Saturday, September 1, 2007

Reinforcements Have Arrived

Potsdam Miniatures (painted by Der Alte Fritz)

Der Alte Fritz would like to introduce everyone to one of his newest regiments, the Alt Braunschweig (IR5) regiment, which was stationed at Magdeburg during peace time. According to Christopher Duffy, the regiment was "solid and well disciplined. Distinguished at Liegnitz". Its two grenadier companies were paired with those of the Bornstedt Regiment (IR20) to form the composite grenadier battalion Jung-Billerbeck. Both parent regiments and the composite grenadier battalion were highly regarded by Frederick and they were frequently a part of the King's own Royal Army that accompanied him on his campaigns.

The Prussian system of naming regiments may seem confusing at first as we often referred to a regiment by either a number, such as "IR5" (which stands for Infantry Regiment No. 5) or by the name of its "Inhaber", which in the case of IR5 is the Duke of Brunswick, hence the name "Alt-Braunschweig. Sometimes the another member of the same family would be an inhaber of another Prussian regiment, in which case it would be referred to as "Jung Braunschweig" (IR39 - a fusilier regiment in this example). During the Seven Years War, the regiments were referred to by the Inhaber's name. The use of the regimental number was implemented long after the conclusion of the SYW.

The figures shown in the pictures above are from my own range of figures that I had commissioned recently. They are approximately 32mm to 34mm tall from the bottom of the foot to the top of the head, and they are designed to be compatible with the Stadden figures. As some of you may be aware, I like firing line poses, because this is what soldiers did once they were engaged in battle: they fired at each other. I do like the stately and traditional march attack pose too, but there has always been a dearth of firing figures for this period and making my own figures seemed to be the best way to handle the need for such figures. The flags shown on the regiment are from GMB Designs. They are simply the best flags available on the market. With product this good, why bother hand painting your own flags anymore. I know that I could not do a better job myself. Boy, I wish that these flags had been available 20 years ago when I first started gaming.

The figures are designed to fit together to form a 3-rank firing line with the front rank kneeling at the ready, the second rank is standing firing, and the third rank is standing at the ready. One could also depict a 2-rank line with maybe the front rank kneeling and the second rank firing, or the front rank standing firing and the second rank standing at the ready, or even two ranks standing at the ready. So there is a lot of flexibility in my poses. The officer standing holding his sword is taken from a Menzel drawing showing the officer in the front rank, staring down the firing line to make sure that everyone is in his proper place. The drummer pose is also taken from one of the Menzel plates. I particularly like the NCO pose, a stern looking feldwebel standing at attention and looking to his right as if to inspect the lads. The "kurzgewehr" or pike is cast onto the figure and is particularly strong and won't break off.

The figure range also includes a standard bearer, which you can see in the back row of the the first picture on this page (click on the picture to enlarge). His hands are open and it is really easy to affix a wire flag pole into his hand so that it won't fall off or bend. This has always been one of my pet peeves about standard bearers -- they often require a lot of work drilling a hole out in the hands, or else there is not enough metal to secure the flag pole in the figure's hands. I don't have such problems with my figures.

The overall design philosophy for these figures, which I call "Potsdam Miniatures", is to replicate the elegant, graceful style of such figures as Stadden, Suren, Elite Miniatures and RSM. The figures have a natural look to them, i.e. they look like real people, only in miniature form, because the figure proportions are correct. These stand about 6 to 7 heads high which is the proper proportion of a human being. The heads are not oversized nor do we allow the hands to look like baseball mitts. So you won't be able to paint every single knuckle on these lads because you wouldn't be able to see the knuckles in the first place, if they were real people.

I think that the figures paint up very nicely. See the close up examples of the drummer and the man kneeling. I black prime undercoat and then paint the whole figure with acrylic black paint to give all the black bits (tricorn, gaitors, cartridge box) a more natural look. Then dark blue is painted over the uniform coat and then dry brushed with a lighter shade of blue. I think that dry brushing has a more natural look to it than other painting methods, but that is just my personal preference. The breeches and waistcoat were done with two shades of yellowish tan, to effect the "straw" color that was used for this regiment. The turnbacks also used two tones of red. My favorite paints are the Iron Wind Metals (IWM) and the Reaper Paints.

I finished off the figures by attaching them to a 1" square metal base for our BAR rules system. The metal base is painted a dark color (or save a step by priming the figure already attached to the metal base) so that shiny bits don't show through the edge of the base. Then, I use Red Devil Pre-mixed Spackel Compound to terrain the base. You just mix in the desired color of paint until the spackel looks like chocolate pudding, and then slather the goop around the base. While this is still wet, I next sprinkle on some fine railroad ballast and then sprinkle a littel bit of Woodlands Scenics "burnt grass" flock (use fine instead of course) on the stand. After a couple of hours, the spackle will have dried and then I spritz them with Dullcoat for protection.

I also have a similar set of poses for the grenadiers in firing line and I'm currently working on the 5/20 grenadier battalion that goes with IR5 and IR20. I hope to be able to add artillery crew and march attack poses next year, and perhaps some compatible Austrians to provide the noble opposition. Eventually the figures will be available for retail sale, but we are still working out some kinks and bottlenecks in the molds and the casting process. But overall, Der Alte Fritz is quite pleased with his new recruits and plans to add more for the coming campaign.


  1. Jim you are painting reinforcements for the Prussians? I thought you where painting Saxons! It is a good thing the Royal duex Ponts is almost completed. They are a nice looking unit, I look forward to facing or commanding them on the table! Best Randy

  2. I did paint a new unit of Austrians last month and the Irish Regiment Bulkeley in July, so it's not as if I have neglected the French and Allies. Also, I have some Austrian grenadiers from Crusader in the works and they might be ready for the Big Game in October.

  3. I had to joke with you. By the way did I tell you I like your blog!

  4. This comment has been removed by the author.

  5. Figures as nice as any I've seen and your painting is outstanding.

    Excellent work and I really enjoy your blog.

    Jon Freitag

  6. Jim,

    Very nicely done figures. When I first saw the kneeling figure, I thought it was a plastic 1/72 figure. Your sculptor is doing a great job with your figures.

    Jim (aka ColCampbell50)

  7. Hi Jim,

    Excellent figures. Please do let us know when/if they become available for purchase.

    Best Regards,


  8. These look great . . . and you are a much better painter than I am.

    -- Jeff of Saxe-Bearstein

  9. Like others I am enjoying your blog and hope that it continues to give you pleasure. What intrigues me with this latest photograph is that the centre figures in the first two ranks stand at the ready while those either side of them fire. Would you care to tell us about that, please? Can you include why these are on the double bases and not the single ones which appear on the right flank of the unit presumably for casualty removal purposes. So two questions in one - why the different pose in the centre and why aren't these the singles? Thanks.

    Duke of Baylen

  10. Dear Honorable Duke of Baylen (I like that name):

    I'm not sure that I fully understand your question, but I think that you might be referring to the left hand stand with the flags where there is one chap at the ready in the front row and another at the ready behind him, and then the drummer in the third rank.

    this is due to the fact that each figure is on a metal base (and the base is affixed to a movement tray made of black foam core with magnet sheet on the surface) -- hence I can remove the figures when there are casualties.

    Probably what happened was that we were in a hurry to pick up after the last game and one of the players (helping me put things away) randomly put the figures back on the base in a haphazzard fashion. So there should be a kneeling fellow in the front rank and a standing firing lad behind him.

    With magnetized movement trays, you can be very flexible with your basing. Want a 2-rank system? Easy, then just make different movement trays and mount the magnetized bases in two ranks rather than 3 ranks.

    I hope that this clears things up.



  11. Dear Fritz,

    my first reply got lost in the ether so this may be briefer.

    First thanks. I wondered why 3rd rank posed figures were put in the centre of the 1st and 2nd ranks - I'd assumed this was deliberate and you have corrected that impression.

    Second, I wondered if you ever built up battalions by posing different grand divisions to give the impression of platoon firing? So instead of having different ranks all firing just a quarter of the battalion would be firing, a quarter loading, a quarter at the ready and a quarter presenting.

    Just a thought.

    Duke of Baylen

  12. Another incredible entry. The figures are incredible as is your painting. These alone might have been lost on me as eyecandy if it weren't for your in depth "how's" and "why's" which are invaluable to me as I look into the period further.