Thursday, April 3, 2014

Cavalry Pose Ideas

Prussian Garde du Corps painted by Leuthen Studios. Minden figures.

I was having a conversation with some friends about our favorite figure poses, so the topic naturally turned to cavalry poses. The consensus seemed to be that light cavalry should be charging and waving their swords while the heavy dragoons and cuirassiers should be on trotting horses, swords shouldered, getting ready to prepare for the charge.

Warnery describes the Prussian charge thusly:

“The troopers of the front rank raise their swords to the height of their faces, the arm extended in tierce, the point against the eyes of his enemy, and the hand a little turned, that the branch or guard of the sword may cover his own; they must raise themselves a little in the stirrups, the body forward, and aim to place a thrust with the point against the man or the horse opposed to him; in a word, he must do his best, either by thrusting or cutting, to disable his enemy; thus the shock or charge is soon finished.” (Warnery E von. Remarks on Cavalry. Constable London 1997)

The Kronoskaf SYW Project describes a similar drill for the French cavalry

Aligned, ready for the charge, cavalrymen carried their sabre to the shoulder, sword knot at the wrist. When the charge was sounded, cavalrymen set off, starting at the walk, Then a second bugle call made them pass to trot; a third at the canter. At 90 paces from the point of impact, cavalrymen pointed their sabre (arm raised at eye level, almost fully extended, wrist in tierce) with the point slightly inclined downward and they raised themselves on their stirrups, crouching forward. They passed at full gallop at 20 or 30 paces from the enemy. Finally, it was the shock.

Also from Kronoskaf:

To conclude, here is Frederick II's conception of the cavalry charge. The young Comte de Gisors, son of the Maréchal de Belle Isle, went to Silesia in September 1754, at the invitation of the King of Prussia. During one of their conversation, Frederick exposed to him his vision of a cavalry charge:
“I put my officers in front, out of the rank, because being in the rank they are simple cavalrymen and obliged to let themselves be carried away by the torrent of the squadron. I put others behind to fall on those who would like to flee. I do not let any interval between my squadrons, because squadrons separated from each others present as many flanks to the enemy. I make them charge at full gallop because fear lead poltroons froward, certain as they are, inasmuch as they stop in the middle of the charge, to be crushed by the next squadron. I want that the impetuosity of their charge forces the enemy to give way before they could melee with him…”

So am giving thought to adding a heavy cavalry pose to the Minden range, one that would have the trooper raised slightly in his stirrups, leaning forward, with his sword at eye level pointing straight ahead to simulate the final charge. This might require several additional heavy charging horse poses as well.

This would enable the collector of Minden figures to pose his cavalry either at a standing position with swords drawn, at the trot with swords shouldered, and finally at the charge with swords on point.

So, I'm wondering what everyone thinks about this idea? Are these poses that would interest you enough to buy, or do you prefer the existing (and somewhat standard) shouldered sword at the trot pose?

Please feel free to state your opinion in the comment section of this post. There is no right or wrong answer, so anything is on the table for consideration.


  1. The situation with the level of action present in the horse seems to be similar to with the foot, where you have some that favor march attack poses for their battalions, others at the trail, still others charge or in firing poses.

    So you could either offer the new horse poses as an option to those that appreciate them, or consider that poses are a matter of preference, and stick with your own.

  2. My own two cents are that I prefer the current shouldered sword with horses at the walk, trot, or stand still where heavy cavalry are concerned. My single beef with Minden cavalry at the charge/gallop is the tediousness involved in cementing sword arms into place.

    Best Regards,


  3. For my two cents, I'd be very happy to see a second cavalry pose for heavy cavalry,if only to have some variation between units.


  4. Hello, Jim.

    I'm quite happy with the status quo as regards the cavalry poses - let the airheads in the hussars wave their swords round like toothpicks, but the heavies generally need to be more dignified. ;-)

    Besides, it may divert you from more vital matters, like horse grenadiers, Cuirassiers du Roi, etc.

    Mind you, playing Devil's advocate, the charging pose would be rather like the old Spencer Smith figures.

    Cheers, Rohan

  5. Very happy to see a second heavy cavalry pose - more variation the better.

  6. Thanks for giving customers and potential customers a chance to feed back; another example of F&D's top-end customer service.

    Generally I prefer the shouldered sword pose, mainly because it is more robust, whereas the protruding sword arm is vulnerable to breakage.

    However, IMHO the common pattern of sedate heavies alongside galloping/waving lights can have the disadvantage of making the lights appear larger, with a bigger footprint. So I'd like the light cavalry to be calmed down rather than the heavies made more active, but I realise this is a bit contrary :-)

  7. I am a convert to the charging heavy. Last year I bought a bag of old Spencer Smith charging dragoons, enough to paint up a squadron of eight, I really like them.

  8. I like the proposed new pose with the sword arm extended point towards the enemy with the correct inward angle twist on the arm/wrist.

  9. Jim, you know my views on cavalry poses already but I, like some others would rather have dismounted French hussars, horse grenadiers of various nations, Cuirassiers du Roi, perhaps some Freikorps variants with caps or bearskins and then of course there are the Russians (but don't tell Frank!)
    Finally I could not let this post pass without thanking you for the very generous mention in your last post.

  10. Salut together!

    Sounds really fine. Its surely not as easy as many folks think, which figures should be go into production and which next or first.
    Clear the fan want all possible poses. Also i think you Jim would also want all 'necessary', best at once. ;) But thats impossible, we know. Keep on realising your ideas, many fellows will be glad and satisfied.

    Best regards,

  11. Thank you for the feedback everyone, it is much appreciated and you've given me some good ideas.

    I know for certain that the first batch of new Mindens under my watch will be French cavalry because there are still a few holes in the range in that area.

    Cuirassiers du Roi and Cavalrie in bearskins, both with shouldered sword, will be first. Then when we work on the Hessian dollies I will probably have Richard develop some new cavalry dollies and some new heavy charging horses for future cavalry varieties.

    It's ironic that I would rather add more Prussian and Austrian figures first, but recognize the need to do some other things first.

    And then there are the Russians. Yes I want to do those very very very much. I probably get more requests for Russians than I do for anything else. :)


  12. A French high command figure or two (along the lines of the great austrian and Prussian personality figures) would be great too!


  13. We actually have a French Marshal figure in the range. It comes with two different heads and two different right arms.

  14. Jim,

    My feeling is that it might be better to concentrate on getting the range to what you feel is an acceptable level of completion before you start duplicating some troop types.

    As you say, it's probably more important to get the meat-and-potatoes of the French Cavalry and the Russians done before you allow yourself to get on to items that might be regarded as 'gravy'.

    All the best,


  15. Would love to see the pose you suggest. Would make the whole range pop on the table

  16. Charging Heavies would be great!
    Richard would demonstrate his great proficiency, and I am sure he will enjoy sculpting a figure (Realistic heavies charging)absent in most of catalogues. Pictures and oils with Cuirassier charging from this Seven Year and Napoleonic wars are the most striking images from that horse and musket period. For how long without this scenes on tabletop.
    On the other hand; after Silesian Wars, Der Koenig gave instructions for His Cavalry to start the process to shock at longer distances, much more than 400 paces.
    Best Wishes from a unconditional fan of your Range.

  17. I generally buy one unit at rest r walking for Heavy Cavalry, and one at the charge for a type in my collections, so for a brigade 1 regt would be at the charge and the rest in reserve positions or walking. For light cavalry not only the sword waving loons, but some nice picket and scout poses would be good too.

  18. At last news for the Minden Miniatures :-) New poses are very much appreciated.
    And I admit I'd like to see them for the Prussians and Austrians first. Please do not neglect these two ranges. I understand from your last post that it would take at least 2 years before more Prussians and/or Austrians will be available

  19. @additz,
    Prussians and Austrians are also my absolutely favorites in that SYW range, i have (for myself also astonishing ;)) now more than two hundred Minden Prussians and not as much Austrians. No English, but some French, because i wanted to see how they look like. So also in future clear Prussians still my most interest. Sure, some Russians i would also order and paint.

    My intension for Minden Minis were that i dont wanted to reanimate my SYW 30mm flat figure interests, there 'hundreds' different poses for at least Prussians exist, i wanted fine round figures smaller than 54mm. Normal tabletop models are not realised in a style i need.
    At least the newer Perry are for my taste more attractive than their old ones, but they have nothing for SYW....
    But Minden catched that preferences in some ways.

    Best regards,

  20. I'm keen on the sword shouldered for my big boot lads, and very happy that you quote Wernery. Your models are really an inspiration.

  21. Hello, Jim. I hope that the Cuirassiers du Roi will have the bearskin, and not he tricorne? Will you also take this opportunity to add French Heavies with Cuirass under the coat as an option? Cheers, Rohan.

  22. Cuirassier du Roi will definitely have bearskins. :)

    Cavalrie with cuirasses under coat are not high on the list right now as I'd rather spend the money on things such as Gendarmerie de France or Maison du Roi etc.

    Besides, in our games we just assume that Cavalrie are wearing cuirasses.

  23. Oh Yes, Jim! That sounds fine!! Cheers, Rohan.

  24. Just another thought, at a slight tangent, though definitely mounted.... perhaps some tricorne hatted, coated drivers for the team horses for the artillery limbers?
    Cheers, Rohan.

  25. Yes, new limber drivers to replace the old ones are at the top of the list: a uniformed Austrian and Prussian driver/rider and a couple of civilians. Once I have these I will retire the originals, replaced by Ansell sculpts.


  26. Hello again!

    New drivers/riders for Artillery! Thats great. The Prussian Artillerie-Knechte with the x-tra longer coat ;).
    But anyway definitely something i also wish. One part of dreams will getting true.

    Best regards,

  27. Coming late to the party, I find charging heavies akin to infantry firing lines: impressive, but awkward both in practical terms and because they represent the moment of crisis rather than the far longer manoeuvres that precede and follow it. Also, they'd be unsuited for birthday parades... If you produce them I'll probbaly buy a unit or two simply to enjoy Richard's sculpting, but like others here I'd give priority to hussars skirmishing with carbines and pistols, or cavalry with cuirass worn under the coat - that would cover French as well as several German units.