Russian jägers 1805

I am painting these Russian jägers for the war in Finland of 1808. It was only after having ordered many and painted some of them that I understood that the figures are not perfectly ideal for that campaign. By 1808, it had been decreed that the waist belt be worn over the shoulder rather than around the waist. If all units adhered to this order, I dont know. There is not much to do about it, as I cant just remove the waist belt on these as I have done with the musketeers, because these guys carry their cartridge box on the waist belt.

Also, apparently, the peculiar hat with a visor in the back (!) was never really used by the regiments active in Finland. Fortunately, these figures are sculpted so that the hat doesnt look that different from the regular shako that they did actually use. Especially if you cut away the visor in the back, which should be easy enough.

Having said that, the figures (by Brigade Games) are excellent and I really like them. And as these are the figures I have, I am sticking with them, although will perhaps not buy any more. The Brigade Games regular musketeers in firing line poses are probably better for representing jägers for 1808.

Colors of the Savolax infantry regiment

In the pictures above is an ensign carrying the colors of the Savolax infantry regiment. I painted the flag over a black-and-white printout with a scaled down image I found online. I must say I am very pleased with the result, as I have always found painting flags to be difficult. One thing I have found is that the flags really need highlighting to look good, that makes all the difference.

The yellow flag with the bow and arrow-motif was the “company”-flag. The first company of every regiment carried a white flag instead, the “life colors” (livfana). This flag sported a pretty elegant Swedish national (royal) emblem instead of the regional emblem on the company flags. In the top left hand corner there was a small Savolax emblem. In all other respects, the life colors were the same for all regiments, although they varied by pattern. With the 1766 pattern even the small regional emblem was removed, so that all life colors were exactly the same – an advantage for us modellers!

In 1808, several patterns of flags were in use. These had been issued at different dates during the 18th century, as detalied by Leif Törnquist (“Colours, Standards, Guidons and Uniforms, 1788–1815”, in Between the Imperial Eagles: Swedens Armed Forces during the Revolutionary and the Napoleonic Wars 1780–1820, ed. by Fred Sandstedt, Stockholm: Army Museum, 2000).

The flags were of two main types: on the one hand the old 1686 pattern and the newer 1766 pattern. The motifs were basically the same, but the 1766 version included a crowned golden frame instead of the laurel wreath on the 1686 pattern. Over time, the emblem also became smaller. I must say that from a modelling standpoint, the older (1686) pattern is visually more striking and also easier to paint, because the emblem is larger.

Karelian jägers

The Karelian jägers were a small professional regiment active in the war in Finland in 1808. The green and white uniform was noted as being very similar to those of the Russians, to the point that they were occasionally mistaken for Russian soldiers.

Swedish officer for 1808

This is supposed to look like a Swedish officer (colonel or something like that) in the war in Finland in 1808. He belongs to the Savolax infantry regiment, who wore grey uniforms with yellow collars and cuffs. The figure was orginally a napoleonic Spanish colonel from Perry miniatures, only I exchanged his head for that of a Swedish foot officer (also from Perry). I also added the white arm-band with green stuff. I dont do much sculpting but this turned out OK and I hope to learn more (doing napoleonic Swedish-Finnish I suspect I will to need to). The white arm-band was worn by Swedish officers in remembrance of the coup d’etat of king Gustav III in 1772, when the supporters of the king wore such armbands as a sign of loyalty. The uniform on this model was similar to the model 1802, which was still in use at the time of the war.

Savolax jägers

These are some very nice Perry miniatures for the 1808 Finnish war. The Savolax jägers were an important unit in the war for the Swedish side. The regiment consisted of enlisted men, as opposed to the main part of the Swedish army which was based on a form of militia system (the allotment system or indelningsverket). The militia system had been neglected for a long time and the alloted soldiers had received little training. In this situation, professional soldiers such as the Savolax jägers became central to the Swedish army in Finland.

The nature of the terrain also favoured jägers. Finland was, then as now, covered by large areas of forests, but also much marshy ground and both small and larger lakes. The fighting occurred along the major roads and line infantry could only operate effectively in open fields, which were relatively rare and always interspersed with wooded areas. It was therefore common to see “chains” of jägers moving slowly through the woods in front of a main body of line infantry. All infantry in Finland had to learn to move in open order to some extent, but professional jägers such as the Savolax jäger regiment certainly excelled in that respect.

1808 Finnish infantry

These are the standard infantrymen for the Swedish/Finnish army of the war of 1808-09. The grey uniform with yellow cuffs and collars is the uniform of the Savolax infantry regiment. The regiment had two battalions, which were in turn subdivided into four “half-battalions” in at least some of the battles in Finland. In practice, the “battalions” which appeared in the Finnish war were often not much stronger than a full-strength company. This also means that for wargaming purposes, many of the small battles can still be represented using a relatively large number of units, with the basic unit being a half-battalion or company rather than a full-sized battalion. This is similar to how the French-Indian War and American War of Independence are often represented in wargames (as in the Black Powder-supplements Rebellion and Dark and Bloody Ground).

As you can see, I base my miniatures on 20mm round bases which can then be mounted on movement trays. Bases and trays are made by Warbases. Warbases have the excellent option of adding holes for magnets to the bases and trays, which I have used on these as well. The magnets fit perfectly and the minis stick well to the trays. There are also various options for skirmish type trays which are more appropriate for jägers and irregular troops.

Karelian dragoons

One of the Karelian dragoons by Perry. The dragoons were attached to the famous Savolax brigade during the Finnish war in 1808-1809. The Karelian dragoons were not a full regiment, only a couple of squadrons. But as there were few other cavalry units in Finland, they were present at many engagements. The uniforms are among the more colourful of the Finnish army; the infantry wore mostly grey.

Hand-painted flags

These are some of Perry’s swedish napoleonic infantry. For a long time I hesitated about working on this project as I found it very difficult to make good-looking flags. There is only one or two manufacturers of suitable flags for this scale, and I didn’t particularly like them.

So, I tested a few techniques and found that it was’nt impossible to paint OK flags using a black/white printout of the basic design and them filling in the colours. To give them a bit of depth I shaded and highlighted the flags just like I would a miniature, and I used the same colours (in this case, Vallejo’s).