Sunday, June 29, 2008

6mm Project

Hello all, and there’s good news! My postal deliveries arrived successfully, giving me a bunch of Prussian models and a copy of the Might & Reason rules. To do the latter first, the rules are very good. Nicely presented, readable, and the whole thing is a pleasant read. It puts me in mind of the Fire & Fury rules for ACW which I had years ago and were similarly glossy. The actual game mechanics seem sensible and interesting, but I’ll need to have a go at putting them into practice before I confirm they’re good stuff.

As to the figures – very nice! I bought enough to assemble the Prussian army from Mollwitz, as detailed in the M&R website scenario. As such, I’ve got Musketeers and Grenadiers, Cuirassiers and Dragoons, plus cannon & generals. I’ve also got some 2mm MDF bases for them, plus a sheet of Prussian Infantry flags. First thing to comment on is when I opened the box and saw the flags sheet and thought ‘Oh, it’s a reduced scale illustration of them all’ before it dawned on me that I was looking at the finished article. Yes, although it’s stating the obvious, I was still surprised at how small they all were.

A picture of a small thing, next to a big thing

I’ve avoided looking at them all in a group, as I want to see the army assemble as I go. In the meantime, I’ve painted up what I’ll need for an infantry regiment and have been tinkering with the base sizes. Initially, I had a look at how many figures you got in a bag and how this would work out per base. Turns out that the manufacturer had thought of this first, and had bagged figures with enough command stands etc. to work out exactly for his bases and the M&R rules. Each unit is 48 figures, consisting of two bases of 24 each in two rows of twelve. It fills the full base width, and looks pleasingly formidable (from a height of 5mm or so, anyway.)

I decided early on to base the two ranks close together, and have larger space in front and behind on the base. Next I pondered the flags and where they should be positioned. In the centre of one base seemed wrong, as the two bases of a unit would mean that when in line the command party would be constantly ¼ of the way down the line. To get it centrally, I’d need to split the flags across each base and place them at the corner – but then when they’re in column it’d look weird! In the end I decided to have one flag on each base and position them centrally. When all assembled, the mass effect will be of a line of infantry regiments with flags regularly popping up along the line, which should be just the impact I want.

After some pondering, I also decided to use up some of the extra officer figures I had to provide each regiment with a Chef to direct it. I think this decision came from some of the photographs in the M&R rules, which show this – on a larger scale of figures admittedly, but there you go. If I remove two infantry figures, I can add a mounted officer on to the end or middle of the regiment’s line, depending on the positioning of the base. The two extra infantrymen clipped off will be put to use as (another idea inspired by/stolen from the M&R rules) decoration for hit point markers. With a bit of converting to make them look like collapsed figures lying face-down, they’ll get attached to a little numbered base which can be placed next to a hit unit, so damaged regiments will have fallen soldiers all around them.

More photos to follow of the finished regiment.

The full regiment on ice-lolly sticks for ease of painting

A closer view of musketeers from the front

The command group - colours, musicians, and the mounted Chef de Battalion

A view the Austrians won't get - the backs of the Prussian Infantry

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Luftberg Army Part 1 - Infantry & Artillery

So, what about that mass of white-coated fellows on the opposite hill? Time to take a look at the Luftberg Army. Being Austrian in tone, I’ve settled on their basic flag, but swapped the Hapsburg eagle for something more generally heraldic. Works just as well, I think.

My photography up in the loft only got so far before the batteries ran out (a mundane reason I know, but there you go) so this post will cover the Infantry and the Artillery only. Below is a pair of snaps showing a single Infantry regiment of the Luftberg army, plus a rather good-looking pic of a group of infantry regiments. It should technically be a brigade or so, but it probably represents most of the Luftberg Army’s Infantry strength.

When all the 15mm figures are considered and formed up, there are a few more Luftberg regiments than Aschenbach ones. This is down to the old rules set (HFG) that I used, which meant the high-quality Prussians were always more expensive and scarce than the Austrians. Translated to here, the Luftberg army boasts eight infantry regiments. One is a Guards regiment, five are Line infantry, and two are skirmisher or Croat regiments. When the two full armies square up, this means the Luftberg army has a 3:2 superiority in formed infantry and a 2:1 advantage in skirmishers. Pretty decent, although the Aschenbach army features more Guards-quality troops to offset the mass of it’s rival.

Here is a picture of the finest output from the Luftberg Universtadt der Feldartillerie – like Aschenbach, the army boasts two batteries of cannon to mow down it’s opponents.

Cavalry will follow on once I get the camera recharged and find a free moment. I’m eager to get on, as I’ve detailed the armies and characters about as far as they can be without actually sitting down and playing the game at some point! I promise, at some point soon the states of Aschenbach and Luftberg will exchange more than condescending sneers.

(P.S. - After doing the above, I've just worked out how to do close-up shots with my camera! Picture quality is set to improve from here onwards, thankfully!)

Thursday, June 19, 2008

The Luftberg Nobility

Time for a little bit of background development, to rebalance the technical tone of the recent post (which I think went on a bit too long, but those are the perils). The kingdom of Aschenbach has been detailed some, but it’s rival the Rheinstadt der Luftberg hasn’t been covered yet. I’ve repeated the 'personality generator' trick from the last post and have come up with the following – enjoy!

Leader of the state is the Elector Ulrich von Luftberg. Middle-aged, straightforward, but careful in his actions. He’s made a good pairing with his wife, the 32-year old (oh yes, – ten years his junior) Konigin Lena v. Luftberg. It turns out to be a good and bad match – good as Lena turns out to be a fine, clever, honest and brave person. Highly admirable!

Why a bad match? Well, the couple have only two children, both female and young. No male heirs exist for Luftberg! The two children are Johanna (16) and Katya, (12). The pair are both very beautiful (giving them an advantage in diplomatic charm attempts) the older Johanna is loyal and bold, while her sister Katya is idealistic and impetuous (possible trouble brewing…)

For other great houses, I settled on just one more line of nobility (I rolled a dice for the number of children and got five, so decided things were crowded enough!) The head of this house is the Graf Felix von Hentsch. This figure deserves a special mention as the dice rolls aligned to make him supremely evil. A physical invalid, with utterly no moral standards and a boundless ambition for his own house. In a later age he’d have been a Bond villain, but here he’ll make do with plotting for domination of just two states - Aschenbach and Luftberg!

Married to this individual is the Grafin Rosina v. Hentsch, an immoral and rash woman. So rash in fact, and married to such an ambitious monster, it seems appropriate to blur the boundaries between the houses. Remember the five children I mentioned earlier? Well, on randomly rolling the dice I determined two of them are the illegitimate children of the ruler Ulrich v. Luftberg, and that this is common public knowledge. So, the impetuous Rosina v. Hentsch has in the past seduced the simple Elector Ulrich away from his young and noble wife, had two children who are illegitimate heirs to the throne – given the way Felix v. Hentsch works, the whole thing could well have been one of his evil schemes!

The two children are into young adulthood, technically von Hentsch although the truth of their Luftberg lineage is widely spoken of. There is Conrad v. Hentsch, a clever and skilled 26-year-old, with his sister Catherine v. Hentsch, an intelligent but untrustworthy woman of 23.

Their ‘brothers and sisters’ in the true von Hentsch family are the 29-year old Grafin Emily v. Hentsch, a devious but stupid lady. Younger at 14 are two twins, Maximilian and Maria. Max is a rather weak specimen, but extremely clever and brave. Maria seems to be the real black sheep of the family (ie, is actually nice) as she has the very highest integrity.

Another colourful cast of characters, but above and beyond all else, it is easy to spot the most likely bit of trouble on the horizon: The Elector must die someday, his two legitimate children are both adolescent girls, and the Graf Felix will be sure to back his older and more suitable ‘son’ for the throne over them. Hm…

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

A slight change of plans...

Dear god, No! I knew I shouldn’t have gone in for all this internet business!

After years away, the amount of info out there on blogs and web-pages about collecting figures and painting them has boomed. When I started this project, I began reading them. I liked the painting comments, the regiments growing and forming, the agonies over basing them – It was just a question of time until I cracked. And now, I have. Following a day of browsing and reading up on reviews, I made two discoveries. The first was the excellent Baccus range of 6mm figures for the Seven Years’ War, which was a long way cheaper than the last ranges I had looked at (many years ago, though). Armed with my new knowledge of painting guides for 6mm, it proved impossible to resist treating myself.

Second discovery was the strong recommendations of a rules set for the SYW period, called Might and Reason. Maybe this is notorious to all others reading this, but something of a new discovery for me. A selection of figures and a rulebook are now in the post.

So, how does this fit in with the Aschenbach/Luftberg world? Well, Quite easily, I’d guess. I’m still keeping the armies I’ve currently got in 15mm and intend to primarily game with them in my own rules system. The new 6mm 'project' will let me enliven the blog with the odd historical re-enactment and give me the option to translate the states to a different scale if things expand in the future.

My impressions on the figures and rules will follow, for the interest of anybody like me that is a soft touch for rule sets and has even caught themselves in weaker moments (I can’t believe I’m admitting this) browsing a rulebook as light leisure reading.

Saturday, June 14, 2008


Most of the other blogs covering the 18th C that I like reading are about the superb efforts of others in painting their regiments. I’ve even been so impressed that I’ve recently started toying with the idea of buying more myself (6mm perhaps?), despite all the difficulties. Still, for now this blog will keep it’s developing energies on rules rather than figures. This is all just a first draft though, and I’ll be adapting them as I play with them and encounter problems. I’ll outline my thinking here so you can see what things seem to work and what doesn’t.

CS Grant’s book on wargame campaigns details a whole system of deriving populations, training units, controlling finances, etc. All of it is too much detail in my opinion, so I was going with a simpler option based very loosely on the DBA rules. I was originally intending to come up with a simple system of income from cities, costs for units, build times, etc. and thought this was quite decent – clear, classic, and good. However, following a rethink, I’ve changed my mind again and decided to simplify it even further!

At it’s heart, each army is largely established. We know exactly how many units we have, (or indeed will ever have,) at any one time. From this maximum we only really want a method of forcing units to ‘retire’ for periods of time, presumably to recuperate before returning. I will use the DBA system of three turns for spring, summer and autumn for campaigning, with everybody agreeing winter is for recovering, so to keep it neat we will have units leave for one or two years before being restored in the wintertime for the following campaigning season.

Infantry units are made up of 4 bases, while cavalry and artillery consist of 2 each. Considering this, along with the basic duties of each arm of the service, I’ve come up with the following tables we can check after each battle:

Infantry – roll a D6 and add +1 per base destroyed, with an additional +1 if the regiment was entirely destroyed.
Dice Roll (with Result beneath)
OK - Regiment is able to continue on active service.
Halted – the regiment must remain in it’s current location for the next season, as it’s colonel tries to knock some discipline back into it.
Garrison – the unit is so badly depleted, the general has no choice but to spare it’s men the rigours of the campaign. The unit is immediately relocated to an unbesieged fortress or city, where it remains for a year to reform and retrain.
Lost 1 year – The decimated remains have to return to their home depots and begin recruiting. The unit is removed from the game for one year and rejoins the army the following spring.
Lost 2 years – The regiment is almost wrecked, with huge gaps torn in the ranks and many talented officers dead. Only 2 full years of rest, recuperating, training and drill will allow it to revive it’s once-glorious name.

As you’ll see, an undamaged unit will always pass as OK, with hits steadily ramping up it’s chances of something bad resulting. The dice roll adds a decent random element, preventing a general on the day of battle knowing exactly how his losses will influence the campaign – as would be historically accurate.

Cavalry – Roll a D6 and add +2 per destroyed base
OK – Regiment is able to continue it’s active service
Depot – the unit must go back to it’s depot to restock on men and horses. The unit is removed for the remainder of this campaign year, and rejoins the army in winter
Lost 2 years – The regiment is almost wrecked, with huge gaps torn in the ranks and many talented officers dead. Only 2 full years of rest, recuperating, training and drill will allow it to revive it’s once-glorious name.

The cavalry has fewer bases and so gets a bigger modifier of +2 for a loss, otherwise even a completely destroyed regiment would have a 2-in-3 chance of being fine the next day. Also, through lack of ‘granularity’ I can’t really fit in the option of a 1-year loss. Cavalry regiments are far more demanding of training resources and recruits, so I’ve figured that it’ll need a more severe amount of time.

Artillery – Roll a D6 and add +2 per destroyed base, and a further +2 if the army lost the battle
OK – the battery is able to continue it’s active service
Garrison - The unit is immediately relocated to an unbesieged fortress or city, where it remains for a year to reform and retrain.
Lost 1 year – The decimated remains have to return to their home depots and begin recruiting. The unit is removed from the game for one year and rejoins the army the following spring.
Lost 2 years – The regiment is almost wrecked, with huge gaps torn in the ranks and many talented officers dead. Only 2 full years of rest, recuperating, training and drill will allow it to revive it’s once-glorious name.

The guns have the same +2 modifier per base as the cavalry, but have the option of still contributing in a siege. I’ve also added a +2 if the army is defeated, because of the hazards of removing guns from the field during a retreat. I know that this era didn’t feature hot cavalry pursuits in the same way as the Napoleonic era did, but it seems right to penalise the losers for the difficulty of hauling guns away in a retreat.

So, what about campaign characters getting killed mid-battle? Each time a unit with a leader attached gets hit we’ll roll 1D6 and on a 6, something bad has happened. Roll on the table below, with a +1 if in melee combat
Dead – the character is heroically struck down at the head of his men, tumbles from his saddle, and then (rather less heroically) lies face-down in the mud while the fighting rages on around and over him. He’d have wanted it this way…
Major Wound – The character loses a leg, an eye, or some other critically important bodily component. Although he survives to continue in the campaign world, he is invalided out of the service and cannot ever serve in the army again.
Minor Wound – The character is removed until next year in order to recuperate when he returns with an impressive scar to testify to his valour, nagging pain from the wound, and an increasingly irritable demeanour to friend and foe alike.
Lost and recovered – The character is knocked senseless by a spent shot or glancing blow, and is removed from the battle. He is not removed from the campaign however, as a loyal servant tracks him down that night on the battlefield and revives him – presumably with vast amounts of alcohol.
Captured – The character is disarmed and relieved of all his valuables, before being sent to the rear for more gentlemanly treatment. The character is detained on his word of honour in some agreeable little town of the enemy until the war ends, or some form of exchange is agreed.

I’m quite happy with the variety in the character table, and the +1 for melee means that the 1-in-3 chance of death becomes a 1-in-3 chance of capture. The logic to this is that if something happens in melee, it could be very many things – slashed with a disabling wound, clubbed down with a musket butt, flattened by a falling horse, etc. in other words any manner of non-fatal events are on the cards - but in firing combat, that ‘event’ is only likely to be one thing: a round piece of metal attempting to insert itself at high speed into the body of our hero! All results are possible in ranged or close combat, but I like the simple shift in emphasis this gives.
I know tables aren't the most interesting things sometimes, but hopefully the above will inspire a few ideas in others!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Map of the Kingdoms

Maps – terribly useful things for getting from one place to another. Unless this wargames campaign is to consist of a lot of bored officers sitting about in barracks, we’ll need to get some means of going from one place to another.

(As an aside, I don’t think that’s too much of an exaggeration. From reading Duffy’s books and his coverage of officers, it seems that if you joined a regiment in the 18th century you faced a life of crippling boredom with only alcohol, gambling, potentially lethal feuds and (also potentially lethal) prostitutes. War, even with it's risks, must have seemed like a genuine release.)

So, to Aschenbach and Luftberg. I’m sure that I could do this on MS Paint or something similar, but trying to draw with a mouse sends me round the bend. Here’s the scanned version, drawn with a pen and then scanned (hopefully large enough to make out, but I'll retry if it's not.)

I’m generally happy with it, although I think I might have gone a bit too far with the stylised cities looking too ‘vertical’ - stacked like a layer cake. Oh well… The two states are divided by the main river (an overlooked stretch of the Rhine, we’ll say) with Aschenbach to the west & south and Luftberg in the east & north. The areas to the north and south are semi-autonomous provinces, to give us some detachable chunks that each side can barter with in peace negotiations.

In Aschenbach’s case, the family of v. Kleintrink’s hereditary lands are the southern quarter – excluding the free city (Freistadt, in my pidgin-German) of Krumper, which as the name suggests will be treated as integral to Aschenbach’s ruling house. As geographical integrity never slowed down historical land-grabbing and province-collecting, this is no big headache for anybody other than Aschenbach’s customs and excise men.

The family v. Zaub are located almost in the exact centre of the map, around the town of Flussburg near the Rhine’s western bank. This puts them square in the middle (like the filling in a sandwich made with two slices of angry bread, if you like surreal metaphors.) All this should guarantee that nobody has a quiet little corner where they can sit our wars untouched – exactly as we want.

To take an overview, each nation has a capital city (Hirschburg for Aschenbach), two secondary cities, a fortress, and six towns. I was originally intending to make the map a straight ‘nodal’ affair, similar to the campaign system detailed in the excellent DBA rules set. However, every time I try to draw a nodal map it goes wrong – I keep on joining points up with roads to their nearest neighbours, so the whole thing turns into a web of triangles and becomes unusable. As none of my campaigns have ever been set in countries with well-integrated transport networks, it’s a bit of a weakness. However, there’s never a reason to turn away a good idea, and the DBA campaign rules have a lot to recommend them. There’s virtually no book-keeping, and they’re intended for use with small-scale armies.

I’ll leave the details of recruitment for my next post, along with the rest I’ve promised (the Luftberger army, some details on battle rules, figures details, etc.) To all those who have left kind comments, can I just say – thank you! I do read them all, and shall try to respond with articles to any queries.

Monday, June 9, 2008

The Aschenbach Army

After all the basing and shuffling, here’s the summarised OoB for the Kingdom of Aschenbach’s forces. As with the personalities in the last post, I’ve added some names to regiments and, on a roll of a six, have assigned a significant personality to the regiment. This should give some talented minor nobility a chance to flourish through brave deeds on the field, and (if they’re lucky,) maybe even marry off into a major noble house to inherit some lands.

Infanterie Regimenter
Grenadier Regiment v. Schott (the ‘Hirschburgers’)
IR v. Zaub (No. 1) - Fuss-Garde
IR v. Klink (No. 2)
IR v. Grumble (No. 3)
IR v. Hoffmann (No. 4) – Jagerinfanterie

Kurassier Regimenter
KR v. Schnitzel (No. 1)
KR v. Kurbitz (No. 2)

Dragoner Regimenter
DR v. Fleiger (No. 1)
DR v. Flunck (No. 2)

Husaren Regimenter
HR v. Ritter (No. 1)

Feld-Artillerie Battery No. 1
Feld-Artillerie Battery No. 2

And the result – not a single notable character to start with! Oh well, perhaps it’s better to start simple. Most characters are invented, but the command of the prestigious Foot Guards was given to that block of wood, The Graf Hans v. Zaub, on grounds of aristocratic string-pulling. The more formidable Graf Erich v. Kleintrink will be an army wing commander, so isn’t on any regimental list at present. Similarly, the artillery have no aristocratic leaders, on account of them being unimaginative plodders in the eyes of all.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

I'm a People Person...

One of the aims of my little experimental campaign is to get a bit of drama and flavour into the Kingdom of Aschenbach, so I felt I’d need to work out a few personalities. I’m hoping this’ll make things more memorable, provide excuses for wars, and add some trauma to battles when a beloved commander is scythed down by canister fire.

I’ve a terrible tendency to overcomplicate things, so I’m not developing any hard and fast rules on personality traits. Basically, I’m going to weigh up what sort of person they are and then roll a dice to decide on their actions, chances decided as I see fit. For the male family members, this will come into it’s own on a battlefield as they command units. For the female characters, more on the diplomatic side.

Personality is being decided entirely through C S Grant’s system in the book ‘Wargame Campaigns’, with a dice roll made for intelligence, health, morality and command attributes. I also rolled to establish some random ages , genders and number of children for everyone (plus some tweaking to make it all logical – no children two years younger than their parents, etc.) I was slightly doubtful about such a random system, but the results have been quite good.

Top of the pecking order is the Konigshaus von Krumper, with the elderly king Otto von Krumper and his queen Helga. Sadly, cruel fate has saddled the state of Aschenbach with a senile, useless king that has to be tended on by his loyal wife (18 years his junior – some royal adantages just never leave you!). Bedridden and with one foot already in the grave, thankfully the family von Krumper have three children to take over – the regent and heir-apparent is the Kronprinz Gerdt v. Krumper, mature at 32 and a bit foolish, but a well-meaning sort. His sisters are Emily (also rather sickly, but an extremely clever plotter – a power behind the throne, manipulating her brother, no doubt) and the younger Prinzessin Gerta, a clever 20-year old and probably the hottest marriage prospect on the international stage.

So, I’ve got what I was really looking for – an elderly ruling generation on the way out the door, and a new up-and-coming generation set to take over and get their way by military force! To keep them company though, I’ve also included two other senior families of nobility to potentially marry their way into the top job – or just fight for it, of course.

The Herzog[Duke] David v. Kleintrink and his wife Anna are another part of the older generation, and thoroughly reckless and dishonest with it. However, their children are a completely different matter. The Graf Erich v. Kleintrink is incredibly clever and shamelessly immoral, and the Grafin Maria v. Kleintrink is apparently a notorious beauty and extremely noble in her conduct (obviously trying a bit too hard to be the polar opposite of her brother!)

Last is the Herzog Hermann v. Zaub, one of the foremost intellects in the land. This elderly fellow turned out to be a genius, but sadly his command abilities are dire. Obviously his intellectual exertions are expended on witty epigrams and such, rather than anything of direct military value. His wife was described as a shameless schemer, and also ‘a beauty’. However, clocking in at 61 years, I think we can safely assume her man-eating days are over and that it’s all just personality now! Their single child is the Graf Hans v. Zaub, a weak and stupid figure but hugely loyal to his gifted father (now there must be a disappointed father…)

So, that’s the Aschenbach nobility to date. I don’t want to get too into the hereditary detail as otherwise this’ll turn into a medieval-style campaign. The whole idea is simply to provide character, and some excuses for wars as different factions back successions to various dukedoms. Personality interactions will also be handled with a light touch, as said above. To guard against immortality, I’ve also knocked together a random number generator on Excel to give a creeping percentage chance of death as you grow older, or of giving birth if you’re female and young.

Following soon will be a map for Aschenbach, plus an army roundup – then we’re on the arch enemies, the Rheinstadt der Luftberg.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008


I've had my first comment back, which has kindly suggested some research into various 18th Century states' uniforms, for variants on my Prussians. It sounds like quite a good idea, as the existing paintwork is a couple of years old and pretty uniform - every infantryman has red cuffs & collars, with white waistcoat & breeches. As I will have to paint some figures regardless, it may be a good excuse to redo a few units and add some regimental character. I think that I'll do some research, and begin drawing up my plans.

To update things, my Prussian infantry will represent the military power of the kingdom of Aschenbach, one of my imagiNations. This kingdom is my Prussian proxy, being generally North German, Protestant, Militaristic, fond of stern moustaches, etc.

They will be squaring off in near-perpetual warfare with the Rheinstadt der Luftberg, their neighbours (South German, Catholic, cultured and cosmopolitan, high-quality confectionery, etc.) Details of the Luftberg army will follow, but for now I plan to flesh out some of the personalities and details of the Aschenbach state. For now, I've added a picture of the Aschenbach flag to decorate the page a bit. It's similar to the Prussian flag, but I've adopted the stag as my chosen state heraldic symbol (my own name's heraldic symbol, apparently!)

More to follow!

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Prussian Army, Part 2 - Cavalry & Artillery

Time to turn my attention to the remainder of the ‘Prussian’ forces, of the infantry and cavalry. I’m keen to get a bit of specific ImagiNation details onto the blog, but that’ll have to wait. However, you may be interested to know that there is one particular I can reveal here: the horses on these two countries are almost exclusively brown. I promise, it’s a rare genetic condition, and nothing at all to do with the last post confession that I can be lazy at painting.

Due to a complete collapse in imagination and/or willpower when painting, virtually all cavalrymen wound up with a brown horse. Only the occasional rare figure, such as a general, gets a white, grey or black horse. I think multicoloured horses just throw the eye in a single regiment, and one of the things I like about the 18th Century is the uniformed appearance – no way I was letting some nag bring down the show!

Anyway, when I tried out the four-base arrangement with my cavalry squadrons, and it doesn’t work. Thanks to the model horses, the depth of the regiment comes out as 50% greater than an infantry one, and is nearly as deep as it is wide. Two regiments colliding head-on looks like a big column of horsemen! As a result, and also to help numbers go further, I’m going for each cavalry regiment being two bases, a total of six figures. Here’s a pic I managed to get of some Cuirassiers:

‘Prussian’ Cuirassiers – Plus a general

The cavalry regiments now have a tabletop ‘footprint’ that’s similar to the infantry. Each have a frontage of 80mm and a depth of about 40-60mm, depending on the horsey content. In total, I can now field two Cuirassier regiments and two Dragoon regiments, with a potential Hussar regiment if I get about half of it painted.

Although it demeans the aristocracy to consider such dull technical ploddery as a ‘trade’ like gunnery, there are always plenty of low-born but solid types who think of good hearing as optional, and seek to learn the practice of artillery. After all, as Frederick the Great said, “The Mission of the Artillery is to give some class to what would otherwise be merely a vulgar brawl.”

With such a royal approval, I have a quite lavish provision of four guns. By basing them as two models per battery, I can get my standard unit frontage (handy for close combat) and get a total of two batteries. Individually, they would have given an army of five infantry regiments had four batteries, virtually allowing them to be paired off! Having five infantry regiments and two batteries can at least tone things down to a more reasonable proportion.
'Prussian' Artillery battery

So, that’s the full military potential on one side of the border. The full force is pictured below, also including the unpainted figures remaining, so all regiments can be displayed. Completing the picture are four mounted generals, one of which is accompanied by an aide-de-camp and therefore will represent the commanding general.

Full army on parade

Bird's eye view of the army, with units more visible.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Prussian Army, Part 1 - Infantry

I should clarify, before this goes any further, that I am a lazy painter. The miniatures below were painted some years ago, and I make no claims of brilliance. As long as they looked realistic and the general right colour from above a tabletop, that was good enough for me. Now, I’ve had to take photos of them and it’s pretty unforgiving stuff close up!

As the figures will set the tone, I’m putting them up as my first post and saving the fledgling details of my ‘ImagiNations’ for a later post. My figures are based in DBA style of four infantry and three cavalry per base, but I intend to use several bases together to make up each unit. After much balancing out of different combinations against scarce resources, I’ve decided on the basic infantry regiment being a straight 4-base group, set up as two ranks of eight men. This should make my figures go far enough to provide several units, and still provide regiments with a believable chunkiness or ‘bulk’ to them. Units of 8 or 12 figures just felt too ‘fragile’ to me somehow, to take the punishing objectives they will no doubt be set!

Typical ‘Prussian’ Infantry regiment

With this basing system, I can get three line infantry regiments of Prussians, one Grenadier regiment, and one skirmishing regiment – a grand army total of five infantry formations. Sadly, the Grenadiers have only three painted bases, so I’ll need to paint up some undercoated figures to establish a full regiment.

‘Prussian’ Grenadiers,( with 25% of the regiment AWOL)

The skirmisher regiment is made up from regular infantry figures, but based individually (usually glued to a 5p coin). I’ve made it a much lighter six figures to a unit, because I want the main numbers to be in the line regiments and keep the skirmishers to being an annoyance rather than a decisive battlefield presence.

One regiment of line infantry, when I was basing them, found itself with a mounted officer being added. From what I remember, I just did it on a whim to add a bit of character, but the distinctive base soon became a Guards unit. As I know that I have more ‘Austrian’ infantry than I have ‘Prussian’, I’m tempted to keep it as an elite to balance out the more numerous opponents of the army. Here’s a snap of the potential Guards regiment, officer included. If I’m painting up some of the other infantry anyway, I may go for a repaint on the guards to mark them out (different coloured waistcoats and breeches, maybe?)

‘Prussian’ Guards Infantry Regiment

As this post has gone on for a bit (and given me an excuse to try out some photo postings) I’ll leave the cavalry and Artillery for another time.

Sunday, June 1, 2008


Hello, and welcome to something of an experiment for me. I’m a long-term wargames player and, when left idle for a few minutes, I will regularly cover bits of paper with scribbled ideas for rules, campaign systems, scenarios, etc. I’ve a persistent desire to see a campaign run with whole countries being fashioned, to give armies an excuse to battle it out.

Following on from my recent discovery of several highly entertaining blogs on just this sort of process, including all the ins and outs of organising the details and preparing the figures for their fights, I’ve decided to have a bash myself.

So, I suppose I should really set out my intentions. The aim is to have a fun, readable record of some fictional Germanic 18th Century states, and their constant fighting across their provinces. As the whole purpose is to give me tabletop games to play the battle reports will be the ‘icing on the cake’ but, as demonstrated by others, the journey can be as rewarding as arriving. I will also be posting details of the states and armies as they are developed, with photos, etc. I also expect the game rules for battles, campaigns, etc. to be pretty freely discussed and detailed, to give others an insight and hopefully some inspiration.

What resources can I bring to this project? Well, at it’s heart, and dictating so much of the rest, are the available miniatures. I have SYW figures for Prussia and Austria, mostly painted but with a couple of ‘uncommitted’ neutrals that can be used to bulk out one side or another. The system I initially used for them was a DBA variant, so the size of armies was correspondingly small and numbers are relatively thin on the ground. This’ll be changing for a start, as I want my regiments to look like they have a little ‘bulk’ to them. So, I’ve the nucleus of two armies for rival Germanic states. My interest was initially drawn to the period by Frederick the Great, so I’ll be creating something along the lines of the continental Seven Years’ War. No naval fighting, colonies, or similar clutter will be included to avoid clouding the issue.

For source material, I have various books but would be ungrateful if I didn’t at least acknowledge three: for practical advice, ‘Wargame Campaigns’ and ‘The War Game,’ both by CS Grant; and for the inspiration, ‘The Army of Frederick the Great’ by Christopher Duffy.

More tweaks to the site and posts will follow, with some pics and general info on how I’m developing things. Comments are welcome, as long as they're polite!