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Set 01740

British Grenadiers

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All figures are supplied unpainted    (Numbers of each pose in brackets)
Date Released 1971
Contents 38 foot figures, 2 mounted figures and 2 horses
Poses 9 poses, 1 horse pose
Material Plastic (Medium Consistency)
Colours Cream, White, Red
Average Height 21 mm (= 1.51 m)


Although it was normal for British regiments to have companies of fusiliers plus one of grenadiers, for much of the American War of Independence all grenadiers were taken from their parent regiment and formed into four semi-permanent battalions, and in time many grenadiers described themselves as serving in the British Grenadiers rather than their parent regiment. As usual the factors that decided which men were to become grenadiers were bravery, experience and stature, although not necessary all of these in all cases. They were considered an elite assault infantry, but could and often did perform other roles, including even skirmishing, when the situation called for it.

Airfix were producing good numbers of poses for their sets when this was produced, so only getting nine poses was disappointing. The poses are pretty standard stuff, but there is only one advancing/charging pose, and the man kneeling with musket resting on the leg is hardly a typical pose of the period. Only six 'ranker' poses means we get a good selection of the peripheral troops, that is to say flag-bearer, drummer and mounted officer. But wait, grenadiers didn't have mounted officers, so that is a useless figure except for conversions.

The uniform of these men is very poor and bears little relation to what was worn at the time. All wear the basic coat etc., although this has no epaulettes (apart from the officer) when an important mark of all grenadiers were the wing epaulettes. They also have a very poorly realised representation of the grenadier fur cap, although things are better when it comes to the breeches and half-gaiters or spatterdashes they seem to wear. Although all the privates have two cross-belts, most have nothing on either one! What they do have is a cartridge pouch which is positioned at the base of the spine with no means of attachment - an impossible arrangement which is all the more ridiculous as the man would have great difficulty reaching it when he needed it. A couple have a canteen, and the kneeling figures have a bayonet on one of the cross-belts, but other than that there is no equipment on anyone, not even the marching figure. The useless belt over the right shoulder should have been a haversack, or else supporting the bayonet on everyone (non-regulation but common at the time), or simply left off, while the belt over the left shoulder, which should be supporting the cartridge pouch but isn't, is also missing the match case that was another important symbol of the grenadier. Missing the bayonet is unforgivable, but another grenadier peculiarity of the day was the right to wear a hanger or short sword, which is often illustrated. However after the war a report stated this had never actually been worn during the conflict, so it's absence here is reasonable. Finally, the mounted officer has drawn his sword, yet he has no scabbard from which to draw it.

Worse yet is the stance of these figures. They are all hunched and with overly thin legs. Though not as extreme, they are reminiscent of the Airfix Waterloo French Infantry, and look like they shared the same sculptor. Proportions are not impressive, with quite large heads and stocky limbs, although examples that we have seen are at least largely free of flash. The horse for the officer (which is a classic but not realistic Airfix equine pose) suffers from the usual Airfix problem of having a separate base into which the animal inadequately 'fits', but it is the standard-bearer that is worthy of special note. Not only does he have the two cross-belts holding nothing at all, he carries a flag that is about two metres tall but only about one metre wide. It certainly looks like no standard used in this war, or in most others, and in fact most closely resembles the standards carried into battle on the backs of Japanese soldiers in previous centuries!

The quality of Airfix figures varied considerably through the range, with the best being as good as anything being produced today. This set of British Grenadiers is not the worst, but it is near the bottom of that particular league. You may have guessed by now that we don't like this set. Airfix had done many good ones before this, so its age is no excuse. For today's enthusiast it is only necessary to compare these figures with the superb British Grenadiers produced much more recently by A Call To Arms to realise how poor they are.


Historical Accuracy 3
Pose Quality 5
Pose Number 5
Sculpting 3
Mould 9

Further Reading
"An Illustrated Encyclopedia of Uniforms of the American War of Independence" - Lorenz - Digby Smith - 9780754817611
"British Army Uniforms from 1751-1783" - Pen & Sword - Carl Franklin - 9781848846906
"British Infantry Uniforms Since 1660" - Blandford - Michael Barthorp - 9780713711271
"British Redcoat 1740-1793" - Osprey (Warrior Series No.19) - Stuart Reid - 9781855325548
"King George's Army 1740-93 (1) Infantry" - Osprey (Men-at-Arms Series No.285) - Stuart Reid - 9781855325159
"Soldier's Accoutrements of the British Army 1750-1900" - The Crowood Press - Pierre Turner - 9781861268839
"The British Army in North America 1775-83" - Osprey (Men-at-Arms Series No.39) - Robin May - 9781855327351
"Uniforms of the American Revolution" - Blandford (Colour Series) - John Mollo - 9780713706291
"Military Illustrated" - No.55

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