Friday, July 11, 2014

40mm HomeCast Napoleonics

This project was started decades ago when I was stationed in Germany.  Really liked ZinnBrigade molds for the toy soldier feel with enough detail to make them nice figures.  They are also fully  round.  Only drawback is limited opponents for the French, Brit heavy cavalry and Prussian infantry-all of whom appear to be left handed.  I made the Brit inf from molds of modified French and the bottom half of a Heyde Scot. Below are photos of a French relief forces being routed by a British BDE.

 British Brigade advances through crumbling French resistance.
 French Bn covers the retreat. The survivors of the French center stream past. 
 Left French Bn has to form square with threat from British light dragoons. Scots move up to deliver volley fire.
 Light dragoons began life a Prussian 1900 Uhlans.  Head swaps and a little filing made a master figure.  Silicone mold was simple, have a unit of chausseurs a cheval from the same model.
 Same mold with epoxy hat and cape.  The brigadier finds this as exciting as a good fox hunt. If he could find that castle on the map he'd know what to name this victory.
 Royal artillery prolongs to threaten any rescue attempt from the castle.  Heavy cavalry swings wide to cut off a French escape.
 Two home made British infantry molds, advancing and in reserve, make the Buffs, an Irish regiment and a detachment of rifles.  Scots required the sacrifice of a Heyde recast-but hey, can't have a British bde without Scots!  French litter the field while a attenuated bn tries to cover the retreat. Sauve qui peut!

Thursday, June 5, 2014

British Napoleonic Brigade 54mm

No new line/light infantry for Britain has been offered in 54mm for quite some time.  Fortunately you can still find it on ebay.  Below is the British Bde that has a solid winning streak on the billiards table.

Forty years' service and still shooting...
 Except for the scots... Anytime the brits take major casualties you can bet this unit gets hammered. A 40 year old set from Airfix, I lost my mind one day and cut up their feathered bonnets to reflect caps common in the revolutionary war.  Got lucky and secured a reasonably priced set that is undamaged so the scots may get a second battalion this year. 

 A Call to Arms has the best Brit set on the market with British light Infantry.  Think they serve well as pre 1812 line.  Robust, good poses easy to paint, just a terrific set. 

ACTA Lights charging.  The left leg can snap if you abuse them enough.

Firing line with Airfix Officer

Fully round models-great set.

Airfix line infantry in Belgic shakos.  Really good set that has stood the test of time,

ACATA Brit Arty-great set.

Size comparison with HaT, all match pretty well.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

54mm Napoleonic Artillery

There are a few decent choices for the King of Battle.  To my liking the ACTA British Artillery crew is the best set made.  Believable poses (4) with 16 figures to a box. Where it falls apart is that the guns come 1 to a box- just too expensive.  I make do with play-set cannons on what appear to be howitzer caissons.  Two guns and 8 crew make a battery.  Two minor drawbacks to the set is the gunner with the ammo has a ball rather than a cartridge, and the other is that Brit gunners require lots of "surgery" to represent other nations.

I've seen nice work on the HaT site converting Prussians and Bavarians into gunners.  I've been using ACTA Grenadiers for French foot artillery.  From a distance the painted gaiters don't look too bad.
I was lucky enough to get a number of Italeri French Artillery kits .  They a very well done but have yet to reach the painting table.  These  guns are crewed by guard horse artillery (a couple of over-dramatic poses) that are beautifully executed.  Will post when painted.
Another source is the prolific Armies in Plastic.  While I really like their Rogers Rangers/Woodland Indian sets, their Napoleonic poses look a bit wooden.  That said, they are in production and reasonably priced.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

A Call to Arms French Infantry

I really like these sets as ACTA resisted the urge to include one un-useable pose on the sprue. The French are smaller than their HaT counterparts but well within acceptable tolerances.  Started 54mm war-gaming with 18 man battalions.  Decided to model the ACTA troops as six "companies" of 18 in the battalion or six battalions of 18 in the brigade. Think a command box of Officer, Standard bearer, NCO and Musician might sell well to round out these units- then again I'm pretty happy just to have French line . Can still pick these up for about $14 a box (16 soldiers) on Ebay.
 Grenadiers on the right, Voltigeurs on the left and line in the middle.  Officer is a borrowed Wurttemberg Brigadier(HaT Russian).  Officer in second unit from the right is a 40 year old Airfix figure.
 Voltigeurs Officer below is from the HaT French light Command set and stands half a head taller than his troops.
 Like the ability to use these units as companies or battalions.  En masse they make quite an impression.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Italeri Napoleonic Cavalry

 When it comes to Napoleonic 54mm Cavalry I think the company of choice is Italeri.  I got mine before they went out of production but you can still find them on Ebay with some regularity.  The picture  shows  from left to right an Italeri French Hussar, Italeri Scots Grey, HaT Dragoon, Italeri Dragoon and another Italeri Hussar.

The Scots Greys have seen a lot of action in the billiards room-Red coats and grey horses are pretty striking. This set suffers from two trumpeters and two firing troopers (not shown) in an 8 figure set.  Note one trumpeter has had an arm repositioned.  The two firing models have a date with the exacto blade soon.  Why would one choose those poses for heavy cavalry? 

The Hussars are a truly beautiful set.  Though too large compared to the dragoons, all poses are useful and well done.


The French Dragoon set may be the best cavalry set done in 54mm. Poses are dramatic without being over the top. I bought two boxes to make a 12 man unit.  The 3 extra trumpeters may see life again as Wurttemberg light dragoons. Italeri also makes post 1812 British light dragoons.  They are very large and one of the horses has an impossible foot position.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

HaT Napoleonic Infantry

 These days I enjoy war gaming in 54mm.  The battlefield is a 5X9 Brunswick pool table circa 1903. The size accommodates seven or so units to a side.  I use 24 man infantry battalions, 8 trooper squadrons and batteries of 2 guns and eight gunners.  Most of the Napoleonic troops are from HaT.  The pictures above and below are of a Bavarian firing line (action and command sets).  The flag is bulky because I couldn't bring myself to cut the molded flag off the pole.  This is remedied by HaT in later sets. One day we might see cavalry and artillery sets (I know hatblogger72- nothing can be ruled out) But serviceable units should not be too hard to create with an exacto blade, glue and other mtd sets.

 Wurttemberg sided with Napoleon and gained significant territories as a result.  After losing most of the Wurttemberg division in Russia, the kingdom switched sides while managing to retain the new territories.  These are solid, professional if unenthusiastic troops.  Above is a battalion wheeling into a firing line.  The bases were too big for my stands so this is a happy compromise-I think they look pretty cool.

 The firing line.  While the right wing wheels into position , the center prepares to volley.  The left wing is reloading.  Note the Jaegers are covering the right as they execute a wheel.

 The general supports morale  from the rear.  There are old generals, there are bold generals- there are no old, bold generals. This is actually a HaT Russian officer on a Hat Dragoon horse.  The horses from that set were not bad and can be used for lots of conversions.  To keep this simple I repositioned the head and legs of the horse (boiling water then ice cube bowl) turned the general's head to the right a bit and added a sword arm from the Wurttemberg command set. The rest was paint and there you have it-a Wurttemberg Infantry brigadier.

 Wurttemberg light infantry were considered elites.  Don't know why HaT chose the 1814 Jaeger uniforms to go with pre 1812 line infantry but all is forgiven with these great poses.  Love the NCO giving directions- don't think "please" is what he is saying.
 HaT Dragoon set cut and painted into a passable AWI British light dragoon.  HaT early production could be hit or miss.  The Napoleonic line are pretty much works of art in my humble opinion.
 Solid Prussians holding their ground.  Like the way the flag is a well molded standard to which a paper banner can be glued.  Really appreciate HaT making these products at such a reasonable price and hope they make a good profit at it.