Wednesday, 26 March 2008

The Artillery

This has been the topic of much thought. I'll be painting only one battery of two guns for BlastHof - each army receiving one gun for the battle. This reduction in the amount of artillery present will make, I think, for a better game.

As discussed in previous posts, there a limited choice of figures for use in a 30mm army. This problem is made more difficult by my own personal preferences. Figure manufacturers, not unreasonably, create gun crews hard at work serving the guns, and no doubt sending a hail of roundshot and grape to bowl over their enemies in great heaps. Indeed, so enthusiastic are these metal heroes that one must take care to avoid having a rammer who is merrily ramming home at the same time as, at the opposite end of the gun, another gunner is firing the piece. This is pretty much the opposite of what I want. I am really looking for a range with figures with choices such as 'gunner peering gormlessly into space while waiting for the smoke to clear'. My gunners are not to be the energetic warriors whose fire have dominated so many battlefields both real-life and miniature.

My final choice has been to go with my original instinct and to use the Suren French gun/crew set. I decided I wanted an 'unreformed gun': ie. a heavy piece unaffected by the great reforms of artillery that started around the middle of the 18th century in most first rate powers. My two Imaginations are both crumbling princedoms, barely able to escape out of the medieval, and so it seems inappropriate to have them possessing any of the more elegant pieces (such as the Elite Miniatures Austrian Four Pounder) that are available. That in itself is something of a strange choice: prefering the 'realistic' over the aesthetic when constructing an imaginary army. But then, as I have only to please myself, I don't need to care over much about such trifles as mere consistency.

As usual, I will paint the guns so they can also serve as pieces in the Prussian Army. This just means simple colours of blue-grey woodwork and blackened ironwork. I don't think these elderly guns would be too out of place in Frederick's Army because, while that monarch did recast his artillery to a lighter design prior to the start of the Seven Years War, he contrived to lose most of these pieces early on. So for much of the war the Prussians were served by older, heavier, cannon hastily gathered from service in various fortresses.

Converting the Suren French gunners into Prussians is rather more laborious than I'd prefer. Their cuffs are of the voluminous type associated with the War of the Austrian Succession and I therefore have to file down these admittedly elegant items to achieve the more utilitarian cuffs of SYW Prussians. As usual, pigtails can be added using cotton thread coated with epoxy glue. Fragile scabbards will be cut off and replaced with wire ones. The French officers are clad in heavy boots: these must be filed down to give gaiters.

1 comment:

Bluebear Jeff said...

I'm looking forward to seeing some photos.

-- Jeff