In which I blog about my miniature wargaming and whatever else takes my interest!

In which I blog about my miniature wargaming and whatever else takes my interest!

Sunday, May 16, 2021

"Vorwarts!" Additional Prussians

"Vorwarts mein kinder!"

A mysterious box arrived in the mail last week,  just before my birthday. It was very light, with the return address from Meeplemart in Toronto (it's the biggest, closest, decent gaming store that sells more than 40k and MTG cards). Inside was an unexpected birthday present from my friend Patrick, a box of the Warlord Games Prussian Dragoons cast in that lightweight bendy resin that is letting companies use their rubber spin casting moulds with a cheaper material. 

So, with Russian Grenadiers done, these leapt onto the painting bench. The resin is a weird material to work with, but the extremely thin fetlocks on the horses didn't break, which is a complaint I'd heard about the metal castings, although some of the horses do have curiously bent legs. The flash was hard to remove too, being very bendy. 3 of the troopers were sculpted still drawing their sabers and the officer is cocking a pistol, both of which seemed at odds with the rest charging with sabers drawn already. Fortunately I only need 8 figures for a Sharp Practice group, or 4 stands for General d'Armee, and Black Powder doesn't care. It is a personal dislike to have figures all doing different things unless the unit is skirmishing. This is a major sticking point I have with Old Glory figures, for example. A nice value added was a metal guidon pole taped to the back of the "Packed by" card, and an insert with 8 full colour guidons to use.

Fortunately Prussian dragoons have a very simple, practical uniform. My biggest headache was determining how to paint the baggage slung on the backs of their saddles. To get the medium blue I used Tamiya airbrush paint over the white primer, so I didn't do my usual all-over brown undercoat which caused me some issues getting coverage in recesses, which slowed me down. After a week of painting, including a marathon 3 1/2 hour paint and chat over Zoom on Friday night, I now have this spiffy new addition to the order of battle. 

Last weekend Mikey B., who's announcement that he was liquidating his non-War of 1812 28mm Napoleonics prompted me to get a shifty on, came over with a box of things I was interested in. He said he had "half a dozen Prussian generals." I think I actually squealed with delight when I saw that it was 6 Wargames Foundry figures, including Blücher himself. After a bit of thought, I sorted them into two individual generals and then two bases with a general and an ADC to act as higher command or Deployment Points for Sharp Practice. That's a lot of supervision for 32 Landwehr, but more Prussians are on the way.

Marshall Vorwarts with ADC

The others are all named on the Foundry website, but not so you can tell who is supposed to be who

If only I had the same command levels for my much larger Russian contingent!

I got some other things from Mikey, which I will show you as the summer continues.

Sunday, May 9, 2021

Birthday Bavarians

While pondering who to build as an in-house opponent for my Napoleonic games, I decided that I really wanted Bavarians. 

I've been enamored by the ruppenhelm wearing Bavarians ever since I was a kid and first saw those gloriously crested helmets in period paintings in the books I was reading. I tried making them out of the Esci helmeted Austrians and Airfix RHA sets! Which didn't really work, but I was a kid.

Of course, an army from the Perry's or Front Rank would be expensive. Then I remembered that Hät made some in plastic in 28mm. 

Hät don't have a webstore, but you can email them for a quote and they will mail direct. Within a week of my Paypal transfer a small, very light box was in my mailbox. 

I was okay with getting them without the boxes, which saved on parcel size and shaved a bit off of postage and packaging I think. It also left them room to chuck in some freebies. I'm thinking a simple head swap will gain me a mounted officer.
Some freebies too 

Command frame 

Two sets of infantry marching, one of command, and one of 'action poses' should get me 10x 8 figure groups of formed infantry and 5x or 6x 6 figure skirmish groups. 

Comparison with Warlord Russians in grey

Action pose and marching frames 

Even with postage, they still came to less than Cdn$1/figure. Their more realistic, slighter build makes them look smaller than the metal or plastics from Warlord, but that'll be fine kept in their own units

Guns and some cavalry are on order from the Perry's however, along with a few more bits for the Prussians and Russians. This project has certainly suffered from "Mission Creep."

If Scott comes over with his corps of French we can play post-Leipzig and I can put all three forces against him. I'd need to, really. And dig entrenchments. He has a pretty huge army.

Wednesday, May 5, 2021

More Russians! Urrah!

I have finished the Big Bag of Second Hand Figures that I got all those years ago for $10 at Hot Lead! Except for some officers assigned to the box of Warlord Games Russian infantry, and a few left overs, they are all done. 

3x groups of Musketeers 

1x group of Skirmishers 

3x groups of Grenadiers 

1x group of Grenadiers skirmishing

1x 12 pounder gun with 5 crew

6x Big Men 

So here they are on the march, looking for the French, and perhaps dinner!


Grenadiers formation 

12 pdr 

I have some extras on the way from Perry's to round them out, but cavalry will wait until the plastic set is released. 

Although they could do with a mounted officer or two.

Saturday, April 24, 2021

Inspirational Reading

I find that instead of doing the smart thing, and researching deeply before diving into a project, I tend to research as I paint. Each fueling the other in a feedback loop. If I read about something else it often causes a loss of focus and may even derail a project entirely. 

I've always been fascinated by the Prussians and the War of Liberation. Maybe it's my German heritage? Maybe it's just Prussians are cool and something different from British, which one sees a lot of. I mean, the Peninsula and the Waterloo campaign are awfully well covered by just about everyone else. So when Osprey had their sale this winter I got the two thematically appropriate campaign books for some background and perhaps scenario inspiration. They did fill in some gaps in my knowledge, even if the lack of maps, or the text referencing locations that actually weren't on the maps, was a bit frustrating.

I had mentioned that the title on the Prussian army was not available to a friend who sells Ospreys at Hot Lead and he just happened to have this old one in his personal collection. Published in 1973 and so old it doesn't even have a number on the spine. Written by Peter Young, who's book The War Game got me sucked into this hobby as a young lad of 11 or 12. It gives a nice overview of the army which is what I wanted, not the usual charts detailing button, cuff, and underwear colour distinctions between regiments. And for $10 plus $12 in postage and packing it was a bargain!

The Exploits of Brigadier Gerard by Arthur Conan Doyle is a great read. The stories are highly amusing. You can see how they inspired GM Fraser's Flashman, except Gerard is more brave and less smart. I've had it for a few years and have gotten it out to be my next read and source of scenario inspiration. My French force will have to have a unit of Gerard's regiment, the 3rd Hussars, with a suitably dashing Big Man to lead them.

Speaking of Peter Young and The War Game, I'll have to peruse it again just for a dose of nostalgia. 

Even just to look at the pictures of the old school armies. These pictures really inspired me as a youngster as I built my armies from Airfix figures.

Wednesday, April 21, 2021

Problematic Plumage

As I started basing up the first two groups of Russian Grenadiers, I decided that I really should double check how the drummer should look. I had painted him with white and red lace on the sleeves, like my SYW Prussian drummers. Plus he didn't have a shako plume, unlike everyone else in the formation. Something just didn't feel right. My Spidey-sense was tingling.

To the Internet!

He should only have white tape on his sleeves and a plume on his shako according to like the grenadiers (presumably black). But the picture shows a red plume. Hmmm. 

So I checked some other more or less, reputable sources.

I don't know about you guys, but I quite often use figure manufacturer websites as quick uniform references. Saves reading lengthy web pages. 

The Perry Miniatures webstore shows the plume as red.

But Front Rank shows black. Hmmm.

I decided to let the "Rule of Cool" dictate and went with a deep red. A spare figure was post-haste relieved of his shako plume and the conversion completed.

Basing was resumed and the flags are from the Warlord Games plastic Russian infantry box. I don't know if the shoulder straps, shako pompoms or facings match the flags, but I don't care. The red facings and uniform details just look better. I picked the flag because it is pretty.

The next batch is another group of 8 grenadiers, 6 skirmishers and 3 Big Men, and this will complete this formation and finish the Big Bag of Second Hand Figures.

So here's what I've finished so far:

The Prussians 4x groups 3x Big Men 

The Russians 3x groups of Musketeers 2x groups of Grenadiers 1x group of Skirmishers 1x gun 3x Big Men 

The French: 1x Very Big Man

Not bad for two months effort.

Monday, April 12, 2021

Fiat Lux!

Another upgrade to the gaming infrastructure in the Basement o'Rabbits.

A fine fellow who runs 40k events for Hot Lead is also a professional electrician. So I had him in to boost the lighting. Gone are the fluorescent tube fixture over the table and a sad 3 bulb ceiling fan trying to light everything else. 

Replaced by 14 LED pot lights. 

Both tables are properly lit now and I can see my book shelves too.

Now I just need to be able to have a game. 

Thursday, April 1, 2021

Big Gun for the Tsar

What is a Russian army without artillery, and large caliber artillery at that?

My big bag of second hand Russians included 6 artillerymen (2 each of 3 poses). So I used 4 of them plus one of the superfluous officers to make a gun crew of 5. Sharp Practice has artillery crews set at 5 figures, so I bunged in the second ammo carrier.
During a weekend long web conference I got them scraped, glued, primed and under coated. This was something easy enough, and not overly mentally taxing, so I could amuse myself and still pay attention to the PowerPoint slides and presenters, but still simple enough that I could put things down quickly to make notes.
I also painted the gun, which I got in a trade already assembled and primed from Mikey. The barrel was painted in Vallejo "Bright Bronze" with a sepia ink wash. For the "apple green" carriage I used Tamiya airbrush paint "IDF/IAF Green" and then some craft paints celery green. Iron fittings were done with black ink.
"Hurry Ivan Denisovich! We must bring up the ammunition!"
"Da, Piotr Vassilovich!"
I then got them painted up over a couple of sessions this week.
I know, I said I wasn't going to get in a sweat over uniform details and I thought I'd just do the collars and cuffs black, but Russian artillery uniforms have all this really distinctive red piping. It was only 5 figures and I was feeling brave, so I did it.
Detail of piping on collar and cuffs

Obligatory posed action shots