Saturday, January 28, 2017

Tragardland Croats

6 Croats plus one Lady (not painted for the Challenge)

It's been an odd week, I cancelled my first class Thursday morning so that my students could get their selfies taken with Justin Trudeau.  He was on campus at the University of Regina this morning and buggered up the hallways with huge traffic jams.

A small post from me this week, as I've been delayed by real life and other distractions.  I have 6 Seven Years War Croats in 28mm.  I have based their uniform on the Banal-Grenzinfanterieregiment nr. 1 but named them in honour of their place of origin, The Duchy of Tragardland an Imagination on the Blogosphere.  I had  intended to have these be my East bonus round entry, but such is life.

Late last year Alan over at the Duchy posted on his blog, enquiring about the Westphalia Maria Theresa figure that he had seen various places. Challenge veterans will recall that this figure was supplied to Challenge participants a few years back.  I had actually painted my copy, but Curt had given me a second.  The original  (with orb and sceptre removed) was panted to act as a well to do civilian lady, and appeared in one of my Sharp Practice games set in the SYW.  Curt was so pleased to see her on table that he gave me a second (I could actually do with thirds if there's one going Curt).   So the replacement was offered up to Alan in exchange for something from his lace wars lead pile.  I didn't know what that would be until it arrived.

Shortly after New Years a strange package appeared with a Tragardland Postal Office return address, much to my wife's amusement.  Inside were these 6 Croats in payment for the Queen and Empress. They arrived painted in a tin soldier style in a mix of uniforms from several Grenzer regiments.  However, time in the lead pile and travel had taken their toll on the paintwork, so I decided to strip them down and repaint them.  Amusing my wife yet again with a request for Detol and a mason jar, I got them back to bare metal and painted them up as shown.  First time in a long time I'd stripped minis and the first time using Detol. It worked quite well with a little scrubbing using my daughter's toothbrush.

I didn't recognize the figures, but according to Alan they are Eagle Figures with the exception of a Front Rank Officer.  Eagle's minis date originally from the 80s but I had not encountered them before.  I found the sculpts rather muddy in detail and a bit of a chore to paint.  In the end I went kind of tin soldierish too and it seemed to suit them.

These don't officially fit in with any project that I am working on (or plan to), but I reckon there's wiggle room to field these in my SYW Kleine Krieg games which are focused on the Western campaigns.  First of all the Austians sent several columns into Western Germany during the SYW, far enough West that the British-Hanoverian-Allied armies had to make counter moves.  So one option is that they were in the advance guard of one of these columns and got detached so linked up with the French.  Another possibility if to have them acting as a unit of light Infantry Volontaires in the French army, some of which wore pretty colourful uniforms. 

So that's 6 28mm figures on foot for 30 points.  Next week I'll having something more to post. 

Monday, January 23, 2017

The Erbprinz

For my second Challenge submission this week I have a single mounted figure representing Karl Wilhelm Ferdinand, Hereditary Prince of the Duchy of Brunswick-Lüneburg and Prince of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel.   Normally the history books for the Seven Years War refer to him as the Erbprinz, which is both shorter and a wicked cool German term.  The figure is taken from a Perry AWI pack of Hessian Commanders, this one cast as Baron Riedesel, the Brunswick general captured at Saratoga.

The man himself, c 1760 in the uniform of the Brunswick Lieb Infantry Regiment

The intricacies of the Brunswick Duchies and their intermarriage with their cousins the Electors of Hanover (and Kings of the United Kingdom)  would make grown men weep and wish for a stats lesson from Miles.  However, essentially the Duke of Brunswick (the Erbprinz's dad) joined the Allies and provided a contingent of solid infantry plus a cavalry men and light troops.  More importantly Brunswick contributed generals to the cause.  The Allied CinC (well after Cumberland got fired) was the Erbprinz' uncle Ferdinand, Prince of Brunswick-Lüneburg who was a Prussian Field Marshall on loan from Freddy the Great.  Ferdinand asked the Erbprinz to act as a General in the army when he took command in 1758.

The Erbprinz was only 23 in 1758 and 28 at the end of the war.  He was known as a good subordinate who was often given indecent independent and important commands.  He also became an expert in the Kleine Krieg, which means I get to field him as a high level officer in my Sharp Practice Games.  The Riedesel figure was very nicely cast and posed and had the right youthful look to be the Erbprinz, a real contrast from the Stirn figure as use as the Hanoverian Engineer Von Drumpf. 

After the Seven Years War, he became the Duke of Brunswick and served as a Prussian Field Marshall.  Yes he was THAT Duke of Brunswick.  He was on the losing end of one of Cressey's Decrisive Battles, Valmy in 1793.  However, Valmy was tactically a draw and he was hampered by the political intrigues and inertia in the Allied, not to mention dysentry in the rank and file.  He was mortally wounded on the field of Auerstadt in 1806, when he commanded the Prussian army.  You may also know of his son, the Black Duke who served with Wellington and died at Quatre Bras in 1815, or his daughter Princess Caroline of Brunswick, who married the Prince Regent and was part of one of the better Royal Scandals.  Another daughter livid a life out of a Regency Bodice Ripper.

However, let's not remember him for the bad events later in life, but as a young energetic and capable young officer.  Let's also not forget that he was seen as an benevolent and enlighten prince who was in support of the initial goals of the French Revolution.  Or that he offered safe haven after the Revolution to a former enemy de Castries who fought him at Kloster Kamp in 1760.

I tried a group shot of all 19 Highlanders plus the Erbprinz but it's not a good shot.

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Yet Again More Highlanders

Another post to this year's challenge.

Yes more guys in kilts, this time 6 figures including 4 privates an officer and a piper.  I am a bit reluctant to share these given the absolutely stunning results that Jasper and Benjamin achieved on figures from the same Perry AWI range this week, but I need the points.

The four private soldiers.

Details are the same as the past posts on this regiment.  I have adopted a take it in small bites and enjoy the meal approach to this project hence my posts are coming in dribs and drabs.  I have a total of 31 figures, to make 3 Sharp Practice groups plus leaders etc.  This lot brings me to 19 figures completed, about 2/3 of the way there.  But I need a break from kilts for a bit so will be shifting gears a bit.

I need to fix the green lapels on Archie in the top right, there should be no lapels with white lace.
Officer and piper

I followed Kronoskaf for the piper uniform, reversed facings with Royal Stewart tartan, but I am more than a little doubtful on the provenance.  Any pictures I can find from the period tho pipers in scarlet jackets with Black Watch tartan.  Plus I doubt anyone was going wear Royal Stewart only 15 years after Culloden!  But it's a pretty tartan and makes the piper distinctive.  Being green on red with white overstripes I had to do more than my impressionistic approach to the Royal Stewart.  I was happy with my result until I saw Benjamin's efforts 😢 which rather put me to shame.

Again gotta fix Archie's lapels!

Saturday, January 14, 2017

More Highlanders for the SYW

A second post for Janaury 12th but no points bomb.    I have finished another 8 men for my 28mm SYW Highlanders.   Once again these are from from Perry, taken from the AWI  line.

It was a bit of a fight getting these to the finish line.  I had them based and terrain last night, when I realized that I had painted the lapels green instead of leaving them scarlet!  So hasty repaint while getting base paint all over my left hand.  Then the extreme cold, a flood in my university office and an emergency deep freezer defrost.  But here they are.  Phew!

I have to say that I have really been enjoying working on these figures, which is a good thing as I have a total of 30 to finish and I'm less than half way there.  The poses are wonderful and the details crisp which really helps pick out lapels and lace work.  Unlike some I have never had much problem with flash on Perry figures and these were no exception.  I could be that I don't notice, that I pick less popular molds or just that I am use to flash clean up having grown up painting Airfix soft plastics and early 1980s era  historicals.

Uniform wise of course the big item is the kilt, in this case the full meal deal belted plaid.  The tartan for the 87th (Keith's) Highlanders was "Government or Black Watch), which is one of the easier ones to paint.  At the time this was likely not strictly regimented (that's a Victorian intervention) and my guess is that various woollen mills were give an order based on an approximate description.

I used a dark blue base coat (mix of 50:50 Paynes Grey and Ultramarine Blue) with a cross hatched green pattern on top.  With the pleats and fold in the back, the green pattern become more "impression of cross hatching".  Over all the aim is to get a pattern that is a combination of dark blue and green in approximately the right tartan.  Pictures of reenactors (have I mentioned dhow much I love Pinterest) show that from any distance, the colours bleed into each other and the actual tartan becomes indistinct.  Add movement to the mix and you want a blue/green blur.

To provide some justification, I present as Exhibit A my go to source picture on Kilts.
Moi circa 1975 aged +/-13

By my count that is 8 figures @ 5 points each =40 points.  Woohoo, yeah me!

Friday, January 13, 2017

Hanoverian Engineer for SYW

My latest post from the Challenge - this was posted on Thursday the 12th.  The morning of Friday the 13th was equally frosty and I was equally wrapped up.

Greetings from the Frozen Canadian North.  Today has what my wife and I refer to as a Maximum SF (Snot Freeze) Factor - meaning that snot freezes instantaneously on contact with outside air.  Windchill be damned the SF is the true measure of cold!

Today's forecast.  Note the carrot dangling temperatures of later this'll never happen.

Moi sporting the "ears and noses are fashion statements" look.

Just a single figure for this post.  There hopefully will be a second and slightly larger post later today, if  the basing gods are favourable.  This is a mounted 28mm Hanoverian Engineer office for my Seven Years War Sharp Practice project.  I wanted to give my British force a selection of support options and an engineer was an obvious one with many scenario uses.

The figure comes from a Perry AWI Hessian mounted commanders pack and is labelled as the Stirn figure.  There's not much info on Herr Stirn, but commanded a brigade in the Brandywine Campaign.  Based on the sculpt I'd say he was a frequent visitor to the Schnitzel Haus and Ratskeller as he packs a girth.  It is a very nice mini with lots of character, which I will ensure makes its way on table in my SP games.

I've painted him in the uniform of a Hanoverian Engineers officer, based on this rather charming folk art representation.  
Gotta love the lace wars!

The "British" army in Western German was mostly Hanoverian with Hessian,  Brunswick and British (from 1759) contingents.  The commander was a Brunswick Duke and a Prussian General on loan from Freddy the Great.  There's plenty of opportunity to get the different national contingents intermingled, possibly with language issues occurring.  Based on what I can figure, Hanover had a decent engineering corps while I can't find much on British Engineers in Germany.  Plus the light blue was too good to pass up and avoids confusion with French Engineers (who like the Brits wore dark blue with red facings). 

Really an engineer should be on foot, but this guy looks too self important to get off of his prize German Warmblood horse and get his hands dirty.  He's quite happy to direct and delegate - I plan to have some pioneers for him to boss around later in the campaign.

So that's one 28mm mount figure = 10 points.

PS  Commnetary after my original post led to the figure being declared Herr Drumpf!

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Challenge Armour Bonus Round 10th Hussars 1940

It was the Armour Theme Week at the Challenge.  For my armour bonus round submission I have two Rolls Royce Armoured Cars in 15mm.  These are the venerable 1924 pattern cars used in the Western Desert by the 11th Hussars in 1940.  The models are by Battlefront.

The 11th Hussars were the divisional recon unit for the Western Desert Force, later the famous Seventh Armoured Division the Desert Rats.  About this time last Challenge I was thinking of doing Operation Compass and or the East African campaigns in 15mm using I Ain't Been Shot Mum by the Lardies.  I got the Lardys supplements for these campaigns and some figures.  But then I had a number of realizations - I didn't like 15s or at least Battlefronts 15s, tanks are too fiddly to paint, too much drab and our group already had a gazillion WWII kit.

Anyway, these got primed last Challenge and painted this Challenge.  They are pretty much front the box, with some added kit from my bits box in the back.  I tried to modify the steel hats into berets to suit the 11th.  I tried a simplified Caunter camo pattern.  My ancient Vanguard has a picture where the Car is without markings, so I didn't do any either.  There's a blank space at the back for unit labels in case I ever do some.

Saturday, January 7, 2017

15th Light Dragoons for SYW

For my second entry I have a group of 9 British 15th Light Dragoons (or Elliot's Light Horse) from the Seven Years War.  These are the second of the three projects that I started on Boxing Day (that's December 26th for Yankees or St. Stephen's Day for the Irish).  The figures are Perry Miniatures from their AWI range and are lovely figures that I really enjoyed painting.  These will serve in my Sharp Practice British SYW force alongside Keith's Highlanders. 

It seems that you can tell a Brit that he's a light cavalryman and dress him like a fop, but he'll still try to run over what ever is in his path.  The 15th was the first British Light Dragoon Regiment (raised in 1759) and set the tone early for this tendency.  Shipped to Germany they joined the polyglot Allied army on July 15, 1760 and fought at Emsdorf the very next day.  Elliott's did most of the fighting at Emsdorf, charging French Infantry twice and capturing an entire battalion.

Enough history and back to the figures.  Again I am morphing AWI figures to serve in the SYW.  In this case, it doesn't seem that uniforms for light dragoons changed much between 1760 and 1776.  I checked with my goto source and got the following info on the SYW uniform (you could probably heat my fist pump as I read this).

We have not found any primary source describing the uniform of this regiment. Several part of our description are assumptions based on the uniforms of the regiments of dragoons.
I took this to read "we got nothing, do what ever looks right".  War-games fashion police might try to haul me on minor issues with shabraques, cuffs and shoulder straps to which I reply Pffffffffft!   

The figures themselves are excellent, a little beefier than other Perrys with good active poses, lovely detail and great horses.  They certainly look like hard campaigners with their carbine muzzles wrapped for protection and the well stuffed extra saddle bags of fodder and plunder.

I didn't notice one bit of detail until I was finishing the figures.  There is a lovely plate embossed on front of the elegant helmets which picks out nicely with white paint.  However, the Perrys correctly sculpted these as 17th Light Dragoon, and therefore gave helmet the skull and crossbones emblem specific to that unit.  I tried to be selective in picking out the details in order to give the impression of the White Horse of Hanover instead.

I make this 9 28mm cavalry figures at 10 points a pop = 90 points.

Monday, January 2, 2017

SYW Highlanders for the Challenge

Forgive me father, it's been over a month since my last post.  In that time I have survived end of term, exams, a business trip to New Orleans, a bad cold and the holiday season.  Oh and I also entered the latest edition of Curt's Painting Challenge.  The plan is for 800 points (equivalent to 160 28mm foot figures) before the Spring Equinox.

First post for me in this year’s Challenge, late to the game but I really didn’t start painting until Boxing Day.  December 20th brought not only the start of the Challenge, but my mother in law, my daughter home from Uni and a pile of papers courtesy of the final exam for my Financial Mathematics students.

I got fairly well organized (for me) this year and figs prepped and primed and set to go on the day and actually started three different projects on the morning of the 26th.  These 5 SYW 28mm Highlanders are the first project off the production line.  The figs are from the Perry Brothers, from their AWI range.  I love these figs and have morphed several packs into SYW units when possible.  The Highlander uniform didn’t change much between 1763 and 1775 so this was an easy morph.  I filed off the shoulder wings and that was it.  There are some other anachronisms but they don’t stand out much.  The AWI uniform had lapels on where the SYW uniform had none on thars, but they had heavy lace and the actual lapels underneath don’t stand out when the lace is painted.  The cuffs on the figs are probably not quite right too, but uniform info on the SYW is much sketchier than later periods and invites a lot of free interpretation.

I did this group of 5 as a test group before going Full Monty (or Full Sylvain which may be more appropriate) on the unit.  The plan is to build a fully British force for Sharp Practice using new figures, during the Challenge.   I have FIW figures for a British force already but they are old and many of the figures I used are problematic.

Overhead view
It had been 15 years since I did a unit of highlanders and this was the first time I’d painted the great kilt as opposed to the small kilt or trews of the colonial era figs.  I am pretty happy with the results, and quite pleased with both the kilts and the red and white hose.  For the tartans I go fairly minimalist approach, going for the right look from 2 feet away or more.  

As for the unit, the British Army raised several highland regiments for the SYW, which were disbanded at the end of the conflict.  The regiments were shipped to North America, the Caribbean, India and two were sent to Germany.  The 87th Foot (Keith’s Highlanders) was raised in 1759 and a detachment shipped to Germany later that year.  The Colonel was a relative of the Prussian Field Marshall Kieth. 

Close up of the Officer

To quote the excellent Krosnokraf site (the goto site for SYW info, do your self a favour and get lost there for a while):

In 1760, Ferdinand of Brunswick was so pleased by these Highlanders that he requested to complete the initial detachment to a full regiment. Accordingly, 5 additional companies were raised at Perth and shipped to Germany to join the 3 former companies.

Highland units were used as a light troops or raiders. The men received little formal training other than to advance with the bayonet. The soldier's backgrounds, extensive cattle raiding in the Highlands, made them well suited to their role in Germany. The unit was often combined with the 88th Campbell or Highland Volunteers and both were heavily engaged in petite guerre operations gaining a fearsome reputation. 

I find it interesting how the highlanders were used in different theatres.  In North America (and I expect other colonial theatres) irregulars were common and they were used as line infantry.  But in Western Germany regular infantry were a dime a dozen and it was irregulars that were needed.  It’s kind of like the Highlanders were not quite European, but more civilized than North Americans!

Bad lighting but a front on view