Saturday, 24 April 2010

My Salute

So, yesterday was one of two days a year where I venture out to a wargames show. Infuriatingly, I forgot to take my camera with me (I had planned to take pictures of the games and introduce them into my blog whenever I hadn't painted anything - which seems to be rather more than I would like), which is a huge shame as there were a few very nice games at Salute.

If you recall, I began this blog with a list of things I would like to achieve - and one of those things was to paint twice as many figures as I buy. On that basis I went to Salute with a limited agenda - I wanted to get the figures necessary to produce a vignette reproducing the Vereshegin painting of Napoleon at Borodino shown above, I wanted some remounts for the Russian Uhlans I'm painting (yes I'm still working on them) and that was about it. All in all, I had no intention of buying much.

So, quite how I came to be struggling with several carrier bags at the end of the day I'm really not sure....

So, to the Vershegin painting. Vassili Vereshegin was born in 1842, trained as a Russian Navy officer, graduating first in his class, but upon graduating immediately resigned his commission to study painting. He was somewhat controversial as he believed that showing war's horror on canvas made peace more likely - some of his paintings were fairly gruesome. Towards the end of his life he settled in Moscow and painted a series of paintings based on Napoleon's 1812 Russian campaign (and on Tolstoy's War and Peace). He painted the picture in 1893 (I've also seen 1897 quoted).

The painting depicts French staff officers anxiously peering through their telescopes at the battle raging before them as they seek to distinguesh what is happening through the smoke - meanwhile Napoleon sits, his feet resting on a drum with his head on his chest (perhaps suggesting that he realised that trying to go head on with a large Russian army rather than seeking to flank them was a mistake).

Fantassin (or as they insist upon calling themselves these days Warmodelling) produce a Vereshagin Napoleon (Code NP-04) sitting head upon chest, feet upon drum accompanied by an officer peering through a telescope and very nice the two figures are (see picture above from their website) - but I couldn't help feeling that the Fantassin designer had missed a trick, after all he had left the job half finished. If you are going to try and reproduce a military painting why just do two figures from the group? After all there aren't that many sources for dismounted 15mm French Napoleonic officers looking through telescopes and if you would like to reproduce the image two figures is nowhere near enough.

Fantassin also do a staff HQ set (NP-06) which has several figures that are of use - I'm thinking I can press some of the officers into service as "hangers on" and, while there is no table featured in the Vereshegin painting I'm sure there was one around nearby. However there is one glaring omission from the pack - officer with telescope.

Anyway, after asking on The Miniatures Page forum for where to find supplementary figures suitable for such a project I was pointed towards the Old Glory French Marshalls pack number 2 (NMG4) which features (as well as said marshalls) another table, a sentry, a mameluke holding a horse and (hallelujah!) an officer looking through a telescope - so that gives me two (I had hoped for rather more). I also think that OG have taken a crack at Napoleon as there is a figure in this pack with his feet resting upon a drum - but it isn't quite right so we'll be using the Fantassin Napoleon which is much closer to the original picture.

The OG Marshalls pack also features a cuirrassier officer sitting on a chair (presumably at the table - I wouldn't have thought that sitting at a chair while wearing a cuirrass would have been terribly comfortable) whom I'll make use of and a couple of figures that are nice but will not make it onto my table. One is a busty young lady wearing a hussar uniform, and one is of an officer with a pretty girl (again in uniform) sitting on his lap - I seem to recall one of the Marshalls (in Spain?) brought his mistress along on campaign and dressed her in uniform so I guess this a reference to that.

As well as these interesting figures the pack also includes several marshalls on horseback - now I'd like to think I wasn't this anal (but I know I am) so I guess at some point I'll list out which marshalls were at Borodino and separate them from the rest for painting. I can build a corps commanders base for each of them.

Coming back to the Vereshegin project this still leaves me with a shortage of telescope peering French officers. Any suggestions for more options gratefully accepted.

By the way, Vereshegin died in 1904 - he had been invited along for the ride by a Russian admiral during the Russo-Japanese War and his ship was torpedoed, drowning Vereshegin. According to Wikipedia he not only has a town named after him but also a minor planet (now how cool is that?)

Monday, 5 April 2010

Inventory II

While searching through the cupboard earlier today I came across a box that had been shoved to the back....and found more Napoleonic 15mm figures:

AB - Line Infantry Battalion in Kiwers March Attack x50 or so (enough command for two or three battalions plus enough rankers for one and a bit).
BH - Enough Pavlov Grenadiers to do a second battalion
AB - Ammunition Wagon
AB - 16 Russian Dragoons at rest (with horses) + 12 without horses (I need to check whether these are early or late)
AB - 9 Hussars In Kiwer at rest (no horses)
AB - 16 Hussars In Kiwer charging (no horses)

BH AUBN34 3x Austrian Howitzers and 12 Crew
BH BAU3 German Infantry Shako March Attack (3 bags)
BH BAU8 Grenzers & Jagers
AB KK76 Austrian Limber Set (Walking)
AB Austrian Casualty Set

BH BFR5 Line Infantry Greatcoat Assaulting (3 bags)
BH BFR2 Line Infantry Marching
BH 4407-GC08 French Horse Artillery Crew (12 figures)

Additionally I have one bag helpfully marked "92 AB Cavalry Figures" (without horses) - I haven't yet identified the figures although quite a few are Russian Dragoons.

I rather suspect I am going to be putting in a hefty remount order to Ian Marsh.....

Sunday, 4 April 2010


So, yesterday I stuck the Uhlan to their nails (easier said than done as they had no wish to stay mounted) and while I wait for the primer to dry I thought I'd take stock of what was in the "big box".

So here we have it:

OG RGC2 - Russian Greatcoat Marching (1812) - an old bag so roughly 100 figures.
AB RA10 - Foot Artillery Heavy Limber Team (x2)
AB RA11 - Foot Artillery Light Limber Team (x2)
AB R26 - Kutusov, Bagration & Platov
AB R04P - 1812 Russian Grenadier Battalion (32 figures)
AB ER38 - Russian Hussar (1805-11) 12 figures
BH ST5 - Generals & Aides (maybe a dozen mounted figures)

AB KK02 - German Fusilier Helmet Marching (48 figures)
AB KK03 - German Fusilier Helmet CHarging (24 figures)
AB KK22 - Hungarian Grenadier Marching (12 figures)
BH BAU7 - Landwher Marching (50 figures)
OG AMH2 - Hussars In Reserve - an old bag so 30 cavalry

AB IG26 - Guard Grenadiers a Cheval - 31 figures including two lots of command
AB IG01 - Guard Chasseur a Cheval - 9 figures including command
AB IF73 - Limber Set (walking) x1
AB IF74 - Caisson x1
AB IF75 - Limber Set (galloping) x2
BH FR115 - Line Infantry Greatcoat Assaulting
OG FLL1 - Legere Command - old bag so 100 or so figures
BH FR12-3 - Old Guard Command (dozen or so figures - command for three battalions?)
BH AB12-6 - French Horse Artillery
BH AB12-10 - French 1813-15 Artillery (Confederation of the Rhine)
BH AB12-7 - French Guard Horse Artillery
BH FRBN10 - 1809-12 Old Guard Foot Artillery
OG FAF1 - Foot Artillery Full Dress
Fant - French Foot Artillery Gun & Crew x2
Fant - Line Infantry Firing Line (3x12 figure battalion bags)
AB SET04 - Napoleon & Aides
BH ST6 - Revolutionary War Generals & Staff (14 mounted figures in bicornes)
OG Marshalls - A mix from the sets by OG - Kellerman, Victor, Lefevbre, Brune, Augereau, Marmont, Jourdan, Serurier + 15 mounted aides. Plus "Marshall Dillon" (a cowboy) which I presume was someone at OG's stab at humour.
AB F27 - Early French Hussar In Shako x12 inc command
AB F27A - Early French hussar In Colpack x12 inc command
HUGE BAG of AB/OG & Fantassin Line Infantry + Legere

AB Peninsula Line Infantry Battalion at Order Arms (30 figures)
AB Peninsula Line Infantry Marching (20 or so figures)

I haven't counted these up but I suspect I could be painting French artillery figures for the rest of the year alone. I also haven't really looked into the plastic box containing the odds and ends - but there is probably another hundred figures there (certainly 20 or so cuirassiers). I didn't want to open the bag of Line & Leger Infantry - I suspect I'd merely get depressed at how many I had.

Anyway looking at this I suspect I need to get rid of the French Early Hussars - really nice figures but not suitable for 1809-1812. And of the Marshals only Brune served in Russia. As for the Russian Hussars - had they changed their uniforms over by the Summer of 1812?

Friday, 2 April 2010

Russian Uhlans

I used to hate painting horses - they took me a long time and never looked very good. But, having found a simple method to produce good results I'm now on a cavalry painting frenzy - so here is my first test figures for some Russian Cavalry - troopers of the Poland Uhlan Regiment.

Please forgive the poor photography. I'm more concerned with the uniform colours - I suspect the shabraque is actually too pale a pink, but given that you need to paint smaller figures with paler colours I think they'll work out okay. If I give them a black wash that'll darken them down as well. The good news is that they were very quick to do - so I suspect I might be able to finish them this weekend. However, there is a slight fly in the ointment. The bag of figures they came in contained charging light cavalry horses (which are very nice). Unfortunately the riders, as you can see, look like they are in reserve - so a standing horse might be better, I think I'll have a look through the big box to see if I have any standing light cavalry horses. I don't really want to place any more remount orders with Ian Marsh at Fighting 15's.