Saturday, 29 January 2011

78th Bigorre

The top two pictures are of French SYW Regiment 'Bigorre' numbered as 78 and having only one battalion. The higher the numbers go, the more junior the regiments get and, after 76 if I recall, they become mostly one battalion regiments and their flags become more hmm, flashy, and colourful. These figures are all Crusader except the officer, who is from Front Rank. There was a thread on TMP recently about mixing figures from various manufacturers and here I think you can see that both go very well together. I have used Armypainter again as my preference is for that grimy campaign look.

I've also put in a picture of work in progress - the Austrian Hussar Regiment 'Hadik'. Only six figures are finished out of a total of 16 (four squadrons of four) but they are a very jolly bunch
and are all by Crusader except that the rearing horse is by Front Rank. Mixing horses is something else you can do to give extra variety and I find that one can mix from three manufacturers (the two mentioned above and Foundry) without too much work. Elite can also be mixed in though in some cases you will need to do a fair amount of filing. I have some Austrian generals I have done using Elite French on Foundry horses but I'll show you these another day.

Monday, 24 January 2011

Frederick the Great

This is my Prussian command base. Frederick the Great is in the middle in his somewhat plain uniform, which, contemporaries stated, was normally covered in snuff. To the left is General-major Hartwig Carl von Wartenberg (in the uniform of the 3rd Hussars of which he was Chef), who was killed in a skirmish with Austrian hussars and Grenzers in 1757. He is wearing, around his neck, the ‘Pour de Merite’ order created by Frederick and often called the Blue Max. To the right is Friedrich Wilhelm Freiherr von Seydlitz, wearing the orange sash of the Order of the Black Eagle, which he was awarded, as well as the rank of General-lieutenant, for his dashing role in the Battle of Rossbach. He is wearing the uniform of the Chef of Kuirassier Regiment No.8.

I will have another base for those battles where the King will be absent and there were a few other generals he trusted, but not that many who emerged from the war with enhansed reputations – his brother Henry being one of them.

There are also some nice illustrations Ive posted which I used as a base for painting these figures.

These are all from Foundry and they are quite brilliant figures. The code is SYWP069. As a point of interest, I wrote to Foundry in December telling them I wanted to order 1500 euros worth of figures from them during their sale but that I could not pay for them until the end of January. They told me I had to pay for them in December to get the sale deal. So I switched to Crusader, who were always going to get the order for the Austrians. They therefore got the order for all the Prussians and Austrians. Seems a bit short sighted to me but, hey, I’m just the customer and Foundry’s loss is Crusader’s gain.

Thursday, 20 January 2011

French Infantry Regiment 35 La Fere

As the title says, this is French Infantry Regiment number 35 La Fere of the WAS or SYW period. Dull though the infantry may be, their flags are very colourful and a whole army of French infantry looks very pretty indeed.

The figures are all by Crusader except for the officer figure in the first battalion as well as the wounded chap and these two are from Front Rank. The Crusader SYW range is very nice although there are some holes. It would be great to see some Russian grenadiers to go with the musketeers and perhaps some Observation Corps. Nonetheless, I think these are the nicest French SYW infantry available in 25/28mm and you can mix and match with Front Rank to create variety. The infantry in particular match well in size. I’d largely steer clear of the Foundry French range although, as you will see soon, the Swiss/French Guard figures are the best of their offering.

The French army progresses and there will be more infantry next week. In particular the one-battalion regiment of Bigorre.

Wednesday, 19 January 2011

Ruminations 1

I was ruminating the other night on the subject of casualties of war, particularly horses and their general treatment by mankind. I remember reading an anecdote (Duffy I think) in which he said that Frederick used to hit his horse between the ears with his cane or riding crop. There is no doubt in my mind that Frederick was a cad but one of his (slightly) redeeming features was his love for his whippet Biche. Whippets are a small breed of dog, a miniature type of greyhound, and when the fortunate Biche was returned to him by the Austrian general Nadasdy, Frederick broke down.

Anybody who has ridden horses knows that they cannot be forced to do something if they don’t want to do it. I suppose that with rigorous training (which would included getting them used to loud noises) you could train a horse to obey most of your commands but you can never train a horse to total obedience, Lipizzaners included. I remember an incidence about fifteen years ago when I was out riding in the New Forest in England.

A group of us went out for a two hour trek (that is one hour and three quarters going out, and a quarter of an hour coming back – horses are always keen to get home!). We were returning home at full gallop and were all having fun when suddenly a large lake loomed up in front. It didn’t just loom up front, it occupied my entire frontal vision. Time suddenly slows in such circumstances because I can remember considering my options:

1) take control and try to steer the horse left and apply brakes or 2) trust the horse and hang on for dear life. Needless to say I chose option two and, like synchronized swimmers, all the horses made an almost 90 degree left turn, at full gallop, and missed disaster by a few yards. I remember hanging on the horse’s mane and thinking that that is what manes are for.

From this you will gather that I rather like horses despite their ability to be totally unpredictable. On my miniature battlefield I don’t mind having human casualty figures but I never have dead horses. Too close to the truth. This truth – horses throughout history have been used and abused by mankind and it is a horrible part of warfare I’d rather pretend did not happen.

I’m not a Buddhist but if I were, I’d like to come back as a horse on one condition (is one allowed to apply conditions?): that I live on some manicured farm in Virginia. Something along the lines of the marvellous farm that belonged or even still belongs to Senator John Warner. I was going to call him the ‘late’ John Warner but according to wiki he is still alive. One of the things about getting older is one’s preoccupation with ‘late’. I remember visiting that farm back in the days when he was married to a famous actress (when and why did that word ‘actress’ disappear to be replaced with the unisex word ‘actor’?) and meeting her. So I’d be that horse that carried that famous rump!

On the subject of farms in Virginia (or Maryland) I also recall a BBQ one Sunday on the farm of the late Bill Colby, who used to run one of the largest Intelligence Services. There I spent the day missing every clay pigeon sent in my direction and feeling very proud that I was a useless shot but that is another story.

Back to reality, my painting schedule has been rather heavy. There will be some more SYW French infantry on this blog in a few days time and over the next few months you will see large quantities of Austrian and Prussian cavalry.

Tuesday, 11 January 2011

40mm SYW Austrian Dragoon

I don’t normally like to show un-based figures on my blog but this has to be an exception. It is a 40mm Austrian SYW Dragoon from Sash & Saber that Chris kindly sent me. He is painted up as a Jung-Modena Dragoon.

I’m still dithering as to whether to do Prussian and Austrian SYW armies in 40mm or 25mm and the key to the resolution of that question has to be the availability of cavalry in the bigger scale. The fact that dragoons, for both sides, are now available pushes me, ever so slightly, towards 40mm. But I just wish that Cuirassiers and Hussars were available.

I’ve fiddled around with making some larger trees too as you can see. These are made from twigs with ‘normal’ trees inserted in them. The last picture shows the 40mm next to a 25mm figure from Front Rank. The Jung-Modena Dragoon was finished off with Army Painter to give him that grimy campaign look.

Sunday, 9 January 2011

Prussian Grenadiers

I’ve been painting an assortment of things since the beginning of the month in a vain attempt to reduce the lead mountain.

Here are two Prussian converged Grenadier battalions from the WAS/SYW period, all Foundry figures and 25/28mm.

The top two pictures are front and rear views of the grenadiers of Regiments 12 and 26. These were not actually converged during the SYW but saw some action together in the earlier period. By the SYW the pairing of grenadiers into battalions seems to have been fixed in concrete whereas in the WAS they seem to have been thrown together on an ad-hoc basis that might change from battle to battle.

The lower pair of pictures show Grenadier Battalion Bülow, grenadiers of II/III of 15 and those of 18. My personal preference is to have mitres of the same colour (either all brass or all silver) but my personal taste seems at odds with Frederick’s own view where button colour was less important than massing his battalions by district. Most of his battalions have mitres of mixed colours so he clearly was not a complete aesthete!

Tuesday, 4 January 2011

French 4pdr "à la Suédoise"

These illustrations have been done by my friend Christian Rogge and he has kindly allowed me to post them here before they go onto his own blog ( is a French 4-pdr battalion gun "à la Suédoise" employed during the SYW.

It is a very accurate scale drawing and should be invaluable to those companies wishing to model this gun and to gamers of the period. The closest I have seen in 25/28mm is the one by Elite.

He says: “After this 4-pdr Swedish-type French gun I'll do the "heavy" 4-pdr of the Vallière system and place them next to another. Just to get a feel of the different dimensions of these 2 pieces.”

We differ on the colour of the guns, he thinks red, I think blue, but the jury remains out on this subject so you make up your own mind.

I just saw my own copies of the new Greenwood & Balls today and I’m pleased with them. I wonder whether we might consider adding a title to the range on the subject of Artillery of the SYW. If you would be interested, please let me know.