Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Blue Moon 18mm Napoleonics

The postman slid a package from Old Glory 25s against my door this morning. I had ordered a few sampler packs of their new 15/18mm Napoleonics range. Released under the Blue Moon label, this looks to be a promising range. Old Glory 25s has said they plan to make the most comprehensive line of Napoleonics ever, in any scale.

The figures come in bags of 30 for the line infantry, 12 for flank companies, and 10 for command. With the Old Glory Army discount, the price works out to between $.30 and $.42 per figure. That's a little less than the next cheapest figures, which are 19th Century (Old Glory 15s and Battlehonors) at $.36 per figure. If you're willing to spend $240 on 19th Century, you can get a 40% discount, making them the cheapest at $.22 per figure.

Blue Moon packages their figures for retail, complete with cardboard header. The packaging is very attractive. Now if I just knew of any hobby stores that stock historicals!

The Blue Moon Civil War figures were very robust and very tall. I liked them enough that I will only be painting Blue Moon for my 15mm ACW armies. Reactions on TMP varied, with a few posters unhappy with the ACW figures' large size. I was interested to see if the Napoleonics figures would be as big.

I ordered a few French, British, and Austrian figures. Because I own Austrians from the widest range of manufacturers, I'll take a detailed look at them.

My first impression was that these are adequate, but not brilliant, figures. The proportions are decent, while still thick enough to endure frequent handling. The faces are well defined, and the equipment has all the necessary detail. I thought the helmet crests were disappointingly small, but a quick look through my uniform books shows that most manufacturers' Austrians have oversized crests. These Blue Moon crests are about right.

The muskets and bayonets are thick enough that only a determined klutz will be able to break them. That's no small consideration, as I've had a couple dozen Battle Honors and AB figures lose bayonets and even musket barrels in the heat of battle.

So Blue Moon strikes a nice compromise between realistic proportions and robust castings.

I play two sets of rules with my 15mm Napoleonics, Age of Eagles and General de Brigade. I use the same basing for both, four figures on 3/4" frontage and 1" depth. The Blue Moon figures fit comfortably on my bases.

(After I had already uploaded my pictures, I noticed that one figure is hanging off the edge a bit, but I had plenty of room on the other side. The error came from my own carelessness, not the figures' size.)

I found as many marching poses as I could for this comparison shot. The ruler is set about 0.5mm too low, but this at least gives you an idea of the ranges' relative size. Minifigs, Old Glory 15s, and Battle Honors are the smallest, at about 16mm from foot to eye. AB is the largest at about 18mm. Blue Moon measures around 17mm, close to AB but still noticeably smaller.

L-R Minifigs, Old Glory 15s, Battle Honors, AB, Blue Moon

The Blue Moon figures fit better than I had thought they would with the other ranges. Are Napoleonics bigger, or did Blue Moon scale back a bit in response to criticism of their scale creep? I compared the Austrian figure with some Blue Moon Confederates, and it is slightly smaller.

So what's the final verdict? I'll admit that I was a little let down by these figures. They are nice, workmanlike miniatures, but they don't hit that sweet spot for me that Blue Moon's ACW line did. When I saw Blue Moon's ACW figures, a banjo and fiddle started playing in my head. A fife and drum joined in. I could hear the tramp of marching feet, the rattle of musketry, and the booming of the cannon. They were just what I had been looking for in ACW figures. I was hoping, perhaps unrealistically, for the same thing from these Napleonics.

From the wargamer's perspective, Blue Moon Napleonics are nearly ideal. They are well proportioned. Like Kandie down at Showgirls, they are strong enough to be pawed over by inebriated middle aged men. If Old Glory 25s can make good on their promise to release an extensive line, these will show up on many wargamers' tables.

They certainly do not match AB for quality. On the other hand, they also don't match AB's price! For the Napoleonics gamer on a budget, these are your best bet. They are sturdier than Battle Honors and far better looking than Old Glory 15s. If you want the most attractive Napoleonics miniatures, go with AB.

To be fair, NO ONE matches the quality of AB Napleonics. They are one of the elite figure lines ever made.


  1. Good, comprehensive review. Like the Blue Moon FIW French figures I have, the Austrian color bearer looks to be wielding a telephone pole.

    That was very fast turn-around from Old Glory. How do the figures I ordered fare on on your rating scale?


  2. Have you looked at CGM (Campaign Game Miniatures)? They give AB a good run for the money. Of course Eureka has some AB like figures since A. Barton wasn't going to fill in parts of his range or not in a timely manner.

    Napoleon at War minis seem to be nice but they are taller even than AB apparently. BUT they have some raised details that make them paint up quickly from what others have said.

    I appreciate your review. Kind of what I was thinking, not the best but very nice. And the price point is great. More sturdy than my other budget choice of Battle Honours too is a good thing. You are right about Old Glory. I can stomach them but I prefer BH even if they are more fragile. For special units or personality figures, AB rock. Too bad they aren't a bit more sturdy but you get the proportions closer with them.

    Again, many thanks. I do love your blog. Wish I was as productive but I have young kids that I like to spend time with. Luckily, they have been asking about painting soldiers... ha ha ha!

  3. Jon, the telephone pole got cut away tonight. I drilled out his hands with a pin vise and will use some brass rod. I've been doing that with all my 15s for a couple of years.

    I like the AWI figures a lot. I'll reserve judgement on the SYW figures until I can hold them, but in the package their legs look a little chunky.

  4. Wow - they do look good; I'd think they were larger figs. Best, Dean

  5. I had looked at getting some but are kinda stuck on AB's. Maybe I will try some in the near future...thanks for the write up.


  6. I'll be interested to see what they look like (and if you change your mind) after they're painted...

  7. Great review, they do look like nice figures, I bought some of their FIW range and was very impressed!!

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  9. Scott, what you are indicating here is something Blue Moon 18mm customers need to hear. They are using different sculptors for these ranges. The ACW sculpts are top-notch, while these Napoleonics are a step or two below AB. Finally, I might add that the Great Northern Wars/Malburian line is even less attractive (but nonetheless very much appreciated since there is so little available in this period).

  10. Good and informative review Scott. I agree AB is king but I kind of get bored painting always the same figures so I give Campaign games its chance from time to time. I don't have the same enthusiasm but it is nice to see a good different version, like listening to a different conductor for the same symphony.

    1. Yes, I understand completely. Since I wrote this review, I have come to appreciate the sturdiness of Blue Moon more and more. I don't game often, yet many of my AB figures are missing bayonets or plumes. None of my Blue Moon figures has ever broken.

  11. Dear Scott,

    Can you tell me the U.S. distributor for Blue Moon 15mm/18mm Napoleonics and ACW miniatures?

    1. Certainly! They are sold through Old Glory (

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