Saturday, 17 June 2017

Estorff Salad

One of the glories of Napoleonic wargaming is the riot of colour that results once you've managed to paint up a few of the opposing regiments. Hanoverian hussars, however, manage to be a colour riot all on their own.

The regiment I've chosen to do is the Lüneburg Hussars, more popularly known as Estorff's Hussars after the Hanoverian notable who raised them in 1813. I'll say a little more about them in my next few posts, but in the meantime suffice to say they are painted according to one of the versions of the uniform they are thought to have been wearing by 1815.

The figures are all Der Kriegspielers from set 164: British Cavalry 1815, Hussars. My intention is to keep plodding away on them until the regiment is finished, but there's a distinct possibility I'll crack and do something else for a while.

Speaking of which, I must be off to finish the Sunday roast!

Best regards,


Saturday, 10 June 2017

General Uprising

Wallmoden's Corps of 1813 consisted of about 25,000 men, of whom something like 3,000 were cavalry composed more or less exclusively of hussars and cossacks. I've made a start on some hussars, but all I have to show at the moment is their commander. He is Major General Wilhelm Caspar Ferdinand von Dörnberg, or "Uprising Dörnberg" as he became known for his part in an abortive attempt to kidnap Napoleon's brother, Jerome, the new-crowned King of Westphalia, in 1809.

I can't say that I know a great deal more about him. After escaping from Germany, Dörnberg wound up in Britain and eventually rose to command the Brunswick Hussars in Spain. The British anglicised his name to William de Dornberg. Volunteering for service in Russia in 1812, by the following year he was in North Germany where he was given command of a brigade of Hanoverian hussars, stiffened by the 3rd Regiment of Hussars of the King's German Legion, which had been hurriedly sent over from Spain.

Dörnberg's only other claim to fame, at least far as the Anglosphere is concerned, is his failure to pass on early intelligence that Napoleon's army was about to invade Belgium in June 1815! However, he seems to have made up for this by leading numerous gallant charges at the head of the 3rd British Cavalry Brigade at Waterloo.

Vintage 20mm Napoleonics connoisseurs will instantly recognise the figure I've used as the Alberken/Minifigs version of the Earl of Uxbridge. I thought he'd be just the ticket for Dörnberg, however, after I found a portrait of him made in 1813 held in the Anne S. K. Brown Military Collection. This can be seen here.

The first squadron of the hussars he is to command are now quite advanced and so with a little bit of luck I may be able show them off next weekend.

Till then


Edit: I've added another shot to give a slightly clearer view of his face. Alberken commanders can be a bit vague in the face department, but this one's not too bad.

Friday, 26 May 2017

Russians Right and Proper

Painting in Humbrols can be a slow and tedious business. One weekend in every painting cycle is invariably devoted to letting the undercoat dry out properly, to be followed, if I'm lucky, with the skin tones for the hands and faces. The weekend after that is then generally all about blocking in the main colours and then letting all of that dry. Things don't really get serious until about week three.  Cavalry are even slower as I find that the horses and riders really need to be dealt with separately. It's only when the horses are finished that I start serious work on the troopers.

All this is my round-about way of saying that I haven't got a lot to show at the moment. All is not lost, however. A few weeks ago, just as I was getting started on my Russo-Germans, the Archduke sent me the following pictures of his glorious Russian Army. This was entirely coincidental, as I hadn't told him that I was working on Russians. 

The Archduke has been working on refurbishing this army for the last sixteen months or so, he tells me. The results are simply magnificent.


Saturday, 20 May 2017

Green Jarmins

Somewhat delayed by the ever increasing social whirl that is Wellington Girl's life, I present the 1st Brigade of the Russisch-Deutsche Legion, which was eventually to become the Prussian Infanterie Regiment No.30.

Der Kriegspielers Russo-German Legion
The Russisch-Deutsche Legion march on to the North German Plain...

I was a bit doubtful while I was painting these, but the final result is not as dour as I feared. It seems that the over-the-top flag has worked. They are also helped out a bit by their bright white haversacks.

Der Kriegspielers Russo-German Legion
...with snow on their boots and revenge in their hearts!

Even better, I think, is the nice contrast they make with the Field Battalion Bremen in what is intended to be a 4 to 5 battalion army based on Wallmoden's Corps of 1813-1814.

Der Kriegspielers Russo-German Legion
Wallmoden's first infantry brigade lines up to face the foe.
I think I need to make a start on  the cavalry of the Corps, however, before painting up any more of the infantry.

Have a great weekend.


Sunday, 7 May 2017

Command Decision

Lurking somewhere within many vintage 20mm Napoleonics collections are examples of the Der Kriegspielers command set.

Der Kriegspielers sold their command figures as a single set, described as #50: Mounted Officers. There were supposedly eight of them to each pack, but I suspect the eight contained therein may well have varied a bit from pack to pack as there seem to have been more than eight variants produced.

Five of the command figure variants are in the Hinton Spieler collection and are illustrated below:

Three are clearly recognisable as close cousins of the Hinton Hunt Russian, British and French generic generals figures. The chaps on the far left and in the centre, however, look like conversions of the Russian figure.

As these are the only Russian command figures I have, it seemed sensible to choose one for my Russo-German Legion commander. The chap who won this gig was the one on the left, seen vaguely waving his sword around. I thought he'd need a bit of tidying up first, however.

The result is seen below. The new head is from a recast Hinton Hunt PN 5 Prussian line infantry figure.  I used the body of this figure to make a Prussian Foot Guards standard bearer over two years ago and the head has been rolling around in my bits and bobs box ever since.

The main task was to transform his infantry shako into an officer's schmirtze. I did this by sawing off the top and then simply dripping a large blob of molten solder onto it. All it needed after that was a bit of filing and cutting.

He is to be Major General Wilhelm Daniel von Arentschildt, who commanded the infantry of the Legion in 1813 and 1814. Arentschildt was a Hanoverian soldier who had served in India fighting against Tipu Sultan, interestingly enough. He entered Russian service, however, after the French occupation of Hanover and was instrumental in the setting up of the Legion in 1812.

I haven't quite finished the rest of the battalion but they shouldn't be tooooo far off.

Ta ta for now


Friday, 28 April 2017


 The Archduke correctly deduced that my new flag was intended for the Russo-German Legion, or Russisch-Deutsche Legion (RDL) to give them their proper title.

The idea of painting the RDL came about thanks to the extraordinary generosity of Mark S in the US, who contacted me early this year with  an offer of some Der Kriegspieler Russians which were surplus to his requirements. All Mark asked in return was that I cover the postage.

The RDL was raised in  Russia in 1812 by the exiled Graf Peter of Oldenburg at the instigation of the Tsar Alexander I. Its ranks were filled with German prisoners and deserters taken during Napoleon's invasion of Russia. It eventually rose to a strength of 10,000 men and included cavalry and artillery units as well as eight battalions of infantry. Its early adherents hoped that it would be the revolutionary vanguard of an all-German uprising against Napoleon. Its paymasters, however, were British, and Britain wanted it to form the backbone of the new Hanoverian army that was raised in North Germany in 1813.

It is not known if flags were ever issued to the infantry of the Legion but it is known that one was proposed for them by Ernst Friedrich Graf von Münster, an influential Hanoverian member of the British cabinet. Münster proposed St George as the central motif, accompanied by an inscription calling on all and sundry to join in the downfall of the "Dragon". Other sources mention that St George was to be surrounded by oak leaves.

It was a logical proposal. St George already appeared on the Russian imperial coat of arms, and the white horse would also appeal to Hanover. The colour scheme, however, is entirely my own invention, although with inspiration taken from other Russian flags and the arms of the Moscow Governorate, which also features St George and oak leaves intertwined by a scroll.

The figure I've converted to carry the colour is a Der Kriegspieler from Set # 55: Russian Line Infantry 1812, At Ready. He is painted to represent a soldier of the 1st Brigade of the infantry of the legion, which had red facings. The 1st Brigade would eventually be absorbed into the Prussian Army as the 30th Infantry Regiment and it would fight in this guise during the 100 Days. One can be sure, however, that the Prussian authorities would have ditched the flag!

Most of the rest of the battalion will use Russians from another DK set, # 191: Russian Line Infantry 1812, Attacking. I've modified these by removing their plumes and turning their heads slightly to the left in order to give them more of a charging appearance. Also pictured is my drummer conversion, who was made by soldering an old Hinchliffe drum to his leg and replacing his musket with stainless steel pins for the drum sticks.

The last variant I've used, pictured left, is the charging Russian line infantry officer from DK set # 57: Russian Line Infantry 1812, Command.

 To finish off, the last shot shows the 15 figures I've completed so far. The complete battalion, plus their commander if I can make up my mind about who this should be, will feature in the next post.

My thanks, once again, to Mark.


Friday, 21 April 2017

Dubious Standards

The completion of the Field Battalion Bremen has brought my coalition army up to parity with the Franco-Bavarians. Next off the blocks, I've decided, should be another Allied battalion. I may even follow this up with more Allied units in order to give my honourable opponent, JC, a decisive advantage in our next encounter.

The only thing I've got to show at the moment is the flag, which is another of my coke can efforts. It's rather speculative, but not entirely so.

Can anybody guess who might have carried it?

All will be revealed in the next post....


Saturday, 15 April 2017

Rid Jarmins

Having failed to deliver a completed Field Battalion Bremen as promised last week, this week's post comes with a bonus Hanoverian general. He is Hinton Hunt BN 254: Lieut-Gen. Charles. Count von Alten, in General's full dress uniform, on horse BNH 11. Both figures are David Clayton castings, I believe, but are very fine.

Marcus Hinton clearly based him on the magnificent portrait of Alten that hangs in the Bomann Museum in Celle. The painting even provides an intriguing little peek at the decoration in the corner of his general officer's shabraque, which one only very rarely gets to see as paintings from the era always seem to show just the plain blue-grey shabraque cover used by British general offciers on campaign. I liked this detail so much that I even had a go at incorporating it on my figure.

Alten is to command the now completed Field Battalion Bremen, with whom I am really quite chuffed, having wanted a 'thin red line' of my own for about as long as I can remember. Less successful, however, is the new shade of green I've been trialling for my tabletop. As in previous attempts, it's played havoc with the colour balance on my camera. The last shot, taken with the flash turned on, is the closest I could get to capturing anything like the actual tones. It may pay to invest in some whiter light bulbs, perhaps.

In other news, I'd like to say a big "hello" to David C, who has now embarked on his grand design to refurbish an army of Der Kriegspielers and Hinton Hunts. If you haven't seen them already, do take a look at the splendid first results on David's Miniature Minions blog.

Even more Hinton Hunt goodness is also now on show on Mark Dudley's Ilkley Old School blog. Mark's Austrians are simply stunning.

Finally, Rob G has sent me some photos of his absolutely spiffy Spencer Smiffies in action during a recent game. Further photos and one of Rob's uproariously entertaining write ups of the game should be appearing in a forthcoming addition of the Wargamers' Notebook.

Happy Easter everyone!


Edit: I've added an extra shot of Alten to show his nearside. The resemblance to the painting is a lot clearer from this angle!

Saturday, 1 April 2017

At The Sign of the White Horse

As promised, I present the Field Battalion Bremen's command group and their ever-so-slightly speculative flag.

The flag design is based an illustration in an article by Ottfried Neubecker in Die Fahnen und Standarten der Armee des Koenigreichs Hannover, which was published in several parts in the Zeitschrift für Heereskunde (Berlin) in 1934, A flag of this form, according to Neubecker, was carried by at least some of the field battalions, although it is unclear whether they were actually carried before 1816.

Neubecker also doesn't specify any of the colours on the flag, so what I have presented here is an educated guess based on other Hanoverian flags and heraldry.

The figure is a Der Kriegspieler British line or guard infantry regimental colour bearer from the set # 150: British Line/Guard Infantry 1815, Command Group.

The first task was to rub off the original British regimental colour markings using a steel burnishing tool from a ceramic arts set. I then inscribed the roundels using another steel ceramic arts tool. The roundels are a little larger than they ought to be as I wanted to give myself a little space to work with and to help fill up the huge expanse of white on the rest of the flag.

The officer is from the same set #150. I've pictured him next to an original unpainted example to show how I've modified him.  That right arm was so horribly modeled that I simply had to do something about it.

One of the interesting things about this figure is that it is not based on the Hinton Hunt British infantry officers, but on the British Royal Artillery officer instead. Whoever made him evidently forgot to remove his sword hilt from his left hip!

I could have used British light infantry officers for this battalion, but went for the line infantry variants as it seems fairly clear that the Bremen battalion's officers wore Belgic shakos. There's a very good illustration of one (albeit in his original light infantry green) in the Anne S. K. Brown Military Collection, here.

The rest of the battalion is past the halfway mark and should be ready to put on show by next weekend.

Wir sehen uns dann!


Saturday, 25 March 2017

King George's Other Army

The first half of my first Phase-Two infantry battalion is ready for inspection. It is the Field Battalion Bremen, one of the regiments of King George III's Hanoverian Army.

Strengthened with a sprinkling of British troops and German freikorps units in British pay, this new army sprang into existence in 1813 following the collapse of French power in Northern Germany. After campaigning in Germany in 1813 and 1814, the Hanoverians would eventually march to the Low Countries and were still garrisoned there when the Napoleonic Wars broke out afresh in early 1815.

In its early days the Bremen and Verden Battalion, as it was originally called, was dressed as light troops in stovepipe shakos and Rifle green. By the time of Waterloo, however, it had been re-organised and equipped as a redcoat battalion. Opinions differ about the other details - some sources suggest they were also issued with new Belgic shakos, for example, and had blue rather than the black facings I've given them here. However, most agree they retained their distinctive dark blue trousers and black leather equipment. Whatever the details, they're certain to brighten up my Prussians a bit, and provide a brilliant excuse for adding all sorts of other weird and wonderful units.

The figures I've painted so far for this battalion are taken from the Der Kriegspielers sets:

# 153: British Light Infantry Battalion 1815, Firing x 11; and
# 154: British Light Infantry Battalion Command Group, Drummer, x 1.

The next post will feature the rest of the command group and an ever-so-slightly speculative flag!

Have a great weekend,