1808 projects…

Many reading this will already have seen these elsewhere, but I might as well post these pictures here as well. These are the figures I have painted and based so far on both sides (Russian and Swedish). It should be around 350 figures and counting. I dont know how realistic it is, but if I paint around the same amount again I think I will have enough for most possible scenarios for the Finnish war.

Both armies are works in progress. As always with Napoleonic miniatures, one can hardly ever have too many infantry. On the Russian side, some of the most important regiments to do if you want to do the important battles like Alavo, Ruona, Lappo, Oravais etc. are: Sevsk, Kaluga, Mogilev, Petrovsk, Velikie Luki, Asov, Bielosersk, Lithuanian, Perm. Some of these are quite similar in appearance, and I think you can get away with just painting one and having it represent the other if needed. The Russian regiments were organised into “inspections”, and regiments beloning to the same inspection would have similar colors and identical flags. Thus, Asov and Velikie Luki are almost identical; Kaluga and Sevsk look similar; Petrovsk, Bielosersk and Lithuanian (all three of the St Petersburg inspection) are similar enough. For my part, I would be quite happy to add one more (grenadier) battalion for the Velikie Luki regt and then four battalions of the Petrovsk/Bielosersk/Lithuanian regts.

The Russians also had a slightly stronger cavalry arm than the Swedes in Finland, and that should show on the table as well. The most important Russian cavalry regiment was the Grodno hussars. They participated in many battles. A couple of squadrons of those would be an important addition.

On the Swedish side, I have painted mostly Finnish units up until now. I still havent done the Tavastehus and Österbotten regiments, and I hope to do those sometime in the future. But first, I will focus on the Swedish regiments, Hälsinge (blue and white) and Västmanland (blue and yellow with white piping).

Further on down the road I would like to add the Uppland and Västerbotten regiments, some Swedish artillerymen, and the Horse Lifeguards. It would also be appropriate to do a number of battalions with all or partly civilian clothes, as reserve battalions and lantvärn (militia) generally had no uniforms, only a ribbon around the hat and a cockade to distinguish them.

Detail of a contemporary plate showing the uniform of the Swedish Horse Lifeguards (1798 uniform with 1807 hat/helmet)

Russian colonel, 1808

I just finished a colonel or similar officer for my 1808 Russians. A nice figure, not too difficult to paint. Figure by Brigade Games, sculpted by Paul Hicks. These figures are very nice, and this one has a particularly tough looking face.

Empress miniatures late war British

I had a slight mishap when doing the shading wash on these. The wash caused an unusual number of cracks, maybe I was careless when applying it. I was a bit disheartened by this and just let them gather dust, half-finished, for a few months. But finally this week I finished the first squad. The painting is very basic with little highlighting, but I did manage to hide most of the cracking in the shaded areas. Overall it works relatively well despite the problematic wash. The figures are well detailed and that also helps a lot.

The Empress British wear some very late war kit, such as the camo jackets (similar but not identical to paras’ smocks) and camo netting worn around the neck. These were only used more widely during the last months of the war.

Sevsk and Mogilev grenadiers

I just finished the command figures for the Mogilev and Sevsk grenadier battalions. With these I have painted 8×16 Russian infantry for the 1808 setting. Just as I was uploading the pictures I realized I missed the gold band around the top of the shako of the Sevsk NCO. Ill have to go back and correct that…

More German armor

I finished a Panzer III Ausführung M and a sdkfz 222 leichter Panzerspåhwagen to add to my German armored collection. Pictures are not that great as I didnt have my usual camera to hand. The tank is a resin kit by die Waffenkammer and the armored car is a Warlord Games kit, also resin, but whereas the Waffenkammer kit has only resin parts, the WG model has details in metal, and there are quite a few of them as well. They are both very nice and with great detail and cast quality. But there are advantages with having the smaller parts in metal as the resin is brittle.

The Panzer III has armored side plates but I am not sure Ill be adding them. The tank looks OK without them and many lost them in the field. I think there may be a risk that they will just come off as the construction seems to be quite fragile. Also, a headlight came off from the tank when I was painting it and I couldnt find it again. Maybe Ill fix it with greenstuff, or maybe Ill just leave it. Im sure many came off IRL as well…

How did this even happen?

Going through my boxes of figures I realized something. While I may have a difficult time finishing projects, there is one project that I actually have finished – my ww2 Soviets. In fact, I have done many more figures than I ever planned. I counted them and apparently somewhere along the way I have managed to paint a whole company’s worth of red army soldiers. 9 squads of 10 men with officers and supports options: snipers, light mortars and Maxim guns were often integral parts of the rifle platoon. AT rifles were issued either at platoon or battalion level at various stages of the war. In real life, there would be an additional number of officers, medical personnel, etc., but I see no reason to represent all of these in a game. Using the army lists in the CoC rulebooks, I would have enough for two platoons of riflemen and one platoon of tank riders (SMGs), with a few figures to spare. The company HQ wouldnt be represented at all, although there is the option of adding a commissar.

I have a few spare minis that arent in the picture, but most of these wear fur caps and really look better in a winter themed force. I also have one more 50mm mortar team, which could be included too (in -43 each company included a mortar platoon with an NCO and two mortar squads, on paper). Spare figures could also be used as extra men to accompany the platoon commanders, representing sergeants and the like (in Bolt Action this is quite useful). Obviously, there are artillery, tanks and other vehicles to go with these as well, but painting the figures is the bit that takes time. And I could always do the tanks in a post of their own!

9×5 riflemen, 9×2 SMG-armed men, 9×2 LMG teams, 10 NCOs, 5 officers, 1 medic, 2 MMG teams, 2 AT rifle teams, 50mm mortar team, 1 sniper team. The standard bearer could be used to accompany the company commander, marking him out from the rest of the lot. In total: 111 men

The organizational structure of Soviet rifle and motorized rifle companies changed an inordinate number of times during the war. More importantly, paper strengths were of course seldom reached in practice. Originally, each platoon had four squads, but the fourth was, as I understand it, often dropped and after 42 this was reflected on paper as well. I dont have enough figures for 12 squads unless they are understrength, but with the extra figures I have I could probably just about manage 9×11 men (squads originally consisted of 11 men, but this also changed).

But how likely am I to actually field all these units in a game? Its a nice idea, but could make for a sluggish game. In Bolt Action terms, this lot would make about 20 units. For better gameplay you would probably want to drop some units, skipping snipers, mortars and MMGs perhaps, to get down to a more manageable number. A reduced company, as they were fielded in -43 after huge losses would often have looked just like that. Three platoons with a company commander but not support would be 13 units. Dropping the platoon commanders would make just 10 units; 9 squads led by the company commander. That seems like a more realistic army composition, while still fielding almost 100 figures.

The mix of SMGs and rifles could vary historically. With the figures I have, I could either do one platoon out of three fully equipped with SMGs. Alternatively, I might spread them out over the whole company (both seemed to have happened historically). Often there would have been some squads with two lmgs; unfortunately I only have enough for one for each squad.

The question is: why did I manage to finish these, as I cant seem to do the same with my other projects? I think the reason is that the Soviets wear simple uniforms that are easier than most other figures to paint. But they are also fun to do, with a lot of character. This is true of all of the figures; they are a mix of old Warlord Games metals and newer WG plastics, including the WG Siberian Veterans box, and Artizan. Because I knew that the Soviets were the kind of army where you need lots of infantry, I also deliberately chose a simple paint scheme, with less highlighting than I sometimes do. This worked well enough and made speed painting easy.

German LMG teams

I finished a couple of German LMG teams (in ca 1943-44 style) during an otherwise slow hobby period. They are Warlord Games plastics with parts from several of their different kits, including some metal heads. With camo covers on the helmets and other bits they are a bit more varied and more interesting to paint than the regular Blitzkrieg Germans in the basic box (and I have quite a few of those painted up already anyway). I always prefer painting metal figures over plastics, but must admit that the end result often looks just as good. Some details are definitely better in plastic. In this case the weapons, the mg:s themselves. They cant really be sculpted as thinly in metal.

Russian artillery repurposed

My 1808 Finnish war project has been slowing down somewhat recently. I did try out one idea which proved quite good. I have a small force of 1812 Russians already painted. Unfortunately almost none of those figures fit the 1808 setting, as the uniforms changed quite a bit. The artillerymen’s uniforms however, are wrong only when it comes to the shakos. And because the Warlord Games Russian artillery packs come with loose heads, swapping heads on the painted figures turned out to be a simple affair. I also had a few spare Brigade Games Russian infantry to provide the replacement heads with the old style shakos. The heads came off without ruining the paint job too much, and the collars were easily re-painted black with red piping once the new heads were attached. I found that the Brigade heads fit better on the WL bodies than I had expected. The repurposed 1808 style artillery can be seen on the left, the 1812 ones on the right.