Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Eine kleine österreichische Zinn-Soldaten

OK, so the title is a bit pidgin German, trying to make a weak play on Mozart's "Eine kleine Nachtmusik". It doesn't concern Zinnfiguren of Austrian Manufacture, but rather some miniature figures of Austrian Napoleonic soldiers that are newly arrived here on the banks of the blogisitical Danube. My birthday falls this month, and this and other celebratory occasions are opportunities for the receipt of gifts with a hobby connection. That's one of the great things about our hobby - we can be (supposedly) grown up men, and still get toys as gifts, and not just those boring clothes you hated getting as a kid, LOL!

Anyway, of course your family/whomever knows exactly the manufacturer, scale, nationality, and catalogue numbers you want, down to the fine details of your unit organizations. No? Seriously?!  Uh, thought not. So in our household, the majority of my wargaming purchases (aside from those emergency ones - you know the ones you just have to have now, of course) go into the queue for future gifting opportunities, and are doled out as the occasions arise. What's that you say?  A trifle, uh, mercenary? Well, perhaps, but I'm happy because I get *exactly* what I want, they're happy because they don't have to try and guess what I'm into now or where to get it from, and it also acts as a modest modulator on my hobby purchases. Now face it, guys, wouldn't it make it much easier if you had a similar system for you wives/girlfriends/whatever? Of course, they'd probably see that as being un-romantic, not spontaneous, and way too practical. Sigh! 

Anyway, now that I'm done blabbering and getting myself in very hot water with the one female reader of this blog out of thousands, LOL, let's talk some Austrian Lead, courtesy of my extremely tolerant wife, even if she doesn't really "get" my hobby much!

The first group is the "Tyrolean Rebels Deal"  from Eureka - 28mm, of course! These are simply wonderful figures, very nicely sculpted and full of character. The plan behind these is to see all the figures in the range, and use the figures in the deal plus whatever additional ones I need to make up a small force of these "backward" Mountaineers that gave their erstwhile Bavarian rules and their French, etc, allies so much trouble during the 1809 campaign.

First are these six different musket armed figures wearing plumed round hats. Very nice castings in a nice variety of poses - two different standing firing, one each kneeling firing, loading, priming, and biting open a cartridge.

Next are these four figures in taller hats with various farm implement derived weapons; again very nicely executed. they look like the wouldn't be too out of place even a century or two (or three!) earlier.

Next is a small, rather antique looking lightweight "mountain" Howitzer, along with three crewmen and one crew-woman.  Very nicely done once again. 

Here's another group of 4 Tyrolean Rebels with "polearms", this time with turned up round hats. "Yes, my dear, the peasants are revolting, aren't they?"

Six more musket armed Tyroleans, same poses as the other group, but with the "top hat" type headgear.

And yet another group of six with muskets and hats turned up, corsehut style. 

A final group of 4 more rebels with farm implements and round hats not turned up.

These are the "command" type figures for the Tyrolean Revolt - drummer, officer with halberd (perhaps Josef Speckbacher?), standard bearer, another officer, Andreas Hofer with his full black beard, and a priest (the red-bearded Joachim Haspinger, perhaps?). 

Posthumous portrait of Andreas Hofer (from Wikipedia).  By trade an innkeeper, he became a martyr after he was executed by the Italians under orders from Napoleon. He was later made a Catholic saint! 

Hofer and his Tyrolean rebels defeated the Bavarians and their allies at no less than three battles of Bergisel in 1809, just outside of Innsbruck; this bronze statue was erected at the site in 1893 to commemorate his role. A ski jump is located in the area of the battle, along with a museum related to the Tyrolean mountain troops in Austrian service (the Kaiserjager museum), as well as the history and culture of Tyrol, and a cyclorama of the 2nd Battle of Bergisel.

My 1809: Blunders on the Danube scenario book includes a scenario for that battle; to do it with actual Tyrolean figures will require nine units of Musket armed troops and six with polearms. My usual units are six stands of three each for Infantry, but really only 4 stands are needed. For Militia troops like this, I could certainly use 2 figures per stand, so only eight per unit; still, that will come 15 units or 120 figures, which is a lot for a force of only limited use, although I suppose they could double as more Landwehr. Still, if I cut the Musket armed troops, who will fight as skirmishers anyway, down to a single figure per stand and kept 2 figures per stand for the polearm guys, that would require 36 Muskeers and 48 polearm guys, plus an artillery section (seen above), plus three leaders (ditto). From the Deal I have 18 different Musketeers in six pose variants... hmm, if I went with six figures per Musket unit with two bases of 2 figures and two bases on 1 figure per unit, that would require 54 figures (36 more needed), which would work out well. For thePolearm guys I have 12, plus three spare command figures making 15; thus I'd need another 33 polearm/command figures, totaling 69 new figures, and about 100 for the entire "Revolt". That seems feasible, I think


The second half of this post concerns some 28mm Old Glory Grenz, skirmishing with command; AXI-20 form their catalogue. An overview of the contents is seen below:

So, that's nine figures standing firing, plus five each kneeling firing, marching while reaching for a cartridge, and   standing while biting open a cartridge, plus six command figures, 2 each officer, drummer, and standard bearer. 

Here's a bit closer picture of the various poses, which doesn't really do them justice. 

Her's a picture of the same figures from the other side. The really cool thing about this set is that, aside from the officer, they are all *wearing* the famous bright red cloaks of the Grenz; I don't think I've ever seen any other figures like them! The cloaks are sculpted with exaggerated folds, so they should paint up very easily.

OK, so now I have to plan out how I'll organize them into units. SAs I mentioned, my standard Napoleonic infantry have six stands of three figures each; so I'll take the nine firing guys for three stands, a set of command figures for the fourth, and the five reaching and one cartridge biter for the last two stands.

The remaining 12 figures will be the second unit; again, I really only need 12 figures per units for the standard Field of Battle units, so this will work out fine. 

    This unit I plan to make into a Siebenburger (Transylvanian) unit. Hollins (in his Osprey) mentions in passing that these units may have had *black* cloaks issued instead of red; he later indicated that this information may have been in error or at least that the black was not worn except on home defense/frontier service. However, the idea of  a Transylvanian unit with black, almost bat-like cloaks worn is just *way* too over the top to pass up, so black cloaks it will be!  As I'm thinking about his, I'm starting to wonder if maybe I shouldn't do the six stand unit with one each in the reaching and cartridge biting poses, and then do the Siebenburgers in a more irregular skirmish look, with every other figure on the non command stands kneeling firing, and the in between figures loading or biting ("I vant to bite your... cartridge. Bleah!"). Yep, I think that's what I'll do after all! Planning out these things is part of the fun of new units as well. I won't be able to do anything about painting them until after the Borodino project and Historicon this July, but I'll look forward to doing them soon thereafter!

Say, as it turns out, although the castings covered here fought for the Austrian Empire, neither are actually Austrian at all, but rather Tyrolian, Croats, and Transylvanians. No wonder the Kaiser was cautious about encouraging *too* much nationalism among his subjects, even in 1809!

Auf wiedersehen...



  1. It looks like a great year for skirmishing come late fall or in the winter. Grenz against Tyroleans? I may need to get Din of Battle2 and see if I can port the low level (units are 'squad,' whatever that is)version into the early 1800's.

  2. Not exactly historical ooponents, at least in this era, but could work. Might also be some revolting in the "Tirol" of Ratskania at some point as well, I'd imagine!

  3. Nice !! Looking fwd to seeing how you choose to render das lederhosen for those kneeknockendensehrkaltigenmorgensfruh skirmish scenarios in the Alps. (Im sure it gets pretty cold in the Tyrol).

    Good write up on the history behind the figures too. They are some very cool figures there !! I will be keen to order a couple next Eureka order I think. On that subject, do you know of any good figures for rabble from the Vendee campaign ? They would be generally useful for a number of irregular units I think.

    Had to laugh at the commentary on gifting as well. Unlike receiving the same shirt for 50th time ... can you ever imagine being disappointed by receiving a gift of miniatures ? "More Austrian line in shako advancing at the high porte ? ... but I already HAVE a unit of them !!!". No, I cant see that ever being a problem either.

    1. Thanks, Steve; it will be interesting painting them!

      Re; The Vendee, I know Eric's (Din of Battle blog)friend, ? Hal Hood, did a complete campaign and had a bunch of units/rabble based upon it. I don't recall the scale or manufacturer, though.

      Yep, "Oh my, a 29th unit of French Line (which is where the next one would be for me now), whatever will I do with THAT?"

      Why, paint it up and put it on the table for Dresden next year... duh! :-)

  4. Nice review of the Tyrolians; should be a fun project. I've got a bag of the OG 15mm Tyrolians. Haven't done anything with them yet...

  5. I've been doing some planning for Historicon 2013; I think Bergisel may appear then or in 2014!