Thursday, December 27, 2018

Painting Challenge 2018-19, First Entry - Franco-Prussian War 28mm

28mm castings from Wargames Foundry's Franco-Prussian War range.
Greetings and holiday well-wishes to all out there! I hope everyone has had, or is having, a chance to relax, enjoy some spirituous beverages and time with friends and family. 

Of course, when Christmas comes, another annual tradition arrives with it - the Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge, overseen by our friend Curt in Regina. Through the winter the participants in the Challenge tackle their respective piles/mountains/hoards of unpainted lead and plastic gaming figures and models. You receive points related to the volume of work you complete, and while it has a sense of a contest, since you set your own points target, it is really a race against yourself :)

There is also a well established tradition of "side-duels", competitions among sub-groups of Challenge participants to focus on a particular scale/setting/points target, what-have-you.  This year I have joined in a side duel to paint as much stuff from GW as possible. Given the...substantial accumulation of 30k stuff which has built up over the past little while, I'm hoping this ninth edition of the Challenge will spur completion of new forces for my 30k collection. 

With that said, my first entry to the Ninth Edition of the Challenge goes nowhere near the year 30,000.  Rather it picks up from a theme from my body of work in the last edition of the Challenge, and a recurring theme on this blog for different stints over the past 16 months - namely the Franco-Prussian War of 1870 in 28mm.

It was just over a year ago that I plunged into this period and setting, tempted by the amazing uniforms, cast of characters and compelling setting I found reading about the period.  I have pursued this project at two different "levels" - a collection of individually-based 28mm figures for skirmish gaming, and a collection of 28mm figures based in groups to represent battalions/regiments with the goal of, at some point, playing a small battle using the "Black Powder" rules.  The items in this submission are part of the latter effort - two command bases for the Prussian forces, and an artillery piece for the Imperial French Army.  The figures are all from Wargames Foundry's excellent collection, which was sculpted by the Perrys.

French Artillery

French 12-pound artillery piece and crew from 1870 in 28mm. 
The Franco-Prussian war occurred at the very end of the "Black Powder" period.  Rifles and artillery were starting to achieve much longer effective ranges on the battlefield, such that having artillery on the table for a 28mm-scaled game is a bit of a stretch.

Nice animation on the gunner figure, ready with the lanyard. 
Or, at least it is for the Prussians, perhaps. Not so much for the French. This French 12-pound piece with four crew looks like a formidable weapon, but the French artillery, particularly in the opening "Imperial Phase" of the Franco-Prussian War, was ineffective-bordering-on-useless.  Time had passed these muzzle-loading pieces by. Toss in the dud fuses, lack of percussion-triggered shells etc. and you have yet another chapter to add to the "All The Sh*t That Went Wrong In 1870" book for the French.

Great sculpts from the Perrys...little things, like the one crewman with the rag wrapped around his head, an example of the great stuff you see in Perry castings. 
The uniforms of the French gunners bear a striking resemblance to the uniforms of the Union Army in the US civil war - the blue cloth, the kepis...thankfully the gaiters set them a touch apart, as does (I hope) the red piping on the pants and kepi.

"Vive l'Empereur!" (sadly, basically a flag with the word "bang" will be all that happens...if they are lucky....
This piece will represent a French battery on the gaming table, perhaps getting one or two shots away before the Prussian breech-loading guns blast it to vapour.

Prussian Command

Like the most "Black Powder" players, I usually represent commanders on round bases - the more figures on the base, the more senior level of command being represented. There are two bases, and two levels of command represented here in this entry.

"Over there sir!"
The mounted officer, based together with a foot officer, will represent a "Brigade" commander for the Prussians ("Brigade" in the general, Black-Powder-Rules sense, not necessarily an actual brigade).  It is fairly similar to another command base I painted in October - there is only one casting for the mounted Prussian officer in the Foundry collection, so I use different foot officers to give some variety.

"You know, from up here on my saddle, I really don't think that is such a big deal..."
I like the combination here - the infantry officer is pretty animated, gesturing with his sword (like, "The French are dug into the ridge straight ahead!"), while the senior commander is fairly indifferent to whatever information is being relayed ("Don't bother me with excuses. Forward!"). It strikes me as a nice encapsulation of the command attitude that sent a sizeable portion of the Prussian Army into the teeth of the French Chassepot rifles during the battle of St. Privat (which, of course, the French still found a way to lose, but anyway).

Prussian high command vignette from Wargames Foundry.
The larger round base with the three figures and the table will represent the "Army" commander for the Prussian side in my "Black Powder" game.  Again, I love the spirit conveyed by these castings - the senior officer has reviewed the latest dispatches brought in from the cavalry scouts (the fellow in green is a Hussar).  He is utterly perplexed - surely the French couldn't be doing...that? Better smoke my pipe and think it over while my ADC (the Uhlan rocking the long red coat) deals with this messenger.

"Latest dispatch from the front sir!"
Overall I continue to absolutely love this period.  The sculpts from Wargames Foundry - cast in proper metal, like all real, true and honourable wargaming figures should be - are an absolute joy to paint.  The high-command vignette in particular was a treat - I love the beard on that senior officer! It's so serious, it almost made me think it could have been the Prussian King himself - but there are no Iron Crosses or other frippery on the figure, so I expect he represents another one of the senior Prussian echelons instead of a royal persona.  The pose, chilling with his pipe, with the awesome table, covered in dispatches, a Prussian picklehaube and a sabre...just brilliant, great stuff from the Perrys.

"But where are those lattes we asked for? Are we in France, or not?"
In terms of points, this submission was good for 62 of them - a small downpayment toward my target of 1200 points worth of work to complete before the spring of 2019 arrives.  While I will continue to share work here of course, you can track my efforts (and those of two other Conscripts - Byron and Mike F - Byron already has two excellent submissions) over at the Challenge blog. Marvel at the scope, breadth and diversity of entries, as well as the bonkers skills of the many participants - they are a fun bunch!

Cheers for now! If I'm going to do a GW-themed side duel, I suppose I best get on with a few GW models...stay tuned...


DaveV said...

I am really loving the command bases. They provide a lot of atmosphere for your forces.

I've done a bit of reading about the French heavy cavalry in this war. Interesting stuff.

Dallas said...

Looks great dude! Love the command vignette especially!