Sunday, 13 July 2014

Admiring Austrians

As a teenager I did briefly toy with the idea of collecting an Austrian army. It appealed for a couple of reasons - firstly it looked like they’d be easy to paint as even I could manage white all over (this is long before I had any ideas about lining in black). Secondly I was captivated by the story of Napoleon’s 1805 campaign and the surrender of General Mack at Ulm.

AN.85 Austrian Uhlan Lancer (mounted) charging. This dashing figure was painted by Don.

AN.73 Austrian Curiassier (mounted) charging. This figure has had his sword replaced with a pin which makes getting him out of the storage box a bit tricky.

It has to be said at this point that my entire military reference library in those days consisted of just two books (Montgomery’s History of Warfare and Lawford’s History of the British Army) and it’s from these limited resources that I gleaned all my information on the Napoleonic Wars. For some reason the episode at Ulm caught my imagination, although in retrospect it seems like a bad motivation for wanting to paint Austrians.

Napoleon accepts the surrender of the encircled Austrian forces at Ulm - I want an army that can surrender too!

AN.77 Austrian Dragoon (mounted) charging. Another of Don's works.

At the time I was painting my Prussians another budding wargamer at school painted up a unit of Hinchliffe Austrians. It was the first time that I had seen beautifully painted and shaded figures and it made me feel that my own output was quite inadequate (made worse by the fact he was in the year below). I think this well and truly put me off the idea of an Austrian army at the time.

 This is for the 'Archduke' - Page W.G.12 from the Hinton Hunt Catalogue.

However with the passing of time my attitude has mellowed and I do have a smattering of Austro-Hungarians in my current army including the 51st Gabriel Spleny regiment, my Tirolean Jagers, some Hussars and one artillery battery. Like the Prussians, the supply of genuine vintage figures has proved to be thin on the ground and although my infantry arm is small I have been lucky enough to assemble a decent cavalry contingent. I’m looking forward to working on the cavalry although I think that day is still a long way off.


the Archduke said...

the Archduke is honoured, and grateful for that page of the catalogue. We have a policy in the ranks of "don't mention General Mack".

MSFoy said...

Ah yes - Austrians. At some point in my (relative) youth I read about a bunch of worthies in London doing a war-game of the full Battle of Leipzig, and since I had recently read the F Loraine Petre volume for 1813 my brain went into meltdown and I was unable to think about anything else for some months.

Eventually I realised that the whole idea of collecting all the armies for 1813 was ridiculous for about 6 different reasons, and I slapped myself about the head until I got the hang of it. All long ago, but that is the reason why occasional S-Range Saxons and Austrians still turn up in the backs of drawers, in the bottom of old diddy-boxes etc.

I do still like those Austrians, mind you. I would love to have had an Austrian army...

Stryker said...

Archduke - ok, I promise not to mention him again (not much anyway).

Tony - there's still time you know!

Matt said...

My fondest wargaming memory was seeing a Gilder Austrian battalion on the Hinchliffe stand at the Model Engineer Exhibition in the late 70s. They were beautiful!

Anonymous said...

Have often thought of adding Austrians to my collection, telling myself that the 1813 campaign is possible. But need to complete the Prussians and Waterloo British & allies first!


wargamed said...

Hi Ian-

Been some time - have some Austrians for you but have misplaced your e-mail address and your home address. :o(


Stryker said...

Hi Jack - good to hear from you. You can get to my email address by clicking on my profile and following the email link.