Monday, 31 December 2007

Five more Swedes

I finished these yesterday. Four more for the Kalmar Regiment and one Grenadier for the Bjorneborgs Regiment.

I hadn't painted any Grenadiers and they did take longer with the "C" symbol on their bags. Some of the people on the Musketeer Miniatures forum have said that the mitre caps were never worn in battle but only for ceremonial duties or by lower grade troops. In Hoglund's book, however, he tries to deal with the fact that records show both hats and mitre caps are ordered for the same troops by saying that maybe the caps were worn for ceremonial purposes and in action (the theory was always that they were designed to allow for throwing grenades). Given this and the fact that no-one seems to be able to prove it either way I have decided to give the Bjorneborgs regiment mitres simply because they look nice!

Tuesday, 11 December 2007

Regimental organisation

John has come up with an organisation for the Swedes as follows: Each regiment to be 36 figures to consist of 8 Grenadiers, 16 Shot, 10 Pike plus 2 Ensigns (with the Pike block) and including command figures with the shot. Command figures consist of an officer, an NCO and a drummer.

36 is a good size for a unit; I can't deal with 16 man units for this period. Good job Musketeer have an offer on at the moment!

Pikemen: Kalmar Regiment

Now that we are looking at units for actual gaming rather than as a painting exercise, I have had to decide what units to start work on. I also have to make sure that I don't clash with John's regiments. The choice of regiments for me is driven by the Little Big Men flags produced to complement the Musketeer miniatures range. There is no point for me, at this stage, in producing a regiment if there is no corresponding flag.

I have decided on three initial regiments: Kalmar, Bjorneborgs and Jonkoping.

One will be a regiment with karpus: this will be the Bjorneborgs who didn't get hats until 1711.
One will be a regiment with hats: Kalmar.
One will be a regiment with non-yellow facings: Jonkoping.

The Kalmar pikemen I have just painted are wearing their uniform of blue coats with yellow facings, buff leather breeches and blue stockings. They wore hats, but with a blue and white twisted braid rather then the more usual white braid.

Swedish pikes were long: 6-8metres. I have done mine at the equivalent of about 6.5 metres as they looked ridiculously long at full size and I am sure the Swedes cut them down just as much as the English did in the ECW!

Swedish Infantry group

I finished three more Swedish Musketeers this week and so have now painted my original pack of four. A number of people at Guidford, principally John, are now saying they are interested in getting some units done for some armies. This is good news and bad news. Good news in that my figures will have some purpose. Bad news in that I will have to do some proper research and paint some units.

Swedish Infantryman: completed

I finished this first Musketeer Miniatures Swedish infantryman in October.

As to colours I had a look at the displays in the Army Museum in Stockholm.

They have several reproduction uniforms, such as the one above, and a few real ones. The level of detail and quality of the reproductions indicates to me that these are very carefully researched indeed and are not just knocked up for show. Certainly the colour on the reproductions matches the original examples. The blue did not look nearly this bright in natural light: this is closer to pure Humbrol 25 in the picture which it certainly was not in reality.

This is an original coat from 1756, slightly later than the Great Northern War, but the uniform had hardly changed other than the coat turnbacks. The colour in this photograph is pretty spot on to what was there and this is what I based my colour scheme on. It is always hard to tell how much things have faded in 250 years but this sort of tone is justifiable and to me, anyway, looks right. Note how pale the yellow coat is in the background.

For the coat I had originally imagined quite a dark, navy blue, like the current Swedish Guards uniforms. Comments on the Musketeer Miniatures Forum indicated that the coats were "lighter than had been thought". Certainly the ones in the museum were what I would call a mid-blue. I had to mix a colour specially: one third Humbrol 109 WW1 Blue and two thirds 25 Blue.

For the yellow facings I wanted to avoid bright yellow; these were pre-chemical dye times. One of the reasons I prefer enamels over acrylics is that they offer a more muted palate. I used Humbrol 81 Pale yellow rather than the brighter 24 Trainer yellow. I think that this gives a good approximation of what I saw in the museum

All in all I really enjoyed painting this figure, particularly after a rather fallow period, and I have now based and undercoated the other seven figures I bought at Colours. I have started work on a Russian infantryman. I bought these figures just as a painting exercise but I am now contemplating three units of infantry, a unit of cavalry and a cannon for some skirmishes. There are, apparently, a couple of very good books on uniforms which I will have to get

So far, Musketeer have enough Swedes (musketmen, grenadiers, pikemen and command) so that you can build an infantry unit. Flags from Little Big men studios are also under way. They only have two packs of Russians, both musketeers. Somewhere on the forum they say that the Russians aren't selling so well, but if you can't build a unit it's not surprising. They are promising more Russians and cavalry in the New Year. After that they are promising Danes (hooray) and Saxons. It is quite good to be getting into a range as they are released as hopefully my painting can keep up with their releases! The danger is, of course, that they never finish the range

My next challenge will be to find a set of rules. There are some specific GNW rule sets out there and another to come from the League of Augsburg club but they all have element basing which I don't like. I wonder if anyone has any patches for Warhammer ECW?

Musketeer Miniatures Swedish musketeer

I bought a few Musketeer Miniatures Great Northern War Swedes at Colours in Newbury in September mainly knowing that I was travelling to Stockholm the following week and had planned to visit the Army Museum.

I like to get all the base colours down first and then shade over them so here is the first "test" figure. The colours aren't right in the photo; the blue is darker than this but it is the best I could do with a flash.