his right hand, the pistol being held slightly upwards and at a target to the left, so his arm crosses in front of his chest.

In the third combination the horse is the same as the second one, but the rider is aiming his handgun at something in front and slightly to the right.

Assembly - and detailed look at a figure

Let's put one of the minis together to get a better feeling for how it looks and to check the quality of the fit. I decided to use one of the rondachiers as an example, as I liked the pose and facial expression a lot, and want to use the figure for a small vignette some time in the future. The first step was to clean up the mini a little, removing flash and doing away with moldlines. This was a very quick and easy affair, which only took me a few minutes, as the mini consisted only of the main body (torso, head and legs) in one piece and three additional pieces (arms and sword sheath) - and because the cast was nice and clean, and had only very little moldlines or other imperfections. As you can see on the pics of the mini above, there were absolutely no "holes" (from air bubbles) in the cast. In addition, the hard grey resin was very nice and easy to work with. As you can see on the following pic, which shows the mini with the pile of removed material, the biggest amount of superfluous stuff was from the little "base" under the mini's feet.

As is often the case with thin resin pieces such was weaponry, the rondachier's sword was a little bent. But this was easily fixed by carefully placing the sword into hot water and then straightening it on a flat surface.

Once that was taken care of, it was time to put the mini together. Using small amounts of superglue, I fixed the arms to the torso and put the sheath to its place. All fit together beautifully, and the smart construction of the arms' glue-points, which are hidden under the shoulder armor, ensures that the joint-lines would be invisible. Only where the sword sheath attaches to to the hip, there remained a fine gap between the sheath's top-edge and the lower parts of the bands/sash. But this gap was easily filled with a little bit of putty.

All in all, the whole assembly and preparation process, including cleaning up, straightening the sword and gluing the pieces together - and taking pictures, maybe took something like 15 minutes. I consider this very quick and a nice change to the tedious and time-consuming work that I often have to go through to prepare my miniatures. As you can see from the pics, the figure has a strong pose, is sculpted in a realistic, clean style with very convincing proportions, and especially the face is very lively and has lots of character. The sculpt might be a little on the simple side in terms of detail, but I consider this actually a benefit, as this might not only be realistic, but also leaves much room for us painters to use it as blank canvas - and caters to my own personal taste of preferring clean and not overly "cluttered" sculpts.

The Verdict

So, how do the minis fare and would I recommend them to our readers? To start with the latter: if you're interested in well-sculpted, historically accurate miniatures in 28mm (and larger) scales, Avanpost delivers excellent products. To sum up my insights on the former, here's a quick run-down of the pros and cons as I perceive them, based on the seven sample miniatures:

  • Avanpost delivers an interesting portfolio of historical miniatures: while the market of Napoleonic age minis is relatively well catered to by other companies, especially the early modern age minis are a nice and highly appreciated addition to existing product lines
  • the sculpting is nice and crisp, with realistic poses and characterful faces; I also found liked the sculpting of the horses very convincing, as they are portrayed in lively movement
  • the minis are sufficiently detailed for my personal taste (and probably historically correct), but fans of ultra-detailed sculpts might want a tad more "stuff"
  • the grey resin is of high quality and a pleasure to work with; the casts are flawless with hardly any flash or moldlines, and preparing and assemblying the minis is a quick and easy thing to do

In sum then, I would absolutely recommend you checking out Avanpost's product line. I plan to build a small vignette as an upcoming project using three (or so) of the early modern period minis as Conquistadors - stay tuned for that in some future feature.

Thanks for reading the review, folks. Make sure to check out Avanpost's exciting and expanding range of miniatures over at their Facebook site or contact Oleg directly through his gmail account. You also can find Avanpost minis through numerous online shops, your search engine of choice will lead you there. And, as always, feel free to drop me a line or two in the comments section, below.

Finally, If you are a producer of miniatures, models or mini-painting/model-related products and would like to see your product(s) reviewed here on Massive Voodoo, feel free to contact us!

Best, D.