Monday, March 1, 2021

The Most Versatile Pack in the Minden Range - CIV-003 Pioneer Set

Prussian Field Forge from Berliner Zinnfiguren. The smith and helper are made by Hovels.

Following on from the previous thread about the Prussian artillery park, I thought that I would post pictures of the field forge and repair station vignettes that I made quite awhile ago. In all of these photos you will see how I employed the figures from a pack of the Minden pioneers set to make some easy to make vignettes to grace your table top games.

Pioneer Pack CIV-003

Before we get started, I want to introduce everyone to one of the most versatile packs in the entire Minden Miniatures figure range. CIV-003 is a pack of four civilian workers that have a wide variety of uses. The set comes with a sprue of tools including a shovel, an axe, a sledge hammer and a pick. So you could paint them as civilians working on a road or building a house or what ever your imagination can create.

The genius to the set is that you can also paint the figures as SYW era artillery crewmen who have taken off their heavy wool coats so that they can be more comfortable working in their sleeveless waistcoats. For Prussians, simply paint the waistcoat and breeches a straw yellow; for Austrians, paint them fawn brown; red for the French; and blue for the British. I often put a rammer into the hands of one figure, let another hold the linstock match, and another holds the trail spike. I use one or two pioneers with the rest of the regular artillerymen in their coats to create a variety of uniforms on my artillery stands.

I also like to dress up my pioneer figures as artillery "matrosse-men", or the laborers who get to push and drag the heavy cannon into place. Two of the poses can be holding cable rope used to drag the cannon into position. I take a piece of fine guage wire and bend it back in the center of the selected length of wire. Then I twist the two parts of the wire together such that the twisted wire resembles rope cable. This is a very easy conversion to make. 

I often have some wire end cuts left over from my wire flag poles, when I've trimmed to flag poles down to size. I keep the pieces in the old bits box and save them until I need them to make wood lever poles that the crewmen might use to either lift the cannon carriage or perhaps to pry one of the wheels out of some mud.

Minden Pioneer set CIV-003 set painted as Prussian artillerymen wearing just their waistcoats.
Drag ropes are made by twisting two pieces of wire together.

This picture shows the four different poses in the CIV-003 pack, showing how diversified they are. 
The figure on the far right has been given a barrel rammer to show how these figures can be 
used as artillery crewmen for any country that used the sleeveless waistcoat.

I have seen other modelers make mealie bags out of epoxy putty and position the bags to make it look like one of the pioneers is carrying a bag of flour or something else. I've seen a pioneer or two carrying a flag that is resting on his right shoulder. Again, the possible uses for these figure is only limited by one's imagination.

The wheel repair vignette shown below demonstrates some of the uses for pioneer figures. Look at the two previous pictures for the figures carrying ropes. Now look at the wheel repair vignette below and see how those same figures appear to be rolling the replacement wheel up to the cannon. Another figure is seen prying up the axle of the carriage so that the new wheel can be slipped onto the axle. The officer waving his sword (useless twit!) is the officer figure from the Prussian Jagers command set.

Replacing a broken wheel on a Prussian 12-pound cannon.
The workers are from the Minden Pioneer set CIV-003.
Reverse view of the broken wheel vignette.

The Blacksmith's Shop
The Blacksmith set CIV-005 is a nice 3-piece set that includes one horse, a blacksmith changing the horse shoe, and a young helper holding the horse. I also used one of the horse holders from the CIV-009 set (two horse holders and two sitting wagon teamsters) to, well, hold the reins of a pair of horses. I used two RSM standing horses and filed off all of the horse tack so that only the reins and bit remain on the figure. Then I drilled a small hole through the reins of the RSM horse and threaded a piece of fine wire through the horse and through the hands of the horse holder. I envision the horse holder leading a pair of horses up to the field forge for some shoe repairs.

Minden Blacksmith and helper on the left from the CIV-005 set.
On of the horse holders from the CIV-009 set is holding two RSM horses,
with horse furniture and tack filed off.

The Artillery Gin
This tripod-like devised is called a "gin" with a hard gee, rather than with a soft gee that would make the word sound like the alcoholic drink. The gin was used to lift the heavy cannon barrels off of the carriage so that repairs could be made on the carriage. I first saw one of these at the Saratoga National Military Park and decided that I needed to make one for a vignette. 

I used the Minden pioneers, again, to make the workers. The two workers in the foreground are turning the cranking devise on the pulley to lift the barrel of the gun. The other two figures have attached rope to the trunions of the cannon barrel to help change out the barrel. An RSM officer is supervising the whole operation.

The gin was constructed from pieces of bass wood. I constructed two "gee-shaped" sections and drilled holes at the top where the wood pieces intersect. Then I pushed a small dowel rod (or craft stick from Michael's Stores) through the holes to connect the two vee pieces together. I also put some small craft beads onto the dowel to give it more diameter and heft. Finally, I found a block and tackle pulley from a ship modeling company and threaded some more wire through it to attach to the cannon barrel. The men will now crank up the cannon barrel using the pulley.

Work crew use a "gin" to lift the heavy brass barrel of the cannon off of its carriage
Minden Pioneer set figures were used. The gin was scratch built from pieces of bass wood.

The full "repair crew" vignette comprised of two vignettes that fit together quite nicely.

It is a nice change of pace to work on some one-off vignettes, especially after painting all of those cavalry and infantry figures in your wargaming armies. I have shown several different uses for the CIV-003 pack and I should point out that CIV-001 Agricultual Laborers Set 1 and CIV-002 Agricultural Laborers Set 2 also have a nice variety of figures that can be easily customized with nothing more than the color of the paint that you use and a few different tools to hold in their hands.

Why not give it a try and see for yourself?

Click on the link to our web store. Click on the pull-down menu at the top of the page, labeled Minden Miniatures and then scroll down to the Civilians tab and click this open. You will find all of the civilian packs mentioned in this blog post.

Fife and Drum Miniatures Web Store


  1. my they are lovely Altefritz!


  2. Wonderful little gems to grace any game.

  3. Yep, there is amazing scope within the Minden and Fife & Drum ranges for all sorts of interesting one-off vignettes. Your own work here is, as always, inspirational and a fine example of the art of military miniatures.

    Best Regards,