Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Digression: Questions and Answers

In which I answer some questions, and ask some others, and make random comments.

First off, a thank you to Bill of TMP, for having posted my two blogs onto TMP's news! Also, a thank you of course to Dayton Painting Consortium, for making such lovely figures. I'm now itching to ditch everything else this week and just paint. ;)

Answers to previous post comments:

1) Jeff and Miniwargamer ask what color scheme I'll be using for this regiment. Answer: I'm dithering at the moment. My initial plan was to go with the von Lintzer Musketeers, a solid line regiment with a color scheme of gray uniform, yellow facings. I'm very tempted, now that they're here, to paint up a Guards unit with Andrea Blue coat, gray trousers, and...an undecided facing color. I had white in the initial color scheme I did with the template, but I'm starting to think I'd like a brighter color for the first Guards unit.

2) Regarding undercoating, I'm still debating whether to use the black Plasti-Dip, or go with the white gesso that I recently discovered was in a drawer. :> Two good friends, who've both painted competition miniatures for fantasy each use the opposite color, but a third did give an interesting analysis. If you want your colors brighter, use a white undercoat. If you want them darker, use a black undercoat. Whichever color I go with, I *do* intend to undercoat these. As Jeff observed, I didn't undercoat the warrior frogs. This was a purposeful decision on my part, because I was working with limited time, and the survivability of their paint coat wasn't important to me. I was just using them as test figures to practice painting with acrylics and brush on metal...something I've never done before.

Question for Stokes: What's the pose breakdown of your Grand Duchess' Own regiment? How many figures in a company for your regiment? Do you use one "Officer with Spontoon" per company, or some other division? I counted at least 3 in your original photo of the group layed out.

Questions for all:

1) For the SYW period, what position and rank would one expect for an officer with spontoon, an officer on foot with sword, and a mounted officer? I'm trying to decide what kind of officer mix I want for my regiments.

2) For a multi-battalion regiment, do you typically use a mounted officer for *each* battalion, or only for the regimental colonel?

3) For the SYW period, did Grenadier officers wear the normal tricorn, rather than Grenadier caps? RMS95 only seems to carry the officers in tricorns for Prussians, so I'm wondering if this was the norm.

4) I'm tempted to use one officer with spontoon per company in my regiments, which would give a total of 5 (4 for the line companies, 1 for the grenadiers). Does this seem reasonable? Is it too much? What role did those with spontoons play in the historical regiments?

Additional comments:

Still reading? I'm doing some revision in my thinking on unit sizes, in two areas. First, as some of you had already picked up on, I wasn't realizing that the count of 36 in a bag *included* the command troops. The actual count in my current pack is 28. This means I have 4 leftovers at present, from the Musketeers. At that rate, I won't make 3 battalions out of every two packs, obviously, as I was thinking. Rather, that's 7 battalions out of every 6 packs. So when I have some time, I'll be running some calculations to decide the best way to assemble the regiments I want.

As this doubtless extends to the cavalry as well (anyone have a cavalry pack breakdown?), I may take Alte Fritz's advice, and increase the projected size of my cavalry regiment as well.

I'm seriously pondering ordering a bag of Grenadiers to form the von Platzen Grenadiers, with leftovers going towards the grenadier company of my next line regiment. Incidentally, even though I've been speaking of battalion and regiment as sort of interchangable, I'm planning to have multi-battalion regiments once I've gotten some of the initial battalions underway. With a limited budget, however, I want the change to field multiple regiments first, purely so I can play with the fun paint schemes.

Any other random suggestions, painting tips for a newbie, etc?


MiniWargamer said...

I will be using mtd COs for all of my battalions as I will be using the british oriented regimental formations. I like the pageantry of the era so will be doing more units with differing uniforms.

On officers - Duffy states that the Prussian regiments had around 1700 people which included 50 officers and 160 NCOs. That works out to about a 1 to 30 ratio. If you use Grant's morale rules, you'll probably need more.

Bluebear Jeff said...

First, to further complicate the priming choices, I'll let you know that I generally "black prime" then do a quick white "damp brush" over it. This leaves the raised areas white and the recessed areas dark.

Remember, you can order "bags" without command from DSP. Also, I believe that a Cavalry bag generally has 1 officer, 1 musician and 10 troopers . . . at least that's what mine have been.

-- Jeff

Stokes Schwartz said...

Hmmm. Let's see, My regiment numbers about 63 figures:

3 companies of one officer with spontoon, a drummer, a sergeant and 16 grenadiers each. The drummer, sergeant, and grenadiers all have mitre caps. All officers wear bicornes

A regimental "staff" consisting of:
1 mounted colonel
1 officer with spontoon
1 standard bearer (a 25mm MiniFig)
1 officer w/walking stick
1 officer pointing and charging
1 RSM (Oberfeldwebel Klatschen)

Although I've named them the Leib (Grand Duchess Sonja's) Grenadiers, this regiment is in fact a reproduction of Brigadier Young's Erbprinze Regiment in uniform colors and organization -- but using RSM figures rather than Stadden/Tradition. Hope that helps.

Best Regards,


Stokes Schwartz said...

Another painting tip -- Depending on the size of your battalions, divide each one into three or four smaller groups and paint each group to completion before moving on to the next part of your battalion.

I discovered last summer that trying to do, for example, ALL of the faces, or facing colorse, or muskets stocks on 63+ figures at a time took forever. There's more rapid visual progress evident when you work with smaller sub-units.

I'd suggest basecoating all of them in one go, though, so at least that's finished. Try to find a safe, out of the way place where you can leave your figures in process and your paints/brushes set up. That saves you lots of time cleaning up/setting up for each painting session. It also keeps the project fresh in your mind every time you walk passeed. You're more likely to sit won and work on your figures that way than if thery are boxed up and on a high shelf in the hall closet!

Best Regards,


Bluebear Jeff said...


Obviously you don't have our cats . . . Princess' favorite game is knocking things onto the floor and then under heavy pieces of furniture.

-- Jeff

MurdocK said...

Regarding undercoating

I use mostly black floquil spray undercoat, it has great coverage in one spray layer, unlike many of the thinner ones that need 2 or even 6 coats to get proper coverage.

Floquil does not obscure any details on the minis (though you still have to watch for 'missing' undersides from your spray angle), and makes for a great 'grip' to both the metal and for the paint to attach to (so far even the paint only minis that have not been sealed have still not chipped any paint off - after 12 years for some of them!)

officer with spontoon: Company or subaltern officer

an officer on foot with sword: all of them carried these, but I suspect you may want to use them for Battalion officer (with a reduction of 33:1 or more).

a mounted officer: again many officers rode mounts (even into battle), but I suspect again that you are looking at 'showing off' this officer more and a regimental command or brigade commander are more suited to the mounted officer on the tabletop.

Grenadier officers
Rather than see them as 'grenadier officers' see them all as Officers of the crown. This way the differences in uniform style, cut and color become apparent. Officers, until at least the early 1900's were commissioned by the crown, regent etc and therefore were expected to serve in whatever capacity that the 'crown' deemed for them. This is very true of the 1600-1790's period. Therefore your 'grenadier' officer is simply an aggresive officer (or well-connected politically) whom has been graced with the command over grenadier troops.

Commonly the mitre caps were specific to a particular grenadier unit and were jealously guarded away from those whom did not 'warrant' their use, even from the officer ranks! Thus the RSM would be the only 'warranted' officer permitted to use the mitre cap by the men he commanded. The 'commissioned' officer whom broke these unwritten codes could suddenly find the proud grenadiers that he was expected to command would not respect his orders...

painting tips for a newbie

Start painting with a militia or regular line unit or 3 ... then do a line dragoon unit or 2 ... then an artillery battery ... then a brigade officer (do the officer and staff alone once all the other troops are finished), then repeat the troop painting cycle, line Infantry x4, cavalry, artillery, officer ... then do some grenadiers or guard unit.

This way your personal painting skills will improve over time, you will adjust and improve with each unit. By starting with some militia or regular line unit, they will be the 'plain' or 'basic' looking unit and your officers and guards will have a very 'shiny' and 'polished' look to them.

Just my two-bits.