Monday, 9 January 2012

Toy Soldiers: Review–Adler Miniatures

Sometime last year, in a discussion on a popular miniatures forum, I left a comment on a discussion of some miniatures photos. I had been doing my usual surf around the forums and spotted these these photos in passing. I wasn’t familiar with the company, and to be honest I didn’t pay a great deal of attention to the scale, or much else. My comment was simply that the miniatures in the photo looked as if their heads were about 25% of their overall height.

A couple of months later, obviously a little miffed after seeing the posts, the owner of Adler Miniatures emailed me, and after some discussion he offered to send me some samples of his miniatures so I could assess them, actually in the flesh, as it were!

A parcel duly arrived and I have had a good chance to look at them now. Adler make a wide range of miniatures, covering Ancients at 10mm, Napoleonic and World War 2 at 6mm, as well as several other periods. Overall I must say I am quite impressed the samples I received. They are very nice miniatures.

As a sculptor I have never done any work below the 1/100 (15mm) scale, and then it has only really been half a dozen sample figures. As a collector of minis, I do have a small but growing collection of 1/300 sci-fi vehicles (for a planned Future War Commander campaign), but no actual figures. Otherwise it has always been 15mm or 28mm for me…

So, with that in mind it is worth pointing out that when approaching the smaller scales you do have to take certain things into account. Clearly, as they are so small, some companies find that certain liberties have to be taken with anatomical proportion so as to both make the figures cast-able and also give them some character! Even at 28mm it has often been necessary for companies to thicken up ankles a little to strengthen the miniatures and stop them snapping off from the stands, so at 6mm (1/300) I can understand that some compromises are necessary.

Anyone who has read my blog for a while will soon realise that I tend to lean towards figures being sculpted within accepted anatomical scale limits, rather than the oversized heads, hand and feet that have proliferated across many ranges for a long time. This is probably where my original comment sprang from.

What follows are a selection of photos I have taken of the sample miniatures that Adler sent through to me. When photographing such small scale miniatures it is easy to forget just how small they are and blow the images up to huge proportions and then compare them with larger scale miniatures. To avoid this as much as possible I have not posted the photos at their original size, as they really give a false impression of the figures. They are still well enlarged, but certainly no to the level that the original photos were.

First off we have the 10mm scale ancients. These are Ancient British or Celtic figures.

Adler 10mm 1Adler 10mm 2Adler 10mm 3Adler 10mm 4Adler 10mm 5

It was a photo of some of these 10mm miniatures that I originally commented on in the forums. I still hold that the figures heads are approximately 25% of their height (espesially in the minis in the second photo), however, when you consider that they are only 10mm high they do have plenty of character and I tend to think that with a descent paint job they would come out rather nicely.

Moving on we have a selection of 6mm Napoleonic figures.

Adler Naps 1Adler Naps 2Adler Naps 3Adler Naps 4Adler Naps 5Adler Naps 6Adler Naps 7

I must say at this point that I know virtually nothing about the Napoleonic period. I’ve watched Sharpe and the movie of Waterloo, but that is it…

Still, I think these figures are quite attractive. They still have fairly large heads, and as far as realism goes I suppose they probably bare more relation to young boys in soldier suits than men, but for 6mm figures they have plenty of character and I am sure they will paint up a treat!

I know a little more about World War 2, and so it was with interest that I had a look at these samples. A mix of German infantry, British Infantry and British Paratroopers.

Adler ww2 1Adler ww2 2Adler ww2 3Adler ww2 4Adler ww2 5Adler ww2 6Adler ww2 7Adler ww2 8

Some of the running poses leave a little to be desired on these, but generally they are well sculpted characterful figures. It is more difficult the show the differences between the figures in the more modern eras as the uniforms and equipment all start to look quite similar, especially at the 6mm – 1/300 scale. So it is nice to find that these figures are easily identifiable (mainly due to their helmets).

Finally, I have some photos of  Adler Miniatures 6mm Sci-Fi range. Now as I said I already have a selection of 6mm sci-fi vehicles (GZG, Scotia Micro Models, and some others), but I don’t have any infantry. So I was really interested to see these.

Adler SF 1Adler SF 2Adler SF 3Adler SF 4Adler SF 5Adler SF 6

Firstly the turreted armoured car/tank, a nice neat model that will fit in well with near future games. I prefer my sci-fi vehicles a little more far future – grav tanks, exotic weaponry etc. but that is just personal preference. This is certainly a well put together model and I will be painting it up to add to my own forces.

On to the figures. Yes the heads are little big, especially the ones with full helmets. But again they have plenty of character. I think that once painted and making up a full force these will work really well.

When I get around to finishing off my 6mm sci-fi army I will almost certainly be picking up some more of these.

Just a quick note about photographing small scale miniatures like those on this page. It is particularly difficult to get a good result when taking pictures of figures this small. I have had 30 years plus experience of photographing minis and I still find it difficult to get satisfactory results. With the photos on this page I have tried to reduce any perspective effects and keep the focus on the whole of the figure rather than just on one part (particularly difficult when using a macro lens focused this closely).

I have also done some post-processing on these photos to enhance the contrast and emphasize the details.

Also, please note that I have not cleaned up these miniatures in anyway, which is why there are a few bits of white-metal still attached from the casting process. These will come off very easily when I get around to tidying them up for painting.

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