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Open Book Masterclass- Chassuer a Cheval Officer 1812

Discussion in 'Reviews , Video Reviews and Open Book' started by ChaosCossack, May 25, 2012.

  1. ChaosCossack A Fixture

    Hello All,

    I have never done an Open Box review before but as I am quite taken by this figure I thought I'd share what I found before I got started.

    The figure is produced by Masterclass, sculpted by S. Borin. It is a 54mm white metal representation of the painting by Theodore Gericault. This happens to be one of my favorite paintings of a Napoleonic subject, so where I came across the figure it was a MUST HAVE!
    Firstly, the box art is well done, giving a large pic from each side, plus a couple of small detail pics. The box itself is sturdy with the pieces inside sandwiched between two pieces of hi-density foam. The smaller pieces are sealed in a small plastic bag. At this point if I had a complaint, it would be the lack of any further info beyond the box art... no painting guide or assembly notes or sketches. There's alot of tiny pieces that will take some research to pinpoint proper location.
    IMGP0004.jpg IMGP0005.jpg IMGP0007.JPG
    Once opened and spread out it seems all the parts are there and nothing seemed to be broken or damaged. As I said above, lots of tiny pieces that I'm sure will give me fits during assembly. Some of the casting choices I found odd included casting the pelisse in two pieces with the left arm inbedded in one half (sans hand) and the sword blade is cast on its' own and will have to be attached to the hilt. Not that this is wrong I just haven't seen it done like this before.
    IMGP0013.jpg IMGP0014.jpg IMGP0019.jpg I do like the fact the horses ears and forelock is cast on the horses head. On other models, this is cast separate as a wedge that never seems to fit right.

    The sculpted base is kinda cool... its got some height and has broken limber wheels sculpted in (just like the painting)
    The detail sculpted in the figure is outstanding. The detail in the uniform, of which there is tons, is represented well and the face will be a joy to paint. The textures on the leopard skin saddlecloth, including the cat's head, are done in fine relief... again should prove to make painting alot easier.
    If I had to comment at this point, as I started to dry fit various parts, I found I have a lot of work ahead of me when it comes to joining the horse body halves... everything seems to line up but the seam itself showed some substantial gaps... nothing a little putty won't fix. On the plus side, both rear legs of the horse have brass rods cast into them from the body, through the legs, extending out the bottom of the hooves into the base.

  2. ChaosCossack A Fixture

    Continued from previous post....

    The following are some detail pics and some partial dry fit pics....
    IMGP0027.jpg IMGP0029.jpg Uniform and face sculpt is excellent.

    IMGP0015.jpg IMGP0016.jpg IMGP0022.jpg IMGP0024.jpg IMGP0017.jpg The seam gaps are obvious in this pic, putty to the rescue!

    All in all, I'm very happy with this piece. The sculpting is first rate and the representation of the original painting is spot on. I can't wait to get stuck in on this project, the only thing that worries me (besides painting the dapple grey and the leopard skin) is figuring out the subassemblies, particularly how to tackle the two piece pelisse/left arm situation.

    Hope I do this piece justice with the paintbrush as it is a beautiful sculpture. Watch vBench for this work in progress.


    Edward likes this.
  3. DEL A Fixture

    Thanks for a nice clear review Colin.
    I have to admire your chilled reaction to what look to be cavernous gaps.
    I can live with some small adjustment but where the fault lies with sloppy casting and poor quality control, given what we pay then NO, pity it's a lovely kit.
  4. ChaosCossack A Fixture

    As I look at the last pic, the gap does seem huge. I think once some of the flash along saddle is cleaned up, the gap will close some... not completely, but some.
    Because I like the subject so much... I remain undaunted.

  5. bagelman1952 Well-Known Member

    Those pictures remind me of the good (or bad) old days when all we had were metal castings and huge gaps to fill. I remember how bad the Taisho figure was. You would have thought that by now the metal casters would have got their act together. Looks like a nice figure though
  6. Aveleira A Fixture

    Well, since the andrea 90mm kit of this painting is expensive we have here an nice alternative... ;)
  7. megroot A Fixture

    I echo Pedro,
    Always wanted that Andrea figure, but the price:eek:
    This one is indeed a great alternative.

  8. Ron Tamburrini A Fixture

    There has been many attempts to put this painting into three dimensions and none of them seem to have worked that well,I painted an attempt by series 77 many years ago, it fell flat ,there was a decent attempt on a historex conversion somewhere in the 1980's it is such a animated pose full of movement which the original artist was never able to replicate
    so I think there lies the problem,I don't think this offering adds anything new and as Del says ,casting technology has moved on ,perhaps an attempt in resin might work doubt it though,it needs the whole backdrop to make it work.
    I paid a lot of money around 1975 for a large print of this painting and it still adorns my dinning room , much to the constenasion of my wife :D
  9. ChaosCossack A Fixture

    Marc and Pedro are right, the Andrea piece looks good but would probably cost around $300 Canadian... thats alot concidering I'd also have to find a new place to liveo_O A 75mm resin would be a good middleground solution.
    Hmmm... Backdrop you say... Ron, u may be on to something. Maybe something like a box diorama with the background curving behind the figure like a panorama.
    Definitely something to think about.

    I'm to understand the original painting is HUGE, like almost 3x lifesize! Before I kick, it's for sure something I'd love to see. It embodies all the arrogance and swagger of Napoleonic cavalry... Lovely. I was born about 200 years too late.

  10. Ron Tamburrini A Fixture

    You can certainly get a good sized print ,mine is about 800mm x600mm
  11. Wings5797 A Fixture

    I must agree with Ron, this is a case of often imitated never equalled.

    Having a career that lasted just 12 years it is hard to believe that this guy painted only a few pictures that made him a legend. To see this 2.92 x 1.94m Gericault painting in the flesh you can realise why attempts to replicate it in ‘mm’ measurements have fallen short. There are other gigantic Military paintings by Gericault that are invaluable reference material for Napoleonic cavalry modellers. I recommend a visit to the Paris Galleries if you ever find yourself in town.

    Just to finish off this much shortened story, maybe a topical note, Theodore Gericault stopped painting in this style 1819 following a lukewarm reception of his great painting The Raft of the Medusa at the Salon of that year. He did travel to England where he painted horse racing pictures but not of such a grand size. He died in Paris on 26 January 1824 (aged 32).
    "Dieux, Hommes, Chevaux".
  12. Blind Pew A Fixture

    I had his kit when it came out, about 8-10 years ago. I love the subject and was dying to do it.
    What a bitter disappointment. About half of the castings were rubbish, and the fit (or lack of) between some of the parts had to be seen to be believed. I actually binned it.
    I'd never get another until I'd opened the box first.
    Plus as well, I remain convinced that eventually the front of the horse would have collapsed under it's own weight. The metal just seemed such poor quality.
  13. Mariner Active Member

    Great review Colin...and given the previous comments , I can personally confirm that investing in a 90mm figure is no guarantee of perfect casting. There was no excuse for the saddle issue I had on my Peg Crusader. The manufacturers need to show the buying public more respect.
    You're really good with Napoleonics and I'm sure you'll conquer any problems...looking forward to seeing this at the Sentry in July.
  14. Ron Tamburrini A Fixture

    This pose has always been difficult and without some means of support to the front would collapse under its own weight ,
    Regards fit quality I don,t think anyone has surpassed poste militare in the casting of metal figures and that was a wee bit of time away, :) so technology should have improved but some manufacturers don't seem to have a lot in quality control ,perhaps it is a sign of the times ,everyone is rushing stuff out to compete ,this was quite apparent at Euro 2011 so much so that I will not buy much at the show next time "not" but wait till the snags get ironed out. I wish


    Ps just buy resin stuff :D

    housecarl and Wings5797 like this.
  15. Wings5797 A Fixture

    It looks as though, from our little group, if a manufacturer made a good/well sopported sculpt and casting of this figure and marketed it at the right price, they would make an absolute fortune.
    Come on manufacturers step up to the plate.

    Colin - I have this in my pile of shame as well. Gotta dust it off at some point. I agree its a nice figure. I also have the 54mm Indiana Jones' motorcycle and sidecar combo that I need to paint for the wifey (she loves Sean even though he about 105 years old now). I'm not allowed to buy any more expensive figs unitl I get it painted :-(

    DEL likes this.
  17. ChaosCossack A Fixture

    Both rear legs are pinned right through and into the body and the whole seems fairly well balanced. As for the gap in the hindquarters of the horse, I think the removal of a bit of chunky flash at the saddle will close the gap further back. it will still need a little putty but that's par for the course with horses.
    My experience with resin is so far restricted to a couple of 75mm M Corrie figures and found as many fit and blemish issues as I've ever run into with white metal figures. With those two figs, one was missing a muttonchop and needed some surgery to fit an arm and the other had a god-awful chunk (huge air bubble) missing from his neck. To this end, no material or process is without fault.
    I've always dealt with prepping figures as part of the hobby. As long as the detail is sharp and you're not having to practically resculpt the figure... it is what it is.

    All that being said, I wasn't disappointed with what I saw and am quite looking forward to putting some paint on this.

  18. Piotrec Active Member

    Thanks for the review Colin. Where did you get your copy? I would love to buy one as well.
  19. ChaosCossack A Fixture

    I had Greg McEvoy from The Sentry in Toronto order this kit direct from Masterclass for me. I like the personal service of a "brick and mortar" shop... Joe and Greg (father & son owners of the shop) are a couple of great guys who know their stuff. I order any larger pieces through them and every time I set foot in their shop, I walk out with something new under my arm:rolleyes:. They are also both willing to give advice or help out a customer without a blink and are hosting a newly formed, local painting group.

    Joe and Greg... free plugs for the shop aren't free:D

  20. billyturnip A Fixture

    If anyone is interested in a cheaper alternative there is a large scale flat based on the painting. I'm a bit short on details but I think it's a Wenglewski figure which are now sold by http://www.zinnfiguren-wilken.de/
    If anyone's interested drop me a pm and I'll chase it up when I get home in about 21/2 weeks.


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