Monday, January 10, 2011

Holiday project: first part of the FPW Prussian army complete

Just spent the last few days finishing off the first part of my holiday project; my 1870 Prussian army.  I've had it sitting largely in unpainted metal for over two years, just starting over a year ago with the cavalry.  I did the regiments that featured in Von Bredow's famous Mars-La Tour 'Tottenritt' ('Deathride');  the 7th Kuirassier and the 16th Uhlans (subject of a previous post) and now I've finished the the 19th Dragoons.  I have created three 10-figure units but still have a cav command (Von Bredow himself perhaps?) to do.  In addition I have finished the re-basing and painting etc, of the Prussian artillery with their deadly breach-loading rapid-fire Krupps guns.   Save for a few Uhlanen all figures are Foundry.

To finish the first part of the project I also put together a little command vignette of mounted general in consultation with two field officers (infantry) which I have tentatively titled 'Wo sind die Verdammpt Franzosen?' - one of the officers is pointing and perhaps suggesting 'they ran that-a-way Sir!'.  

The figures are Foundry's original Franco-Prussian line but the general's horse is a rather modified version (saddle cut down to fit the otherwise horseless general) - French officer's ride?  Not sure, but it is an attractively sculpted nag nonetheless.

The detritus of battle left from the fleeing French has been added to give a little atmosphere to the scene.  It includes an officer's kepi, a dragoon helmet, an abandoned pack and a broken rifle.  The helmet was a Perry's dragoon head suitably hollowed out.  The pack is their British(?) one from one of their boxes (dead handy they are too - I've used them on a few different bases).

The cavalry hung around for quite some time before I got around to finishing them as I just did not have enough figures for full units, particularly of Uhlans.  In the end I bought a few Castaway Arts Prussian Uhlans including a trumpeter, to fill the gaps and provide a command.  Although Castaway do some very nice figures and their horses in particular a usually well sculpted, their FPW range, at least these cav figures anyway, were a disappointment (expensive too!)  They are scrawny with melon-heads and incorrect or missing equipment (no swords etc).  This is a pity but they fit in well enough at scale with the Foundry ones.

The 7th (Magdeburg) Kuirassier are beautiful figures but I needed a command for the unit.  In the end I managed to find another officer and converted one of the troopers to a trumpeter.  I believe the Prussians did armour their trumpeters in 1870 but I couldn't find a pictorial reference so the figure is guess-work on my part.

And the full regiment...

And of course, the dragoons...

Last not not least is my Prussian artillery.  In addition to superior organisation and generalship, a war-winning advantage on the battlefield was undoubtedly the Prussian breech-loading artillery.  At least one historian I have read (Jeffery Wawro?) tells the story that Napoleon was offered the invention but had already blown the budget on rifled front-loaders of his own design and the French parliament wouldn't vote him any more.  So the German inventors went to the Prussians who snapped the breech-loading mechanism up and quickly put it into production.  I had a great deal of difficulty trying to scrounge another slightly heavier gun to match for my second battery.  Finally managed it but on one of the unique Prussian carriages which had seats built into the gun axle that acted as a kind of shield as well (the way the Prussians used their guns, sometimes dragging them into the infantry's firing-line for close support, they certainly needed them!)

Now all I've left to do are about four brigades of infantry.  No problem - have 'em ready by Christmas (the next one that is!)

All the figures are matched to my French FPW army, for which I have to paint up my Chasseurs d'Afrique some time to finish that lot.  Once done I'll have all the works for a good old Black Powder battle for the Franco-Prussian War.  Its a fascinating period to game and no, the Prussians do not always win!

Hope you enjoy the pics, click on them for enlargement and feel free to leave a comment too.