This week Patrick Wilson, worthy proprietor of the The Virtual Armchair General, made a stunning announcement that he was cutting the price of his Viva Juarez range by 25%. That’s infantry, cavalry, and artillery. He also gave credit to me and my article about the Maximilian ranges available in his announcement on The Miniatures Page. While it’s nice to get some credit in Wilson’s decision, it is a great boon to those interested in this period.
First, though I don’t care for the Houston’s infantry scuplts, there are many who do. The breadth of the range is pretty complete and these figures are relatively compatible to the Foundry range for Maximilian. At $30 per bag of 20 figures including command, or a buck and a half per figure, this makes the TVAG offerings much less expensive than Foundry or Gringo 40’s, especially if you’re starting out and need a bunch of figures. A decent paint job will cure lots of the deficiencies.
However, if you’re really hankering for cavalry, this price cut is a huge deal. First, there’s tons of cavalry in this conflict. You have to have it if you’re serious. Since my last article I’ve spent a lot of time looking at my Foundry Imperial cavalry and find them severely lacking. They will be turned into Republican Rurales, and will be fine in that role. However, unless you’re only interested in the Empress Lancers or the Red Hussars, the Foundry Imperial cavalry just won’t do. And, it’s expensive. Like six bucks plus per figure.
On the other hand the TVAG Houston’s guys are quite acceptable. Size-wise they work fine with the Foundry range. They have lance-armed, sword-armed, or carbine-armed cavalry dressed for the campaign with kepi and havelock. These work for both Republican or Imperial forces. 12 for thirty smackers. That’s two units for Rebels and Patriots at $2.50 per figure. That’s an incredible deal for very serviceable figures.
Finally, the price is also reduced on artillery and equipment packs. These typically include a gun, crew, limber and draft animals. For the Republicans, this means ox-carts and oxen to draw the largely outdated ordinance available to them. Most significantly, it means proper Mexican gunners for those pieces which nobody else, well, check that, only Irregular Miniatures make. A gun, team and crew costs $12-14, which is very, very reasonable. Just by comparison, I recently ordered two ox-drawn limbers by Front Rank miniatures and the cost was 20 pounds plus shipping.
Would I order these figures? Absolutely. The next figure order I make will be to TVAG for a pack of Imperial cavalry with swords and a pack of the Republican artillery.