EXCERPT FROM APPENDIX 1 from Don Featherstone's Battles With Model Soldiers
(The book that got me started.)

"Nothing in these pages is a dictate, no word says you must or you shall do it this way. On the contrary, the book sets out from the very beginning to stimulate the reader to think for himself, and to use what he has read merely as a foundation for efforts and ideas which reflect his own temperament and character. Only in this way will he obtain maximum satisfaction from the hobby of battling with model soldiers."

-Don Featherstone 1918 - 2013

Thursday, March 15, 2018

The Blue Guards are ordered to the Front

The Blue Guards, which I painted c 2007/8, were one of my first units of gloss toy soldiers.
(Two of them may be just seen in the top right hand corner of the blog header picture. Apparently they are camera shy since I am having trouble finding good pictures of them from their first 10 years of service)


Ever since I  took the  rash step four years ago of painting my first WW1 troops since my pre-wargaming Airfix days, and then resurrecting my 54mm Toy Soldiers, I've been torn about what to do with my redundant late 19thC units . I did try mixing the drab and coloured units but it never felt convincing. Both the shortage of shelf space and the presence of more active wargame periods than my brain can handle has been bothering me so I have been slowly de-converting and rebadging various units to earlier or later periods but the Blue Guard have remained. Until now!

The Blue Guards in their new uniforms,
waiting for the grass to grow.


Since I need at least one more German unit for Huzzah! I decided to modernize them. The obvious, technically correct, and logical step would have been to strip the paint but, well, logic and I don't really get along unless a debate is in progress. If I stripped them, it would probably be as easy to just melt them down and cast new ones but either way, their little faces would be changed and they would no longer BE the Blue Guard. They would just be another anonymous field-grey unit.

Once again David Nash came to my rescue with a picture of a German soldier in a parade version with field grey uniform with red facings very like the Blue Guards wore, with the same black belts, boots and uncovered helmet. All I would have to do is paint over the tunic and trousers, touch up the leather and facings and there they would be with the same cheery, weathered faces shining up at me.

Archive photo of various Oberhilse uniforms including a Guardsmen in front.

OK so a little incongruous in action in 1914 but no more so than any clean, glossy, toy soldiers and very much in keeping of my vague idea of opposing armies based on what someone had found on the shelves in Eaton's or Ogilvy's back in the day.

20 comments:

  1. Ross- Certainly very nice figures in the gloss- looking forward to their exploits in a future miniature battle. Well done. Cheers. KEV.

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  2. They look very smart in their new uniforms , ready for action ! .

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  3. They look good. I wouldn't look on them as being 'incongrous' - they seem to n=be perfectly good WW1 toy soldiers to me.

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    1. Well, so they are, but they will be the only unit in full dress.

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  4. Fabulous. One can imagine the Prussian General Staff running a kriegspiel with figures looking rather like these.

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    1. Yes I suppose camouflage covers would not be acceptable.

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  5. Some of the figures in photo #2 look like Mex-Am figures. Could it be?

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    1. No, and yes. I did a what-if Aroostock War game. I had been expecting the uniforms to be wide topped shakos and dark blue coatees but it turned out it was just late enough for the new light blue fatigue uniforms and forage caps as worn in the Mexican War. The figures were conversions of Scruby ACW.

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    2. umh, except for the artillery and Blue Guards, they weren't part of the Aroostock game.

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  6. Ross Mac,

    I think that the new uniforms look very smart indeed. I know that some Landwehr and Landsturm wore blue uniforms during the early part of WW1, and one would expect that Guards might well have gone to war in a parade version of the field grey uniform.

    All the best,

    Bob

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    1. I had seen pictures of the Landwehr in dark blue and shakos but my old Guards needed something more elite!

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  7. I think the figures look great as they are!

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  8. Historical licence is de rigueur for war games enjoyment. If it feels right it is right. I've made my Napoleonic 73rd Perthshire into a Highland unit even though it had ceased to be one, and my British Guardsmen and Fusilier wear anachronistic bearskin hats. Withal, my British army is a Peninsular War Army using Waterloo units. Yet my Horse carry guidons, which they didn't in Spain and Portugal.

    Reason? Accessibility of flags. Gotta have flags. Besides, the entertainment value of a soi-disant purist having an apoplexy is not lightly to be foregone.

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