This model kit review has the special purpose of evaluating two kits from two very different genres for use as Empire State Troops in Warhammer Fantasy Battles.
One of the kits is, of course, Games Workshop’s own kit explicitly designed for this role, the Empire Handgunner kit. The other, the challenger in this match, is Perry Miniature’s European Mercenaries 1450-1500.
Or try searching Ebay.
Stayed tuned if you are not a Warhammer player. Some of the information presented may have a more general utility for historical and other games and modelling projects.
It should be noted the Perry kit is designed for historical games and not Warhammer Fantasy. However GW’s fictional Empire faction is heavily derived from the historical place and period for which the Perry kit was designed. Consequently there is a high degree of overlap in terms of looks, armour and armaments for the two kits. This makes the Perry kit potentially highly usable as an alternative kit to that of the GW Empire Handgunner / Crossbowmen and also the State Troops kit.
The Perry kit may also be of use in Tilean and Dogs of War armies for the same reasons.
Thanks to the Warhammer Armies Project there are 8th edition army books for Dogs of War and Regiments of Reknown.
If you want to find out more about the advantages and disadvantages of using miniatures from alternative manufactures for Warhammer Fantasy Battles, see my guide here.
First up let us weigh in the contenders and check out their vital statistics.
In the red corner, the reigning champion, the bloody heroic…
Number of Models: 10
Scale: 28mm Heroic
MRSP Cost per Model: £1.75
Neck Socket Diameter: 4mm
Shoulder Socket Diameter: 4mm
Wrist Socket Diameter: 2mm
Hand Breadth at Knuckles: 3mm
Crossbow length: 29mm
Handgun length: 32mm
Sword length: 27mm
Heads: 12 total, Repeats: 0
Torsos: 10 total, Repeats: 0, 7 torsos are integrated with left arm
Left Arms: 4 not including those integrated with torso or command options
Right Arms: 3 not including those integrated with weapon and command options
Main Weapons: 13 handguns (11 integrated with right arm & left hand, 1 integrated with left hand only, 1 clean), 12 crossbows (5 integrated with right arm & left hand, 6 integrated with left hand, 1 clean)
Secondary Weapons: 4 daggers integrated with torsos, 6 daggers clean, 1 falchion, 1 warhammer clean
Special Weapons: 3 pistols (2 integrated with right arm, 1 intergrated with left arm), 1 “Hochland Long Rifle” integrated with right arm including stand, 1 “Repeating Handgun” integrated with right arm, 1 champion’s sword
Command Options: 1 flute integrated with left and right arms, 1 banner pole integrated with left arm and flag, 4 banner tops
Other Bits of Note: powder monkey, 2 spare hat plumes, 8 powder charge bundles
Expensive. Very expensive considering the material is just plastic.
It is however precisely designed to fit all the options and requirements of the two troop choices of Handgunners and Crossbowmen for Warhammer Fantasy Battles. WYSIWYG is absolutely achievable with no kit-bashing at all. There are far more weapons arms in the box than bodies to carry them though, so that is a lot of waste.
Heroic scale, like it or loathe it. Aesthetically it fits in with other GW Warhammer products but does not mix well with anything else.
And in the blue corner, the challenger, true blue…
Number of Models: 40
Scale: 28mm True Scale
MRSP Cost per Model: £0.50
Neck Socket Diameter: 3mm
Shoulder Socket Diameter: 3mm
Wrist Socket Diameter: 1mm
Hand Breadth at Knuckles: 2mm
Crossbow length: 20mm
Handgun length: 20mm
Pike / Spear length: 70mm
Halberd length: variable
Sword length: 20mm
Heads: 58 (12 repeated x3, 11 repeated x2)
Torsos: 40 (12 repeated x3, 2 repeated x2)
Left Arms: 22 empty handed (paired with pikes and champion weapons), 2 holding banner pole, 2 paired with drum, 12 paired with crossbow, 12 paired with handgun, 2 holding left hand dagger, 2 for two handed sword grip. Total 54
Right Arms: None separate from weapon and command options below. Total of 52
Main Weapons: 12 crossbows (4 repeated x3), 12 handguns (4 repeated x3), 18 pikes (20 counting banner poles), 12 halberd heads for replacing pike heads. All main weapons integrated with arms.
Secondary Weapons: 35 torsos include integrated sheathed daggers, 12 sheathed swords
Special Weapons: 2 champion maces (right arm), 4 champion swords (right arm), champion left hand dagger x2, 2 champion sword two handed grip.
Command Options: 2 drums, 2 banner poles / pikes integrated left arm,
Other Bits of Note: 12 pavises, 15 bucklers, 12 crossbow quarrel quivers, crossbow winches, 4 empty scabbards,
Cheap, mad cheap. 40 chaps for £20 MRSP comes out as just £0.50 per man. This is almost a quarter of the GW price. There is nothing lacking in terms of quality either. The kit seems to have less visible mold lines than the GW kit, for instance.
Considering that the kit was not designed for these particular fantasy troop choices they are a pretty good fit for them. Really it is like two kits in one since it also makes alternative halberdiers, spearmen and potentially also swordsmen as the other State Troop kit from GW does.
However there are a nearly even number of weapon options for the number of torsos, so the kit is less flexible. For example, if you only wanted crossbowmen out of it then the kit can only give you 12.
Of course given the price it is probably more fair to say that the kit delivers extra torsos rather than fewer weapons options.
Naturally for a historical kit, it lacks the special fantasy weapons of the Warhammer Fantasy universe. It has no Hochland Long Rifle or Repeater Handgun.
The torsos are in various degrees of armour which might create issues with WYSIWYG given the fairly limited options available in the army book.
Another thing is the torsos are pretty well armoured in comparison to the GW kit. In Warhammer Fantasy, Empire shooty troops are unarmoured and can take no armour upgrades. Empire melee troops like halberdiers and spearmen have light armour with no armour upgrades purchasable. Greatswords have full plate.
24 of the torsos are wearing cloth gambesons which could pass for either un-armoured or lightly armoured. 9 torsos have brigandines or breastplates with bare legs which could pass for either light or heavy armour depending on the arms and helmets paired with them. 3 torsos have brigandines and full plate leg armour which I would have trouble seeing as anything less than heavy armour. 4 torsos are in full plate.
True scale, as expected for historical troops. Aesthetically it is a different beast and basically incompatible with heroic scale for kitbashing. However true scale makes it more compatible with more other manufacturers for kitbashing. True scale is the industry standard.
That’s it, the entirety of what you get in the box, just two sprues. The price might be heavyweight but the contents are featherweight. The sharp-eyed will notice there is a piece missing. It was a pistol which I pinched for another project some time ago.
Something to note is that seven of the ten torsos are integrated with a left arm up to the wrist. They are all held up at the same angle too. This greatly reduces the scope for variable posing without cutting, though it makes assembly a bit less fiddly.
Three of the torsos are armless to the shoulder to allow for the command options. Another way to look at that is that only three of the torso types can easily (without cutting arms off) take a command option.
In the Perry box you get five sprues, three of the larger one and two of the smaller one.
After removing the repeats, you can see that the Perry kit has much more variety in torsos and in heads, though not so much variety for each weapon option.
An important difference with the GW kit is that none of the torsos have integrated arms. This allows for the angle at which the arms are attached to vary a lot and command options can easily go on any torso.
Perry’s sheer volume of plastic for a very reasonable price is hard to beat. That is enough all by itself to win the first round. Bonus points for the lack of integrated arms for the maximum scope for individual posing.
These points might get lost later when it comes to the assembly round. The Perry kit does look like it might be quite a bit more fiddly to assemble, not just from the absence of integrated arms but also from the daintiness of those tiny true scale parts.
There may be some among the GW fanboys who are utterly mystified how I could find any non-GW product superior to a GW product in any respect. There are probably some who do not even believe there are products beyond the high walls of the GW wallet harvesting plantation.
Those feverish souls ensnared in the wallet emptying cult of GW, are no doubt suspecting that I am being somewhat less than impartial. Or to be accurate they are suspecting that I am being insufficiently partial to GW, and that I may indeed be a heretic in need of a good purging.
To reassure our devoted fan boys, I will bring in a more partial umpire to our friendly contest. Meet Otto von Schutzensplatzen, full metal Imperial Engineer. Admittedly, he owes me one since I recovered him from the flea-ridden pits of Ebay and peeled him out of the stickiest, gloopiest and sloppiest paint job, but he was made by GW and remains their creature.
Now that I have plucked the bits I want from their sprues, the trials before our contenders will be won or lost on mold lines and ease of removal. We will also consider robustness alongside the aesthetics of the pieces.
I should mention at this point that I happen to have two of the Mercenaries kits. I bagged the two kits and a Perry Foot Knights kit from Ebay a bit on the cheap. My original purpose for getting the kits is to get crossbows, pavises and fully plated men to wield them to kitbash an alternative Braganza’s Beseigers on the super cheap. No doubt I will share that experience within these pages later, so look out for that.
For this project however I will be making gunners, to save the crossbows for my besiegers. Since I am making gunners from the Perry kits I will be making gunners from the GW kit too. Otto approves this action as he loves to be around gunners, being himself a Hochland Long Rifle hefting gun nut.
Given that I have two of the Mercenaries kits, so then I have 24 Perry guns to use here. 24 Perry guns vs 10 GW guns may not seem fair but recall that the Perry kit is a quarter the price of the GW kit so the GW kit was always going to be outnumbered.
It gets a little worse because I intend to make a drummer and a banner bearer for both the Perry band and the GW band. Neither kit presumes the command group will have to be modelled with guns of their own. However since the GW kit is limited for torsos but the Perry kit is not, I can add two more bodies to the Perry band by adding a command group but the GW kit is stuck at 10 regardless.
I will try making a couple of characters from the Perry kit too. One will be a Captain armed with one of the guns and making use of some heavy armour. The other will be an engineer for whom I will try giving the repeater gun from the GW kit. I hope that is one cross scale kitbash I can get away with as it is probably the only way I can give my Perry gunners one short of sculpting one from scratch.
Altogether that will make 27 in the Perry unit. 23 guns, 1 banner, 1 drummer, 1 Captain and 1 Engineer.
Aside from my captain I am snipping off the least armoured torsos from the sprues to keep them appropriate for the Empire standard load-out for gunners.
Most of the Perry heads are helmeted in contrast to the GW kit where the heads are mostly wearing hats. I am snipping off the lightest helms with the most open faces. Partly I think the gunners would favour open helms over visored helms for the better visibility and partly I want to save the lovely sallets for my Besiegers.
The kit’s banner pole is held by a well armoured arm which I do not think suits the unit. So instead I have snipped off an unarmoured pike arm. I will probably remove the pike as it is so thin I fear it will break too easily. I have a bit of dowel I will cut for the pole instead. That should be stronger.
There are three things I would mention about the bits as I take them from the sprue.
Firstly, they are exceedingly fine and I did fear my clumsy fingers would break some as I removed them.
Secondly, the torsos have integrated bases, which I do not mind, but they are placed a little close to the sprue. This made it sometimes difficult to get my stubby clippers between them and the sprue.
Thirdly, they are all amazingly clean of mold lines.
Once I have decided to make them all handgunners and give them a command there is hardly any other choices to make. I have to use all the torsos, so I get all them. I need ten heads but there are only twelve, so I pick all the hats and the one with the funny eyepiece.
There are choices when it comes to the weapons, but there is almost too many choices. If we ignore for a moment the special weapons like the Hoch Long Rifle, the Repeater Gun and the pistols and also ignore the command options. Still there are thirteen guns, and twelve crossbows for ten bodies.
I get that someone might not want the command options. I get that someone might not want to make the kit partly of crossbows and partly of guns but go all the way on one type. Sure, not everyone will want to use
the special weapons. But even in that case surely ten crossbows and ten guns is enough? Instead of the extra guns and crossbows I think I would have preferred even just one extra torso. One or two more heads would be alright too.
In comparison to the Perry bits, everything is super thick, thicker than thicc. This did mean I had no fear of breaking anything on removal and also I had no issues getting my clippers into tight spaces.
It is not just the bits that are thicc, so were the mold lines.
The GW kit does have some fun extra bits though, like the banner tops and the monkey. I will be robbing a banner top for my Perry boys, and as I already mentioned I will attempt to rob the repeater gun too if it will not look too weird on a true scale model.
Which brings us to the bit comparison match. What follows will tend to hold true for all 28mm true scale bits in comparison with 28mm heroic scale bits.
True Scale is just what seems to be, true to scale. Heroic scale wants a bit of explaining. What exactly about it makes it “heroic”? As we shall see “heroic” apparently is not just bigger, in fact it likely is not taller at all.
“Heroic” is just thick, widths are on a different scale to heights. And the bits get thicker the further they get from the centre of the body. So feet, hands and heads are thicker than torsos and weapons the thickest of all.
As we can see here the heroic scale body is hardly different in height to the true scale body but is about half again as thick. Now for the kitbasher one has to wonder if that thickness is too bad. In real life people come in all shapes and sizes: some are thin, some are stocky and some are thicc.
To my eyes the Perry heads all seem to be consistent in size. The GW heads are a bit more variable, some almost seem to be the same as Perry heads while others are fatter. The middle GW head with the funny eyepiece in particular seems quite a bit fatter than the others. It does look like that at least some head swaps would work, but we will see how that looks a bit later.
The heroic arms here are not noticeably longer than the true scale. They are a bit thicker though. The hands are wider too, but it might not be so bad depending on the particular parts. Heroic scale is not a standard after all. It varies a lot, not just kit by kit, but also bit by bit.
This is where the wheels fall off. Oh my, yes they do. If you thought the previous parts had potential for standing next to each other or even being kit bashed together then look at the weapons.
The GW guns are gigantic. Not just thicker but also longer too.
Just to underscore that heroic is by no means a standard and that heroic pieces can vary even against each other, let us see how our friend Otto’s Hochland Rifle measures up to the plastic equivalent.
Even Otto’s imposing weapon is quite dwarfed by the other. Let us not forget that Otto is a creature of GW and made for Warhammer Fantasy, so he is heroic scale too. So why the disparity? The solution to the riddle may be that Otto is metal, and metal is quite a bit more expensive a material than plastic. GW’s enthusiasm for enormous weapons may be curbed a bit by the expense of doing them in metal.
Now the fun starts. If you thought cross dressing was fun, wait till you see cross scale kit bashing! A kit bash test will use non-permanent adhesive such as Blue Tack to join pieces.
First to calibrate our senses.. Before giving Perry soldiers GW guns and GW soldiers Perry guns, let us see how two completed specimens of each kit look, with all their correct bits as their maker’s intended, standing next to each other.
What I am seeing here is that the number one issue with using heroic scale alongside true scale is the bloated weapon size of the heroics. Yes the bodies are abnormally broad but people vary in their sizes and proportions. Some of your soldiers could just be fatties.
The heroics themselves vary a bit between them for that too. Sometimes that thickness might not look too inhuman next to a model more realistically proportioned, so then you might get away with it. The guns are way beyond that though.
That is the kicker. See, generally GW’s plastic kits are scant with torsos but over-flowing with weapons options, and often they are weapons very specific to the setting, such as the Hochland Rifle. The one thing the true scale collector might actually want from a GW kit, the weapons, is the least usable because of their gigantic size.
If you ever wondered why no one complains about ranking issues with historical models, the picture below says it all.
Going back to Otto though and we see that heroic metals may not be quite so bad for over-sized parts. If you have saved a fortune by using plastic historicals in place of GW kits, maybe spending some of that fortune on old metal heroics from ebay to fill out the gaps is a fair trade off. Otto approves this notion.
Anyway let us get back to the cross scale kitbashing.
The GW head on the Perry body looks badly over-sized. These heads look big even on heroic torsos so they will only look still bigger on more realistic bodies.
For the other, the Perry head on the GW body probably looks better than with a GW head. The slightly smaller head makes the whole look more realistically proportioned.
The GW arms on the Perry model might just be passable but for the oversized weapon. The hands do look bit swollen though.
On the other, the Perry arms are not completely terrible though of course arms designed to join in a two-handed grip suffer from the extra wide torso.
You may remember I want to pinch the repeater gun from the GW kit to make an Imperial Engineer out of Perry bits looking something like the picture to the above left. As it is I might just get away with it despite the gun’s massive size. Although it does look too big and heavy to lift, it is a special weapon so it could be a prototype or something. Prototypes tend to be less than perfectly optimised for weight and style.
The issues with the bloated heads and weapons on normal bodies just compound when you do both.
For the other, excepting the issue with arms not joining in the middle, the Perry bits on a GW body look quite passable.
Cleaning off mould lines is my least favourite job in the hobby. Double points are available to the kit that saves me the most trouble here. I can tell you now that Perry won that.
The mould lines on the Perry kit were there if you looked hard enough but they were so faint that I did wonder if even really needed to scrape them off. I wondered if a lick of paint might actually hide them rather than show them up, they were so fine. I did scrape them off anyway but it was a comparatively quick job.
The GW kit in comparison was fairly horrible for thick mould lines, which were hard to ignore and not so very easy to remove. It seemed to take a lot longer too, considering there were only a third as many men to do.
On the other hand, removing mould lines is another opportunity to break and lose your bits. The smaller and finer the pieces the more easy it is to drop or break them. I did come very close to breaking some of the finer Perry bits while taking the mould lines up. I dropped many a Perry bit too.
The chunky GW bits were in not so much danger from my fumbling. It might have been an horrible chore but it was not one that felt fiddly.
This may be one reason why GW went chunky for Warhammer. Fantasy as a genre has a bit more appeal to younger audiences than historical. Younger fingers may be less careful, more impatient and less coordinated than the older hobbyist. Therefore big chunky bits might be easier to work with for younger hobbyists.
On the other hand that does not really explain why the rest of us, or anyone, buys into it, especially at the price they want. There must be something else about the chunky heroic aesthetic that works on us is subtle ways.
Given how well GW’s heroic kits sell despite the extortionate premiums slapped on them, there is a riddle to solve here too. The magic ingredient might exactly be the strange proportions. There is some optical illusion in it that draws the eye. Think of Manga faces, with their giant eyes and non-existent noses.
Or women who paint their lips bright red, black out round their eyes and totter around on tippy toes. Why are they attractive?
The cheapest way to draw attention is to exaggerate, because humans are naturally curious about odd things, the abnormal. When you look at GW’s heroic scale models on some level you notice there is something a bit off about them and that keeps you looking…
The deepest level of ugly is that which is unseen entirely, for it may as well not exist. For making you look, and keeping you looking, the heroic models are making you not see all the “boring” true scale models of other companies.
It is exactly like a woman of mediocre looks drawing your gaze away from unadorned real beauties with her inhumanly red lips and weird blue eyelids. Once the painted woman has your attention, the other unadorned girl of natural beauty has disappeared from your awareness and become effectively the ugliest of all.
It is a delicate trick though, because once the beholder figures it out and consciously spreads his attention around to get a more balanced perspective, the illusion is broken.
This of course is what I am doing here.
This round went on a bit too long, so let us move on. Which kit won? This round was all about the bits and as much as I want to give it to GW for balance, I am giving it to Perry.
GW did have a few fun bits on their sprues, I like the banner tops especially. This was not enough however to compensate for the mold lines, the absence of torsos relative to the excessive number of weapon options, and the over-sized weapons.
First off I glue them all on to their bases. I position them with their backs close to edge of the base to give as much room in front for their weapons. There is no great worry for the guns of the Perry kits overhanging the base but it will be inevitable for the GW kit.
Neither kit is having the bases with which they came. The GW kit is getting the good old GW square bases in place of the Age of Sigmar round ones. The same square bases which are hinted to be coming back out of retirement. Read more about that here, 3 Ways the New Warhammer Old World May Surprise Us.
The Perry kit comes with some weird bases that probably make sense for historical games but which are a bit unusable for Warhammer Fantasy Battles. Warhammer Fantasy Battles requires models to be individually removable when taking casualties, but each Perry base seems designed to take models in pairs or groups of four.
Luckily I have a pile of flat square bases from the Northmen and Living Dead models I had from a Fireforge Games kickstarter which I can use.
Putting the arms on is the fiddliest task for the both kits. This is down to lining up one or more parts with two joins to the body, because they are all mostly carrying weapons held with two hands.
The GW kit tries to make this easier by integrating the left arm with the body for most torsos. The Perry kit makes this easier by having most of weapons integrated with both arms, so you can just slide them on at the shoulders.
The fat GW heads are easier to fit for being easier to grip with my fat fingers. That said fitting the heads of the Perry kit was not so hard either.
I have to do a bit more work on the Perry Bases. I blend in the integrated base of the models with the square flat bases to which they are glued with a layer of Milliput.
Others might have snipped the integrated bases off instead. Then just glued the feet to the square. I did not do that because the integrated base gives a much larger surface area for a strong bond to the square.
When I first conceived of this project I did hope I could do some deep kit bashing across the kits. Sadly, as we saw earlier, the scale incompatibilities scuppered that notion. I did however get a banner pole top from the GW kit for the Perry standard. The heaviest kit bash was in making an engineer, but we will take a closer look at him later.
Both kits gave me some issues when making the standard bearers. Firstly the Perry banner pole looked far too flimsy to survive for long on the battlefield. So I felt obliged to cut it away from the hand and make my own from a dowel, green stuff and bits. The standard turned out pretty well, though in hindsight I made it a bit too tall. It is stable though, despite its height, so that is good.
It was on the matter of stability that I had trouble with the GW banner. Unlike historical kits which tend to just give you a banner pole on which to mount a paper flag, GW tends to integrate the flag with the pole. In general I have mixed feelings about this, which I may write about elsewhere, but suffice to say in this case it caused me some issues with stability.
The problem was that the arm integrated with the banner pole suggested a particular angle for attachment which when coupled with the lean of the body caused the heavy plastic flag to overhang the base. The top heavy banner then pulled the whole model over. The fix for this would either be a bigger base or a much heavier one.
These kits are being based for Warhammer Fantasy Battles so a bigger base is a less than ideal solution, so then I went with making the base heavier. I embedded lead shot into green stuff and then filled the hollow of the base with it. That helped but not enough, so I then glued a penny to the bottom of the base and that solved it.
My main attempt at a cross scale kit bash was the making of an Engineer armed with a repeater gun. He is actually made from four different kits: head from Perry Foot Knights, body and sword from Perry Mercenaries, arms and gun from GW Handgunners and a cape from Fireforge Games Albion Knights.
I am quite happy with how he turned out, although I would have preferred a more realistically proportioned gun. Also due to the gun he does not rank up so well as the others. In view of his mixed heritage and massive weapon, I will name him Herr Mongrel Zupergunn.
Our men are all assembled so let us see how well they rank up.
Perry rank up beautifully of course.
It is not just that they rank up easily but also that there is still a decent amount of space around each model so that one can be distinguished from another.
I assembled the GW models with the awareness of how hard they can be to rank up neatly. In the end they do rank up, just barely, but I still have to fiddle a bit to get it to work. Some models do not sit well next to some others, so some swapping around is called for.
No amount of careful positioning can help how crowded up they look though. This may have been what drove GW to give up on rank and flank square bases in favour of round bases in skirmish formation. The better solution would have been just larger square bases though. Fat models want fat bases.
Age of Sigmar players who never played Warhammer Fantasy may wonder if I am not being a bit unfair complaining of how poorly these models rank up on 20mm squares.
Rest assured I am being entirely fair. This kit was designed long before Age of Sigmar was a glint in Kirby’s eye. It was designed for Warhammer Fantasy Battles and it was officially supposed to go on 20mm square bases just as they are here.
I had a brilliant idea for making the repeater gun of my kitbashed engineer be a more sensible size. I thought I would cut out the middle bit and glue the end back on the stock to make it half the length. Sadly my butter fingers betrayed me.
I was dry fitting the end piece to the stock when I fumbled my dexterity test, sending the little end-piece off onto the carpet. I spent an age on my hands and knees with a torch searching for the blasted thing but no luck.
Then I had another brain wave. I would make my own end piece by cutting a thin Perry pike into six or so short lengths and then glue them together in parallel to make the multi-barrelled gun. The result actually looks not too bad. It would have looked better with the missing end bit, but at least I made the gun smaller.
Okay we are about done with this round, I just have a few tasks before it is time to slap some paint down. I have applied some varnish to the dowel to waterproof it, and then I have added some texture to the bases.
By now however our men are absolutely filthy. They may still have mould release on them from their manufacture. They are certainly smeared in natural oils from my fingers as I worked on them. So the last thing to do before painting them is give them a bath.
So the Assembly Round is over. Once again I am giving the round to the Perry kit. There really was not anything in it as far as ease of assembly went. GW’s kit may have a been a bit less fiddly just from having chunkier pieces. On the other hand the issues with ranking up really spoils it.
So that is three out of three rounds won by Perry. They win for me on price, realistic proportions and ease of ranking. Of course your mileage may vary. You may have pots of money in which case you may not care about the price, you may prefer heroic proportions and you may play Age of Sigmar in which case ranking up is irrelevant.
For me though, this little exercise has sold me on using true scale miniatures for my Empire army. Just now as I write this, I have found on Element Games a true scale engineer with a hochland long rifle!
It is metal but only a fraction of the cost GW would want for it. See here for the current price.
For those that like video content, I remade this blog post as a youtube vid and you can watch it here. Be a friend, like and subscribe!