Saturday, December 31, 2011

Einen guten Rutsch und alles Gute für 2012! (or in English: Happy New Year!)

So that's what we wish each other in the last hours before the new year starts and the old one passes into the history files.

For me, it has been a very mixed year with high rises, very deep falls, interesting opportunities and many good hobby sessions, meetings with forum collegues (live or via chat) and again with the experience that a good, strong family can compensate a lot if life goes odd.

A picture of the mignight fireworks in the skies above Dortmund, shot from higher altitude.
This picture is some years old, but it still stands representative for how all cities of the Ruhrgebiet, including the one I live in, will look like at 0:00 tonight. ;-)

Thanks to you all for coming to this place! I wish all my followers, my collegues-in-painting, all friends and family a nice, happy and healthy year 2012!

And while I'm preparing tonights' party, I'm already minding about the next things on my painting list... ;-)


Welcome to the 100st visitor from Spain! Thank you for coming into this small place which is filled with my humble work (at the time I place this posting, it's actually 99 Spanish visitors on the counter, but on the one hand I'm gonna be offline for the rest of the day and on the other hand I intend to 'close the year' in some way).

Well – I've prepared something when I recognized that the amount of Spanish visitors was on the rise. I also wanted to base the whole group of figures, started with another couple of figures – and then, again, the world went upside down.

My oldest son brought a pneumonia back from Kindergarten. He suffered badly for a few days but, as children mostly do, god bless them, he felt better quickly. Not so did I – everything was prepared for a nice, calm christmas with family and friends, but instead it was two days laying on couch and bed for me. After having some days of rest and lots of antibiotics, I'm feeling better again, which does not mean that I again feel fine or fit.

So basing the whole group didn't happen yet. Another thing that I have to do later.
But it's not the only figure group that requires basing until next FIGZ...

Now here they are, Spanish infantry...

...but wait? What are they? Aren't that French uniforms? Aren't they in white and green?

Yes, they are. It's a representation of the regiment Joseph Napoleon.
No, this is no offense. And yes, I like Spain very much. Been there. ;-) 

Let me explain what happened. As I posted somewhere before, I'm doing a long-term project on Bennos' forum: This project is all about painting every variety of the typical pre-Bardin French uniform. This uniform style was worn by armies all over Europe, not only by the French themselves. Spain, Italy, eastern European and German states – the number of possible varieties is enormous. So technically, the HaT set 1808-1812 French Line Infantry includes more than 150 units from all over Europe... it's all in your brush!

I wanted to come forward with this project, while still being able to present some '100 welcome' credit figures. That's not a problem for the French or the Italians, but for the Spanish... I started to find some adequate Napoleonic Spanish infantry, but the Odemars figures were not very convincing. HaT has not released their Spaniards yet, nor was I able to get a test shot from them. 

Well – I made some research and stumbled accross the regiment Joseph Napoleon, recruited from Spanish prisoners of war, a unit with Spanish command language that saw service in various battles from Spain to Germany until 1813. You can read more about the regimental history here:
One could say that this is the only Spanish military unit that served in all major European war theatres until the end of 1813. You can place this unit in almost every major battle - very versatile for the wargamers, I think.

Apart from the usual headswaps that come along when you try to represent different regiments with this HaT set (for example the officer, the drummer, some of the fusiliers) I had to modify the shako plates. First I carved off the original plates and replaced them with new ones that I had carved out of my usual paper tissue/wood glue mixture. 

I hope you all enjoy this little setup of figures!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Another Wurttemberger

I've managed to finish another conversion - see more in the update of my recent Wurttemberg heavy cavalry threat:

They already make up quite a nice troop, don't they? 

Friday, December 2, 2011

Aussie Oi!

Hey, my fellow visitors from down under - I did certainly not forget you!

Well - while doing this and that paintjob, I looked at my flagchart once in a while and for a long time, the new visitors from Australia came in in a constant, but rather small way. So when I saw that since number 90 almost every or at least every second day a new Australian visitor arrived, I began to panic.
I made a lot of research, but found nothing but generally of British look for the Napoleonic period. Which was, of course, only historically logic. But I refused to do some WW1/2 stuff, it's simply not my sort of business.

And here's the solution. This is my contribution for the 100st new visitor from Australia and all that came in before and after him/her. One of the famous Australian lancers that fought in the Boer campaign in South Africa.

This set is from Strelets ( It contains a dozend of nicely done figures plus some really great horse poses. I like this set very much, although I will not paint all of them. I have currently chosen four figures and horses (the other riders are still in a 20% status) which will make up a nice and liveful little vignette later on.

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?


Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween!

Who carves out little things out of little things, can also handle something bigger, eh? Muahahaha. Enjoy this day and don't forget to have some giveaways for all those creepy little monsters that will haunt your house this evening.

I've been a bit busy in the last week, so I was only able to bring some things into preparation phase. I'm currently working on a bigger group of Wurttemberg grenadiers for a small dio. I also have three figures from HaT's 1806-1812 French infantry set on my desk which I'm painting in the colours of Cleve-Berg infantry (a Rhine confederation state). And I'm of course also continuing to paint figures from Strelets' great Napoleonic staff sets. By the way - to make the welcome for my British guests a bit warmer, I've added some figures to

And next weekend, it's shopping time! The Figurenbörse (figure trade show) in Herne starts - a figur trade event right next door... who could resist?

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

A possible conversion: Wurttemberg light horse

Well - as I recently painted the test shots of HaT's forthcoming Wurttemberg mounted riflemen, I looked for all the other cavalry troop types that fought during the Napoleonic wars. Wurttemberg, although not even one of the biggest players of the German states allied with France, had a complete range of the typical common troop types of this era in their service. So if anyone states the new HaT set as 'Wurttemberg cavalry' in general, he's wrong. The cavalry branch of the Wurttemberg army contained also light horse regiments, dragoons, life guard mounted riflemen, garde du corps cuirassiers and mounted grenadiers.

The uniform that the mounted riflemen wear is pretty close to the standard uniform type of the infantry. So from their design, they don't fit for a conversion into garde du corps or mounted grenadiers. The uniforms would fit with the dragoons, but they were equipped with a sort of special shakos typical for Wurttemberg. It's the same type that is worn by the riflemen from the HaT Wurttemberg infantry set - but unfortunately these figures are smaller than the newer cavalrymen, so headswapping is no option at all.

Let's face it - the only possible conversion are the light horse regiments. There were two of them - I decided for the 2nd regiment. The first regiment would be equally equipped, but their cuffs, collars and outer breast line (or total breast, if painted in a pre-1810 version of the uniform) would be in yellow colours.

Okay. The first thing to be changed are the horses, because the sattlecloth differs a lot from the ones that the mounted riflemen had. At first, you must carve off the tips of the sattlecloth so that their right side goes straight upside down. Here is a photo comparing the saddlecloth from the original horses (right side) with the conversion (left side):
Don't mind the light blue - the right horse will be painted in colours of Wurttemberg horse artillery. As you can see, the saddle itself is layed on top of the saddlecloth and the light horse regiments had pistol pouches as well. Both are made out of simple toilet paper - just take a stripe of toilet paper (unused, for the clowns among you!) and dip it into wood glue. When dryed out, they get almost as hard as plastic, but remain a little bit flexible. Cut out the required shapes with a scalpel, then bend them a bit until they fit onto the horse and glue them onto it. Wait a few hours until everything has perfectly hardened and then just paint the whole thing.

Edit: here are some pictures of how I made the officers' horse which might display the whole thing a lot better.
This is the basic horse taken from the HaT Wurttemberg cavalry set. The first necessary step is to remove the tips of the saddlecloth and flatten the frontal part of the saddlecloth a bit. Then we take the pistol pouches and saddle modifications that we have made out of the dried and hardened paper/glue mix:

...and attach them to the horse...
...followed by prepainting the whole assembly in light grey.

Now we've got the horse, we can start with the riders.

At first, you may have - for example - a look at,107-.html. As you can see, the relevant differences between mounted riflemen and light horse cavalry are the boots and the helmet decorations. The boots are simply done by cutting off the plumes and the outher rim of the original boots and solve the rest with paint. For the helmets, a bit of creativity is needed.
Starting with the officer, you must carefully carve off the caterpillar at the line where it is connected to the crest. Then carve off the crest and glue the caterpillar onto the helmet again. In the same way, you create officer helmets for the mounted riflemen as well. Add a plume. Done.

The plumes are also made with toilet paper and wood glue - dip a piece of toilet paper into the glue, then roll it between your fingers until it has the right size and shape, let it dry out and glue it onto the helmet.
The officers wore a sash. Fill the spaces along the waist belt with flat parts of the toilet paper/wood glue basic plate from which you took the extra saddle parts. Glue them onto the figure and continue with painting (Wurttemberg sashes were silver with black and red wires in it).

Here's the result:

Btw - the procedure concerning the caterpillar is also suitable for converting the riders into mounted horse artillerymen. But let's stay to the light horse for now. The ranks have different helmets with horse tail decoration instead of the caterpillars, while the crests remain. So carve off the caterpillar. Take a thin layer of toilet paper, rip it carefully off from the complete sheet, so that the outer rim has an uneven look and put glue onto the whole thing. Bend it a bit so that the whole result looks at least a bit lively and finally glue it onto the crest. Don't forget to add a plume.

Now it's time to put the rider onto his horse. As the complete saddlegear in now a bit wider than the original figure was, you need to spread the legs of the riders a little bit. You can either do that befor printing (maybe by putting the figure into boiling water for a minute and then reshape it) or just spread the figures' legs a bit by force, then put the figure onto the saddle and let the legs snap back.

The result would then look like this:

E voila - chevau léger! A really colourful addition to every Wurttemberg army, made with only a little additional work. The saddlecloth for the officer is the same, apart from the colours, because the officer would have a big silver stripe with red outer lining instead of the thick red stripe that the ranks had.

Edit: I just finished the officers' horse, so here's the completed result:

And both of them together:

Well - there's still a trumpeter missing, isn't it? I just dropped the Wurttemberg horse artillery idea. I probably rather add the missing trupeter here, as soon as I find an arm with a trumpet for doing the conversion.

I hope you enjoyed todays' show!

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Britain hurray!

Ah - I'm back from a week of vacation at the Northern Sea with my family. The weather was 80% great, the kids had their fun and me - well, I took along a pack of HaT Wurttemberg infantry, but our appartment had the most annoying lighting I've ever seen. There was no room in which I found enough light in order to have some painting fun at all! Unbelievable!

At least, I managed to make some headswaps (all marching fusiliers turned into grenadiers) and do some prepainting. But as it was not what I have planned, I'm somewhat happy to be back at home.

I even was without a constant internet access for more then a week now, but I have noticed that in the meantime, I had the 100st visitor from Great Britain on my blog. Wow - that's really great!
So this one here is especially for you (although I hope it wouldn't offend people from Wales or Scotland ;-)) - with a big Hurray for good old Britain!

To be honest, I wanted to paint these figure anyway. It's from the Strelets set 011 Allied chiefs of staff. This set contains a number of Austrian and British officers. Due to a lucky catch on Ebay, I got at least the British part of this set which is currently very rare and seldom to be seen.

Update October, 31st:
Well... for the Scots among you:

What news might he bring? (horse guard staff sergeant)
Well - where the heck are our guns? (horse guard trumpeter and horse artillery sergeant)
And here are some more...

Okay - here's the rest of it. The guy with the overdimensioned hand is the infantry officer that by definition of Strelets holds a waving flag. But as this flag is much too small to prevent looking hilarious, I simply cut it off. Interesting is that on the photo, this guy seems to peer - this seems to depend on the angle from which you look to the figure.

So what's up with the rest?
Uxbridge and the table were missing when I bought these figures on ebay. Cotton looks ridiculous, as does Hill (in the latter case, the two halfs of his face don't match which gives him a quite odd look). I also don't like the Wellington figure. Picton will be needed for a different object because of his gentleman-like look and I'm not sure what to do with the generals that normally are intended to hang around the (not available) table.
So at this time, I'd say this is it and close this project... for now.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Sneak preview 3 - HaT Wurttemberg cavalry

Hello again!

After writing the article about the Prussian hussars and Brunswickers, I decided that the Wurttemberg cavalry is worth it's own threat. Why? Because they make up a much better appearance when painted. Honestly, I think that the Wurttembergers are really better stuff then the rest, although they share some of the problems of the other sets (regarding horses, arms, weaponry etc.). Those men are representing the Wurttemberg chasseurs a cheval and therefore are so to say light cavalry. The other types of Wurttemberg cavalry were dragoons, cuirassiers and chevaux leger.
An interesting thing about them is that their uniforms have not changed during the entire Napoleonic era, except from replacing the helmets with shakos around 1814.  So the only difference between the colours were either fully coloured breasts or breasts were only the outer lines were coloured different then the rest of the uniform.

So what we have here, are a trooper and a trumpeter from the regiment Herzog Louis in their 1812 outfit. 

As far as I know, those are the ones that will be seen on the box art. The second possible unit that can be created with theses figures, is the regiment Koenig. The third chasseur a cheval regiment was the regiment Prince Adam, which can't be done with this set because it was founded past 1814 and at that time, the Wurttemberg army was no longer equipped with caterpillar helmets, but with somewhat unique shakos.
So this is a trooper of regiment Koenig, 1812:

I don’t know if a different artist was responsible for creating these figures. They simply look a bit better, although their faces aren’t high class, too. Oh - the horses look quite the same. They match quite much with the Brunswicker horses, except from the saddlecloth.
What is interesting about the horses is that the sculptor seemingly had a problem with the horse gear. The snaffle has a lace which goes from in front of one ear to the other side. This is correctly done on the left side of the horses’ head – but for some strange reason it is missing on the other.

So after looking at the list of different Wurttemberg cavalry units, I decided to try some conversions. The dragoons were just impossible, because they wear a special sort of shakos that I haven’t seen on other figures except from the HaT Wurttemberg infantry jaegers, but unfortunately, their heads are too small for swapping.
For the start, I tried out the Chevaux leger. At the moment, I already finished a trooper and an officer, but for the latter I still haven't finished the horse, because the saddlecloth and equipment for chevaux leger units looks far different and requires at least some basic sculpting work. I'm also working on an example for Wurttemberg horse artillery - so the conversions will be seen in a different posting. 

CU then!