Thursday, 27 March 2014

Karoliner Infantry

Building up armies using the Karoliner figures. 

I will look at how we have built up our armies tor the Seven Years War (ish) period using PA moulds, the shortcomings of the ranges, and how we worked around them.

The armies were mostly built up by a group of three of us. I did most of the casting and painted up armies for the French and Prussians, Richard Hattersley painted the Russians, and Karsten Gould the Bavarians and Saxons.


The bulk of the infantry in our armies has been built up using the advancing figures from the Irish Wild Geese moulds I-903 & I-904.

Units from I-901 & I-903
Painted up as Bavarians by Karsten
 (The guinea pigs used to have a hutchside seat in many of our games, however as they did not seem too impressed by the noise so they have saved up their pocket money and now have their own shed).

We also have quite few units using the marching figures from the Karoliner moulds K-910 & K-911. However the advancing figures are both easier to cast and clean up easier so are used more often.
K-910 infantry marching & K-906 grenadiers firing
Some of Richard's Russians

There are also a few units of the firing figures from K-901 & K906, both of which cast well, however although they look good in the firing line they don't look good in column, so we stopped using them in close order - they do make good skirmishers though! 

We have now built up armies with 100s of figures, which we combined with the collection of Mark Dudley and the Ilkley Old School players to put on a well received display game at the Sheffield Triples show in May 2012. (Have a look on the 'Too much lead' and 'Ilkley Old School' blogs for more photos).

Sheffield Triples 2012

What are the shortcomings of the Karoliner infantry for use in the SYW?

The Karoliner ranges represent the Swedish army, and provided the units you want to build have a similar uniform to the Swedes you are fine. The biggest problem is that the figures have their waist belts on the outside of their coat, unfortunately by the mid 18th Century most nations, with the notable exception of the French, wore the belts below the coat, so if you want to be accurate then the range has limited usefullness. Obviously if your army is of an imaginary nation it is not a problem.

There are a number of issues if you want to build up historical armies of the SYW era using these ranges:
  1. They cannot represent troops who wore the waist belt below their coats - which is most of them!
  2. There are no Prussian fusiliers in their mitre caps
  3. There are no grenadier bearskins for the French, Austrians etc.
  4. There are no Russian grenadiers in their unusual grenadier helmets
  5. There are no grenz or pandours
  6. There are no Hungarians
We have dealt with these issues in the following ways

1. Waist belts below coats - this really is too difficult to correct, so we have ignored it and painted belts on the outside even if not historically correct.

2. Prussian fusiliers in their mitre caps - we did not bother with any fusiliers!

3. Grenadiers in bearskins - for these I converted an advancing infantryman by adding a head with a bearskin and made a silicon rubber mould. 
Modified figures as grenadiers in my French collection.

4. Russian grenadiers in their unusual grenadier helmets - this dropped into the too difficult bracket, so they got ordinary mitres.

5. Grenz & pandours - I was working on some conversions for these (not many needed), but have not progressed it as they should be covered in the new range.

6. Hungarians - we never got as far as the Austrian army so did not crop up.

The new Seven Years War Range

New figures are coming which will close all of the above gaps - I will discuss these in the next posting.

New Prussians as fusiliers
Probably the start of my remodeled Prussian army.

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