Sunday, January 13, 2008

RSM Command Stands

Regiment Salm-Salm (left) and Garnison Rgt Nr. III (right). RSM figures painted by Der Alte Fritz. Please click the picture to enlarge the view.

I just had to get back to painting some SYW figures after doing a fair number of 1806 Napoleonics, or else I was going to develop a severe case of burn out. Seven Years War ("SYW") is more wargaming core and passion and I find that painting these figures helps me regain my enthusiasm for painting, while avoiding burnout.

Luckily, I had a friend who needed some command stands for the SYW era as he had a particular interest in certain Austrian and Prussian regiments. I happened to have plenty of spare RSM figures laying around (and who doesn't?) so I knew that I could whip them out over the weekend

We discussed the project briefly and it was decided to place four or five figures on a single stand (60mm by 80mm) of MDF board and create a little diorama. The choice of regiments made the project easier: the Austrian regiment Prinz zu Salm-Salm which sports black facings; and the Prussian Garnison Regiment Nr III, a garrison regiment wearing an all-blue uniform with no lapels and no fancy lace. It took me about 3 hours per command stand. Here are some close up pictures below:

Garnison Regt. Nr. III - von Grolman (1757)

The picture above depicts the "Garnison" or Garrison (in English) regiment GRIII, which was stationed in Colberg, in Pommerania. As you can see, it is relatively easy to slosh on a lot of blue paint for the coat, breeches and waiscoat; and a little bit of black for the gaitors, hat and equipment and one white cross belt. I could paint these fellows all day!

The Colberg Garrison Regiment was created in 1718 with an initial strength of three companies. It was increased to five companies in 1721 and was charged with manning the Peenemunde battlements, the Anklam ferry and Swinemunde, thus being responsible for defending both sides of the Oder River. In 1740, it supplied a large contingent to the newly formed IR39 fusilier regiment. The battalion was enlarged to a two-battalion regiment in 1756, at which time, its inhaber was Colonel Georg Arnold von Grolman, who would command the regiment throughout the SYW. During the SYW, the regiment was part of Prince Henry's Saxon Corps, the first battalion being stationed in Torgau and the second battalion in Dresden (nice place to spend the war, don't you think?). The first battalion was captured by the Austrians at Torgau, when the occuppied the city ahead of the arrival of the King's army (which set off the subsequent battle of Torgau in 1760. The second battalion was captured at nearby Wittenburg in the same campaign. Since the Austrians were not of a mind to exchange prisoners, at this point in the SYW, GRIII sat out the remainder of the war.

Austrian Regiment No. 14 Prinz zu Salm-Salm

The Austrian regiment Salm-Salm has the unique distinction in the Austrian army of having black facings (the lapels and cuffs). I don't have much information on this regiment, but they always seemed to be a part of Daun's army during the SYW. In the above picture, I used the RSM British mounted officer, which explains why his inhaber's sash is being worn over the shoulder rather than around the waist. I decided that there was no reason why he couldn't wear the sash over the shoulder. Black facing are easy to paint. For the highlight color, I mixed a little bit of flesh colored-paint into a pot of black paint and the effect seems to work rather well, although you may not be able to tell in the photograph.

I painted the Austrians (6 figures including the horse) on Saturday and finished off the Prussians on Sunday afternoon. RSM figures are a joy to paint because of their fine proportions make them look like real people. They are also stripped down on the equipment side to just the cartridge box and hanger sword, so one doesn' t have to spend a lot of extra time painting back packs and water bottles, etc. These figures fit very well with the newer Minden Miniatures designed by Richard Ansell and Frank Hammond.

To finish off the project, I glued the figures onto the wood base and then glued a piece of mahogany across the back side of the base. I will later glue a name tag onto the strip of wood, but first I want to let the spackle compound (which I use to create the ground effect) dry overnight. You may notice some tall grass stuck into the base. This is nothing more than bits of sisal cut from a scrub brush and plunged into the spackle while it is still wet. Then I sprinkle some fine gravel from Gale Force Nine and a bit of Woodland Scenics fine grass to finish off the stand.

1806 Project - My One Figure

1er Regt de Chasseurs a Cheval - Elite Miniatures (the old version that I'm looking for)

I did one Napoleonic figure over the weekend. This is one of the old discontinued Elite Miniatures 1805-1807 French figures that I have been looking for. I have ten chasseur figures so far, thanks to Old School Wargaming friend, Steven Gill (thank you Steven). All this talk of these figure got me hankering to paint a couple of samples, so I primed the ten chasseurs and concentrated on painting one figure from start to finish. You can see the result above. The figure is wearing the Habit Longue which was "officially" worn until 1808, when the shorter tailed kinsky tunic was introduced.

The 1st Chasseurs a Cheval are known to have worn the Dolman tunic, as worn by hussars. The dolman was not manufactured for chasseur regiments during the time of the First Empire, so the regiments wearing the dolman acquired them during the days of the Republic and were "unofficially" wearing them during the 1805-1807 period. Knowing how easily uniforms wore out on campaign, I think that it is reasonable to assume that some of the dolmans, from the pre-1804 period, would have been wearing out and needing replacement by the time of the Jena-Auerstadt campaign in 1806. Thus the replacement tunic would be an Habit Longue in 1806 rather than the Dolman. It seems reasonable to assume that one could have a mix of Dolmans and Habit Longue in the same regiment. At least that is my story and I'm sticking to it.


  1. Jim,

    What did this weekend tell you?

    It said "stick with the Seven Years War -- forget Napoleon."

    *grin* . . . well, that's how I read it anyway. Good looking command stands.

    -- Jeff

  2. Super , inspirational figures -as ever! I love the cavalry man - he looks full of intent. The Danes are Eagle Miniatures - newly available once more. I had the master comissioned for me in the late '80s or early '90s by a designer in the UK who was a dentist - he did me proud1 I have taken all this time to start the project!

  3. Good Morning Jim,

    Wonderful painting! I like the all blue Prussians and your Napoleonic chasseur especially. Great work. I might have to us the Prussians as the basis for one of my own fictitious regiments eventually.

    Best Regards,


  4. ...I especially like the Austrian stand - the black facings work well...

  5. Marvelous painting, as always: even the Garrison Regiment in rather dull / subdued uniform manages to look great!

    Glad you keep favoring the tricorns.

    Best regards,

  6. Vive l'empereur! Your chasseur is magnifique

  7. Excelent work, Stokes! I love RSM figures for the very reasons you give. No fussy, extraneous details to bog down a painting session.

  8. Very nice, I've always avoided painting units with black facings because I felt they looked wrong, I now see that it can be done, hurrah!


  9. No, no. The figures featured here are the work of Jim (Alte Fritz) Purky, not me.

    Best Regards,


  10. Nice work as usual! Good colors, nice paint job, well-finished bases.

  11. Jim
    Have you or Bill given any thought to british organisation for the period? How will the two ranks operate? Ihave been thinking about this today re Koge.
    best wishes

  12. I haven't given it any thought to the British organization as yet. I'm afraid to even start the British as I fear that it will suck me into the Peninsula and I will develop my own Spanish Ulcer. It IS part of my long term planning though. I will have to mull this one over for a bit. Did they still have 10 companies in 1806-07 and did the 2-rank line develop in Spain or was it already a part of their regulations?

    My thought is that the British would have 40 to 60 figures and with a 2 rank line they would relly overlap the French - it would be very obvious and would be interesting to fight.

  13. British have 10 companies including the two flank companies. In a two rank line that could be 10 stands of 6 figures. I have posted an inquiry about this on TMP in the Napoleonic Discussion board.

  14. Jim
    Thanks for your thoughts on this matter. Let me know if you glean useful info from the TMP.

  15. Hi Alan,

    On another board, a fellow is organizing French and British forces both in two ranks. He is making compromises to overlap two rank formations over three into account. His solution was to place the Brits. on wider bases. This is a distortion (compromise) I've seen before and played against. If he would use three ranks for the French and two ranks for the Brits. no such thing would be necessary. The miniatures would produce the overlap all by themselves without basing distortions.

    The Brits. started using two rank lines in 1759 in N. America as ordered by CinC Amherst. This continued in the Am. Revolution as I recall. As for Napoleonics, I don't know except for Waterloo.

    However, the wider bases work though they look odd. To each his own with great respect.

    Bon Chance,

  16. Bill & Jim
    thanks for info - I fear I will not be going with the wider base idea. I like the clean and simple 2 ranks or 3 ranks depending on nationality. Seems more in the BAR spirit - adirection that influences my thinking greatly.
    I am still working out Danish organisation ans tactical deployment at present which is fun but a bit frustrating without the language.
    best wishes

  17. I don't think that i care for the idea of wider bases. Deploying the British in 2 ranks will serve the same effect. In BAR SYW rules, the side with 3 ranks would have an advantage in melee against 2 ranks (becasue they can put more men into the fight) and i would probably import this idea into the Napoleonic variant.

  18. Jim,

    The '2-ranks' was an experiment, caused by necessity (she is the mother of all invention!) at Quebec, Wolfe ordered this formation to fully cover the field, he also ordered 'double-shot' loading to try and compensate for the percieved lack of firepower. The number of misfirings from this single massive fire is unknown, but some estimates place it as high as 15%, which would explain the 'follow-up' by the Highlanders as being the only one done with alacrity, since many of the other 'regulars' may have been busy with fouled pieces.

    The 'tactic' was continued, again mostly from lack of massed troops, by other British commanders in the War for America with mixed success. There are accounts of Bunker Hill that state the first two advances of the grenadiers were in three rank formation, but that casualties called for a two-rank third advance. Cowpens also mentions the use of reserves in three-rank formations, due to the lack of open ground in that area, some have opined and others say it was the 'old fashioned' battalion commanders that did not know the new drill.

    Further evidence of the 2-rank postures of the period have also been mentioned by Pope and Chandler, placing the general 'use' of it by the British as sometime during the American war, about 1780.

    So the time period of 1759 to 1780 was one of transition in the use of battalion formations in 2, 3 or 4 rank (some Russian and Hungarian formations) deep formation drill.

    Many rules set work to try and 'balance' this out. The simplest one I have seen is to either restrict or limit the firepower of a 'column' of troops (not the march column which should never be able to fire effectively, but the 'field column' which may be 3-6 companies wide) and permit the full weight of fire of the line.

    Thus the Brits gain the advantage in their lines, especially in width, which should be about 25-35% wider than the 3 rank european ones. Meaning that it should take about 2 battalions of europeans in column to equal 1 battalion of Brits in line (if you are trying to work it out in a 'scale' situation).

    Provided the morale of the column did not break from the sheer weight of fire (not often did the bravery of the column match the firepower of the line), then the advantage of 33% from 1-1 contact in the resulting melee should be applied. Rules systems that do not require a morale 'test' following a volley at close range before the melee are just folly, since the courage of the men MUST be checked under such a stressful situation.

    Personally I likewise think that the courage of the men firing in the line should be checked if the column continues to advance. As this was how the French overcame the Austrians so many times!

  19. Use of 2 ranks by the British during the FIW can be a hot topic. For example the 60th are the only unit at the Plains of Abraham of which there is explicit mention in primary sources to 2 ranks. It is thought the rest deployed in standard 3 ranks.

    Howe introduced his 2 rank 'light infantry' tactics in 1776 prior to the NY campaign, and this was used almost without exception throughout the AWI. Post war the 'american school' lost out and the army reverted to stiff, Prussian style tactics and formations - with poor results in the Low Countries.