Sunday, October 17, 2010

Die preussische Armee kommt!

I was looking at David's blog here, where he shows some pictures of the new Warlord plastic Prussian Landwehr.  Given the fact that Warlord aren't charging for international postage at the moment (and with me living in Japan, that is no small consideration), I decided to order a few boxes just to get the project started.

Now, I know these are not the last word in historical accuracy or sculpting finesse- I'd have to take the Calpe route for that.  

But these will paint up easily, and being in plastic means it will reduce the amount of weight I have to carry to the game with me.  And frankly these are inexpensive enough so that I won't agonize about spending an inordinate time over them, which should translate into getting them ready and on the table in a relatively short period of time.

And right now we need numbers as the French are outnumbering the allies considerably!

It also means more money to spend on the more expensive things like hussars and artillery, which will be from Calpe.  The line infantry I will hold off on getting for a while, to see what the Perry offerings are like when they are released.  I expect they will be very nice indeed if their other sets are anything to go by.

Monday, August 30, 2010


I was about to "kill off" this project and blog, when fate intervened.

I originally wanted to field a Prussian brigade to go alongside my Russians, but a number of considerations made me consider the folly of it all.
  • I already had loads of miniatures that needed painting, and progress was glacial.
  • I wasn't gaming any Napoleonics at the time, and it didn't seem likely that I would at any time in the future.
  • Expense.  I'm no cheapskate, and I'm quite happy to spend money on good miniatures.  But I do have to be responsible about how much I want to spend, and costing out the price of a Prussian brigade using Calpe miniatures poured cold water on my enthusiasm. 
So it seemed that doing the brigade of Mecklenburg-Strelitz was dead in the water.

But in the space of a month, a number of developments have come up that have made it look like the project is "do-able" again.

First, I'm gaming Napoleonics at last.  A number of guys at the club here have small- but growing- collections of their own, so now it looks like my Napoleonic miniatures are about to go "live".

Secondly, I'm outsourcing a number of my Russians for painting, which takes pressure off my time and allows for larger games.

Thirdly, and most significantly,  plastic Prussians are on the march from both Perry Miniatures and Warlord.  This changes the financial equation.  Considerably!

Now, I love the Calpe figures, and I realize that they are unequalled for accuracy.  But the fact remains that I have other uses for my hobby money too, and the prospect of a whole brigade of metal miniatures was, as I mentioned, just too rich for my blood.  Not to mention having to carry them all back and forth from the club (I don't drive here in the parking hell that is Tokyo).

The plastics will allow me to save both money and weight.  Now of course I want Calpe minis, and I will indeed have them in my collection.  But to those who criticize the rise of plastic figures, consider this.  If the plastics hadn't arrived on the scene, my gaming partners wouldn't be doing Napoleonics at all, and this project would be dead and buried. Plastics in this case are encouraging sales of metals, not hurting them!

Finally, a word on the accuracy issue.  I am a good painter, and I like a 100% accurate miniature as much as the next gamer.  But I'm not painting a 54mm or larger figure for the display case, I'm painting a wargames army.  I need to reach a critical mass quickly so that I can get the minis on the table.

Accuracy counts when it stands out on the tabletop, but a lot of the detail that is criticized on many wargames figures these days doesn't always make a bit of difference when viewed from three feet away.  And in truth  I find it frustrating that I have a few, well painted and detailed miniatures rather than a colourfully  painted army on an attractive terrain.

If plastics help this to happen, then I'm not going to sweat over minor errors in detail.  And I can always replace them later with metal miniatures if I feel the need or inclination.  I expect I won't!

Friday, July 10, 2009

All brave Prussians rally to the Cause!

Way, way back in time, my first ever order for metal wargames miniatures was for some Russian and Prussian Napoleonics from Minifigs, including this one;

Times have moved on, as has wargame figure design. But I want in part to celebrate these early-and much beloved- figures, by reproducing a Prussian line infantry battalion. In this case the 2/1st East Prussian Infantry, along with an attached company of volunteer Jäger.

The Calpe website on the Prussians contains a lot of fascinating and useful information, but I don't find it the easiest to wade through when it comes to putting an order together! I rather wish they had battalion packs that would make the ordering easier. Still, I persevered and I've decided that I should make a start with the following:

Ist East Prussian Infantry Regiment:

Volunteer Jägers

x1 PJ11 Volunteer firing. Breeches tucked into boots. Belly pouch
x1 PJ12 Volunteer holding fire. Breeches, boots, belly pouch
x1 PJ13 Volunteer loading. Taking round from pouch. Trousers rolled up, belly pouch
x1 PJ14 Volunteer loading. Ramming rifle. Long trousers
x1 PJ15 Volunteer advancing, trail-arms. Trousers, belly pouch
x1 PJ17 Officer advancing, holding sword up


x4 PM18 Long pace, left leg forward bent at the knee, right leg back
x2 PM18b As PM18 head turned left.
x3 PM19 Legs almost together, bent at the knee
x3 PM20 Long pace, left leg forward but straight, right leg back
x2 PM20b As PM20 head turned right
x3 PM21 Long pace, right leg forward, left leg back both knees bent
x1 PM22 NCO
x2 PM23 Standard bearer holding colour on right shoulder
x1 PM24 Drummer holding strap and sticks with one hand and drum rim with the other
x2 PM25 Version of PM19 wearing forage cap
x1 PM26 Version of PM21 bareheaded
x1 PM27 Enthusiastic figure looking over left shoulder left hand raised
x1 PM28 Casualty figure falling back
x1 PM29b As PM29 but wearing officer’s cap
x1 PM30 Officer taking long pace, sword on shoulder
x1 PM31 Mounted officer, sword by his side, looking right
x1 P Flag 2 Ornate spear point for flag staff with cravat. (£1 for a pack of two)
x1 PM Falling Casualties

I've decided to go with the "tail arms" pose for the reasons that Peter mentions on his site, but also because they look cool. My current thinking is that other battalions will be in firing line, march attack or advancing poses for variety and for ease of telling units apart.

Here is a picture from a German site of re-enactors in Prussian uniform, advancing at what looks like trail arms position.

I'm guessing the fellow in green with black cross-belts is a Volunteer Jäger, but how he expects to hit anything with that enormous shako brim pulled down over his eyes beats me!

Prussian uniforms are simplicity itself to paint, and should prove to be a nice change from the relative splashes of colour and frippery that is French infantry of the time.

The figures will be based for the General de Brigade rules, and Im going for about 28-30 miniatures to a batallion (between 7-8 figures a company). Number of figures per base are not that critical to me, as I always use rosters anyway.

Tentatively Tackling the Teutons

Royal Arms of Mecklenburg-Strelitz

I have been thinking of adding another nationality to my 28mm Napoleonic wargaming collection, and after some consideration decided that the best route would be to go for those fun-loving, cheerful, and laid-back practitioners of warfare, the Prussians!

Okay, I may have been misinformed about the happy-go-lucky part, but the Prussians are a good choice on a number of levels.

First, they are easy to paint. There is also a lot of uniform information available. They are also easy to paint. Fine, easy-to-paint miniatures are available for them from Calpe in 28mm.

The Prussians formed a large part of Blucher's Army of Silesia, which also included the Russian 9th Corps- which happens to be the contingent I'm fielding for my Russians.

And did I mention that Prussians are easy to paint?

I've decided to go for the Prussian 2nd Brigade of Yorck's Corps, under the command of the rather resoundingly-named Generalmajor Prinz Karl Freidrich August von Mecklenburg-Strelitz.

According to Nafziger's Napoleon at Leipzig- The Battle of Nations, 1813, this brigade consisted of the following regiments;

2nd Brigade- Karl-Friedrich-August, Herzog von Mecklenburg-Strelitz
  • 1/ 2/ Fus. Batts. East Prussian Infantry Regiment Nr. 1 (1,840 men)
  • Combined 1 &2 Battns. East Prussian Infantry Nr. 2 (614 men )
  • 2/ Battn. Silesian Landwehr Regiment Nr. 6: (680)
  • Mecklenburg-Strelitz Hussar Regiment: 4 squadrons
  • 6pdr. Foot Battery #1
Taking a historical "snapshot" at a time when the brigade has been weakened considerably due to attrition since the campaign opened, this makes for a total of five battalions at a 1:20 ratio. So I'm looking at around 30 miniatures per battalion which makes it very "do-able" as a wargames project for me.

Figures will be from Calpe Miniatures, flags from GMB. The Calpe range is undoubtedly the best available- even Front Rank, my pushers-of-choice for Napoleonic miniatures, acknowledge this and have never bothered doing Prussians themselves.

A minor problem is that Calpe does not currently have on-line ordering for the Prussians (though that may change), and given the variety available, it takes time to sit with a pen and paper to decide what figures to get!

I may well start with a squadron of hussars and a battalion of either fusiliers or landwehr.