Sunday, March 2, 2008

Austrian Bits & Pieces

Austrian Field Marshal's Camp Tent - constructed by Herb Gundt

With a little bit of reluctance, I have started to work down that pile of lead that will eventually become my Seven Years War Austrian Army. I use the word "reluctance" only because my painting passions lie on the dark blue spectrum of the color wheel. I can paint Prussians all day with the greatest of ease and never get bored, but Austrians take a bit of gumption and a great heaping helping of "need". When one has 240 Prussian cavalry and only 72 Austrian horse, then there is trouble brewing in Brandenburg. The solution is to find some inspiration and break out the pots of white paint.

Tenting Tonight On The Old Campground: Fortunately for Der Alte Fritz, Mr. Herb Gundt came to the rescue with an inspiring assortment of camp tents and command tents for my Austrian (and Prussian - come on now, you didn't think that I would ignore the Prussians when it comes to the terrain goodies, now did you?) army. The inspiration for all of this goes back many years ago to an article in "Wargames Illustrated" by a fellow named Peter Duckworth. He described how he made his own encampment of tents and I thought that it would look pretty cool on my table top one day. Then fast forward to last year and a viewing of one of Phil Olley's spectacular tabletop layouts, complete with command tents for both sides and, simply put, I knew that it was time to go a tenting. I talked to Herb, outlined my ideas for command tents and tents for the rank and file, and the end results are posted here today. I think that Herb has outdone himself once again.

Prussian Commander's Tent by Herb Gundt

Generic camp group tents for the rank and file, by Herb Gundt

I am already conjuring up a number of uses and scenarios for these tents. The camp group could used as a back drop for a Soor scenario in 1745, where the Austrians nearly caught Frederick napping, so to speak, in his encampment. Fritz attacked in the usual manner and won in the usual manner, but methinks that he should have kept this little episode fresh in his memory. It would have come in handy at Hochirk in 1758. The tents could also come in handy as a target for a Croat raiding party or some similar action. Now, all I need is a field bakery.

Austrian Reinforcements: Thus inspired, I searched through the dark and deep cavern know as The Closet O' Lead and fished out a squadron of Crusader SYW Austrian cuirassiers that I had primed about a year or so ago. I started slapping paint on the unit thursday evening and finished off the 12 figure squardron on Sunday afternoon. I'm sorry that I don't have the pictures at this time, maybe tomorrow. I really don't enjoy painting cavalry as much as infantry because each piece is really two miniatures - the rider and the horse. Experience has tought me that painting cavalry in batches of 10 or 12 figures makes the project more palatable. The prospect of having to paint 36, much less a whole regiment of 60 riders, is too much for me, but breaking it down into bite sized morsels gives me a psychological boost.

The new squadron will bring my Birkenfeld (CR23) regiment up to 36 figures. I would gladly paint some more, but I have run out of cuirassier lead and I'm trying to stick to my pledge to paint more of the lead that I already have, rather than buying more new figures. This means that the next couple of squadrons will be Austrian dragoons. I have 48 of these fellows, also from Crusader, and I'm thinking that 12 will beef up my Saint Ignon dragoon regiment to 36 figures, while the next 36 might become the Saxe-Gotha Dragoon regiment in bright red coats and light blue facings - a truly colorful combination that ought to look splendid on the table top. Following that, I have 36 Austrian Hussars, also from Crusader. As you might guess, I like the Crusader cavalry a whole lot. Mark Simms' castings are easy to paint and they have terrific faces, so they are a breeze to paint. They are moderately chunky so they look like they fit in with my larger 30mm Suren and Elite cavalry figures. Yet they are not too chunky or cartoonish.

February Painting Update: Let's review the painting production for the month of February. I accumulated 81 Olley Painting Points in February, which is right on target with my 60 to 70 points goal for each month.

1806 Project (46 points)
30 Prussian Grenadiers (IR13) - 30 points
10 Prussian Foot Artillery Crew - 10 points
2 Prussian 6 pounders - 2 points
2 Prussian mounted officers (2 points each) - 4 points

SYW Project (35 points)
12 Prussian Garde du Corps (Elite Miniatures) - 24 points total
2 Prussian brigadier generals, mounted - 4 points total
6 Prussian Artillery crew (Stadden AWI artillery crew) - 6 points
1 Prussian 7 pound howitzer (Berlin Zinfiguren) - 1 point

By the way, when I painted the 1806 Prussian 6 pounders from Elite Miniatures, I noticed that these castings were quite a bit larger than the original Napoleonic 6 pounders that he made. The newer versions are really, really nice. For those of you looking for larger cannons to use with your large 28mm and 30mm cannon models, these are worth a close look. Highly recommended, as Hal Thinglum would say!

The 1806 Project will be on hold for a couple of months as I get back to work on some things that I need for SYW convention games at the Seven Years War Association convention at the end of March in South Bend, Indiana; at Little Wars in April; and at Historicon in July. I also have my first SYW game of 2008 next weekend in Brown Deer, Wisconsin at the home of Monsieur Protz, le come de Brown Deer. Der Alte Fritz has a busy campaigning season ahead of him, it would seem.


  1. Love the tents Jim, now, if you need info on field bakeries, I have accumulated a few notes that may be of use to you and Mr Gundt.


    Greg Horne

  2. I may take you up on your offer Greg. BTW, I still owe you some Potsdam command figures. I haven't forgotten them, just haven't been able to get to the post office.

  3. Jim,

    I particularly like the trim on the Austrian tent . . . very much says "AUSTRIAN".

    But, sir, any month in which you paint more Nappies than Tricorns is a BAD MONTH. Remember that . . . *grin*.

    -- Jeff

  4. Please, do just let me know Jim.



  5. Fantastic tents and an exciting campaign season ahead.....

  6. An excellent array of tentage, and that command pavillion really does look the business.

    I agree wholeheartedly about painting cavalry - it's my own bete noir. Like you I find the whole process more palatable if the number to be painted is broken down into 10-12 figure batches.

  7. Jim, these are a wonderful looking addition to your terrain! I can not wiat to se them on a table for a game.


  8. I rember the article by Peter Duckworth and always intended to do something similar, but your command tents have raised the bar and my desire, great work by Herb.

  9. Excellent work by Mr. Gundt! These are going into my inspiration folder!

    I don't ming cavalry. I find horses quick to paint. Not too many fiddly bits. :-)

  10. Morning Jim,

    A very nice "camp" you have assembled there. Are they cast resin or another kind of material?

    Best Regards,


  11. Stokes: I have no idea what they are made of as I won't have them in my possession until the SYWA convention in a couple of weeks. They kind of look like resin, but I'm not sure.