Friday, July 31, 2015

Minden Black Hussars

HR5 von Reusch "Black Hussars"

Soren Christensen sent me a photo of some of the Minden figures that he is working on as part of a project to recreate the Battle of Hohenfriedberg in 1745. These are wonderfully painted figures that deserve to be seen by a wider audience, so I am posting the picture on my blog.

Here is a link to Soren's blog:

Black Powder Wargames Blog

Click on the above link and spend a little bit of time scrolling through some of the earlier posts about the SYW and the Great Norther War in particular.

Speaking of Hohenfriedberg, here is a copy of the famous Richard Knotel drawing of the Prussian cavalry presenting captured colours to Frederick after the battle. I wish that GMB Designs would make some of these Austrian flags, which you don't see very often.

Richard Knotel's Hohenfriedberg drawing.

The picture also tempts me to paint some Bayreuth Dragoons in the white coats that they wore at Hohenfriedberg.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Back to the Prussians

IR22 Grenadier, NCO, Officer and Musician Uniforms (Bleckwenn)

I have been paying too much attention of late to my SYW Minden Austrian army (1:20 ratio), having added a regiment of cuirassiers (Anhalt Zerbst), artillery (3 x 3-pdrs and 1 x 12-pdr, plus ammo wagons) while my nephew Alex (Erbprinz Alex) has painted 2 battalions of the Wied infantry regiment and has another regiment of cuirassiers and dragoons in queue for my army.

So it is time to switch back over to the Prussians and add a few more units of infantry and cavalry to that army (bless them). I selected IR22 the Prinz Moritz regiment, which was "massacred at Kolin and heavily suffered at Zorndorf", in the words of Christopher Duffy. Dorn & Englemann indicate that the regiment lost 80% of its roster at Kolin: 26 officers and 1,165 men from its two battalions. I am inferring that some of these men were likely captured, as a number of them were exchanged in 1758, when the regiment was restored to full strength.

In 1758, it was part of the Pommeranian corps that joined Frederick's army at Zorndorf, where it fought on the right wing under the command of Dohna. In October of that year, the regiment was a part of the force that relieved Kolberg.

The regiment missed the battle of Kunersdorf, but later was part of the force that reinforced the King's shattered survivors of that battle. 

In 1760, IR22 served with the King's army again and took part in the unsuccessful siege of Dresden. It also fought at Torgau, although was mostly in a reserve role, thankfully. The regiment remained with the King's army during the 1761 and 1762 campaigns.

The regiment was a Pomeranian regiment and its garrison was at Stargard in Pommerania.

The uniform is shown in the Hans Bleckwenn uniform plate above, which depicts a typical Prussian blue coat, Prussian cuffs (tight) and red lapels. I was thinking that they had white breeches and waistcoat, but I was wrong. The small clothes are straw yellow. I really wanted a unit with white breeches to give me one with a classic Prussian uniform. I may switch over to IR20 Bornstadt, which was also at Kolin and suffered heavy losses there.

Below is a picture of the regimental colors and details of the grenadier mitre. I assume that the gentlemen pictured is Prinz Moritz.

IR22 Standard and Grenadier detail (Bleckwenn)

As of today, my Prussian (Minden) army has 6 battalions of musketeers, 2 battalions of fusiliers, 1 battalion of grenadiers, 1 jager regiment, and 2 battalions of IR/15 the Guard. I don't plan to use the Guards in many of my battles, so I need a couple of battalions to replace the Guards, so IR22 was my choice. I also need to add one battalion of grenadiers.

Friday, July 24, 2015

Labelling of Blog Entries Is Completed

I have gone through over 900 blog posts going back to August 2007, when I started this blog, and entered topic labels for every single posting. YIKES! that was a lot of work.

I then posted the 26 most popular topics in the column on the left side of this page. So if, for example, you wanted to see everything on this blog about Prussian cavalry, you would click on the link for Prussian SYW Army and that would cause every related post to show up on your screen. Then you would scroll down through the posts until you found one with a Prussian Cavalry label, click "Prussian Cavalry", and then all of the posts related to Prussian cavalry would be at your fingertips.

I can add more topics to the list, because everything now has a label, I just didn't want the list of labels to get too long.

Followers Wanted
I was hoping that the increase in blogging output would attract a few more followers  to this blog. I actually lost one follower today (sigh). I am targeting 500 followers as my goal. If you are a regular visitor to this blog, then why not click on the Follow This Blog link on this page and become a follower .

Comments Are Appreciated Too
I can track statistics that tell me how many visitors I have each day, but the thing that I really enjoy is reading comments that visitors leave on the blog. I encourage everyone to leave a comment on a topic from time to time, even if it is just to say Hello. A lot of times I post information in the comment responses that does not appear on the main page, so you could be missing some good information.

What's Next?
I have been working on my 1:20 Minden Austrian and Prussian armies so that I can run a Kolin game at next year's SYWA convention in March 2016 in South Bend. I will be reporting more on this topic in the coming days and weeks.

In the near term, I want to set up a Chotositz scenario and play a solo game. Hohenfriedburg and Soor are also candidates for solo play treatment in 2015. In other words, I want to play more wargames in 2015, be it solo games or games with the Brown Deer group. Solo games give me the opportunity to try out scenario ideas or experiment with rules changes.

AWI Hessian Update
We should be seeing the greens for the Hessian infantry within a couple of weeks, which would be my best guess. I am looking forward to seeing what Richard will come up with this time. Stay tuned for more information.

Big Battalion Game "Label"
In going through all of the old posts these past few days, I found some awesome pictures from the Battle of Schaumburg in October 2009. Click on "Big Battalion Game" label on the left side of this page to relive some of these battles. It is worth the extra couple of clicks. We are starting plans to host another huge multiplayer Big Battalion Game, probably in May 2016.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Some Blog Changes To Make Things Easier

I have added a list of "labels" or thread topics on the left side of this page. It is titled Most Popular Labels.

I have gone through about 450 of the 960 blog posts today and added labels. This takes me back to October 9, 2011. I plan to finish the remaining blog threads later this week.

The labels are listed in order of the most frequent topics. You can click on any one of the labels, for example, the Battle of Kolin, and you will have every single thread that I have written on the Battle of Kolin right at your fingertips.

I think that I still have too many categories and may amalgamate topic such as Austrian Infantry, Cavalry and Artillery into one Austrian SYW Army label.

I am only listing the most popular threads. There are many other labels, but you will have to scroll through the archives to find them. When you do (Dogs for example), just click on the label and all the Dog topics will appear.

I hope that this will be helpful in navigating your way around and through the blog archives.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Austrian Cuirassier Regt. Anhalt Zerbst

Two squadrons of the Austrian cuirassier regiment Anhalt Zerbst

Today I completed the second squadron of 12 Minden Austrian cuirassiers for the Anhalt Zerst regiment during the SYW. I wanted to have the regiment on standing horses so that they would look like they were in the second line of battle in reserve.

I have started keeping a unit diary for every infantry and cavalry unit and record the date of service in my Austrian and Prussian armies. Thus the Anhalt Zerbst regiment entered service on July 21, 2015.

Side view of the standing horse pose - the regiment is in reserve waiting to enter the battle.

I now have three cuirassier regiments and two dragoon regiments in my Austrian cavalry establishment. My plan is to have cavalry brigades of three regiments ( 2 x cuirassiers and 1 x dragoons).

Anhalt Zerbst Cuirassier Regiment in Austrian service.
I am toying with an idea to increase all of my cavalry from 24 figures in "squadrons" of 12 figures in double ranks to 32 figures in four squadrons of 8 figures in a single rank. The picture below illustrates how this might look. I started with the Anhalt Zerbst cuirassiers (24 figures) and borrowed four more stands from the O'Donnell cuirassiers to see how it would look.

What do you think?

An idea for having 4 squadrons of 8 cavalry in a regiment

The idea comes from Peter Gilder's In The Grand Manner (ITGM) rules for Napoleonic wargaming. ITGM uses the cavalry squadron as the basic unit in a cavalry regiment. I kind of like the look of 32 figure cavalry regiment and at a 1:20 ratio (640 riders) it is closer to the actual strength of an Austrian regiment than is my current 24 figure regiment.

The Cons:

  • requires adding 8 more figures to every cavalry regiment
  • more squadrons adds to the complexity of the rules and the game
  • do single ranks look better or worse than two ranks?

The Pros:

  • more figures always looks better on the table top
  • 32 figures brings the regiment closer to its theoretical strength of ~ 700-800 horse

Alternative Idea:

  • Increase the cavalry units to 36 figures divided into three squadrons of 12 riders and keep the 12 figures per squadron arrangement and two rank formations.


Sunday, July 19, 2015

Fritz Defends The Raj - BAR SYW in India

Bill Protz is master of his domain - BAR SYW game in Brown Deer

On Saturday July 18, 2015 the Gang of Seven convened at Chez Protz to fight a BAR game (Batailles dans l'Ancien Regime) in 18th Century India. Of course, the two sides represented the French and British, along with their respective native allies. We do not collectively have a lot of painted troops for the SYW in India, however, we borrowed the native contingents from Bill's 19th Century India collection and then added a couple of European units per side.

The British colonial army in India, led by the Earl of Glenlivet, a Scotsman whose family judiciously  had one son support the Hanoverian King, while the younger son supported the Pretender. That younger son was the Earl of Glenlivet, who was seeking to earn the good grace of the Hanoverian King by serving him in India.

Glenlivet was tasked with capturing the French colonial city of Basmatipur, so as to drive the French out of India. Glenlivet's army included two British infantry battalions, a brace of 6-pounders, 2 squadrons of European cavalry, and an unknown number of native levies, ably led by Keith Pasha (native infantry commander) and John Sahib (the native cavalry commander).

The British Europeans were a little uncertain about facing elephants for the first time, but their training made the difference as they held firm, fired a couple of rounds, and advanced towards the town of Basmatipur. Glenlivet placed his British infantry on the right flank and gave them the task of capturing the town.

In the British center, Keith Pasha was given the task of getting the attention of the French and keeping them from reinforcing the town. Glenlivet had no idea what his native cavalry were up to on the far left wing, nor did he care all that much. Much to his surprise, the British natives performed exceptionally well (it must have been those European commanders attached to each native brigade) as they swept the French army off the table in all three sectors.

Please follow the action in the pictures (captioned) below and click or double click the photos to enlarge the view.

The British contingent anchored the right flank and was given the task of launching the main assault on the town of Basmatipur.

The native contingents allied to the British filled out the center and also attacked Basmatipur.

On the far British left, John M. (left) and Bill Protz (right) crossed sabers with their cavalry. Bill : " let's see, the French get a plus ten in melee and the British get a minus 5".

The British 11th Foot, supported by two 6-pounders and a company of grenadiers on its left, advance towards the town.

The French Chasseurs de Fischer sally forth from the town to attack the British.

Same game turn, but from the French point of view. Note the British 8th Foot on the left, protecting the right flank of the 11th Foot in the center.

A huge melee developed in the woods between two opposing mobs of native levies. The British levies charged the front and flank of the French levies, but miraculously, the French natives won the scrum and sent the British natives fleeing out of the woods and back to their lines.

Undeterred by the melee loss in the woods, the British natives launch another attack to the left of the woods and right at the French Albany Regiment.

Earl's French regulars await the native horde coming its way.

Over on the British left flank, it is siesta time as the cavalry advance into contact.
The British irregular levies overpower the French regular cavalry, while the British regular cavalry waits to mop up the remains of the melee.

The 11th Foot wins the first fire card and mows down the Chasseurs de Fischer in  large numbers. The elephants  proved to look more impressive than they actually were.

More French levies try to work around the right flank of the British 11th Foot.

The Chasseurs de Fischer, what was left of them, fled back into Basmatipur. All that remained were a mob of native levies, some nellies a clear sailing into the town for the 11th Foot.

Some fierce looking native artillery gets left behind as the rest of the British natives  advance towards the French Albany Regiment.

Back in the center, the Albany Regiment is forced to retire back towards Basmatipur or risk getting outflanked.

A few of the French levies go battle mad and launch a hopeless charge into the 8th Foot, which would only lose two casualties all day.

The British 11th Foot also mop up the remnants of the French levies and have clear sailing into the town and its eventual capture.

While the outcome was a bit lopsided in favor of the redcoats, I think that everyone enjoyed playing in the game. The odd mix of natives, elephants and a few European units created a fun game with a few uncertainties provided by a deck of chance cards, that were drawn each turn.

Bill and I are both considering painting some French and British Sepoy regiments to use in future India games. I suspect that BAR will be returning to the Indian subcontinent again.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

American Militia New Figures At Fife & Drum

Minden Armed Civilian set of 5 figures
OK, they are not exactly new figures, per se, but this set of five European Armed Civilians has been a part of the Minden Miniatures range for the past several years, but is well hidden from the public. I think that they happen to look like American Militia too.

So, below is a picture of a set of 13 foot and one mounted officer put together from various figures in both Minden and Fife & Drum figure ranges. The mounted officer is actually one of the mounted civilian gentlemen from the Minden range.

I plan to eventually offer the set at a 15% discount at $27.00 (compared to the retail sales price of $32.00 if you were to buy the figures individually. The only problem is that I don't have enough stock of at least one of the figures (second row, second figure from the right - militia man in tricorn with musket down). However, if you are OK with me substituting a figure or two for any shortages, then I can go ahead and take orders for the militia set, as depicted below. Just ask for Militia Set #1 for $27.00 plus postage and I will send them to you right away.

Here are 14 different militia figures taken from our Fife & Drum AWI range (8 figures), the Minden mounted gentleman serving as a militia officer, and the Minden Armed Civilians (5 figures).
The next order of business: getting samples of the set painted and photographed.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Keeping A Journal of Ideas

Moleskine Journal notebook that I carry with me everywhere
 Here is a quick little idea for your consideration, carry a small notebook with you when you travel or are on the go. I purchased a small Moleskine journal earlier this year so that I could keep all of the ideas, that I previously jotted down on scraps of paper or in the margins of my daily newspaper, in one place. I have a daily work commute, via train, of one hour each workday, so this gives me a lot of time to do some reading, check on various forums for hobby news, or write in my journal or on my blog.

I have posted a couple pictures of pages from my notebook to give you a better idea of what I am talking about. The first picture, below, depicts several pages of notes for an after action game report following our recent Battle of Kolin game. You can be as elaborate or as bare bones as you care to be in your entries. I take a little bit of inspiration from Neil Cogswell and the illustrations that he included with his Horace St. Paul books. So I try to populate the pages with hand drawn maps containing two dimensional drawings of the terrain or troops whenever I can. This seems to give the entry a little bit of "life" to it.

[It seems that Blogger application will not let me change the justification of the paragraph and the space between the two pictures above is center justified, rather than left or right. So I'm skipping to the bottom of the page where I already had a left justification set up]

The bottom picture illustrates some record keeping from my Mollwitz game. I recorded the casualties for each unit so that I can see which units carried the brunt of the fighting. Eventually, I will record the results in a Unit Diary that I'm keeping for each battalion in my Minden 1:20 ratio Austrian and Prussian armies. I am also starting a Battle Journal to record the results of each battle. This idea is inspired by Charlie Grant's article in the current Wargamers' Annual Summer 2015 Special booklet. Each battle will be assigned its own number (1, 2, 3, etc.) and when a unit participates in one of the battles, the battle number will be cross posted to the Unit Diary so that I can refer to either journal as needed.

The right hand page, above, contains some simple jotting down of ideas and which regiments to add to my Austrian army ahead of my Battle of Kolin game at the 2016 Seven Years War Association Convention in March 2016. I know how many regiments are needed for the game, and I know that I am a few regiments short, so some of the painting will be farmed out to my nephew Alex. I have also scribbled down ideas on how I want to brigade my Austrian regiments.

At other times, I might be contemplating which figures to add to the Minden and Fife & Drum figure ranges, so I will write down ideas in groups of 16 figures (16 is the maximum number of figures that will fit into one master mould, so when Richard Ansell sculpts figures, he works in batches of 16 figures). There are an infinite number of combinations of figure ideas for those 16 mould slots, so you can imagine how many times I jot down a "what if" group of 16 figures almost every other day.

At other times, I might be reading about some battle and an idea for converting it into a game scenario will pop up in my head, so I write the idea down in my journal.

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Tale of the Table

Der Alte Fritz's painting table (definitely a SYW theme going on here)

Here are a few pictures of my painting table in the cellar of Schloss Seewald. It looks like nothing special to speak of, but maybe it really does. Let's take a closer look:


My current project: a squadron of 12 Austrian cuirassiers (Anhalt Zerbst Regiment)
The picture above shows you what I am currently working on, a squadron of 12 Austrian cuirassiers, Minden Miniatures of course. I usually paint a dozen at a time, but this time I have broken the squadron down into two groups of six figures. I had been hitting a painting wall and decided that if I reduced the project into smaller pieces, then I could get my painting mojo up and get these guys finished.

In the middle background, the remains of a project that has been literally pushed to the back of the queue.
The picture above depicts some of the Austrian equipment that I was working on a week or two ago. Behind the yellow Austrian 2-wheel ammo wagon is a Prussian 4-wheel wagon that has been sitting on the painting table for about 2 years. To the right side of the table, you can see a few samples and other one-off figures that I have painted over the last couple of years. To the right of the cannon model is General Knyphausen. Behind Knyphausen is a old Hinchcliffe one-piece casting of Napoleon. I really like the proportions of the Napoleon figure and want to paint him soon, for the fun of it. He has been in primer for about a decade, maybe longer.

Behind Napoleon one can see a Warfare Miniatures GNW Swede covered in blue paint and an RSM Croat reaching for his cartridge (he was painted by Dennis Smail of RSM). Behind the Croat is a French Napoleonic grenadier painted as  one of the Paris Garde (red coat with green facings), a colorful unit that I want to paint someday. You can also see a couple of center company French in shakos also painted as the Paris Garde. These are all Elite Miniatures figures.

Moving on to the round wooden base, we see the Minden Zieten personality figure handing a message to another hussar. There is also a Legion d'Hainault French grenadier painted as  a sort of Grenadier de France soldier. This was painted before the actual Grenadiers de France figures were added to the Minden range.

To the left of the Zieten stand is one solitary Esterhazy Hussar (Austrian SYW) that I painted as a sample figure prior to painting 24 of them on commission. I like the way that the horse turned out, so I saved him to use as a painting reference for future horses. Behind the Esterhazy hussar are two RSM SYW generals that will one day become Austrian generals. Behind the RSM generals are some Minden Prussian cuirassiers including Seydlitz. Next to Seydlitz is a cuirassier, back to the camera, that was painted by Frank Hammond (so I thought that I would save this figure for my own one off collection).

A collection of various wagons, cannon and limber that are gathering dust.
We can see a number of wagons and cannons on this section of the painting table. I'm afraid that they have been parked here for about 2 years and are not likely to move off the dealer lot anytime soon. You can also see my copy of the Mollo SYW book. This was a rarity at one time, but I seem to have collected about 5 or 6 copies over the years. It is still a handy painting guide to have.

On the small round stand is an old RAFM 3-pounder that is now in Austrian service. A couple of RSM artillery crew are waiting for their new uniforms. Behind that are some Fife & Drum artillery pieces: red for French and unprimed Prussian 12-pounder. I seem to have enough Prussian 12-pounders these days, so there is no hurry to paint more.

Way back in the left corner is a Prussian cuirassier officer (RSM) painted by Bill Biles. Bill was my first figure painter when I first started in the hobby. He painted all of my Prussians while I learned to paint working on the Austrians. You can also see a stick of Suren Highlanders that I picked up at a bring and buy and plan to add to my Big Battalion Black Watch regiment.

The Minden French Marshal figure can be seen lurking among the paint pots. I hope that I can paint him one day, but without a French army, there is no sense of urgency on my part.

The shelf of One-Off Figures
To the right of my painting area, are a couple of plastic drawers that contain paints. However, it seems that once a jar of paint goes into these drawers, they never see the light of day again.

On the top of the drawers is a motley collection of one off figures that I have painted over the past 10-15 years. I often try out samples of one figure to get an idea of how to paint it. You can see some Foundry and Crusader Prussians, a Perry Hessian Jager, a Suren British soldier at Fontenoy and a Dennis Mize fantasy warrior princess (Mize was one of the greatest figure sculptors that I have ever seen, in my opinion. His lifelike figures are amazing).

Well, that's a quick tour of my painting table. I hope that you enjoyed it. Leave comments if you want to ask any questions or just care to leave a comment. I enjoy reading the feedback.


Friday, July 3, 2015

Fife & Drum Fourth of July Sale

Spirit of '76 vignette, by Richard Ansell

To kick off the Fourth of July 2015 weekend, Fife & Drum Miniatures is offering a new 1776 Deal for our North American customers. Any orders for American Revolution (AWI) figures received before July 15th, 2015 will receive FREE SHIPPING and a 10% DISCOUNT for the entire order.

There are two ways to order:

1) place an order via e-mail to: and type the words "1776 Deal" on your email to receive the discount and free shipping.

2) place an order on the Fife & Drum website Fife & Drum Miniatures Web Site which creates an automatic Paypal order (however, I will have to refund your 10% discount via Paypal since our web shopping cart doesn't provide for discounts).

This offer is only good for customers in North America and applies only to the AWI figure and equipment range.

European customers can now order Fife & Drum figures directly from our UK-based distributor, Crann Tara Miniatures. This will save our Eurozone customers on customs duties and reduce the overall shipping charges. (NOTE: the 1776 Deal does not apply to orders placed with Crann Tara Miniatures).

Crann Tara Miniatures