Now, I'm a great fan of Essex 15mm, and I have bought thousands over the last 25 plus years, from ancients through to Napoleonics. They are a delight to paint. All except the cast on flags on some figures. Essex have eventually taken the hints from many gamers and have started to cast standard bearers without cast on flags. But for a while, I've bought SYW officers and added wire flag-poles so that I can add paper flags.
Here's some photos. First is where I started. I just didn't want to paint these standards freehand.
Luckily, Essex do both Prussian and Austrian officers on their own. Here are a couple of flags beside the basic officer figure. I've slightly bent the officer's arm and filed the inside of his left hand a bit to take the pole.
Another picture showing two finished chaps at the left. The flag-poles are actually jumbo paper clips. I bought a pack of 50 or 100 from a supermarket. They did the job and were cheap. It only took a little time to do.
And what to do with lots of surplus standard bearers. They were undercoated and used as test beds for inks and some paints, so they were not totally useless.
Ready for priming. The chaps at the front are the new Essex SYW French standard bearers without cast on flags.
And all the figures undercoated and ready for paint. I am far happier at having just a flag-pole where I can attach a printed paper flag.
Of course, all this is a bit more expensive by having to buy all these extra officers, and it all needs a bit of work. But the end result, to my mind and eye, is far more satisfactory. I just need to splash some paint on them because most have been in boxes for years.