Saturday, January 30, 2010

First Dutch at Waterloo

At least my first Dutch regiment is completed. I have represented the 8th Dutch Militia which fought so doggedly at Quatre Bras but wavered at Waterloo. When I look back over all of my miniature armies, there is a conspicuous bias toward collecting British armies - particularly red coats. Like many young boys living in England (which I did for some years) I started my collecting early and delved into Airfix 1/72nd scale plastic figures from their Waterloo collection. From the age of six, armed with 19 pence (two weeks pocket money) I habitually attended the toy shop in Pettswood high street and returned armed with my latest packed of soldiers. Twenty years later a good friend and I decided to return to the hobby and 25mm Napoleonics gaming in the Grand Manner was our chosen poisen. Having been building a British Peninsular army for years now, when I determined to return to the grass roots of Waterloo I had had enough of red coats so went for their Dutch and Belgian allies and so here is the first of them.

I have taken particular care with this unit and experimented with a couple of different painting techniques. I always undercoat in white and I use Humbrol enamels almost exclusively. I am an ageing older dog and doubt I'll ever change. I prefer the unltra flat effect of their paints for clothing and enjoy mixing whatever shades of colours I choose. I personally dislike the more popular shades of blue found in Citadel paints (for example) and their competitors and I dislike the sheen finish. I also prefer working with mineral terpentine - the cheapest and best cleaning solution and combined thinner in my view. I still marvel that after my many, many years of painting I can still evolve as a painter and wonder if that will ever cease. Still, there is only one person whom I need to please and that is myself as I tend to keep all my figures forever and only play with what I paint.

I tested two techniques when painting the trousers. The first was a very thinned application of darkened grey to the creases, a ligher shades immediately applied to the rest of the trouser and a lighter dry brush over the top when truly dry. A tip for those not familiar with enamels: do not thin the dry coat if you are not prepared to wait at least 24 hours between coats or you can lift the paint from the highlights. The problem with this technique is that it takes time and is a little painstaking. The benefits are that is is a good result. The dry brushing gives a seamless transition from deeper, darker areas to the lighter highlights - unlike the 'blocky' effect that more commercial painting services can achieve, seen when photographed too closely.

The alternative technique began the same with darker grey running into the creases but then I let it dry. I later applied a thinner and ligher general coat over the top which allows the darker shade to come through. On a white undercoat, the thinned light grey provides seamless highlights also as the pigment settles into deeper areas of the sculpt, thus providing at least three depths of shade. This worked better than I anticipated and was also a lot quicker than the dry brushing - in fact it was a relief. I was in fact pleased with the variances both techniques provided within the unit as I perfer to represent variance within uniformed regiments - albeit subtle ones.

A quick word on undercoating. I have now returned to brush and thinners when it comes to undercoating my figures. I used spray packs for many years of every brand imaginable. In the end the subtleties required for applying thinned enamels requires a non-porous coat. Unfortunately, spray coats leave a result rather like blotting paper which takes my paint in all directions leaving me with much reduced control over the initial applications. My friend Matt and fellow Goulbourn Gamer has perhaps found the real answer which is a spray gun but I am content to soldier on with White Knight Rust Guard epoxy enamel for some time to come. Besides, my turn-over of figures is not that high anyway. A last word on undercoating in white with thin painting techniques is that depths can be achieved with less applications - just two or even one.

I don't know who started this trend but I remember first seeing the gents from the League of Augsburg using a three day growth effect on their figure's faces and I have been a fan ever since. In this, I depart from my normal enamel loyalties and use acrylics for the faces with a diluted applicaiton of black ink. Having said this, I vary the clouring of my troops with a mixture of blondes through to brunettes and only use the unshaved look for the dark haired soldiers. I always finish off the faces and heads first (minus the head gear) unless I need to get a collar colour in underneath long hair. By painting faces first my white models begin to come to life at an early stage and I am motivated to continue. AND motivation can be a tricky business when painting troops at a 1:20 representative scale. With a family and career to squeeze in around my hobby, discipline is required to progress even one battalion toward completion. My rule is one application per day and in a month at worse, the regiment is raised.

Before you know it, it is time to base. I always go through this fantasy that when the figures are finished being painted it is all but over but in fact I have several stages when it comes to basing. I use MDF craft wood (3mm) which I cut to size on my band saw (an essential tool for my shed) which is then chamferred and sanded. I glue magnetic sheeting to the base and then sculpt the bases using pre-mixed and coloured wood putty. If I am installing standing grass clumps I normally cut holes with a scalpel and fix before sculpting. In this instance, I wanted a crop line running through the length of the unit so I impressed a groove running through the putty with a toothpick and then glued my vegetation into it when set. I glued my vegetation using Selley's Liquid Nails and the crop 'grass' is dyed coir from a welcome mat.

Once dry, I fixed rubble which was mouse litter mixed with medium sand using PVA glue which is coated in diluted PVA glue when dried to set it properly. Once dried, I paint in is a series of ever lightening earth tones with an eye to representing furtile, western European farmland benefitting from good rainfall. I finished off with two tones of static grass (which I mixed myself) at the outer edges and at strategic points to cover obvious sections of the figure bases which might be seen. Overall, I am reasonably pleased with the effect which was, after all, an experiment. The last touch to the base is a new habit I have of identifying the unit on the back right hand corner - black gloss paint over white. Given that my Brigade will have a number of similarly uniformed Dutch Militia battalions, this will prove invaluable.

For the 1815 campaign, the Dutch had only just reassembled a national army and regulations had yet to be formalised on the carrying of colours. That being so, I elected to speculate on what they might have carried having determined that they required something visual to rally against and form up under. For this battalion I went for a simple national colour and given the only recent departure of the Dutch from French service, I thought it reasonable to follow their trend in colour size. I also like to represent a little battle damage, especially given their involvment in the previoius days action. All of my colours or standards in every army is hand made and painted using tissue paper, drawn on, painted and coated in a matt finish. On that subject, all of my figures nowadays are spray finished using an artists flat matt product obtained from artistic suppliers. The only thing to bear in mind is that metals should be left as a final touch after this protective coating is applied - if possible. I now leave 1815 and return to my revisited Spanish Succession Dutch army now that my extra figures have arrived.

Friday, January 29, 2010

SPARTA for the Spartans

A largely speculative project has been my long evolving Spartan residence and outbuildings. Whilst archeology is thin on the ground (and under it for that matter) I have modelled some dwellings from an old Mycenean reconstruction. The preferred material, as always, is foam core (5mm thick) with balsa cladding. The pillars - so essential for that ancient Mediterranean look - is sawn dowel.
I predict I will coat this model in a sand and paint emulsion to fill in the cracks and achieve that stucco look, similar to the way I made my adobe buildings. As always, the roof comes off for figure placement and the interior of this house is somewhat modelled which is something I intend to do more of. When push comes to shove, my Spartans will defend their homes from within their homes in the end.

The outbuildings (x2) I imagine to be helot dwellings  and I have a mind to place all three buildings together with a small temple on a raised mesa of some sort - not too high, large or dramatic but raising it just above the valley it will look out over, covered in olive groves, vineyards and crops. The only thing preventing me from not finishing this lot off is waiting to come across a suitable God figure for the temple statue and some discipline to finish off all the other projects I start. For example, as I write this posting, I have two 33 figure Dutch battalions for the War of the Spanish Succession, a battalion of Dutch for 1815 and three Celtic chariots on my work bench.

Norman Proto-castle

This is one of several fortifications I have modelled over the years and it won't be the last. It is a 25mm model and is based on reconstructed drawing of Mirville castle in the 11th century. In fact, this model was an after-thought insofar as the tower is an add-on to what was actually constructed as a curtain wall for a greater castle, the late 11th century motte and bailey of York - but that's another article.

It is built in six sections, one of which is broken into a further three sections including the tower section. It is of balsa and craft-stick construction based on MDF craft wood. Everything in shot throughout this posting is scratch built apart from the livestock and figures. The weathered woodwork so important to this model is achieved through repeated applications of black wash over a gey acrylic base with alternate dry brushing of lighter greys. Personally, I still find it too dark but you have to call it a day some time and I can live with it. The door is fully functional (quite a bit of mucking about there actually) and the tower is built in two stages for the placement of figures within.
The stone foundations were achieved by an experiment which worked well I think. I painstakingly drew the stonework using a hard pencil on foam core (foam sandwiched between two sheets of paper) - the impression making the mortar lines, throwing the stone into relief. I thinly washed it in white to achieve a lime mortar then dry brushed from a mixed grey/brown palette. In future when I make a large stone keep I will opt for pre-embossed plastic or card stock. It is all too easy to tire when working on the base but I took the time to grass the bases around structural points of contact and allow for wear and tread, grasses and weeds.
The whole model as seen here packs down into a standard sized archive box - essential for storage and transportation. The only issue with building fortifications for wargaming is that you need to ensure that the oposition has the means of challenging the defenders to make a game of it. This thus far, I have failed to do. Whilst I have bought two of the Gripping Beast Onager models I have yet to build them. I have plans for mantlets, ladder crews, a battering ram and a fire wagon. Then I suppose I'll need to turn my attention to making some wrecked sections.

SPARTA and the Ekdromoi

Being a Warhammer Ancient Battles (WAB) player, there arises the question of Spartan Ekdromoi or armoured slaves (helots) and how to play them. In WAB terms they are an un accounted for troop type to date in that no developed army lists or specific book has been dedicated to the period: or at least the Persian Wars period of the 470's BC. My chosen army is intended as a nucleus for the Spartan coalition army under Pausanias at Plataea in 479 BC - the little dramatised but great land battle where the question of Perian dominance was settled.

I say that Ekdromoi are unaccounted for in that within the WAB rule system, hoplites are not accorded the liberty of dispering from phalanx  into skirmish order and fighting as light infantry. Fighting in phalanx and breaking out to skirmish; however, is precisely what Ekdromoi did according to the texts and in fact Ekdromoi, for the uninitiated, means 'to run out'. For those familiar with the battle of Plataea, this is potentially an important distinction as according to Herodotus, the Spartans were in attendence with seven Ekdromoi (or Helots) to every Spartiate citizen hoplite.

 Given the relative popularity of Sparta within the enduring imagination of the wargamer, this limitation presents an ongoing question about how best to model and play this particular troop type. Unless a future suplement from Warhammer defines the rules surrounding Ekdromoi, a player may either base them as a lesser armed phalanx formation (being either naked or merely clothed with helmet and shield) or as skirmishers with shield - albeit a large one. House rules can, of course, provide for both where some compromise in points would need to be agreed upon. Personally, it seems reasonable to me that they should be paid for as a hoplite with an appropriate reduction in points cost for loss of body armour but should retain the cost of being drilled to allow the adaptability of formation - particularly if you propose to allow them to reform into phalanx at any stage in the game.

As you can see from my models, I elected to build my army from First Corps Spartans and I continue to prefer them to any range I have seen since buying them about eight years ago. To further differentiate the Ekdromoi from my other troops I made their shield designs using drap mixtures of russets, browns, black and white. Their helmet manes were of natural colours as one might find stright from the horses tail so to speak. Their tunics are faded reds, brown and oranges when worn. Their shild designs are more simple than my Spartiates who, during the pre-uniform Perian Wars period, tend to be more colourful, but not as gawdy as I would make Athenian or Corinthian designs.

If I ever revisit this army to expand it to the full compliment for Plataea, I would include a couple of throwing spears in the shield hands of my Ekdromoi for at least some of them. As you can see from my holding up of a Spartan phalanx, my figure bases are magnetised and whenever forming larger units my bases simply clamp on - particularly usefull for my Ekdomoi all of which are based singly. This satisfies my long standing dislike of chunky movement trays.

As for the hard corps hoplites in my army, I based them as close to overlapping as the models and the WAB basing distances would allow with the second row offset from the front rank. Whilst it may have been nicer still to base them three deep, my shield designs (all of which are hand painted) for the third rank would be obscured. In any event, for gaming purposes, whilst I have only played my Spartans a few times, they can take an awful beating, always dish out far worse than they get and don't seem bothered about a lack of rank bonuses.

Friday, January 8, 2010

The King's Germans

I finally finished my penultimate brigade for Spencer's 1st Division of Wellington's army at Busaco, 1810 in 28mm - namely the King's German Legion (KGL) brigade. It was a long time between battalions for this one - four in all. Due to departures from the period this was several years in the making which most probably should not have been the case given that it consisted of some of the smallest battalions in my army - from 22-26 figures. By way of historical background, the KGL units were present throughout most of the Peninsular campaigns and by 1810 were considerably reduced from their full compliments. In wargame figure terms, at a representative troop scale of 1:20, a full battalion comes in at around 48 figures (fresh off the boat). The performance of this brigade on the table top should always do reasonably well, balancing their veteran status against reduced numbers - I hope.

My battalions for Napoleonics always consist of a core of Elite Miniatures - supplied by Elite Miniatures Australia. They are a good quality product and whilst not sculpted to the same detail of Front Rank or Foundry, they are a particularly good figure to paint with just the right amount of detail for the rank and file - especially for large battalions which a 1:20 troop scale tends to produce. Another feature I partucularly love about Elite is that they use a pewter based metal which is light and rigid so there is no such thing as a floppy looking bayonet - a widespread phenomena in wargames armies and one which is unacceptable for me. My officers I buy from anyone - I rather like to mix it up with these chaps and will dig deeper in my purse for them. I have several per unit to represent company commanders within the line. In my KGL units I have used Foundry and Elite.

No one makes a bearskin drummer for the KGL which Mike Chappell's The King's German Legion (1) 1803-1812 (Osprey Men-At-Arms 338) tells me they had. I cut the shako off with wire cutters, filed the figure off to a point above the peak and sculpted the bearskin using Miliput or Greenstuff. By the way, it was some time before I saw what they looked like from the back and the cap should show the white horse of Hanover on a red field - which mine now do.

One thing about the KGL battalions is that they were completely uniform; the only identification being the numbers on canteens or regimental colours. For my benefit, after the first battalion was finished, my three subsequent battalions have their numbers painted in black letters on a white background on the back of the right hand corner of each base - 5KGL, 2KGL and so on. This is a habit I will cultivate from here on with all of my armies methinks.

I have my skirmishers for each battalion represented proportionally. The rules I use (Grand Manner) provide for skirmish units of 6 figures which is a problem for me - my skirmishers being swept aside easily unless amalgamated for the brigade into one unit. I advise anyone wishing to represent their armies according to historical returns to make an exception with your skirmishers if figure numbers are important for game mechanics.

For one of my battalions I decided to sculpt the unit colours furled and in their cases - a simple matter of forming Greenstuff over 1.25 mm wire. This would have been better depicted on a marching unit rather than mine which is advancing (as they all are) but I've learned to live with it. My bridage commander was tricky in that every order of battle I possessed (and there are a few) only referred to generals my their surname. I have developed more of an interest in my command figures over the years and I wanted to know just who this Von Lowe chap was. My research attempts on-line proved fruitless but thanks to a helful contributor to the TMP forum I received a two page life history of Brigadier General SCGF Von Lowe. These details are important to me insofar as I know now if he had a brevitt rank and can surmise what uniform distinctions he would have worn in the field. He is represented by an Old Glory figure.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Bring up the Guns!

In a seemingly endless build up of my British Peninsular amry of 1810, I determined upon the addition of a battery of Royal Horse Artillery. Let me say that having had none previously had been a right royal pain as in the rules I play (Grand Manner) my enemies were getting two shots in per bound with their horse artillery to my one with only foot - enough was enough!

Our club house rules are that each battery requires one limber model if you want to be able to move them and there certainly ain't no point in galloping guns with no gallopers so an order for one limber was duly placed with Essex Miniatures. At the time of purchase Essex were the only manufacturers to my knowledge. I assembled the model in its entirety and for pieces on this scale I based them also, prior to undercoating. You will see from the riders that I undercoat in white principally becasue this is how I developed my approach in the beginning but more so nowadays so I can see what I'm painting.

Similarly, I built and based my gun models (all Elite Miniatures) prior to undercoating and painting. You will see that I base my models and figures on 3mm MDF sheet which I cut and chamfer. Beneath the based I cut and  glue single sided magnetic sheet as I transport my models in metal tool boxes and this is wonderful in preventing movement and protects the figures.

All of my horses are painted from a common reference work, Tasmin Pickeral's The Encyclopedia of Horses & Ponies which provides a comprehensive selection of breeds and colour schemes if you are particular about that sort of thing - which I am.

I support the bond between the mounted figure and the horse by drilling holes in the base of the rider and the saddle and fixing it with a steel wire pin when gluing them with Araldite. Anyone wishing to try assembling a model of this size before painting as I do should heed this warning - it is heavy, awkward and prolongs the painting project considerably. The finsihed product; however, is robust and utterly intact.

I took some time to manipulate the two crew riding the caison and to vary the posing of all figures as much as possible which, happily, the Essex white metal freely allows. I wanted to animate the model as much as possible as I wanted my limber to look like it was moving at pace. Generally, manufacturers do not provide this in their limber offerings and Essex were no exception so I was limited by the poses of the solidly cast horses. You may note the rock (a piece of mouse litter) placed under the right wheel of the casion and the crews attempt at regaining their balance.
My bases are sculpted with pre-mixed wood working putty into which I press mouse litter for rocks and pieces of grass matting is glued into drilled or cut holes prior to the sculpt. I then cover the dried 'ground' with a diluted mixture of Selley's PVA to fix any loose litter and commence painting once dry.
For this battery I based my deployed crew seperate to the model for casualty removal or evasion - one of several options. The crew figures are Front Rank.

Pachyderm enforced Pax Romana

Only a little while ago I embarked on this modelling project as a compliment to my early imperial Roman Army and I think I can confidently predict it will be my first and last effort at an elephant. It took longer than I imagined and was extremely fiddly. Nevertheless, thanks to Diodorus, I had the excuse to work toward fielding a model I had always wanted.

I always contruct my models (from cavalry figures to chariots) prior to undercoating and painting. I used Selleys two-part epoxy Araldite to build the model. The resin elephant came in one piece (including the howdah and the bottom half of the mahout). I had lost the upper half of the mahout so used the upper half of an Old Glory Bedouin rifleman from their Sons of the Desert range I had spare from another project. The fighting crew were minor conversions of Old Glory auxilliary archers - including the spearmen - and the shields were added to the howdah to Romanise it a little more.

The painting is all in Humbrol enamels - a boyhood habit I have never shrugged, and the elephant colouring is based on several pictures obtained through Google Images on-line. I always prefer to paint from real life, so there was never a question of producing a generic grey elephant. You may notice the speckles about the ears and along the spine. The only comment to make about the crew and mahout is that I make all of my spears for 25mm  figures from 1.25mm steel wire with hammered and clipped heads.

You may notice that one of the grass tufts has been flattened under foot to create an illusion of weight for the animal. Particlular attention was paid to the eye (again from close shot images) and the tones of the tusks which are finished with gloss varnish on top of the overall matt spray coat all my models get.

Whilst I finished this project about a year ago, it had it's first outing in December of last year and contrary to all the rules of wargaming, it actually did rather well - before going berserk.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

A Dutch Brigade at Ramillies

The following is my intended first Dutch brigade of the Allied army at Ramillies (1706). It is based upon 1/20 representative troop scale at 80% strength and is designed for Warhammer Ancient Battles ECW WSS variant. It contains all the information I have been able to glean from a variety of sources to serve (for me) as a one-stop reference when I begin painting/modelling the units. Anyone who is willing or able to fill in any gaps, please don't hesistate to let me know.

Ramilies Order of Battle (WAB)

Allied Infantry Brigade (centre left)

Senior Command

Lietenant General Coenraad William van Dedem
Dedem Lord of Gelder bn 1644, Governor of Maastricht 1703, Knight of Overijssel 1683 d 1714.

Major General Cornelis Van Nassau, heer Van Woudenberg
bn 1675 and son of Hendrik van Nassau-Ouwerkerk commanding the left flank and cavalry, promoted to Major General 1709.

Brigadier Willem Baldwin Van Soutelande
d 1710


Van Delan fusiliers (Dutch foot – Gelderland - No 2)
9 Points
Steady Foot M4 WS3 BS2 S3 T3 W1 I3 A1 Ld7

33 figures: 1 Colonel (Leader +5 points) 2 Ensign (+10/+10 points) 1 Drummer (+5 points)
3 Grenadiers (Veterans @ +4 points each = 12 points) 3 Officers 23 Other ranks
Total: 339 points

Representation: Regiments consist of 10 companies of three figures. Figures are based three companies to a base in three ranks (9 figures) making for 4 bases, 1 being a command base of 6 figures including the ensigns, drummer and colonel.

Historical Notes

Uniform: Grey/white coat – red lining, cuffs, grey/white w/coat, grey breeches & stockings, no hat lace. NCO – red w/coat & breeches. Drummers - red coat, yellow lining & cuffs, gold lace.

Standard: See (2) Beijnheim, Sapherson p28

Command: Colonel-proprietor was Erard Van Delan from 1704 and during Ramillies. From 1694 Johan van Beynheym was Commandant Colonel commanding.

Van Nassau-Woudenberg (Dutch foot – Utrecht - No 27)
9 Points
Steady Foot M4 WS3 BS2 S3 T3 W1 I3 A1 Ld7

33 figures: 1 Colonel (Leader +5 points) 2 Ensign (+10/+10 points) 1 Drummer (+5 points) 3 Grenadiers (Veterans @ +4 points each = 12 points) 3 Officers 23 Other ranks
Total: 339 points

Representation: Regiments consist of 10 companies of three figures. Figures are based three companies to a base in three ranks (9 figures) making for 4 bases, 1 being a command base of 6 figures including the ensigns, drummer and colonel.

Historical Notes

Uniform: Grey coat, lining & cuffs. NCO crimson lining. Officers - red lining. Officers – red cuffs & w/coat. NCO red w/coat. Officers red stockings. NCO – crimson stockings. Officers – gold lace.

Standard: ?

Command: Raised in 1688, the regiment’s second Colonel-proprietor from 1700 was Cornelis Van Nassau, heer Van Woudenberg. No Commander Commandant is recorded and the most senior officer listed is Lieutenant Colonel Johan Backer who died at Ramillies.

Van Soutelande (Dutch foot – Holland - No 16)
9 Points
Steady Foot M4 WS3 BS2 S3 T3 W1 I3 A1 Ld7

33 figures: 1 Colonel (Leader +5 points) 2 Ensign (+10/+10 points) 1 Drummer (+5 points) 3 Grenadiers (Veterans @ +4 points each = 12 points) 3 Officers 23 Other ranks
Total: 339 points

Representation: Regiments consist of 10 companies of three figures. Figures are based three companies to a base in three ranks (9 figures) making for 4 bases, 1 being a command base of 6 figures including the ensigns, drummer and colonel.

Historical Notes

Uniform: White coat, lines red – cuffs red.

Standard: ?

Command: Colonel-proprietor was Willem Baldwin Van Soutelande from 1695 at during Ramillies. Colonel Commandant from 1704 and at Ramillies was Jacques de Rocques Cervière.

Tscharner (Dutch/Swiss foot – raised Berne, maintained Holland - No 65)
13 Points
Veteran Foot M4 WS3 BS3 S3 T4 W1 I4 A1 Ld7

36 figures: 1 Colonel (Leader +5 points) 2 Ensign (+10/+10 points) 1 Drummer (+5 points) 4 Officers
28 Other ranks
Total: 498 points

Representation: Regiments consist of 4 companies of 9 figures (no grenadiers). Figures are based one company to a base in three ranks (9 figures) making for 4 bases, 1 being a command base including the ensigns, drummer and colonel.

Historical Notes

Uniform: Blue coat. Carmine lining, breeches, w/coat, stockings. Yellow buttons & hat lace. Drummers indigo coat, lined in carmine and yellow lace.

Standard: See (4) Tscharner, Sapherson p46

Command: Colonel-proprietor was Nicholas de Tscharner aka Tscharnair (dismissed that year). Colonel Commandant from 1704 and at Ramillies was Gabriel May of Hüning.

Kronprinz von Prussien (Dutch/Prussian foot – from Brandenburg/Prussia maintained by Holland - No 53)
13 Points
Veteran Foot M4 WS3 BS3 S3 T4 W1 I4 A1 Ld7

33 figures: 1 Colonel (Leader +5 points) 2 Ensign (+10/+10 points) 1 Drummer (+5 points) 3 Grenadiers (Veterans @ +4 points each = 12 points) 3 Officers 23 Other ranks
Total: 471 points

Representation: Regiments consist of 10 companies of three figures. Figures are based three companies to a base in three ranks (9 figures) making for 4 bases, 1 being a command base of 6 figures including the ensigns, drummer and colonel.

Historical Notes Formerly the Keurprinz regiment under Friedrich Wilhelm von Brandenburg became Kroonprinz when Brandenburg evolved to Prussia and Friedrich became crown prince. Adopted from wartime subsidy to permanent Dutch service in 1697 and reorganised from the Brandenburgh to the Dutch model.

Uniform: Blue – coat & w/coat, grenadier cuffs, NCO & Officer breeches & stockings. Red – cuffs, stockings. Leather breeches. Yellow hat edging, buttons. Grenadier hat – red front, blue crown, yellow piping.

Standard: ?

Command: Colonel Proprietor was Kronprinz Friedrich Wilhelm of von Prussien – future King Friedrich Wilhelm I of Prussia (the Solder King) – bn 1688. Colonel Commandant from 1695 (last recorded) was Albrecht Conrad Fink von Finkenstein (bn 1660).

An Army Reborn

In 1994 a good friend of mine and I ventured back into what I call serious wargaming with the first of what turned out to be an endless series of 25mm miniature armies. The first army was my Anglo-Dutch effort for the War of the Spanish Succession (WSS).

If memory serves, we used a set of very simple fast play rules by Stuart Asquith which relied on morale classes A through D which dictated precisely what a unit could or could not do, depending upon the casualty rate. For example, a battalion remained at A class morale until it lost 25% casualties whereupon it could no longer advance but could still give fire - and so it went. We found it difficult to achieve anything other than a stalemate so developed our own variant which relied on unit commanders' characteristics to overcome limitations incurred through morale classes as affected by casualties.

We were then introduced to wargaming in the Grand Manner for Napoleonic armies which took us to a whole new level and our WSS armies had been shelved ever since ... until now.

What changed? Well, I've been waiting for a good set of rules to come along which combined both fast play elements and national characteristics within the right flavour of the period. I also tired of learning and attempting to recall multiple rule sets and systems across theatres and periods of warfare (I game in many eras). So, I have have embraced Warhammer Ancient Battles ECW rules with a variant as published by Dave Watson through Wargames Illustrated.

Grand Manner gaming introduced me to armies with a 1/20 troop scale which provide for a greater number of figures to represent a unit and I have to say that for me and others, once you go there, you can't go back! My previous army was based on the old Wargamers Research Group concept of 1/50 troop scale so I realised I needed a significant upgrade. Something else which had changed over the past 16 years has been additional research which has come to light and been published and the development of the internet and the populating of it with much research and material for the wargamer - something I hope to add to through this site. We had previously relied almost exclusively on Charles Stewart Grant's From Pike to Shot 1685 to 1720 which is still invaluable as a resource I might add.

When I had collected my original army there were only two manufacturers to choose from - Dixon Miniatures and Wargames Foundry. I cannot recall if Old Glory had provided for the period at that time but they weren't on my radar. My additional figures for the reborn army will be coming from Front Rank initially, with Reiver Casting and Old Glory to follow. I like to mix as many ranges within my units as possible and this army will be no exception.

The President of the Goulburn 'Pikers' (my club) and I have agreed on a basing system for figures mounted in three ranks. We haven't seen this done before but it will provide for representation of platoon firing in the formation of the period with bases of 60x60mm accommodating 9 figures. My Dutch battalions are generally to be represented by units of 33 figures representing 80% strength at 1/20 troop scale providing for 3 x 9 figures bases and a command base of 6 to include drummer, standard bearers and Colonel commandants.

The above shots are a mock up of what they will look like. I await the arrival of my figure order to get underway and will post a blow-by-blow of how my first reborn unit evolves.

I See Three Ships

Thanks to a returned interest in the military history of the latter half of the 17th century, I have made my first forray into naval wargaming with these three vessels from Rod Langton of Langton Miniatures range.

Not yet identified or named, I intend for these vessels (a Dutch Pinace, Cromster and Fluit) to be the start of an accumulating range representing the 2nd Anglo-Dutch War - more specifically the Four Days Battle.

Anyone interested in this period could do a lot worse that getting a hold of Frank L Fox's Four Days Battle of 1666 - the most informative and readable military history I have read in many, many years.

As for the accompanying shots, I elected to run with a green sea as it both appealed to me and seemed less common, which I painted on pre-mounted canvass panels obtained from a haberdashery. It took many coats of an art paint (water based acrylic) which was multi-coated with gloss enamel varnish. I knew I was going to elect clear bases and I ended up going for a glass option to avoid yellowing, scratching and to give extra stability to the model due to the relative weight of the glass. I needed to cut the stuff so learnt how on-line and bought both the glass and the cutter through eBay.