Wednesday, 19 September 2018

Von Schlippenbachs Dragoons

Whilst I was away the basing department was busy finishing my fourth unit of Warfare Swedish horse. These are Von Schlippenbachs Dragoon regiment, a Baltic unit from Livonia which as well as fighting the Russians in the Baltic also took part in the battle of Poltava before being re-raised to carry on the fight in the Baltic.
This is the same unit that I used to review the Warfare figures individually, it does look the part although I was begining to regret trying to sqeeze three horses per base on in this formation, its not as easy as it looks!
Being Dragoons they were not always given the pick of the horses so I have chosen to add a greater mix of paler horse flesh colours into this unit. It includes some particular favourites of mine, the charging drummer being a case in point.
The below shot shows the flying wedge formation and just how tightly packed on the bases they are. They only just went on I can tell you.

I have a lot of variety in the Swedish horse uniforms on purpose but it is nice to get a standard blue faced yellow unit completed. I have another Dragoon unit to do and I am tempted to do them the same. Although the next lot will have shouldered swords.

The rear shots also show off the unit formation and the drum strapped to the drummers back.
So thats Von Schlippenbachs, possibly get a game report for our later Roman and Sassanid game next, lets see.

Thanks for reading.

Saturday, 15 September 2018


Tallinn was a real highlight for me. This was our third port of call and I was looking forward to it.The old walled Hanseatic City did not dissapoint. The architecture in the old town is amazing and the whole feel of the place is wonderful with cobbled streets and old gabled houses everywhere. It has seen a huge ammount of history being stuck between the Empire of Sweden, Russia and Germany it changed hands on several occasions, often more than twice in the same war.

The old medieval city has two parts, the old town inside its own city walls and the Toompea which is on a hill overlooking and connected to the city. Bizarrely the two were distinct with the old town being run by the Burghers and Guilds of the Hanseatic League and the Toompea housing the castle and govornment of Estoia but not having control over the old town. How this actually worked in practice is anyones guess.

This is one of the main gates into the old town protected by a large tower call Paks Margereeta, that translates apparantly as Fat Margaret!

 The market square below you might recognise from the the film Chitty Chitty bang bang. This where they filmed the children catcher scenes.
The first museum I came across was the Estonian museum in an old Burghers house just inside the main gates. It has a number of rooms dedicated to various stages of Estonian history. The armoury room was interesting. with cases of weapons across three walls and a small case of uniforms on the fourth.

Ths uniform case shows three different stages in the history of Estonia, the Swedish uniform was of course particularly interesting for me.

The Alexsander Nevsky Orthodox Cathedral is relatively new, I was keen though to share some of the architecture for those who might plan to game around the Baltic and wanted insipration for building styles.
St Olafs Baptist Church is interesting and I would guess more typical of the Baltic than some of the other buuildings. I got three angles of this in case I wanted to use it as inspiration for a Baltic church in future.

I saw this shop and couldnt help getting a shot, although I restrained from spending lots of money on toys!
This is the view from one of the viewing points on the Toompea which is the hill at the top of Tallin with its seperate walls (and originally seperate govornment!)
This large culverin is a replica of the original which is held in Moscow after being captured by the Russians in the 1600's.
The Kiek in de Kok artillery tower and the walls attached to it form two museums which you can visit together. The walls section held a number of exhibits but not a huge ammount of interest to us, the tower however was a different story.
A nice set of Thirty Years war armour, its original but the sword is a replica and as you can see is sat in the middle of the cafe for some reason.
A walk along the walls gives some nice views and this part of the wall has been renovated fairly sympathetically despite the modern glass windows.
A view of Alexsander Nevsky orthodox cathedral from a arrow slit in the city walls.
Below is St Nichlas's church which is quite North German in design, hardly surprising given the majority of the old towns medieval population were German merchants.
Inside the tower we are confronted by this chap, a dark age Estonian who looks to be wearing his dads armour, it doesnt fit too well does it?
A model of the city shows the seperate elements of the old town and the Toompea hill quite clearly.
This wa sa little odd, a model of eachof the original towers in the town wall plonked ont he floor so you can see how they would have looked. Odd.
This big old gun had a rennaisance crew that looked distinctly Landschnekt.
 On the third floor of the tower is a massive perspex cube with exhibits inside it and integral stairs, its quite cool. The exhibits are quite eclectic, below was an interesting one as it shows the bow and arrow case used by Tarters.
This gun and gear has a dinstincly naval look to it, but then it is a port so thats OK.
These broad swords are a different era to the hunting cross bow and have a distinctly western look to my mind. One looks like a scottish broad sword.
As I mentioned it was eclectic, these eastern weapons include a Gurkha Kukri, I doubt ths was ever used in anger in Estonia but still they are very nice.
A Persian helmet and pistols in lovely condition. No idea why they ended up in Tallin but they are nice.
The more up to date weapons make a lot more sense in an historical context for Estonia with these 20th century bayonets sword and rifle.
A pair muskets left out for the punters to handle, One flintlock one matchlock which was slimmer than I imagined. A nice touch.

I found this interesting, a cossack sashka sword from World War 2 complete with attached bayonet. I never consider cossacks havign bayonets for their carbines but there you go.
And a few more world war two Russian weapons to remind us that the Baltic played a significant part in the fighting through the war.
Back to the walls I got a couple of nice shots.

I got this last shot of a lovely German style pub with all the staff in medieval get up and the Chruch of the Holy Spirit in the backgound.
So thats Tallinn, I loved this place, so beautiful, would love to go again for a weekend. I included the pictures of the architechture as I thought it might be useful for gamers looking for buildings to popuate a Baltic game table. If I have whetted your appetite then I highly recomend that you visit.

Saturday, 8 September 2018

Halsinge Tremanning Regiment

The next unit of foot back from the basing department is a Tremanning Regiment. This could be any of the Tremanning regiments raised to fill the ranks as the main army was put through the meat grinder of the Great Northern War. In this case its Halsinge as I have the flags already from Warfare miniatures.

The Swedish armies main recruiting process was that each group of farms or village furnished 2 uniformed soldiers in return for a certain amount of tax relief, these made up the Indelta or regional regiments. When the army needed to expand then "Third man" regiments were conscripted and sometimes even fourth man, hence Tremanning and Femanning.

Often these might have simpler less expensive uniforms, usually un-dyed grey wool. These could be faced in grey, yellow or blue mainly. I have faced this unit yellow and given them blue gaiters for no other reason than it looks good and they may have worn them. The usual pattern for gaiters would again be either grey, yellow or blue.
I wanted this unit to have a slightly more irregular look so a mix of hat tape and no hat tape, the grey is in a couple of slightly different shades, some of the gaiters are grey or brown ansd some of the waistcoats blue rather than buff. Not massive differences, hopefully just enough to provide some contrast.

Swedish officers often wore an all blue uniform rather than conform to the colour scheme of their regiment, given the bland grey of this unit I think blue would have been the officers choice and again adds a bit of irregularity and contrast.
Whilst not veterans these Tremanning units often had a cadre of experienced troops and usually still performed very well indeed, Stenbocks army at Helsingborg was mainly Tremanning and Femanning units and comprehensively beat the Danes. It does however allow me a couple of units I can downgrade slightly to address the in-balance in quality for certain games if required.
So thats Halsinge, more to come, probably two more units of foot before the Swedes are finally completed. The project has come a very long way and I am looking forward to doing a photographic review of the collection in the near future.

Monday, 3 September 2018

The Vasa Museum

This was anamazing discovery. I wasnt sure what the Vasa was until I got their, other than its a ship and the most visited museum in Stockholm, I was thinking it was a floating ship a bit like Victory in Portsmouth.

The museum itself is a five minutes walk from the Army Museum and History museum (if that) and has the hop on hop off bus stop and water bus stop just outside so dead easy to get to and from.

Vasa was the Swedish Flagship of Gusrtavus Adolphus in 1626 and commissioned for the War in Poland.

The ship sank within 20 minutes of setting sale, very similar to the the Mary-Rose which was Henry the 8th's flagship and also sunk on its maiden voyage. What makes this one so interesting is that the brackish Waters of the Baltic have preserved the ship from shipworm so it is in uncannily good nic

Its like an eery incarnation of the Black Pearl Ghost Ship.

The museum itself is really interesting with lots of side exhibits, models and three floors of galleries to see the ship from different levels and angles.

This model with all the rigging is probably about 10 feet long and gives an impression of the full glory of the ship for the twenty minutes or so of sailing before it sunk in Stockholm.

There are numerous rooms and alcoves particularly on level one with displays, models, artifcacts and videos covering things from the role of Women in the Swedish navy and the reasons why the ship sunk so quickly. The below is a model of the dying moments of the Vasa.

The ship is in remarkable condition when you consider she sat at the bottom of the Baltic for 300 years before being recovered and put into the Museum.

This shot is from level zero which also has a recovered ships boat and a caged area where archeologists work on artifacts they can add to the museum.
This lovely diarama shows the shipbuilding area of Stockholm at the time of the Vasa.

These two are probably my favourite pictures, giving as they do a glimpse of just how beautiful and ornate the ship must have looked back in 1626 but also showing just how well preserved she is. The detail on the carving and releifs is just awesome.
This last is taken from the third floor gallery and gives a veiw of the deck.

A couple of parting pictures, the first is the statue of George slaying the Dragon, the second a shot from the ship as we sail through the Stockholm archepelaego which shows just howconstricted this area is and how difficult it was for the Russians in 1719 to attack here.
So thats the Vasa, of interest to some of you I hope. Even if its just a bit of inspiration for those Pirate games.

I think I will post a unit of Sweish Foot next before sharing some images from Tallinn in Estonia which had a couple of really interesting museums.

Thanks for reading.