Tuesday 28 February 2023

Pine Trees

Hi everyone. Here we are with another post, this time the pine trees I made for the Bohemia 1866 setup. I also made fir trees and the coniferous wood bases onto which both go, which will form the subjects of two later posts. I took the photos of both kinds of trees, then selected and cropped these images before realising I hadn't posed any figures with them. I know you chaps like to see that, but this time we'll have to do without.

I made these trees maybe 11 years ago, and for some reason, perhaps not unrelated to advancing age, I can't remember too much detail about how I made them. Roughly what you are seeing here is trunks made from dowel, topped with branch-ey parts made from twigs and / or Woodland Scenics tree armatures(?) The dead lower branches are lengths of wire, inserted in holes drilled through the trunk. The branches were then expanded by gluing on small pieces of well teased-out rubberised horsehair. The leaves/ needles were mostly static grass. I think I could do that element somewhat better now as I have a powerful grass applicator and could perhaps source short, dark green static grass more easily. But there we are, because I made over 40 pine and fir trees and I'm not fixing to do any more in the near future!

Those who've followed my blog may remember me saying very firmly that I thought it unwise to research individual species of trees, beeches, elms and what-not, because that was a trouble that wouldn't add anything to the appearance of the wargames table. But when it came to coniferous trees I thought this principle needed to be contravened, because we all have at least vague concepts of the things in our heads. Scots pines are one thing, Christmas trees quite another! So I did look into different coniferous types. The upshot is they come in roughly four flavours, at least in Europe: pines, firs, spruce and larch. The latter two have drooping foliage, which could be modelled with the (expensive) materials produced by Mininatur in Germany, but I preferred to stick with the other two. 

So pines are the ones with long trunks and bushy foliage at the top. The lower trunks are greyish and very rough, but that on the upper, growing parts is smooth, and quite a bright brown in colour. So that's what you've got here, as best as I could do it. One more feature that seems common with conifers is dead areas, caused either by insects or by lightning strikes. I modelled one such patch by fixing on a sagebrush twig. As usual I've made some trees on bases and other mounted on pins; both are useful for the wargames wood. 

As I have already photographed the fir trees, a post showing them should be up a bit more promptly than this one. Hopefully a week or two hence.

Thursday 2 February 2023

The Complete Bohemian Village Units

Once again it's been a few weeks since I've managed a post on here, and once again the excuse is that I've been working hard on my Franco-Prussian War rules. What also didn't help me get around to it was knowing this post was going to be quite a lengthy job. I wanted to  put together all the Bohemian buildings in their village units as intended, and also show the 1866 figures that haven't yet been featured. You've seen my Austrians more or less, and some of the Saxons and Prussians, so here are the rest. Come to think of it, my Prussian cavalry and staff still seem to have escaped the net. But I've still got to photograph some coniferous woods made for this campaign, so will drag the missing figures in there. And then I'll be done with showing my past work and we will be moving on to new efforts and the long-promised tutorials. 

These shots show pretty much what I wanted to do with the appearance of 1866 wargames. The soft greenery and the dull colours of thatch and woodwork set off the bright uniform colours rather nicely I think. 

Prussian infantry  of IR58 double through a Bohemian village.

Here and in the next photo Saxon infantry of the Life Brigade march though another settlement at a more measured pace. In 1866 the Saxons managed the trick of gaining praise from both Austrian allies and Prussian enemies without either suffering great casualties or particularly knocking themselves out. 

Saxon flags were remarkably consistent over the years: a coat of arms and an elaborate border did the job distinctively. On the other hand they managed to get through five uniform colours between 1735 and 1867: red coats, white ones for a long time, green briefly, mid blue here and finally dark blue! By the way, my Saxons are all conversions, mostly from Perrys plastic French and ACW line infantry.

Here the Saxon second brigade defends a chateau. Like most of the German states each brigade comprised four line battalions and one of Jaegers.

And here are the Jaegers, apparently defending the rear of the same village. You've seen this stand before, but I like the poses, so not apologising.

Here a Prussian brigade defends another village.

Thes figures are mostly Helion/ North Star 1866 figures, but there's some heavy conversions amongst them.

Another unit marches steadily towards the foe, although the general wants them to hurry up. He's coverted from a Perry ACW general. Such chaps are rich conversion fodder for Prussian staff as they share both frock coats and copious facial hair.

Saxons defending again. Probably the secret of their good reputation and low casualties was that they did a lot of defending rather than headbanging bayonet charges like their Austrian allies.

Prussians defend yet another village, no doubt against a hopeless bayonet charge. At least they are taking a bit of Austrian artillery fire.

And in the last three photos is my 1866 Baden division. Not many wargamers have one of them, I think it's fair to say. I started to do the German Federal armies for this period, but only got as far as the Badeners, who are quite easy conversions from Austrian infantry. 

Both brigades were made up in the way described above, ie four line battalions and one of light infantry. The Badeners only had one Jaeger battalion, so made up the shortfall with a Fusilier unit.

It's a colourful period, isn't it?