Sunday, 18 February 2018

A Bit of Variety

have painted a lot of Napoleonic figures lately what with the Prussian cavalry in October, the War of 1812 (which I guess is vaguely Napoleonic), the French in Egypt and the 1812 French. So to break the Napoleonic monotony I have decided to revisit the Crimean War British army and add the Heavy Brigade.

Now I am not good at going back to older projects - the aforementioned Prussian cavalry being a case in point…there was a gap of nearly ten years between when I "finished" that army then went back to complete the cavalry arm – but these Crimean cavalry are a bit of an exception. First of all it has only been a couple of years since I finished the Crimean armies and second the Great War Miniatures Heavy Brigade figures were not released at the time I was collecting the armies. Now I could have bought the Foundry Heavy Brigade figures and finished the army back then, but 85% of the army is Great War and I wanted to maintain consistency.


The Heavy Brigade figures were released either late 2016 or early 2017, but the need to finish off other projects meant that they were pushed back in the schedule until last November. Then the French in Egypt came along and they were displaced until late December, then there was not until 6 January did I place the order.


Never let it be said that I don’t learn from the past. The Great War figures are supplied by Northstar and I have had bad experiences with Northstar – they take the money up front, then take excessivly long times to ship orders, don't communicate about delays, have no published volume discount offers, don't offer free shipping at a certain level, and they don't remove the VAT – so, as I did with much of the main Crimean War orders, I placed this order through a third party who only charges me when the goods are shipped and doesn’t charge shipping. That said, my lesson here has been that whenever purchasing Northstar products, even through third parties, is to factor the delay into my schedule - when I ordered my Crimean armies a couple of years ago I gave the supplier a firm order six weeks so that some sort if schedule could be managed. As anticipated the goods have taken a month to be supplied to the third party and then only half the order was supplied with the balance on back order (and I am not talking about a big order, just 30 mounted figures).

Then last Saturday, before the first part of the order had arrived, I get an email from the third party supplier telling me that Northstar has advised that they had "lost the mould" for the missing items and that they won't be available for some time! What a disappointment after having delayed the project for so long.


Last Tuesday the figures arrived.  The first unit I worked on is the Scots Greys. It is a small unit, just six figures, because all the British cavalry units in the Crimea were small. Only two squadrons of each regiment were sent to the Crimea and both men and horses suffered dreadfully in the campaign. By Balaclava in October 1854 the brigade, all ten squadrons, numbered less than 900. In the winter that followed nearly all the horses of the cavalry division perished and the regiments served dismounted


The second unit is the 6th Dragoons (Inniskillings) - the only other one I can complete with what has been supplied (there is a single pack of the Dragoon Guards troopers, without any command). 

I am not sure at this point where the project will go from here. At first I was not certain if I would even bother with the rest of the heavies, but I have enjoyed these two units. I might wait for a month or two and see if the figures get re-moulded, or I may try a different manufacturer.

The experience has also caused me to abandon a long considered Danish Army of 1864 - the last army of the German Wars of Unification outside my collection - for which Northstar are the sole manufacturer of figures.

I am, however, very excited to see that the Perrys have now released the first batch of Napoleonic Swedes, but I must not deviate from the plan.

Saturday, 17 February 2018

23e Régiment de Dragons

This week's unit for the 1812 French is the second dragoon regiment of the 6th Heavy Cavalry Division, the 23e Régiment de Dragons.

Sunday, 11 February 2018

The 1/15e Regiment Legere and 2e Regiment de Carabiniers

Two more French 1812 units have rolled off the production line this week.


First is the 1/15e Regiment Legere. These have actually been finished for the better part of a week, but the bases have only just been completed.


Second is the 2e Carabiners. The differences between this and its sister regiment are so small that I decided to differentiate them by having 1re Regiment with their sabres forward and 2e Regiment with sabres shouldered.


The plastic pile is close to being flattened now, with only a regiment of dragoons and about three-quarters of a legere battalion left. I may need a top up of plastic items to see me through until the first British in Egypt order arrives in early March.

Wednesday, 7 February 2018

Egyptian Village - Part 1

As a part of the French in Egypt project I need an Egyptian village to fight over. Plans for this have been in my head since December and a couple of weeks ago I sketched up the floor plans for three structures.

The first structure is a fairly substantial one, consisting of three parts: a two storey residence with external stairs, a smaller residence, a stable and a courtyard, all contained within an outer wall with wooden gate.

The other two are to be fairly simple, single storey structures.

I chose to start on the largest building first and quite quickly cut out and assembled the three key components from a heavy card, using matchsticks to frame the windows and make the doors.

The two-storey dwelling (with external stairs).

The single-storey dwelling (with arched doorway and stairs connecting with the roof of the larger dwelling)

And the stable

All three components dry assembled as below:

I stayed pretty much true to the original plan, although I altered some of the dimensions to constrain the overall size and dispensed with the arch in the courtyard wall.

With the cardboard forms constructed I then applied the outer finish. For this I used the artist modelling compound that I use for basing figures, with a few pinches of fine sand added for texture. I applied this with a pallette knife and left to dry.

I then glued the three pieces together.

Next I glued the whole structure to a base and added the courtyard walls.

I added the front gate then the whole structure was  painted with the same sand colour I used for my French in Egypt bases and washed with a thinned down coat of GW Seraphin Sepia. The doors and window frames were painted and the window cavaties blackened. Finally I drybrushed the whole model with two lightened shades of GW Tallard Sand, the second shade being almost white. Then a few water stains and  it was finished.

So for this village, one model down, two to go.

Tuesday, 6 February 2018


This week’s addition to the French 1812 collection is the 5e Régiment de Cuirassiers that forms the 1st Brigade, 4th Cuirassier Division. The  organisation of the cuirassier divisions in the Grande Armée is somewhat strange in that each brigade only contained a single cuirassier regiment and had rather top heavy command structure with a regimental colonel and a brigadier.

This regiment is the second of what will be four cuirassier regiments in my collection.

Now lining up on the production line is a battalion of legere infantry.

Monday, 5 February 2018

Napoleonic Game

Sunday’s regular game was a Napoleonic bash. We did not have much of a scenario behind it other than a German confederation of Prussians and Bavarians, supported (some might say guided) by a small French contingent were faced off against a horde of Russians and Austrians. The control of a couple of roads were the stated objects that were largely ignored by both sides who were determined to just scrap it out.


I commanded a Prussian force of nine battalions, two batteries and two cavalry regiments. The latter were the two new regiments I painted in November, getting their first outing. 

I was faced against the Austrians, while the two Bavarian brigades to my left were opposing the Russians.

There was a lovely hill just to my immediate left and the right of one of the Bavarian brigades and this became the position for an artillery mass of five batteries from where the fire could be directed in two directions. I placed my cavalry on the reverse slope of a short ridge on my right while the infantry massed to their left. 

After a brief artillery exchange I set the infantry in motion. I was quickly engaged and attacked two battalions of Austrian jagers.

The Austrians opened fire and scored seven hits on one of the attacking battalions. I rolled for saves needing 5 or 6 and here is the result!

The Jagers were quickly despatched, but before the successful battalions could be pushed on further, the Austrians counter attacked drove them back.


The second line came up shortly and after some initial success were repulsed. Things were looking shaky for me, but thankfully the French drove in the Austrian left and with the pressure relieved I was able to rally my units. The Austrians faded from my front.


To my left the Bavarians held strongly against a solid Russian force, very well supported by artillery. One of the Russian commands lost a general early and were hamstring as a result. When a valiant charge by the Bavarian chevaux legere drove off two Russian batteries (thanks to dreadful dice luck on the behalf of the Russian gunners) that Russian wing was eventually pushed back out of the action.


The other Russian force made a valiant effort. Its artillery was particularly devastating to the Bavarian right. A small wood at the end of the rides proved difficult for the Bavarians to get around, but once they managed to form up their musketry began to tell and the Russians were cut to pieces. 


After lunch Russian reinforcements arrived, but failed to make any impact, the Bavarians pushed forward were driving the Russians back and when the Bavarian dragoons caught a battalion of Pavlovski grenadiers in the flank, routed them and then broke through onto another battalion, an end was called.

Astute readers will note that in the image above there are three battalions of Pavlovski and know that there were only ever two battalions of this famous regiment. Our dear departed friend, who originally owned this collection, did not know this fact and bought five full battalions, all of which were engaged in this game. It always provides a bit of humour in our group.