Saturday, 14 October 2017

1866 - S range - Part 3 Allied Infantry Saxe Coburg and Oldenburg

Saxe Coburg Gotha

Based on this illustration I thought I would make a standing firing figure.  I used the ACW standing firing figure as the basis.  I removed the backpack and added a blanket role made out of 'green stuff'. For the head I used the Saxon infantry figure but carefully cut away the peak on the cap which left me with a reasonable field cap.

I was reasonably happy with this figure but then looked at my armies and I don't have any other standing firing poses.  So I decided to change to the classic advancing pose.  I didn't have any advancing ACW figures left so I went for the Saxon Infantry figure.  I trimmed the cap as described above, removed the pack pack and gave him blanket role.  I also added a 'blob' of green stuff to change the square pouch the figure has to a haversack.  

Once I had finished Jack made me a mould and the extra figures to allow me to paint up the unit.  At this point I realised I should have waited for my order of ACW figures from John Cunningham as they have trousers and the Saxon infantry have boots!  Anyway, I ploughed on and although as I painted the figures trousers and boots grey they looked more like they were wearing tights than trousers!  Once I had finished and glossed them it didn't look too bad and I think I can live with them for now.  Their green uniforms also break up the Prussian Blue.  I used the MP paints' Dark Green which actually is a bit light.  Probably should have gone for a more 'black' green.

Once again I am indebted to my friend Chen who again produced a brilliant colour flag based on a black and white drawing and description in the Continental War Society's Foreign Correspondent Magazine.   Join the Society and make sure you buy the flash drive with all the back issues.  There is a helpful index to all the articles. Worth every penny (cent).

As with all the other units I added my usual drummer and standard bearer conversions.  The mounted officer is the 'Officer in a peaked cap' conversion I made for John Cunningham a while back.

This 'field cap head' will do for all sorts of other nations - including the Prussians.  

The simplest of the lot.  I just repainted the ACW advancing figure and gave them a converted Drummer and standard bearer.  I think they look quite convincing.  Again uniform information varies. the Knotel illustration shows them with grey trousers and only red collars.  Uniformology adds red piping on the jack and kepi.  I went for a hybrid and left the trousers grey and adding the pipping for a bit of extra colour. 

I didn't have the 'Jacklex back pack'  I have used on the Hungarian Infantry figure at the time so stuck with the back pack and blanket roll of the original figure. They would have been better for the conversion I think.  The ACW figure is really helpful as he has trousers and a lot of the Knotel illustrations show troops in trousers rather than boots.

More to follow.......

Tuesday, 10 October 2017

1866 - S range - Part 3 - Nassau - then Sachen-Meiningen and Hesse Damstadt

Nassau - and then Sach Meiningen!

I  found a picture of a Nassau Infantry in a sort of 'picklehaub'.  Which looked a lot more fun. Different from the Prussian one - more helmet like.  

I used the FPW Saxon Infantry figure and made an infantryman using the Prussian Dragoon head which I had left over.

However, I thought the helmet wasn't tall enough, so fell back on the CW Russian Guard 'helmet'. This looks much 'grander'.  Again the Saxon officer provided the body.  Just for the fun of it I also converted the Caucausian bugler as an alternative to a drummer.  

I then found the picture for the 1866 uniform and realised that I had been working on the 1862 uniform!!!!!  The 'Jacklex backpack' would probably be a better fit than the Saxon one..  

So these guys are repainted - belts from buff to black to make Sachsen- Meiningen troops!  The Nassau regiment will probably be l based on an ACW war figure with the 'Jacklex backpack'.

Hesse Damstadt

I also made this trial figure based on a picture of the Hesse Damstadt Infantry.  Again didn't look at the date so he will remain a one-off although I do like the figure a lot. Need to look at dates not pretty pictures!!!!  

Sunday, 8 October 2017

1866 - S range - Part 3 Allied Infantry - Baden

Moving off of the Austrians themselves, I have also been playing around with some of the allied armies.  

This figure is a simple head swap of a Saxon Infantry head on the Algerian Infantry body.  I painted him in a blue greatcoat and grey trousers as a bid of contrast, but them found a picture showing the infantryman in a grey greatcoat and trousers.  Then one with dark blue trousers!

My friend Chensie Chen (Chen) put together the flag for me based on a description in the Continental Wars Society's excellent Foreign Correspondent magazine.  We guessed a bit at the scroll under the Baden coat of arms.

Another alternative would be to paint Saxon infantryman and change the back pack using the 'Jacklex back pack' I used for the Hungarian Infantryman in the earlier post.

Sunday, 1 October 2017

S range Help to identify Will - S range Officer with binoculars

In a blog on the Hinton Spieler the excellent 'Dust Up at Dapol' the Prussian Artillery commander orders his men to 'Fire at Will'.  The gunners ask  'Which one is Will?'.  A fair question, and on a crowded battlefield the more help the better to help locate him. 

So with my trusty scapal and a lot of work I have deployed a Prussian FPW officer with binoculars to try to help.This is how I did it.

As you and I know I am not very good with 'green stuff', so had to try to find some arms holding binoculars some other way.  Nothing out there with binoculars, so I looked at the S range FPW artillery figure holding a shell. 

I thought if I could get the arms away from the body I could file the point of the shell and paint it to look like binoculars.  This was very difficult and took forever.  Eventually, I managed to separate the arms.  I filed the point off the shell and made two small drill points which looked like the lenses of binoculars.  At this point I was pretty pleased with myself.

Now how to fit them to the body of the Prussian FPW Mounted Officer?  I cut away the officers arms and offered up the gunners arms to see how they would fit.  They needed to be opened up a bit, but couldn't just be stuck on.  So I put pins each side of the Officers body and drilled holes in the arms.

All was going well until I tried to open the arms a little wider to go over the new pins. SNAP! the arms split and one went flying across the room to disappear into the deepest recesses of the carpet.  No amount of crawling about on the floor could reveal it.  I simply couldn't face the FPW figure again to get a new pair of arms.  So I had another look and realised that the arms of the British Crimean War gunner with ball have less 'fixing' them to the body as they are set slightly away from the torso.

Not the best picture but there is clear space between each arm and the body on the British gunner, so less to cut away.
 As a result these were much, much easier to remove, taking a fraction of the time.  The arms were also slightly wider apart to start with making fixing to the pins on the generals body much more simple, although they still needed to be opened a little.  Some filing and rubbing down with sandpaper and job done.  Mind you all he can see is the horses mane!  Will is definitely not hiding in there!

This took about and hour, most of which was spent getting the arms off the FPW gunner with shell which eventually I couldn't use and crawling around the floor looking for a tiny shard of metal!.  If I was EVER to try this again, I think I would I use the same British gunner but just use one arm, so the Officer is holding the binoculars in one hand.  This would make the removal from the body much simpler and also mean that I only had to remove one arm from the receiving general's body.

I had to press a Warrior 25mm horse into action as I didn't have any S Range horses readily available.

Just a bit of nonsense really!

Tuesday, 26 September 2017

1866 - S range Austrian Conversions -Part 2 Cavalry and Artillery

Following on from the article on the 1866 Austrian Infantry, I tried my hand at the Austrian Cavalry and artillery.

Having made a conversion to make Sardinian Cavalry a little while ago, I had the basics for the Austrian Cavalry helmet.

The head swap was obvious, although it needed a little cleaning to remove the band on the helmet.  Then I had to find a body.  

For the Austrian Dragoons the choice for fairly obvious and required only a head swap for the Prussian Dragoon,  

John Cunningham had sent me some samples of the S Range ACW cavalry he stocks.  As well as the usual 'Sword in the air' figure, there is also an officer with a pistol. Again a simple head swap gave me an Austrian Dragoon Officer with a pistol.  

The standard bearer is simply made by removing the carbine and drilling through the hand and inserting a brass rod.


Again the basic head swap, but I did experiment with the body.  My first try was with a Turkish cavalryman.  Although it looked okay, the coat seemed two long.

Then I tried the ACW rider and this seemed to be a better option.  Again I made the Officer and Standard bearer as set out above.


The artillery figures are simple head swaps.  The basic figures are the two FPW artilleryman.  The third figure with the rammer is the ACW artilleryman again with a head swap.

I decided on the French Zouave Officer as having the best 'shako'.

Part 3 will cover the some of the forces allied to either the Prussians or Austrians.

Saturday, 23 September 2017

Beaston's Complete!

Sounds a bit like a recipe.  What it actually means is that John Cunningham sent me back some masters I made for him the other day which included the Beaston Horse Artillery figures and a couple of British Horse Artillery outriders.  So rather than waste the heads I put 2 of the Beaston heads on the RHA figures and now have limber riders, meaning I have the 'Complete Beaston's'.

Of course they probably never wore the helmets but they are my figures - and I think they do look rather smart!.

Wednesday, 13 September 2017

1866 - S range Austrian Conversions -Part 1 Infantry

I have been looking at my Prussian and Allied army and wondering what else to do with it other than fight the French.  There is always the mythical invasion of Britain but having pondered the idea I went off it.

That left me with 1866 and the Seven Weeks War, the Austro-Prussian War; the German Civil War, the German War of Unification or whatever title you prefer.

The Prussians are on one side with their allies some of the minor German states - Oldenburg, Mecklenberg and Brunswick being the most notable.  Whilst allying with Austria are most notably Hanover; Saxony;  Bavaria;  Wurttemburg;  Baden;  Hesse-Damstadt and Nassau.  

I already have Bavarians and Wurttemburg troops in my FPW army and the uniforms are much the same in 1866 (except the Bavarians were wearing a flat cap), so without starting from scratch, I had the nucleus for both sides. It would also give me a chance to get some of the S range Saxon infantry.  These flat cap infantry strike me as being from the 1866 period, rather than the FPW.  They would also paint up for some of the other minor states who also had a similar style of uniform. 

The biggest missing force were of course the Austrians. No S range figures and the Napoleonic Austrians aren't right.   Rather than produce an entire Austrian Army on its own, I decided to put together something akin to the 8th Federal Corps which included troops from Wurttenberg, Baden, Hesse Damstadt, Nassau and an Austrian Brigade and, in my case some Bavarian support.

So I set to work with my trusty scalpel and drill.

Line Infantry

For the Austrian Infantry I choose the Minifigs S Range Algerian Infantry figure. 

He has a greatcoat which looks similar to that worn by the Austrians.  He also has a havelock.  There is a picture of an Austrian Infantry figure wearing a shako and havelock in one of the Osprey books so a very, very simple conversion would be to just remove the plume on this figure and paint it.  However, I wasn't sure I wanted regiments of figures in havelocks.  I also think the charm of these figures is that all the poses and uniforms are the same, so rather than have the odd figure in a havelock in a regiment I discounted the whole idea.

This left me with make the task of removing the havelock and turning the plume into a 'trefoil' which gives a splash of bright green to the uniform.

Now this may all sound very complicated.  I can assure you it isn't.  Stage one squash the plume gently with a pair of pliers and you get a round disc.  With two cuts this can be made into a passable trefoil.  Cut away the havelock flaps and a little of the excess, then with the edge of the scalpel blade simply roll the figure against it turning any remaining havelock into hair coming from the Shako.  Any roughness or mistakes disappear in the painting. 

On average each Line Infantry conversion took me 1 minute 14 seconds. 

As with other periods, I made both standard bearers and drummers in the usual way - cut away the riffle and drill through the hands.  The process is described elsewhere in this blog.

(awaiting 'trefoil')
For an officer, I couldn't think of how to make an officer in an overcoat, so the officers have white coats.  I have used both the Saxon FPW officer with a head swap or, as in this picture an ACW officer with a head swap.

I have also played with the idea of a Hungarian Infantryman in a white coat.  This is an ACW 25 infantry figure with a head swap.

I needed to try to make a back pack. As luck would have it I had to go to Jack's to try to find a  mould for something else and whilst hunting through the boxes of moulds I stumbled across a tiny mould which looked like a back pack.  What Jack made it for he doesn't recall and it doesn't fitted any of the Jacklex range so maybe it is another lost Miltra item?  Anyway even through it is 20mm , I tried it on the figure and it looks okay for me. So work saved!

I have also added a couple of mounted officers.

As an alternative and to save any messing about you could try JPF1 listed as an 1840 French Infantry figure.  This is a conversion of the Crimean War Algerian figure but with a French Shako. This figure works for the French in the Italian Wars of unification or against the Austrians and for some of the infantry for the Italian states. Should perhaps be labelled as French 1860-66?


Again, I used the Algerian figure.  The question was how to give him a 'hat with plumes'.  A scan through the Lone S ranger's site showed nothing I could use directly.  However, I did come across FRC5 'Citizen in Top Hat and Musket' from the French Revoluntionary Range.

I made some feathers out of green stuff.  Once these had dried I did my usual head swap. The figure has a lot of hair, so I had to cut this back a bit.

Having made a few conversions, Jack took pity on me and made a mould and cast me some extra figures.

As with the other ranges , I made a drummer in the usual way.  I could find no evidence that they carried standard into battle. I tried to make an Officer in an overcoat, I did't think it worked.  So I had another go at the officer, took away the back pack and gave him a sword and pistol.  I am happier with this result.

I also added a mounted officer.

My 1866 Austro/Hungarian army

I know have six regiments of infantry.  To keep the whole project under control I have gone for regiments of 16 figures.  Converting and painting 8 figures at a time made me feel that I was making progress. In addition to the Infantry, I have made up a brigade of Cuirassiers and a regiment of dragoons and 2 guns and crews. They need commanders and that is next on the list!


Cavalry and artillery conversions to follow in another article and then the minor nations from both sides, some of which I have started to explore and others I have finished.