Thursday, 15 March 2018

From GregB - 28mm Prussian Infantry and French Cavalry from 1870 (112 points)

Troops for the Franco-Prussian war continue to mass in my kitchen...
As the end of this latest edition of the Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge approaches, I thought it would be a good idea to get back to the project that drove my first several submissions - the Franco-Prussian war of 1870-71.  There are another group of Prussian infantry and a group of French cavalry.  All of the castings are from the excellent "Eagles of Empire".

Lots of character and animation in these sculpts
As always the ubiquitous coats are wrapped around the bodies of the Prussian troops
The infantry are intended to round out my initial Prussian infantry force. "Rounding out" is one of the primary mind tricks that leads to an enormous unpainted lead pile in my basement, but can also prove useful.  I had four Prussian infantry groups, three of seven models and one of just four models, and I had it in my head that I wanted all of the units to be eight models strong.  So this batch did the trick!

Dreyse "needle" rifles at the ready for the assault on France
Up next, some cavalry, the first cavalry I have painted for this period.  These are French Hussars - six mounted rankers and an officer (on the rectangular base to stand out a bit).

Officer ready to lead a valiant (and probably fatal) charge in defence of the Second Empire

Tremendous animation in the cavalry sculpts - the officer looks like he is going to charge right off the base!
I found it challenging to get clear references on the uniforms the French Hussars wore in this period.  References are never perfect, and an added challenge is that the French light cavalry seemed to be in the middle of a change to their uniform pattern when war came in 1870.  Those sorts of processes never were smooth in peace time, never mind war, so I don't really know which unit was wearing what, but I ***think*** this might be the look of the 2nd Hussars, although I might have goofed on several elements (including the colour of the pompom etc).  Oh well. 

For the Emperor! And later...the Republic!
Incredible animation in these sculpts
While the "Death Ride" of the Prussian Cavalry at the battle of Mars-La Tour is infamous in the minds of cavalry fans, the Franco-Prussian War was in fact a graveyard for cavalrymen.  With bolt-action rifles and breech-loading artillery, massed battle cavalry mostly ended up with terrible losses.  So the fate of these fellows on the table is likely to be grim...

In 1870 these units looked glorious, but in the thick of battle, the time of cavalry was coming to an end...
As before, the Eagles of Empire sculpts stand out, with a tall, lean character.  This style of sculpting was not my favourite, but over the months of working on these figures I have really come to enjoy them a lot. They are real beauties, and Soren and the group at Eagles of Empire are just fantastic to deal with - I recommend them highly!  The cavalry in particular also have a tremendous energy and animation to them, like at any moment they will come alive and charge.

Hussars - flashy boys of the light cavalry arm

One additional note to share with you all - a big "thank you" to Challenger JohnM.  Back in early January I submitted a group of French infantry from the period which included a command base and a regimental standard - but the standard was lacking an eagle.

A new eagle for my 1870 French forces!

JohnM was kind enough to mail me a few spare eagles! I fixed one to the previously finished command stand.  Last week these troops saw their first-ever action on the Fawcett Avenue Conscripts gaming tables, and the Second Empire French troops had a regimental eagle to defend proudly!  Thank you so much John!!

Action from the gaming table last week - French infantry defend their country against a Prussian assault, the presence of their eagle stiffening their resolve!
With a total of seven mounted 28mm figures and another eight 28mm foot figures, that should be good for another 110 points - which will take me past my 1,000 point target from back in December! Phew. Let's see what more I might be able to manage before we finish for another season...

A big "thank you" also goes to our Thursday minion, JamieM! Thank you for shepherding us along and for your encouragement and entertaining commentary.  Much appreciated, look forward to seeing you back in the Painting Challenge trenches again next year!

What challenge is complete without pickelhaubes and handlebar moustaches?  Certainly no challenge I'd like to be involved in and that's for sure!  These chaps are the mutts nuts, that second picture with with the two shouting blokes is the best as you can just see them striding across the battlefield, yelling away.

I do like the horsemen, as with Ken's submission earlier it sounds like these were some dark days for cavalry with the weapons and technology having overtaken them.... But they'll look smashing on the battlefield until their somewhat inevitable demise I'm sure!

Thanks for your consistent submissions and eclectic range of troops, conflicts and scales Greg - never knowing what you're going to see is one of the joys of minioning!  I make it 112 points, with one of the extra points added for the sheer volume of quality moustaches and the other for the existence of the Pickelhaubes...... That's right, it's my last day minioning, so I can award extra points for such things if I want to ;)


  1. Beautiful work Greg. The hussars are gorgeous, especially that gallant commander calling out to his troopers. Though I'd like to credit the regimental eagle and prudent play to last week's French victory, I think the laurels were won more by Prussian bad luck than anything else. Either way, it was good to send the pointy helmeted brutes off packing. ;P

  2. Great work on the cavalry Greg! I especially like the valiant officer.

    Great challenge Greg, well done!

  3. Great work Greg! I was hoping that you'd get back to the 1870s project :)

  4. Truly outstanding work Greg! Those Prussians are awesome, but the french cavalry really steals the show here.

  5. That is a terrific force that you have assembled. I will keep a watch on your blog for a group shot.

  6. Lovely looking prussians, but even better looking french!
    Best Iain

  7. Glorious cavalry Greg. What a wonderful project