Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Perry Miniatures Plastic War of the Roses Infantry review and using them in Warhammer Fantasy

I've already done a couple of previous posts reviewing miniatures from companies other than Games Workshop with a focus on how suitable they would be for use in Warhammer Fantasy. My post on the Wargames Factory Vikings can be found here, and my post on the Avatars of War Lord of Chaos model can be found here. Both of those proved to be quite popular posts, so I decided to continue the series.

This time, I'm taking a look at the Perry Miniatures War of the Roses plastic infantry set. First off, here are pictures of the two types of sprue. The box includes three of the first type, and two of the second. The first sprue has 12 bodies in various armor, 12 heads some with helmets, 10 sets of bow arms, and 6 sets of pole-arm arms. The second sprue is for making command figures and has two armored bodies, another 10 heads mostly helmeted, pairs of arms for making a trumpeter, standard bearer, and champion with poleaxe, and some extras like bundles of arrows and sheathed swords.
Perry Plastic War of the Roses Photobucket

The box also comes with a sprue of flat plastic bases in various sizes, and a pamphlet. The pamphlet has some introductory information about the War of the Roses, a brief guide on assembling the figures, some drawings of historical uniform color schemes, and some sample flags. All of this is completely useless for someone intending to use these figures as Warhammer substitutes, but I suppose they might be nice for people that are buying them for their intended purpose.

The assembly guide is extremely brief and with good reason. The figures are very easy to assemble. They had very slight mold lines that were easy to clean, and putting them together so they look good is pretty simple. To me, this can be both a good and a bad thing. If you just want them together quickly and don't like assembling or converting figures, it's great. But if you like plastic figures because of their potential to convert and customize, there isn't as much opportunity for that with these as with some other plastic figures. For example, the Wargames Factory Viking figures, which I reviewed here, were a lot more fun to put together. This is because they are much easier to assemble in different poses and really make unique. The Perry War of the Roses figures seem designed with very limited and specific poses in mind, especially with the two-arm halberd pieces. Even the bow arms come in pretty specific pairs with a clearly intended position. So if you really like assembling and converting plastic figures, this set might not be for you. If you hate putting them together and just want nice looking figures that are done quickly, it's perfect.

They do look very nice, with very crisp detail and good proportions. Definitely very good figures. And the plastic set does allow some degree of variety, though not as much as you might think. Just like many of the arms go in clear pairs to be used together, also many of the arms are somewhat limited in the bodies you can put them on and still have it look right. Like chainmail arms with armored bodies, and that sort of thing. Not a huge issue, but it does mean that you can't combine any set of arms with any body and get a result that looks good, so the possible combinations are limited in that way. And the poses are somewhat limited, as I said. There are several extra heads, so you can definitely add variety that way so that even with many boxes you can make it so that no two figures share all the exact same parts. And this is probably enough variety for most people.

So, will they work as Warhammer Fantasy Empire stand-ins? Well, here is a picture comparing the size of some of the Perry War of the Roses plastic pieces with some old Empire Halberdier bits. The Perry pieces are the darker plastic. As you can see, the Perry pieces are much more correctly proportioned, in particular the size of the hands, heads, and weapons is much bigger on the Warhammer Empire figures. Aside from that, they are pretty close in size, but this is also an older, and relatively less bulky, figure in the Empire line. I didn't bother trying to make a figure by combining Games Workshop parts and Perry parts, since it obviously would have looked pretty bad having such huge arms on such a thin body.
Perry Plastic War of the Roses vs Warhammer Fantasy

And here are some pictures of a couple of assembled Perry plastic War of the Roses figures, one archer and one Halberdier, next to some Warhammer Empire figures, a plastic Handgunner and multi-part plastic Free Company. From a size comparison standpoint, I think it's borderline whether these fit in. I think it would be up to individual taste and judgment. The height is about the same, except that the perry figures are all moved higher by their built-in base. And the Perry figures are a lot more slender than the Games Workshop ones, even more so than the Wargames Factory Vikings, whose bodies are at least a little closer in bulk. And the extra height added to the Perry figures by their base makes them look even more lanky in comparison. If you only had the old Empire state troops which aren't as bulky, they might look better together. I don't have any of the newest multi-part plastic state troops, so I'm not sure how those compare.
Perry Plastic War of the Roses vs Warhammer Fantasy Perry Plastic War of the Roses vs Warhammer Fantasy Perry Plastic War of the Roses vs Warhammer Fantasy Perry Plastic War of the Roses vs Warhammer Fantasy

There are also other problems with using these in an Empire army, mostly having to do with the composition of the sprues. There aren't enough halberds/bills or bows to arm all the figures with the same type of weapon, so you'll be making a mixture of Empire Halberdiers and Bowmen - up to 18 halberdiers or up to 30 bowmen per box of 40, since there are more arms than bodies. However, Halberdiers are supposed to have light armor, and archers no armor. Looking at the bodies in the Perry set, they have all kinds of different armor on in a spectrum from nothing to fully armored. So if you want your Bowmen and Halberdiers to look like the have the right kind of armor, it might be difficult to make the distinction. Maybe the best thing would be to use all the bodies that look like they have no armor or with it under their clothes make into bowmen, everybody else except the four fully armored figures would then be Halberdiers, but I'm not sure there are enough halberds to do that. Even if there are, it removes any option for how many of each kind to make, and you still have those four fully armored figures that you'll have to find some other use for, as they'd really stick out in a unit that is supposed to have just light armor.

So, there are definitely some hurdles to get past if you want to make some Warhammer Fantasy Empire units out of these. Since I really dislike the current Empire range of miniatures from Games Workshop, I think I can live with these instead. In short, if you are getting these to use for their intended purpose as War of the Roses miniatures, they are an excellent set of figures. If you want them to use in your Warhammer Fantasy Empire army, they are less than ideal.


  1. You might find the forthcoming European box with handguns and crossbows more useful and a better fit for the Empire.

  2. I've seen suggestions of one other use for this box in Warhammer - Dogs of War Paymaster Bodyguard. Granted, DoW seems to be on the way out, but for the moment at least, these minis would probably fit in nicely with the DoW line, which are in an older GW style (and I believe largely the Perrys' own work).

  3. Well Steve, I actually already have plenty of handgunners and crossbowmen. I picked up these Perry figures because I didn't have any halberdiers or bowmen yet. Probably because they aren't very useful. I don't plan on replacing all my existing Empire figures, but if I was going to, then a box similar to this one but with handgunners and crossbows would be great. I could use the old style multi-part state troops, which are a pretty good match for size, as swordsmen and spearmen.

    Thanks for the suggestion, Colin. Other people have also pointed out that these would make good Bretonnian men-at-arms and archers, for people who don't like the current range. I suspect these would fit in better in terms of size and style with the old bretonnian infantry than with the new ones.

  4. Fantastic review. Thanks for the effort!

    I already reposted it to a few places for people to know about this cool article.


  5. Maybe a bit too mixed for empire, but works well for Brettonians, if you let your envisioning of Brettonia stretch a bit past the Crusades era of Europe

  6. Dont forget the new merc box (Pike Handgun Xbow) will be out in November

  7. I didn't know there was a release date for the mercenary box yet. I won't need it, since I already have plenty of handgunners and crossbowmen.

  8. I'm starting a Empire army, and am planning to buy all core choices form WotR range (xbows, handguns, halberdiers...)
    How would these fit into the rest of the GW Empire range? Crewmen,flaggelants, etc...?

  9. I think it would make more sense to use Landsknecht figures from somewhere like Wargames Foundry or Redoubt Enterprises than the War of the Roses plastics, at least in an Empire army.

    The WotR stuff make for wonderful Bretonnians, but the Empire is too clearly linked - aesthetically at least - with the 17th Century style and fashions of central Europe in general and Germany in particular.