Taking AIM

I happened to chance upon some much needed

additions to my 1809 project on a popular online

auction site. A very similar lot had appeared in

the same month the previous year. But then I

had mistaken the miniatures for small 15mm

and let them go. This time round, I was very

glad I stuck to my guns as the figures turned out

to be out-of-production 10mm AIM miniatures.

I had never seen a figure from this manufacturer before but there was much huzzaing in Project 1809 HQ when I discovered just how well they mixed with my large collection of Pendraken 10mm. Not only did they mix well but the figures I ended up with (254 assorted French foot figures) filled in many of the gaps in the Pendraken range. I got more than enough Old Guard Grenadiers for my 1809 project – not in firing pose or marching in wet-weather gear like Penraken’s offerings but just what I was looking for: dressed to guard the Emperor (not shoot him in the back) on a hot May day as in Fernand Cormon’s painting, The Battle of Aspern-Essling. I also got a number of the less flaunted Old Guard Chasseurs but unfortunately not as many as I needed. I was very pleased to see how the AIM Old Guard and ordinary rank-and-file figures differed in character – the Guard being taller and broader – and obviously not sculpted from the same dolly.
I was lucky to get a good quantity of AIM French artillery gunners. The crews were made up of five gunners. Five gunners just seemed brilliant compared with Pendraken’s crews of four, one of which was an officer – the officer in effect reducing the actual gun crews to only three. Including an officer at the expense of losing a much-needed crew member seemed crazy. I was grateful to have the AIM gunners to boost Pendraken numbers and provide missing poses. I also thought my Grande Batterie would look better without a gold-trimmed officer in every crew of four. The sculpting style of the AIM figures certainly had its quirks – the pigeon chests and bulging cross straps of the Guardsmen being the most obvious - but they included some superb detail missing from other 10mm sculpts (while at the same time omitting some features). The models themselves showed signs of their age. They were cast in the softest of lead alloy – some arrived with muskets wrapped tightly around their figure. Their bases were unfortunately the dead- flat rectangular plinth type (complete with obvious mould line) which harked back to the days before textured bases became the norm. For me, this always added more unnecessary work to the basing process and I greatly appreciated a sculptor texturing the space between a figure’s legs – so that I didn’t have to!
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