Thursday, May 20, 2010

The Prussian Army, So Far

The entire Minden Project Prussian army is on the parade ground for a review. Please click on the picture for a closer inspection of the troops. And do leave a comment with Der Alte Fritz if any particular unit deserves special mention, or conversely, has failed its inspection.

Last evening I decided to lay out more of my terrain squares on the wargame table and see how my Minden Prussian army would look on a 6ft by 10ft table. As of now, I have eight battalions of line infantry, 1 battalion of jagers, 3 heavy 12-pounder foot artillery pieces, and 4 light 3-pounder regimental guns. I only have a dozen Bayreuth Dragoons so far because I have concentrated on the artillery and infantry combat arms, so far this year.

A view of the Prussian right flank and the camp ground area behind the lines. On the left, you can just see the start of the field forge vignette (unpainted castings so far). Eventually, I will have a full camp area with tents, men at their ease, sutlers and camp followers, etc.

One of the benefits of this exercise is that it enables me to see how the whole project is coming together; to get a better idea of how well the various pieces fit together; provides an idea of what else needs to be done (cavalry!); and finally, it is simply mesmerizing to look at, which makes the whole exercise fun.

One of the things that really jumps out at me is that this army, as it is constituted right now, takes up most of the tabletop space. If I add another two foot square tile to the left flank, that will give me 12 feet of table length and provides a moderate amount of "open flank area" on the left for maneuvering and cavalry action. If I removed the temporary hill on the right flank, which serves primarily as a photo background, then that would give me two feet of open area on that flank as well. To put it another way, I don't think that I need any more Prussian battalions for a typical game on 6ft by 12ft table, which would be my standard table dimension for this army and project.

Here are some RSM Prussian hussars (HR4 Puttkamer) that are shown next to a Minden Prussian officer (a dragoon officer converted to an infantry officer) with an RSM aide on foot. This demonstrates how compatible the two ranges are. The hussars were painted over 20 years ago by Bill Biles of Lexington, Kentucky (one of the original owners of RSM Miniatures).

I plan to rebase these figures in my new style of basing, and that should improve the overall appearance of the figures. Note the difference in painting styles between the hussars from 1990 (which was state of the art painting at the time) to the Minden command stand that I painted. We did not use much shading, highlighting or multi-tone coloring on our figures back in 1990. Bill hand painted the intricate hussar shabraques using a dark blue ink pen.

Now of course I won't stop painting my beloved Prussians. In fact I recently placed an order for figures to fill out the second battalion of the IR49 Diericke Fusliers, another grenadier battalion, and a regiment of the new Prussian hussars that Frank announced (today) as being available for shipments. I will probably have three or four Prussian cavalry regiments in this army. However, a typical game looks like it should have no more than nine battalions, unless the other three of the dozen that I have planned for each side are used as off board reserves that arrive later in the game.

Or to put it another way, perhaps it is time to start painting Austrians. I hate to say that, but this is true.

A parting shot of the Prussian left flank with the Itzenplitz regiment (IR13) in front with its battalion gun deployed. In the second line, you can see IR49 Diericke Fusiliers and their battalion gun being prolonged by hand. I really like this picture with the close up of the two battle lines and the deployed and prolonged battalion guns. I think that more wargamers should add things like battalion guns and limbers to their SYW armies.

I currently have more DR5 Bayreuth Dragoons on the painting table. I finished the first dozen a month or two ago and have a second group of eight partially painted. Another ten dragoons need to be primed and ready for painting. With Memorial Day weekend coming up soon (May 31st) I hope to be able to finish the dragoons this month and then possibly start on some Austrian infantry in June.


  1. I was going to alert you about Frank's new Prussian Hussars (they look great), but you already know about them.

    The only thing that jumps out at me is the missing flags for that one battalion . . . but I believe that you posted some time back that you'd ordered some.

    Overall the Prussians look great. . . . So, besides the cavalry, why don't you paint some . . . uh, Austrians?

    -- Jeff

  2. Jeff: the flags for IR13 arrived this week and I placed them on the unit. You can see that one stand only has gravel on it and no static grass. That is the new flag and unit. The other unflagged battalion in the second line is a grenadier battalion. And of course, the grenadier btns did not have flags.

    I ordered the Minden hussars yesterday and they should look very nifty once assembled and painted. they will be the Black Hussars in this army.

    I will probably prime some Austrians over the weekend


  3. A magnificent array. You can see how the real thing would have impressed observers with its grandeur.

    We seem to have a similar 'taste' in our unit selection. Although my 'Altmark-Uberheim' Army isn't Prussian, it has a distinctly Prussian look to it. I, too, decided upon the Black and White Hussars (5th and 4th)! On the other hand, I've had to let the Itzenplitz (IR13) go (not enough figures), and thought I'd go for the Schorlemer Dragoons, rather that the Bayreuth...

    Yours is a wonderful collection, and would I think be well suited to campaigns as much as one-off barttles. Great stuff!

  4. Your Prussians Infantry are excellect, but your artillery are truely inspirational...

  5. Very impressive indeed. :-)

    But yes, it is now time to get down to the Good Guys (the Austrians). ;-)



  6. A marvelous array!

    Then, those casualty markers look a little... ominous in a parade. I'd rather have them 'sleeping' quietly by the tents, while their less fortunate comrades are sweating under the sun and the unforgiving eyes of cane-wielding sergeants and officers!

    These impressive eye-candy images look like so many balloon's views, hey?

    Best regards,

  7. Fabulous collection.

    Like your completed artillery bases, especially the men prolonging the guns.

    -- Allan

  8. Superb figures and superb terrain. I like to see limbers, tents and wagons included in a game.

  9. Wow - what a stunning display! It is an unbeatable incentive to get back to my own painting.

    Your battalions seem exceedingly well turned out and drilled. No regimental discipline today! I note that the fusiliers are in the second line. This is a parade of course but it made me wonder where they would have been placed on the battlefield. My readings (still limited, I am a bit new to the SYW) suggests that the Prussian fusiliers were conceived of as light troops but not necessarily or regularly used as such. Is this impression correct? If one wanted to reproduce Frederic's practices should the fusiliers be placed up front or most anywhere at all? I have the impression that some fusilier regiments weren't among the army's best so maybe "in reserve" is wise...

    Thanks for posting this absolutely eye-popping parade !


  10. Superb display and I'm sure the Minden hussars will add yet more lustre.

    I was interested by your comment about the 20 year old RSM hussars. I have never disposed of any of my troops so someimes I have lined some examples up to show how my painting style has hopefully improved/evolved over 30 odd years. I started with guidence from Peter Gilder so some basics eg how I paint horses with oils and the wipe off method haven't changed that much. I am not a great painter by any means but I hope that I have benefited from all the advice in various books, magazines, web sites etc. I think mine have definately improved assisted by better basing, highlighting, some conversions and hopefully better figure sculpts. Perhaps one day I will go back and repaint or perhaps touch up some of the older troops to see if they can be improved.


  11. Hi
    A stunnig view... The lone deer on the hill will enjoy the fight. At least, this time he not will be the dead!

  12. A lovely collection of troops. One of my friends has embarked on a SYW project and I intend to contribute the odd, interesting unit. Thanks to you I have decided on the first one. It has to be IR49, I love the orange facings and I am already painting a sepoy regiment for Assaye with the same colour. As always I have been enjoying your blogs. Cheers,Dave H.

  13. The review is stunning; one of the reasons your blog is so enjoyable to view. The massed effect really inspires me to continue painting SYW.
    The gun vignette, in my opinion, are your best work yet.


  14. Its been a real pleasure to watch this project unfold, and yes, now its time for Austrians, then you can get "white blindness" like the rest of us!

  15. Inspiring as ever DAF & extremely useful in terms of seeing whats possible with units of this size with regard to available table space, especially for someone just starting out in this period/scale.
    I look forward to further updates.