Sunday, March 6, 2011

Minden Hussar Horseholder

Minden Prussian Hussar horseholder, painted as HR5 von Reusch, or better known as The Black Hussars or Death's Head Hussar regiment. Click pix to enlarge the view.

Since I am no longer a slave to a painting deadline, I decided to work on a couple of vignettes over the weekend. The first is the set of Minden Prussian Hussar Horseholders that I've had sitting on the work bench for awhile. The only conversion work that I had to do was to drill very tiny holes into the muzzle of the two horses, shown above. This would accomodate a short strand of florists' wire that I passed through the holes and into the hands of the hussar, to simulate the reins that he is holding.

Another, more distant view of the same vignette.

I have a box full of the new dismounted hussars in mirlitons that are winging their way across the Great Pond and should be arriving at any day. I will add the dismounts to my Black Hussar regiment plus a few more horse holder stands that I can set on the table to indicate where the horses are being held while the men skirmish on foot. As I was painting the shabraques, I was having trouble painting the fine white lines of the "Van Dyking" pattern on the saw tooth red edging of the shabraque. Towards the end of the painting session, I hit on the idea of just painting one white dot at the tip of the red tooth rather than attempting to paint in all of the edging. I think it looks better and only wish that I had thought of this before I was half way towards completion of the Van Dyking. I will use this technique on the next batch.

Mounted Austrian Grenadier Officer Conversion

Original Austrian mounted colonel (left) in tricorn and the same figure with a new grenadier head (right). Click pix to enlarge the view.

Now that I have two converged grenadier battalions in my Minden Austrian army, I decided that I needed a mounted grenadier officer to command this little brigade of grenadiers. Since each musketeer regiment has a mounted officer, so too should a pair of grenadier battalions. Alas, Minden does not make a mounted grenadier officer, so a conversion was necessary.

Out came the Exacto fine tooth hack saw and I immediately set to work in sawing off the head of the mounted infantry colonel figure. Then, I selected the German Grenadier NCO (because it has no musket to interfere with the head removal) and removed his head in the same manner.

The next step was to take a pin vise (a miniature hand drill) and drill a hole in the torso of the mounted officer, where his head had been, and then do the same thing to the grenadier head. Then I found an offcut from North Star wire spear to use as a pin to secure the head to the torso, sized it up and made sure that the new head fit snuggly onto the torso of the officer. I had to do a minor amount of filing under the grenadier head to get a tight fit, but things lined up rather nicely (even the pigtail or que on the back aligned up nicely with the new head). Then a little bit of Zap-A-Gap super glue and I was done.

A close up view of the original figure and the converted mounted grenadier officer.

I had never done a head swap in all my years of wargaming and painting and modelling, so I was not sure of how this would turn out. I think that the pictures show that the results were very good. I would have to say that this type of conversion is very easy to do. So in the future, I would not hesitate to do this type of conversion if the situation required it.

Thank You For All the Kind Comments

I want to thank everyone who left a comment on my last blog post as well as those who sent me e-mails for providing their support for me and my decision to change the focus of my wargame hobby. It is really gratifying to know that I have so many friends out their on the internet and it really helped me to "get out of myself" and let go of the baggage from the past. I felt like a great weight has been removed from my shoulders now that I don't have to burn both ends of the candle trying to get the last figures ready for a game. I feel even better knowing that I do not have to "compete" at a convention in order to derive some fulfillment from this hobby. My fulfillment comes from tinkering in the basement on some new vignette or adding another regiment of infantry or cavalry to my Austrian and Prussian armies and sharing the results with my followers on this blog.

best regards to everyone,

Der Alte Fritz


  1. Thats the Spirit DAF good one mate. You got plenty of friends on the interweb

    Nice conversion job very neat, tell me hows the decaptated NCO doing, what did you tell his family?


  2. That's some nice conversion work there! Then again, you always do nice work!

    Do you know what the dismount drill for Prussian hussars was? A century later both the US and the British had one man in four holding the horses; did the Prussians work similarly?

    Are you planning on some loose horses for the Prussian hussars, should that fellow meet an unfortunate end in a skirmish/light troop battle?

  3. Rob: I only had two horses since I had ordered samples of the hussar in busby and one in mirliton. So I used both horses with the mirliton horse holder. In the future, I think that I will use 3 or 4 horses with each horse holder stand. I am assuming 1 man in 4 is a horse holder.

  4. Like the horse holder - good idea for the shortcut to painting the shabraques. Head swap of officer worked well.

    -- Allan

  5. More lovely work from your painting bench, Jim! The head-swap conversion is neat too. Haven't done many of these myself, but I had trouble trying this with some plastics a few years back and gave up in the end. Your work has inspired me to give it a shot again before long, but with RSM figures this time. Is Frank Hammond taking/filling orders again? He has not answered my two queries.

    Best Regards,


  6. Chill out and enjoy. I know how you feel. I do massive Back of Beyond campaigns and feel a slave to expectation. You've given me strenght. Thanks!

  7. Thanks.

    I look forward to seeing a Hussar skirmish line. You know, you now need a French legion to oppose them . . .

  8. I do like those Minden "Legion de Hainault" figures. I have to find a way to incorporate them into my forces.

  9. I have found the vandyking is easier to accomplish if you work in reverse. Paint the triangles white to rough out the design and then paint the inside of the pattern the color of the vandyking. It is much easier to draw the lines up to the edge of the white than to white line the colored triangles. This also eliminates any white line bleeding into the body of the shabaraque.
    Just an idea, given the detail you normally employ.