Monday, April 23, 2018

16th United States line infantry regiment

Hi folks, here I am again!

As I'm currently working on some gardes d'honneur, I like to show you something rather unusual in the 1/72 plastic business - that means at least here in Germany where I live. When we Euros here '1812', most of us think about Napoleons invasion in Russia, that bloody campaign that cost hundreds of thousands European soldiers their lives. Probably we also think about the Pensinsular war in Spain. What most of us don't even consider is that far in the West, there was also a war going on - the 'war of 1812'.

For figure painters and wargamers, this scenario has one big advantage: you need only British figures. US-American and British-Canadian uniforms were in most cases (except some militia units and some unique regiments like the Canadian Voltigeurs) nearly the same. Which is especially the case in a small scale like 1/72 where you wouldn't be able to recognize the differences anyway.

So - I bought me a box of Strelets marching British infantry. It did me a favour especially because it has a flagbearer with a banner flying brightly in the sky - great for painting it whatever you like. After looking at the uniform posters, I decided to go and paint these figures with the uniform colours of the 16th US line infantry regiment. Hope you enjoy the pictures. 

For many of the early war US units, the old stove-pipe-shako would be the choice of  the day. So have a look onto the uniform posters to find out which unit wore which sort of shako at which time. In addition, some regiments changed jacket colours during the war - for example starting with a brown jacket early in the campaign, later switching to a grey one. For this unit, the Belgian shako fits just fine.
The backside of the troop. In the middle, you can see troopers wearing the blue coated backpack. I wonder if there was a consistent regulation on that matter, because on the basis of looking to uniform plates, paintings and reenactor pictures, I couldn't find out which units wore the black backpack, the covered one, even several sorts of backpacks seemed to have been used, some with coat on top of them, sometimes slung around, sometimes I saw no coat at all... pretty confusing.
The Strelets figures do a real good job, I like them a lot. The only thing about them are the muskets - they're still a wee bit too thick to look fine.
By the way - I found several examples that officers wore blue uniforms while the ensigns and the troopers wore the distinctive colours of the regiment.
I still have a couple of British infantry figures on my desk - which means that I will show you a couple of colour variations in a future blogpost. For sure.

See you next time!





Saturday, March 24, 2018

Strelets Highlanders standing at ease

Okay - finally, I've finished my little vignette of Highland infantry standing at ease. Here come the boys...
Okay. Looks good from the distance. A little bit closer please...

...just a little bit closer please...

    
Perfect. Thanks.
So here they are. Scots of the 78th regiment ('ross-shire buffs'). I think that Strelets has done a very good job on these chaps. Really nice figures.
Here are some close-ups. The figures themselves are reasonably detailed. I know that the backpacks have side pouches which are historically not correct. Plus the muskets are a field of business where the sculptor still has to do some practice - personally, I think they look too thick, more like arquebuses. But apart from that, there's nothing wrong with these figures.
Here's a pic from the backside. Although it was pretty time-consuming to paint this small bunch of infantry, it was worth the efford. I thought that a group of highlanders like these would look absolutely stunning and I didn't get disappointed. The result is an addition to my collection that makes me very, very glad.





Friday, March 16, 2018

Did I...?

Hi there!

Did I already show you these?


Skirmishing Austrian Hussars from Franznap. Really nice figures. Plastic figure producers tend to make cavalry units in full charge - but that was, especially in case of the light cavalry, not their exclusive role on the battlefield. Hussars were mainly used for patrol and scout duties, as well as skirmishing. Therefore, these poses here show a very realistic approach to these chaps.

Friday, March 2, 2018

Short notice: a desk full of miniatures...

Phew. Pretty busy I am. Not much time for painting I have. Bad this is.😀

My desk is currently filled with lines of soldiers. In fact, I'm trying to brush up at least the half of my Strelets Scots in order to have enough figures for a small vignette. Very time consuming because of all these details. To give you a little highlight, I decided to show you the flagbearer and the bagpiper - two really great figures.
A bit lesser spectacular, nonetheless being nice figures, are the line infantrymen of Baden. I have a couple of these figures here, they're from Franznap who makes astonishingly great miniatures. In fact, these figures were lying here for a year or so. Time to have them completed. Here's three of them as a small preview.
It's that sort of business that I usually don't like - painting larger numbers of figures of the same sort bores me out very quickly, especially because painting sessions become 'paint 12 backpacks in grey, anthrazit and black and then turn to paint a dozend plumes'-sort of thing. Well. I started it. Must finish it.

I hope to present you the completed results soon.




Friday, February 16, 2018

Austrian Ulans

I just noted that I have a few things that I have in my cabinet which haven't been posted here.
One of these are Austrian Ulans from Franznap which actually were a gift from Francesco Messori, the artist who has sculpted these figures.

There were several regiments of Ulans in the Austrian army during the Napoleonic era. Lancers were actually pretty popular among many European armies of that time. As light cavalry, they fulfilled many roles. Therefore, these chaps were not only equipped with lance and sabre, but also with firearms.

The main difference between the Ulan regiments was the colour of the Czapka helmets. The depicted regiment, No.2 (Fuerst [sovereign] zu Schwarzenberg), had Czapkas in green colours.
The set contains four mounted figures. The weapon arm - in one case the lance itself - are delivered separately, which makes the fixing of the flag easier. Taking into account the many different poses that can be achieved by attaching different arms in different positions and mounting different figures on different horses, you can create a really huge cavalry force in which every rider looks somewhat different.

Personally, I don't like to paint cavalry too much - it it more time consuming then painting infantry, painting horses gives me the creeps. Nevertheless, I can only say that these are magnificient miniatures. Easy to paint, highly detailed.
For the wargamer records, this is a unit that can be used for many scenarios. One squad fought at Austerlitz, the regiment at Essling, Aspern and Wagram. During the 1813/14-campaign, it fought at Hanau, St.Croix, Brienne, Troyes, Bar-sur-Aube and Arcis-sur-Aube. It was not in battle in 1815.


Saturday, February 10, 2018

Boston Hussars

When I read about the configuration of the US army from the period of the 1812 war, I was surprised to read that it consisted far more of infantry then the European armies did. Actually, the regular army only had around two regiments of dragoons and that was it. Most cavalry units on the US side came from the state militias and, again, that cavalry mainly consisted of dragoons. Boston, located at the Massachusetts Bay, at that time was - according to the 1810 census - the 4th largest city of the United States of America with a population of around 34000 people. Massachusetts obviously had a style of it's own - among the units that they sent into battle, was the only Hussar unit that participated in the war of 1812 on the US side.

The Hussars of Boston were equipped in 1810 in a sort of mixture of Prussian-hussar and French guard-hussar style by Josiah Quincy and were formed as elite militia cavalry. This unit existed until 1818, but it didn't see much of a battle as far as I have read. But the Hussar phenomenon wasn't over then - there were four other regiments that existed in the US army system - the Georgia Hussars for example existed until 1867.



I first discovered the Boston hussars on a unitorm page on www.theminiaturespage.com among the units of the Massachusetts militia. For a while I tried to convert other hussar miniatures, but always found that there were some features that were simply differing too much from European hussar uniforms & equipment in order to be replaced or imitated just by converting and mixing some European hussar figures. Next step was the try to re-model the required parts with greenstuff, but after all, even that proved impractical.



I finally became convinced that it would be the wisest way to make a complete new figure by. scratch - unfortunately, I'm a total loser when it comes to figure modelling. So I contacted the guys at www.hagen-minatures.de and placed my very first order for a brand new figure. The master can be seen on http://historyin172.blogspot.de/2017/06/a-boston-hussar-1812.html - it has been created by Massimo Costa. If you like to have one, you can order the Boston Hussar miniature at Hagen's shop.



That uniform colour in addition with the other features makes a splendid little miniature. It wears the great dress - but with a sharp scalpel you could easily cut away all that decorating stuff on the trousers in order to switch it to the field dress look. I'll do that with one of my Boston hussar figures in a while. ;-)






Monday, January 15, 2018

Some impressions: Strelets Brits'n Scots

Hello and all the best wishes for 2018 to you all!

Today I want to show you what keeps me busy at the moment so that my posting ratio has plummeted to the bottom.
It's the new Strelets British line infantry (on the march) and the Highland infantry (standing at ease). I bought both sets to try them out and see if the new generation of Strelets figures is really that nice as it looked on the web.


Trooper, modified to US infantry for the war of 1812


One thing is for sure: the figures have improved a lot. Some years ago, Strelets figures had a bad reputation among many miniature painters. They often lacked correct proportions and moulding quality often wasn't that good, resulting in figures that had 'unequal' sides. When I bought their knights, I often ended up with rather goblinesque or two-face-like miniatures. Every set contained a handful of rather useless figs. But that's not the case with these chaps here. Sculpting quality has improved hell of a lot - these Brits look better then many other plastic figures on the market.

This uniform represents the 16th line infantry regiment


I mainly bought the British infantry to convert them into various US infantry uniforms for the war of 1812. It's easy because the uniforms are generally the same - cut off the epaulettes, reshape the shako plate and cords a bit and there you go. Backpacks can be converted to the blue overcoat version, but mustn't. All that easy. And the uniforms contain a wide range of grey, black, brown and blue. Nice.

Here's another conversion for the war of 1812

It's a trooper of the 15th US line infantry regiment


The only issue I have with those figures, are the muskets. In some cases, they look a bit arquebus-style. That's were Strelets still have to learn a bit - make them guns a bit more slender and everything is fine.

A trooper of the 78th Highland Regiment
Called the "Ross Shire Buffs", the regiments companies fought in various war theatres

The Scots, in fact, are a challenge of their own. The figures - again with the musket issue, but in lesser numbers, are quite splendid. I like that modelling very much. But all these tartans... I mean - it's dozens of figures in tartans. It'll take me a real long time to finish all of these buddies. This one here is complete, 14 others are on 70%, but the rest isn't even primed...
...any condolences? No? Blimey....

You can use that regiment for Egypt, Walcheren, Java and - as far as I know it - Waterloo
Whatever. It's fun painting them and hopefully, I'll live long enought to get them finished, so what?

Happy new painting year, friends!