Thursday, December 20, 2007

The Lange Kerls Reconsidered

The Riesengarde
I keep looking at pictures of the Prussian Lange Kerls and the more I look at them, the more intrigued I am by the idea of adding a unit of guards in red breeches and waistcoats to my SYW Prussian army. I know that Frederick II disbanded the unit when he became the king of Prussia (and replaced it with a new Grenadier Garde IR6 single battalion regiment), but these fellows look so nice and their uniform is so unique that the idea is hard to resist.

I have painted one sample figure using the Stadden grenadier figure and I like the result enough to consider painting some more. I have 15 spare grenadier castings, so I'll probably paint them as Lange Kerls over the Christmas break next week. I might attach them as a company to one of my other guard units or just keep them as a headquarters guard until I can paint more.

The picture shown above can be found on the website of a re-enactment group in Germany that portrays the Potsdam Lange Kerls or Riesengarde Regiment. Click on the link titled Prussian Reenactors, on the left to find the web site and more pictures. I find that pictures of reenactors is both inspirational and helpful in getting information about certain uniform and equipment details. There is no guarantee that the groups will get it right, but the odds are fairly good that they have done the research and have done their uniform and equipment impressions accurately.

Teddy Bear Update
I have completed the 24 bears in the Pink Army (pink coats with green facings) and am now working on the Blue Army (sky blue coats with pink facings) that I will give to my daughter for Christmas. I hope to be finished with the project by Saturday. I liked painting the figures at first, but now there are a bit tedious and it seems like I will never finish them. This is probably due to the tight deadline that I forced upon myself. Had I started this project a month or two ago, and painted them at a more leasurely pace, then my attitude would be different. The payoff will be the reaction that I get from my daughter when she sees the figures. I know that she will like them and want to wargame with them. I envision us setting up a simple game on the kitchen table and playing an easy game with made-up rules that she can handle. I will post some Bear pictures over the weekend, probably on Saturday.

The 1806 Napoleonic Project
One of the next items on my list is to work on my 1:10 ratio 28mm Napoleonic Project. The antagonists will be the French in bicornes, circa 1805-1807 and they will fight the 1806 Prussians and maybe the Russians. So far, I have painted 3 battalions of French (2 line and 1 legere battalion) and 3 partial battalions (averaging 40 figures) of Prussians. The French battalions will have 72 figures while the Prussians will have 60 figures. I will be using primarily figures from Elite Miniatures.

In the near term, I envision a French army with 6 to 8 infantry battalions, a 4 gun battery of artillery and one or two regiments of light cavalry. Total of 3 players per side. The Prussians will have 8 battalions in two brigades, a battery of artillery, and some heavy dragoons and cuirassiers. So the Prussians will have a stronger cavalry brigade than the French, but be at a disadvantage with respect to the size of infantry battalions. This will be offset by giving the Prussians more battalions so that their overall numbers are higher. They will also have the handicap of having fewer light infantry and skirmishers than the French. The French will rely on their superior quality (this is the Grande Armee at its peak performance level, afterall) of infantry and the elan of their light cavalry. It should be an intersting match up.

Down the road, I may add a brigade of Russians. Back in the early 1990s, Dave Alsop sculpted a limited range of 1805-07 Russians in bicorns and stovepipe shakoes. I think that I bought something like 600 figures and stashed them away. The range did not include officers or musicians, so I bought what I needed from the Elite Miniatures range of Russians to fill out the battalions. I will use Elite's Russian cavalry and artillery from this period for the other combat arms. I plan to have a lancer regiment and a cuirassier regiment (they don't wear cuirasses during this period) and the usual overload of artillery for the men in green.
There will be more information about this project as it gets painted. The rest of the story will then unfold, so stay tuned for more.


  1. I look forward to the tall Prussian chaps on the table and painted .
    What rules are you proposing for 1806?

  2. Dear Alte,

    Sounds good! I look forward to seeing the Prussians in particular. I realise that they were comprehensively beaten by the French but hae a sneaking admiration for them nonetheless. Good Luck with the project.

    Best Wishes for Xmas, too! And thanks for all the effort you put into this site - I really enjoy it.


  3. Hello there Jim,

    Might I persuade you take a break from painting and post a photo of your sample Stadden langekerl as well as a teddy be or two? It would be fun to see them.

    Best Regards,


  4. Dear Alte,

    A final question. Do you know of any ACW sites similar to your own or even ones that show lots of pics of 25mm soldiers?


  5. Theo: I would go to TMP and look through some of the entries under ACW Discussion or the Blogs boards and see if anyone mentions ACW related blogs. Since my blog does endeavor to cover periods other than the SYW, I will probably post some pictures from time to time. One problem is that ACW armies painted to look like they would on campaign are not very colorful and some of the pictures I have tried to take have not turned out very well. Perhaps as my photo skills improve I can do more ACW photos.

    I will attempt to post some Lange Kerls and Teddy Bears to this blog on Saturday. I'm rather anxious to see how the drummer and the officer will turn out. I've already painted the one grenadier, so stay tuned.

    If it weren't for those darn Teddy Bears...

    For 1806, Bill and I are going to experiment with some variant of his BAR rules. There will probably be a lot of changes, but the basic mechanics of movement, firing and melee should remain the same. In short, the rules haven't been written yet.

    I will have to take some pictures of the large Napoleonic units that I have painted so far.

  6. You are an absolute bloody maniac!!
    But of course we wouldn't have you any other way :-) Keep up the good work and a very happy Xmas to you and your family.

    Actually, that goes for all my blogging friends, who will all see this as everybody visits your blog Jim :-))

  7. Could it be that you are conceiving a eccentric passion for exceptionally tall soldiers as a bit of misdirection before you unleash your splendid little army on an unsuspecting world?

    It wouldn't be the first time it happened, you know.

    All the best,

    Greg Horne

  8. Greg: maybe I am "channeling" a certain historical personage. Or maybe I just like the cut of the uniform and am looking for excuses to add more Prussians to my army, even though logic tells me that I need never paint another one for a long long time.

    There is a gentleman in Germany who does a portrayal of Frederick the Great. You can find pictures of him by clicking on the Prussian reenactors links on this page. I have to say that he is the spitting image of the real thing.

  9. The 1806 project sounds interesting and its one I've been interested for a long time. I used to have about 3000 AB figs for this period but long since sold them. I'm curious about the Elite figures (which I have dabbled in) as I find them uninspiring to paint but they are also doing a 1796 Italian campaign range so maybe I'll change my mind.
    Will you give your Prussians some schutzen per battalion or at least a fusilier unit to oppose the French?

  10. The 1806 Prussians will have some schuetzen attached to each battalion, but I haven't decided how many as yet. Probably in the range of 2 to 4 figures. I also plan to have a battalion of fusiliers. They will still be at a disadvantage vis-a-vis the French when it comes to light troops. The Prussians should have an edge in cavalry as I will give them dragoons and cuirassiers versus French only having chasseurs and hussars.