Friday 29 October 2010

Preobrazenskiy Leib-Guard ‘Leibkompanie’ SYW

Have you every seen a more ostentatious uniform before? Well my guess would be that the Empress Elizabeth, no slouch herself when it came to outrageous dress, had this uniform designed by a theatrical costumier.

Kronoskaf say that “In 1742, Elizabeth Petrovna created the Leibkompanie from the grenadiers of the regiment in recognition of the help that this unit had given her when she had walked upon the Palais d'hiver.” I think that is a reference to seizing power by marching on the Winter Palace. They did not last long though as Peter III disbanded them in 1762.

These are Foundry figures by our friend ‘sausage-fingers’ and they are rather splendid. Their hats are covered in ostrich feathers – all-white for officers and red-white for rank and file. NCOs had white feathers with a red stripe down the centre and drummers the reverse feather colour. I would imagine that they would have preferred to stay indoors as ostrich feather look rather sad when wet! Of course this unit did not serve at the front in the SYW but guarded the Empress in St.Petersburg and Tsarskoe Selo. They were a highly priviledged elite. Ordinary grenadiers had the rank and pay of a Lieutenant in the army and a Lieutenant ranked as a senior general.

I think I have made a couple of errors when I painted these – drummers should have been in reversed colours and the helmet itself might have had a black background to the Imperial eagle plate on the front. I have Pengel and Hurt but they don’t always present the information in a clear and legible manner. I wish someone would produce a decent guide for Russian uniforms of the SYW! Oh, and I have used ArmyPainter on these but in a very minimalist manner.

These don’t fit in my current armies so I will be selling them on eBay on Sunday. If you would be interested in buying them, please contact me or just bid. Ebay item number 110605560463.

Saturday 23 October 2010


I knew when I saw this vignette on Foundry's website (GL15) a few months back that I had to buy it to represent Adcantuannus, my Gallic chieftain, despite it’s completely outrageous price. It’s very cartoon-comic like and the sculptor (the same one who did Foundry’s SYW French and British) has certain traits that I recognized when the pack arrived – like, for example, sausage fingers. But, besides these minor things, I like the overall effect and the story it tells. Clearly our chieftain is fond of his capon as well as wine from the Republic (the aristocracy of Gaul had developed a taste for Roman wine by this time) and his four exhausted shield bearers are groaning under their portly load.

Nobody knows what Adcantuannus looked like and I have chosen to make him an old man beyond his prime and quite possibly too old to mount a horse which accounts for this method of transportation. The question is, on the wargames table, should he be stationary or allowed to move? I suspect that if a cohort charged in their direction the shield bearers would very unceremoniously dump their august passenger and grab weapons or run for it.
But on the other hand, if the old boy stood up (perhaps not an easy thing to do) he’d have a better view of the battlefield than on a horse. A minus for mobility and a plus for the improved view?

Wednesday 20 October 2010

40mm Trident figures

I'm here asking opinions. The pictures show the new 40mm AWI range from Trident - in particular, the Hessians that are suitable to use as SYW Prussians. In the centre are three Trident figures framed on either side by Sash and Saber 40mm. On the left are Hungarians and on the right are Austrians.

The question is one of size compatability. It's not a proper comparison as the grenadier mitre in the centre is so tall and a better comparison would have been against Austrians in their bearskins but I don't have any so this comparison will have to do.

The Trident figures are certainly thinner. They are also more expensive. But, do you think the look okay together or not? If I used them at all, then all the Prussians would be from the same manufacturer. Answers on a postcard please!

(On the subject of painting these figures, I've used ArmyPainter but only on areas of white and the faces. I like the results although there are inaccuracies in the figures; no shoulder-straps and I don't think that officers carried a cane attached in this way to their lapels. I think that was a method used exclusively by NCOs.)

Spanish Caetrati

Not castrati, as someone on TMP recently said, these are caetrati, or Spanish light infantry hired by Crassus to join his army for the invasion of Aquitania.

Figures are by Crusader, shield transfers by LBM studios and Army painter is by, well, Armypainter!

Tuesday 19 October 2010

2nd Battalion 27th Ligne

Continuing on (if ever so slowly) with my Napoleonic project, here is another box of Perry's plastics completed. Thirty six figures in the battalion, plus the light company duplicated in skirmish order, for a total of 42 figures. Just eight more boxes to go to make the Division!

Monday 18 October 2010

Spanish slingers

These are Crusader figures for my Caesarian Roman army. As the Roman army of this period did not have auxilia they needed to hire light infantry from whomsoever. These slingers have been supplied to Crassus by a nearby friendly Spanish tribe and they will shortly be joined by another group armed with javelins and shields.

These figures were given the quick painting job that involved using Army Painter. They were black undercoated and every colour, except the flesh, was a single tone. The weathered look comes from the Army Painter and this product, which I cannot recommend highly enough, has made this process speedy and enjoyable.

October is normally a month for tidying up my painting desk so I’ve painted quite a variety of figures which you will see over the next few days.

Saturday 16 October 2010

40mm WAS-SYW Austrians

A few months ago I sold all my 40mm Prussians and most of my Austrians. But inspiration has returned as I have been recently editing the old Greenwood & Ball Seven Years War Uniform guides for both the Prussians and the Austrians. New versions of these terrific guides will be released before Christmas by 18th Century Press, my printing company (see the Savory link on the right), and I’ll update you here on my blog with more news soon. The Austrian booklet will cover both the WAS as well as the SYW.

It was the re-writing of the Austrian booklet, with my last blog entry, plus the further correspondence with Christian Rogge on the subject of Infantry flags, that has inspired me to look again at this project. I found the late SYW uniform rather boring and I’ve decided to build a small Austrian WAS army - WAS to early SYW to be precise.

I had one battalion of IR18 Marschall unsold from the ‘old’ project so I have given them red turn-backs as used earlier on. The Hungarian battalion is new and this is the second battalion of IR37 Esterhazy, one of six new Hungarian regiments raised in the WAS.They are carrying the red flags that were issued to these new regiments which will be explained and illustrated in the Austrian booklet. Plus we will be debunking the notion that the so-called green Hungarian flag was issued to Hungarian regiments.

I would have started Austrian and Prussian armies in 25mm if I had liked the figures that manufacturers make for the former – but I don’t sadly and these 40mm from Sash and Saber are deliciously chunky and fun to paint. Plus Chris ‘promises’ that there will be dragoons soon……….

I will put the article on Austrian flags on my blog but not until the end of the year and after the booklets have been published. I hope you understand the reasons why.

Thursday 7 October 2010

Austrian Infantry Uniform differences between the WAS and the SYW

This information is largely based upon Pengel and Hurt publications and correspondence between Christian Rogge and myself.

By the end of the Seven Years War (1756-63) the look of Austrian Infantry had largely been set and standardised to what we are familiar with – the white coat, with white turn-backs and coloured lapels and cuffs. But reaching this simple and elegant uniform had not been a straight forward process and Austria’s infantry in the earlier War of the Austrian Succession (1740-48) had presented a far more varied and colourful appearance.

Most wargamers interested in the Lace wars tend to portray armies of the late SYW but I’d like to suggest that, in the case of Austria at least, choosing to replicate her army as a WAS army or an early SYW army will offer you a greater reward in both colourfulness of the uniforms as well as variety of flags. I’ll leave the issue of flags for another day and focus on infantry uniforms.

This is what Pengel and Hurt say:
“Despite regulations there is a definite possibility that until 1760, when uniform regulations were tightened up, that some regiments would have retained the various coloured vests and turn backs previously issued and therefore it can be assumed that in the early stages of the war (SYW) these would have been seen on the battlefield. This assumption is based on the fact that in many regiments, drummers retained their coloured coats to this period and even later, a few regiments retained their coloured turn backs until 1762”
If regiment not listed then = white

Reg.number(1916)...Lapels/Cuffs...Vest(and trousers*)...Turn-backs
IR4**...Dark Blue..DkBlue..DkBlue
IR23.....Dark Blue..DkBlue..DkBlue
IR24.....Dark Blue..White..DkBlue
IR27.....Light Blue..White..Light Blue
IR30.....Dark Blue..DkBlue..DkBlue
*Although trousers could be in the vest colour, the greater likelihood is that they were soon replaced by white.
**Sapphire blue according to Greenwood & Ball
Kronskaf don’t have many illustrations but they do agree with IR1 in 1757. They also show IR10, red facings, as having red vests and turn-backs. Please note the above chart has been altered and expanded with the latest information
The Pengel and Hurt information seems to stem from Friedrich Schirmer's “Die Heere der kriegführenden Staaten 1756-1763”. Schirmer lists vest colour and trouser colour and he seems to have taken the information from an existing “1757 Militär-Schematismus” (N.B.: an official contemporary Austrian source similar to the French État Militaire volumes). It lists a total of 18 German regiments that had turn-backs in facing colour, and 13 with coloured vests (and breeches). This is the information provided by Dr. Bleckwenn but he does not mention which ones.


This is a short background on the sources.
Morier's 1748 pictures (in the Royal collection) are accurate and basically the sole image source of WAS period. Not much changed till 1756. The change to white for vest and breeches took place after the WAS and before the SYW. But, as he states, a survey of regimental records implies that the commanders responded very slowly to any instructions from the Vienna Hofkriegsrat (Court War Council). The rule seems to have been that they ignored Vienna and responding was more the exception. It was the SYW, with it's much more centralistic and organized re-supply that changed things more, within a matter of 2 or 3 years, then the eight years between WAS and the SYW.


As to the facing colours of the infantry in general. Bleckwenn identifies at least 3 shades of blue and possibly more. That presents all sorts of problems as accounts are rare and contemporary colour illustrations, even rarer. He does state a pale or light blue for Baden-Durlach (27) and this is confirmed by an observation from the battle of Prague. Schwerin was killed in front of this regiment, and it was identified by their light blue facings. He is sure there was only one shade of red. All variants are because of fading or poor copying by artists. From another eyewitness we know that the Regiment de Ligne (38) was seen with rose coloured gaiter belts in 1762 as it paraded out of Schweidnitz. The same witness also saw a dead officer of the same regiment, sometime before, who wore rose Hungarian trousers, half boots and a rose "Soubise" (I take that to be a richly laced vest). Now that's completely against regulation! Bleckwenn states the infantry wore both red and black stocks and as they were issued with both, this sounds quite reasonable.


On 27 October 1757, the Hofkriegsrat launched it's notorious order
that the entire infantry should be dressed in white with red cuffs
and lapels only, from 1 November effective. This order never came into effect. In December 1757 it was recalled. The Hofkriegsrat gave in and said everything could remain as it was, but it did continue to insist on white vests and breeches. We may assume that from 1758 on, after the infantry's near destruction in Silesia, many regiments needed complete new outfits as they were rebuild.

Most illustrations show the 1761/62 army. The main sources are the
so called "Albertina manuscript", illustrations done by a certain
"l'Allemand" for Raspe publishers in Nurnberg. The original is now kept
at the Vienna Army Museum. It is the master, and the Raspe coloured
coppers were done afterwards.
Then there is a different source kept at the Bauzten Museum (Lusatia/Saxony) called the "Bautzen manuscript"and it is dated from the same period. It provides some conflicting information. For example, Bautzen shows a Grün-Loudon Grenadier with an odd grenadier fur hat that Albertina does not show. Additionally, there is more information on pompoms and tassels. The latter, apparently, served the same purpose as the sword knots in other German armies. In other words there is the suggestion that they were coloured differently for each company.


By the end of the SYW most drummers looked like the rank and file of their regiments – white coats and facings on cuffs and lapels. But Greenwood and Ball show the following regiments as wearing coats of the facing colour presumably with white cuffs and turn-backs: 3, 9, 14, 15, 16, 20, 22, 24, 28, 30, 38, 40, 41, 48, 55, 56, and 57. The only one I have my doubts about is 14 (Salm) as that was the only regiment with black facings. I cannot confirm the accuracy though of Greenwood and Ball’s information. And Christian adds that by an Order dated 5 June 1755 all the Tambours were to dress in the same uniform as the regiment and were to have swallow nests as their sole distinction. However, Schirmer lists a good number of regiments that continued to dress in reversed colours as late as 1760 and possibly even later:
Lorraine IR 3*, Los Rios 9*, Salm 14*, Königsegg 16**, Alt-Colloredo 20, Sprecher/Lacy 22**, Starhemberg 24**, Wied 28*, Saxe-Gotha 30*, Ligne 38*, Jung-Colloredo 40*, Bayreuth 41*, Platz 43*, Clerici 44***, Luzane 48**, d’Arberg 55*, Mercy 56, Andlau 57**. Possibly also Pallavicini 15** - largely corresponding with Greenwood&Ball’s list.
In addition, Bleckwenn knows of a record in the Erbprinz of Hesse-Darmstadt “Schreibkalender” that IR 8 Hildburghausen (red facings) had tambours dressed in dark blue coats in 1746 – apparently seen in Flanders – and violating the custom of reversed colour pattern.


If one looks at where Regiments were garrisoned on the eve of the SYW, it can be speculated that all regiments stationed outside the Austrian heartlands of Austria, Bohemia, and Moravia, including a few more in Hungary and Siebenbürgen, were less likely to have paid attention to instructions from Vienna concerning uniforms. It seems, all regiments stationed in Italy, Netherlands, and the more remote south-eastern parts of Hungary/Slavonia, and Banat seem not to have caught up with latest regulations.

* in 1756 stationed in the Netherlands
** in Italy
*** Hungary, Banat, and Slavonia

Regiments located in the Austrian heartlands had also been involved in several pre-war revues held in Kolin and Olmütz and they would therefore have fallen under greater scrutiny and were thus much more likely to follow Vienna’s instructions pertaining to uniforms.


In summary, if you were to field an army of the WAS or early SYW you could have a very colourful army – most notably perhaps IR 22 with red lapels and cuffs, blue vest, turn-backs as well as trousers. Plus drummers in some reversed facing combination! When you add to this, the strange and unusual flags possibilities (more on that another day) you can see, I hope, that the Austrian infantry presents a more colourful variety than at first glance.

Sunday 3 October 2010


Eporedorix commands the infantry in the Sotiate army. He is a strange figure because he comes from two manufacturers - from the waist up he is, I think, from Warlord Games. A 'freebie', who has been sitting legless in a drawer, he has yearned for completion! The bottom half is an old Foundry figure (late Roman Officer but 'late' in more than one sense). Put the two together and he is totally unique.