Monday, May 11, 2020

Chasseur à Cheval de la Garde Impériale - Eagle Bearer

I opened a package that contained this proud figure on Saturday and his flag came spilling out. It had snapped off, and even worse, the decals on both sides had dried out and were cracking and flaking off.

I immediately sat down to see if I could rescue the flag. I used crazy glue liberally in hopes of keeping the bits and parts of the decal in place. I didn't have much hope that it would work, but to my surprise it did...sort of. It was a pretty ugly, cloudy blob, but at least the flag stayed intact.

Next, I glued the flag back on the post, and since I knew that it would never stay, had to also glue to to the side of the rider's busby (which I absolutely hated doing, but it was the only way!)

After that cured, I set about touching up the flag as best I could to restore the color and continuity that the cracking and gluing had destroyed. Again, it was somewhat successful. At least enough to rescue the figure as a flag bearer instead of an odd looking trooper without a sword in hand.

And lastly, I touched up the paint and changed a few things that needed it: such as his blanket wrapped around his torso. The factory paint color was gray, but Keith Rocco shows it as green in his famous painting: 'A Chasseur's Fate'.

It's pretty easy to see the damage to the flag in these close-ups, but from a normal wargame table distance, the repair should be invisible. And if I position him in the middle of the three riders on his eventual base, it will hopefully prevent new damage from inadvertent gamer grabbing. Only a full-on drop will destroy my work. Let's hope that never happens to this survivor!

(Note: still need to touch up a couple of spots and do his base.)

First Full Unit: Prussian 8th Hussars

I've been doing one-off figures up until now, but finally decided that it was time to do an entire unit.
I chose the 8th Prussian Hussars because they were one of the first Prussian units to arrive on the Waterloo battlefield. "They covered the advance on Plancenoit, and at one point were called upon to charge French skirmishers that had strayed too far east of the village." ( - Waterloo Companion by Mark Adkin)

My Cavalry stands will each have 3 cavalry figures, and will represent roughly 250 horsemen.
The 8th Hussars had a strength of 450 when it arrived at Waterloo, so I painted two stands as the 8th.

I used the Del Prado Prussian Hussar (PIR 57) figure for the 5 troopers, and the Del Prado (PIR 56) for the Prussian Hussar Officer. These figures were originally painted in green, but the 8th Hussars had a Dark Blue Pelisse and Dolman with light blue facings and White Lace.

I am realizing that I will have to re-paint pretty much every cavalry figure that I want to use in my armies. The Del Prado figures, even those Mint-in-Box, have aged noticeably: Many have cracking paint, broken parts, and faded colors. This is going to be a large renovation project.

Saturday, May 9, 2020

Prussian Dragoon

What has me especially energized right now is taking these beautiful toys that have been diminished by time and use, and restoring them to their previous glory...and perhaps (hopefully) even to a superior state than their original condition.

I am trying to choose very vibrant colors that are still within the range of historical accuracy, and to also be true to the original toys.

Today's project was a Prussian Dragoon trooper (Del Prado Code ZIE 55).
Here are the 'Before and After' images:

He received a brighter, more vibrant blue for his frock coat (Litevka).
Gray trousers replace the black as painted on the original figure.
Gray blanket roll vs. blue (per Knoetel).
I chose to give him red facings (collar and shoulder straps) because it really adds more color, 'pop' and contrast to the figure, and that is what I'm after.
Of the 8 Prussian Dragoon regiments in 1815, 4 of them had red facings, so this is also historically accurate. (2 had white and 2 yellow).
The horse gets new paint with slightly more red in the brown coat.
And the base gets the vibrant green that I am using for all bases for this project.

Friday, May 8, 2020

Del Prado Collection

I was extremely fortunate to be able to acquire a sizable collection of Del Prado cavalry miniatures via ebay two weeks ago.

The collection arrived today from the UK. As I unpacked the boxes, I was blown away by how impressive these figures are en masse. There is certainly a fair amount of fading, cracking, and physical damage on them, but all of that can be repaired. Being able to get this large collection all at once, right at the beginning of this new project is very exciting, and gives me energy and enthusiasm to work on it.

Here is the whole thing on my gaming table:

These are 25mm, and sit nicely between 18mm, which are apparently getting to be too small for my aging eyes, and the 28-30mm monsters of today.
I will be basing cavalry 3 on a stand to represent a regiment/ stand, which means 4 stand per unit, each unit being a Division.

Infantry will also be four stands per unit with each stand having 2 ranks of three figures.

Can't wait to start refurbishing this giant lot and do up a few units to see how they'll look.

Tuesday, May 5, 2020

Comparing Refreshed Paintjobs on Del Prado

In my last post, I showed a few Del Prado figures that I had 'refreshed'.
I thought that it might be fun to compare the 'Before' and 'After' figs next to each other.
The fresher colors and a bit of gloss really do make a big difference!

This was the conversion of a French Cuirassier to a French Dragoon.

French Carabinier

And Prussian Hussar

The refreshed figures really shine... ;-)

Friday, May 1, 2020

Shiny Happy Minis

It's been quite a while since I posted here, but I'm excited about a new tabletop miniatures project, so I thought that it might be time.

Quite a while ago, I painted up a set of old Prince August 25mm (true 25mm, not the 28 - 30mm beasties that are common these days). And appropriately, I painted them in glossy, simple, old toy soldier style. They looked so fun and amazing, but I really didn't know what I wanted to do with them, so they just sat on my shelf.

Well, a week or so ago I ran across them, took them down, and admired them...and then the sickness took hold: "Maybe THIS is the scale that I really want for my tabletop gaming," I thought. "These are big enough for my aging eyes to actually see," I rationalized. "And look at how those bright colors 'POP'. (Never mind that I have an insanely nice - and expensive - collection of 18mm AB Napoleonics).

The fever had taken hold, and I started researching online to see if I could really put together an entire Napoleonic collection with old, out-of-production, 25mm miniatures.

I not only found several potential candidates, but I also stumbled on at least three other guys who are doing EXACTLY this sort of project right now. Perhaps there is something in the wargaming water. Perhaps there is a global 5G message going out that demands that old wargamers return to the mother ship. I don't know why, but they are doing this...and now, so am I.

My research turned up several 25mm product lines:

1) Prince August -
Strengths: I like their simplicity, size, and look. I also have hundreds of them that I bought 5 or 6 years ago on ebay for no reason at all.

Weaknesses: The line is not very extensive (almost entirely Waterloo, and very limited at that). And worse, anything that I don't have now or can't get on ebay, I'll have to cast myself. The company sells 'do-it-yourself' moulds. Ugh! I'm not much of a do it yourself person.

2) Tradition -
Strengths: They are currently manufactured, and have some good content and a bit broader an offering than P.A.

Weaknesses: I suspect that they are a bit smaller than P.A., so I'll have to be careful about mixing units. They also do not make all of the nations and units that I need, so they aren't a total solution.

3) MiniFigs -
Strengths: They have current production, which is, apparently, a bit larger than the older (out of print) 'S' line. They have almost everything that I could want in Napoleonics. The line is quite extensive for 25mm.

Weaknesses: What is with the GIANT SHAKOS and HELMETS?!  They look positively outlandish in some of the figures. Unfortunately this eliminates some of the extensive offering.

4) Del Prado -
Apparently, back in the misty past (I haven't been able to discover exactly when), an Italian company named Del Prado launched a line of painted 25mm Napoleonics called 'Relive Waterloo' which they sold as a subscription along with Napoleonic booklets. Every week (month?), the lucky subscriber would get a new issue in the mail. The small packs of 2 or 3 miniatures (Cavalry, Infantry, Artillery, Officers) from the battle of Waterloo were quite nice: good sculpts, and very solid paint-jobs.

Weakness: These are not available anymore and the only way to get them is on ebay and such.

To kick off my new project, I acquired a small parcel of them to give them a look. I received the first batch, and immediately tore them out of their original packaging to enjoy them (collective collector coronary)...

Well, they are truly wonderful! The paint jobs need a little bit of help due to a bit of fading and cracking, but I happily dove in and breathed some new life into these wonderful figures.

Here is the product of my work:

Belgian and French Carabiniers

Prussian and Dutch Hussars

British Lifeguards Heavy Cavalry

British Officer and French Dragoon (Paint Conversion from a Cuirassier)

As you can see, I also tried my hand at a paint conversion. As I put together the lists of units that I'll need for the French army, I was alarmed that there was no 'good' French Dragoon on any of the lists. I'm especially partial to French Dragoons, so this hit me hard. So hard that it was a distraction for a couple of days as my brain spent an illogical amount of time trying to solve the problem.

Then on the third morning, the solution struck me! There are too many Cuirassier in the Del Prado packs. So many, in fact, that collectors complain of just having too many of the things.
"I wonder if I could just re-paint them to look like Dragoons," I thought. They do have similar helmets, swords, and even horse furniture. The problem is the cuirass. On most miniatures, it is prominent, and very detailed. Luckily, the Del Prado Cuirassier figures are more simply made, and are small enough that the eye really can't see the cuirass once the paint conversion is complete. The illusion is actually quite good. Problem 1 solved!

I look forward to this project, and to eventually gaming many Napoleonic battles with these beautiful, colorful, glossy figures.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Marengo in 15mm

The battle of Marengo was fought on this date 216 years ago. So it seemed like an auspicious time to re-fight it on the tabletop.
I just received my new Austrian army (AB 15mm) from the very talented Scott MacPhee recently, and this is their first run around the table.
I used the newest version of my tabletop rules based on Command & Colors. New rules include using 10-sided dice instead of the custom 6-siders. This allows more flexibility in the rules.
I have also recently added new rules around formations and routing.

Here is the re-fight:

8:00 AM
The Austrians surprise Napoleon by attacking out of Alessandria toward the village of Marengo. They catch Victor's Corps still in camp spread out in and behind Marengo.

Austrian Grenzers storm the bridge over the Fontanone Stream into Marengo.

Meanwhile, the Austrian left wing moves toward the north bridge across from Castel Ceriolo.

9:00 AM
The Austrians force their way into Marengo and across the stream south of town.

Victor's Corps falls back, but organizes a solid defensive line.

The Austrians attack into the orchard on the French left flank. The battle swings back and forth, with the French eventually coming out on top and the Austrians being pushed back.

10:00 AM
Napoleon and the reserve march toward the sound of the guns.

The Austrian left flank moves out and takes Castel Ceriolo from Lannes' Corps.

12:00 - 2:00 a fierce battle erupts east of Castel Ceriolo as the Austrians attempt to turn the French right flank and defeat Lannes before Desaix can show up with French reinforcements.
They utilize their advantage in cavalry to launch a series of cavalry attacks, and successfully defeat the French cavalry and force the infantry into square.

2:00 Meanwhile, Desaix leads Boudet's division toward the sound of the guns.

3:00 Napoleon leads the reserve into the battle on his right flank to drive the Austrians back. After initial success, the Austrian cavalry again prevails and defeats their French counterparts. In the final charge against the French Consular Guard Cavalry, they break through and capture Napoleon.

Despite this catastrophe, the French were able to inflict heavy casualties on the Austrians throughout the day. When the final Austrian attacks lost momentum, the French counter-attacked and drove them back into Alessandria.
French Victory!

The new rules work extremely well, and I love the new 15mm armies (Thanks Scott!)
Looking forward to many more battles.