Wednesday, 26 February 2014

French 43e Demi-Brigade - Some opponents for my Austrains

While my Austrian army continues to grow I felt the need to add a bit of colour to the collection, and foresaw the probable future need to have something for them to fight against. I'm probably setting myself an impossible task, but I'd love to have a complete collection to represent all the belligerents of the Northern Italian battles of the early 1799-1800 period.

I've always liked Warmodellings figures, and always enjoyed the great service from Mike at Battle Models Ltd (Warmodelling's UK distributer; they have a new website. Take a look), so I ordered a battalion of 1800 period French line infantry wearing bicornes. I wasn't disappointed. I'm only half way through painting this battalion and I think they look great. I'd love to see these guys painted by a really good figure painter as I think they could look as good as AB miniatures.

I've also got distracted by the flags for the Demi-Brigades of this period. Each Demi-Brigade (Regiment) consisted of three battalions, with the 1st and 3rd battalions having a unique regimental flag, and each 2nd battalion with a standard design. Having searched the internet for suitable flags to download and get printed I wasn't really that impressed by those I found. Later French was cool. Other nations had nice flags. But not Late Revolutionary/Early Napoleonic French flags. So, I did my own. I still need to get them printed and to mount a flag on my standard bearer, but hopefully these will look great.

I'm planning on creating artwork for each Demi-Brigade, and have done about 10 to 15 so far. If you are interested in these let me know. The artwork is hi-resolution and can be scaled from 15mm up to 54mm if needed. (And I know there's a typo on the flag - its already sorted. Just not on this sample image).

Casualty Markers

One of the things that always bothers me when wargaming is "where do the casualties go?" It bothers me in films as well. I remember watching The Water Margin when I was really young and you'd see guys dropping dead all over the place, but then you'd see the ground and there were either no bodies or only one or two. Reading historical novels, like Bernard Cornwall's Sharpe books, you get the feeling that when the bodies start piling up it gets pretty damned treacherous underfoot, with ground that "in game" is classed as easy going quickly becoming rough going. So I always want to represent those figures that are lost with casualty figures. It gives the battle field a bit more realism, and also makes the killing of your troops a lot less sterile and clean. Facing a pile of dead where your favourite battalion of figure once stood is a lot more emotive than just lifting them from the table and putting them aside.

General de Brigade rules require casualty markers, which gives me the opportunity to show the more unpleasant side of the battle, and to put something a little different onto the table. While it was appealing to put casualties on the table, when there is a choice between these or another fighting battalion, I had to weigh up that desire against my limited funds. Luckily I was able to pick up a pile of cheap Old Glory Austrian casualties from eBay, so put together a few markers. 

I'm planning on having at least one marker per battalion, so these first three are painted in the colours of IR23 Toscana. The figure from Old Glory consisted of three poses, two taking injuries and one face down. I'm not sure if that's all there are in the range, but that's all I got off ebay, so I decided to trim a couple of the guys taking hits off their bases. I think it worked quite well.

Each side of the base is marked with white dashes, to represent one to four casualties, so the base would be turned to keep track. I've not put these into practice yet so hopefully this will work.

GM August Graf Briey de Landres

For my second brigade, which will consist of two battalions of IR47 Kinsky Regiment, the command base represents GM August Graf Briey de Landres. I've used a Warmodelling General to represent Briey, and the other in possibly from Battle Honours.

I tried to add a bit of scenery to this base, using a bit of broken twig to try for a battle damaged tree trunk. Not sure if it works or not. I'm also slightly unhappy with the horse the officer with the telescope is riding. It's a bit small compared to my other horses. I also found issues with the way the Warmodelling general fitted to his mount. The saddle cloth didn't fit snuggly onto the back of the horse unless the general was at a weird angle. I tried to pad it out with some green stuff, and it looked fine until I took the photos. It's probably fine for the table, but not my favourite base.

And here's the Army so far (minus the artillery) with IR47 Kinsky advancing in column while IR23 march from column into line.

Austrian Ammunition Carts and Artillery

After a busy week or two preparing for a job interview, its back to some painting. I've been working on a few bits and pieces rather than trying to finish another Austrian battalion, just to break the monotony of the constant white uniforms, and first up is another little ammunition cart from Hallmark/Magister Militum. This one is again being pulled by a Warmodelling horse and the figure leading the horse in from Blue Moon. I have a feeling that maybe the uniforms should have been blue, so maybe some can shed some light.

Here is the two completed carts together. I'm not sure whether these will be used "in game" for anything other than window dressing but the General de Brigade rules to give you the option of using rules for ammunition shortages and replenishing units.

Next up is another 3pdr regimental artillery piece. This one, another Warmodelling gun, is crewed by a Campaign Game Miniatures artillery team. These are really easy little figures to paint, slightly more chunky than my others, but for size they fit really well and can easily mix on the same base with what I already have. 

Here is all my artillery together in one large battery. The Austrians rarely seemed to have combined batteries like this, but its nice to see them all together and to see how well the different ranges mix.

Friday, 7 February 2014

What's Next?

I've kinda driven to a halt at the moment with the painting. I've got a job opportunity on the horizon and all my creativity is being taken up by penguins (yes, penguins). I suppose that the addition of black added to the colour scheme will make an amazing difference from all the head to toe white uniforms.

While that's going on in the forefront of my head, I had to use the rest of the grey matter to think of how to get myself re-motivated into getting some more figures on the table... and instead of getting on with the figure already in the leadpile, I've just went and gone and added more (surprise surprise). This time I've burst free from the white uniform haze of Austrians and ordered a battalion of early French from Warmodelling.

Mike Oliver at is always a pleasure to deal with, and has been known to have an order through your door almost as soon as the paypal button is pressed. So much so that if it takes a week to receive your order you start to worry something's gone wrong. No need to worry though. I've never had a complaint. The figures, although not quite in the standard as AB, are very good - and reasonable priced. £2.93 for a pack of 8 minis equals only 0.37p each!

So why French when I'm collecting Austrians? Well, I fancy playing a game or two of General de Brigade (a lovely set of rules that I purchased from Caliver Books - who also provide a fantastic service) and have a friend who stays close to me who is up for a few games. Of course, he doesn't have any figures, and I can't expect him to go out, spend a fortune, learn how to paint etc - well, not until I've done my best to get him hooked.

For now its back to the Austrians and the penguins until the blue-coated, bicorned, and overly enthusiastic French invade through the letterbox. Of course, pics will follow along with an out-the-bag review.

Monday, 3 February 2014

IR47 Infantry Regiment Kinsky (Graf F. Kinsky), 1st Battalion

Here is the 1st of two battalions to represent IR47 Infantry Regiment Kinsky. This unit fought in the brigade of GM August Graf Briey de Landres.

The figures are German Infantry in Helmets from Blue Moon with the mounted officer from AB miniatures.

Although the Blue Moon and Old Glory ranges will not match when mixed within the same unit, when you see the two units on the table they don't look that different in scale.