by: Mario Matijasic [ ]
Originally published on:
Angel Aparicio, one of HF's busiest contributors in the historical miniatures department, recently decided to start his own venture called Oniria Miniatures. Oniria Miniatures is a company oriented towards producing high quality small scale figures. The official kick-off figure from the company is a 35mm (1/48) scale vignette depicting the capture of the 69th Reg. Kings Colors during the battle of Quatre Bras.
Quatre Bras - the name in French means "four arms" - was a crossroads, an otherwise insignificant spot where the road running between Nivelles and Namur cuts across the road between Charleroi and Brussels. Quatre Bras briefly however became of huge importance to both Napoleon and Wellington once the former launched his attack upon the allied armies. Strategically, whoever controlled the crossroads would control the movement of troops along the roads: there was thus a great danger that if the French took Quatre Bras they would be able to divide the allied forces and pick them off piecemeal. Heavy fighting at Quatre Bras and Ligny are often overshadowed by the Battle of Waterloo that took place two days later. Yet, the events of 16 June 1815 were crucial as they set the stage for Napoleon's final defeat at Waterloo.
During the battle of Quatre Bras a fierce fight developed for the two flags of British 69th Regiment of Foot. The colors were the heart of any regiment; their capture was the ultimate prize, their loss the ultimate disgrace. The regimental colors were carried by volunteer Christopher Clark, who defended the few precious yards of silk with skill and desperate bravery. Slashed and bleeding, struck again and again by the French blades, he somehow managed to save the colors, though at the cost of 23 wounds. Ensign Duncan Keith was not so lucky. Cuirassier Henry cut the young officer down and seized the regimental King’s Colors.
“The Capture” vignette from Oniria Miniatures is based on the struggle for the 69th Regiments Kings Colors during the battle of Quatre Bras.
The kit is packed in a large plastic blister box featuring a big box art picture on the front. The box art image shows the unpainted model… however, in the meantime Angel painted the vignette and now the kit will probably be supplied with the painted box art image (I attached the pictures of the painted vignette to the bottom of this review, be sure to check them out). A cardboard backing displays Oniria Miniatures logo and lists all the parts included in this kit. The kit pieces are secured in four zip-lock bags additionally protected within several layers of bubble wrap; this kind of packing offers minimal chances of parts getting damaged during transport.
The kit is cast in white metal and the parts are molded really well; there are some minor seam lines to clean, but other than that the cast looks good. Some of the longer and thinner pieces (swords and flagpole) are slightly bent and need to be straightened out carefully. The kit is comprised of 13 parts for building 3 full figures: French cuirassier, British officer and British drummer.
French cuirassier figure consists of:
- full body with arms and legs,
- sword and
- horse with base.
British officer figure consists of:
- full body with arms, legs and head,
- sword scabbard and
British drummer figure consists of:
- full body with arms, legs and head,
- belgic shako,
- drum and
The basic vignette layout shows the French cuirassier fighting with the British officer for the regimental flag, and the wounded British drummer witnessing the scene. Additionally, this kit also includes two extra pieces:
- spare hand with sword for British officer and
- spare hand with sword for French cuirassier.
These optional pieces are a great addition since they offer more variation to display the figures. Some modelers, daunted with painting the flag, would undeniably welcome the extra pieces. Although the days I painted miniatures in this scale are long gone, I would definitely try my freehand painting technique on the 69th Foot Color as I really like the story behind the vignette.
As stated previously, “The Capture” is inspired by the struggle for the 69th Regiments Kings Colors during the battle of Quatre Bras, however it could also represent any other similar moment during the Napoleonic wars. First of all, I have to compliment the sculptor for making the figures in a very realistic way. Unlike many wargaming miniatures in this (or smaller) scale, proportions and anatomy of these figures are spot on. Also, the poses of all the figures are beautifully rendered and depict the action really well. Moreover, the flag is cast together with the British officer’s and French cuirassier’s right hands, thus ensuring tight grip of both figures on the flagpole, representing the struggle perfectly. I attached several photos of built vignette to this review just to show how well the action is portrayed.
As for the figures being historically correct, I'm far from being an expert in the European armies during the Napoleonic Wars, but I did some research on the uniforms which represent the most elaborate display of pomp in the whole history of military dress. French cuirassiers wore a dark blue coat with scarlet epaulettes. A cuirass was worn over the coat; it had front and back plates made of polished steel and leather straps with brass scales, brass studs and fittings. The cuirass lining was edged with white. Regimental colors were displayed on the turnbacks, on the collar and cuffs. Breeches were buff with knee-high boots. The typical headdress was a steel helmet with flowing black horse mane. Cuirassiers were armed with a straight-bladed cavalry sword, carbine and a pistol. British infantry wore the traditional red coat with white facings. Officers jackets were double-breasted and featured silver or gold epaulette on the right shoulder, with regimental badge to designate rank. Drummers coats featured profuse white and blue lace decoration on all seems and in the form of sleeve chevrons. British line infantry regiments wore grey trousers and high-fronted “Belgic” shako.
The uniforms and equipment sculpted on these figures look good and are, as far as I can tell, historically accurate. With the uniforms being so colorful, this vignette will definitely be a treat to paint.
This 35mm scale kit depicts a very interesting scene from the turbulent history of Napoleonic Wars: the capture of British Regimental Color by the French cavalry. The figures are nicely sculpted with a good sense of balance and they convey the story perfectly. The cast is really good and the addition of extra pieces gives an option to display the figures a bit differently and avoid painting the flag.
From the research and sculpting, to packing and presenting the finished kit, Oniria Miniatures is an extremely professional company... and this vignette is their first release. Although a small venture started by a modeling aficionado, but working with super-talented sculptors and artists, the company aspires to raise the level of metal miniature figure quality. With this kit, I think Oniria Miniatures is on the right track.