Saturday, November 14, 2009

French Limber Team

French artillery limber circa 1805-06 from Front Rank Miniatures. Click pix to enlarge.

I finished my first of eight French artillery limber teams that I purchased from Front Rank Miniatures about a month ago. I started Friday night and finished the team (7 Olley Painting Points) on Saturday afternoon and started the basing process, which takes several steps. Here you can see the semi-finished product before I apply a coating of brown ink on the base, dry brush some tan paint, and then apply the static grass.

I used some sheets of polystyrene that were laying about the workshop and cut them to a dimension of 7 inches long by 2-1/4 inches wide so that I would have enough extra space to attach an artillery piece to the limber. I do not glue my cannons and crew to a single stand, but rather keep the cannon standing free without a base and I put the crewmen on 3/4 inch square metal bases, finished off with spackle compound, paint and flock. So when it is time to move the gun model, I can simply attach it to the limber and take off!

Here is the Front Rank limber with an Elite Miniatures French howitzer hooked up for a ride. In the background, you can see either a Dixon or Essex (I can't recall which of the two made it) French caisson team.

It seemed a rather daunting task to assemble all of the parts for painting and then carefully glue them onto the plastic base, but the whole process turned out easier than I had imagined it to be. I went back and forth in my mind as to whether I might want to use only two horses and one rider, or go with the four horse and two rider team. However, after painting the whole team and finding it relatively easy to affix to the base system, I have decided to go with the full four horse team. Each one of my French guns will have a similar limber. The battery will be comprised of six gun models (2 howitzers and 4 8-pounders), their respective limbers, and one ammunition caisson team.

Four of the six guns that will make up one of my French line artillery batteries.

So there you have it - the start of the limber building process. I was afraid to tackle this project, but as is so often the case, once you start on a project, it is not as difficult as you might have imagined it to be. I am currently cleaning and getting two more limber teams ready for the primer and hopefully should have them finished by the end of this coming week. The French artillery battery should look downright awesome once all of its elements are in place: guns, crew, battery officer and ADC, limber teams and caissons.

En avant!


  1. Excellent work!
    Yep, that will certainly be an awe-inspiring sight when the entire battery and accoutrements come together!

  2. Excellent work there.
    The caisson team are from Essex - they have the characteristic "eyes right" styling.
    I like the idea for the limber. I designed my teams to fit on a base the same length as the width of the battry they were meant to represent when limbered.

  3. and a fine looking team indeed!
    6 guns to represent an 8 man battery? YIkes! How many guns in one of your Russian batteries? Would you mind sharing your thinking on the battery size? Such decision maing processes always interest me and I'm sure some others. It'll be an impressive unit on the table for sure.

  4. Grimsby Mariner: you are correct. Those are Essex figures with the caisson. Now I remember.

    Ross: I guess that I start with Peter Gilder's 1:20 ratio for In The Grand Manner and he used 4 gun batteries for the French (1 gun model = 2 guns) and 6 for the Russians. I suppose then at 1:10 I might want to double Gilder's ratio which works out to the actual number of guns in a battery: 8 French and 12 Russian. That seems like too many guns to put on the tabletop, but it needs to be more than the Gilder establishment. So I cut it down the middle and decided to go with 75% of the actual number of guns.

    So 8 x .75 = 6 French and Prussian
    12 x .75 = 9 Russian

    At least that is my thinking for now.

  5. When I was at Gettysburg this past summer, I learned something new. Many things actually, but this one really stuck with me as an old red leg.
    The Howitzers in the various batteries were generally not used for standard bombardment of the enemy, but rather kept in reserve as an anti-infantry weapon. This got me to thinking that since virtually all the leaders of the ACW were trained in Napoleonic tactics if the same were true in that era. Whether it is an effect of shorter range or larger barrel, I wonder if the howitzers were seen as a specialty weapon of the batteries, anti building, close in defense etc.
    If this is the case, would it not make more sense when modeling your batteries at 75% actual total to have 5 gun models and 1 howitzer model?

  6. I'm sure you might have already seen it but on the League of Augsburg site there are some great photos of a French napoleonic battery with a line of caissons, wagons etc behind the guns. The effect is superb.

    regards, Guy

  7. James - Your battery looks just great! I love the addition of the ammo wagon for a battery; same thing I do with mine although my SYW batteries consist of only three guns, not six as yours are. Just wonderful! Again, my congratulations on your painting abilities! Kindest regards from Hal

  8. Der Alte Fritz ~ Stupendous work again! Could you please devote a post to your basing methods and materials? Or please point me to an earlier post? I'm very interested in learning more about both your individual _and_ your unit basing. It looks like you have already worked out the answers I'm in search of!

    Thanks again for all of the inspiration!
    ~ Tom T

  9. Wonderful limber teams - inspirational work again 'Alte'!
    If they're Essex - what think you of the new Front Rank limber and teams? And wouldn't you love somebody to make a Polish Horse Artillery one?