Wednesday 25 July 2018

Workbench Update

Whilst the basing department does her thing, quick update on what else is currently coming off the workbench.

Firstly the Livonian Adelsfana, 8 more of these done to bring it to a unit of 9
Four are the old range from Warfare on new horses, not as good a fit as you might expect but good enough. , I particularly like the Ensign. The bare headed trooper I hadnt realised has a cast on blanket roll, the horses also have a cast on blanket roll, you can hardly tell but it did make me wonder if I had made an error trying to mix them.

These 5 are the new figures, the officer and one trooper from the "at rest" packs.

All based up together they do mix quite well. Although Barry from Warfare has more detail on this on his blog

Sticking with the Swedes I picked up a pack of Swedish personalities, this is my favourite Magnus Stenbock, one of the more successful Swedish Generals. I have mounted him on a Generals Horse I picked up some time ago which is suitably heroic.

A pair of Swedes for my next unit, this will be a Tremanning unit and I will make it slightly scruffier than the other, only slightly though, odd different colour gaiters mixed in, different shades of grey coat etc, nothing too drastic!
Next are some Ebor Russian Dragoons Painted as Saxons, I think these will be quite nice when complete.
Their mounted counterparts are below. These are OK rather than ideal but I think will still look the part when I have finished and based them.

And finally I finished a couple of English Calivermen for the Elizabethan Ireland project.
All of the above have now winged over to York for basing, I will be working through the Swedish Tremanning unit next I think followed by the Saxon Dragoons (mounted and dismounted)

I expect my next post will be next week and probably the based and finished Jonkoping regiment.

Thanks for reading see you soon.

Saturday 21 July 2018

Helions The Swedish Army. In The Great Northern War

I picked up the new Helion book on the Swedish army recently. I had heard some great reviews of the Russian Army for the same period so was quite excited to pick this up.

At first glance a couple of things struck me, nice colour plates, more than you would usually get in an Osprey for instance, a nice uniform guide covering most of the major Swedish units of the war. At 101 pages it is however about half the size of the Russian book which is a shame, they could have done a lot I think with another 100 pages, that said it is about double to pages of an Osprey so still good value.

There are stacks of maps, photos and illustrations to help the reader get a sense of the narrative, the maps being particularly useful.
The uniform plates are really nice and broken down into sections for Guards, foot, horse and artillery and give a good flavour although not really going much on the changes during the 21 years of war. Minor criticism here is the Lifeguard of horse, all the images I have seen including the uniform guide in this very book show light blue faced in light blue, however the plate in this book then shows a mid blue the same as all the other units, bit odd, frustrating but minor criticism I guess.
The uniform guide is great, just what you need as a modeller or figure painter, I will probably find this quite useful.

The actual narrative is for the most part interesting and useful, the history and stages of the war are quickly glossed over and could have been given more meat on the bones for me, the author splits the war into pre-Poltava and post-Poltava which makes sense and works. He goes on to then describe a couple of major battles and a campaign to discuss how the Swedes actually fought, this is interesting with some insights into battles I hadn't previously realised, but we could have added a number more battles and campaigns to make this a much rounder and more interesting section.

There are sections on the organisation, training, weapons and battlefield performance of the Swedes as well as a section on fortifications. The interesting point the author makes a couple of times is that contrary to popular belief the Swedes did not have an aggressive tactical doctrine that other nations didn't, they just were better trained and led and able to implement aggressive tactics that other countries couldn't. Food for thought there.

The author also has a 4 page section on the parallels to be drawn between the Great Northern War and the War of the Spanish Succession which occurred at about the same time in southern and western Europe. I am not sure that I got anything at all from this piece, other than discussing that the Swedes had officers serving in the French army and may have used plans from the battles and sieges there is no real discussion about how it might have been used, how tactics and strategies were similar or different etc. I was a little confused by this whole section, the conclusion was that we don't know what they learned or implemented, if that's the case why waste 4 pages discussing it?

My biggest criticism would be the editing, some of the wording is poor as is to be expected for an author for whom English is presumably a second language but there are lots and lots of silly errors. A line that says Peter the Great was invading Russia when it was clearly meant to be King Charles, many other parts could have been made much easier to read with a little decent editing of the original, its a shame as there are small sections on almost every page I had to read two or three times to check what the author was actually trying to tell me. For the most part these were very minor errors but frustrating, if I can see them surely the editor can?

So taken as a whole an interesting read and worth the £20 or so, useful to anyone new to the period and the Swedish army, less so to anyone who has read a great deal about the conflict. It doesnt for instance stand up in comparison to the Great Northern War compendium, but then its not supposed to.

So hopefully an useful review for anyone thinking of getting it, bottom line knowing what I know I would still probably buy it if I had the choice again.

Tuesday 17 July 2018

First Swedish Livguard Til Hast

So the basing department has gone back to York with plenty to do but leaving me with a unit completed. The Livguard Til Hast, or Lifeguard of Horse,  was very much an elite unit that earned its guard status in numerous battles. As my units are all notionally a double squadron in strength there will be two of these units, the next is currently being finished in York, it was a big regiment with numerous squadrons that were often split across both wings of the battlefield in many of the major engagements..

They look a bit different to the rest of the Swedish horses being pale blue faced pale blue. I used the fog grey for the coat with a sky blue for the collar cuffs and turnbacks and I am happy with the outcome.
I mentioned in previous posts that this is a mixture of the old Warfare figures and the new ones utilising the old horses for this regiment only. The rest will be on the new ones which by the way are very nice.
Only four of these are actually the new figures, from right to left. My favourite is the chap with a bandaged eye, a fierce looking veteran, the next is the bareheaded third figures, followed by the standard bearer in another aggressive pose and lastly the extreme left figure I gave this chap a less aggressive pose as the two next to him have a fair bit of go forward about them.

As usual I have gone for the shallow chevron formation which looks so good, even more than usual I struggled to squeeze them all on.

It has been a long wait for these figures but I am glad I waited, the next unit is also a mix of old and new but has more command from the new ones and these are particularly nice I must say. That said I think the older style still stand up to scrutiny really well.
Here he is again the veteran with the bandaged eye. Lovely figure.

As an added bonus I also got a Swedish General based, thank you Laura! An easy paint job as no face to paint. Not my favourite of these figures its an Ebor General. Its nice enough and I am a bit short of Generals. Also just ordered the Warfare Swedish Personalities pack to beef up my generals.

So the Great Northern War project is back. I hope to be able to give you some more finished new units, Jonkopings and more Lifeguard, workbench updates on the Livonians and another playtest in the very near future.

Thanks for reading.

Friday 13 July 2018

Warfare Swedish Cavalry

So I came home the other day to a parcel waiting. Nice and heavy which always makes me smile, got to be lead inside there!

After a long old wait, with a fair few technical issues and set backs for Warfare, the Swedish Cavalry are finally here. I do still have that child like response to boxes of new figures, getting them all out for a good look and drool.
4 different horses and a fifth that is the same as one of the others but with a bit of officers edging to the pistol covers. These a lovely horses, I do however have a clear favourite and a clear least favourite!
Two packs of troopers with swords shouldered and cast on.
Two packs charging with separate arms to add variety. Lot of character in the these in particular.
Two packs of cavalry command and two of Dragoon command, same figures with different musicians. Separate arms for one of the officers and drummers. Again lovely figures with some clear favorites for me including the charging drummer.
Heres the first lot with the arms I have chosen, no flash on the figures so barely any cleaning up to do at all. Enough here to finish my two units of Lifeguard and the Livonian Adelsfana.
The first three with arms glued on and scabbards, the one in the middle has a wee gap I will need to fill with liquid green stuff. My fault nothing wrong with the casting.
Heres one of the Livonians glued to his horse, I only do this at bare metal stage for black horses as the rest are oil painted separately. For blacks I use grey dry brushing.
Primed in black and first layers of block painting applied with a dry brush of grey over all the black areas.
The Livonian has a lot more black to dry brush and a grey coat too.
The horses for the Livonians are primed white and a base coat of acrylic added prior to oil painting. The lifegaud horses have been done for 18 months so just need a dust off.
First three sat on horses to see how they will look.
Starting to add some colour now, buff trousers and webbing, some brown hair and highlighting the jackets in my new "fog grey" and paiting the facings an ever so slightly brighter sky blue.

The Livonian is also taking shape as we add colour, I particularly like the yellow saddle cloth on a black background.
So thats 4 Lifeguard and a Livonian painted, really happy with these, particularly like the chap with a bandage over one eye. he ever so slightly brighter turnbacks, cuffs and collars also seem to have worked well.

Here are some I already prepared (wheres my Blue Peter badge please?) I will mix these with the new ones for the Lifeguard and the Livonians, although as mentioned all the Livonians will be on the new style horse which sill need to be finished.
Four Livonians so with the new one painted I am well on the way with this unit too.

The horses for the Livonians are drying on the window sill in the glorious sunshine. Darker oils slapped onto the acrylic base then wiped off to get the shading around the muscles etc.
So here they are the first 9 for the Lifeguard and the first Livonian, all the Lifeguard on old style horses, the fit is OK rather than great as they were designed for the new style horses, but I am happy with the final outcome.
And here they are glued to bases in their distinctive chevron formation and ready for the basing department to pick them up and do her thing with them Hope to have shots of the completed unit in a week or two.
There you go, more cavalry and foot coming soon and a mini review of the Helion book, we also have at least one GNW game on the cards in the coming weeks so keep popping back for updates.

Monday 9 July 2018

Its All About The Swedes

Just to be clear this has nothing to do with football, although I did finish writing it in the build up to the quarter finals. These are the Swedes who rarely got beat!

So after a bit of a break we are back to the Great Northern War project with quite a bit happening all at once. And its all about the Swedes.

Firstly I have got stuck into the Jonkoping regiment. The Warfare Swedes standing in Karpus are perfect for these as they have a band around the front plate of the cap which Jonkopings had in the early part of the war. This unit will be entirely made up of Warfare figures, one of the few foot units all of one manufacturer (although I have another to do)
So with 10 of these chaps done, only 8 to go, although the cavalry might force me to put these to one side for a wee bit when they arrive.

The extreme close ups are not very forgiving and I do find the delicate features of these guys difficult compared to other manufacturers, they are lovely but just dont particularly suit my painting style.
The pike and command came out much better.
I have also finished an Ebor Swedish General. I dont have enough of these guys and this is the last unpainted one so will need a few more. I may pick up the pack of three Swedish Generals Warfare do at some point as I am sure I will need a few more.

This month also saw the release of Helion's new book on the Swedes, so of course I had to have it. At first glance it looks great, good value with loads of colour plates. I am only half way through and there are a lot of errors but a good read non the less. I will do a fuller review when I finish it.

Lastly, and by no means least, Warfare have released the long awaited (by me at least) Swedish cavalry. 8 codes each of 3 figures. You may remember that to give me a head start I painted up quite a few of the single Swedish test figure and soem generic command and hatless troopers quite some time ago. I also have these 9 horses painted and waiting for riders. So Jonkopings can wait whilst the Swedish life guard til hast get finished I think. Watch this space I hope to get them finished in a fairly short period of time.

So, a follow up post on the Helion book and another on the Warfare Swedes to follow. Great Northern War project is back on track folks.