Tuesday, 29 December 2009

SYW Russian Cuirassiers

This is the start of a new project for 2010, painting up a Russian SYW army. This is the first complete unit I have actually based, the 3rd Curiassiers. I was unsure about the coat, as my sources (the ubiquitous Osprey, Pengel and Hurt and Mollo) don't agree, the first giving red collar, cuffs and turnback piped white while the latter two give buff with a 6" red border.

I really should make sure all the flock has been brushed off when I take a photo.
Having asked on TMP, I was directed to the fantastic http://www.kronskaf.com/ , which seemed to provide support for both, a Knotel print agreeing with the Osprey while the templates agree with the others. Since I shall eventually paint up 3 units of cuirassiers, I have decided to do one of each with the last unit still in "dragoon uniform" under their cuirasses.

Something else I will change on the next unit is the colour of the cuirasses themselves. Next time they'll get the blackened iron treatment.

Ooops - a bit of a gap there. Something to remember for the next unit.

They were fun to paint and made a change from what I usually do. I don't really know much about the Seven Years War, but a lot of the battlefields are within easy reach and I think I shall be making trips to several this year, starting with Kolin.

The unit together.

Still missing a standard. Unfortunately GMB don't do the 3rd Cuirassiers, so I'll have to find one from somewhere else, or just leave the pole bare and wait and hope.

Thanks for looking, and best wishes for 2010.

Tuesday, 15 December 2009

Náměšt' na Hané

Despite the symbolic value of starting my blog on the anniversary of Austerlitz, I can see that the idea was not thought through particularly well. The approach of Christmas and all that that entails (end of term marking, the obligatory Xmas parties, the horrors of Christmas shopping and suchlike) has meant I have had little time to sit down and sort through further pictures, let alone take the photos of my minis that I wanted too. Ach jo, as the Czechs would say (it's so much more expressive than Such is life).

Anyway, the weekend before Austerlitz there was a small display of militaria and reenactment at Náměšt', which is just down the road from where Sebastian, my son lives. Only a few hundred people there, and a very funny talk by the Uhlans I later took pictures of at Tvarožná. The display was very small, a few helmets, muskets/rifles and sabres ranging from c. 1750 to the Second World War, a couple of uniforms, and an Austrian flag.

Detail of the Austrian flag. I see the Bohemian lion, the eagles of Silesia and Moravia, the Hungarian arms and the Austrian - I really should identify the rest ... Austria is not really my forte but I think Seb will make me change that.

There was a uniform there labelled as French, 1810. Not very helpful. The czapska makes me fairly sure it's Polish, but I can't find the leaf pattern anywhere in my limited library (which includes this lovely book I just have to mention)

If anyone could help in identifying it I'd be very grateful...

The reenactment itself was more a demonstration of drill and an explanation of the uniforms. I was quite impressed by the turn out; they were almost all locals from the looks of things and showed a genuine interest in everything.

I, of course, gravitated towards the French. This gun got me thinking - it looks very light to me; I had always been lead to believe that they were painted a darker olive than this.

Seb showed where his loyalties lay, preferring to spend time with the "Austrian" reenactors. In fact, they were all from Ostrava...

Here's a final photo of the French infantry reenactment group. There were only 9 of them in total but what they lacked in numbers they more than made up for in enthusiasm. The youngest there was 14, a real Marie Louise!

Thanks for looking - hope it was of interest.

Thursday, 10 December 2009

Neapolitan 1st Line

These are some of the first examples of a new unit being painted up for Lasalle. I have a rather large pile of French infantry waiting to be painted - both in the 1807 and Bardin uniform, and I need to decide which to concentrate on. I have painted a few of the lovely Perry figures up, now it's the turn of Victrix. Instead of painting up another French line battalion, however, I decided to paint them as the 1st Line Infantry of the Kingdom of Naples, sometime around early 1810.

Since I've got the Victrix 1804-1807 box as well (impulse buy - what else?), I was also looking around for a unit that might still be in the bicorne. Plate 58 in Uniforms of the Peninsular War, 1807 - 1814 has long been a favourite, and sprang to mind. I also wanted to practise a bit of painting white. I have long been a fan of the beautifully painted figures of ArchiducCharles and others on TMP, but have never really managed to capture the white they achieve. I have also been to a couple of re-enactment events recently, and have seen quite a variety of "whites", so I wanted to see if I could get close to any of them.

Notice the differing shades of white and cream in evidence here.

Another reason I chose the Neapolitans is the fact that I imagine they were rather low on the food chain when it came to resupply. Quite apart from the venal nature of the contractors of the period (I remember reading somewhere of one such who only escaped execution on the Russian campaign by crawling on hands and knees, grovelling at Napoleon's side over a distance of several kilometers!), I don't imagine that QMs then were much different to those today, their credo being "These are Stores. If we were meant to issue things, they'd be called Issues, wouldn't they?" This gives the perfect excuse for a bit of variety.

Pointing at it won't help, mon brave, it says here I don't have any shakos, so you can't have one. Come back in a few weeks and I'll see what I can do, hein?

The Neapolitans are thus a perfect choice. The unit is in a wide range of headgear, with some of them having secured the new shakos, others not. There is also a variety of cloth in use for trousers, waistcoats, and even a couple whose jackets have had to be replaced with the ubiquitous brown Iberian cloth.

I'm still not sure about the basing. I have some 60mm x 40mm Litko bases , but I'm not sure whether I should mount them on a 15mm or 20mm frontage. I'm a slow painter, and it's obviously cheaper to mount them 6 to a base, but I am leaning towards the 15mm. We'll see...
I'm still relatively new at this malarky, so any hints, tips or criticism (constructive or not!) most welcome. One thing I will say is the camera is the scariest critic of all - these figures seemed ok to me, but now I see them up close...

Tuesday, 1 December 2009

Austerlitz 2009 continued

More photos from the re-enactment. Again, apologies for the less than spectacular photography - I did ask for an idiot proof camera when I bought mine, but that does mean it's not equipped with the most powerful of lenses. Anyway, better than a poke in the eye with a sharp stick (I hope!)

Preparing for the attack.

When the skirmishers can't stop them...

...it's time to plug the hole in the line.

"For what you are about to receive..."

Although the Austrian line disappears behind a wreath of smoke

The French come on "in the same old fashion", well, it works!

Cavalry on the flanks of the attack.
The attack goes in

It looks touch and go for a while, but it's sound and fury signifying...

...nothing; the Allies hold and the French are forced to retire.
The French fall back to remove that disruption.

While they do so the French guns open up again.


The Austrians prepare for the next attack...

... as do their Russian allies.

Redressing the ranks.

Some Grognards - veterans of Italy and Egypt?

The French line is now reorganised.

And the Allies are ready to meet them again.

More later and I'll put up some piccies of the 2005 show - snow, burning villages and many more participants.