Friday, 9 December 2011
I've had the 5th KGL Line ready for photographing for a couple of weeks but the light here has been awful. Hopefully soon I'll be able to take some photos this weekend. In the meantime, here are some wip photos of what I'm working on now - the 3rd Ligne for 1815. I've said in previous French infantry posts that I feel the Perry plastic box lacks moustached head variants for grenadiers and voltiguers. Sometimes I'm a bit dim, and the solution only occurred to me recently - just sculpt some moustaches onto centre company heads. What caused this epiphany? Two things - (1) working on the Perry plastic Prussians I read how for fusilier figures you'd need to paint on moutaches; in 25 mm I think moustaches really need to be sculpted on, otherwise you have a look halfway between Eroll Flynn and Hitler. (2) I worked on these figures last month and I was inspired by the "Movember" movement at work to add some moustaches. For those who don't know, the Movember movement is designed to increase awareness of men's health issues. To show support you grow a moustache. This was all the rage in the office, but I declined to grow one myself. (I have grown facial hair in the past and it was awful. I recall our dog Lucy being rather wary of me when I had a beard.)
Anyway, here are photos of the original heads and the converted heads side by side, with a couple of extras. It's odd how facial hair completely changes a face...
Tuesday, 15 November 2011
I confess that I painted these ages ago but failed to prepare a post. The 2nd KGL Light Battalion needs little introduction. It was in Colonel Baron Ompteda's 2nd KBL Brigade and formed the core of the La Haye Sainte garrison at Waterloo. The KGL battalions were understrength in the 1815 campaign because experienced troops had been stripped out to join newly raised Hanoverian units. This resulted in KGL battalions having 6 companies rather than 10 - 4 centre companies and the standard 2 flank ones. The line battalions had a couple of uniform distinctions from their regular British counterparts, which I will discuss when I post about the 5th Line Battalion. The 2 light battalions had similar uniforms, but with different headgear and a few other distinctions.
Major Baring's 2nd Light Battalion, 463 officers and men, was stationed in the farmhouse (so about 23 figures at 1:20). It was reinforced by companies from the KGL 1st Light Battalion and 5th Line Battalion and the 2nd Nassau Regiment. The story of the La Haye Sainte defence is too well known to warrant comment here. Suffice to say that the battle was hard fought and the battalion lost half its number. It was after 6pm, when the men had run out of ammunition, that the garrison was forced to abandon its position. Major Baring was one of the last men out of the farmhouse and related how those left behind received short thrift from the French, who were keen to avenge the losses they had suffered trying to invest the position. It was to assist the fleeing garrison that the Prince of Orange and the divisional commander Sir Charles Alten ordered Ompteda to march the 5th and 8th KGL Line Regiments in line towards La Haye Sainte, with disasterous consequences.
These three Perry Miniatures packs give you 18 figures, a few less than the 1:20 requirement. I did think about buying another pack to make up numbers, but decided that it probably would be difficult on the tabletop to squeeze 23 figures into a scale model of La Haye Sainte. Centre companies had muskets whilst the flank companies carried rifles. The Perries give you 1 pack of firing line figures with muskets and 1 pack of skirmishing figures with rifles. The command pack has 2 officers and then buglers and NCOs who all have rifles - you don't, therefore, have any command figures suitable for the centre companies other than the officers. My unit consequently has too many rifle-carrying figures; I should really add another pack of musket-armed infantry but as stated above I think 24 figures would be too many for the scale size of the position (especially once you add the Nassauers and other reinforcements). With that position in mind, I decided to base all the "skirmishing" figures on single bases and the centre company musket-men on standard 2-figure skirmish bases. The uniforms are similar to those of the 95th Rifles, albeit with different headgear. I used the Foundry "French Chasseur a Cheval Green 71" palette for the tunics, with sparing use of the final highlight to ensure the uniform remained quite dark. One uniform distinction I found in Mike Chappell's excellent Osprey MAA books on the KGL is that the musicians had red collars and cuffs. (Incidentally, I also have the very old Otto Von Pivka MAA book on the KGL in a rare hardcover binding, which includes a long passage quoted from Baring's recollections of the La Haye Sainte battle.) These are nice figures, quite fiddly to paint but pretty dynamic and with interesting uniforms. Perry have just released a pack of mounted light infantry officers which includes a KGL figure; I am awaiting receipt of that and will paint the KGL chap as soon as it arrives. I have the light company of the 5th KGL line already finished and I'm tempted to paint up a couple of Nassauers. Then all I will need is a model of La Haye Sainte itself!
I'm sorry for the lack of posts of late, simply a result of too much other stuff to do. My painting time has shrunk and I'm not sure that weekly posts will be possible in the future, but we'll see. I'm trying to complete 8 figures a week but that is going to be a struggle. I'm currently working on the KGL 5th Line Battalion and have some AWI and Carlist War units half-finished. I'll try to expedite the completion of those, following which there are more French Napoleonics and AWI cavalry to do. And what's this I see...plastic Zulus?
18 figures. Painted September-October 2011.
18 figures. Painted September-October 2011.
Monday, 24 October 2011
...but very busy dealing with our house move. We now reside in north Chelmsford, Essex and today was my first day back in the office since the move. Despite having had a week and a half off work, I haven't picked up any brushes for the past 2 weeks and in fact only found my brushes again last night! Unpacking is taking much effort and work on "my room" has now halted until I have various bookcases and shelves fixed to the walls. Hugo is in a new nursery and refusing to settle - his daily cries of "no, mummy, no" when dropped off in the morning are very sad to hear; hopefully he will be better after a couple of weeks. This morning's commute took an hour and three quarters in total, but then I took the wrong train and got confused when changing onto the Underground at Stratford. Anyway, at least the stress of the house sale and purchase is over (that stress being caused almost entirely by our buyers, whose unreasonable and, quite frankly, dishonest behaviour was appalling) and, more importantly, all my wine survived the move! Hopefully normal blogging service will be resumed shortly. In the meantime, here are a couple of photos of what's next. Also, I haven't had any internet access for the past 2 weeks whilst at home, so apologies for not viewing/commenting on readers' own sites during that period.
Friday, 7 October 2011
This is the 2nd Line Infantry regiment of the United Provinces of the Netherlands. The 2nd was a Dutch regiment, as opposed to a Belgian one. It was in the 1st Brigade (Ditmers) of Chasse's 3rd Netherlands Division. This division, which contained newly-raised and untested troops, was posted on the extreme right of Wellington's line at Braine l'Alleud. Chasse himself had been a general in the French army prior to the country's creation. At around 3pm the division was ordered west to occupy a position in the centre of Wellington's line. The regiment joined in the attack on the Imperial Guard late in the day, bayonet-charging the 3rd Grenadiers. The General de Brigade rules orbat requires 24 figures, organised into 4 centre companies and 2 flank ones.
Something I hadn't realised until researching this unit was how few Netherlands line infantry regiment were present in the battle. If you look at the orbat for the 2nd and 3rd Netherlands Divisions (the 1st remained north of the battlefield, at Hal) you see that many of the non-Nassau units are either jaeger or militia battalions. The General de Brigade orbat (which I think leaves out some units from the 3rd Division) has the 7th (Belgian) Line in Bylandt's brigade, the 2nd (Dutch) line in Ditmer's brigade and then the 3rd (Belgian) and 13 (Dutch) in Aubremme's brigade, the second brigade in Chasse's 3rd Division. That's only 4 line regiments, which surprised me at any rate.
As I mentioned before, I had intended to add to some existing figures that I painted a few years ago when the Perries first released their Dutch-Belgian range. However, I decided that I had painted those figures's tunics in a blue that was not right. Adkin reports of "friendly fire" incidents when Chasse's division appeared on the field late in the afternoon and the troops on the ridge thought they were being outflanked by French infantry. I suppose in the heat of battle one shade of blue looks quite similar to another, but I decided I wanted my Dutch-Belgian infantry to wear the same blue coats as my French infantry to reflect how easily they could be confused for one another. So whilst I previously used Foundry's "Night Sky 62", this time around I used "French Blue 65" highlighted with "Deep Blue 20B". I used "Stone 57" for the trousers. I painted an extra 4 light company figures on skirmish bases and then decided I might as well paint the other 2 in the pack. They can migrate to the 13 (Dutch) Line in due course. Why did I paint this regiment? Simply because I had the figures in the leadpile and, to be honest, I like painting these slightly out-of-the-ordinary regiments for the Waterloo campaign. Next up is the 2nd Light Battalion of the King's German Legion!
30 figures. Painted September 2011. Flag by GMB.
Wednesday, 14 September 2011
This is the completed first battalion of musketeers of the Prussian 10th Infantry Regiment for 1815. As I understand it, the regular line regiments each had 3 battalions, of which 2 comprised musketeers and the third fusiliers. A detahments of volunteers jaegers is also attached to the battalion. The 10th formed part of von Hacke's 13th Brigade in Bulow's IV Corps. Bulow's troops did not fight at Ligny as they didn't arrive in time, but they were the first substantuial body of Prussians to arrive on the field of Waterloo and were heavily engaged in the battle for Plancenoit.
The General de Brigade order of battle that I use for my 1815 units lists most Prussian infantry units at 32 figures. Full strength would be 40 figures, but allowance is made for the loss of numbers as the Waterloo campaign progressed. However, on the GdB forum Eclaireur suggested that the 32-figure Prussian battalion may be a bit of a myth and that most infantry units at the start of the 1815 campaign would most likely be close to full strength, albeit then deserving of a reduction as a result of battle casualties at Ligny. However, since the 13th Brigade was not at Ligny I decided that it made sense to keep the 10th Infantry at and full strength and 40 figures. With 4 companies of 10 figures each I had to order some extra-large bases from ERM, which Tony delivered with his customary efficiency. The flag is the one that came with the box. It's a bit thicker than GMB flags and I would suggest using PVA rather than Pritt Stick when gluing it together.
The musketeer figures come in 3 parts: the main body, the backpack with half of the greatcoat roll, and the head. I still have the reservations about assembly that I mentioned a while ago when I first started painting these figures. Unless I am doing something wrong, it seems to me that backpack section doesn't quite join the body properly, so that there is a clear gap between the figure's back and the pack. The separate heads are a good idea though, as there are a decent number in the box and you can pose them at different angles to create a lot of variety (which you need in a unit of 40 similarly-posed figures). The jaegers for 10th Infantry require green caps, of which there is 1 head in the box. This is rather limiting for 6 figures, but with different positioning of the heads and eyes looking in different directions you can create a bit of variety; although ultimately they do look rather the same. The only other problem worth mentioning is that the unit bases provided are the usual mix of sizes which don't really meet the requirements of the box. The complete box envisages 4 companies of 10 figures, as I have done; but my origami skills were insufficient to work out how the bases might combine together to support 40 figures in close order.
I found these figures very quick and easy to paint. The Prussian musketeer's uniform is fairly "minimalist" compared to many other Napoleonic uniforms - no long coat tails, lace or fancy braid, for example. As with the Perries' plastic French infantry, I found that these figures took paint very well and, indeed, they Almost Paint Themselves. The trickiest parts for me were painting the breeches and the faces. For the musketeers I used the Foundry "Prussian Blue 66" palette with an additionan highlight of "Deep Blue 20 B". The jaegers' coats were painted with the "French Dragoon Green 70" palette (I think) and for the grey breeches/trousers and blanket rolls I used "Stone 57". I know next to nothing about the Prussian army of 1815 so I'm sure there plenty of minor mistakes, for which I apologise.
All together I am very pleased with these figures. They are cheap and quick to finish, which is exactly what is needed for Napoleonic infantry. Strongly recommended.
46 figures. Painted July and August 2011.
Thursday, 1 September 2011
I mentioned a while back that I had been painting some 15mm figures, but then didn't post about them. That was because I was trying to think of the best way to do so, and in fact I may yet start a separate blog about this project. For those who don't know, "Liberators!" is the name of a series of sourcebooks and associated figures designed for wargaming the wars of liberation fought by the Spanish colonies in Latin America between 1810 and 1830. This drive to increase wargamers' awareness of a rather obscure period of history is almost entirely the work of John Fletcher (I say "almost entirely" because the figures are sculpted by Alan Marsh). John runs a blog and a yahoo group as well as the Grenadier Productions website that sell "Liberators!" products. The reason for this post is that John is running a 25% sale over the next few days, so now is a perfect time to jump into this period.
My first serious wargaming began with 15mm Napoleonics, first Essex and Tabletop Games figures and then Battle Honours when they came out in the late 1980s. Whilst I painted a fair few 15mm Napoleonics over the years I realised that I much preferred 25mm figures and my 15mm collection never progressed much beyond a handful of painted figures and a reasonably large lead-pile. John's original "Liberators!" sourcebook came out a few years ago and since then I have periodically thought about investigating further as the period is exactly the sort of thing I look for: colourful uniforms, foreign auxiliary forces, small numbers of troops, exotic locations, larger-than-life personalities (e.g. Bolivar and San Martin) and something that's a little bit different. Most important of all, there is the Grenadier range of figures and excellent support on the blog and yahoo group, the latter of which receives contributions from a large number of enthusiasts (such as the chaps who put on the rather cool Maipo demo game at Salute a few years back: see here).
I won't go into any historical background now; as I say, I'm trying to think of the best way to take this project forward. But here are some photos of the first unit I painted up, the First Chilean Infantry Regiment, circa 1818 (a patriot regiment). I'll post better photos in due course. These are based for the "General de Brigade" Napoleonic rules. It's worth also mentioning that Simon at Parkfield Miniatures is sculpting a 25mm line that is shaping up very nicely.
Tuesday, 30 August 2011
Apologies again - I've hit one of those occasional basing back-logs. I currently have 54 finished figures going through the basing process, including the completed first musketeer battalion of the Prussian 10th Infantry Regiment, more AWI French chasseurs and the Dutch 2nd Line Infantry for 1815. All these are rather large units and that has created a squeeze on basing and finishing the units off. I had intended to blog about the 6 volunteer jaeger figures that come in the Perry Prussian infantry box, but the pictures I took the other day are pretty rubbish (see left) so I need to take some more. I decided in the end to paint all the Prussian figures and so the battalion is 40-figures strong. As that means 10 figures for each company I have had to buy larger bases, which haven't arrived yet. The Dutch infantry battalion is something I have been meaning to do for ages. I painted 6 figures a few years ago and then moved on without painting any more. Whilst sorting stuff out in advance of my impending house move I found the rest of the unit and thought it was high time I finished it off. As it happens, I have now decided not to use the original 6 figures and so I am building the 24-figure unit from scratch; I'll explain why in due course. Hopefully the Dutch will be finished in a week or so and then the French chasseurs will be finished. After that I suspect there will be more Eureka AWI dragoons, as it's high time I returned to those.
Now I've finished the Perry Prussians box I don't intend to paint any more Prussians any time soon. I think my 1815 cravings will be met by concentration on Bachelu's division, the Middle Guard, the Dutch-Belgians and (as yet a mere twinkle) the KGL.
Monday, 15 August 2011
Here are the further Eureka Miniatures figures that I mentioned a short while back. These are from the Revolutionary French range. I am not sure what codes they are exactly, as I picked them out at Eureka HQ in Melbourne (with help from John Baxter and Mark Spackman - hi guys!), but they are all actually "grenadiers" rather than "chasseurs". I have no idea how the 1790's uniforms of the two flank companies differed, but the uniform on these figures is certainly very close to that of the Perry Miniatures chasseurs. Leaving aside the headgear for a moment, these Eureka figures have the standard flank company accoutrements of moustaches, epaulettes and swords. The coat tails are long, but that is in keeping with the 1779 regulations and the Chartrand Osprey refers to some units having tails that were even longer than the regulations required. So it's only really the hats that are a problem, in that they are clearly proper bicornes and much larger than their Perry equivalents. I decided not to remove the pompoms, because some of the illustrations in the Chartrand and Mollo books show these on flank company soldiers. I did, however, file off the grenade emblems on the catridge boxes.
I like these Eureka figures. They have style and when painted up in white I think they do pass muster as AWI figures. As I said before, I think it is unlikely that the Perry French range will include skirmishers (but you never know). The Eureka figures are larger than the Perry ones, about 30mm from toe to top of head; the hats then add anything up to another 4mm in height. The two regiments represented here are the Soissonnais (in the crimson facings) and Touraine (in pink). I chose these regiments simply because I liked the facing colours! The way I paint the white coats is as follows. I undercoat with Army Painter "Uniform Grey" spray, an almost exact match with Coat d'arms "Uniform Grey 525" which I use for touching up. This undercoat acts as the base coat. The highlights are then Foundry "Arctic Grey 33A", Coat d'arms "Light Grey 211", Coat d'arms "Tank Light Grey 526" and then finally pure white (any brand will do).
I would also like to mention that Christopher "Axebreaker" has posted a review of the new edition of the "British Grenadier!" rules that I use on his superb blog. He kindly mentions the large number of photos of my AWI collection that illustrate the book (which is why I haven't blogged on it myself!) and then comments on the book and the mechanics of the rules. The new edition is pricey, and follows the current trend of new rules being glossy, highly-polished hardback books. Personally I didn't hesitate in buying this new edition because "British Grenadier!" are the only AWI rules I will ever use. Those who find the game slow or frustrating for an attacking player will find new rules in this edition that speed up movement and make charges a tad more likely to succeed - so anyone who has dropped the rules on either count may like to give them another try. And with Perry Miniatures releasing plastic AWI infantry at some stage (perhaps in time for Salute next year?) and a remake of "The Patriot" in the works it's a great time to get into the period!
(Ok, I made up that bit about "The Patriot"...)
8 figures. Painted June 2011.
Monday, 8 August 2011
I have some AWI French skirmishers to post about in a couple of days, but in the meantime I thought I'd post a couple of photos of the other large unit I am currently working on (i.e. in addition to the 24-figure AWI French chasseur unit, which is now three quarters finished). I bought a box of Perry plastic Napoleonic Prussian infantry at Salute and, having painted a couple of test figures back in April, decided last month to push on with the rest of the box. I will provide a proper review when I have the regiment finished, but my overall reaction is very favourably - the figures are dead easy to paint (like the plastic French infantry) and easy to put together. My only concern is how the backpack fits onto the figures, which doesn't quite seem to work as neatly as on the plastic French infantry.
The unit I am building is the 1st musketeer battalion of the 10th Regiment ("1st Silesian"), in Hacke's 13th Brigade. I chose this regiment simply because I liked the yellow facings and the 1st battalion's flag comes with the box. I think the regiment was involved in the fight at Plancenoit, but my research is ingoing. However, one issue I need to consider now is the number of figures. The Waterloo orbat on the "General de Brigade" website has Prussian infantry battalions at 32 figures mostly, with a few at 24 figures. I know that at full strength a battalion would be close to 800 men, or 40 figures at 1:20 (which is what you get in the Perry box, plus 6 jaeger). I'm assuming that the GdB orbat takes account of casualties incurred in the various battles preceding 18th June itself. However, I don't think Hack's 13th Brigade was present at Ligny and therefore I wonder whether the units in this force should not be closer to 40 figures rather than 32. I note comments on the GdB forum that whilst the 32-figure Prussian battalion is pretty standard in wargaming it may also be something of a "received wisdom", and that units at the beginning of a campaign or which have not yet seen action (like the 10th) would probably be close to full strength.
Like any sensible wargamer, I prefer smaller units (and so less painting) whenever possible and when tackling something like Waterloo a certain amount of "shrinkage" is required for space reasons anyway; but any thoughts from readers more versed than I in the Prussian army of 1815 would be welcome!