Friday, August 31, 2007

Prussian Field Forge & Other Finds

Prussian Field Forge (#207/PR5) from Berlin Zinnfiguren

Der Alte Fritz loves to go shopping, and the other night he was searching the web site of the Berlin Zinnfiguren store and found a treasure trove of 30mm sized artillery pieces, limbers, pontoon and supply wagons, and this marvelous field forge for the Prussian army of the Seven Years War. I have seen pictures of these in some of my reference books, but had never seen one modelled. This little piece of art is a 30mm scale model that the store sells under the brand name Metallmodell and costs Euro 34.00 each. While that is not exactly cheap these days (approximately $46.30 at today's exchange rate of EUR1.00 = $1.36), where else is one going to find such a model? Der Alte Fritz saw it and knew immediately that he had to have one in his army. So faster than you can say "invade Saxony", he bought a field forge, two pontoon wagons and an assortment of cannon and limbers for his Prussian forces.

Prussian Pontonwagen (#207/PR6) from Berlin Zinnfiguren

The above picture depicts the pontoon wagon, circa 1760, that would have been used by the Prussian Pontonier-Corps for river crossings. These cost Euro 30.80 or approximately $42.00. Der Alte Fritz now has a pair of them in his army that will come in handy for some of the smaller river crossing scenarios depicted in the Charles S. Grant book on wargame scenarios. I believe that at least one of these scenarios has been detailed in one of Mr. Grant's Table Top Teasers that he has written for Battlegames magazine. By the way, if you haven't seen or read a copy of Battlegames, then you owe it to yourself to buy a copy and see for yourself what the good buzz is all about. Der Alte Fritz has been known to frequent the magazine from time to time and gives it his highest recommendation. Check the links section on the left hand side of this page for a direct link to Battlegames.

The Prussian bridging train was organizationally a part of the artillery corps and marched and trained with the heavy field batteries. The wartime establishment was only 53 people, giving us some indication of the lack of importance that Frederick may have given this unit. The pontoniers wore a fusilier style uniform and mitre cap. The pontoons were stored at Berlin, Magdeburg and Neisse and were very light weight, being made of thin sheet copper, according to Christopher Duffy. They came in handy during Frederick's crossings of the Oder River prior to the battles of Zorndorf (1758) and Kunersdorf (1759) against the Russians.

Der Alte Fritz's artillery corps will also be augmented by several 12 pounders, a 7 pound howitzer and a 10 pound howitzer. An interesting note about the 7 pound howitzer, which first appeared in 1758 in the Prussian artillery park: it was manufactured in such quantities that by 1762 every battalion was equipped with one of these. That being the case, I guess that I had better start collecting and painting 7 pound howitzers for battalion pieces in my SYW Prussian army. Isn't shopping a wonderful way to pass the time?
By the way, these models do not come with draft horses so you will have to use other brands of horses. My recollection is that Front Rank Miniatures has some very nice 28mm large draft horses that go with its 18th Century equipment range. Front Rank has a nice assortment of ammunition wagons and carts that look very nice and are priced significantly lower than the Metallmodell pieces. They would do quite nicely for those who would like to build up the transportation corps of their SYW era armies.


  1. Excellent site, thank you, I especially like the mortar wagons and I will be buying a few ponton wagons also for my Russian SYW Army.


  2. Must resist the temptations your site is leading me towards... Seriously though I lack the fiscal discipline it takes to read this stuff.

  3. Dear Iowa: this is exactly why the Good Lord, or at least Rich Massey/David Doty, created RSM95 figures. If you buy them by the bag, they cost about $0.75 each. The RSMs look exactly like the Staddens, only a little bit smaller (plus the RSM range is more extensive than the Stadden range.).

    Cheers, go with the feelings and collect lots of SYW miniatures.

  4. Many years ago, I bought an AWI collection of what were thought to be Tradition figures. Included were "Hessians." I put them away and never bothered to paint them.

    I recently discovered them while searching for something else and was curious about them.

    They are quite large figures and dwarf the common 28 mm Foundry, Perry, Front Rank, etc.

    I could not find any referrence to them on the Tradition site under AWI. They do, in fact seem to be SYW Prussians.

    So, my question are:
    Are you familiar with them?
    Do they match any other scale?
    Can you provide any other info?

    Thanks for you help......Bill

  5. Jim, this blog of yours is driving me to distraction . . . .

    My Imagi-Nation is in danger of falling apart, as I keep thinking now about historically correct SYW Armies. Damn you man, why did you have to start this blog??


    PS: I'm loving it though :-)

    PPS: Answered your comment on the post regarding the Berlin figures shop site . . .

  6. Bill: it sounds like your "AWI" figures might be the 30mm Stadden Prussians. Take a look at the musketeer batttalion in the second line of the picture under "These are a few of my favorite things" and see if they are similar to those (Staddens). Tradition continues to sell both Suren (Willie) and Stadden figures to this very day. You can also buy them through Spencer Smith Miniatures in the UK and Tradition USA in Minnesota, Very nice service from Ed Studing in the Minnesota location.

    Maybe you could rebase or reconfigure the figures you have for the SYW and replace the flags with the newer GMB Designs flags to give them an up to date look.

  7. What a beautiful field forge!

    Best Regards,


  8. Dear Alte,
    how much I admire (& envy) our (historical) armies and like your blog "that will not deal with fictitious campaigns", please don't cause the destruction of the young Leder-Hosen country. We still have so much to learn about it, and you would not commit an ethnocide, would you?
    What about, rather, incitating Leder-Hosen to raise a battery of Flak, rumours of War Balloons are circulating in some circles...
    Best regards,

  9. The field forge and pontoon wagon are fabulous models - oh dear more items for my wish list !

    -- Allan

  10. Just got one myself but wondering how to paint it