Thursday, September 20, 2012

Goulash and Bärentatzen - Austrian Grenz part 2

    I finished off some the odds and ends for my 28mm Austrian Napoleonic army this week - two units of Grenz actually wearing their capes (Old Glory), and one unit of Hungarian line infantry in shako (Sash and Saber). I really enjoyed painting these up after many months of painting Russians for Borodino!

I covered the details of the Grenzer (or "Grenze-Infanterie") in a previous post last year (note that "Grenzer", literally, "Borderers", or "Frontiersmen", is already the plural form in German, so properly it's not "Grenzers", as is commonly heard... but I won't tell on you!). Similarly, the details of dress of the Hungarian Line and Grenadiers were covered in a post last year as well.

First up is the 9th Grenz Regiment, titled Peterwardeiner. It was raised in the area around Mtirovitz. With the earlier white uniform, it had had mauve facings, but as the brown coat was adopted field use, the facings changed to licht hectgrau, a light grey with a fairly pronounced blue hue. Yellow metal buttons were worn

Another view of GR #9; if you look closely you can see the Bärentatzen, which were unique to the Grenz and also the Line regiments recruited in Hungary. These "bear's paws" are a strip of white lace worn on the (pointed) cuffs,  with a finged end at the bottom of the cuff and a single button at the top. I looked on line to see if I could find a good "blow up" picture of these, and found lots of information about an edible fungus and cookies by the same name, and even bear's foot print tattoos, but nothing about this bit of uniform fluff, which seems unique to the army of the Austrian Empire of this era.

A top view of the regiment as it crests a small hill. This pack of Old Glory "Grenz Skirmishing in Cloaks" had 30 figures including 2 each officer, drummer, and standard bearer, 5 each reaching for catridge, biting open cartridge, and kneeling - firing, and 9 figures standing - firing. The Grenz drummers had the same facing colored wings with white lace edging and central "rosettes" as the line units.

This rear view shows the cloaks very nicely; they were fun to paint using a highlight and a shading color, as well as a final "magic wash".  I used Delta CC Moroccan Red as the base color, highlighted with Pumpkin and shaded with Americana Deep Burgundy. I'm quite pleased with how they came out... so much for the White Horde"! Note also the gold lace on the top of the officer's shako; NCOs had yellow lace, in both case the exact pattern depending upon the wearer's rank.

The next unit is the 15th Grenz Regiment, titled "2nd Szekler" (Hollins has it as "2nd Szeckel", whilst Knoetel has it spelled the first way). In any event, it was recruited around Kezdy-Vararhely in Siebenburgen. Now, Siebenburgen literally means "Seven Fortresses"... but we know that area as Transylvania (which itself means "beyond the woods"). It is part of present day Romania.

One nice thing about the OG pack is the standard bearers, which were lacking in the Foundry and Essex ranges that my previous units were composed of; the Grenz carried 1-2 old yellow Ordinarfahnen per battalion, depending upon the exact era. This regiment has Rose Red (rosenrot in Knoetel, pretty much pink) facings on the collar, cuffs, turnbacks, and the edges of the shoulder straps, with white metal buttons.

Whoa!  BLACK cloaks?  I mean these guys are from Transylavania, home to the fictional Dracula, but still! Dave Hollins in his Osprey Men at Arms 199, "Austrian Auxilluary Troops, 1792-1816", pg 7, mentions that "in place of the [scarlet] cloak [of the other Grenzer] their Hausmontur [home service order of dress] was a knee-length Capuchin (hooded) coat, made of black 'Siebenburgen material' faced on the cuffs with flax black neckstocks." I have, rather liberally reinterpreted that as the black cloaks seen here. Probably stretching reality a bit, but I like the effect myself, and it is an under-strength, 12 man unit.

A final view of GR #15; like all Grenz wearing the later brown coats, their belts were black. Evidently, the earlier white uniforms of this regiment had parrot green (a very yellowish shade) facings. The cloaks were painted Delta CC Charcoal, highlighted with Delta CC Hippo Grey and shaded with "pure" black.

This fine looking unit of Sash and Saber Hungarian Line in Shako is IR#53, Johann Jellacic, recruited in Slavonia. Like all the Hungarian, Croatian, etc units it wore the tight light to medium blue pants with yellow (or yellow/black) ornamentation on the seams, and "knots" on the front of the pants legs; the 'Magic Wash" helped bring out the detail of the lace a bit.

The detail of the drummer's shoulder "wing" is especially well seen. The facing color is "Pompadour", a mauve-like, purplish red. White metal buttons for this Regiment.

The pose of this unit might best be described as "relaxed march", I think. Very effective!

This rear view of IR #53 shows the lace on the shako of the officer and NCO well. Once again, the white  
Bärentatzen on the cuffs show particularly well in this view.

Note the low slung pack of the drummer, which was usual for Austrian units. Flags were printed out from the Warflag site; in this case the flags on the parent Warflag site are better than those on the subsidiary Napflag site for once. The "white" edges of the paper flags were obscured by painting them with a yellow ochre color (Delta CC Straw Paille).

    I hope you've enjoyed this tour of  my newest Austrian Napoleonic units. Evidently, Dracula kitsch aside, Transylvania itself is a region of great natural beauty, and well worth a visit in its own right; perhaps I will get the chance to go there myself one day! Meanwhile, there *is* a "Transylvania Brook" just a few miles from my home...



  1. More excellent and this case somewhat unique looking units

  2. Very nice additions to your 'white horde.'

  3. Thanks, Gentlemen.

    (I love them too!)

  4. The capes are great. I've often considered adding some to a 15mm unit.

    1. Glad you liked them, Mike. You might be able to add them to 15mm figures using tissue paper soaked in(white) glue. I did this years ago with a few of my Numidian LC to make "leopardskin" cloaks.

  5. Hmm it appears like your site ate my first comment (it was extremely long) so I guess
    I'll just sum it up what I wrote and say, I'm thoroughly enjoying your
    blog. I as well am an aspiring blog blogger but I'm still
    new to everything. Do you have any suggestions for
    inexperienced blog writers? I'd genuinely appreciate

  6. I was just looking for this information for a while. After
    6 hours of continuous Googleing, finally I got it in your website.

    I wonder what is the lack of Google strategy that don't rank this kind of informative
    sites in top of the list. Normally the top websites are full of garbage.