After various unfair leaks and false starts, the “proper” GMB Designs website is officially live. I got a nice e-mail from Grahame tonight and I’d like to wish him all the best with the new website. It really looks gorgeous and shows off his flags to spectacular effect. Well worth the 18 months of effort!
Posts Tagged ‘flags’
Posted by Martin on March 8, 2011
Posted by Martin on October 25, 2009
Most of October seems to have slipped by since the last time I posted anything new. But that doesn’t mean I haven’t been busy and it certainly doesn’t mean that the rest of the world has been idle either.
Barry and Clarence, as you may have noticed from a recent comment here on BfK, are now on the very cusp of publishing the Republic to Empire rules. Apparently the proofs are back from the printers, the presses are rolling and pre-orders will be available within a week.
Also, I seem to be in a modicum of demand. Rosemary of Rosemary and Co. has been in contact with me and we’ve had a very civilized correspondence. I’ve heard from several other painters that Rosemary makes excellent brushes at VFM prices so it was a pleasure to hear from her directly. I now have several review samples of her Kolinsky sable brushes that I’m going to try out over the coming weeks and review here.
So just what have I been up to? Well, mostly, I’ve been digging into the arcane mysteries of 1813 Saxon line infantry flags. You may recall that, in my review of the GMB 1811 Saxon flags, I mentioned that the history of what happened to these flags in the 1812 campaign and how the lost ones were replaced in 1813 was very complex. Well, it certainly was! But I think that a joint effort by Grahame Black, Peter F, me and a couple of our correspondents (thanks to Andrew Brentnall and von Winterfeldt) means that we’ve almost got to the bottom of it. And I know (again from another comment here at BfK) that Grahame has almost got the 1813 sets ready for release. So expect to see those reviewed here in the near future too. At that point, I might also share the results of our research and add it to the Saxon Army Resources page. But in the meantime, as a taster, the photo at the top of this post is of one of the flags that survives to this day.
Posted by Martin on September 28, 2009
I’ve had my samples of the new 28mm Saxon line infantry flags from GMB since July and my orignal plan was to couple a review of them with some detailed historical background information. Two things threw a spanner in the works. The first was the inevitable intrusion of real life in the form of the Summer holidays; the second was a realization that the history of these flags from 1811 onwards is complex and obscure.
So I’m only going to tackle the easy, undisputed bit of the history of these flags in this posting: in 1807, King Friedrich Augustus ordered new flags for his line infantry regiments. It wasn’t however, until 16th July 1811 that he was able to formally present these new colours to the line infantry regiments in a ceremony at Muhlberg. Following re-organization of the army, each of the eight regiments of line infantry comprised two battalions of musketeers and two companies of grenadiers. A flag was presented to each of the 16 battalions of musketeers. The first battalion of each regiment received an Leibfahne (white background); the second battalion of each regiment received an Ordinarfahne (background in regimental facing colour).
If it wasn’t for the 1812 campaign in Russia, then the story of these flags would have probably remained quite simple. However, by the time the remnants of the Saxon army limped home, according to most sources, ten of the 16 flags had been lost. Piecing together which ones, where they were lost, what happened to them and, crucially, whether and how they were replaced in time for the 1813 campaign is where the complexities lie.
Now Peter F. and I are (with the help of several kind correspondents) slowly researching these questions and we hope to soon have access to several of the most reputable sources on the subject. In the meantime, Grahame’s first batch of flags cover those issued in 1811, so it seems suitable to press on with a short review of them here.
Above you can see a picture (converted to black and white to avoid naughty people exploiting Grahame’s hard work) of Pack SA5 which includes both the Leibfahne and the Ordinarfahne for the Prinz Maximilian regiment. The other packs cover 1811-issue flags the other seven line infantry regiments and there’s a gap in the numbering sequence which I presume is for the Lieb Grenadiers. In due course, I think Grahame hopes to make more flags to cover those issued to regiments that lost theirs in Russia.
The regimental facing colours were red, blue, green and yellow and interpretation of the precise shade is open to some conjecture in each case. For example, Grahame has chosen a darker mustardy yellow for the Prinz Maximilian regiment whereas, given the choice, I would have opted for a paler shade. That’s based on having sight of plates from Hottenroth’s 1910 book Geschichte der sächsischen Fahnen und Standarten (more of which on another occasion). But that’s a minor quibble and a personal preference.
There is, though, one historical error common to all the flags in this batch: the reverse and obverse of the flags are swapped the wrong way round. To be fair to Grahame, this is something he knows about and I know he’s been doing some soul searching about whether he should correct it. On the one hand, he’s as much a seeker of historical accuracy as Peter F.; on the other hand, he was a little worried about having to deal with customers who believe widely available English language sources that have perpetuated this error. I’m sure Grahame will read this and let me know which route he intends to follow. Plus, chances are that few people who look at your Saxon battalions won’t be knowledgeable enough to spot the mistake. Just don’t invite Peter F, Grahame or me to inspect your troops 🙂
Even German sources vary about some of the smaller precise details of the flags and the only way to be sure would be to be able to inspect the originals (where they still exist). So Grahame has had to make choices about which sources to follow – a tough decision because these are peculiarly detailed flags with many file details and variations. All of which also calls for a high level of draftsmanship and that’s where Grahame really excels. As usual with his products, the amount of detail that he packs into an area less than 30mm by 30mm is astounding.
So, overall then, Grahame’s produced a set of flags that uphold GMB’s reputation for making the best 28mm Napoleonic wargames flags on the market. And, barring minor issues, he’s achieved this while having to wrestle not only with the complexity of the design of these flags but the obscurity of historically accurate data.
Posted by Martin on July 18, 2009
And last night was one of those sometimes because I got a couple of messages that made my day.
The first message was from Grahame Black (of GMB flags fame) to let me know that he’s completed work on flags for all eight 1811-15 Saxon line infantry regiments and he’s now working on the ones for the Lieb Grenadiers and researching the old 1802 flags (some of which were issued to battalions in 1813 as replacements for those lost in Russia in 1812). Each pack contains two flags: a Leibfahne and an Ordinarfahne. The Leibfahne was on a white background carried by the first battalion of the regiment; the Ordinarfahne was on a background in the regimental colour carried by the second battalion of the regiment. Other details of these flags and their histories are complex and sometimes disputed so I’ll save them for another time. In fact, Grahame says in his e-mail that he’s going to send me samples for review, so that’ll be the ideal time for me to go into all that.
The second message came from Dan at Wargames Illustrated to say that he’s checked over the article I’ve written for him about collecting a late Prussian Napoleonic wargames army and he’s really pleased with it. I’m basking in the glowing comments he’s sent me and I can’t resist quoting him here (sorry but it’s not every day you get sent something like this):
“It’s a great fully rounded read that manages to cover all aspects of a complex issues i.e. army structure, command and toy soldiers – everything a potential Prussian gamer would be interested in, and no padding.”
There’s more but I think I’ve stroked my own ego quite enough for one Saturday lunchtime. The article is scheduled to appear Issue 264 which will be published in September and the plan is for it to be illustrated with photographs of Peter F’s collection of his own Calpe figures.