Saturday, 1 June 2013

Knuckleduster gun crew reviewed

Recently I ordered the Knuckleduster "US Naval Battery Crewmen" and Kevin asked me for a quick review.

As you can see, hopefully despite the poor photos (!), the crew consists of we presume of Barney himself (representing the Naval/Marine officer whose rep was maintained despite the rather poor behavior of much of the American army at the Battle of Bladensburg in 1814),a vent blocker, the rammer, a trail spike holder, touch light holder, and, finally, the dude carrying a cannonball.

The main thing that strikes me is the lack of purpose in the combined poses.  The officer is pointing albeit in a rather lackluster way doing his job of directing the activity.  We have the rammer holding his tool upright, obviously waiting for the gun to be fired, for which we have in the torch guy -- I least I think so, as it looks more like a baton [??!] --- and we have the guy holding the ball.  OK.  But then we have the trailspike pose which seems to be in mid-effort to move the gun. While firing?? And we also have the vent stopper whose function is to prevent premature firing while loading/ramming of the charge.  But our rammer guy is just standing there. And you can't have the vent guy doing that while the torch guy is about to light it up.

Or long story short,  a very mixed up group and a crew doing mistimed tasks.

Compare that to a typical crew done by Perry Miniatures:

FN105 Foot Artillery of the Imperial Guard loading 12 pdr
note the pose with his back to us is holding the ball and about to load into the tube while the rammer awaits to immediately place the charge, the vent guy with his thumb over the hole and the trail spike guy in the rear resting until needed again.  Nice snapshot of a crew in action.

BH45 Royal Foot Artillery loading 9 pdr
again, a beautiful snapshot of a crew in action. (from the Perry website)
I will now present each pose in close up.  While I am a critical as the next guy about the sculpting, as I am about how others have painted their minis, I try not to make judgement as I am not a good sculptor and others can certainly paint better than I.  With that in mind, I leave it up to the viewer to make their own opinion. Do remember that the minis are only an inch in height and these photos are large!

The only thing I will comment upon with all sculpting is choice or design of the uniform as that is one thing that should be done correctly.  I must query the choice of a bonnet (seemingly very Scottish in nature with a pompom on top) worn by the ball holder.  On an American Marine/sailor??  Yes perhaps a deserter or such, but it does not seem very American (unless I am incorrect and it IS the official forage cap of the navy....).  I will not make comment about the rest of the naval uniforms as it not my specialty.  However, as I will be using the crew for British also, for me, it is a moot point.


  1. It's not a firing pose - it looks like a loading pose. The vent blocker indicates this is a loading pose. Probably the rammer just swabed out the gun, and they're waiting for the guy with the cannonball to load it through the muzzle.

    I think you've got a good bit of potential to make a pretty vignette around the artillery piece, since the only guy who's really out of place is the guy with the trail spike. Put some dirt, powder and grime on their faces, call them a crew that's been in action for a while, and the poses make more sense - they're slow and lackluster cause they're tired.

    1. Yeah, Rob, that might work. If able, I will try to bend the torch arm back toward the body to suggest he is not just about to light the cannon! Will need to wind some thin wire around the torch as a wick.

      Trail spike boy? Really nice posing actually, but out of sync with the action. Perhaps have him prying under one of the wheels under the officer's direction (which explains HIS arm pose) while every one waits the loading.
      Might work.
      Thanks for the help, Rob.