Tuesday, September 18, 2012

A funny thing happened on my way to the casting pot

Actually,I had a fairly productive session last weekend, a full company of infantry and 1/2 a company of grenadiers. Very few rejects, they came pouring (sic) out of the mold with muskets and feet intact. It was only during painting that I noticed that nearly 1/2 are a little vague about the facial features, a frequent issue I have when home casting, some combination of venting, choice of metal and temperature etc. It also suggests that I need better lighting where I cast so I notice these things. Luckily it seems that once painted and placed on the table en masse a slight vagueness to some noses doesn't seem to spoil the over all effect. However, while sorting molds, I had to handle a number of my Zinnbrigade molds and thought " must do some more of these". (uh oh)

 When I rebased my 1812 figures and decided to focus them on small actions, skirmishes in non-wargaming terms, I thought perhaps my fictional 18thC armies could take on the role of pitched battles with a table full of horse, foot and guns. With the proposed 15cm frontage, a 2 company, 40 figure battalion would take up less than 10" of space if the officers took post in a supernumery rank. This would allow me to field opposing armies including a total of 16 regiments! A plethora of uniforms to choose from or design!

Since that heady moment, a few questions have arisen. Some were practical such as the advisability of using my standard washers though this would expand the frontage of my units and limit the number of figuress that I can field, as well as the ease of casting and painting the Zinnbrigade figures compared to the Prince August figures, especially the Caroliner range. Others were game oriented  as I contemplated Charge!, written for the late 18thC with its columns and skirmishers, in other words my favorite 18thC period, the French Revolution, and my armies, dressed for the less flexible days of the linear warfare of the Austrian Succession. I also thought once again about the low probability that I would ever take even 16 infantry companies abroad let alone 32. Suddenly it seemed that perhaps I should just bring my armies up to 8 companies a side, enough for a game and look elsewhere for the big battles.

Of course this meant not adding 4 red coated National regiments to the King's army, in fact, given the existing regiments and the need for some Grenadiers, suddenly there seemed little maneuver room at all! So how to add national flavour, minimize both new painting and side lining of existing figures and at the same time maintain the story line of intermittent civil war between those who supported the foreign Queen Mother and nationalist support for the young King? Not for the first time my mind turned eastwards. I already had light infantry in Hungarian caps as well as uhlans, hussars and Pandours. Flipping open my Kannik to the Wars of Polish and Austrian Succession, I noticed for the first time in years the Hungarian Kokenyesd Regiment. Ahhhh yes, it was not until 1749 that the Hungarian line regiments were dressed in white coats and tricornes. Prior to that they wore felt or fur caps and bright colours, like the later Croat or Grenz light infantry. Perfect! Why shouldn't the native Rosish  units do the same?

Hopefully Greg won't mind me stealing  borrowing this image from his blog.

Now it also seems to me that I already have a surfeit of light troops for the period, so to save on painting, I am proposing to myself to elevate the Prince Michael Pandour Border Regiment from Militia/Light Infantry to line infantry. To be honest, they haven't exactly distinguished themselves as skirmishers anyway and it would only need 9 figures and a flag. This would only leave me 1 new regiment and 2 grenadier companies to raise. So, tall caps and bright trousers for the National Regiment, the only questions are red coats and blue pants or blue coats and red pants, and am I willing to convert 40 mitres to fur caps with a bag or shall I go for tall felt like caps such as I did for the Pandours in no time at all?  I did think about busbies for the Grenadiers at least but I think I will go for the sort of bearskins worn by MacDuff's Grenadiers which they will be brigaded with. I have a 1/2 company of Grenadiers in mitre 1/2 painted already so I think I will finish them for the Queen.

Once all that is done and my table expanded, I can contemplate whether I should add more exotic units or just go quietly back to the 19thC.



  1. Ross, I have encountered that issue with the Zinnbrigade molds as well. Not that I have a lot of experience with the Zinnbrigades relative to the PA casting, but I also noticed the vague facial thing. It seemed like the crispness of the castings tailed off after a while although still useable.

    PA seems to be more of a distinct pass/fail proposition for me: either the man (or horse) comes out perfect or a clear cut reject for something like missing part of a leg, or a weapon fails to pour completely to the extremity. By now, I have cut extra channels in most of my PA molds.


    1. Steve, most of my PA are cut up as well, I realized after the fact that this is a mold that the particular mold is one that I haven't really used in earnest before. But I do have a few where the problem comes and goes.

  2. If French Revolution is a favorite, perhaps we should be working on building up from the Scarlet Pimpernel project?

    1. Oh no, I do not have another set of Charge! armies in me. Besides I would hope never to be so pedantic as to fuss over uniform details or tactics in a set of fictional wars between imaginary countries. I just wanted to paint something different but still have a consistent look to the Rosmark armies.

      But once the Rosmark forces are complete, if I start a 2nd country, I'll focus on the Rosbach molds of troops with open coat over the belt and issue white small clothes, white belts and black gaiters for a very different look. However, I'm quite liking this Slavic frontier thing, better than getting sidetracked into Turks. Looking at the Charge! points list, a battalion (2x12) of militia is roughly equal to a company of Grenadiers or Light Infantry. I just pondering King Michael raising emergency forces from the peasantry, a mix of frontier light infantry and masses of militia who will charge in column since they can't shoot worth a damn!

      When you break down the Regimental pts into company pts,

      1 HC/LC = 1 Gren or lt inf = 1 gun = 1.5 infantry = 2 militia.

      Might be useful for balancing scenarios.

    2. When I was translating scenarios for Historicon this year, I ended up using 1.5 line companies or squadrons, 0.75 guns, or 1 light company per unit, with the one Grenadier company available used as a final balance weight on a gut feel level. It is similar, but based more on what I had available than on a point comparison, even though I am aware of the estimated points values.