Thursday 12 January 2023

Bohemian Chapels and Shrines

Today's post shows the various chapels and shrines I built for the Bohemia 1866 setup. The land was crammed with such Catholic symbols, in villages and by the roadside. In this post they are something of a prop for more of my heavily-converted 1866 figures.

We start with a chapel, made by the "cannibalise a plastic kit" method discussed last time. The gun is a 12-pounder smoothbore of the Saxon horse artillery. The Prussians and pretty much all the German states equipped their horse artillery with such guns, fancying they would mount "grapeshot charges", but the tactic was a non-starter in the face of Austrian rifled artillery.

Another chapel, made in the same sort of way. This gun is a Saxon 6-pound rifled breechloader. The foot artillery of all the German states comprised these pieces and smoothbore 12-pounders, in a 50:50 mix. The 6-pounder barrels were made by Krupp, but each state built its own carriages to mount them on.

Even a village might have a religious statue like this. The figure on top came from the Faller set of religious details. Austrian Jaegers pose by the statue. I converted them from Perry ACW firing line guys. There is a teeny bit of evidence that, unlike the line infantry, the Jaegers sometimes fought in their "proper" uniform rather than the drab greatcoat, so I needed no more excuse.

Here a Saxon general and a mounted colonel pass a little model of a cross and a "village bell". Bohemian villages, presumably the ones lacking a church, invariably had such a bell. I think its function was to summon the villagers in the event of a fire or whatever.

Saxon Jaegers fight there way into a Bohemian village, past one of the many varieties of shrine. You may just be able to make out a statue behind the grille. The figures started life as plastic French Napoleonic voltigeurs.

Another village, another shrine, another battalion of Saxon Jaegers. 

And another shrine, this one recognisably in the local version of Baroque style. Beside it stands the the commander of my 1866 Prussians, General von Steinmetz. He wears his famous oilcloth-covered field cap, which he'd worn in the Napoleonic wars as a young officer! Steinmetz was a dead loss in the Franco-Prussian War, but in 1866 he was the hero of the army. He led his V Corps to defeat three successive Austrian corps on three successive days, whilst uttering bon mots under the heaviest fire! Accompanying him are his chief of staff and a dismounted officer of the Guard Cuirassiers. The latter wears an odd but characteristic outfit: bronzed cuirass, field cap, high boots and a frock coat turned back in Seven Years War style! His horse is held by a trooper of the Feldgendarmerie.

The heroes of the Austrian army were the gunners. Here we have a the massed corps artillery: a 4-pounder battery, a double battery of 8-pounders, a double battery of horse 4-pounders, the rocketeers and the artillery commander. These two shrines are mounted on pins.


  1. Beautiful work on both the converted figures and the various religious symbols John....awe inspiring as always!

  2. Cracking work on those shrines etc John, which we used to see all over the place when in Austria, either by the roadside or near to isolated farms or hamlets. Lovely figures and conversions too, which is one of the joys of gaming with the larger scales.

  3. A visual treat - both the soldiers and the buildings etc. Thanks

  4. Very nicely built, painted and photographed. Any more news on the rules? When you reference the units illustrated you imply that the rules will be very large scale. Is that the case?
    Chris (Canada)

  5. Fantastic work - the figures and scenery are all wonderful. Shrines are a great example of small, simple(?), pieces that can really add some flavour to a scene.

  6. Thanks, guys, as ever.

    Chris, thanks for asking about the Franco-Prussian rules. There is no progress towards publication; I haven't really given that aspect much more thought. On the other hand, I have continued to develop the rules themselves. The basis is one stand of six figures being a battalion of almost a thousand men, although the game units are most commonly regiments, so 18 figures on six stands. Obviously this approach doesn't produce units which are individually as impressive as those of 30 or 40+ figures, but my intention is primarily to be able to refight the actual battles that inspired me. Anyway, I am happy to email a copy of the rules as they stand to anyone who asks, so contact me via the profile page if you are interested.

  7. Absolutely stunning ! Well done