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.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

And the next full 100...

...comes from the USA! Hello and welcome to this place.

I was puzzled what to do for you. Well - I started this little game, so I have to go on with it, haven't I?
Again, I have learned some things that I would have never known if I weren't in this hobby. History education here is pretty Euro-centric, which is of course logical but sometimes a bit sad because you miss a lot of historical events that have taken place in foreign countries. One of these events is the Anglo-American war of 1812.
I can't remember it has been even mentioned with a single word during my history lessons in school. Everything was just concentrated on Napoleon and his invasion in Russia, the war in Spain and the Prussian reforms.
I must confess that I have never even noticed about the Anglo-American war of 1812, but I was very happy to find out that US uniforms and even the equipment of the US army looked pretty much the same as the uniforms and equipment of their opponents.

So I've built this little vignette here...

Everything is handpainted on these old, slightly modified ESCI figures. Oh - and I have not cheated, the flag is also painted from the backside.

Here's a frontal close-up:

Well... I found some very interesting ideas for the future. Maybe I'll put a higher focus on that war theatre in the future. That means after I've finished all the other projects I currently have.
I'm still working on the other stuff I mentioned in my last posting but at the moment, most energy goes into supporting my wife who plans to start an own business soon

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Hello Germany!

Note down: Welcome to the 100st visitor from Germany!

Ah - thank you so much for visiting my blog and enjoying my humble works.
Well, I know that these figures from Strelets' Prussian staff set are not painted in the best way possible. I painted them more than a year ago and I think one might notice that since then, I have improved my abilities a little bit.

At least I've finished some figures in the meantime. There are some new entries in the ranks of my Strelets British staff set (look here: and I have added a new hussar version made by using the HaT Prussian 1806 hussars set ( Again, I must confess that I'm not happy with the quality of these photos. I have still not found a good place and lighting to make some shots that clearly show all the shading I've brought onto the figures. But the dull moulding mistakes that one cannot remove from the figures is always to be seen of course... it sometimes makes me sick. Well - I'm sure that time will show me an answer to that problem sooner or later. Let's stay optimistic, hum?

I also put some add-ons to my long term pre-1812 French uniform thread on Bennos' forum (, introducing some varieties for the Grand duchy of Cleve-Berg (a Confederacy of the Rhine member state). I'm currently working out a concept on how to base all these single figures in a way that brings them together in a more presentable way. At the time I'm finished with that, I'm going to put all these figures onto my blog as well.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Distraction en miniature...

Hello folks!

Just returned from the figure trade show in Herne. I bought nothing so special - mainly new hussars and HaT pre-1812 French infantry for my long-time projects. I swapped some figures with Paul who brought me some good stuff for future convertions. Thanks, mate!
So finally I've got a full set of Strelets French hussars. Wow - there are some great dynamic poses in that set. And - because it was a bargain - I got myself a set of Strelets French curassiers as well. Of course I will not paint them in French colours... ;-)

So let me introduce you: dwarfen hussars and gnomish heavy plated cavalry!

They'll soon show up in a painted version. I'm really excited about these sets.

Well... I dunno if this phenomenom is known to all of you. Maybe I'm just the only one who lets himself go with all the nice ideas and projects one could create. I see so many cool new figures on other peoples' blogs. Especially Peter ( and Paul ( are so damn fast in publishing new, great painted figures that I sometimes ask myself how these guys manage to perform in such a way.

I currently feel a bit disappointed about the fact that I let myself being distracted so quickly. The only thing I finished this week was a horse guard messenger from the Strelets allied staff set (see here: It's not that I hadn't got any time at all - it's just that I wasted it on looking endlessly for uniform patterns on the web, painting a bit this and a bit that... Once I had started them, I want at least to finish the rest of the British staff figures I liked the most, but this now leaves me with 9 unfinished figures... another started, but unfinished project: the Wurttemberg grenadiers...

Plus the nearly finished Cleve-Berg infantrymen, a 40% finished Saxon pre-1808 hussar, a Prussian lancer that derived from the Brunswick lancers, a fantasy priestress, a French mounted officer, a Wurttemberg mounted horse artillery sergeant, the reaper, some Highland musicians and a flagbearer for the scottish officer of the Strelets set. A lot of different things which lay on my desk and scream for attention...

I'm feeling as I will never manage to finish all this work simply because of lacking enough time and relaxation to paint them all. Am I alone with this problem? Am I doing something wrong? Do you have any advice for me?