Thursday 29 November 2012

Moving House

Just to let you know that I have sold my house and I'm moving in January of 2013. I've bought a town house not far from here so it's not a huge move but nonetheless it does involve a great deal of work as I'm shoehorning from 250 square metres into half that size. So there won't be many posts now for the next six months or so while the builders go in and sort out jobs that need doing. I will be painting miniatures as and when I have time but normal service will be resumed by about April.

Sunday 14 October 2012

40mm Major-General Johann Berlichingen

This is my first Austrian cavalry general for my 40mm army. The figure is from Trident and he is intended to be used for AWI armies - he has had a bit of a conversion to make him suitable for the WAS/SYW. The horse sculpture is very fine I think and conveys rather well the sense of a gentle canter. In the third picture you see a 40mm comparison with a 25/28mm cavalry figure from Front Rank.

When I select who to paint, I like to choose someone inspiring and I think Berlichingen fits the bill. Most of us have heard of Romer who commanded the Austrian left wing cavalry at Mollwitz - he smashed the Prussian cavalry on his wing and almost won the battle although he was killed in the same battle. Berlichingen commanded the right wing of the Austrian cavalry and this is what Duffy said, quoting someone who was there, about their poor performance:

"The cavalry of the Austrian right at last began to move, but since the infantry refused to advance [against the Prussians], our cavalry became so disheartened that it could in no way be persuaded to attack, even though General Berlichingen tried to inspire them through his personal example. He spurred to within twenty paces of the enemy, he exorted, he threatened, all without any effect. He became so angry that he split the heads of two cavalrymen who were riding away, and he cut several others down from their horses....."

Our hero then appears again at Hohenfriedberg four years later where he was captured by Prussian hussars. On his capture he muttered at the Zeiten Hussar: "Do I have to be taken by a mob like this? I saw the Prussian Hussars at Mollwitz. They're a tatty crowd and they ran for their lives at the sight of the first Hungarians." The hussar punched him in the head, Berlichingen'a hat fell off, then his wig and then he fell off his horse.

Poly Saint-Thiébault

This is one of many noble regiments in the French army in the familiar light grey coat with red facings.
The trumpeteer uniform is entirely my creation as there is no recorded description of the original.
Figures are by Front Rank.

Sunday 7 October 2012

Orleans Cavalry Regiment

Here is another one of those ubiquitous French cavalry regiments (of the WAS/SYW era) dressed in grey and this is another ‘de sang royal’ regiment – Orleans. I’ve never been fond of the Orleans branch of the Bourbon dynasty as – besides the Regent in the early Louis XV period – they were frequently a scurrilous bunch of treacherous dogs concerned more for their own advancement and place than the overall good of their country.
All figures are by Front Rank.

Sunday 30 September 2012

French Cavalry Regiment Aquitaine

I'll be doing a number of SYW French cavalry regiments over the next few weeks. Here is Aquitaine - a Royal regiment. Figures are from Front Rank and though they are showing their age (they must have been designed about 15 years ago) they are still nice to paint and lively as well. 

Sunday 23 September 2012

SYW Austrian 6pdr Battery

Here is a 6pdr Austrian battery - horses by Front Rank, crew by Crusader and guns/limbers by Zinnfiguren again. I just love those 'sprongs' at the front of the guns (well, I'm not sure what they are called but sprongs sounds the part) into which a metal bar is inserted so that they can be pulled or pushed forwards or backwards. They give the guns character in my mind.

Monday 17 September 2012

SYW Prussian 12pdr Battery

A twelve-pounder Prussian battery for the WAS or SYW. Crews are from Foundry, horses from Front Rank and guns/limbers from Zinnfiguren. The latter are expensive but very good quality and come fully assembled although you will need to touch up the glue with super-glue.

I've pictured the limber in greater detail as nobody seems to make this amongst the more conventional wargaming companies. If you know different, please tell me. Next week I'll show an Austrian 6pdr battery.

Saturday 8 September 2012

SYW Hungarian IR31.Haller

Here is another 40mm SYW Austrian-Hungarian battalion using Sash & Saber figures. It is regiment Haller and there appear to be contradictions concerning the button colour (Kronoskaf says yellow) but, if in doubt, go with the colour of the officer's buttons, and those were white/silver.

The general officer is a conversion of a Front Rank AWI figure and he represents MG Baron Wulfen, who will command the Hungarian brigade. Just one battalion to go to finish this Austrian army off for the moment although I will try to add some more cavalry and artillery by the end of the year.

Saturday 1 September 2012

French Guards

Summer is almost over. The kids will be back to school soon, the tourists have left and the fat lunches are over, praise be! I say 'fat' lunches because around here (in SW France) there are dozens of restaurants that serve a four-course lunch (wine included) for around 11 to 12 euros a head and when visitors arrive (of which there have been a few this year) it is quite the done thing to go out to lunch every day. The result of that - no painting in the afternoon a short siesta being required! So autumn, my favourite time of the year, is around the corner and there was quite a nip in the air this morning when I walked the Dalmatian in the forest.

This week (lunches having ended) I was able to return to the swing of things and painted these two French Guard battalions of the SYW period. Foundry figures, like the previous post on the Swiss Guard, and not bad figures to paint at all. That company seems to be making a serious attempt at halting it's declining sales and reputation but I can't help thing that this 'mea culpa' beating of the breast is slightly artificial but I guess only time will tell on that score.

Thursday 9 August 2012

1st Swiss Guards

Another Swiss Guard battalion from the WAS/SYW, figures by Foundry. Last time I painted these chaps I was not too keen on them but I'm warming to them and, barring the complete absence of necks for the command, they are not too bad.

Painting wise, the best tip I can give you (and I may have said this before) is to dry brush the silver lace on the officers first. Then cut in the coat colour afterwards.

I've used artistic licence on the 'white' flag which was probably plain white in this period. But I found this somewhat more elaborate example from about 20 years later and decided to use it as it is rather more splendid.

Thursday 2 August 2012

Prussian 12pdr Brummer

I was leaving Les Invalides when I spotted this gun next to the ticket office. It stuck out because of the griffin trunions which I remembered as being distinctly Prussian. There are hundreds of French barrels throughout the museum but the 18th century ones have dolphin trunions (and, incidentally, each one has a name on the barrel). Because there was no description next to the gun I checked yesterday with Christian Rogge. I hoped it might be a 12pdr from the SYW.

Sadly I was wrong, but not by much. The gun is a Prussian ‘heavy’ 12-pounder Brummer [Growler]. Barrel design is 1761. 22 shots long, or approximately 251 cm. long. These pieces did see service late during the SYW, but not this one. The barrel was cast in 1780. It has a rounded button whereas the SYW ones had pine-cone shaped buttons. The carriage is M1774. The SYW carriages looked like the one Christian recently illustrated with the Beauvry 3-pounder. The Brummers fielded at the battle of Leuthen were even more heavy 24 and 26 shots barrels (273,6 and 296,4 cm) than this one. This Paris piece was probably captured in the Revolutionary Wars. They were used until 1796 and disbanded thereafter. They did not take to the field in 1806.

Standing next to the gun you realise quite what an enormous beast she is. She is raised about 4" off the floor on metal supports but even so she ouzes power and threat. I'd have thought she would have needed at least six horses to drag her around on the flat and up any sort of incline, perhaps extra help.

If you go to Les Invalides, you will find her sitting un-noticed by the ticket office.

Wednesday 1 August 2012

Long weekend in Paris

I've just come back from a long weekend in Paris and, of course, I made my customary visit to Les Invalides to wander around the wonderful military museum.

(Top picture) The north facade of Les Invalides showing the gold dome of the chapel (picture 2)in the background. This is the main entrance and the building was built by Louis XIV as a residence for retired old soldiers, contemporaneous with the Chelsea hospital in London.

(2) Église du Dôme finished in 1708 and holding the tomb of Napoleon. This picture I snatched from the web, the others I took.

(3) The tomb of Napoleon.

(4) The magnificent painted dome.

I spent quite a bit of time in the 18th century area of the military museum and it is worth noting that the WAS room is about twice the size of the tiny room dedicated to the SYW - perhaps a reflection of military success or lack of it. The following pictures are from the WAS room. You are allowed to take pictures but without flash so forgive the quality.

(5) A painting of the battle of Fontenoy. I'll discuss this at greater length later as I plan to do a detailed project on this battle breaking it down into phases with maps.

(6) This is a terrific portrait of the chevalier de Grassin who raised his own light regiment famous as the Arquebessiers de Grassin. These troops, as you probably knew, caused the British no end of trouble at the battle of Fontenoy. What is useful about this portrait is that it shows the added coat lace by virtue of his rank as commanding colonel.

(7) A portait of de Saxe. The colour of the coat is difficult to see but it is dark blue.

Lastly, I saw a very interesting mitre shaped hat (looked more like a fusilier hat a la Prusse) but I could not take a decent picture of it due to the reflection of the glass. What is interesting is the description which was "Grenadier hat of an Officer in a Swiss regiment (in French service) dated 1740s". The date is worth noting as this was very early - you might expect to see that in the 1760s but not in the 1740s. Also it is very Prussian in look. So one can infer from this that, at least in the Swiss regiments, grenadier distinctions were being made very early on and that they were modelled on the Prussian model rather than the Austrian model which you would have expected.

My next post will show pictures of a Prussian gun but I'm checking the details with Christian Rogge before I post them.

Friday 27 July 2012

20th Foot Kingsley

For a while now I have wanted to paint a large WAS/SYW unit in three ranks so here is a British battalion consisting of 45 figures (five bases of 9 figures). All the figures are by Crusader except for the three officers (one officer, two ensigns) who are by Front Rank from their Jacobite Rebellion range.

The basing is for Carnage and Glory II (groundscale 1mm=1pace) so the unit is 10 inches wide and shows a battalion of 723 men plus between 5 and 10% officers and ncos. I'll ask Nigel Marsh, the rules' creater, to let me reproduce his Groundscale chart so you can see how that calculation is made. One of the great thing about these computer-moderated rules is that one can solo-wargame.

Painting wise, I took special care with this unit giving the officers a different red to the rank and file. For the latter, I used Cote d'Arms 237 Russet Red over a base of 509 Brick Red. Finally I used Armypainter Soft Tone to give that campaign look.

I wanted the unit to be as compact as possible so the men are shoulder to shoulder and the three ranks are closely formed. I was hoping that showing that third rank would inspire me to consider this a new project (all my SYW 25mm having been sold) and I'm really tempted! Another project?

Also, I've been emailing Mark Sims at Crusader this week and there is good news as he is about to start work on extending his SYW range. I'm pretty sure we will see British and Russian Grenadiers and maybe Grenadiers de France. Possibly he will do some new artillery crews as well.

Lastly, if I continue this project I'm not sure when to set it - WAS (Fontenoy) or SYW (Minden). My knowledge of the British in this period could be written on a postage stamp (so no Greenwood and Ball on that subject for a while) but it would appear that the only difference I can see is in the colour of the gaiters - in the WAS all illustrations show them in white gaiters whilst in the SYW they are always shown in black. I don't think it matters either way!

Saturday 21 July 2012

63rd de la Planta

You have already seen the 2nd battalion of de la Planta but I've now finished the first battalion so here they are together. That completes the six Swiss battalion project.

Additionally, I've finished off these French generals, all from Foundry. What is the collective noun for generals? Could it be a 'conference of generals' or perhaps a 'bloodletting of generals'?

Suggestions please. Perhaps in the 18th century they should be called 'an elegance of generals'.

Tuesday 17 July 2012

55th Waldner

Another Swiss regiment of two battalions in French service. Note the officer in the first battalion. He came from a now-defunct French company called 'Capitulation' that intended to do a full WAS range and that had started with 10 or so delightful and characterful French infantry. I have about 5 figures from this range left and I really would like to get my hands on more. I've written to the owner in the hope that somehow we can get this valuable range re-started so, if by any chance, you know Patrice will you pass this request on to him.

Friday 13 July 2012

90th de Diesbach

This is my favourite Swiss regiment in French service and pictured above are both its two battalions. Drummers of this regiment, by the way, wore yellow coats with light blue cuffs, all heavily laced in white.

In the Osprey Campaign series "Rossbach and Leuthen 1757" this is what is said about the Swiss at the end of the battle: "The time was now 4.30pm and disaster had befallen the allies, now nothing more than a disorganised mob in flight from the battlefield. The stage was set for the Prussian cavalry to apply the coup de grace and turn the flight into a headlong rout. In this they were frustrated, however, by the four battalions of the Swiss regiments of Planta and Diesbach who formed square and fought off the pursuing Prussians. The cavalry regiments of La Reine and Bourbon-Busset on the left of the allied columns also tried to intervene and win a little respite for the fugitives but with little effect. However, the two Swiss regiments were like rocks in the swirling sea of fugitives and Prussians as they steadily carried out a fighting retreat. Frederick is said to have remarked, "What is this red brick wall that my artillery cannot manage to bring down?" and, being told it was French Swiss infantry, he silently saluted them by doffing his hat as they marched off the field with flags flying and drums beating."

Well, if that does not stir the blood, nothing will! Note the interesting comment about going into square - it has often been debated whether the 'square' was used in the SYW but this would appear to indicate that it was, under certain particular circumstances.