Friday 31 August 2018

Workbench 1920

Having abreak from Great Northern War for a few days. Visiting the Cruiser Aurora inspired me to work on my Russian Civil War collection. That said I have a variety of figures comign off the workbench.

OK so I know I saida break for Great Northern War but a couple of Saxon Dragoons hardly counts, this will be the next unit I work on for the GNW project, Dragoons mounted and dismounted along with horseholders, these figures put me about a third of the way through the unit.
A Polish NCO for the Retreat from Moscow Project, this project has stalled somewhat but I am sure will get going again when the weather turns in 2 or 3 months. A really nice figure I will mix in with the Murowski Poles.
Another stalled project, but always planned as long term this casualty marker is for the next unitof Bengal Infantry for the Sikh Wars project.
These Caucasian Cossacks are from the brilliant Studio Siberia range sculpted by Leonid. I have foutr already so one more gives me a unit. I am going for an irregular look with these and will use them as Odessian's mainly in personal gear with a smattering of uniform items added.I expect to have at least 6 sifferent uniforms across the 8 figures. I am slightly disapointed with these, lovely dynamic, characterful figures and I am not sure I ahve done them justice.
These two reds are a Copplestone standard bearer and a Studio Siberia rifleman.I was surprised at the size difference as it isnt the same for most figures.
The first couple of Polish foot in the new 1919 Polish uniform. This is a Studio Siberia Pole with an Adrian helmeted headfrom Woodbine miniatures, alongside a Woodbine Turk with a Studio Siberia head. Both of these ranges carry figures sculpted without heads and sell seperate heads making them ideal for the Poles.
Lastly three Polish Lancers, two are WW2 Bolt Action figures and the other is a Renegade WW1 German with a Studio Siberia head swap. I do enjoy playing around to creat the Poles.

So plenty to keep me busy, I am not far off finishing the Odessians and the Polish Lancers.

More Baltic Museums and Great Northern War units to follow next.

Monday 27 August 2018

Swedish Army Museum

I had been looking forward to visiting the Swedish Army Museum ever since we decided to take a Baltic Cruise for our 2018 summer holiday. As it turns out there were lots of other interesting things from a wargaming and historical perspective that we could see in Stockholm, Tallinn, St Petersburg and Helsinki, perhaps less so in some of the other cities. So I will share updates on the Vasa museum, the two museums in Tallinn, the Cruiser Aurora and Kronstadt in St Petersburg and the island fortress of Suomenlina in Helsinki as these may be of interest to some of you. I also have  a couple more units back from the basing department to share in between these museum updates, dont worry I wont bore you with my other family holiday photos! I also got in a game on my first day back with chum Chris Flowers putting on a large Late Roman vs Sassanid Persian game.

For now though I wanted to take you through the excellent Swedish Army museum. It is a big old building and situated right in the centre of Stockholm. I was pleased and surprised to find when I got there that it is free entry and has free Wi-fi! (A massive bonus when WI-FI on the ship is $15 dollars for half an hour)

The outside is decorated by dozens of captured gun barrels with the below ones being Saxon from the Great Northern War, a good start before we have even got inside the museum.

As you enter the museum there are a few cases of random artifacts to the right, these done have much in the way of written explanations but I thought the grenades an interesting picture to share in particular.

The museum is on three floors and the visitor is recommended to climb to the top where the floor dedicated to earlier times is and work your way back down.

This first photo is awful sorry but I had to include it. The museum has numerous "Vignettes!using manikins which are really well done and this first open is quite amusing. The origins of warfare showing apes fighting each other as evidence that warfare and conflict has always been with us.
This large exhibition case shows off a large array of killing tools from across the centuries to reinforce the message that conflict has always been part of the human condition.
A little trophy room off the main entrance has a few guns and flags including an Ottoman pavilion.
The main exhibitions start with the renaissance period with numerous arms and armours and a manikin before moving into the larger 30 years war period.

The museum really warms to its theme as we reach the thirty years war period. Starting with a large camp life display.
There is then a huge miniature model vignette of the whole Swedish army in I guess 15mm or so on a really large table.
Above the a model of part of a pikeblock with some lovely miniatures each probably about 10 inches high.
This table is probably about 20 feet by 4 feet I would guess.
In the next room we have an officer from the later Scanian wars relaxing at his luncheon.
Punctuated throughout all of this there are display cases with numerous weapons, like the pistols and muskets below, I didnt picture all of them but captured a few for flavour.

I thought of Truls when I took the next one, he was talking about how he didnt like how yellow he had to paint buff coats of the period but neither of the examples in here were yellow, they are much more of a "biscuit" colour to me which is the colour  have always used.
Again an officer and private from the Scanian wars.
The next couple of rooms were the main draw for me being dedicated to the Great Northern War. I am sure many of you have seen pictures of this next vignette of the three Swedish cavalrymen charging in formation boot to boot.

There is a huge painting of King Charles to one side and another large battle painting immediately behind to frame it.
I was interested in the drum as I dont have any material on drum colours, being original however its very difficult to see how it would originally have looked. Seeing the below its also a shame that nobody does fifers for the period in the gaming ranges.
The lighting is dim in the museum, obviously so the cloth on all these displays doesnt fade so the photos are not all the best I am afraid.
A Guard Grenadier mitres late with ammo pouches.
Muskets from the period, happily all about the same dark reddish brown that I use on my muskets.
I was surprised at how much smaller all of the flags are than those commercially available, I dont mind as I like big flags but it does make you think.

Again not a great picture but it does show the square toes of the cavalry boots and the solid tops to protect the thighs of the riders.

In the below painting King Charles is life size and the painting itself probably about 15 feet high and twenty feet or more long. As the finance department was with me I couldnt spend the whole day here so glossed over some of these amazing pieces, still a great experience.
The next painting was the famous one of Charles and Mazepa at Poltava.
Another manikin this time a foot soldier in the siege works around Poltava.
A Swedish Infantry standard, again much smaller than the model ones we use, with a musket and sword for scale.
The below photo does not do justice to this chilling (forgive the pun) scene, the famous ice march of the Swedes after Charles's death over the mountains out of Norway where thousands of troops froze to death. 

A case of captured battle standards, I think the one in the middle is a Russian foot standard, although the green one above it looks to be Swedish?
A rather blurred (sorry) picture of field punishment in the Swedish army.
Great northern war original uniforms, I particularly like the large capes.
In the next room we moved up to the Napoleonic Wars, not my favourite period but as chum Chris is doing this theatre soon I thought I might catch some pictures for him. The below scene of Swedish gunners was particularly nice.

I assume the skirmishers are Russians, you walk between these two scenes as you go around which gives you the feel of almost being there.

Below is a Swedish Hussar of the earlier Napoleonic period.

So thats floor one, the second floor deals with the 19th and 20th century and starts with the below machine gun. not a gatling although it certainly looks like one.
I didnt get many pictures of the 19th century but as Sweden didnt participate in many wars in this period thats OK. There is a nice collection for the first and second world was despite Sweden being neutral in both conflicts starting with the below collection of uniforms from various countries.
You then pass through an army stores facility with all the paraphernalia soldiers wear, this I assume to be a Finnish store for the 1939 winter war with the rack of skis in the second picture. Several thousand Swedish volunteers fought against the red army in this one sided struggle.

An early WW2 German uniform.
A nice example of a Finnish 20mm anti tank rifle (complete with skis) apparently as this couldnt penetrate most Russian armour it was used as a sniper rifle.

Another case with numerous uniforms this time from WW2.
This case was interesting with a 1939 red army uniform and a Finnish uniform with a winter cammo smock between.

A room with army bunks and gear had some WW2 music playing from the radio in the background which was a nice touch.
A pair of muskets chained to a desk for people to handle.
Oddly enough at this point we flick back in time again and see uniforms from a number of periods including these from the Seven Years War in which the Swedes played a limited part.
There are again numerous cases of weapons, I only took pictures of the more interesting like this unusual collection of pistols.
A nice Lewis gun on display.

These muskets and pistols start from left to right in earlier to later time frames with the first ones being from the Great Northern War. Interesting how long the bayonets are from this earlier period.
Truls these are the buff coats and the colour I prefer for painting these. Colour Party paints have an "English Civil War buff" just darker than this to use as a base colour which I then lighten by highlighting with the standard "buff" colour they sell.
The stables scene is an interesting addition, the horse has a mechanical foot which kicks the food bucket when some goes into the stables.
Down stairs is a small artillery display, the museum itself being built in the artillery barracks. Below shows and carriage and wheels being built.

The above is an early piece from the 30 years war period whilst the below is just after the Great Northern War period. Despite Charles making very little use of artillery, due in the main to their inability to keep up with the foot during their aggressive advances, the Swedes made some significant advances with artillery tactics. They created pre made cartridges to speed up their loading and therefore rate of fire and added a system of bars to the carriage to enable the guns to be more easily and quickly manhandled. Magnus Stenbock made great use of these innovations in his victory over the Danes at Helsingborg.

So thats a real whistle stop tour of the army museum, lots more to see if you get the chance and really pleased I was able to visit it. I will have more to share over the next week or two so keep popping back to see whats new. 

Thanks for reading.