Friday, July 3, 2015

Fife & Drum Fourth of July Sale

Spirit of '76 vignette, by Richard Ansell

To kick off the Fourth of July 2015 weekend, Fife & Drum Miniatures is offering a new 1776 Deal for our North American customers. Any orders for American Revolution (AWI) figures received before July 15th, 2015 will receive FREE SHIPPING and a 10% DISCOUNT for the entire order.

There are two ways to order:

1) place an order via e-mail to: and type the words "1776 Deal" on your email to receive the discount and free shipping.

2) place an order on the Fife & Drum website Fife & Drum Miniatures Web Site which creates an automatic Paypal order (however, I will have to refund your 10% discount via Paypal since our web shopping cart doesn't provide for discounts).

This offer is only good for customers in North America and applies only to the AWI figure and equipment range.

European customers can now order Fife & Drum figures directly from our UK-based distributor, Crann Tara Miniatures. This will save our Eurozone customers on customs duties and reduce the overall shipping charges. (NOTE: the 1776 Deal does not apply to orders placed with Crann Tara Miniatures).

Crann Tara Miniatures

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

New Minden SYW Personality Figures

(L-R) Zieten, Prinz Moritz of Anhalt Dessau, Fermor, and von Browne

Rear view of the first photo. Click the photos to enlarge.

Yes, we all know that Minden figures have "personality" and grace, but these latest figures from Richard Ansell are some of the best work that he has done to date. (You should also check out the personalities that he made for Crann Tara Miniatures, including the Duke of Cumberland!).

So I have painted von Zieten springing into action on the battlefield, Prinz Moritz of Anhalt Dessau serving in the Prussian army, General Fermor of the Russian army, and Marshal von Browne of the Austrian army.

All are available for sale now.

Monday, June 29, 2015

Fife & Drum SYW Austrian Artillery Equipment

Austrian 12-pounder and 4-wheel ammunition wagon and train driver. Click all pix to enlarge.

I spent the weekend painting samples of all of the new Fife & Drum Miniatures range of Austrian artillery equipment for the Seven Years War.  I also painted samples of all of the new Russian artillery and crew sets, which I will post on my blog later this week. Click or double click any of the pictures to enlarge the view.

The new product codes for the Austrian artillery equipment is shown below:

AE-031  Austrian artillery train driver (2)...$4.00  (without horses)
AE-032  Austrian train driver with horse,,,,,$6.00
AE-033  Austrian 3-pounder .......................$6.00
AE-034  Austrian 6-pounder........................$6.00
AE-035  Austrian 7-pound howitzer............$6.00
AE-036  Austrian 12-pounder..................... $7.00
AE-037  Austrian limber..............................$6.00
AE-038  Austrian4-wheel ammo wagon....$12.00
AE-039  Austrian 2-wheel ammo wagon.. $10.00

Other Useful & Related Minden sets
MA-017  Austrian artillery crew (4)........................$8.00

CIV-003  Civilian laborers/pioneers (4)...................$8.00

AE-008 Pair of limber horses w/ civilian driver.....$10.00
AE-018  Pontoon Wagon with pontoon..................$12.00
AE-017  Pair of pontoons.........................................$7.00

Austrian 2-wheel ammo cart, shown with one of the Minden Pioneer figures.

Austrian 3-pounder battalion gun, shown with Minden Austrian artillery crew.

Austrian 4-wheel ammo wagon shown with Austrian artillery train driver.

(L to R) Austrian 6-pounder, 7-pound howitzer (center) and 12-pounder.

Austrian 12-pounder with Minden Austrian artillery crew. The two figures in sleeveless waistcoats are from the Minden Pioneer figure set - they are quite versatile and make for good artillery labor (mattroses)


Sunday, June 28, 2015

Menzel Vignette by John Ray

Those of us who participated in the AMG game at Partizan this year received a bit of swag in the form of a pair of figures, made by John Ray, depicting a vignette found in the Menzel uniform plates of the Prussian army.

Here is the painted vignette:

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Battle of Kolin - After Action Game Report

Marshal Daun watches the cavalry melee from Krechor Hill.

On Saturday June 20, four of us gathered at Schloss Seewald to refight the Battle of Kolin, which was fought on June 18, 1757. Coincidentally, this is the same day of the month as Waterloo, which has been getting a lot of attention lately for some reason.

Initial battlefield set up with the Austrians on the left and the Prussians on the right. The village of Krechor is marked by the cluster of buildings with the church.

Going a bit out of character, I decided to be one of the Austrian players (gasp!) so that I could govern the arrival of various elements of the Austrian army. Bill P. took control of the Austrian right wing and the defense of Krechor village while I commanded the Austrian divisions of Wied and Sincere plus the Austrian cavalry reserve on the left wing. Keith L. and John B. played the Prussian commanders in the game.

Historically the Austrians outnumbered the Prussian about 53,000 troops to 34,000 Prussians and this can make a refight of Kolin a bit of a problem if the Austrians decide to attack the Prussians with everything they have. I have tried Kolin as a grand war-game featuring all of the troops in both armies, but was never satisfied with the way the game played out.

This time, I decided to focus the game on the Austrian right wing and their defense of Krechor village. A force of Croats, grenadiers and some Austrian light cavalry initially anchored the Austrian right wing, hoping to hold off the enveloping attack of von Hulsen's advance guard infantry and von Zieten's advance guard cavalry.

For this game, I experimented with a new rule: limited ammunition supply. Each infantry unit was allotted five rounds of musketry while the cannon had four rounds of ball and two rounds of canister. Each brigade of infantry also had its own ammunition wagon that it could use to replenish ammunition during the game. The supply wagon had a limited amount of musket, ball and canister so there was not an endless supply of ammo in the game. This rule produced an interesting result: players were not taking any useless gamey types of shots at the opponent because it would be a waste of ammunition. If you saw some cavalry on the other side of the table, you were not likely to fire off a round of shot in hopes of hitting one figure. You wanted to save that ammo for the close up work where it really counted.

Bill P. had the assignment to hold Krechor until the Austrian division of Wied could arrive.
Frederick's plan was to march around the Austrian right flank, as he had done at Prague a month earlier in May 1757, capturing Krechor village and then rolling up the Austrian right wing from their. So it follows that our game scenario started with the Austrian Croats packed into Krechor, trying to delay von Hulsen's Prussians long enough for the Austrian divisions of Wied and Sincere to arrive and head off Frederick's intentions.

In our game, the Austrian army consisted of the following elements:

Right Wing (near Krechor and the Oak Wood):

Independent command - Beck
   2 battalions Croats
   2 battalions converged grenadiers
   2 3pdr cannon

Nadasdy' Light Cavalry - Nadasdy
  2 regiments of hussars
  2 regiments of Saxon Cheveau Leger

Center (behind Krechor Hill):

Cavalry Brigade - General Serbelloni
  2 regiments of cuirassiers
  1 regiment of horse grenadiers
  1 regiment of Saxon cuirassiers

Wied's Infantry Reserve (on the march behind Krechor Hill, heading towards Krechor)
  4 battalions of Austrian infantry
  2 six-pound field artillery
Sincere's Infantry Division
  4 battalions of Austrian infantry
  1 three-pound cannon

Left Wing (near Pohbor Hill, just east of Krechor Hill)

Starhemberg's Infantry Division
  4 battalions of Austrian infantry
  2 12-pound cannons

Stampach's Cavalry Brigade
 2 regiments of cuirassiers
 2 regiments of dragoons

Total Austrian Forces:
12 battalions of Austrian infantry
  2 battalion of grenadiers
  2 battalions of Croats
16 battalions of infantry

  2 hussar regiments
  2 light dragoon regiments
  1 converged elite horse grenadiers
  5 cuirassier regiments
  2 dragoon regiments
12 regiments of cavalry

  3    3-pounders
  2    6-pounders
  2  12-pounders
  7  cannon

 Wied's division will start the game off-table and will be placed on the left-center area starting on Turn 2, deployed in march column.

Sincere's division will start the game off-table and appear in the center on Turn 4

Starhemberg's infantry and Stampach's cavalry of the left wing are out of sight behind the Pohbor Hill. In our game, we did not use Starhemberg's infantry division.

The Prussians
Prussian army on parade, before deployment.

The Prussian army consisted of 11 battalions of infantry, 10 regiments of cavalry, 4 12-pounders and 3 3-pounders.

Advance Guard Light Cavalry - von Zieten

2  regiments of hussars
3  regiments of dragoons

Advance Guard Infantry - von Hulsen
 4 battalions of musketeers
 2  12-pounders

Center Troops - Prinz Moritz of Anhalt Dessau

2 battalions of fusiliers
2 battalions of grenadiers
2 3-pounders

2 regiments of cuirassiers

Right Wing (refused) - Lt. General the Duke of Bevern
1 battalion of Guard infantry
2 battalions of musketeers
2  12-pounders

1 Garde du Corps cuirassier regiment
2 regiments of cuirassiers

I told the Prussian players that they could not commit Bevern's right wing into battalion for an unspecified number of turns. They could use the troops, but if they did, then 2 Austrian units of the same type would appear on the table opposite them. In truth, this was a complete ruse to keep Bevern inactive for awhile. I would not have added more Austrians to the table, but the deception worked.

Kieth L. (Bevern) sends his Prussian cavalry up the Kaiserstrasse.
The Battle Begins on the Prussian Left (Austrian Right)

Hulsen commenced the game deployed in line of battle in front of Krechor, determined to capture it from the Austrians. The wily Austrian commander, Bill P., stuffed both battalions of Croats into the village rather than splitting them up in penny packets or in separate battalions. This turned out to be a wise move as the Croats had more staying power and were not dislodged from the town. Bill P. placed his two grenadier battalions behind Krechor and in front of the Oak Wood, where they acted as a reserve to feed into the fight for the town.

Bill P. was very aggressive with the Austrian light cavalry (Nadasdy) and launched all of them east of Krechor towards the Kaiserstrasse, where von Zieten was lining up his Prussian cavalry.

On the Austrian right, Nadasdy's light cavalry make an aggressive move against Zieten's Prussian light cavalry and dragoon on the other side of Krechor.

Battle in the Centre - another cavalry scrum
The Austrians watched the Prussian cavalry march up the Kaiserstrasse, seemingly to support Hulson's attack on Krechor. Suddenly they wheeled to the right and began to trot towards the center of Krechor Hill, between Krechor on their left and Chozenitz on their right. As game designer, I really was not expecting this move, but in retrospect it made a certain amount of sense: there appeared to be no Austrians in the center so why not send your fastest troops, cavalry, into the gap and see what happens.

Bill P. countered the Prussian attack with his own brigade of heavy cavalry: 3 cuirassier regiments and one horse grenadier regiment. You can see this melee in the picture below. 

Prussian cavalry wheel right and attack Krechor Hill. Serbelloni's Austrian cuirassiers counter-attack. Result: melee!

Bill P. (left) - Austrian commander and Kieth L. (right) - Prussian commander  cross sabres in the center.

At the same time, Wied's division of Austrian regular infantry was beginning to arrive, marching from left to right in the picture below:

While the cavalry slug it out in the centre, Wied's Austrian division arrives to  help in the defense of Krechor against Hulsen's Prussian attack on the Austrian right.
 Several turns later, Sincere's divison of Austrians marched onto the table from the left, marching to the right to plug up the center of the Austrian position on Krechor Hill. Their arrival was quite timely as Prinz Moritz (Kieth L.) launched  a combined arms attack of cavalry and infantry to the right of Chozenitz as shown below:

Shortly thereafter, Sincere's division of Austrians arrive and deploy in the center between Chosentiz  and Krechor.
Sincere's Austrian division deploys in the center on Krechor Hill, and just in time with Prussians lurking on the horizan 

Meanwhile, back on the Austrian right, the fight for possession of Krechor village was ongoing

Nadasdy (Bill P.)began to gain the upper hand over Zieten (John B.) as the Saxon cheveau legers surged across the Kaiserstrasse.

An aeriel view of the Nadasdy's charge (photo courtesy of the Montgolfier Brothers)

While the Austrian cavalry were successful, so too were the Austrian defenders of Krechor. In fact, Wied had two battalions of infantry that were looking for something to do, so I had them march into Krechor to support the Croats and the grenadiers, who were close to running out of ammunition.

Beck's Independent Brigade of Croats and Austrian grenadiers seem to be holding Krechor village with relative ease.

Another view of the Austrian defense of Krechor. You can see some of the Saxon cavalry melee to the left of the church.
Slowly but surely, Nadasdy's Saxon cavalry pushes back Zieten's Prussian cavalry to the left of Krechor.
With the Austrian cavalry around Krechor victorious, it was now safe for the Austrian infantry to sally forth out of Krechor and take the attack to the Prussians and Hulsen.

And now the Austrians counter-attack out of Krechor village and push von Hulsen's Prussians across the  Kaiserstrasse
Action on Krechor Hill on the Austrian Left

The Prussian and Austrian cavalry surged back and forth in front of Krechor Hill as they did their minuet of battle. Neither side seemed to be gaining any edge in this clash of cuirassiers.

Bevern commits the Prussian right wing into an all out attack against Krechor Hill.  Austrian cuirassiers counterattack.

Some RSM Prussian cuirassiers fit quite nicely with the Minden figures.
Game Conclusion

At approximately 4:30PM we decided to call it a day. On the Austrian right flank, not only had they held Krechor, they were launching an offensive against Hulsen and Zieten that looked promising.

In the center, Wied had nothing to do for his two battalions of Austrian infantry, in front of the Oak Wood, so they turned left and marched back towards the center to counter a possible Prussian success on Krechor Hill.

Around Chozenitz (left center), Prinz Moritz's Prussians had routed two of Sincere's Austrian battalions and shot down the crews of the Austrian battery in that sector. Bevern's command had marched from the Prussian right wing and into and around Chozenitz so that they could join Moritz's infantry attack on Krechor Hill. This looked to be a draw in this sector, but it would have taken a couple more hours of fighting to determine a winner.

On the far left of the Austrian line, the two cavalry corps were also at a standstill. Unbeknownst to the Prussians, Starhemberg's infantry division was lurking behind Krechor Hill ready to stop any Prussian breakthrough. I elected not to use these troops in the battle since we only had four players and each player seemed to have more than enough troops to handle.

So we called it a stalemate, but the day was so companionable and sociable that we all went away feeling like winners. It was a great day to wargame.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

New Minden Russian Artillery Crew Pix

Russian artillery crew sets: Left group of four - MR-011 Loading Poses; and Right group of four - MR-012 Firing Poses

I completed the painting of the eight different Russian artillery crew for the SYW and posed them loading and firing the Fife & Drum Shuvalov Howitzer. In the future, any new artillery crew figures will be sculpted in a loading and a firing set.

Russian Artillery Crew Sets (4 figures, includes tool sprues)
Russian Artillery Crew w/tools – loading poses
Russian Artillery Crew w/tools – firing poses

Click on all pictures to enlarge the view.

MR-011 Loading a Shuvalov Howitzer

MR-012 Firing a Shuvalov Howitzer
Here are the product codes for the Russian artillery equipment:

Russian Shuvalov (Secret Howitzer)
Russian 6-pdr
Russian 12-pdr
Russian 12-pd Unicorn
Russian 2-wheel ammo wagon


Tuesday, June 16, 2015

On the Painting Table

Here are a few quick hit, rapid fire topics on my mind today:

Minden SYW Russian Artillery Crew: I am currently working on 8 of the new Minden SYW Russian artillery crew figures: four in loading poses and four in firing poses. These are fairly simple to paint as you only need red and black paint (plus some flesh color) for the figure. I started on them last evening, just a few minutes before midnight and made good progress over the next hour. I should be able to complete them tonight.

Austrian Cuirassier Regiment Anhalt Zerbst: Also on the painting table: a 12-figure squadron of Austrian cuirassiers - the Anhalt Zerbst Regiment, are nearly done save for a little bit of black highlighting (doesn't "black highlighting" seem like an oxymoron?). Alas, the second squadron will not be completed in time for our big Kolin refight next Saturday June 20th. Anhalt Zerbst Cuirassiers will eventually be 2 x 12 = 24 figures strong, but not this week.

An Interesting Blog Worth Checking Out: I stumbled across an interesting blog for a gentleman that has painted a few Minden SYW figures in his time. Click on the link and scroll through the archives to find other Minden painted figures.  .

One of the things that I liked in particular, was the method of basing shown in the blog photos. The figures are allocated over five bases, but on several of the bases, a virtual third rank of command figures has been set back from the second rank of marching figures. One extra figure marching behind each stand seems to produce an authentic looking infantry battalion on the march. All of this leads to the key question...

Is It Time to Rebase All of My Minden Infantry?  None of us like to rebase figures, particularly when the basing system already in use is pretty good looking in its own right. However, Raven's Minden pictures have really got me to think about doing the unthinkable, which is to rebase all of my infantry. I already have 30 figures in my battalions, similar to the Raven pictures, so I would not have to paint any additional figures to implement the rebasing program. I would keep the same 5 base battalion, but instead of having six figures on each base, I would have something like this:

Right flank base: 6 rank and file marching in two ranks plus a drummer in the third rank. Total = 7 figures.

Right of the command stand base: 4 rank and file figures in two ranks and an officer or NCO in the third rank acting as a file closer of sorts. Total = 5 figures.

Centre Command Stand: 4 rank and file figures in two ranks, two figures per rank, plus two standard bearers forming the third rank. Total = 6 figures.

Left of the command stand base: 5 figures deployed in the same manner as its righthand counterpart.

Left flank base: same as the right flank base with one drummer in the third row. Total = 7 figures.

At the moment I have 11 Prussian battalions and 10 Austrian battalions that would have to be rebased. So while the idea is rather daunting, I have not progressed so far in my army buildup so as to rule the idea out completely. Someone please talk me out of this nonsense.

I should probably do one test battalion first to see if I really like the idea enough to go through with the rebasing. One benefit is that I could squeeze the figures closer together and perhaps reduce the unit frontage, freeing up a little more game table space.

Next Game: Saturday June 20th - Battle of Kolin - we have five players for this version of Kolin that will focus mainly on the Prussian assault on Krechor village and the Oak Wood versus the Austrian divisions of Wied, Sincere and Starhemberg, plus lots and lots of cavalry. I might have to resort to playing the unfamiliar role of an Austrian commander so that I can have some control (as game master) over the release of Austrian infantry and cavalry units that are force marching from left to right. More on this later this week as we get closer to the game day.