Wednesday, 29 January 2014

AB Miniatures 1798 Hungarian Line Infantry Out-the-bag Review

While reading Marengo and Hohenlinden: Napoleon's Rise to Power by James R Arnold I got the impression that the Austrian Army of that period was still in transition between the pre-1798 uniform and the post-1798 with the casquet hat still being worn. There is a picture in the book that quite clearly shows this earlier uniform being worn (though I am only assuming the artist got it right).

Then I noticed a picture in the Fields of Glory Napoleonic wargames rulebook that again features that earlier uniform still in use, but with officers wearing the new helmet. I'm sure the picture is from another Osprey publication.

So, with sources suggesting the earlier uniform I decided that some of my army should reflect this.

I already have the bulk of my German battalions started, with a few figures ordered to complete them, but I still hadn't started the Hungarian regiments yet, mostly due to the fact that only one producer of the larger scale 15mm figures makes Hungarian line infantry in helmets, that being AB.

AB are more expensive that the other ranges, this being acceptable due to the fantastic quality of the figures, so I had been holding off in the hope that Blue Moon, or another company, would release these (hint, hint!!!) at a more affordable price.

It eventually made sense that if I needed Austro-Hungarians, and if I was going to have to go with AB, then why not order the earlier French Revolutionary Wars era Austrian Hungarians? So that's what I did, only with a pack of Hungarian command in helmets to finish the 32 man battalion.

The order arrived today, so here is an Out-the-bag review of what I got...

The order had been for Hungarian Fusilier in Casquet Marching (AB-RKK07) x4 and Hungarian Fusilier Command 1798-1806 in Helmet (AB-KK91/93). The delivery was well packaged, as is always the case from Fighting 15's, the UK supplier of AB Miniatures. The figures were well protected with ample bubble wrap.

Rather than come in individual packs, the bulk order of 4 packs of fusiliers were in one zip lock bag, and the command in another.

So what did you get in the bags? The mix of Fusiliers consisted of three poses. These are packed randomly so I assumed it would be an equal amount of each. I had a minor gripe with the fact that there were far more of one pose than of the others, as you can see, but that's only a minor issue. The command set consists of six figures - one each of the three poses; officer, standard, and drummer.

I think it goes without saying, but I'll say it anyway. AB figures are the TOP when it comes to quality. They really do set the standard. The only flash issue is an easily removed bit at the very tip of the bayonet (though you need to carefully snip this off to avoid losing your tips). The features on the miniatures are well detailed and very realistic. The poses are natural, and the uniforms are accurate. The muskets are well defined and look like muskets and not just sticks with pointy bits. Just perfect figures. I hope I can paint these guys to the standard they deserve.

I think you need to see these beside other ranges to see how good they are, so here is a comparison shot. Sorry its a little fuzzy.

From left to right, these are: Blue Moon, AB, Old Glory, Warmodelling, and Warmodelling. Yes, the last two are both from the same manufacturer, from the same code, and out the same packet! I know not every person is the same height, but that guy is HUGE!!

I now have another battalion in the queue, so less typing and more painting is required. Here is what will be the first battalion of IR52 Erzherzhog Anton Victor Regiment, which will have bright pink facings. That along with the blue trousers should make a change from all the white.

The 32 man Battalion cost a total of £28 including postage, so that makes it about 0.87p per figure to build the unit, with a couple of spare figures leftover.

AB are available from Fighting 15s here.

Monday, 27 January 2014

Campaign Game Miniatures Austrian Artillery Crew Out-the-bag Review

One of the things on my other blog that seemed very popular, was my comparison shots of various manufacturers figures. Collectors and gamers always appreciated seeing how different miniatures looked beside other ranges, so after my last post I decided to start doing Out-the-bag reviews of the various figures as I receive them. I'll try and do further reviews after painting as sometimes a figure will look amazing or terrible before painting and then its the other way about when they're painted.

So, today I received two packs of Campaign Game Miniatures (CGM) Austrian Artillery Crew.

The packs consist of 8 figures each, with two each of four different poses. They also come as two different packs; AUSA001 Austrian Artillerymen Firing and AUSA002 Austrian Artillerymen Loading. These retail at £3.60 a pack, so 0.45p per figure.

I'd ordered these just before Christmas from the Quick Reaction Force (QRF) website, but due to the holiday break they took a while to arrive - which isn't a problem as I had a pile of other miniatures to work through anyway.

First Impressions: These are nice. They are clean, flash free, with no bending or damage. The faces and hands look good and should paint up fine. Three poses out of each set have plumes on their bicorne, with the fourth in each set having an unadorned hat. The uniform looks as correct as it need to be for this scale, but the bicorne is missing the small pompoms that should appear at each peak, a minor issue as I forgot to paint these on my completed artillery. The figures also do not have the rope hanging at their belts that you see on the figures from Blue Moon, a nice detail that makes the BM miniatures my favourite so far out of those I have.

Here are the CGM figures straight out the pack showing the figures with cleaning or flash removal. Top set of eight is AUSA001, and the bottom set AUSA002...

And here is a comparison of the CGM with other ranges. From left to right these are: Blue Moon x2, CGM x2, Warmodelling x2, Blue Moon x2, and CGM x2.

To sum up, I would recommend these if you want to add a bit of variety to your artillery teams, but for quality Blue Moon is still the best. I'll get some AB next time I'm buying artillery and will review those here, but I think we all know that AB set the standard for Napoleonics.

These figures are available from Quick Reaction Force here, or direct from Campaign Games Miniatures here.

Thursday, 23 January 2014

15mm / 18mm Austrian Napoleonic Comparison - Old Glory and Blue Moon

With the great selection of 15/18mm Napoleonic miniatures that we have nowadays we are almost spoiled for choice. Almost, but not quite. Early Austrians in helmets are well supported with most manufacturers having these in their range. But they're not all compatible. So far I have Austrians from Warmodelling, AB, Old Glory and Blue Moon. Campaign Games also have these in their range, and although I have some Artillery crew on order, I haven't seen any of their miniatures in the flesh.

Old Glory are the most common manufacturer in my collection so far, mostly due to the cost, but as you'll see from the photographs, they are considerably shorter than the others I have mentioned. I do like these figures, and they certainly paint up better than their reputation had suggested.

Blue Moon are the newest range in my collection of 15/18mm Napoleonic Austrians and the second most common, again as they are economical to purchase. They are taller than the Old Glory, and very clean sculpts. The poses are slightly too similar in my opinion, with the positioning of the head the main difference between poses. My main gripe would be that the cross belts and other straps don't seem as well defined as could be, especially when compared to the likes of AB. Also the backpacks, cartridge boxes, water bottles and blanket roll are all quite small. They may be more realistically proportioned than other figures equipment, but they felt small when painting them. The bayonets are also quite short, but this seems an issue through the range. I've heard a few comments about the thickness of the "telegraph pole" that the standard bearer is carrying, but as you can see, once the flag is attached they look fine, and will last longer.

I will be mixing Old Glory and Blue Moon within my collection, but they'll not be mixed within the same battalion or regiment. I'll probably even try to keep them is separate brigades. Anyway, here's the comparison shots so you can judge for yourself...

I nearly forgot to mention. The Old Glory are IR23 Toscana, as shown in previous posts. The new battalion will be IR47 Graf F. Kinsky Regiment, which will be represented by two battalions, with grey green facings.

Left base: Old Glory, Centre base: Blue Moon, Right base: Old Glory. Mounted figures are; Left: Warmodelling, Right: AB Miniatures.

Sunday, 19 January 2014

IR23 Infantry Regiment, Toscana (Grand Duke of Tuscany) completed.

Now that I have completed the IR23 Grand Duke of Tuscany Infantry Regiment I thought I would post some pictures of the full Brigade. Three 32 man battalions, two batteries of 3 pounder foot artillery, and GM Knesevich is command.
The figures are mostly 15mm Old Glory, Austrian Infantry in Helmet March Attack, with a couple of Road March thrown in for variety. The Mounted officers in the 2nd and 3rd Battalions are from Old Glory and AB. The Generals are from Old Glory. The artillery crew are from Warmodelling and Blue Moon and the guns from  Warmodelling.

Regiment advancing in Massed Column.

Regiment in Line

General-Major Vincenz Knesevich - Update Part Two

Here is a repainted (for the third time) General-Major Vincenz Knesevich. After getting some very useful feedback from Dave Hollins I have given this Austrian General a light blue coat with red facings. Hopefully it is correct this time.

IR23 Infantry Regiment, Toscana (Grand Duke of Tuscany), 3rd Battalion

I have finished the 3rd and final battalion for IR23 Toscana. Again this unit is using Old Glory figures, this time with a mounted officer from AB miniatures. I really like the old Old Glory miniatures, even though they are a little small compared to other current ranges. There is a action to their poses that gives the look of a unit marching into combat rather than being on parade, and now that I have new glasses I can see a lot more of the detail - The blanket rolls on these guys is really rather nicely done. I just wish my painting was good enough to get them perfect.

Monday, 6 January 2014

General-Major Vincenz Knesevich - Update Part One

After doing a little bit of research, which basically involved looking at the few entries I could find about Vincenz Knesevich through a google search, I painted up a 15mm Old Glory Austrian general to match the only picture I could find of this Austrian officer. Unfortunately I got it pretty wrong. It is the right person, just the wrong uniform.

Thankfully I had some very useful comments from Dave Hollins, author of more than a few books about the Austrian army of this period. Not only have I had the honour of getting advice from a renowned expert, but Dave has kindly given permission to post the information he has passed on.

In my research I have managed to get a couple of things confused that Dave has clarified...
Vincenz was the son of GM Martin Knezevich Freiherr von Sankt-Helena and borna s you say in Gracac in the Licca District of the Frontier although the family came from Sankt Helena in Hungary (not Napoleon's last home!) in 1755. 
Aged 17, he joined the Hungarian Leibgarde (the ceremonial guard), but in 1775, he became an Unterlt in IR56 before transferring to the Wurmser Hussars as an Oberlt in 1778, rising to Rittmeister and a squadron commander. During the last Turkish War (1788-91) he was a Major in the Vukassovich Freikorps hussars and became their commander, before returning to the Wurmser Hussars as a Major and then joining the Vecsey Hussars in 1792. Promoted to Oberstlt in 1796, he then became an Oberst in 1797 commanding the Erz Josef hussars and licking them into shape, so he and they distinguished themselves at the Adda in 1799, for which Knezevich received the MTO (Militär-Maria-Theresien-Orden) on the battlefield from Suvarov. He further distinguished himself at the Trebbia and Novi as well as the siege of Cuneo.
He was promoted to GM in 1800 and then commanded a brigade based in Styria until 1809. He was appointed FML that year and collected the wreckage of Stoikevich's Korps, which he then led back to Dalmatia and besieged Agram (Zagreb). In that year, he was also made Inhaber of 3. Dragoner and retired in 1812. Appted Vice-Captain of the Kingdom of Croatia/Dalmatia in 1813, he returned to service that year and in 1815 was Military Kommandant of Venetia and promoted to GdK (in the red uniform!) before retiring to his estate in Sankt Helena, where he died aged 77. (Wurzbach, drawing on Hirtenfeld)
Vincenz Knesevich is shown in the painting at his most senior rank of General der Kavallerie, which was the equivalent of the Feldzeugmeister for Generals of Hungarian background, who had commanded or were Inhabers of Hussar regiments. He is wearing the ceremonial dress style of red Hussar uniform for that rank, which was first regulated in 1798 (before then, these Generals could wear a white or red version). He was promoted to Generalmajor in 1800, which was his rank at Marengo.
As such, the figure is actually wearing the Oberrock, worn on campaign, which was a mid-blue at that time with red turnbacks and the single gold lace for GMs. The shoulder sash is worn over the right shoulder, not the left! It is the MTO sash, which was not worn on campaign and has been copied from a formal portrait, and the hat did not have gold edging on campaign - it is rather like Wellington's in the Sharpe progs! The shabraque is fine too as the Generals used a Staff (ie: senior regimental officer) officer's schabraque on campaign.

Many thanks to Dave Hollins for the above information. I'm away to repaint, again, my GM Knesevich and to do a bit of research into GM August Graf Briey de Landres.

Friday, 3 January 2014

General-Major Vincenz Knesevich

At Marengo General-Major Vincenz Knesevich led a brigade consisting of three batallions of  IR23 TuscanyKnesevich's Brigade, along with de Briey's and Marselle's Brigades formed Feldmarschall-Leutnant Von Kaim's Division.

I have tried to find some biographical information about Knesevich, but the sources I've found online are contradictory, and there seems to be a couple of Austrian officers of the same name. I hope this is accurate information.

Vincenz Freiherr Knesevich de Szent-Helena was born on  the 13 November 1755 in Gračac, in the military border area with Turkey. During Austria's Turkish War of 1788/89 he raised and commanded a Frei-Corps.
By the start of the War of the Second Coalition he had reached the rank of Oberst and commanded Hussar Regiment N°2 and was distinguished by forcing the surrender of a French Division at Verderio. He again was distinguished in the Battle of the Trebbia River on 17-20 June, in the Battle of Novi, and at the Siege of Coni.
On 29 October 1800 Vincenz Knesevich was promoted to Generalmajor and commanded an infantry brigade in Kray's division in northwestern Italy. By the end of May, he had transferred to FML Melas' division, and served in FML Von Kaim's main column at Marengo.

Vincenz Knesevich (1755-1832),
Croatian nobleman and general of the Habsburg Monarchy imperial army (from Wikipedia)

This picture is the only visual reference I could find of Knesevich. I'm not sure whether his uniform is correct for Marengo, or if it is more correct for when he was commander of the 2nd Hussar Regt (who wore light blue with red shako), but I liked the idea of him wearing red rather than the usual white. So, I put together a command base with a General wearing a red uniform (both figures from Old Glory).

Here is Knesevich's Brigade so far, the third Battalion of IR23 is still in progress.