Befreiungskriege 1813-14

Painting and modelling 28mm Napoleonic wargaming miniatures

Time to reflect

Posted by Martin on August 7, 2012

I’m just back from a relaxing ten days away on holiday in the Scottish Highlands and over that period I’ve had some time to sit back and reflect on the progress of this blog. So now that I’m home again, I wanted to share some facts and figures with you all.

This version of the BfK blog started in February 2007 (Eek! Over five years ago) and before that, there was the original version that existed in another format for two years and attracted over 100 comments from you lot (sadly, I don’t know how may postings I wrote for it – that’s something now lost to the mists of time). Anyway, the current version of BfK gets, on average, around 10,000 page views per month and this will be the 281st posting on it. Those postings have, to date, attracted over 1,500 comments (although a proportion of those are my replies to your input).

I’m delighted that I have built up a circle of regular readers and commenters from right around the world – the UK, France, Germany, Spain, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, USA and Canada to mention just a few. You all know who you are and I’m deeply grateful to all of you for joining in with what started out as a small experiment with technology and has turned into one of the main supporting pillars for my continued involvement in the wargaming and figure painting hobby. There have been times that, without your support and enthusiasm, I might have given up – and I venture to say that the same is true for Peter F. during the dark days of the vulcanizer crisis at Calpe Towers. I’m very proud of this blog and the thoughtful and friendly way in which you all contribute to making it something more than just a lone lunatic shouting into the wind.

So why all the navel gazing? Well, because I think the time has come to do something a bit more tangible in the way of thanking all of you than just writing a few words in the electronic ether. Over the last couple of weeks, I’ve been hatching a plan to do something a bit special for (and with) all of you. It’s still at early stages but I can now confirm that Peter F. has kindly agreed to help out, so this posting is about moving the idea on to the next stage. So here’s the thing…

I’m going to commission Peter F. to sculpt a pack of a small number of figures that will be cast in limited numbers and made available to you guys – the regular BfK readers and commenters. Now, lots of the details remain to be sorted out: I don’t know how many figures will be in the set, I don’t know what these figures will be (read on for more of that below) and I haven’t worked out the financials yet. But there are some things I’m fairly certain of at this stage: they will be 28mm Napoleonic figures, the number of figures in the pack will be no more than can fit into one mould, they will initially be a limited edition only available via me and Peter F (though, in the longer term, they will probably become part of the the standard Calpe range. Some of you will remember the three landwehr figures Peter F. did as a cover mount for Wargames, Soliders and Strategy magazine that are now figures PL31, PL32 and PL33 in his range), I intend this to be an exercise that aims to cover its costs rather than make a profit.

This whole process is going to take a while, so I’m not going to make any commitments about timescales but today is about getting the ball rolling. In particular, it’s about getting your input into the decision about what sort of figures I should commission. Now I already have some ideas of my own which will almost certainly become apparent in the thread of comments that will inevitably follow but, for now, I don't want my preferences to influence things. What I'm interested in is your requests and suggestions. If those coincide with my own ideas, then we'll be in a happy win-win situation. If they don't, well this isn't a democratic vote – the judge's (i.e. my) decision will be final.

And with that, I throw the floor open to you guys!

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45 Responses to “Time to reflect”

  1. Helmut said

    Hi

    As a big fan of the french grenadiers a pied, I suggest them.
    Campaign uniform;-)

    Regards
    Helmut

  2. David said

    I’d like to propose some Prussion Landwehr. Principally because these are what got me interested in your musings in the first place.

    On a different note I’d also like to thank you for the idea and everything you’ve contributed to date. I’m unable to do much if any painting myself at the moment, or for the foreseeable future (bar the occasional foray into fantasy for my sons 7 & 4) and your writings at least give me a regular injection of much needed historical ‘fantasy’.

    Again, many thanks.

    David

  3. Rob Kenny said

    Hi Martin,

    This sounds like a great idea… one that i’d be happy to wholeheartedly support. There are tons of small run figures that I would like to see (and buy!)

    My ideas

    1)I’d like to see some staff officers, adc’s and other non front line models for the saxons and french that can be added to command or morale stands (the prussians are already well represented, although British liason officers or Benadotte’s ADC’s bringing orders to stand down would also be great)

    2)Pomeranian National Cavalry (an officer, bugler and 1 or 2 troopers – the horses are obviously from the main range) – a personal favorite unit.

    3) I’d love to see some of the big historical personalities… seeing Peter F sculpt Ney, Napoleon or Reynier would be fantastic.

    All the best with this initiative!

    Rob

  4. Lord Hill said

    Anything British! 🙂
    Any news on the mooning Highlanders? When can I buy those naughty pair do you think?

  5. Jeremy Dorling said

    What a brilliant idea –

    Can it be any Napoleonic subject or Prussian only?

  6. Jason said

    Very interesting. I’ll have to think about it a bit and get back to you Martin. Although I’m sure whatever you pick on your own will be great. 🙂

  7. Jeffrey Smith said

    Martin,

    A fantastic idea. The combination of this site and Calpe are such important resources for the enjoyment of this era.

    Boy do I have a list for you:

    A vignette of Blucher unhorsed at Ligny being defended by his ADC.
    Scharnhorst, sitting upright on a stretcher, being carried away at Grossgorchen.
    The young girl distributing ammunition to the the Fusiliers, ala Knotel.
    More Staff figures: Von Zeiten, Gneisenau and Scharnhorst.
    Casualty figures for the 12th Regiment.
    An infantry square preparing to receive enemy cavalry.
    Von Lutzow’s cavalry crossing swords to receive a blessing.
    Landwehr capturing the colours of the Guard (I think it was Placenoit or Ligny?).
    My personal favourite – the soldiers of the Train: first aid station, pontooniers, engineers.

    Looking forward to seeing other ideas. All those expressed so far are equally good.

    Cheers,
    Jeff

  8. Frazer said

    Hmm,Prussian Guard with huge plumes would get my vote.Not the campaign look that Peter’s sculpts are famous for but Guards should be a bit ‘fancy’!

  9. Andy said

    I haven’t painted a 28mm figure in years, but the only 28s I’ve ever painted were Peter’s beautiful Landwehr models though I am thinking of a cameo base or two using the new French figs. I have also never posted here before, but I’ve been lurking a while and look forward to each new topic. Whatever figures you decide to do, count me in…

  10. Ralph said

    I’d like to see some ‘leadership’ vignettes amongst the soldiery – perhaps an NCO pulling a reluctant young ‘potential hero’ along by the webbing straps, an old soldier putting a steadying hand on a comrade, sort of thing. For skirmishing Fusiliers, kneeling Officers or NCO’s pointing and putting hand to mouth to bellow orders back over their shoulder (I’m guessing the School of Inf approved technique of lying on your back to yell orders over the noise of battle would be somewhat anachronistic) All easy to describe, hard to sculpt!

  11. Ralph said

    Bye the bye, any news on March Attack Frenchies?

  12. Dean Burke said

    I like the ideas being put forward that cover untouched territory. I’m always interested in these ranges not developed by others. Some Badeners, Hesse, Sweden, Danes, something earlier than1813? 1809 Saxons from Wagram. Someone stop me………

  13. Blancard said

    I’d like to see some French Young Guard, they were so much involved in the years 1813-1814!
    great news anyhow. Good luck!

  14. Martin said

    Wow guys, less than 24 hours since I wrote this posting and already your collective imaginations are running riot. You’ve made some really intriguing suggestions, several of which give me food for thought. A few specific responses to some of your suggestions to keep your creative juices flowing and give you a steer about the way I’m thinking:

    @Helmut: given that this pack will only contain a limited number of figures, I’m not sure it could do justice to the Grenadier a Pied.

    @David: I’m so glad you like Prussian Landwehr but I think they are already so well covered by the Calpe range that I’d find it hard to add anything new and interesting. Having said that, that really applies to the infantry – there might be some possibilities for the cavalry.

    @Rob: yes, figures for command stands and other vignettes are a good candidate. The same applies for the Pommeranian National Cavalry because I know it’s a unit Peter F. does eventually plan to sculpt. Personality figures are also a suggestion worth considering.

    @Lord Hill: to be honest, I don’t have a personal interest in British forces so I think you may be out of luck.

    @Jeff: I knew I could rely on you to come up with some tasty suggestions. Several of these might make my shortlist.

    @Frazer: similar kind of comment to what I said to Helmut. This pack will only comprise a few figures, so doing ones for a whole specific unit would be challenging.

    @Ralph: your suggestions also appeal to me because they fit well with the limited number of figures we’re likely to be able to do and they’re also the sort of figure poses that would be really useful for collectors and gamers alike.

    @Dean: it is tempting to look at smaller nations but don’t forget that we’re talking about a few one-offs rather than a whole range, so I’m not sure about the usefulness of going down this route.

    @Blancard: I have a soft spot for the Young Guard but, as with Helmut and Frazer’s suggestions, I think the number of figures we’re looking at doing makes tackling the Young Guard unlikely.

    Having said all that, I think it’s only fair to start sharing some of the ideas that I’ve been having. I’ve been trying to work out what can be done with a small number of figures that is both interesting/unusual and useful on the wargaming table. The first idea I had was prone casualty figures. These could be French or Saxon of even Prussian (though the Calpe range already has these). My initial thoughts were for infantry casualties but they could be cavalry or artillery. My second idea was a pack of ragged ill-equipped Marie Louises to complement the Calpe French Route March Infantry. My third idea is potentially slightly cheeky: I know that Peter F. will eventually be doing both French and Saxon artillery, so I was wondering about a gun and crew as a preview of what will eventually come.

    Let me know if any of this sparks more ideas.

  15. John Michael said

    As I am doing a casualty project now, certainly casualties sound attractive to me. I would be interested in small 2 figure dioramas, where the figures are interacting with each other. Maybe your small run could include 2-3 (6 figures) of these small dioramas. Perry BH55 as one of what I am suggesting, but I would prefer them to be cast separately.

    John

  16. Helmut said

    Sorry, the moulds my caster made for me, holds 10 -14 miniatures, depending on the poses of the miniatures. My fault;-)
    Ok, now it is clear, that it should be a little, 3-5 miniatures theme, the grenadiers a pied and all other special regiments are indeed not the right choice.
    So my next suggestion would be a set of “Cantinières and Vivandières of the French Army”

    • Martin said

      Not your fault Helmut – I should have been clearer to start with. One of the reasons Peter F. achieves such clean casting results is that he plans the layout of mould very carefully and limits the total number of figures as well as grouping them thematically to optimise the effort he has to put into casting sessions. I expect we’ll get about eight figures into one mould (depending on the poses). So that might actually give us the option of two packs of four figures each, for example.

  17. Rob said

    Martin,

    Interesting ideas. Your second two ideas appeal to me personally much more… a pack of marie louises would be great (and very evocative of the 1813-14 period. Similarly, a pack of four saxons wearing their greatcoats would be excellent and would fit in with the musketeers we already have.

    As for your third idea, it would be great to get a preview gun and crew, especially for the saxons (I quite like the foot artillery uniform)… perhaps it could be a vignette of the crew changing a wheel or somethind similar to distunguish it from the regular range of artillery?

    Rob

    (still hoping for Pomeranian National Cavalry 🙂 )

  18. Hi Martin

    How about some of those missing landwehr uniforms – stovepipe shako, covered French Shako,the taller soft cap and the hornist for the “Fusilier” battalion?
    Also there’s no Grenadiers or Guard in the range.

    Cheers
    Andrew

  19. Matthew Coles said

    I was thinking of an artillery crane (not sure of the correct name) with the artillery men.

  20. yimpkin said

    O.K., off the wall suggestion, but how about a range of separate heads? Calpe is already noted for the wide range of figures/poses in the catalogue, but a range of spares for head swaps will increase this by a factor of God knows what and also allow collectors/gamers to make their own individual figures (although, admittedly, to a limited extent). It would, however, allow less common units to be represented and opting for heads rather than full figures should mean a larger number of separate heads available, so French as well as Prussian.

  21. ahoy Martin, Id love to see a von Zeiten and a Blucher figure which would give my ever growing army a bit of leadership,
    count me in for what ever you decide mate, ps you should have dropped in for a beer or 8 on your travels up here,
    always welcome 😉

    • Marco severino said

      Martin,
      I wholeheartedly subscribe to a vignette-type project, also given Peter F.’s renowned ability in this particular field: I regularly tremble every time I look at one of the lifelike Calpe Prussian staff groups which grace my (largely Calpe…) 1813 Prussian army. Would like VERY much something assembled around a long-desired Bluecher (in some evocative, energetic pose). Would also have liked old Yorck rending honours to the Leibregiment passing by, as by Knoetel, but we can already have it with the present “Alte Isegrim” figure, more or less…
      Fine, fine, I REALLY like this project!

      Marco

  22. Jeffrey Smith said

    Some good directions Martin, so I will reiterate – casualties for 1st and 2nd battalions of the 12th Regt, with some being assisted by their comrades.

    I have a couple of terrific models from Berliner Zinnfiguren (Pontoon Wagon and Field Forge) and so selfishly I would love to see some Engineers or Blacksmiths unloading/preparing/shoeing etc. It would be nice to see a sculpt with the pistol-armed Miners too.

    Perhaps a French skirmisher being captured by some Schutzen.

    I’ll be quiet now..

  23. Hello Martin. I saw your post and was tempted to put in a quick response suggesting Prussian Kuirrasieres, Saxon light Infantry/gunners/prone casualties but I managed to restrain myself. 8O)

    A day of potential thinking ended up being a day of no thinking on this topic but here goes some suggestions anyway …

    A chaplain administering the last rites
    A figure giving a drink to a prone casualty
    Some figures casually posed (infantry or a mounted hussar?) perhaps puffing on a pipe
    Dismounted cavalry figures
    Horse casualties
    Chefs cooking up a storm (probably not as the oven/stove would probably put this outside of scope)
    Some military police … though I suspect they don’t look that much different for the Prussians

    Salute
    von Peter himself

  24. Dean Burke said

    I see that Eureka Miniatures have just come out with a field bakery, wheelwright and shapeners and a Cantiniere and wagaon in 28mm. This also includes 1812 Saxon Garde du Corp and von Zastrow Kurrassiers (a nice little addition to the Saxons). There could be scope to expand off these.

  25. Burkhard said

    Ok I have been pondering this for more then a day now.

    I would love some Nationalkavallerie as well, but I think they would break the scope just like some of the other suggestions.
    The idea of French or Saxon (preview) artillery is great, but has a serious drawback for my taste… They would by useless by themselves. One needs a little variety in a three or four stand battery and a preview just would not cut that. So I personally would refrain from buying them until Peter releases his as well.

    I really liked Jeff’s suggestions, since much the same went through my head. Bur even a special vignette, would lack the extra special BfK flavour. But then an idea came to me (let me explain by example of Blücher pinned under his horse)… Blücher and his ADC are well known, but there are other people that could be in such a vignette (Prussian and French troopers riding around the scene, another officer donating his horse…). How about modeling some of these in the likeness of BfK’ers? This way it would be really unique and BfK special!

  26. Dave said

    Cantinieries come camp followers and soldiers relaxing in fatigues would be nice but that doesn’t really fit in with your plans for the table top, sooooo, maybe some RhineBund troops or Wurttembergers to guide PF gently towards the right post French options 😉

    Officers and NCO’s cajolling and/or ripping their troops to even greater efforts and staggered, kneeling and collapsing poses, either or nationality

    It doesn’t matter what because I’m going to love it anyway

    Beaut idea Martin, Huzzah!

  27. Alan Miggin said

    I think it is a great idea Martin but is it realistic? Bearing in mind that the Saxons still only have musketeers after 3 years, for example, wouldn’t Peter’s time be better spent completing those? If your figures were to be Saxon Artillery as you suggested that would be great. I think more special figures are a great idea but not at the expense of completing ranges that some of us have been patiently awaiting for years.

    • Rob said

      I think many of us would like to see more saxons, but i doubt that they sell as well as Prussians or French. So this project of Martin’s, rather than being a delay, could be a way to add small elements to the Saxon army on the side. Off the top of my head, Saxon Jager could be done (as most people would only need about 6 models at 1:20) as could a Brigade command vignette or an artillery vignette.

      I dunno… at the best this could bring more attention back to the saxon range and at the worst, it could get us a couple of small units or command to help with the wait for grenadiers and the like.

      Rob

    • Martin said

      Alan, I can see you concern but I don’t think this little project will be much of a distraction for Peter. The overwhelming majority of the time it takes Peter to create a new set (like the Saxon musketeers for example) is accounted for by research and planning. The actual sculpting of the figures is, relatively speaking, a smaller part of the process. Plus we’re talking about a modest amount of sculpting here – certainly less than would go into two packs. And each of Peter’s sets consists of many packs. The recent French Route March set, for example, is already up to 18 packs. So I think I can allay your fears about this causing much of a delay to the main range.

      As Rob points out, it could even end up complementing progress on the Saxons. I’ve already mentioned a couple of my ideas that might be relevant to the Saxons and Rob has, coincidentally, pointed out another possibility that is already on my list of candidates: that of doing the Saxon Jager company. This was a very small unit that could possibly be completely covered by six to eight figures in skirmish poses.

      The one area where your worries might come into play would be if I were to go off at a tangent and look to commission figures for which a significant amount of research and preparation would be needed. That’s extremely unlikely to happen.

  28. Jeremy Dorling said

    I was thinking a long the line of lines of Confederation of the Rhine troops as well (skirmishing Nassauers in campaign dress for the Peninsular would be my personal favourite but I expect to be in a minority of one here!).

    Some of the smaller states wore French style shakos and equipment (usually with the short sword) and Prussian style jackets the only real difference visible at 28mm size would be the shako plate. So put them in covered shakos and campaign trousers and they could work for quite a few minor states troops (Schwartzburg, Saxe-Weimar, Saxe Coburg come to mind immediately) also late war Baden.

  29. Rob Piercy said

    It would have to be Prussian Kuirassier, please don’t do the old guard everyone has them? Saxon firing line? French Skirmishers? Prussian corps commanders ie Kleist, just to name a few.

  30. Gareth said

    Everybody must have at least a couple of units of French Old Guard in their collection.

    • Marco severino said

      I heartily agree, and personally have a bit more than two…By the way, I’m much intrigued by the “Saxon hypothesis”: Jagers is what I dream of myself, I put playable figures (ie, the ones which can stand on my wargames table) before others.

  31. Saxon Jagers would get the official seal of approval from von Peter himself. It would be a long overdue bit of love for the Calpe Saxons. A single cannon and crew would be much less useful. Some Saxon staff would also be immediately useful, perhaps with a prone casualty … or two.

    The Steve Barber Saxons don’t do it for me at all – a personal choice thing – so some more Saxons more to my liking would go down a treat for this Saxon affection-ado.

    Salute
    von Peter himself

  32. Dean Burke said

    Saxon artillery would be good as Calpe stables has already made the canon, but just waiting for production. Saxon Jäger and casualties also good.

  33. dave davies said

    i find the book soldiers and uniforms of the napoleonic wars by francois hourtoulle very inspirational.On page 129 a picture shows a group of the 30th chasseurs at rest in Hamburg. A group of figurs would make a woderful vignette. the figures could be of the above regiment or maybe saxon horse with heavies and lights depicted prior to leaving on their summer holiday to russia os changing sides in 1813. and if enough room in the mould a neapolitan rearing horse statt finial.

  34. Jeffrey Smith said

    More thoughts on some beloved Prussians:

    Standing-pose drummer, officer and standard bearer for use in a firing line.
    Feldjaeger casualty with French pursuers rifling through his despatch case; or perhaps he could be standing next to his dead horse making a last stand against an oncoming French cavalryman.
    Who did the scouting? Whoever it was..some of them please. Maybe in pairs, one dismounted looking for sign on the ground and the other looking ahead through a telescope, or maybe a pair have come across a crossroads sign and look like they can’t agree on which way to go (include the sign).

    This is fun.

    Cheers,
    Jeff

  35. Kawe said

    Martin,

    That’s fantastic news. I am indeed looking forward to what you gents will come up with.
    Good luck with the joint-venture.

    Kawe

  36. […] Comments Kawe on Time to reflectDarren on Drum roll pleaseJeffrey Smith on Time to reflectBurkhard on Time […]

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