Sunday, June 10, 2012

Plastic Prussians

It is always sad, I think, to see an army being abandoned by its owner.  Whether sold or ditched, clearly this army is now superfluous to requirements, and is worth less than whatever its owner may fetch for it, even if that is no more than freed shelf space.

For a number of reasons, a friend was divesting himself of between three and four hundred plastic Napoleonics, about 150 Prussian infantry, almost as many French foot, 60-odd horse and a couple of guns. 

I gather he was going the 15mm route (in keeping with a locally grown rule set in use for a current campaign).  At any rate, rather than see perfectly good troops heading for the tip, I took them on.  At once the French went to a new home, as you will see if you look at the 'Fist Full of Plastic' blogspot in the side panel to the right of this screen.  Meanwhile, I thought to look at the Prussians, not my favorite Napoleonic army, it has to be said,  but I already have a considerable Austrian army, and the beginnings of a Russian, not to mention a small British expeditionary force...
Well, they could do with a tidy-up, sure.  Successive earthquakes over the last 18 months an more had not been kind to these fellows, but they also had the look of a rush job to get them onto the table - an objective stymied by having to find accommodation in a house that wasn't broken  (Barry lucked out a bit there, having found a place with a sleep out that could be modified into a games room).   
Laying the stands out in groups of 6 in no particular order gave a picture of considerable 'unit character', no bad thing at all.  But the 2x2-figure bases need some work just to get them into a consistent size and shape and compatible with my own bases.  It seemed to me, too, that the overall effect was rather sombre.  These guys needed a little livening up.

Rather more than half way through the refurbishing process, and I think reasonable progress has been made in that direction.   First off,  I had to replace some of the bases as being too small.  I didn't want to mount the smaller base onto a larger, as that would have led to a different kind of inconsistency I didn't want.
I also found a few Frenchmen - including an eaglebearer - among the herrenvolk, and culled them out.  As it happened, I didn't get them all, and a few remain.  I am not all that unhappy about it, though, as wearing bits of enemy uniform were not unknown in any army. 
I also tried draughting them into Line and Landwehr units, with a 'left over' group forming a Grenadier battalion: the 2nd/9th (Pomeranian) Grenadiers.  The line and grenadier units received new flags (courtesy of the warflags site, in my view the go-to place for the wargames vexillologist).  A couple of the Landwehr units received white trousers, pants or breeches; the rest got a rather lighter grey than formerly.  The shakos received a white band around the top, and the Landwehr headgear (except for the Silesian shakos) a band above the peak in the unit colour.

The plumes of this small (16-figure) unit were made from cotton bud.  None too securely attached, I have no doubt that the plumes will disappear and gradually the shakos will be end up 'wrapped in black oilskin'.  Nor, as you see, are the units of consistent size otherwise: 4 of 24 and 2 of 20 making up 7 battalions (regiments) in all.
In building up my armies, I like every unit to have an identity, even if it's just a number.   I've never really cottoned to 'generic' units that can be 'anything' although that doesn't stop me enlisting this or that unit to 'stand in' for a completely different one when the situation demands (such as in historical refights).  The flags are chosen accordingly, although in this army, the Landwehr units lack these colourful additions.  Instead, I have identified them by uniform colour, and the differencing conventions adopted in the post 1806 Prussian army.


  1. good on you for rescuing that army. may they become happy in your possesion

  2. They'll do, I guess, though there's a fair bit of touching up to do, and the bases, of course. There's a unit of Prussian Heavy Cavalry to do as well, and I'm thinking about how to adapt some 'Polish' lancers as Prussian Uhlans. To round off the Prussian Corps, I'll probably want a unit of Jager, another of hussars, and then maybe a couple more guns...