Monday, February 8, 2016

Russian Artillery - 1799 Project

Keeping to a 1799 project theme, up today are four Russian guns and crew.  The models are a mix of two manufacturers.  The guns are supplied by AB Miniatures while the crew are Eureka 1806 Saxon artillery with the plumes snipped. 
To me, the Saxon gunners look close enough to be pressed into service as Russian artillerymen during the Swiss and Italian campaigns.  I actually like the Saxon gunners quite a bit.  More will need to be ordered.  In addition substituted as proxies for Russian gunners, I plan to use the Eureka Saxon infantry as Piedmontese foot and some of the cavalry as earlier French.  With hussars in mirliton, the Saxons will be perfect for the earlier French light horse.  I think the Saxon heavy cavalry can be utilized as French heavies.  As expected, the AB guns are brilliant.  The four guns are a mix of 6 lb and 12 lb artillery pieces.
Although a few guns have been added for the project, more with be needed.  For now, though, the second arm has seen some activity.  Cavalry for the project is woefully under-represented in the collection.  That shortfall will be addressed once I clear the painting desk of a few more items. 
12 lb guns
6 lb guns

Friday, February 5, 2016

Austrian Artillery - 1799 Project

In an effort to get the 1799 project up to a gameable state, all combatants require an influx of artillery pieces.  For the French, four guns were mustered earlier (see French guns).  Now, the Austrians receive a start to their arsenal.

For the Austrians' two guns, one horse gun and one Grenz foot gun move off from the painting desk.  All figures are AB Miniatures from the FRW range.  The guns are nicely detailed as one expects from AB and the Grenz artillerymen are exquisite.  I can envision adding a casquet-topped Grenz artilleryman to a regular gun crew to represent line infantry assisting the crew.  That might make for an interesting vignette.

The Austrian horse gun is the distinctive 6-pdr having the wurst seat upon which the crew may ride.  Again, terrific model.  Going into this project, my thought was to field Austrian guns from my other Napoleonic collection.  The Austrian guns in my main Napoleonic collection are all Old Glory from years ago.  These AB models are so nice, I lean towards fielding an exclusive AB arsenal.  Another order to Eureka is certainly in order.    

Sticking with the 1799 artillery theme, next off the workbench will be Russian artillery for the project.  What will I use for early Russian gunners?  Stay tuned.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

British Artillery for the Peninsular War

With only two 28mm British guns and crew remaining in The Lead Pile, I figured no harm in digressing from the 15/18mm pledge momentarily and knocking out a couple of small units for the 28mm Peninsular War project.  Painting the three mounted archers did not take away much from my intended lead push towards the 1799 and 1859 projects.  What could possibly be lost by adding two guns and crew?  Besides, the project could use a couple of guns to return to artillery parity with the French. 

Mustering off from the painting desk are two British guns.  One is a Royal Horse Artillery gun and the other is a Foot Artillery gun.

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The foot artillery crew, in their workmanlike uniforms, offer a contrast against the finery of their Royal Horse Artillery brethren.  One wonders how a weapon can be served in a heavily braided pelisse.

Now work really returns to focusing on a few more units of 18mm figures for both the 1799 and 1859 projects.  I will not be abandoning the 28mm Peninsular War project for long though.  On the painting desk are eight Polish Lancers to be fielded as Vistula Legion.

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Vernazza and the Cinque Terre

With a light dusting of snow falling on my fair city this Sunday morning, thoughts turn to travels during warmer times.  
One stop during our 2014 trip to Italy is the focus for today's pictorial.  During that trip we made a generally south to north journey following a route of Rome-Florence-Lucca-Pisa-Vernazza-Milan.
When traveling, for two weeks, we try to fit in a rest stop at some point during the journey to relax a bit, do some laundry, and enjoy the culture for a few days.  On the 2014 Italian trip, Vernazza on the Cinque Terre was to be that resting place.
To reach Vernazza from Pisa, a change of train was required in La Spezia.  With the five towns on the Cinque Terre packed into the rocky cliffs close together, a passenger must remain alert in order to get off the train at the appropriate stop.  
Managing to detrain at the Vernazza stop, we grabbed our bags and climbed down from the elevated train station and headed out into the center of town in search for our accommodations.

Wanting a view of the harbor including Doria Castle, we booked a small room high up on the hillside overlooking the town, harbor, and tower.  Although the host stated that it was a ten minute walk up to the apartment, the number of stairs and steepness of the climb was a surprise especially carrying luggage.  
Where was our room?  Perched high upon the cliff overlooking the town and harbor.  It was a long hike up the side of the hillside to a spectacular view looking down upon the magnificent, pocket harbor.  Our residence for the next three days is pinpointed by the arrow in the photo below.
If the climb up to the rook had not taken our breath away, the view from our abode certainly would have.  Below is the view from our room.  Spectacular!
The small beach seen in the photo above was not accessible before the torrential rains and flooding in 2011.  Under the main street runs a stream that flooded during the 2011 storm cutting a new access point to the secluded beach.
Now, the beach is a popular attraction and provides the residents of Vernazza something not accessible before; a beach!
Still, the main attraction of Vernazza remains its inner harbor.  Certainly one of the most photographed spots on the Italian Riviera.


To maintain a military history tie, at the upper end of Vernazza stands a plaque commemorating the village soldiers lost in both World Wars.  In the WWII section of the plaque, some fallen soldiers are denoted as "Part."  These fighters were partisans who lost their lives fighting against Mussolini in the hills surrounding the  Cinque Terre. 
Given the long and challenging hike from our room to the town center far below, we often took a meal on our terrace overlooking the harbor and Doria Castle.
On more than one occasion, I left my wife on the terrace and descended down the trail in search of foodstuffs in the town center.  We found a variety of edibles including good seafood, a great farinata and the best gelato of our entire trip.  Of course, we visited the gelateria daily!
Vernazza is definitely worth a stop when traveling through the Cinque Terre.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Late Medieval/Renaissance Mounted Bowmen

With four units of 15/18mm figures passing across the painting desk, time to throw something different into the mix.  That something different is a three-figure stand of mounted bowmen.
When I ordered these fine Foundry fellows, my intent was to press them into service in the Great Italian Wars project.  After painting them, I looked through the Impetvs Great Italian Wars Army Lists in search of CL mounted bowmen.  Well, I did not find them fielded in any army.  Perhaps they will see service as mounted crossbowmen?

The lesson:  Research twice and buy (and paint) once!

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Austrian IR#18 in 18mm AB

The 1799 project continues to see action at the painting desk.  Following close on the heels of IR#43, a second Austrian infantry regiment departs the painting desk.  Off the desk today are two battalions of IR#18.  While the earlier IR#43 was kitted out in the new 1798 pattern helmet, IR#18 marches off wearing the casquet.

While the helmet is a cool headgear, I find the casquet an equally nifty form of head wear.  As before, these 26 figures are AB Miniatures.  Excellent sculpting!  
Next up for the 1799 project will be a selection of artillery for the Austrians and Russians.  Until then, painting switches to a couple of small 28mm units.

Sunday, January 24, 2016

2nd Zouave Rgt in 1859

Back to the 1859 project to add a regiment of French Zouaves to the roster.  Figures are the 'old' Old Glory 15/18mm models manufactured and sold by 19th Century Miniatures
The 2nd Zouave Regiment is fielded in three, twelve figure battalions for a total of 36 figures.  During the 1859 campaign, the 2nd Zouaves were a component of MacMahon's 2nd Corp in the 2nd Brigade of the 2nd Division.
While another French infantry regiment for the 1859 project is on the painting desk, a number of other units are in work too.  Likely next off the painting desk will be two battalions of Austrian infantry for the 1799 project.  Rather than more Austrians in helmets like the previous offering,  these lads will be mustering out in the old casquet. 

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