Monday, October 7, 2013

Brave Little Belgium (28mm Figure Review)

World War I (or the Great War for my overseas readers) has always fascinated me as it was a useless and completely preventable blood bath with interesting personalities and heroes that get lost in the far more examined World War II. Belgium has particularly caught my interest as of late because they do not get the credit they should. They had a population of only 7.5 million at the beginning of the war and a standing army of no more than 123,000. In order to avoid the French fortifications along the Franco-German border, the neutrality of Belgium was violated as 750,000 German soldiers poured across its borders. Belgium did not lay down as Germany assumed it would (and had asked it too) but rather put up a brave fight that gave the French long enough to mobilize a force to counter attack.

The history aside, I ordered a few 28mm Belgians from Brigade Models in the UK after seeing an impressive painting job over at Analogue Hobbies. Right off the bat, I knew I would have nobody in my gaming club to play my adversary but to have these superior figures in my collection was all I cared about. Though I am currently trying to whittle away at my friend Sam's iron will so he will paint up some Germans for a skirmish game set in Diksmuide (1914). Without further ado, here is my review of the figures:

Top: BM's Carabiniers (GW28-1103 & GW28-1104)
Bottom: 1914 Belgian Carabiniers
Brigade Model's castings are fantastic and for the price, you really can't beat them. They are approximately $1.72 (USD) per figure and shipping came to $15.32. Compared to my other 28mm figures, these are a little heavier, bulkier and just a hair taller (though that may just be their awesome top hats). Historical accuracy on the figures is excellent as they seem to have every bit of kit though I am the kind of person that likes a little change and would like to see a few guys missing pieces of equipment here and there. That's just me though.

For once, an officer (GW28-1129) figure telling his men to
stop/shut up instead of waving them on to their deaths!
 The Carabiniers ( are my favorite because, face it, you have to be a bit of a bad ass to wear a top hat into battle. Though the Belgians eventually adopted the French style uniforms and Adrian helmets, their early war uniforms will be enough for me to game any period as I find them so unique.

Top: BM Line Infantry (GW28-1101 & GW28-1102)
Bottom: 1914 Belgian Line Infantryman

The worst part of receiving these figures today is that I am starting to come down with a cold. Being sick and painting are not two things I like to mix or my figures might end up with random streaks at every sneeze. To steal a page out of the book of one of my favorite sites, Plastic Soldier Review, I'll give you an easy guide with these miniatures.

  • Historical Accuracy: 10/10
  • Pose Quality: 10/10
  • Pose Number: 8/10
  • Sculpting: 9/10
  • Mould: 9/10
Officer with Kepi (GW28-1107a)
I gave the pose quality high marks because the poses are believable and don't include anything overly dramatic or heroic except maybe the above Officer. Then again, I am sure gentleman of this period loved to point with their swords during a charge. One of my favorite poses is just a simple Carabinier racking the bolt of his Mauser M1889. The pose number could always be better to me as I like a wide variety of poses (not just 5) but for me to give an 8 out of 10 is a high mark. As for the mould, I subtracted just one point because you do have some standard flash to clean off. Let me be clear, a 10 would be absolutely no flash to clean as the manufacturer did it for you. I used to work for a pewtersmith who made us do this and our customers also paid a higher price for it. Brigade Models did a pretty good job cleaning these off but I still needed about 45 minutes to clean them all.

“A people that defends its existence cannot die.” - King Albert I of Belgium
Next time I will be reviewing the Infantry MG Dogcart (GW28-1131) and Carabinier Maxim Machine Gun Team (GW28-1110). I should also be reviewing Renegade's French Fusiliers-Marin when they arrive shortly.


  1. Great stuff Jim. I quite enjoyed working on the Brigade Models' Belgians. I also highly recommend the Belgian range from Great War miniatures. Beautiful castings, especially their officers and NCOs. I also have a bunch of the Fusilier-Marins from Renegade (waiting in the wings) and I think you'll like them.

  2. This is perfect for a project I was thinking about. Thank you!