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 http://empire.histofig.com/-Cavalerie,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!


  1. A great conversion!
    Best regards

  2. Great ideas! Thanks for the tutorial.

    I may well try the chevaux-leger conversion when I get my hands on a set.