Sunday, 24 August 2008

Kelly's Heroes (SYW Style)

My title refers to Le Noble's Frei-Korps. I can't find a great deal of information on this unit, but the manner of its ending seems to give a fairly major clue as to its character. A unit that has to be disbanded at gunpoint must possess qualities that, if not laudable, are at least interesting. Certainly a general fortunate enough to command such troops will never have to search his mind to find excuses should he lose a battle.

I am intending to use this unit as light infantry. I'm not sure how historically accurate this is as I won't be modelling the unit's jager detachment, only the troops in 'double-blue' uniform. That's a decision based on aesthetics: I like the distinctive double-blue, while the green of the jager uniform looks distinctly 'un-prussian' to me.

The Stadden prussian SYW figures are not ideal for modelling this unit, due to the poses available. The officer marching in parade order with sword upright and the musketeer in march-attack both seem altogether too formal. The officer with spontoon has the right sort of pose. One can almost imagine him shouting "this way you scum" as his troops attempt to sneak off to the rear. But the weapon is altogether too cumbersome, so a simple conversion to using a sword is called for. He also needs lapels added.

The problem of the rank and file is rather greater. A suitable figure with correct uniform and equipment, sculpted by Charles Stadden (or at least with the same elegant proportions), animated 'at the ready' is simply not to be had. I don't like the firing pose (which is the only alternative given to march-attack) as this always looks odd at the start of the game when there are no enemy near enough to shoot at. The Stadden FP16 Prussian Grenadier charging is suitable: but this has the grenadier mitre cap: hence the tricorne modelling discussion in the previous posting.

Modelling tricornes has proven to be a most frustrating process: I think I have made one of these articles with each and every modelling mistake possible (brim too thick, crown too bulbous, fold misplaced in every various fashions, etc.). Currently about one in six comes out as usable: at least by my standards, a professional would probably reject them all. It might be sensible to make a mould from my best attempt but the only way to get better at this is to practice, so I will persevere. The entire experience means that me and the King of Wittemberg are entirely in sympathy.

The photo shows the two figures converted and then undercoated. I am not altogether happy with the converted grenadier: as usual with Stadden prussian grenadiers the figure appears slightly over-sized. I think Charles Stadden may have had the Potsdam giants in mind when he sculpted these.


Stokes Schwartz said...

Happy Sunday Andy,

I, for one, and duly impressed with your conversions. They look mighty fine to me. Eager to see this unit take shape too.

Best Regards,


Der Alte Fritz said...

I am of the opinion that Charles Stadden did not design the Prussian musketeer and grenadier in the advancing poses, nor did he sculpt the Prussian musketeer firing. These are clearly larger than his march attack poses. I do think that he made the Prussian officer with spontoon shown in your picture because the pose is similar to some of the 19th C colonial troops that he made.

Fitz-Badger said...

I agree with Stokes, excellent conversion work! I suspect, as is often the case, you see the flaws becasue you know what your vision was, but the rest of us just see the cool minis. And on the tabletop who will notice?

I keep telling myself, one of these days I'm going to do a Kelly's Heroes scenario (or series of scenarios), possibly with fantasy minis or SYW minis, with suitable changes (for example, cavalry in place of tanks?).

Bluebear Jeff said...

Have you thought of using either RSM or Minden figures for the unit? Both have the elegant lines that would go with Staddens . . . although I'm not sure about sizes.

-- Jeff

tidders said...

Nice conversions. Modelling those tricornes must be tricky.

-- Allan

Andy Mitchell said...

Both RSM and Minden are superb ranges that easily meet the aesthetic criteria that matter to me. I don't use RSM because I've read there can be problems getting them through UK customs. Minden requires a Paypal account and I don't want to add to the list of electronic routes into my bank account (I've had people phishing for my non-existent Paypal account details before now).

A J Matthews said...

I can sympathise with the problems over tricornes, having recently converted a batch of figures myself.

Steve-the-Wargamer said...

..those figures show sheer elegance, and the size difference is definitely not noticeable...