Befreiungskriege 1813-14

Painting and modelling 28mm Napoleonic wargaming miniatures

Taking shape

Posted by Martin on September 11, 2012

I was at Colours 2012 last Sunday. Normally, this would herald a show review style posting at some point during the following week replete, if you’re lucky, with examples of my dubious photographic skills. However, this year, no such report will be forthcoming. That’s the bad news… Now for the good news…

As usual, going to Colours was an opportunity to meet up with Peter F. and catch up with developments at Calpe Towers. I know quite a few of you keep asking about what’ll be next off the production line, so let’s deal with that before I move on to the main topic for today. As you might have noticed from my previous posting, some charging Prussian musketeer packs are the next thing we’ll be adding to the website. Following that, French march-attack infantry are due to go into production moulds and then attention will, I think, turn to French and Saxon artillery. Somewhere in the mix are re-modelled Prussian dragoons.

Over lunch (yes, the catering at Colours has actually improved at last), conversation turned to plans for the BfK Limited Edition set of figures. The main thing we achieved was to focus in on what I call the boundary conditions. In other words, the practical limits on the project that mean it won’t become a burden for Peter to the detriment of Calpe core activities. This was useful because we were able to establish three parameters that will inform the final choice of theme and figures for the pack:

  1. Number of figures: Peter is concerned not to let the project take up too much sculpting time. That’s his prerogative, especially since he’s offered to do the actual sculpting work for free. So this means that the pack will be limited to four figures.
  2. Fit with the Calpe range: we discussed a lot of the suggestions that you have been kind enough to make along with my own ideas and it emerged that several of them were things that Peter plans to do as part of the main Calpe range anyway, so we think it’ll be best to avoid those for this project. So the bad news is that things like Pommeranian national cavalry, casualty figures and the Saxon jaeger company won’t form part of this project; on the other hand, the good news is that these will turn up in the main Calpe range in due course.
  3. Make it special: the flipside of the previous item is that Peter’s keen to make the pack something special or unique or unusual. So that’s where the detailed head-scratching is now focussed.

Now, coming up with options for a “display piece” pack that fits the above criteria is actually quite easy. Almost too easy, in fact, and the trouble would be narrowing a long list down to a single final selection. But I still want to come up with a set that can also earn its corn on the wargaming table, and that makes the exercise more thought provoking. I spent all the journey home from Colours and most of the following evening reviewing candidate options and I thought it would be fun the “think out loud” here with you all. Below is a list of ideas that I’ve sent over to Peter F. to get his feedback. This by no means constitutes a final shortlist. It’s more of a discussion point along the journey. There’s plenty of time for things to morph based on how Peter responds and, indeed, on how you all respond to these ideas. So, here they are in no particular order:

  • A group of figures hit by a cannister volley. The Perrys have done this a couple of times for cavalry but I’m thinking more of an infantry group here. They might fit together well as a group based within a battalion. The nationality could be French, Saxon or Prussian but it would probably work best if it complemented one of the existing Calpe sets (e.g. the new charging Prussian musketeers).
  • A group of Marie-Louises taking refreshments from a cantiniere. They could be standing around and fairly ill-equipped. Some of the poses from Knotel Band XII Plate 24 could form the basis of this. I especially like the chap with resting his reversed musket between his shoulder and forearm. Little details like the cloth wrapped around the musket’s trigger are nice too. I’ve got this odd hankering to include a wounded figure with his arm in a sling as part of a pack like this.
  • A command group interrogating a prisoner. This gives an opportunity for a multi-national group and for the prisoner to be from an “exotic” unit.
  • A vignette based on a Knotel painting. There are probably quite a few options here but the one that sprang to mind was the painting of the incident involving “Crazy” Platen and the French lancer where the coup de grace was administered by a Lithuanian dragoon trumpeter using his instrument. Maybe you can think of some other candidates in a similar vein? One that I think has already been suggested is Johanna Stegen handing out ammunition to Prussian infantry at Luneburg.
  • An artillery crew of four figures doing something unusual that wouldn’t be covered by of the usual Calpe crew packs – for example, changing a broken wheel or moving a gun by use of a prolonge or the infamous bricole (if I could actually work out what one is!). This could apply equally well to French, Prussians or Saxons. There are also out-of-the-ordinary crew options to man guns already in the Calpe range: Russo-Prussian Legion, weren’t there one or two Landwehr batteries?
  • A group of cavalry troopers on scouting or picket duty. That could call for different poses possibly involving drawn carbines. Maybe even one trooper dismounted looking at tracks while his colleagues hold his horse for him. Again, this is derived from a suggestion made in an earlier comment.
  • A group of foragers/looters rounding up provisions from the unsuspecting local populace. The germ of this idea comes from a seemingly ever-popular set of Bavarian foragers done by Foundry.

So that’s a fair amount to sink your teeth into. Start chewing and let me know how it all goes down.


13 Responses to “Taking shape”

  1. Rob Kenny said

    Lots of great news from Calpe (especially Saxon Artillery and the long awaited Prussian Dragoons – can’t wait for those)

    As for the BfK special figures, I really like the idea of the command group interrogating a prisoner or Johanna Stegen handing out ammunition. The only other vignette I could suggest is Scharnhorst being carried from the field after being injured at Lutzen (the Rochling painting).

    My 0.02 cents. Looking forward to whatever’s chosen.


  2. Rob Kenny said

    One other suggestion… How bout a cantiniere and a surgeon dealing with a wounded marie-louise?

    I quite liked the prussian medical staff that Kawe produced and it would be great to see a similar French vignette!


  3. Hi Martin

    Lots of suggestions there and some really good ones. On the subject of unusual how about fleeing or routing troop, a field forge with blacksmith etc., or perhaps a surgeon set with stretcher bearers, Military police/provosts and prisoners?

  4. Jeremy Dorling said

    I like the cavalry troopers on picket – how about 4 dismounted troopers – of any type but Hussars would be my personal preference! 3 with carbines drawn – you could have one examining tracks and 2 others standing/crouching at the ready. The fourth figure would be the horse holder. I think that Calpe already sell suitable standing horses (although I am not sure if the saddles etc are attached to the figures or the horse)this would work both as a vignette and also for gamers.

  5. Hello Martin

    Thanks for the update out of Calpe Towers – it’s all rather exciting!

    Most of the ideas for the BfK Limited Edition set of figures are interesting. FWIW my particular favorites to date are artillery crew of four figures doing something unusual and the group of cavalry troopers on scouting or picket duty.

    Of course you then have the question of which nation to make the models for. Interesting! 8O)

    von Peter himself

  6. Jeffrey Smith said

    Hello Martin,

    I love the idea of a group hit by canister – how about an officer, standard bearer, drummer and or bugler being the unfortunate ones!

  7. Jeffrey Smith said


    Some other ideas:

    The Light Infantry could perform as Line when necessary, so for something unusual can I suggest Silesian Schutzen charging with fixed bayonets ala the Battle of Vauchamps against the French Guard Lancers.

    Because the guns of the artillery were their ‘colours’ I would see a desperate defence vignette of three gunners and an officer being very dramatic on the gaming table. They could be posed wielding a trail spike, ramrod and shovel with the officer slashing or thrusting with his sword.

    Morning or evening prayers with a chaplain and three kneeling figures.

    Von Lutzow challenging Blucher to a duel.

    Members of Von Thielmann’s Streifkorps capturing French cavalry.

    I still would like to see figures enabling the formation of a square, with all four kneeling in preparation to meet a charge. In combination with the existing casualty figures and firing/loading figures I think it could work.

    Keep up the good work and no matter what figures you come up with, count me in.

  8. Phil said

    I like all of these ideas. I’m not sure you are open to other ideas, but I’m always on the lookout for figures than can help denote unit status and figures abandoning their weapons and running away seem to do the job for routing units. Don’t know if that’s an interesting sculpt or not.

  9. eilroy1815 said

    I agree with Rob Kenny French medical staff similar to Kawe’s Prussians,

  10. Burkhard said

    I really like the last three ideas!

    If it was artillery in an unusual position… how about a a change of barrel with a crane (like the one in the R2E rules)?

  11. dave davies said

    how about the allied leaders at leipzig 2 emperors 1 king or blucher and wellington meeting after waterloo.

  12. Nick said

    How about the mistress of a senior officer? Maybe two! Plus a couple of maids on foot? According to Marbot, “All the army knew that Massena had brought Mme N_____ to Portugal with him. This lady, haivng crossed the whole of Spain in a carriage, and haveing remained at Salamanca during the sieges of Rodrigo and Almeida, thought fit to follow Massena on horseback as soon as he set out to march through a country impracticable for carriages”. I doubt he was the only one!

  13. Peter O'Brien said

    To add my tuppence worth I would second Dave Davies re the royal/Imperial entourage at Leipzig with Schwarzenberg doing his best to EXPLAIN a plan 🙂 Or What about Murat in Russia with an aide handing out trinkets to cossacks who have grounded their lances and stare at Murat in awe and respect??? a great example of buying your way out of trouble

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