Saturday, 24 October 2015

Prussian Rearmament

Der Kriegspielers DK 143: Prussian Guard Cuirassier
Worth a try. There'll be no árm in it!
I've been forced  to take a break from the Leib Hussars for a while due to the belated realisation that I was a couple of castings short. Reinforcements are on the way, but in the meantime I'm cracking on with another unit of Prussian cavalry. I'm hoping that it'll help me get over my cavalry aversion, which lingers on despite having completed three squadrons.

Der Kriegspielers DK 143: Prussian Guard Cuirassier
The implement of triumph or disaster approaches....
The unit I've chosen is the Prussian Garde du Corps. There were several reasons for this: it would give me much-needed experience in painting white uniforms; it would brighten up my otherwise sombre-looking horde of Prussian blue meanies; and it would give me another chance to play with the soldering iron. The figures I have for this regiment are 12 x DK 143: Prussian Guard Cuirassier.

Until a few weeks ago my only experience of soldering was a week's work experience in about 1982. The job was to remove components from old circuit boards. It taught which was the hot end, but not much else.

Having tackled the Swiss musket butt conundrum by simply constructing them out of blobs of solder, the next thing to work out was how to re-attach things that had broken off. I'd absolutely no idea how to do this before I started, so what follows was entirely experimental.

Der Kriegspielers DK 143: Prussian Gaurd Cuirassier
Just before I became entirely too overconfident!
As the pictures show, the problem in this case was how to re-attach a broken arm. There was no obvious way to do this apart for holding it next to the casting, applying heat and solder and then seeing what happened next.

What I thought I would try to do was "paint" a little bit of solder over the join with the tip of the iron, in the hope it would sort of seep into the crack and bind the two parts together. At first this seemed to go rather well. What is not pictured is what happened next, which was the sudden attachment of an enormous blob of solder over the join. This immediately set hard and looked impossible to get off without melting half the figure.

Der Kriegspielers DK 143: Prussian Guard Cuirassier
The patient (on the right) is restored
The only thing for it was to set to with a craft knife and a file to see if I could could get something at least vaguely resembling the original arm. It took about 15 minutes, but the result, I'm very glad to say, repaid the effort. The new arm even seems to be rather stronger than the original. All my DK guardsmen have been cast with a distinct "nick" in their sword arms which is definitely a bit of a weak spot. If you click-to-embiggen the last photo showing the old and the new side by side you'll see what I mean.

The next thing, of course, was to paint him. He was rather fiddlier to do than the hussars due to his much more complicated fixtures and fittings. The completed regiment, I'm hoping, will look quite fetching.

Der Kriegspielers DK 143: Prussian Guard Cuirassier
I got away with it, but more though luck than judgement!

Saturday, 17 October 2015

Preußische Piraten

HInton Hunt PN 85: Prussian Hussar
PN 85: Prussian Hussars, One Piece Casting
The first squadron, (or is it one and half squadrons?) of the 2nd Leib Hussars are nearly complete. The second batch of six, I hope, will not be too far behind.

The question of squadron size has been pre-occupying me a lot lately. Although six-figure squadrons really look the part, in terms of figure ratios they may be a little excessive. Given that the infantry battalions have a ratio in the region of 1:33, six-figure squadrons represent almost 200 men,

Another reason for  adopting a four-figure squadron standard is that most of my cavalry are Der Kriegspielers, which tend to come in groups of eight as it was in packets of eight that they were originally marketed.

The problem with four-figure squadrons, on the other hand, is that they look a little too weedy!

The solution, perhaps, would be to adopt a variable squadron size depending on how many figures are available. It would certainly be the most economical way of using of the figures.


Saturday, 10 October 2015

General de Diversion

Hinton Hunt FN 224: French General
Hinton Hunt FN 224: French General
One of the reasons why my Prussian hussars are proceeding so slowly is that I've allowed myself to be distracted by another one of Old John's very nicely produced Hinton Hunt recasts: in this case FN 224: French General. I was meant to be doing him in tandem with the hussars, but he somehow managed to take over....

Hinton Hunt FN 224: French GeneralFN 224 must be one of the most famous (and most commonly found) of the Hinton Hunt personality figures. The reason for this must be because he is so endlessly adaptable. Not only can he be made to represent a French brigade, division or corps commander, but by using slightly different colour schemes he can also stand in for one of the many French satellite contingent commanders. As I only have the one, however, I've decided to put him charge of my Frenchmen.

I managed to give him a nice dark coat by liberally washing him down with humbrol black. The lighter blue highlighting, however, may have been a little too subtle.

I'm not sure exactly who he's going to be just yet, but General D'Erlon, the commander of I Corps at Waterloo, is in the lead at the moment.

As for the hussars, I hope to have something to show by next week. I'm very keen to get them done so that I can get started on something altogether more spectacular...

All the best


Friday, 2 October 2015

Huzzah Hussars

It's been a slow few weeks on the painting front as my hobby time has been mostly devoted to experiments in soldering bayonets onto broken muskets, of which more in later posts.

However, I couldn't put off the cavalry forever, so opted for what I hoped would be some fairly simple Prussian Leib Hussars. I also really wanted to have a go at painting the rather menacing-looking Totenkopf badges worn by the Regiment onto their shako covers. The result is positively piratical.

Pictured is the single test figure I've completed so far, painted to represent a trooper of the 2nd Leib Hussars. I chose the 2nd Regiment mostly because I liked their red shoulder straps. However, the fact that a few squadrons were also present at Waterloo had something to do with it.

The figure is a very tidy John Cunningham recast of Hinton Hunt PN 85: Prussian Hussar, Charging. He's the first of what is intended to be a 12-figure regiment. I haven't fixed on a standard squadron size yet, but am leaning towards 4-figure squadrons rather than 6 as its easier to find 4-figure multiples than 6.

More hussars should follow in the next post.