I already have a lot of Renegade's ECW cavalry but haven't painted anything except a unit of cuirassiers. For the English Civil War this is obviously a major omission. When I saw Empress Miniatures new ECW figures I wasn't going to get any as I thought they would be too small (they're not) and not really add anything to the figures I had. However, when I saw them at Warfare I could not resist them because they are, quite simply, the nicest 28mm cavalry figures I have ever seen. You have to see them up close because they, essentially, have an extra level of detail I haven't seen in figures for this period.
Firstly, the horses themselves are lovely and, er, very obviously male! The heads and bodies of the horses also have the large veins sculpted on them which I have never seen in another horse in this scale. The reigns are separate rather than that odd all in one metal band you get in other manufacturers horses. The pistol handles are also much finer than the Renegade ones with nice detailing on the saddles, even though most of it won't be seen! The buckles on the bridles are also accurately reproduced. The only downside to them is that the horses legs are very fine so you have to be careful not to bend them when putting them on bases or, worse, still breaking them off their metal bases completely when you try to cut some of the supporting metal away, as I did. An email to Empress asking to buy a new one saw a response within the hour and a replacement is on its way. I also took the opportunity to order some pike men!
The riders are either in one main casting or some have a separate right arm. Again, the detail on these is extraordinary. The spurs, rather than being a simple spike are fully detailed including the rowels at the end. The buffcoat sleeves have seams, there is piercing in the helmet ear flaps and the sabres have a fuller and a basket hilt. The scabbard is a separate piece and so, amazingly is the helmet faceguard, allowing for a proper representation of the lobster pot helmet for the first time. The only concern with the rider is that the swords are very thin (as they should be) and seem impossible to get really straight and flat
There have been a few complaints on The Miniatures Page that these are expensive but they really are little works of art. The only concern I have is trying to get my painting to do justice to the quality of the sculpting ,but over the next few weeks I am going to try to complete an initial three or four models.