Monday, August 31, 2015

The Great Northern War in Europe 1700-1721 Map

Not the map, but a bunch of angry Swedes on the attack.

I found this nice map of Europe at the time of the Great Northern War. Click on the link below to see the full size version.

The Great Northern War in Europe 1700-1721 - Full size

On the painting front, I have completed 12 of the 30 figures for the Upplands Regiment.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Assembling the Swedes

Warfare Miniatures GNW Swedes after assembly process.

I assembled 78 Warfare Miniatures GNW Swedes yesterday. Each figure requires a modest amount of assembly, either gluing on a sword & bayonet scabbard or a pole arm or pike. The marching figures' left arm has to be glued onto the torso as well. My plan was to assemble two 30-figure regiments but I had a few marching poses left over so I decided to assemble them as well.

After a little bit of trial and error, I realized that I needed to break out my epoxy putty so that I could stick a tiny bit of green stuff into the cavities for the pegs that hold the scabbard to the torso. I tried a couple figures without the putty and it was difficult getting the metal to metal bond to hold, as the join was a little awkward to me. Putty definitely speeds up the bonding and assembling process, so I would recommend using it for these figures. Then it took me several models before  realizing that one needs to clip off the bayonet flange that sticks out of the combination sword and bayonet frog. Why? Because the bayonet is already cast to the musket and so the little piece of bayonet that sticks out of the scabbord is a duplicate or redundant. So I took a pair of scissors and just snipped off the little piece of metal. That was easy enough, it just took me several figures before I figured it out.

Front view of two regiments plus a partial regiment of 12 figures marching in the third row.
All in all, assembling is an easy, but somewhat tedious project, for these figures but it is something that you need to do. It doesn't dissuade me from buying more figures, but it did take me a couple of hours to do this mass of figures. Tonight, I will give them a quick soaking in rubbing alchohol to remove any mould-removal agent on the metal. Then I will glue the figures to a square of cardboard and once the glue dries, prime the figures with grey primer. I hope to be able to paint some samples over the weekend.

I now have two charging regiments of Swedes and enough leftover marching poses (which I did not use in the two regiments) - 12, to start a third regiment of 30 figures.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

GNW Swedes from Warfare Miniatures

Two regiments of 30 Warfare Miniatures Swedes for the Great Northern War

I received some reinforcements for my GNW Swedish army from Warfare Miniatures the other day, and now I have enough figures to create two 30-figure battalions as shown in these pictures.

Since many of the figures are charging with levelled or extended muskets/bayonets, I chose a deeper base to place them on so that the bayonets do not get broken or bent from use. This also provides enough extra space to create a perception of a third rank by offsetting some of the command figures, such as the drummers, officers, NCOs and standard bearers behind the first two ranks.

For now, I am basing the figures as follows: 2 stands of 6-figures, 2 stands of 5-figures and one command stand with 8-figures. The command stand will include 6 pikemen and 2 standard bearers.

So, what do you think so far?
Side view of the regiments, showing the formation of a third rank with supernumeraries such as officers, drummers and standard bearers.

Monday, August 24, 2015

From the Verandah of Sans Souci

This is just a short update of the things going on at Schloss Fritz these days, using a title heading of a column that I used to write in the Seven Years War Association Journal. I am writing this article whilst commuting to work on the train, so I will have to fix the various pictures so that they enlarge when I get home this evening.


I ran across this interesting site, courtesy of Ralphus at The Wars of Louis Quatorze blog. Ralphus has a very good eye or nose for finding interesting web sites that pertain to 18th Century military history topics. This is how I discovered the Obscure Battles site, which is a "must see" site for anyone with an interest in the Prussian battles of the WAS or the SYW.

In any event, Paper Battles follows the bloggers attempts to create tabletop games using paper troops and scenary, and if you click on the link and visit the blog then you will know what I mean. The gentleman has a wonderful model of the village of Leuthen that you can find by scrolling around through the site. Here is a picture of a Prussian battalion at 1:1 ratio.


I was mortified to discover, courtesy of one of my readers, that I had glued the flags upside down on the first battalion. I have done the dirty deed on a single battalion in the past, but never on both battalions of a regiment. I can hardly set up a photo shoot of the new regiment being reviewed by Frederick whilst its colours are upside down. I could call them the Uberunter Regiment, I suppose, and keep the flags as they are, but nah, I just can't do that. So I'm going to have to clip off the old flags and replace them with new flags. Sigh.

Over the weekend I primed figures for the second battalion and got a good start at blocking in the basic blue coat, straw breeches and red facing colors, and a red-brown undercoat for the flesh areas. I find that I usually need to apply a second coat of each color to get good paint coverage, but the second layer is easier to paint than it is to apply the first layer; after all, you already have a guide to the areas that need the paint. One color that I have learned to dislike is RED. For some reason, applying the red facings of Prussian regiments has become a chore for me. The only item that I dislike even more is the painting of musket barrels ( I can never get a straight line of metallic gun blue on the barrel).

Come to think of it, I'm not too keen on painting Prussian or British drummers, with all of that lace. For some reason painting French drummer's lace is fun to paint. Go figure, I certainly can't.


No, I'm not talking about new Minden Prussian poses (although there will surely be more of those in the near future), but rather, I'm referring to new additions to my own Minden Prussian army.


I've realized that I've been painting ( or commissioned to be painted) quite a few Austrian Cuirassiers lately and that I run the risk of being out armored by the White Coats. We can't have that happen, so I have begun to cast my eye around for a new regiment or two of Prussian Cuirassiers. I currently have CR1, CR8 and CR13. The CR2 Prinz von Preussen regiment seems like an obvious choice. Who can resist yellow coats (kollets)? They have a unique look to them relative to anything else in the SYW era.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

IR22 Work In Progress (updated)

IR22 Prinz Moritz Regiment (click to enlarge)

Two companies plus the mounted officer. Note the Zimmerman on the left side. (click to enlarge)

Moving on to more happier topics, I completed the first battalion of Prussian regiment Prinz Moritz (IR22), using Minden figures of course. I paint two battalion regiments of 30 figures x 2 or 60 figures for both battalions. The flags are the wonderful creations of GMB Designs.

Close up view of the GMB Designs flags and the Minden figures. (click to enlarge).

The uniform is your basic and typical Prussian Blue coat with red facings and tight Prussian cuffs, and  with Straw breeches and waistcoat.

I used the following paint colors for the figures:

Straw waistcoats and breeches:

  Shade color - Stained Ivory (Reaper Master Series #09142)
  Highlight color - Creamy Ivory (Reaper Master Series #09144)

  The third color in the triad is Yellowed Bond (Reaper Master Series #09143) but I did not use it on these figures as I like to limit my painting to two colors only, rather than the popular three color technique.

Red facings: Shade color - Reaper Pro Paints #19002 Blood Red
                     Highlight color - Reaper Master Series #09004 Bright Red

Blue uniform coat: Shade color - Apple Barrel (craft store paints) English Navy Blue #20773
                               Highlight - IWM True Blue #77-720 (Iron Wind Metals)

Another view of the first battalion. Black Hussars in the background. (click to enlarge)

I will start the process of terraining the bases tonight, troweling the speckle compound onto the stand and dipping it into fine railroad ballast. Then I let the stands dry overnight and apply dark brown ink to the ballast. Once the ink dries, then I dry brush the stand with Flesh Color and then finish it off with static grass and some tufts.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

I've Lost My Faith In Humanity

I ride the commuter train (Metra North Line) to and from work every work day. On the evening commute home, I often fall asleep for a 15 to 20 minute cat nap. I usually sit upstairs in the single seats and place my hat and coat and maybe any parcels on the flat coat shelf that is adjacent to the seats. You can probably guess where this story is going.

So on this evening's commute home, I set my baseball style billed cap and a light fleece pullover on the coat shelf. I slept no more than 10-15 minutes and when I woke up, my cap and pullover were gone. I didn't realize it until my station stop came up, and then when I went to pick up my belongings, I realized that they were gone. Now I was awake the full time after my nap and I didn't see anyone steal the cap and pullover, so it happened in those brief 15 minutes.

The blue cap is one that I bought at Fredericksburg National Military Park's bookstore and probably cost no more than $15-20. The pullover was purchased from J Crew in an inventory sale for probably $20. So the combined value of cap and pullover is not a significant amount, so no big loss.

However, I am stunned that someone would steal my belongings and feel like I've been violated. If my belongings had any significant value then I could sort of understand the rationale for the theft, but they really had no value. So the thief did not steal my cap out of need or to get any money from selling it. No, he did it because it was an easy steal. He did it out of spite and contempt for his fellow man.

I am really hurt that someone would even think of taking a low value item from me. It never occurred to me that anyone would steal my cap. I guess that I tend to be a trusting person, but not anymore; or at least not on the train. I won't ever be so trusting again. 

Even worse though, you son of a bitch, you have made me a worse person by changing me from an honest, trusting person to one who will now view every fellow commuter with suspicion. I will trust no one anymore. You have chipped off a veneer of humanity from this little part of the world. We live in a time where we need more kindness, more trust, more humanity. So thanks for nothing pal.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Great Northern War Project - Swedes

Warfare Miniatures Swedes (painted by Barry Hilton)

I have had a bee in my bonnet to do the Great Northern War in 28mm for some time now and this has been stoked by the recent production of Warfare Miniatures GNW Swedes and Russians. Click on the link below to see the Warfare figures both painted and unpainted.

Warfare Miniatures GNW figures

The three color pictures of painted figures were knicked off of Barry Hilton's League of Augsburg website, where you can purchase the GNW Swedes and Russians. Hopefully Barry won't mind that I am borrowing his pictures and giving him a plug for his terrific looking figures.

Suffice it to say, I really, really, really like these figures and I like them enough to dive head first into a new wargaming period - the Great Northern War.

Warfare Miniatures Swedes, Charging, in Karpus (painted by Barry Hilton)

So for starters, I am trying to decide how many figures to have in each infantry battalion and how to base them. I would like to hear your feedback on three options, so please feel free to leave a comment and give me your opinion as to which option looks better and why you feel that way. Table size and game space is not a constraining variable, so I am not necessarily limited by table space when it comes to choosing a size and basing option.

The choices are 24 figures, 30 figures or 36 figures.

My rules choices will be either Beneath the Lily Banner 2, a GNW variant of Batailles dans l'Ancien Regime ("BAR") or a variant of my own SYW/AWI rules.

Warfare Miniatures Swedes in Tricorns 2nd Rank Charging
My tendency is to go with the largest unit -- 36 figures for an infantry battalion, which would have a frontage of approximately 12-inches. (see picture at the top of this blog thread). All of my options have five stands plus one command stand that is placed behind the center stand of the five. This is where all of the flags and drummers will be placed. You can see the 36-figure option below:

Warfare Minitures Swedes - 36 figures on five stands

My understanding is that about one-third of the Swedes should be carrying pikes, while the remainder carry muskets. The pikemen will be placed in the center stand under all three options.

Below is the 30-figure format with a frontage of approximately ten-inches:

30 figure Swedish battalion on five stands

Here is the smallest of the three options, 24-figures with a frontage of approximately 8-inches.

24 figure Swedish battalion on five stands.

And finally, here is a picture of the three different basing options, below:
Basing options (top to bottom): 30 figures; 36 figures and 24 figures

My plan would be to have a Swedish army with twelve elements, 6 infantry battalions and 6 cavalry regiments. The Swedish army typically had 50% of its forces in the cavalry branch. I haven't made any decisions on the Russian army, but it will probably have twelve units too.