Thursday, 16 August 2018

Karl Freiherr von Müffling

Karl Freiherr von Müffling served in the capacity of staff officer in the Prussian army for most of the Napoleonic Wars. He was apparently quite good at his job and specialized in topography and cartography which would have been very useful pre-Google Maps. He has made his way into my own miniature army mostly because of his splendid sounding name.

PN.69 ADC to General on horse PNH/1 - as Muffling

Müffling became deputy to Blucher’s Chief of Staff Gneisenau following the death of Sharnhorst in 1813. He was appointed as liaison officer to Wellington’s HQ during the Hundred Days and, if the film Waterloo is anything to go by, played a vital part in the events leading up to the battle. This included putting a damper on the Duchess of Richmond’s ball by arriving in a thunderstorm and leaving the doors open – “gentlemen obliged to ladies will finish their dance!”.

John Savident (left) played Muffling in the film Waterloo.
"I say Wellington, I say, will thee stand on that ridge? I say
will thee stand?"

The figure is PN.69 ADC to General mounted on horse PNH/1. This was another of my little eBay wins a few weeks ago although he came with a British horse (I was able to replace this with a vintage Prussian one). When I bid I was convinced that I didn’t have a Prussian ADC but on checking my spreadsheet I was annoyed to see I had two listed. To my relief though, when the figure arrived I realised that what I already had were 2 x BN/261 ADC in cocked hat holding letter which I’d misidentified. Good news for the Duke who potentially has two more staff officers.

Bulow, Muffling and Gneisenau conferring on the field of battle.

Footnote: John Savident played Muffling in the film Waterloo. Savident became much more famous in the 1990s for playing Fred Elliott the butcher in Coronation Street.

Monday, 6 August 2018

Imperial Guard Heavy Cavalry

Here are the Empress’ Dragoons based up and parading with the Horse Grenadiers. These two squadrons will be brigaded together to form one twelve figure unit in my French army. Under my rules Muskets & Marshals Guard heavy cavalry are the equivalent of Tiger tanks in WW2 – almost unstoppable.

All the figures used are vintage Hinton Hunt castings (which only seems right) they are:

6 x FN/60 Empresses Dragoon (Mounted charging)
6 x FN/300 Horse Grenadier Guard (on horse FNH/2)

Next I’ll be turning my attention to the Guard horse artillery to support them.

Sunday, 29 July 2018

Plancenoit - Commands & Colors(sic)

Goya, Tony and I got together yesterday to play the C&CN Plancenoit scenario. Tony supplied the battle-boards, scenery and most of the French troops while Goya provided a host of S-Range Prussians and a superb lunch. I brought along a smattering of Hinton Hunt units to make up the gaps in the OOB for both sides.

As host Goya gallantly offered to Umpire, a position he most ably fulfilled by keeping a tight rein on the dice and chipping in occasionally with handy advice for the Prussian C-in-C. To help get us in the mood he flipped an ‘Iron Will’ token to decide ends, Tony won the toss and to my surprise chose to play the Prussians which of course meant I got the French and all those Guard units.

Here is my account of this great French victory (written from our Brussels HQ):

Initial positions from behind the French right flank (looking a bit sparse for
the French who had fewer units but lots of Guard ones).
And the same from the Prussian left flank (there were a lot of Prussians).
My own unit of Young Guard about to occupy the Churchyard which they
kept possession of for the whole game.
Blucher and Gneisenau calmly survey the battlefield. "Vorwarts" seems like
a good idea!
Unable to attend in person, Wellington sent his tree however this ended up on
the French side - a bad omen?
By playing a rather nifty Tactical Card I was able to quickly occupy (and keep)
all but one of the town hexes which gave Tony something of a headache and
me 2 VP's.
The Prussian tried to push around my right flank (via the woods in the
foreground) but were thwarted by my artillery.
Tony had more success on his own right flank by pushing forward his infantry
and cavalry (great to see Goya's S-Range cavalry in action again).
As you can see my infantry are in a bit of a pickle - 4 red tokens and they're
off. Eventually though by counter attacking with my own cavalry the Prussians
were halted and then thrown back.
The 2nd Silesian Landwehr gave a good account of themselves in this their
first scrape (the front rank was made up of S-Range figures from Goya's
collection as I'm still painting the command group).
There's something wrong with the rules however as these Prussian infantry
somehow managed to blow away the 2nd Guard Grenadiers - still can't believe
that happened!
And more amazingly the 1st Silesian Landwehr managed this dice roll to
obliterate a French unit. Perhaps not so surprising when you think of their
track record.
However, despite these isolated successes the French were never in danger of
being ejected from Plancenoit and in the end it was a pretty convincing win
for the French.

It was an interesting game that sparked a fair bit of debate during our coffee, biscuit and cake debriefing session. Goya felt that the game was somewhat stacked against the Prussians while I think possibly Tony and I thought we’d need to play another game before deciding on that. It’s a scenario that perhaps we should revisit in the future.

Monday, 23 July 2018

Empress’ Dragoons - Update 2

As I’ve completed the required number of Landwehr figures for our game next weekend I decided to return to and finish off the Empress’ Dragoons. The painting desk was getting a bit crowded with so many figures on the go and completing them has helped to restore some order.

As always these one-piece castings have been a challenge to paint but I’m fairly happy with the result. Next I need to base them ready for a parade with the Horse Grenadiers.

Friday, 13 July 2018

More Head Wardens

Don took pity on the 2nd Silesian Landwehr and very kindly sent me an officer, drummer and standard bearer this week to fill some of the command vacancies. This means I’ll be able to expand the command group to include an extra officer and a drummer (the standard bearer will be set aside for future use as WM is supplying a flag for my converted figure).

The officer Don sent is possibly a vintage one but if not is a very good Clayton casting. What has fascinated me about him is that he is identical to the figure that I finished up with after I carried out the head swap (previous post). I’m pretty certain then that Marcus Hinton produced the master for PN.17 Officer (charging) with a simple head swap to the line officer.

The drummer PN/22 Drummer (advancing) was never included in the original HH range and is a later addition produced by David Clayton. The figure has a French style pack rather than a haversack as modelled on the rank and file so again I’m guessing that the master was converted from another figure although I’m not sure which one, possibly a DK?

Wednesday, 4 July 2018

Head Wardens

I needed some command figures for my new unit however as I have no Landwehr officer figures I decide to convert some from regular line ones. This involved a head swap which is not something I have ever attempted before and proved a bit fiddly as I don’t really have all the right gear. In the end I used a padded mole-wrench to hold the decapitated heads while I drilled them and it seems to have worked quite well.

One of the donor figures was of the thin variety which has given the new figure a bit of an odd pinhead look. I’ll be using this one as the standard bearer and hopefully the flag will attract attention away from this when he is completed.

The officer figures used are PN.1 Officer (charging) with heads from a couple of charging Landwehr figures who were missing their bayonets. They were all Clayton castings so no vintage figures were harmed in the making of these conversions.

Friday, 29 June 2018

Landwehr progress

I’ve managed to complete another 6 Landwehr this week taking me to the halfway point of the unit. However, I think it’s unlikely that I’ll have the whole unit finished in time for the game at the end of next month due to distractions caused by a combination of work, the World Cup and the heat wave.

Fortunately Goya has come to the rescue by offering to paint up 6 S-Range figures to make up the numbers if I can get my own tally to 18. Another 6 figures from me should be achievable I hope and the resulting temporary unit should look quite interesting.

Whilst painting the current batch I noticed that there are some figures aligned sideways on their bases rather than diagonally as they should be (see the figure in the centre at the front). All these figures are Clayton castings and all came from the same source a few years ago. Presumably these are just casting variations as the figures themselves are identical.