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.



  1. The 30 figures basing looks visually the best for me. I'm not sure if you've seen the following Blog, but Michael and chums are starting off on a GNW project using the same miniatures. IIRC they will be using Black Powder as their ruleset.

    1. Yes, I follow that blog as well as that of Soren Christensen (Black Powder Wargaming). I think that they are in the same game club.

  2. I can recomend Michael's blog as well.

  3. I really like the way these figures look, will they match in size to the Foundry GNW figures I already have?
    Oh, and the 36 figure unit size gets my vote.

    1. Good question, one that I can't answer since I don't have any Foundry figures on hand. My instinct is that they should work together. I also have some of the new North Star figures, which are a bit shorter, but with their animation, they same to work with the Warfare figures.

  4. Mine are 24's but 36 would look very good.

  5. I was just reading my copy of BLB2 rules and found a neat idea: the pikes are placed behind the center stand, but they are for looks only and their figures don't count toward the unit total. So I could have a 30 figure battalion with 6 figures on 5 stands and add three figures behind the center stand. These could be flags or pikes. I'm thinking that I could place 6 pikes on my center stand and then a stand of three figures that include 2 flags and an officer or drummer. 33 figures, but I only count it as 30 figures.

  6. My units are 24 figures on three stands, for BLB2. The center stand has four pike in the front and two pike and two flags in the rear.

    The BLB concept of adding an extra pike stand appears to have been to allow a player to use the same unit to be used with or without pikes. Personally, I don't like it from an aesthetic point of view. Historically, the Swedish pikes and musketeers were all in four ranks, so having a stand behind the line, does not look right to me.

    Three stands of eight each, ten each, or twelve each, would all look great. If you use BLB2 (as I do) each stand only counts for six figures anyway.

    1. Dannie: what are the dimensions of the flags that you use for foot and horse?

    2. 30mm on the staff for Swedes. 40mm for Saxons (they were much larger in real life), 15mm for standards.

  7. Oh, and my stands for the Swedes are 60mm wide and 80mm deep.

  8. I'm currently in the midst of a GNW project as you know from the AMG forum. I've come up against a similar quandary myself.
    My preference is for 36 figures - this size unit answers a couple of questions. Firstly it fulfils my preference for large battalions. Secondly it is easy to achieve a third of the figures as pikes for the Swedes and a quarter for the Russians with some easy maths.
    Right now I'm just trying to work out whether to base in two ranks or three. Issue for me, using Footsore (old Musketeer) miniatures is how big a base I'd need for three ranks or whether to just persevere with the current two deep option.

    1. I tend to agree with you Paul: 36 figures seems to solve a lot of the math problems and basing arrangements with respect to the mix of muskets and pikes. I'm still undecided on 2 ranks or 3 ranks unless I base them as single figures and use movement trays.

  9. Also just starting with the GNW ( Warfare figures as well) but I intended to do smaller units of 18 each. However after seeing your bigger regiments I'm not so sure any more.
    They all look good but would always go for an even number of figures on a single base. Much easier to get movement trays!

    1. I just ordered some more Warfare Swedes so that I should have enough to assemble two battalions of 36, if necessary.

  10. If size is no concern, 36 is the way to go because of the number of factors, or example:

    2 x 18

    3 x 12

    4 x 9

    6 x 6

    If you are looking to do 1/3 pikes, you would have 12, and could arrange them as follows:

    1 x 12

    2 x 6

    3 x 4

    24 figures and 30 are more restrictive, as they do not have as many factors.


  11. Should be a interesting project - I would go with 36 figures

  12. One thing to keep in mind is that the more infantry figures that you have in a unit, the more cavalry figures you will need. Most Swedish infantry battalions had 600 men at full strength. The indelta cavalry regiments usually had eight companies of 125 men each, or 1000 men. The Livregement had even more and a couple of the dragoon regiments exceeded 1000 at the beginning of the 1707 campaign.

    That said, if I had the time and space, I would do 36 man units in two lines I might add a couple of drummers and ncos behind the second line.

    Also, the Swedes would sometimes place the pikes in line through the length of the battalions, with musketeer lines in front an behind them. This was done at Fraustadt and the crossing of the Duna. If you wanted to do something like that on occasion, this would favor the single base option. But maybe that is going a little far!

    Finally, as I understand it, the 1708 Russian regulations called for one half of the front line to be armed with pikes. Since there were four lines, this would mean 1/8 were pikes. I am not sure, but it seems that every other man in the front line would have a pike.

    1. The number of horse is a problem for most armies at the turn of the century. The GNW & the WSS both have large numbers of horse. I usually use a ration of 1 foot battalion to 2 squadrons of horse to keep it simple

  13. Just a question, any plans yet for which regiments they would be?

    1. My order of battle will be taken from the Poltava list. My plan is to have 3 battalions wearing tricorn said and 3 battalions wearing the karpus. So head gear will determine the regiments.

      I might use (tricorn special):

      Vastmanlands, Uppland, and Ostgotland

      And (karpus):

      Jonkopings, Vasterbotten and Narke Vastmanlands

      I haven't decided on the cavalry yet.

    2. I really hate autocorrect! The words after the word Tricorn should not be there.

  14. Daft question, but how long are your pikes?
    Got some of the Ebor figures, and the supplied pikes look way too short :-)