Friday, 11 January 2019

20 years - and a big leap (Evolution of British uniforms)

by Michael Schwab

The period between 1792 and 1812 saw Britain nearly constantly at war with Revolutionary and Napoleonic France. Nevertheless Top Brass in Horse Guards found time to change uniforms.

Let's first take the infantry:

They started with the lapeled long-tailed coat reminiscing of the Seven Years War and the American Revolutionary War, tricorne hat, breeches and gaiters and the soft back-pack of the envelope pattern often painted in the facing colour (figures on the left from Revell).

Around the turn of the century the coats were shortened and closed with the lapels removed, trousers loose and white, the first shako model of the stovepipe pattern. The pack colour was changed to generally black and stiffened by wooden parts inside. That was the look of the British infantry at the beginning of the Peninsular War (figures second from left - HÄT).

Till 1815 the changes affected the shako (Wellington or Waterloo pattern with false higher front) and the trousers, which generally became grey (figures second from right - Airfix).

The two figures on the right take us to the 20th century - Grenadier Guards of the 1960s. one of the first Airfix sets. Appearance and weapons had changed dramatically: red tunic, dark blue trousers and the high bearskin cap (by the way - they are still made from Canadian bearskins, no other material being suitable for the special needs; re animal rights activists: there are so many black bears in still growing numbers that they can easily provide the Foot Guards with their headgears).


Photos (click to enlarge): 





Saturday, 15 December 2018

Gaugamela 331 BC - The cavalry

Historical background

In the year 334 BC Alexander III of Macedonia (later called "the Great") started the invasion of the Persian Empire. After victories in the battles the Granicus and Issus he faced the whole might of Persia in the battle of Gaugamela in 331 BC. The odds were completely against him as the Persian army outnumbered him greatly (exact numbers vary: Macedonian army ca. 50.000, Persian army: 90 - 120.000, in ancient sources even 250.000 up to 1.000.000). With superior tactics of his phalanx and his cavalry he outmanouvred the Persians and put them to flight with only slight losses to his own army. The results of this battle were enormous - the Persian king Darius III was killed by his own men and Alexander was in full control of the whole Persian empire.

The moment depicted is the clash of the opposing cavalry forces on the Persian left flank. After some maneuvering the forces collided with the Macedons getting slowly the upper hand.


The diorama

The challenge for this diorama are the poses of the horses which are mostly in full charge and for a depiction of a close combat only of limited usefulness. With the right positioning of the the horses and riders can this problem largely be solved. The figures are all from Zvezda, with only minor trimming had to be done. Groundwork is made of coffee powder, paint, some moss from the garden and a little bit of marjoram. For the Persian attack with their feared chariots some parts of the battlefield were cleared, so that no obstacles can interfere with the attack (large stones and bushwork was removed and uneven ground was flattened), so all the ground on the diorama is quite flat and with only few vegetation.


Photos (click to enlarge)




























Video (YouTube)





Sources

John Warry - Alexander 334-323 BC (Osprey Campaign 7)
Michael Thompson - Granicus 334 BC (Osprey Campaign 182)
Jack Cassin-Scott - The Greek and Persian wars (Osprey Men-at-Arms 69)
Nicholas Sekunda - The Persian army (Osprey Elite 42)
Nick Sekunda - The army of Alexander the Great (Osprey Men-at-Arms 148)
Waldemar Heckel/Ryan Jones -Macedonian warrior (Osprey Warrior 103)
Nicholas Sekunda - Macedonian armies after Alexander (Osprey Men-at-Arms 477)
Christopher Webber - The Thracians (Osprey Men-at-Arms 360)
Nic Fields - Tarentine Horseman of Magna Craecia (Osprey Warrior 130)
Simon Anglim/Phyllis Jestice/Bob Rice/Scott Rusch/John Serrati - Fighting techniqes of the ancient World 3000 BC - 500 AD
Paolo Cau - Die 100 größten Schlachten

Monday, 19 November 2018

Dioramica in Hann. Münden 17. - 18.11.2018

It is a long way from my hometown to Hann. Münden in Germany (about 800 km), but the event that took place on the last weekend was every travelling km worth it. It's called Dioramica (www.dioramica.de) and is a presentation of the local museum "Geschichte in Miniaturen" (www.geschichte-in-miniaturen.de) with it's perfect dioramas combined with a trading place for 1/72 figure manufactorers and a meeting place for 1/72 figure enthusiasts. People who knew each other mostly from forums or see each other very seldom met here and talked about their hobby, showed their latest work or tried to get some inspiration.

I don't like to talk in superlatives, but that was the best event I ever visited!!! A great compliment to the organisation and to all who took part in making this happen.


Photos (click to enlarge)
Only a very small overview - really!


















Wednesday, 10 October 2018

Vienna 1683 - In the vineyards

Historical Background

In the year 1683 the Ottomans started their second attempt to conquer Vienna, the seat of the Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire and the door to further conquest in Europe. It was a major effort with a huge army (170.000 men at the start of the campaign) - too much for the Emporer, who left the City before the Ottomans arrived. After an epic two months siege an allied relief army (Imperial and Polish troops) reached the outskirts of Vienna and in the final battle the Ottomans were decisively beaten and had to retreat the way they had come.

The moment depicted is when the Poles rush down from the hills on the western side of Vienna and the Ottomans (Jannisaries) try to stop them in no matter what environment - even in the vineyards, where place and visibility is very limited.


The diorama

The figures are from Zvezda (Poles) and Orion (Ottomans). For reaching the interaction between the figures some conversions had to made and also the Poles had to be trimmed additionally to reach the desired appearance (originally they were Russian streltsi). Uniforms were not very developed in this period, so each figure has its own colours or colour variations.

Vineyards look a little different then today, the method of cultivation changed over the years - in fact it only changed after the second world war from low to high culture. The vine grapes are made of wire, glue, paint and some foliage from Noch. The grapes itself out of wire, curry powder and a some paint.


Photos (click to enlarge)




























Video (Youtube)




Sources

John Stoye - Die Türken vor Wien
Simon Millar - Vienna 1683 (Osprey Campaign 191)
Richard Brezezinski - Polish armies 1569-1696 Part 1 (Osprey Men-at-Arms 184)
Richard Brezezinski - Polish armies 1569-1969 Part 2 (Osprey Men-at-Arms 188)
David Nicolle - Armies of the Ottoman Turks 1300-1774 (Osprey Men-at-Arms 140)
David Nicolle - The Janissaries (Osprey Warrior 58)