Yet another infantry regiment is completed for my Lace Wars Saxon army, the third out of six for the infantry corps (apologies if I’m boring my more regular visitors). The Zeitz Regiment now has its full compliment of officers, musicians and troops.
Now, I say ‘full compliment’ but it seems as though the drummer and fifer – ah – forgot to make parade for the purposes of this photoshoot. Both are up on a charge.
Those who did manage to turn up for parade involve a front rank firing their muskets and another loading.
The flag bearer I displayed in a previous post but as he made the effort to turn up – here he is again with a few extra views. As before, his flag is based on the elite Polish Guards flag but with a green background.
The officers of Zeitz’s Regiment:
I’m already well into painting two of the remaining three regiments and I will share progress when they’re done. In the interim, I’m also pushing on with that Saxon regiment of cuirassiers, Beust’s Regiment, so plenty keeping me occupied with the brush of late. Spring very belatedly seems to have decided to put in an appearance lately, although so late as to be more accurately called early summer. Nevertheless, it is most welcome and when not hiding away from the nice weather painting toy soldiers, I’m out working on my new garden.
I admit it. I’ve been quietly continuing on with my Mars Saxon infantry. It’s almost a mania.
To cut to the chase, I’ve now completed two of my six regiments – the Kurprinz and the elite Polish Guard. Each regiment consists of 9 troops, 1 NCO, a few officers, a flag bearer and two musicians (a drummer and fifer). The flags are based on the Polish Guard’s flag, featured on and downloadable from the Tacitus website. I’ve reproduced the same flag and given them a different background where appropriate based on the regimental facings.
The Kurprinz regiment in full:
Two dapper and haughty-looking officers of the Kurprinz Regiment:
Incidentally, I’ve given all the Saxon officers black sashes for no other reason than I liked it!
The full Polish Guard on parade:
Some officers of the Polish Guard:
Musicians of the Polish Guard:
I’ve also been working on a few other command figures for the other regiments:
A couple more regiments are nearly finished – so watch out for them. In other news, I notice that Strelets have been pushing on with their expanding War of the Spanish Succession range. It’s an embarrassment of riches, including
A ‘late war’ British cavalry regiment
Four separate boxes of French dragoons in various guises (skirmishing, ‘in reserve’, marching and attacking)
French musketeers of the guard
French Garde du Corps
French Royal Horse Grenadiers
A box of the last one on the list finally arrived this week and the figures look very nice indeed. My collection of troops from the Lace Wars looks set to grow over time!
I’ve properly got stuck into Ann’s “Neglected but not Forgotten” painting challenge with two examples of Saxon regiments from the manufacturer Mars now already painted. It only amounts to 10 soldiers, but it feels great to be back in my comfort zone of painting 20mm high plastic figures in colourful uniforms.
Five men in each regiment, sharing the same pose, representing two regiments of the Saxon army during the Great Northern War; these are the Kurprinz Regiment and Martinière’s Grenadier Regiment.
The Kurprinz Regiment:
The Kurprinz Regiment is numbered the 5th and has ‘Lemon Yellow’ facings. I’ve painted the collars on these figures in Lemon Yellow although according to the Tacitus website, “the collar was usually reserved for the coats of officers, NCOs and drummers, but possibly the guard regiments had it as well”. The hat lace is white, a colour typical for the Saxon infantry with red being reserved for very high status regiments.
The figure is sculpted quite effectively albeit the long coat looks a little unnaturally wide at the base. I quite like the somewhat shifty look of the faces. As with all my Great Northern War / War of the Spanish Succession figures, I’m keeping the bases deliberately very simple and uniform indeed.
Martinière’s Grenadier Regiment:
Using the numerous grenadier figures in Mars’ box to the full, I’ve replicated one of the two dedicated grenadier formations in the Saxon army – Martinière’s Grenadier Regiment. As with many early 18th century uniforms, details are scarce about this regiment but Tacitus relies on information in Lars-Eric Höglund’s book “Stora nordiska kriget 1700-1721, III” and an article from a defunkt website by Daniel Schorr; “Notes on the Saxon Army 1700-1716″.
Höglund’ had no information on this regiment but Schorr had “a speculative illustration of the uniform” which showed a blue grenadier cap with a gold plate, with blue breeches, stockings and cuffs. It all makes for a pleasingly exotic and colourful regiment!
There are more figures on the painting desk from this box and I’ll see how many more I can get done by the end of the challenge on the 2nd April. Currently, there are two more regiments going under the brush and they are well advanced already!
Now the FEMbruary Challenge is over, I felt in need of a new sense of direction in my hobby so when I saw Ann’s Immaterium recently post her own challenge, it was just what I needed. Ann’s “Neglected but not Forgotten” painting challenge has given me some impetus to pick up one of my many unused boxes. A quick rummage through the Suburban Militarism ‘war chest’ (actually a trunk containing some of my many unpainted boxes and kits) quickly revealed a candidate…
I’ve chosen a box of Mars’ Saxon Infantry from the Great Northern War containing 70 figures (more than the stated 56 thanks to an extra sprue I’d received some time ago). It’s a bit of a curio, being the only kit ever produced by Mars on the conflict, and being the only Saxon troops from the early 18th Century era by any manufacturer of 20mm plastics.
Mars may be the God of War, but the manufacturer hasn’t always been considered top of the pack when it comes to plastic 1.72 scale soldiers. The sculpting often gets a poor press on Plastic Soldier Review but this set deservedly got a decent 7/10. They’re not the most elegant figures ever created but what they do have is bags of character and lovely crisp details, something I always appreciate given my particular style of painting.
Manufactured in 2009, this set was out of stock for a number of years when I snapped up the box. Since then, it seems to have become more widely available again – albeit not so much in the UK for some reason. Anyway, having my 1 extra sprue allows me to group together some of the poses into battalions of five figures.
The set is well stocked with officers and is made up of the following ‘big wigs’:
Having spent 2021 so far painting only metal figures at 28mm and 54mm scale, it feels great to be slumming it and finally getting my hands on some 1.72 scale plastic men once again – my first love!
If you’d like to join in (and why not?) I heartily recommend checking out the challenge rules on Ann’s post. The challenge ends on April the 2nd, so I’d better get a wiggle on with that bulging box of Saxons!
“By the left… (wait for it, wait for it!)… quick march!”
As I mentioned in my last post, I’ve been very happily painting more Strelets French infantry figures from the War of the Spanish Succession. Being mostly a shade of white, it might be thought that these could become a little dull to paint. On the contrary, with a number of different poses to choose from, and being so nicely sculpted, I’ve been very content to keep on painting these.
I’ve previously painted two firing lines for the following regiments:
Crack open the bubbly for my latest addition to the Sun King’s steadily growing army – the Regiment de Champagne. The uniform is virtually all white (or more particularly a white-grey) even including the hat lace (which I now realise my source book informs me is yellow but, hey….) The only concession to any colour is a small glimpse of their red waistcoat.
Another key difference is that these men are all marching rather than firing. What’s more, they’re marching in step, which was apparently not a practice that had been adopted by the French army by this time. Nevertheless, I’ve used the same pose to give them that extra visual cue of being a single regiment.
The pose is a well-animated one by Strelets and I like it. Rather than stiffly marching forth, these Champagne soldiers have something of a swagger about them suggesting either an easy confidence or a bone-tired weariness, or even both.
As with the previous regiment, I’ve settled on Vallejo Sky Grey for the coat’s base colour. It contrasts nicely, I think, with the more wholly white looking stockings (actually Vallejo’s off-white).
I’ve painted an officer for the regiment to also join the march. It’s another very nicely sculpted officer by Strelets and I like him!
The regiment’s sergeant:
Strelets have been issuing / developing a number of new boxes of French WSS infantry in recent weeks including;
“French Musketeers on the march” (which strangely only partially includes marching figures)
“French Pikemen” (another odd one given the generally accepted notion that pikes were virtually abandoned as a weapon by this time).
“French Musketeers Firing”
Both the “firing” and “march” sets have been the subject of pretty intensive criticism over the markedly short muskets, virtually musketoons. I’m keeping well out of this particular nerd’s bun fight, but basically it seems Strelets believes that French musketeers had these short muskets but many others do not. The “firing” set also features the old ‘matchlock’ musket rather than the newer ‘flintlock’, the former (like the pike) all but abandoned by the time of the WSS. Controversy aside, the sculpting is remains top notch and the pike and matchlock figures could at least stand for some earlier conflicts.
For me, it’s back to the War of the Spanish Succession and I’ll just conclude with some more views of my ‘Champagne’ boys.
Back in 2013, I was new to painting figures. I had dabbled before in 25mm metal castings before but only began to really dedicate regular time, patience and, ah, money in 2012. At the time, on the 1st floor of a huge model and toy shop in my home town, boxes of 1:72 scale plastic soldiers of every description occupied an entire room. Then, one day, I walked in to the shop to find it all gone. The floor to ceiling high wall coverage by countless boxes of plastic troops of every description and from every manufacturer had all but disappeared.
The venerable old store was closing down and clearly, in the weeks since I’d last visited, I’d missed the ensuing super-sale bonanza. Modelling vultures had already picked the carcass clean. There would be time to have a little cry about the old shop’s fate later back home but at that point I could see a handful of boxes still remained on a shelf – the last remnant half-companies from an army on sprues once numbering many 1000s of figures.
The Marmite sculpting style of the early Strelets figures ensured they featured heavily amongst these final unwanted boxes. I decided to pick up two of their marching French Napoleonic infantry sets; French Infantry on the March (1) and French Infantry in Advance. The unloved kits hadn’t remained unpurchased due to over-pricing – priced only £2.50 each with the added inducement of a ‘buy 1 get 1 free’!
As I took them home to mourn the passing of that enormous model soldier department (not to say it’s ever helpful, knowledgeable, but sadly soon-to-be-redundant staff) I suspected that these figures would probably go forever unpainted, stowed somewhere in the loft. In truth, it was a purchase motivated by sympathy rather than by desire.
And then, a few years later, in March 2015. I decided to paint some with a view to maybe submitting them to an international group painting project. In the event, they weren’t sent abroad but I had at least now made some effort on 18 of them. To my surprise, I enjoyed painting them a lot, with no less than 24 individual poses across the two boxes, there was real personality from a crowd otherwise depicted doing more or less the same thing. Both boxes featured the troops wearing greatcoats so mixed perfectly well together.
These painted figures remained un-based for a long while until, during a heavy blizzard on a December day in 2017, I realised that their greatcoats suggested they’d do well marching through snow (an obvious idea given one box’s art even depicts snow) and somehow, I ended up adding a further 26 to make 44 marchers. And last year, continuing what was becoming a yearly tradition, I dutifully painted another dozen to follow the Strelets French sledge train I’d painted. This latest dozen painted only this week takes the painted group it up to 68.
Since 2008, both of these marching sets are now virtually unavailable but Strelets have recently made a new replacement; their French Infantry on the March (1), with apparently more on the way! I’ve tackled a sprue of these new figures to compare with the old figures. These will be the future of my French winter marching tradition once the old sets are finally exhausted.
They are very different to the original sets indeed.
Firstly, the new set has its marchers appearing sideways on the sprue, rather than face on. This has the effect of the figures being quite slender, almost appearing as a semi-flat.
Two of the figures wear some unusual headgear. PSR identify it as a pokalem, also known as a bonnet de police. Blue and piped with red, this early kind of informal headdress was warm and comfortable with ear flaps which could be worn up or down (as in these chilly examples), it could even be worn under shako.
Details, as with all newer Strelets figures, are much more subtle than before but overall the proportions and poses of these figures are impressive, even allowing for their semi-flat thinness.
To more clearly differentiate between the older regiment and the newly raised troops, I’ve adopted a grey greatcoat for the new recruits with a green ball plume.
The old style figures are now down to their last couple of remaining sprues. Do I have a preference between the sets? Plastic Soldier Review prefer the new set of figures. But for all that, when it comes to painting, I can’t help but have a fondness, perhaps even a bias, for the ‘Old Guard’, those original, ugly and unloved refugees from a dying High Street model shop.
After painting a group of Strelets British Line Infantry standing at ease earlier this year, I received some very kind feedback from my friend, diorama supremo Pat who challenged me to use some of the remaining figures to produce some men of his favourite regiment; the 95th Rifles.
The 95th are, of course, instantly recognisable in their green uniforms. I’ve had to make changes to account for differences between the line infantry and the rifles. Pat will no doubt be able to correct me if I’m wrong anywhere here but my adjustments have included the following;
With no white bars across the coat, there should be just three lines of buttons which because of accoutrements will barely show at all.
Cuffs are far simpler for the Rifles, being black with white edging.
The Baker rifle is shorter than the Brown Bess musket and, where I could, I’ve cut the musket down to size a little.
The badge shows a Light Infantry bugle which I’ve, very roughly, approximated on the shakos.
It is the first time I’ve painted the 95th in their Napoleonic guise and I just hope they meet with Pat’s approval!
Also ready to join their standing comrades finished from last month, I conclude with two officers and an NCO of the 37th (North Hampshire) Regiment.
I haven’t taken fussed at all over the flag, simply slapped some paint on it to resemble a British Napoleonic regimental version.
And finally, men of the 37th and the 95th standing together:
“The Coldstream Guards Regiment was formed in 1650 as a unit of the Commonwealth Army. It was the only Regiment of the Parliamentary Army that was not disbanded at the Restoration in 1660. The illustration shows the uniform worn by Sergeants in 1832.”
Number 8 of 25 from “British Uniforms of the 19th Century” – a cigarette card series issued by manufacturer Amalgamated Tobacco (Mills).
Based and almost ready for action: men of the 37th (North Hampshire) Regiment of Foot stand at ease.
Prior to basing, they experienced a pre-emptive strike by my young cat, Marnie. She accidentally knocked them all off the table and they consequently suffered a little from a hard landing on the kitchen floor. I’ve tried to cover over areas of chipped paint but a few areas inevitably have been missed, I’m afraid.
I like the individuality of the figures, I’m particularly fond of this little private conversation going on in the rear rank…
The 37th Regiment featured in many significant campaigns and battles of the 18th century, including the battles of Blenheim, Quebec, Dettingen, Culloden, and Brandywine, amongst others. It spent much of the Napoleonic Wars on garrison duty in the West Indies and Gibraltar but did, however, serve in the closing stages of the Peninuslar War in 1814 where it won a battle honour.
It was absent from the Waterloo campaign, being sent for service in Canada. So perhaps it’s quite appropriate that these Waterloo-era figures to appear in such a casual and relaxed state?
As we are in Spring here in the UK, I’ve based them in a springlike meadow with flowers and lush grass. Bees are buzzing and birds are singing in this pastoral lull with the thought of hostilities far from their minds.
Below, a private in the rear rank seems more interested in the pleasures of the baggage train to the rear than any enemy to the front…
Tricky to pick out the details but nevertheless great fun to do. I’ve still got some officers to share for this group, whenever I get around to finishing them.
For a fabulous example of what can be achieved with this range of Strelets ‘non-combat’ figures, hop on over to Pat’s 1:72 Military Diorama’s blog and view his Peninsular War “Retreat to Corunna” diorama – endlessly interesting and with nearly 270 figures, a damn sight more ambitious than my own little line up!
As for me, I do still have a couple of sprues spare and was thinking of producing some Rifle Brigade or Belgian Infantry figures sometime too.