Saturday, 5 July 2014

Cavalry - initial thoughts?

PA are planning to bring out some 'heavy cavalry' in the not too distant future -  the sculptor is working on them at present. The designs are at a very early stage, this post is really to get some feedback on our initial ideas.

Troop Types

For the initial range PA are aiming to cover cuirassiers and dragoons (inc.horse grenadiers) for Prussia, Austria and Russia, and for each provide an officer, standard bearer, musician and trooper. By using multi-part figures this can be done without the need for 24 moulds!

How many horse types will be needed?

Historical saddlecloth shapes

After a lot of searching of books, plates and websites it is clear that there are quite a few interpretations of what was used, however the details shown on 'Project SYW' seem to be a fair representation. There appear to be four basic shapes needed?


1. Prussian Rounded

All Prussian cuirassier regiments except 13
Prussian dragoons regiments 1, 2, 3, 4, 11, 12










2. Russian Rounded

All Russian regiments of cuirassiers and dragoons.










3. Prussian Square

Prussian cuirassier regiment 13
Prussian dragoons regiments 5 to 10










4. Austrian 'Square'

All Austrian regiments of cuirassiers and dragoons had a square saddlecloth, which in many illustrations is shown with rounded corners.







What to produce???

PA are only going to produce a limited number of moulds, so there are going to be some compromises to be make.

Currently I think the initial range might include four sets on moulds, basically:
  1. Prussian cuirassier (round saddlecloth)
  2. Russian dragoon (round saddlecloth)
  3. Prussian dragoon (square sdaddlecloth) 
  4. Austrian cuirassier (square sdaddlecloth)
And from these the Austrian dragoons and Russian cuirassiers can also be made, as can a lot of heavy cavalry from other nations.


Any thoughts?

24 comments:

  1. Seems like a good plan.

    * I presume your going to have a single arm pose in the moulds, with alternate items to hold such as sword, trumpet, standard ....; or maybe alternate arms if they would fit.
    * It would be nice to have the 'sword arm at rest'.
    * For the horses a trotting pose would be nice.

    Have you considered separate horse and rider moulds ?

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    1. Allan

      The current plan is for separate horses and riders, trooper to be sword arm at rest - but not quite figured out how to do it yet!

      Steve

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  2. I think these basic choices are good ones. In a minimalist environment you could probably get by with just one square and one rounded. Four give an opportunity for variety in the horse poses.

    Will none of the designs have holster caps?
    Since these animals will serve more than one army will there be no ciphers or badges engraved in the molds?
    Will the Dragoons have trumpeters or drummers?

    It is interesting trying to envision how the riders will be separate and stay semi-flat. A separate leg? An insert piece?

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  3. For musicians the plan is trumpeters for the cuirassiers and drummers for the dragoons.

    We are intending to use separate riders and horses, however it is proving a challenge due to the flatness of the figures. We have a plan, if it works I will post some photos - if not then back to the drawing board.

    Not decided about the holster caps - paint them on for Austrians and Prussians, or file them off for Russians?

    Steve

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  4. I've tried hard to come up with a useful comment (as opposed to something pointless like pity they didn't do something different like acw or wwI instead) but I can't think of anything except that I'm glad the cavalry are coming.

    If it is feasible, separate horses would be great.

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  5. Ross

    Thanks, a horse and separate riders is the plan.

    Whether or not PA do any other ranges will I suspect depend on if this one sells, so it's in our interests to try and make it work, so feedback is important.

    Do you think 40mm semi-flat ACW would work - does anyone do them?


    Steve

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  6. Not since the days of Schneider etc. Must be the only scale variation that acw is not available. 40mm mostly round like the cowboys and indians, compatible with irregular would be even better. Given the similarity of campaign dress, 1 universal officer, drummer and 2 privates 1 in kepi and 1 in slouch hat and a gun and open handed crew figure and you have enough for 2 opposing armies.

    However 1 thing at a time.

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  7. Cavalry are most welcome, as would be new artillery figures. My personal interest is in the French army and I would be looking for a cuirassier figure that I could convert into a Cuirassier du Roi. So a detachable head that could be substituted for one with a bearskin would be ideal for me. Personally not that concerned with having seperate horses: for this type of figure, one piece castings work well for me.

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    Replies
    1. I have just spoken to the sculptor, next are the Hungarian infantry, which are almost sculptured. After that we have agreed to release some cavalry to add variety. This is likely to be a cuirassier, it will be multi-part with separate head. There will be a bearskin head available in the Hungarian, but the hair will be in plaits - what did the French have?

      Steve

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  8. That's good news. Prince August really seem committed to this new range; it deserves to do well. The hair for the Cuirassiers du Roi would be en queue and rolled at the sides. (By coincidence, Der Alter Fritz has just posted pictures of new Minden Miniatures greens for this regiment on TMP).

    I also hope to use the Austrian grenadier head to do some Grenadiers de France. But I'll have to work out which infantry body would be the closest.

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  9. The Austrian (German) grenadiers often wore their hair in Hungarian plaits, so the intention is that those in the Hungarian moulds will serve both; so at present no bearskins with curls in the infantry. There are plans to add a horse grenadier head in the dragoons, this could be given curls to fit the bill.

    With respect to the French infantry, none on the current list have belts external to the coat, so none suitable. IF the range sells then it would make sense to produce a set of say 3 French infantry moulds, however this be some time in the future, as the plan is to flesh out the Prussians, Austrians and Russians first.

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  10. Thanks for your reply Steve. Not averse to doing a bit of work with Greenstuff but of course purpose built French infantry would be most welcome and worth waiting for.

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    Replies
    1. What sort of timescale are you on?

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    2. No hurry. Only did my first castings last year but was so pleased with some test figures I painted-up I decided to go for it. I'm currently working on a battalion each of British (51st Foot) and French (Auvergne); Karoliner figures. So no problem for me to wait for the Grenadiers. What I'd really like though would be some nice artillery: the proper ornaments on the barrels and some gunners in waistcoats, (It's surprising, not many manufacturers - in any scale - do them in waistcoats though that's generally what the French gunners wore when serving the guns). But this is a long term project for me, so I'm happy to wait for the special stuff while I build up my battalions!

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    3. We are in a bit of a quandary on artillery crew, as all nations are different, but we did not think it justified two moulds (4 crew) per nation. We were wondering about having the crews in waistcoats so they would fit all, and then some officer types to give national character - still very much on the drawing board.

      Where are you based?

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    4. Sounds like a good plan. I'm based in London. No expert but happy to assist if there's anything I can help with.

      Delete
  11. Excellent news! Have the firer 3 moulds and am delighted with them. Keep them coming!

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  12. For myself I wonder if it is getting a bit complex since I sometimes struggle to get the molds to be crisp enough to show very specific detail. I guess it may just be my lack of casting skill.

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    Replies
    1. Andrew

      Getting the detail balance right is something we are trying to figure out - too many moulds and people will not buy them, too few and we might be thought too generic. it will always be a compromise.

      The general feedback I get is that the moulds cast quite well (see various comments on the blog, but do need some venting to get the detail out.

      Also crisper detail can be obtained by using the more expensive 'Model Metal', or something similar. If you don't want to cast everything in this, consider just doing the heads where it really shows, and the bodies in something cheaper. I generally cast with scrap (old unwanted figures), but I also cast for the heads only in Model Metal, and then use these, plus the best of the heads from the general castings.

      Steve

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  13. You might try to obtain some Bismuth and add ti to your alloy and see if the results improve. I believe that a large percentage of Model Metal is Bismuth.

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  14. I think an ACW range would be a great start to a 19th century Little Wars range. Add some zouaves, a guy in a French_style overcoat and a few extra heads and you are off to a good start.

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    1. Steve

      Thanks for commenting.

      I agree a mid 19th century range would be interesting, and probably quite popular and already discussed it with the sculptor.

      However, the SYW range has a long way to go, and I think it should be taken to a position where complete armies can be cast before considering directing efforts elsewhere. I suspect all depends on how these sell.

      Steve


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  15. Thinking about the cavalry shabraques, would it be possible to mold a plug-in corner piece for either a round or squared-off saddle cloth? That way you could limit the number of horse molds and any extra parts can be thrown back in the pot.

    Steve

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    Replies
    1. Steven

      Thanks for ideas.

      Since writing the the post I have had a good look at a lot of information, and come to the conclusion that we will not be too far from the mark by using just two types of saddle cloth - similar to the 'Russia Rounded' and 'Prussian Square' illustrated above. There should not be too many moulds, so unless we have problems we will try and keep the number of parts down, and also I suspect the moulds cannot be made to cast parts accurate enough to fit the corners without a fair bit of filling.

      Chris (the sculptor) is doing an Austrian cuirassier next so we can see how it all works out.

      Steve

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