Thursday 8 December 2022

Battles in Bohemia

After a little interlude, here is the next installment of stuff I made for the war of 1866 in Bohemia. To add interest I have posed the buildings with figures of both armies that I converted and painted.

The first building is what's called a Speicher in German, meaning a food store, meant to protect grain and other foodstuffs from damp and vermin. You get them in Bohemia and some parts of Germany. The principle is that the ground floor is built of stone and has no outside access. The only door is upstairs, accessed by steps, and there would be internal stairs leading down to the ground floor and up to another floor. The troops here are an Austrian 4-pounder, Infantry Regiment 15 and a brigade command group. The gun is scratchbuilt and the figures are all heavy conversions.

The roof of the Speicher was created out of a shingle roof from some German model railway kit. The infantry regiment is that named after the Duke of Nassau, whose name (Hzg. v. Nassau) you can see on the flag cover, worn over the standard-bearer's shoulder. As well as the general splendour of the Austrian colours, each had a magnificent collection of streamers and tassles. These figures started as Helion/ Northstar, but at the time they only had Hungarian infantry, so the trousers are done with Greenstuff. The arms and rifles come from a Perrys plastic ACW set.

Back to the Prussians. This is the other unit I did recently from the new Perry plastics, here in firing line poses. The sitting casualty figure is a North Star one, blended in with Perry details. The little buildings here are a bread oven and a planked shed, both mainly from German model railway items again. To be honest I don't really know if they had freestanding bread ovens in Bohemia, but it was such a nice model and compatible with the other buildings.

A closer shot of the Prussians. I do like to go to town with the bases these days, adding foliage tufts, long grass tufts and blending them in with static grass. I take a perverse delight in squeezing six figures and half the landscape onto each 45mm x 40mm base, because I have a downer on the modern trend for gi-normous bases, "overbasing" as I call it!

Here we have another feature of the Bohemian rural scene, a village inn. The portal or whatever you'd call it is common to virtually all inns there, and because they were thus marked out they mostly didn't bother to have a particular sign. This is odd, but it's what my research found. The hostelry is posed with a 4-pounder in aiming mode and a Jaeger battalion. I think these started life as Perrys Carlist War figures, but I did sculpt and cast my own heads for the very distinctive headgear.

The gun here is in loading mode, with the NCO "thumbing the vent". Junior NCO's wore this impressive arrangement of cords and pom-poms. The artillery branch of service was for centuries the pride of the Austrian army, and they did outstanding service in 1866, when the Prussian artillery was a bit rubbish. Something the Prussian/ German army was good at however was learning the right lessons, and they copied the Austrian artillery's methods in 1870, to decisive effect.

No sooner had I converted 30 Jaeger figures than North Star released perfectly nice figures for this troop type. so I had to have some of them too. The command base is Colonel Hertwek, who commanded a brigade at the battle of Skalitz bravely, although disastrously. Anyway, here we have the two types of well seen in the area, a well sweep for areas where water was just below the surface and the conventional wind-up type. This specific well was copied from a line drawing in Fontane's history of the campaign. Throughout the desperate action of Burkersdorf a village lad drew water for the hard-pressed Austrian defenders, and nice to relate, the trigger-happy Prussians managed not to injure him. The War of 1866 seems to have been conducted in a thoroughly gentlemanly manner, as wars go.