Befreiungskriege 1813-14

Painting and modelling 28mm Napoleonic wargaming miniatures

Calpe Saxon artillery pieces

Posted by Martin on September 27, 2009

Calpe Saxon 6-pdr cannon

Calpe Saxon 6-pdr cannon

I’ve finally found time and daylight enough to do some photography this weekend. So the first items I wanted to share were a couple of pictures of the forthcoming Calpe range of Saxon artillery ordnance. The history of Saxon artillery is fascinating and the pieces themselves are highly distinctive with a number of unusual design features. If you’re interested, I recommend the brief introductory section in Napoleonic Artillery by Dawson, Dawson and Summerfield. If that whets you appetite, look out for Stephen Summerfield’s new book Saxon Artillery 1737-1827 which is due to be published by Caliver Books on 1st October.

The two sample castings I have from Peter F. are examples of the M1810 Raabe System of artillery, so-called because the co-leader of the design team was one Major Raabe. This system included a 12-pounder cannon, a 6-pounder cannon and an 8-inch howitzer. The picture above illustrates the Calpe castings that make up the 6-pounder cannon. You can see that the parts include the conventional separate parts for the wheels, carriage and gun tube. In addition there’s a U-shaped piece that fits onto two recesses cast at the back end of the carriage. This piece holds the sizeable trailspike in place when the cannon is assembled.

Calpe Saxon 8-in howitzer

Calpe Saxon 8-in howitzer

This second picture shows the parts for the 8-inch howitzer. Broadly speaking, it’s the same breakdown of parts with the obvious difference being the gun tube. Peter F. is thinking of writing some assembly instructions to go with these pieces because there are a couple of points to note. For example, the wheels have mudguards on them which must be positioned at the top when assembled. Although Peter F. has made the production moulds for these pieces, the impatient among you will have to wait a little while before you can buy them. Peter has yet to sculpt the crew figures and is currently finishing off the march-attack line grenadiers before switching attention to the artillery crews.

Finally, a note on colour schemes: wooden parts were painted black (or a very dark grey); metal fittings were bronze (sometimes mistakenly reported as being painted yellow).


10 Responses to “Calpe Saxon artillery pieces”

  1. Peter B. said

    Hi Martin

    These look very nice – can’t wait to see the crewmen to go with them.

    P.S. What’s happening with your Prussian article for WI – wasn’t in this month’s issue and no mention in the blurb for next month?

    • Martin said

      Hi Peter – you’re not the first to ask about the article. As I’ve siad in response to another comment, I saw the new issue of WI in W H Smith today and I wasn’t too surprised to see that my article wasn’t included. Dan’s plan was to illustrate the article with photos of Peter F’s collection and I know he hasn’t been to do that photo-shoot yet. Still, I am a little miffed that Dan hasn’t kept me informed and perhaps a little e-mail is in order.

  2. Harry the Elder said


    I too am looking forward to the article… I purchase WI on an irregular basis.

    On another note, Were you ever going to email me the design for the shabraque eagles for your cuirassier? I have been finished with the Os and Maltese cross decals for awhile now.
    I also lost your snail mail address in the bargain. I will send you a page of the finished decals.

    Harry the Elder

    • Martin said

      Harry – thanks for the reminder. It’s been such a hectic non-hobby Summer that I haven’t had time to scan the image. I’ll e-mail you my snail-mail address again.

  3. Peter Royle said

    Hi Martin I saw the artillery pieces in the “flesh” at Newark and they really are superb.

  4. Ralph aka 'Sparker' said

    Hi Martin,

    Thanks for the update on Calpe. Can’t wait.

    Regarding WI and your article, please don’t take this the wrong way but I’m glad they’ve not yet been published. Its very difficult to get WI in Aus, and I can’t get an order in with a newsagent until I’ve decided on my final location!

    Kind Regards


  5. Dear all
    I was given the M1810 8-pdr howitzer and M1810 6-pdr models at Newark. I was very impressed and pleased that they exactly matched my 1:60 drawings of them that I have produced at Peter Fitzgerald request. These will be available under the NGA Archive banner and Peter plans to stock these. Two sets at 1:24 have also been produced. Contact either Calpe Miniatures, Gerard Cronin of GJM Figurines or myself for further details.

    Over a year ago, I supplied Calpe miniatures with the plans that had been drawn for me by Norman Swales. This grew into a book for Partizan Press that has just been sent to the printers so should be out for Christmas.

    Stephen Summerfield (2009) Saxon Artillery 1733-1827, Partizan Press, Nottingham.


  6. Stephen Summerfield (2009) Saxon Artillery 1733-1827, Partizan Press, Nottingham.

    The strong links of Saxony with the Polish crown caused her to become the battleground for the competing powers of Austria, Prussia and Russia for centuries. Efficient artillery was essential but in the 1740s was neglected due to the prohibitive costs of ordnance and maintaining a standing army. This contributed by the annexation of Saxony by Frederick the Great in 1756 and the adsorption of her soldiers into the Prussian Army. The remnants of the Saxon Army fought with distinction with their Austrian and French Allies.

    This unhappy experience of the Seven Years War (1756-63) led to the M1766 Hoyer system that was first used in the War of Bavarian Succession (1777-78). The gun carriage and elevating system of the M1766 4-pdr Schnellfeuergeschütz regimental gun probably influenced the design of the Austrian M1780 Wurst guns. The M1766 Granadstück based upon the Russian Unicorn was a long barrelled howitzer that could fire an early form of spherical case [Shrapnel].

    The 1809 campaign showed the Saxon Army and its ordnance had to be transformed from that suited for 18th Century to Napoleonic warfare. The main influence on the M1810 gun tubes was the French AnXI with the carriages derived from those of the Saxon M1766 Hoyer System. These excellent guns performed well in 1812 and especially at Gross Beeren (23 August 1813) where they dismounted 9 Prussian guns.

    The century of Saxon ordnance development is illustrated with 66x 1:24 scale plans, 64x 1:30 scale plans and 64 details drawn from contemporary sources. These are enhanced by 34 photographs, 38 contemporary plates and 32 uniform plates with 78 separate uniforms shown in colour. In addition there are 3 maps, 34 OOBs and 22 Tables.


  7. Günter said

    Dear All

    As a frequent visitor to this website and a researcher of the Saxon Army 1810-13 I have to to tell you that the statement about the color of the guns is not correct. After contacting the person in charge of the historical Department of the Festung Königstein I got the following information:

    E-mail 12th April 2010
    Alle Holz-Teile der sächsischen Geschützlafetten waren meines Wissens mindestens seit 1766 schwarz (hauptsächlich Teerfarbe oder Leinölfarbe bzw. Firnis mit Rußanteilen = also eher ein stumpfes schwarz) gestrichen, die Metall-Beschläge (nicht aus Bronze) gelb (Anstrich mit Eisen-Mennige, ein gedecktes Gelb). Daran hat sich meines Wissens mindestens bis 1810 (1815) nichts geändert, denn bis 1815 waren die Landesfarben schwarz/gelb (nach dem Wappen der Mark Meißen, dem Ursprung des Albertinischen Sachsen, das 1806 königreich wurde).

    Erst seit 1815 sind die Landesfarben weiß/grün und es gibt Hinweise, dass auch die Lafetten einen grünen Anstrich erhielten.

    Black for the wooden parts, YELLOW for all the Metal Parts! The reason for it was that the Coat of Arms of Saxony was at that time black/yellow. They changed the color of the wooden parts to green after 1815.
    The Yellow color comes from “Eisen-Mennige”(somewhere translated as Ocre)with wich the metal parts were overpainted.

    Best regards


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