French Naps on Flickr

I've posted my old Napoleonic French army on Flickr for those that are interested

I certainly need to take the pictures again with a higher resultion as I had difficulty recognising some units.

Also the Bavarians/Wurttemberg units are missing


Hessian Grenadiers

As I mentioned in my previous post on the Hessians I planned to add one last foot unit of grenadiers and here they are. When I first got the Zvezda GNW Russian figures I was unsure about how I would use the grenadier figures, but they turned out to be just the job for the Hessians.

I'm off to Fiasco this weekend and hopefully I'll pick up some more Strelets cavalry figures for the period, although I wish Zvezda would produce some.


Vorwarts - Prussian Parade

As mentioned earlier I thought it was about time to review my Napoleonic Prussian army. It totals of 1,165 figures and the infantry are dominantly Springwood hard plastics. Most of the army is over 30 years old, but odd units have been added over the years as new figures have been produced.

Originally I started out with a pair of typical 1813 infantry brigades each composed of a regiment each of Line, Reserve and Landwehr. to this was added a Guards regiment and a grenadier Battalion. subsequently various oddments have been added.

Above is a typical brigade, front row is three half battalions of deployed light troops, one for each regiment plus jaegers, these are soft plastic mostly HaT. Second row is a Line Regiment with two Musketeer Bns and a Fusilier Bn (all first edition Springwood), next the Reserve regiment with the same structure (second edition Springwood British LI figures). ; Finally 4 Bns of Landwehr (second edition Springwood)

Above, the second brigade with almost identical composition to the 1st brigade. The reserve regiment this time is made from 2nd edition Springwood Prussian Infantry figures.

The odds and sods brigade, the lights are Lutzows and Volunteer Jaeger. The next row is the Guard and Grenadiers. Behind is another line regiment plus an unattached Bn, Finally a couple of line Bns made up of mixed Revell/Springwood figures, an extra Springwood Landwehr Bn and a very old Airfix Landwehr Bn.

My Landwehr cavalry, the front four units are recently produced, the rear pair are Airfix Cuirassier conversions

From Left to right, 4 units of hussars, 2 of dragoons and 2 of cuirassiers (all Airfix conversions)

To the right of the cuirassiers are newer units - the majority of the artillery is all Hat figures (these replaced older Airfix conversions) the only old unit left is behind the cuirassiers. The limber teams more Airfix conversions. The units are a couple of units of dragoons (HaT) backed up by a mounted and foot unit from Lutzows Freikorps.

The next couple of pictures are for the Hinton Hunter

The commanders of my Prussian corps are none other than Blucher and Gniesenau (both Hinton Hunt figures) The other assorted dismounted commanders are by Strelets (a combined set with Russian commanders)

One of the brigade commanders is a well used Hinton Hunt Prussian general

Overall Assessment

Certainly fit for another 30 years, the real gap is commanders, with the exception of the Hinton Hunts all of them need replace/upgraded. Looking across the scale of upgrading the basing is far too intimidating to consider at the moment. They are also due for an outing perhaps to try one of the new sets of napoleonic rules that are coming out


Last of the Prussians???

In theory these should be the last Napoleonic Prussians I need to paint(*). They certainly round off the the cavalry, which always understrength as no plastic manufacturer has ever produced Landwehr Cavalry. These are HaT Prussian Dragoons acquired recently as a trade on the Trading Department and painted up as Landwehr. One problem with using these is that it is not easy to add lances, the one I did add was to replace a broken sword.

The two units are the 1st Pommeranian (grey coats) and the 3rd Kurmark regiments based on my trusty Almark book on the Prussian Army by David Nash and backed up with information from the excellent Mont St Jean site.
* I think it's time for a Prussian parade to properly review the army, like I did with the French a while back, but on a forum that has since closed so I may repost it sometime.


Hussite Wagons

Here are the same wagons as used for the Poles, but in their original Hussite version. These are the original horse teams provided in the set.

the flags are from Alex's flags, then pick the Eastern/Northern European flags, then the Kingdom of Bohemia set. The ones I used were specifically signalling flags for use on the wagons, which are either red/white or green/black on opposite sides, not something I have come across before, so something to investigate when time allows.


Polish Tabor

At long last the wagons are finished,the reason for the delays were partly due to shorting out the basing for WRG 6th and then finding that I couldn't find any similar horses to the originals as I needed four horse teams rather than two horse teams. After much searching I found some old Imex ACW limber teams that were good enough. The barding on the horses is a matchstick and Slaters' planking concoction.
I also had a debate on whether to paint symbols/logos on the wagon hoarding, I decided to add a slot for flags instead so I could change them to go with ownership. I put the hoarding on the left for two and on the right for the other two, this is so I can cover the two flanks of the army.


D Day game next year

The player positions have been announced for next years big game and it's D=day and I'll be playing a German defender on Sword beach. The good news from this is that I will have very little painting to do as preparation. However I think I will take the opportunity to rebase some of my Germans in my new style.

To get a feel of what is involved look in a copy of the Rapid Fire D-Day supplement. (link)


Northumberland travels (3)

Yes, I'm safely back and already started on my October painting.

(Historical) high points of the last few days were another walk to Dunstanburgh on a rather damp but atmospheric day, certainly assisted by dropping in on the Ship Inn in Lower Newton on the way there and back, out of the selection of own brewed beers the Ship Hop Ale was my favourite, another great recommendation by Harry Pearson.
The next day was even wetter, so it was off to Warkworth, the Percy's second residence after Alnwick, It's a lovely old town dominated by the castle, which never gets mentioned in Kingmaker, just very soggy on the day we were there.
Our final day was gloriously sunny, but with a strong wind so we revisited Bamburgh twice, once by bike and again up the beach on foot.

We had debated stopping in Durham on the return, but settled for a short stop at Barnard Castle, named after Bernard de Balliol, quite an impressive castle overlooking a crossing of the Tees. The bit that amazed me was that it fell to rebels because its water supply was cut off, given it had a well, I wonder how this happened.

A lot of history in a short time, it was a shame that a number of sites had closed at the end of September, but there was still plenty to see and do. In general the weather was kind, so a successful "staycation".

More pictures on flickr for those who might be interested


Northumberland travels (2)

Now clearly in the ancient kingdom of Northumbria, not part of England until 1076. We cycled across to Lindisfarne on Sunday unfortunately with a tail wind, so it was heavy going on the return leg. While at Lindisfarne Priory It was interesting to learn that the remains of St Cuthbert were moved back to the island from Durham to avoid William the Conqueror's "harrying of the north".

Monday was a walking day along the coast from Alnmouth to Craster and back, so it involved another refreshment stop in the Jolly Fisherman, this time for crab soup and more black sheep. I should mention that the pub was recommended by Harry Pearson (Achtung Swinehund) in the Guardian a couple of weeks back (link) and I concur.
Today (Tuesday) was poor weather, so it was off to Berwick to do the town ramparts, unfortunately the barracks were only open until the end of September so I didn't get chance to visit the KOSB museum.

Then back south to Bamburgh castle, it's not EH, but was well worth a visit, it is a Victorian reconstruction, but still has the feel of the original and the Armstrong/Aviation museum is full of interesting items on engineering and local aviation history. My favourites were Lord Armstrong gun(s) and the items on German aircraft shot down. The state room also had some interesting arms and armour. Lord Armstrong seemed to be a typical Victorian engineer with lots of inventions to his name.


Northumberland Travels (1)

I'm now taking a few days off from painting to visit Northumberland and maximise my use of my English Heritage membership.

On the way up I spent most of the day revisiting three sites on Hadrian's Wall -Birdoswald, Housesteads and Chesters. Birdoswald was the only one I hadn't visited before but all three sites are better signed than in the past so interpretation is a lot easier.

I followed this with a day off cycling around Kielder reservoir and a quick visit to the battlefield of Otterburn, just a mile from our hotel, there was nothing of note except a couple of plaques and a Percy cross, seeing the ground did not help interpretation of the battle.

Next off to Corbridge to see the Roman town, quite a nice site museum with an interesting comment that lorica segmenta may have been used by some cavalry units. Then a side step to Hexham before Belsay castle and gardens. here the highlight was not the buildings but the sculpture by Stella Mccartney

On the way to our next stop on the coast it was into Alnwick for a quick look around, I didn't bother with the castle as it would have cost a fortune and it seems to be more like Harry Potterland. But I did find Barter Books a rather unusual second hand bookstore where I spent quite a while browsing the history section. Then on to Craster for the walk to Dunstanburgh castle and return to the local pub for crab sandwiches and a pint of black sheep.


Scottish & Flemish Pikemen

The Strelets pikemen are now finished and I have completed them as two separate groups, those from the Army of Wallace/Bruce sets I used for the Scottish pikes as many had a saltire or tartan. The others from the Medieval levy I used for the low countries with Brabant flags from warflag for the battle of the Golden Spurs 1302. The Scots The Flemings (in the background are the Scots and a few spare archers I finished)


Old Glory/Derby show

Managed to find a gap in my schedule to get across to Derby yesterday (Saturday). It was just as well as Dave was all alone to man both his book stall and the Lance & Longbow stand. As a result I didn't spend as much time looking around, plus my time was short as friends were coming over for dinner and I am chief chef!!.

Overall impression is that it is still a nice show, good lighting, enough room to move around and lots of friends to see. I admit that this time, nothing particularly struck my attention. I saw a number of items that I'll probably pick up at Fiasco in a months time, especially the Minimi tanks. I've been dithering over these for a while as they say they will cast a thinner base to order, so it is easier to remove.

Both the Battle of the Boyne game and Ste Nazaire games were impressive in scale, but something was missing, I'm not sure what it was, but usually I can find something aspirational in the modelling or game, but not this time? I really wanted to try the Trebbia and/or Granicus games by the SOA, but I never had time, shame

Expenditure was very moderate, the new Osprey on Cromwell in Ireland by Michael McNally (not a relation) and the Battleground book on Ramilles. Lots of temptation on the B&B, I succumbed to some more medievals by Miniart because they were cheap and I nearly bought more GNW stuff by Zvezda just because I wanted two packets (as a just in case) and I would have resold the rest. I was really pleased to see that they went to a safe home with Andy Callan.

Overall it was the opportunity to meet up with lots of other gamers that made it a great day out. Thank guys.


Commentary and criticism - plastic welding

Thanks for all the positive views about on my work expressed here, personally I feel that although my technique has improved over the years , my eyesight and brush control is not as good as it was. However praise is always gratefully received, as well as constructive criticism.

At times, I am asked how I achieve a particular effect, and wherever possible I will try and respond, but sometimes it is difficult and I admit to failing to respond on my plastic welding techniques for adding lances and poles to standard bearers. This is not due to lack of interest or desire to share knowledge, but rather the difficulty of defining a very subjective technique.


Adding a metal lance/pole is tricky as the metal has to be warm enough to melt the plastic but only as such as it will rapidly harden back again again around the pole. This is dependant on three/four factors:
  • The thickness of the metal pole - if it is to thin the heat rapidly dissipates and the plastic just melts without reforming over the pole (with or with out help) too thick and the plastic will just melt completely away from the pole, as a general rule thinner is better.

  • heating the relevant pole sections - it is difficult to old the wire without injury so I use a pair of pliers to hold the metal while heating in a candle while ensuring most heat is concentrated on the points of contact. A rule of thumb is a count of three is a weld and a five will cut.

  • adjusting the technique for the figures plastic - some figures have a much lower melt point such the Mars which causes major difficulty in getting the right heat into the wire. Some such as the new Italeri have the opposite effect and several attempts are needed before the pole is fixed in place

  • Finally there is physical assistance (with care) - if the pole is still warm (hot) it is possible to close the models hand securely around the pole. gentle pressure with small nosed pliers is often all that is needed.

Obviously taking photo's of the above in progress is far to risky.

Alternatives and other techniques

Welding plastic lances/weapons - sometimes it is not possible to use a metal lance/pike/pole because of the stance of the figure or the weapon can't be replaced by a simple metal rod. In these cases I either use:

  • Most recently Loctite super plastic, the two part starter and super glue set to fix the item in place.

  • or traditionally, positioning the weapon and then heating a pin (see below) in a candle running it along the join to fix the weapon in place.

The pin is firmly held in a pin vice so that it is easy to (use just like a brush) I also use it as a means of "removing flash" then heating it and then runing it along the moulding line


On the workbench - October 09

Since I plan to be away for part of the month I have a slightly less ambitious plan!
  • Firstly to finish all the medieval levy/pikemen, just a couple more colours and I'll be onto basing
  • Then the Hussite wagons, this has been dragging on a bit as I wanted to make the wagons flexible enough to use for both Ancients and Renaissance, the Polish versions also needed a four horse barded team and I couldn't find anything suitable to start with. However I now have a clear plan so they should progress quickly from now on.

Onto the new and a change from Medievals/Irregulars (well almost)

  • Napoleonic Hungarian Insurrection Infantry - using up the HaT Brunswickers
  • Stakes for the Medieval Archers
  • Napoleonic Prussian Landwehr cavalry
  • WSS Hessian Grenadiers
  • WSS Saxon infantry