Yellow Fellows

Prussian Cuirassiers 1b (3)

I’m about 80-90% finished on the 16 riders for Italeri’s Prussian Cuirassiers kit. They are certainly nice figures and look splendid in yellow. On the debit side however, the heads are a trifle oversized and the hats always seem to face the front of the body regardless as to whichever way the head is facing – which is a bit weird! To bypass this, I’ve chosen exclusively those figures whose hats are worn on the head at roughly the same angle.

Prussian Cuirassiers 1b (6)

 

Prussian Cuirassiers 1b (11)

However, I resorted to a drastic head-swap operation for the officer figure. I cut off a trooper’s head and used a tiny section of pin to hold it all in place. I got a bit carried away with a hot pin resulting in – ahem – some slight melting! But I think he looks okay, nonetheless.

Prussian Cuirassiers 1b (8)

Painting my chosen regiment, Von Beeren’s 2nd Cuirassiers, has been an unexpected challenge so far. Firstly, getting the yellow to look bright yet still vaguely akin to a natural fabric colour has been a learning curve. Secondly, some depictions of the regiment show a white crossbelt with red edges; my reproduction of this feature tested my painting skills considerably!

Prussian Cuirassiers 1b (9)

The trumpeter had some variation in details requiring a red crest on his bicorne, a red tip to his plume and some shoulder detailing.

Prussian Cuirassiers 1b (12)

I’ll be turning my attention to the horses soon. Curiously, I’ve painted these Prussian Cuirassier horses before in this project, having used them as modified replacements for the lamentable horses which came with Italeri’s Prussian Dragoons set (5th Prussian (Brandenburg) Dragoons (Nappy Cavalry Project Set #6)).

In addition to working on these figures, I confess I’ve been musing on other diversions and topics to explore. Heaven knows, I’ve got enough kits to turn my attention to, should I want to take a short breather from Napoleonic cavalry. More on this perhaps in a future post as my ideas start to take shape…

Bye for now,

Marvin

Yellow Fever

When I started the Napoleonic Cavalry Project back in the spring of 2015, eight of that year’s fifteen regiments were figures made by Italeri. Since then, some nine regiments and over 16 months later, Italeri have been entirely absent. Until now…

I’ve decided to return to Italeri after being tempted by their Prussian Cuirassier set. These cuirassiers depict the cavalry as they might appeared at the time of the destruction of the Prussian army at Jena-Auerstedt in 1806. This set is also the first Prussian regiment I’ve painted I’ve tackled in a while, since regiment #9 in fact, back in 2015.

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My ever-helpful assistant presents the latest box of figures. A cheap purchase courtesy of a model shop closure…

They are unique in the project so far in being the only regiment wearing a bicorne hat. British heavy cavalry would have also worn something similar around this time.

prussian cuirassier

Almost all the eleven Prussian Cuirassier regiments wore white uniforms in 1806, with the exception of only one – the 2nd regiment, known in 1806 as Von Beeren’s – and this is precisely the one I wish to paint simply because it wore very striking yellow coats (known as Kollets).

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I’ve never painted a yellow-coated soldier before, and have little idea how to go about shading a yellow. I’ve had a few dry runs with some spare figures and finally decided to paint over my usual black primer with some beige paint to make it easier to cover with the yellow. Then, after the application of some Vallejo Sun Yellow, I’ve shaded with a little Vallejo Desert Yellow (a light brown-yellow colour). The result is subtle, but I like it and think this has achieved about the best result I’ve managed so far, so I’m going to stick with it and press on.

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The main reason I had steered clear of this set until now was that I was unhappy with the way the sculptor had left the bicorne facing the same way regardless of whichever way the rider was looking, leaving the hat acting like some kind of compass needle! The understandable explanation was to accommodate the hat into the narrow mold, however it all looks quite absurd to have everybody’s hat always facing the same way and so I’ve simply used the figures whose heads (and hats) more or less face in the same direction.

One last thing; you may notice that these cavalrymen are missing something which might be considered an essential item for cuirassiers : namely a cuirass! This is because Prussian Cuirassiers abandoned the armour in 1790. The adoption or abandonment of the cuirass by cavalry was often subject to conflicting opinions. Some felt that cuirasses;

  • were too cumbersome in a melee;
  • or were so heavy for the horse and rider to wear that it slowed them down and made unhorsed men very vulnerable (Wellington described the sight of fallen French cuirassiers as looking like helpless turtles flipped on to their backs);
  • or placed a premium on finding enough large, strong horses to carry the extra weight;
  • or were not worth the extra expense;
  • or ultimately were useless as they didn’t stop musket balls. They most certainly didn’t stop cannonballs, either…
cuirass
A cuirass of the 2nd Carabiniers worn by the desperately unfortunate 23-year-old François-Antoine Fauveau.

Others felt however that;

  • the cuirass provided an enormous advantage against enemy cavalry sabres;
  • they made for an intimidating sight, creating the heaviest of heavy cavalry;
  • they reduced casualties and made the wearer feel safer, thereby boosting morale.

There were, perhaps inevitably, those who preferred to adopt a compromise solution of wearing only half of the full cuirass. In such cases, only the front half was worn as it was often felt that having protection on the back might encourage the practice of cowardly retreats!

Now to get back to my ‘yellow jackets’. I’ll be posting updates in due course.

Marvin

Featured Figures: Frederick the Great’s Musketeers

…and continuing with my 7 Years War era Prussian infantry showcase, the final two regiments are the Kalckstein and the Braunschwieg (or Brunswick to anglicise it) Regiments. Being musketeers, these are all sporting the tricorne hat (the third option of headgear that came with the HaT sets). Again, all uniform and flag information came from the excellent 7 Years War Project website.

Firstly: the Brunswick Regiment:-

 

…and the Kalckstein Regiment:-

 

Featured Figures: Frederick the Great’s Fusiliers

Gah! That winter cold is still lingering! Never mind – here is the second regiment in my Prussian 7 Years War project from 2014; introducing the Munchow Fusiliers. As fusiliers they are wearing the fusilier mitre, shorter than the taller grenadier version. These were supposed to be made up of smaller men but, aside from their caps, in every other respect they were essentially the same as other infantry musketeers.

This fusilier regiment was raised by Colonel von Münchow in 1740. As with all the other regiments, I’ve shown the regiment flying its Colonel Colour (or Leibfahne). My painting technique for white uniforms has changed slightly and so I would have done them slightly differently now, but I think they look alright. I struggled to find any concrete information on the colour of the drums other than general guidance that they could be any colour, so with considerable artistic licence I opted for purple.

Next regiment to be showcased will be the Brunswick Regiment of musketeers!

Featured Figures: Frederick the Great’s Grenadiers

Whilst making good process of putting together my Victorian artillery battery, I’ve had the wind taken out of my sails by a mild seasonal cold. Somewhat enervated, I felt unable to pick up the brush and do justice to any figures, so instead thought I might give some exposure to some finished figures hitherto overlooked on the blog.

In 2014, I spent the better part of six months painting figures from HaT’s then newly released Prussian Infantry range. I did post at the conclusion of this project in November 2014, but the photos were inadequate and I kept meaning to produce better ones. The HaT figures came with a choice of headgear: tall grenadier caps, fusilier mitres or musketeer tricornes. Naturally, I thought I’d paint all three! In fact, making use of five boxes, I created four regiments of nearly fifty figures each.

Some trivia: Never mind those lofty grenadier caps, Frederick the Great’s father was obsessed by having the tallest grenadiers, apparently cherry-picking the very tallest soldiers from other regiments for his Grenadier Guard, regardless of their soldierly qualities…

Next post in this series of Frederick the Great’s 7 Years War infantry regiments – The Munchow Fusiliers.

But here is the first regiment, the prestigious Grenadier Guards with their spectacular gold caps.

4th Hussar Regiment (1st Silesian) [Nappy Cavalry Project Set #9]

I’ll say it again; I really do like the sculpting on these Waterloo 1815 Prussian Hussar sets. I’m also glad that I chose the 4th regiment as a subject, because it’s been interesting to produce brown-uniformed Napoleonic cavalry.

I was a bit lazy though and really didn’t deal with all the flash on the horses before I started painting but, that aside, I’m still pleased with how the regiment has turned out.

Without any further waffle, here’s the finished figures for my ninth regiment in the project, together with the usual regimental biography.

Silesian Hussars Outside (13)

Silesian Hussars Outside (8)

Silesian Hussars (9)

Silesian Hussars (5)

Silesian Hussars (10)

Silesian Hussars (7)

Silesian Hussars (2)

Silesian Hussars Outside (3)

Silesian Hussars (8)

Biography: 4th Hussar Regiment (1st Silesian) [Prussia]

The 1st Silesian Hussar regiment was formed on 15th November 1741 at the instruction of Prussian King Frederick II. It was originally designated the 6th regiment of Hussars and named after the commanders of the regiment, though apparently known colloquially as the ‘Brown Hussars’. These hussars saw action in the 2nd Silesian War, the 7 Years War, the Bavarian War of Succession and the French Revolutionary Wars.

Serving in the 1806 and 1807 campaigns against the French, the regiment was present at the battle of Heilsberg, prior to the decisive battle of Friedland itself. Following the Peace of Tilsit in 1807, the Silesian Hussars were then subject to the same extensive reconstruction being then applied to the whole Prussian army. In 1808, they were known as the Lower Silesian Hussars and then later in the year as the 1st Silesian Hussars, being now officially numbered as the 4th Hussar Regiment.

It was then compelled, along with the rest of the Prussian army, to take part in Napoleon’s 1812 invasion of Russia (their allies in the previous conflict). They were present at the battle of Schlock, being on the receiving end of British gunboats who’d penetrated upriver to assist the Russians. They then fought in the minor engagement of Wolgund in Latvia resulting in a Prussian victory, and also at the later reverse at Dahlenkirchen.

In the Leipzig campaign, and now opposing Napoleon once again, the regiment saw action at Königswartha, Dresden, the siege of Wittenberg, and elsewhere, before taking part in the decisive battle of Leipzig itself. On their way to capture Paris in 1814, they featured at the battle of La Fere Champenoise, where mass cavalry charges broke infantry squares and captured part of the Young Guard.

By 1815, in the Hundred Days campaign they were under the leadership of Major Von Englehardt and had an attachment of around 30 mounted jagers. The 4th Hussars fought at the desperate battle of Ligny as part of 1st Cavalry Brigade of Von Ziethen’s 1st Corps. This brigade suffered particularly badly from being exposed to artillery fire, losing nearly a third of their number by the time of their rather late arrival at Waterloo (around 7:30pm). Numbering barely 270 men across it’s three squadrons, it was perhaps well that the 4th Hussars were actually required to contribute very little to the final victory that fateful day.

Notable Battles:
Heilsberg, Schlock. Wolgund, Dahlenkirchen, Königswartha, Leipzig, La Fere Champenoise, Paris, Ligny, Waterloo.

Silesian Hussars Outside (1)

Finishing Touches…

Those Silesian Hussars are nearly done. I do love these Waterloo 1815 Prussian hussars sets. Even if there are small historical accuracy errors and some horse poses are occasionally questionable, the sculpting is still terrific. I realise now that I’ve been a but lazy and that I should have trimmed the flash on the horses and figures more. Never mind, too late for that and I’m still pretty pleased with them.

With a few touches still to do, it’s been a nice sunny day so I took them straight out into the garden. Formal blog post to come, but in the meantime, here’s a preview.

Silesian Hussars nearly done (12)

Silesian Hussars nearly done (15)

Silesian Hussars nearly done (14)

Send in the Browns

A guiding principle behind this year’s Nappy Cavalry Project has been the notion of variety. Different types of cavalry sporting different colour uniforms is the theme. Thankfully, there’s few more colourful eras for the military modeller than the Napoleonic. In deciding which next regiment to paint, I was eager to get back to some more flamboyant-looking hussars after all those dragoons. These Prussian Hussars by the Italian manufacturer Waterloo 1815 were purchased earlier in the year along with two other hussar sets. The first Waterloo 1815 hussar set that I painted back in May was the Leib “Death’s Head” Hussars, a regiment dressed in intimidating black dolmans with white braid and a skull and crossbones on their shakos.

Prussian Leib Hussars (15)
Prussian 1st Leib Hussars

Waterloo 1815s’ other Prussian Hussar set presented me with a number of possible Prussian regiments to depict, all of them wearing shades of either black, blue or green. But there was one exception; the Erstes Schlesisches Hussaren-Regiment (or 1st Silesian Hussar Regiment), which unusually adopted a brown dolman and pelisse. I couldn’t resist the opportunity of attempting a Nappy cavalry regiment wearing a brown uniform, so my choice was made. Regiment number 9 will be the 1st Silesian Hussars!

I found myself fretting about getting the right shade of brown; I’m just not used to painting brown uniforms! Nothing I had in my paint collection seemed quite right and buying a new colour is always a risk, so I eventually elected to mix my own shade from the browns in my collection which I think looks similar to what I intended. The 1st Silesians had a yellow braid on their brown uniforms and this set, unlike the Leib Hussars version, depicts the shakos covered in oilskins (with the exception of the officers). I’ve set to work on the uniform using various combinations of brown and this is the result so far with other details applied but still needing a little more work.

Silesian Hussars (8)
Hussar of the 1st Silesian Regiment. Work still to be done but they’ve certainly come along way over the weekend.
Silesian Hussars (5)
Sabretaches still to be done amongst other things…
Silesian Hussars (6)
After the figures, then I’ll be turning my attention to their horses.

All in all, I think they’ll make a nicely contrasting addition to my growing collection of Nappy cavalry regiments. As the old song goes, ‘send in the browns’! (Don’t bother, they’re here!) 😉

5th Prussian (Brandenburg) Dragoons (Nappy Cavalry Project Set #6)

Cyanometry – that’s a measure of the ‘blueness’ of the sky. At times, whilst painting this regiment, I wished I could have applied cyanometry’s ‘Linke Scale’ to those Prussian dragoon litewka coats. I’ve been agonising about getting the shade right ever since I started them. The staggering variety in shades of blue was complicated further by the sheer variety of blues depicted in other images. Research suggested that supply issues meant a considerable variation in the shade of blue actually used. My Greek friend Andreas reassuringly informs me that mine seem ‘about right’, aiming to be similar to Bavarian infantry blue. But, when I applied the varnish, my barely ‘about right’ shade maybe darkened a little…

Enough! I’m sticking with my blue now and that’s all there is to it! … To recap: the figures are Italeri’s apparently unloved “Prussian Light Cavalry” set. The horses that came with this set were so unlovable that I substituted them for Italeri’s Prussian Cuirassier horses instead. As a conversion, I added a few clay-modelled accoutrements to make them look a “bit” more like dragoon mounts.

Prussian Dragoons (1) The final result? I think the figures themselves, aside from some anatomical flaws, have real character and I’m quite pleased with them. They’re a nice contrast in both colour and style to the other regiments that have been tackled up to now.

The modest conversion process also provided a different challenge, especially my mounted jager figure:

Mounted Prussian Jager
Mounted Prussian Jager

And here’s the rest: Prussian Dragoons (14)

Prussian Dragoons (7)

Prussian Dragoons (12)

Prussian Dragoons (9)

Prussian Dragoons (6)

Prussian Dragoons (5)

Italeri Prussian Dragoons (8)

Italeri Prussian Dragoons (10)

Prussian Dragoons (4)

Prussian Dragoons (3)

Biography: Nr 5 Brandenburgisches Dragoner-Regiment (Prinz Wilhelm)

Italeri Prussian Dragoons (15)

The regiment was reformed after 1806 into the Brandenburg Dragoon Regiment Nr. 5 on the 16th of October, 1807. Comprising squadrons of the former 5th Cuirassiers and of the 1st Prince William Dragoons.

In 1812, they were sent to Russia as part of the Prussian contingent compelled by Napoleon to accompany the Grande Armee on his invasion of Russia. The regiment saw few major encounters during the 1812 campaign and losses amounted to 35.

The following year, as the Coalition embarked on the Leipzig campaign against France, the regiment saw much more fighting. As part of the 1st Brigade, III Corps Reserve Cavalry, it was part of Swedish King Bernadotte’s Army of the North, fighting at Gröss Gorschen, Borna and Bautzen. The regiment was heavily involved at Dennewitz where the French were defeated. It is credited with riding over numerous French and Württemberg squares, a French battery (capturing four guns), and routing a Polish Uhlan regiment, securing flags and wagons along the way. As Napoleon was eventually forced to retreat to Paris, the 5th Dragoons were present at Oudenarde, Antwerp, Soisson and Laon.

1815 saw the regiment in the 1st Cavalry Brigade of 1st Army Corps, fighting in Belgium and France. Having been involved in the Prussian defeat at Ligny, the brigade as a whole was only at 2/3rds strength. When 1st Brigade joined the fight at Waterloo late on in the day, only the 5th Dragoons charged, routing disorganised French battalions in the final minutes of the battle. In the aftermath of Waterloo, a final minor action at Villers-Cotterets saw the regiment catch the fleeing French and capture artillery and munitions.

Notable battles: Dennewitz, Laon, Villers-Cotterets, Waterloo

Either night or the Prussians will come…

…to quote the Duke of Wellington at Waterloo. But in my case it will have to be ‘night’! The figures are 99% done now but I will need to add a last touch or two before any final photos are taken. With the sun going down, it will just have to be another evening before I do it.

But I did take a few quick photos as they approached final completion stages.

Nearly there -  some of my Prussian dragoons.
Nearly there – some of my Prussian dragoons.

Each prussian dragoon regiment included some mounted jagers and I thought it would be nice to represent these in some way. My jager was originally the flag bearer figure until the guidon broke whilst still on the sprue. So I decided that it might make a decent jager and put a Zvezda french cuirassier carbine in his hand.

My conversion - a mounted jager attached to the 5th Regt of Dragoons. The carbine is courtesy of Zvezda French Cuirassiers.
As a reminder, this is an Italeri Prussian Light Cavalryman on a converted Italeri Prussian Cuirassier horse and painted up as a jager attached to the Prussian 5th Regt of dragoons.

Images of the final set to come very soon!