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.  

Wednesday, 6 September 2017

28mm Austrians V Bavarians Black Powder game

Bob has a large Malburian/SYW Austrian Army to take on his equally large Turkish forces, but decided he would like to use them to tackle a European opponent.  He has been busy painting up a Bavarian and allied army and this was our first try using them.  Again we stuck with the Black Powder rules.

I commanded the newly painted Bavarians and Hesse Kessel allies whilst Bob took charge of his Austrians.  We decided that my allied troops should all count as newly raised and take the appropriate first move test.  Moves and ranges were at 50% of those in the rules and we again limited ourselves to one move if the command roll was passed.  This helps with narrower tables.

The Bavarians and Allies

The Austrians

Whilst these two forces prepared to do bloody battle a local resident sat in the church grave yard contemplating his muse.

I won the initiative – although you wouldn’t know it based on how few men wanted to advance – and moved forward my screening light cavalry in the centre and the Hesse Kessel forces moved to engage Bob’s Grenz infantry holding the farmstead on his left flank.

Bob sent forward his own light cavalry for the first clash of the game, resulting in my cavalry fleeing the table.  Not the best of starts from my point of view!

He also advance his heavy cavalry brigades in the centre towards my Bavarian infantry

And brought up another unit of Grenz infantry to support their colleagues in the Farmstead

My next turn resulted in much more movement on the part of my troops.  On my extreme right I sent a cavalry brigade to swing around the Farmstead towards Bob’s left flank hopefully in a flanking movement. Unfortunately they stopped in range of the Grenz infantry who managed to disorder one of the regiments, leaving it lagging behind its colleagues.

In the centre my Bavarians deployed out of their columns to make some impressive lines and a first fire role disordered one of Bob’s heavy cavalry units.

I charged forwards with a Brigade of Cuirassiers towards Bob’s light cavalry and the heavy cavalry to their left.  The light cavalry evaded leaving our two units of heavy cavalry to slog it out.  The first round was inconclusive.

However, I was able to throw in some fresh units of heavy cavalry catching Bob’s cavalry in the flank and breaking them.

Elsewhere Bob’s heavy cavalry prepared to charge into my waiting Bavarians and allied troops.   Forcing the herd of sheep - who were to play an unlikely, but important role later in the game - out of the way.

Due to some pathetic firing by the Bavarians and their Allies  I was unable to stop the charge and the Austrian horse surged home.

They performed heroically against the Bavarians driving them back, but had less luck with the Hesse Kessel llies who were stout in their own defence.

In the meantime the farmstead was still under attack by Hesse Kessel infantry and my cavalry continued their flanking movement.  At times this looked like a complete sideshow but it was to prove important in the final analysis.

I was able to swing my second line Bavarian infantry to engage the flank of the Austrian heavy cavalry pushing it beyond its stamina level and causing it to break.

The Hesse Kessel infantry having performed so wonderfully in the first round of their engagement with the Austrian heavy cavalry collapsed, broke and fled.

The centre of the table was now becoming devoid of forces, the Bavarians had been pushed back to the tables edge – save for one regiment, Bob’s heavy cavalry were leaving the table

All I had to do was push forwards with my Cuirassiers who had pulled back after their victory out of range of Bob’s artillery.  At this point the herd of Austrian sheep struck.  I rolled to try to charge forward and one of the dice ricocheted off the sheep – or the sheep hit it - to give me a second 6.  A Blunder Test which in turn sent my Cuirassiers off the table into oblivion!

Although Bob still had 2 brigades of infantry fully intact the cavalry I had sent in their flanking movement effectively pinned them back on the start line.  If they moved forwards they risked being caught in the rear.

At this point we worked out that the Austrians would be able to withdraw, but couldn’t push the game to a conclusion and my Bavarian infantry had taken a mauling.  The Allies surprisingly performed well and the initial ‘newly raised troops test’ proved a good addition.

Although both sides had artillery it really didn’t make that much difference with only the occasional hit being made.

We still made the mistake of thinking of hits on a unit being ‘casualties’ and removing figures.  For example I hit Bob’s heavy cavalry in the flank part of the unit – 2 figures – turned to face the attack, I rolled my dice and inflicted 7 hits.  Bob rolled and couldn’t save 4 of them so we just took the 2 figures off and forgot about the extra hits.  In fact they should have counted towards Bob’s total stamina score for the unit to be counted up as part of the subsequent Break Test.  In the our old rules it was about percentage of casualties affecting moral.  Another lesson learnt!

On question dear reader, we tend to move as Brigades rather than regiments.  In any subsequent firing if a 6 is recorded, is the entire Brigade disordered of just the unit that was in the line of fire?  We just count the regiment, meaning the rest of the Brigade can advance.  Is this right?

The Austrians are the same as mentioned in other posts on this blog.  The Bavarians are in part from Hinchliffe and Irregular Miniatures.  The Hesse Kessel Allied troops are mainly restoration figures from Parkfield Miniatures.  Bob tells me he had to go out and buy Windsor and Newton's Indigo especially for these figures.  Jack made the church from a picture Bob supplied an is based on an actual 17th century Romanian church.