I recently ordered some sample figures from Al Maurer at Askari Miniatures as I was looking at using some of his ranges and wanted to see how they compared with my existing Perry Miniatures & Wargames Foundry figures (that make up the vast bulk of my 28mm Colonial armies), and to get a feel for how they compared to Gerry Webb’s Castaway Arts figs.
Talking to Al about it I also promised to report back to him how they compared, in my opinion, as he advised he hadn’t directly compared them previously since the ranges didn’t really ‘crossover’ (e.g. Perry’s’ Sudan range is 1880’s while Askari’s French & Italians are later, the Italians being in fact 1930’s)…
I got the following sample figs from Al at Askari:
2 Pathans with Jezzails (from CA-2 and CA-3)
1 French Senegalese (from FR-16 Gun Crew)
A Turkish Infantryman & Standard Bearer in Zouave Uniforms (from TU-1 and TU-3)
2 Ethiopian Militia (from ETH-4)
Incidentally I also got a Krupp 75mm Mountain Gun (as this was used by the Egyptians in 1895 at Omdurman), and a pack of 2 Italian Mountain Guns, and some pack mules – all of which were very good quality models & castings and most useful for just about any Colonial period or campaign. The Askari guns are actually particularly outstanding models.
Anyway – on to comparing the figures…
The images above and below show the two Pathan figures – they are pretty close to the Perry Figures (comparing the level of the eyes – note the Khaki Perry’s Rifleman is leaning into his shot so isn’t standing completely upright). They are marginally taller than the Foundry figs (the Red Uniformed Zulu War figs on the left), but this is typical of most figures nowadays, the older Foundry ranges being ‘small’ 28mm. This looks to be a good match height wise, the figures are a little bulkier than either the Perry’s or the Foundry figs, but they are modelled with heavy sheep or goat skin goats and such, and my experience is figures tend to look slimmer once painted, so these will blend in well… On a side note I have some Castaway Arts Pathan samples too, and they are similarly tall and solid – so I think the Askari’s and Castaways are probably a good match and at this stage a mix of the two will be my first choice for when I finally do my NWF Pathan & Afghan forces…
These next two photos (above & below) show the French Senegalese Gun Crew Figure (on left), and the two Turkish Figures (on the right). The Senegalese figure looks to be a very good match with the Perry’s and even the smaller Foundry figs surprisingly – his height being almost identical to that of the Perry’s and being a bit slimmer than the Pathans and Turks (due principally being modelled in ‘plainer’ clothing) is a very close match bulk-wise with respect to both the Perry’s and the Foundry. Once painted and mixed in a unit I’d say they’d be near indistinguishable with regard to size/height.
The Turks however are another matter to some extent, while the standard bearer figure (centre) is noticeably taller than the Senegalese fig but a similar size (or girth or bulk if you prefer), the Turkish Infantryman (on right) is both taller and seems (at least to me) noticeably ‘larger’ (i.e. blukier/girthier) – how much of this is created by his Zouave style uniform & backpack is hard to say without actually painting the figure – while his arms, head, etc, seem the same size he does also appear to dwarf the Perry Rifleman alongside at first glance? These are quite tall figures (considering the Perry figures are considered tall to start with by most), and to me the most noticeable thing is they are larger in both respects (height & girth) in the raw metal – in this case its probably not an issue as you are highly unlikely to have these figs mixed in a unit with Perry figs or even in their own unit alongside one entirely of Perry’s, and more importantly painting may well slim down the figure once the folds and such are emphasised in the pants and more sense of depth is created… But it does suggest perhaps there is a little bit of scale creep even if just within the ranges of a single manufacturer. As many people say not everyone is the same height & SIZE in real life! I have noticed similar with Castaway Arts (in their case their Colonial Indian troops look to be a bit taller & larger than their other Colonial figs, both in the photos and the sample figures I’ve seen in person).
In the end I did not photograph the Ethiopians, however these very much match the Senegalese figure for height and girth – and look very nice. And just to finish off as regards detail and sculpting the Pathans and Ethiopians are excellent, followed by the Senegalese figure, The Turks appear a little plainer but this may work well with their uniform allowing gamers a cleaner surface to paint on uniform details (such as jacket trim and such in the Zouave style).
I’ll be certainly buying some of my Pathans from Askari sometime in the future, as well as eventually some Ethiopians – as most of these are suitable for both early Italian Colonial actions (1880-1900) as well as the later well known 1935 war – and I will be resisting (in the short term) the urge to get the 1935 Italians (especially since the series of articles in Wargames Illustrated late 2009 & early 2010)! I also will have to make an effort to resist having a dabble with the French (Senegalese) or FFL for the moment! I had considered buying a few Turks to use as Bashi-Bazouks, mixed in with the ‘classic’ Perry Figures, but have rethought that particular plan as the Askair Turks are probably a bit too formally equipped for that. Instead I am thinking about the Russians for an alternative NWF opponent for British & Indian troops – perhaps a couple of units to be ‘what-if’ Allies to the Afghans or Pathans on the NWF?
As mentioned already the guns are fantastic, and it looks like the majority of the Askari range are very close to the Perry’s, Foundry, and Castaway figures in height and size/girth. The Foundry figs (even those sculptured by the Perry’s) have always suffered from a touch of ‘short leg syndrome’ in my opinion, so as expected the Askari’s are somewhat taller than some of them (as of course are many of the Perry’s too). But this is easily eliminated (if a concern) by using a sabot under the Foundry fig if mixing them in a single unit. On the whole some great figs and highly recommended, and I’ll be buying more from Askari in the future…!