Sunday, 29 March 2015

New Zealand casualties - Gallipoli 1915

Well that was a rather sorrowful weekend of painting! As many readers of this blog know, film maker Sir Peter Jackson has commissioned a huge Battle of Chunuk Bair diorama for the World War One centenary. Ex chief of the New Zealand Defence Force Rhys Jones is co-ordinating the logistics, and wargamers from around New Zealand have volunteered their time to paint up the 4000 54mm scale figures required. The wonderful Perry Twins have been sculpting all the models required, and very fine they are too (as I would expect given all the Napoleonics I keep buying from them!).

The New Zealanders at Gallipoli had supply problems and were known as "The Scarecrow Army", often dressed and dying in non-uniform gear such as shirts sent from home by their mothers. I've tried to reflect this lack of uniformity in the twenty casualties I've painted here (note the blue isn't actually as blue as it looks with the photo exposure - it's actually a shadow grey). As I painted them and they gradually became more realistic, the thoughts of mothers vainly trying to protect their young sons on the other side of the world made the whole mess seem even more tragic.

This is only one casualty pose of many sculpted and sobering to realise New Zealand suffered 400 times this many casualties in the entire Gallipoli campaign, and even worse in later World War One battles. The impact of so many dead and wounded must have been overwhelming for society to try and fathom and respond to.

An interesting historical aside is that my own profession of clinical psychology came into being largely because of World War One and World War Two, and the associated need to assess and rehabilitate so many people. See the first page of the first volume of the Journal of Clinical Psychology, 1945. Part of the research programme was also to try and better understand human nature and work out ways to stop such catastrophic acts of violence as World Wars occurring again. Thank goodness large wars between developed states have generally not happened since, part of long term trend of decreasing violence examined by Harvard psychologist Steven Pinker in his exhaustively comprehensive book on the subject "The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined". A recommended read.

Next up on the painting desk are some Turkish casualties and a few officers, which will also be carefully done.

For more on this diorama project, see the official Mustering the Troops blog

This news video about the project is also very good. 

Monday, 23 March 2015

Austrian Napoleonic Army - 750 figures 28mm

750 28mm Austrians in 4.5 months... time for a short breather to sit back and look at the results :)

Next to add will probably be some Dragoons and Chevauleger. However first I need to paint a few 54mm figures to help out with Peter Jackson's New Zealand WWI centenary diorama. See the Mustering the Troops blog for more on this project. But back to the Napoleonics again after that! Probably some more French for a time as we have the Waterloo 200th anniversary battles coming up.

Saturday, 21 March 2015

Austrian Grenadiers 28mm Victrix

Next up is some Austrian Grenadiers from Victrix. I decided to give Victrix a try, as Perry didn't make German Grenadiers when I bought these, and in any case Victrix would work out much cheaper! As it turned out I'm quite happy with these figures, and they compare favourably with Perry. 

I originally painted the bags on their bearskins in the facing colours, but disliked the irregular look and ended up repainting them all yellow. Historically I understand that the cloth bags were originally in the facing colours but this was eventually replaced with yellow, though many regiments kept the facing colour versions for some time.

Four regiments completed! I did eight facing colours, as Grenadier units were made up of converged Grenadier companies from separate battalions, with typically three combined in each Grenadier battalion.

With Victrix Austrians you get 56 figures per box (including two mounted figures) for 23 pounds, while Perry are 20 pounds for 48 figures. You get up to 20% on Victrix buying them in bulk (multiple boxes), and up to about 12.5% discount buying Perry in bulk (in their army deals). The Victrix have more options for assembly - Two thirds of the figures come in march attack pose for ease of assembly, but 1/3 of the figures can be assembled in different poses if you like (firing, advancing etc, with lots of options provided). I just made everything in march attack here, excepting that it was nice to have a few more options in poses for the officers than the Perry figures offer. The figures are in the earlier long coats while the Perry's have the later period shorter coats, but I'm prepared to live with that! I still have four mounted figures and 12 spare infantry left over from two boxes of Victrix infantry after assembling these four regiments. 

Saturday, 14 March 2015

Austrian Grenz Infantry Perry 28mm

More Austrians enter the fray. Austrian Grenzers from Perry Miniatures. These are metal models, which are ok, though still quite a lot of flash compared to some Murawski Miniatures I picked up recently. Of course they are also cheaper than Murawski so can't complain really!

I'm also not a fan of this Grenz uniform! It has annoying to paint Hungarian trousers with braiding and stripes, and then ugly brown jackets on top of that. Painting and basing is also made awkward because they have their muskets held at all sorts of sloppy angles - which makes sense given they are somewhat irregular troops of course! ;)

Anyway enough ranting, here they are... I've done one unit with yellow facings and the other with green facings.

Monday, 2 March 2015

Austrian Hussars 28mm Perry

Three regiments of Napoleonic Austrian Hussars. Perry Figures once again and all metal this time. Taking the wise advice of blogger Gonsolvo I decided to go with blue, red, and green hatted regiments. See his great blog for details of Hussar and other uniforms. I also climbed into second place in the Analogue Paint Challenge somehow, despite the painfully slow process of painting detailed hussar uniforms!

As if the painting wasn't difficult enough, the metal pelisse's on these figures also have to be glued on which seemed liked something of a nightmare to contemplate. In the end it was easy enough using five minute epoxy glue and judicious use of blu-tack. The contemplation was worse than the actual task as is often the case.

Austrian Composer Franz Von Suppe's Light Cavalry Overture seems appropriate, as I move on to some detail photos!

Regiment 4: Hessen-Homburg (blue hats). Everyone paints Hessen-Homburg, but there is a good reason for that - they have one of the most awesomely colourful uniforms ever! Parrot green dolman and pelisse, poppy red trousers, and blue shako. I've read that the actual Parrot green is the subject of some debate, and was perhaps a more yellowish tone than that depicted here. However I decided to just go with the green I had bought before I read this, and I'm happy with it so that's what counts!

Regiment 5: Baron Ott (red hats). Probably my favourites, which of course means they will lose every combat at the critical moment. Dark green dolman and pelisse, carmine trousers, bright red shako.

Regiment 7: Liechtenstein (green hats). Eye catching light blue uniforms with grass green shako so everyone knows to look at the best regiment!

Right there we then, my Austrians are now becoming quite a force, with 18 regiments of infantry, 5 of cavalry, and 18 guns. Still not enough of course...

Thanks for looking!