Thursday, November 15, 2007

The Grand Review

Grand Review of the Hesse Seewald Army at Schloss Fritz (please click pic to enlarge)

Following two large battles in October (Preisserstadt) and November (Dithersdorf at Rock Con), I thought that it would be a good idea to take all of my Prussians out of their storage boxes and line them up on my wargaming table in order to see how they had fared in the battles. The infantry battalions are lined up in groups of similar styled figures. For example, the first brigade in the front left foreground is my Guards Brigade (von Saldern) of IR6, IR15 and the Heyden Grenadier battalion (19/25). I'm thinking of adding another guard battalion of imaginery langenkarls in red breeches/waistcoat and Prussian blue coats. The next brigade features three battalions of my own Potsdam Miniatures (IR5, IR20 and 5/20 Jung-Billerbeck grenadiers). I intend to add a fourth battalion of IR18 (Prinz von Preussen) with their distinctive rose colored facings. The third brigade features Elite Miniatures and Surens (IR19, IR25 and IR24). The fourth brigade is the Stadden brigade (IR7, IR12 and IR13). Eventually, I will shift the IR24 Surens into this brigade and call it the "Old School Brigade". Finally, at the far end facing the camera, is a demi-brigade of two RSM fusilier battalions (IR35 and IR42). I intend to augment this group with two battalions of Frank Hammond's wonderful Minden Miniatures (IR34 and a unit as yet to be determined). I received a packet of figures from Frank only yesterday - wow, talk about fast customer service. I'm going to have to move these figures up to the top of the painting que.

The Grand Review accomplishes a number of useful things. For starters, you can inspect each battalion and squadron and artillery battery and check for battle damage. In some cases swords have been bent or pin swords have fallen out and need to be replaced. Also, some of the figures are mixed up in the wrong stands, so a sorting out process helps to get all of the lads back into their proper places.

The Grand Review also affords me the opportunity to see what I have, all at once, and then make an assessment of what types of units I need to fill out my army. One clear difficiency was the lack of some artillery crew to man some of the guns. So I will paint up some of the Foundry Prussian artillery figures that I have and add them to the artillery park (shown in the foreground). I will also gradually replace the large French 12 pounders (from Elite Miniatures) and replace them with proper Prussian artillery pieces, recently purchased from Berlin Zinnfiguren this year. The Elite 12-pounders will henceforth be used to depict Brummers, those heavy 12-pound fortress guns that Frederick employed with great effect at Leuthen in 1757.

I intend to have four infantry brigades, and each brigade will require two regimental guns per brigade. So I need to add four more battalion pieces. But wait, I've decided to upgrade my battalion pieces to 6-pounders and 7-pound howitzers, from Berlin Zinnfiguren, of course. Afterall, Frederick the Great made a similar decision, adding the howitzers as replacements for the standard 3-pound regimental gun during the course of the Seven Years War.

Preisserstadt made it clear to me that I do not have enough cuirassiers in my Prussian army, given that all the French cavalry regiments seem to be wearing iron. As God is my witness, I will never be out-cuirassed ever, ever again! (smile). I had a few extra Elite Miniatures Prussian cuirassiers lying around the wargame room and so I decided to paint these as the three squardron Garde du Corps Regiment (CR13). These were usually brigaded with the 5-squadron Gensdarmes Regiment (CR10), so an order was duly placed for 60 more cuirassier figures from Crusader Miniatures. That's a lot of horse flesh to paint, but I won't need them until next year's big OSW game in October 2008. The first 15 Garde du Corps are now completed, so I can add a squadron of this unit to the cavalry establishment.

Another change that I would like to make is an upgrade of the brigade command stands. I currently use a mix of Foundry, RSM and Stadden figures for brigade command figures. Some are mounted on rectangular bases, others on 2" diameter round bases. I have decided that I like the round bases better. I can make a little mini-diorama on the base and the round shape instantly differentiates it from any other figure stand and tells the player that it is his command stand. So going forward, all infantry brigade commanders will be the Stadden Prussian mounted officer on the H1 or H2 horse. The other figures will go back to their old armies in my other collections.

Finally, the best reason of all for having a Grand Review? It looks really cool to see one's whole collection on the tabletop at one time. I have been known to stare at them for an hour or so in the evenings. I go around the table, pick up a stand here and there and give them a closer inspection, etc. It's fun, but it seems to keep me too late in the evenings. It is a hard habit to break.

And last, but not least, a picture of a certain young lady (from the Suren 18th century range) riding side saddle in hunting habit. Some might think that this is the Erbprinzessin of Hesse Seewald, while others wonder if it might in fact be that secret agent extraordinaire, the mysterious Milady de Winter. I'm not telling.


  1. AWESOME!!! I just can't think of anything more appropriate to say about your army Jim . .. .


  2. Thank you Frank. BTW, I plan to start priming your figures this week in order to get to the task of painting them. With the short work week next week (for Thanksgiving holiday in the US) I should have some extra painting time available to start on IR34 Prinz Ferdinand regiment using your figures. Hmm, I wonder if I should try another paint blitz?

  3. That's an awesome photo! A mixture of inspiring and intimidating. :> Hopefully someday I'll reach the point that I can proudly parade out such a review of my own figures.

  4. just love the monument - i guess your victories - in the center !

  5. Hi Jim,

    What an amazing and inspiring sight! If only I could paint faster. Now what I'd really like to see is a table that includes ALL of you Austrians along with the Prussians. Would your table be able to stand the weight?

    Best Regards,


  6. Absolutely fantastic - an inspiration to us all! thanks for sharing it with us!

  7. Jim,

    Absolutely magnificant! I am only just getting started with SYW imagi-nation troops but do have a batch of Napoleonics with which I could do something similar, maybe over the Thanksgiving weekend.

    Jim Pitts
    (Col Campbell's Barracks)

  8. As a suggestion, you might consider devoting a post to each Brigade and give us individual photos of each unit in that Brigade.

    Don't try to do the whole army at once . . . it would be too overwhelming . . . but one Brigade at a time would be very nice.

    An amazing collection, sir. I'm envious.

    -- Jeff

  9. Jeff: that is a good idea about posting pictures of the individual brigades. I am also working up a permanent organization chart for the commanders, so I could add information about each brigade commander as well.

    Stokes: the Austrian contingent pales in comparison. I "only" have 7 battalions of Austrians and 3 by 24 cavalry regiments. I was going to paint more Austrians this month, but you can blame Mr. Hammond for putting the kabosh on those plans. So it looks like there will be more Prussians added this month instead. I have another painter working on a couple of Austrian units for me, and you can see an example of his work in the picture of the Crusader grenadiers, posted a couple of weeks ago. He is working on an Hungerian battalion for me right now.

    Since I plan on hosting an Austrian versus Prussian game at Historicon 2008, I will soon have to break out the white paint and pitch in to add more Austrian cavalry and infantry in early 2008.

    To All: please note that I've been working on this army since early 2005, so you are looking at 2 years worth of painting on that table. It doesn't just happen overnight, even though it may seem that way at times. 8^)

  10. What an amazing collection! sigh! I can dream...

  11. *Astouding*, and my very poor English don't allow me to rcpress what I feel!

    Only *two* years of painting, and with your quality? Man, do you have a job, or do you enjoy revenues / incomes from huge banking placements allowing you to paint (and battlegame) all day long?

    I appreciate the delicate 'touch' of Venus in the fields of Mars!


  12. I probably paint around 600 figures each year. When my mind is set on doing something, I guess I do it with a single minded purpose. I try to paint at least one hour a day five days a week. If I'm in the mood, then I often add in maybe 3 to 4 more hours over the weekend. It all adds up after a week.

  13. That would certainly make a difference, Jim. I have trouble devoting 15 minutes to mine, which explains my nearly immobile painting. :>

  14. *sigh*, my problem is different. We've just moved into a wonderful new house . . . and the amount of "stuff" that needs to be done to really get "fully moved in" is a constant astonishment to me.

    But I promised my dear lady wife that I'd get it done before I got into painting . . . . but I never had any idea how much there was (and still is) to do.

    So I'm not about to catch up very soon . . . so meanwhile I'll simply enjoy looking at your army.

    -- Jeff

  15. C'est magnifique!!! An outstanding review, and what a lovely idea... I may feel the need coming on to do it myself!

  16. The army is prodigious and stunning. The lady of whom I've caught a close up glimpse of is striking.

  17. "Some might think that this is the Erbprinzessin of Hesse Seewald, while others wonder if it might in fact be that secret agent extraordinaire, the mysterious Milady de Winter. I'm not telling."

    Of course -who could tell the truth about Milady de W. and survive?
    Now, what if this 'striking young lady' is a Monte-Cristan 'innocent observer' masquerading as a Russian cousin of the Erbprinzessin? Rumours of experiments of 'lighter than air' crafts attract such as honey attracts flies...

  18. great to see such a GRAND collection!