Monday, November 28, 2011

Wurttemberg mounted grenadiers

As ally of Napoleons' empire, the German kingdom of Wurttemberg supported the grande armee with a wide range of military units, including heavy cavalry.

Well. Taken into account the amount of troops that some of Napoleons allies threw into the battles from 1806 to 1814, it is really strange to see that no major company seems to care much about it, except from HaT. Unfortunately, HaTs' perfomance is somewhat strange - you either end up with great sets like the Nassau infantry or the new MAC prussians or with really poor sets like HaTs' Dutch infantry or their new Prussian hussars.

There is for example - as far as I know - no Saxon infantry post-1806 available in plastic. Smaller German states like the different members of the Rhine confederacy, the kingdom of Westphalia (very colourful units!), Baden, Wurzburg - none of them has been produced. And thank the lord that HaT has not even tried - we would have ended up with something like the Russian militia set with 48 poses representing 14 different nations...

Getting back to Wurttemberg, HaT is about to produce a set of mounted riflemen from next year on. I had the luck to get some test sprues of that set, which I have already displayed in a different posting (
Unfortunately, HaT seems to have decided to publish them as 'Wurttemberg cavalry' which is technically wrong. They are simply light cavalry, mounted riflemen - so giving them such a general description ignores completely that Wurttembergs' range of cavalry not only contained two regiments of mounted rifles, but also two regiments of light horse, one regiment of dragoons, the Leibjaeger regiment, the mounted grenadiers and the Garde du Corps. 

As long as there is no sign of these units available in plastic, the only suggestion is that we have to make our own, eh?
I already converted some of my mounted rilfemen into Wurttemberg light horse (2nd regiment) earlier on. I recently finished the officers' horse, so now this pair of figures is complete. You can find the light horse under

So today we're doing something new: Wurttemberg mounted grenadiers!

This is a figure that really took a lot of work to do. I bought myself some Strelets French cuirassiers back in Herne this year. I thought I would have just to make a headswap with my HaT pre-1812 French infantry but discovered that their heads were too tiny for these chunky riders.

By luck, I made some very useful swapping business with Paul ( - he gave me his Napoleonic remainders in return for my unneeded medieval figures. Thanks Paul - this conversion wouldn't have been so quickly possible without your support!

Among the stuff Paul gave me, was a figure from Strelets' British grenadiers for the Crimean war. This head was simply the missing link - same size, same style plus a bearfur hat!
So this is the moment were the transformation started...

At first, I made myself a block of 'artificial improvised plastic' - a piece of toilet paper that is dipped in simple wood or hobby glue...
...then folded several times...
...then being stomped and left for drying out (8 hours or so)... get a sheet of material that is hard and paintable as plastics, but still a little bit flexible. I use that material for many additional parts on my figures, it's the cheapest possible alternative to greenstuff and such things.
So next thing is cutting out the saddle modification parts:

...and then fix them to the horse.

The horse is not from Strelets' French cuirassier set, but from the French hussar set. The saddlecloth is simply fitting better to the original. After attaching the additional parts to the horse, let's have a closer look at the evolution of the rider:
I wanted to have a figure where it would be easy to remove the head and add an arm with a sabre in a position more realistic for a full assault. I took these two figures from the cuirassier set and first removed their arms - the flag will surely be of use for a different scene. I glued the arm with the sabre onto the figure in a better position, cut off the head and replaced it with the head from the British grenadier.
I attached a plume and a cord to it that I've taken from a French grenadier from the HaT set of pre-1812 French infantry. The concept now looked like this:

And after pre-painting:
Great, isn't it? Two hours of cutting, carving and gluing and you have a totally new figure!
Okay - let's start painting now! For me, including all sorts of interruptions, it took three evenings to complete the job, but I'm currently working on tons of different things, so speed isn't my main strength.

Here's the horse before I mounted the rider:

And here's the complete result:

Okay, I must confess that merging parts from four different sets to get one new unit is not what most people would call efficiency, but the result is worth a try - especially because I don't think that we will find some Wurttemberg heavy cavalry on the plastic figure market within the near future.
The grenadier doesn't match exactly with his HaT comrades, but in fact he is not much larger than them.

And here's the next heavy guy: a Wurttemberg lifeguard (Garde du Corps) cuirassier.

I know that I promised to continue with the dragoons, but I'm still not happy with the special shakos that they wore - I have serious problems attaching a second peak to the back of the shako so that it looks good. Mmph. This has to wait now.

For creating a cuirassier, I took a Strelets hussar horse again. The modifications on the saddlecloth are the same, only the colours differ. I used a Strelets french cuirassier, removed the horse tail on the helmet and replaced it with a caterpillar that I - again - formed with my paper/glue mixture.

Okay, agreed - the pattern on the saddlecloth is a bit tricky.

It pleases me to see how easy it is to convert regular figures into something very special. On the other hand, it's sometimes strange to see that all these different soldiers wore almost the same dresses - only colours and decorations differed.


  1. Thanks for the tutorial, Zed.

    I might try your method next time I make saddle-cloth alterations!

    The HaT grenadier head seems to be a good fit with the Strelets body. Nice conversion!

  2. Good tutorial Sas!
    Like nthe way you did use the toilet paper for this!