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Thread: Sigur goes historical - The Thirty Years War

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    Chapter Master sigur's Avatar
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    Sigur goes historical - The Thirty Years War

    Hello people! I'm Sigur, I build/paint miniatures and for my latest project I decided to do something historical. Hadn't really dabbled into that before I have to admit but have always been interested. In recent years, and to no little extent I blame the Meeples and Miniatures podcast for that, even more so. There is just SO much going on in the world of Tabletop Wargaming at the moment and this seems to go double for historicals.

    Introduction

    For the longest time I've had an interest in the Thirty Years War (TYW) mostly because of the kind of warfare of the period being in a transition phase from what most people would call medieval warfare with the classic swords, armoured knights, longbows and so on to the mass line battlesof the Black Powder era with the musket or rifle having become the weapons to dominate the battlefields. Then, there is the scale and madness. Historians are known to call the war "the very first world war" or "one of Europe's history's grand tragedies". Over the course of a third of a century the territorries which now are Germany, parts of Bohemia, parts of the Netherlands and some more were completely ravaged and bled out by mercenary armies and warbands either plundering and looting whatever they liked or being allowed to do just that by contract for their services.


    TYW order of battle in a nutshell

    It was the time of the great military enterprisers. Kings and Emperors wouldn't have standing armies but hired mercenary generals who brought ready-made armies with them already. This brings us to the next interesting thing: There was a handful of larger-than-life personalities, each of them with a huge reputation and dramatic stories. Wallenstein, Gustav(us) Adolph(us), Mansfeld, Tilly and so on.


    Gustav II. Adolf, King of Sweden and "Lion of the North"

    Today there are numerous accounts of horrible atrocities committed during the course of the war, mostly against civilians. Towards the end of the conflict whole of Germany was a battlefield and death was prevalent. In the end, no winner emerged but the Peace of Westphalia shaped the future of Europe for the centuries to come. The Thirty Years War is one of those historical events which show the utter destructivity of prolonged war in which no quarter is given.

    On the moral implications of historical wargaming I suggest looking into Episode 2 of the "A View from the Veranda" podcast in which two chaps who know what they're talking about discuss this very interesting topic.

    As a wargaming period, the Thirty Years War is strangely underrepresented it seems. That's mostly because of the UK being so pivotal in Wargaming but never having been directly involved in the TYW. Instead, there was the English Civil War. Obviously a subject closer to UK rules and miniatures designers, outfits, tactics and equipment were very similar to what was going on on continental Europe, just on a smaller scale. The battles of the TYW had huge armies for the time which naturally requires lots of miniatures. The ECW gives a similar experience and tactical challenges but with fewer models required. However, as a period to wargame, I just find TYW more interesting and grand a spectacle.


    17th century wargamers officers

    What's next: The general fashion was big beards, even bigger hats and pretty glorious trousers.



    So what am I going to do with it

    A few months ago I gathered that Warlord Games, makers of fine 28mm plastic and metal miniatures, were to release a set of rules to cover the 16th and 17th century called Pike&Shotte (because pikes were important back then and shooty things were as well, see). Once the rules were released I got them. They are a variant on their prior release Black Powder, written by Rick Priestley, with some fundamental changes though. Both systems themselves are loosely based on Warmaster so it was going to be good. If you're interested in a review and the battle report of a tiny test game, look no further!



    After long and tiresome consideration I decided that I wouldn't go with the very pretty and affordable 28mm plastics Warlord sell (if you're interested in what those look like exactly check out mrtn's plog on the same subject) but instead go with 10mm scale models. In my opinion this scale is better suited for the mass battle look I wanted to go for. Apart from that units in Pike&Shotte are potentially very mobile so I felt that going with 28mm my 6'x4' table would get a bit cramped.

    Because there is no way in hell I'd find somebody else to play 10mm TYW with me I decided to do two armies. One of the practical things about the period is that there were no uniforms as such, equipment was essentially the same on all sides and whole regiments would change sides several times during the course of the war so if needed I could just turn the bunch into one big army. I wrote up two army lists (P&S is using a points system and army lists and all that familiar stuff), one for Catholics (Imperials) and one for Protestants (Swedes and Saxons).

    This is the first army project in years I do for myself rather than commission work and my plan is to do it as time- and costeffective as possible (although I'm afraid that I blew the second objective already. ). To help me getting the minis assembled and painted I signed up for the Tale of Historical Painters. These tales are great things to keep the motivation up or, in the case of lack of motivation, the monthly deadlines are a necessary kick in the hinder to get something done.



    What happened so far


    After researching miniatures manufacturers, figure ranges and so on I placed some orders...


    ...realized I needed more stuff...



    ...and ordered some more which has yet to arrive. But once that's here I got everything I need (for now).

  2. #2
    Chapter Master sigur's Avatar
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    Re: Sigur goes historical - The Thirty Years War

    Finally, two days ago, I started putting the first units together and painting them and this is where the real painting log part starts.


    1 unit of Swordsmen:


    Swordsmen with bucklers fell out of fashion on the battlefields at the beginning of the 17th century (due to while civilian fencing increased in popularity. Despite this it was not uncommon for company commanders to turn the most experienced and hardiest Pikemen into halbardiers or swordsmen. While the first usually were to be found in the heard of the pike block to defend the officers or were commanded to guard the baggage train against marauders, the latter often were placed in front of the first rank of the pike block where they were a deadly obstacle to enemy infantry wilst being protected from cavalry by the long pikes from the back ranks. They also played an important part in sieges. Due to their battlefield role swordsmen (and often halbardiers) would wear more armour than other infantry.

    I got Swordsmen for the Imperial army because I wanted this one to look a bit dated in terms of setup and strategies so I was happy to see Swordsmen being included in the Imperial army list of the P&S rulebook.


    2 units of dismounted Dragoons:


    Dragoons were of a very special kind (or a painfully normal kind if you asked "proper cavalry"). They were basically mounted musketmen who would move where they were needed on the battlefield, dismount, fight as regular musketeers (possibly in skirmish order as seen above) and if things got dangerous or the job was done they would mount up again and move somewhere else. Very little to no fighting was done from horseback. In the thirty years war Dragoons were a rather recently introduced arm but were popular amongst commanders due to the relative cheapness (the horses were cheap and didn't require much training, neither did the men apart from basic musket training) and found much use as recon units, marauders and quick response forces.

    Problem with these units is that I need them twice - once on horse and once on foot. This, obviously, is the version on foot because I'm still waiting for some more minis for the mounted units.


    1 unit of Croat light cavalry:


    The Croat light cavalry were one of the staples of Imperial armies during the thirty years war. The Habsburg Empire, covered a huge area including lots of different peoples from Eastern Europe and the Balkans who were known for being skilled riders, tough people and fierce warriors due to the ever ongoing wars at the borders between Imperial Austria and the Ottoman Empire. Companies of these cavalries first were employed as mercenaries by the Empire and lateron were set up as constant regular units. Some of the first were Croat who soon would become infamous for their ferocity and bad manners (especially after the sacking of Magdeburg).

    These I had to have because they are one of the very characteristic units for the conflict. Very glad I found a company who made them in 10mm. They should make a nice, colourful addition to the Imperial army.


    1 unit of Harquebusiers:


    Harquebusiers developed from 16th century's Reiters who had replaced the classic knights of the middle ages and were less heavily armoured than their colleagues the Cuirassiers. Other than Dragoons they were "real" cavalry and were trained to use their firearms from horseback at range but would also charge the enemy with sword in hand. As the wars went on and more and more Dragoons were raised to support heavy cavalry on the attack instead of Harquebusiers this class of cavalry vanished from the battlefields. The distinction between Harquebusiers and Cuirassiers also got blurrier as many Harquebusier regiments were "upgraded" to the much more prestigeous Cuirassiers and Cuirassiers in general laid off more and more of their plate armour.



    From this I went on to this:

    Swordsmen - basically finished, I still need to do the basing though obviously. That's also why the shoes aren't painted yet. Wouldn't go well with drybrushing the ground texture.




    Croats - about halfway done I'd say:




    ...and finally this last night:




    These are still all WIP and whatnot but in this picture you can already get a hlimpse of where the strength of 10mm lies - formations of troops look really nice. Single units - meh, so-so, but once there is more than one unit on the table it starts looking like something. Not to say that the units or models don't look good but it's really the visual impression of rank and file that makes it. At least that's what I think.

    Anyway, I'll go on from there. Next will probably be a unit of Harquebusiers for the Imperials and the dismounted Dragoons for the Swedes but first I have to finish these Croats. I would be happy if you'd pop in every once in a while and comment. Hope you enjoy the pictures.

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    Chapter Master Caiphas Cain's Avatar
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    Re: Sigur goes historical - The Thirty Years War

    Cool! I agree, individual bases don't look spectacular, but whole units look amazing. How long does it take you to paint a single base of 12 infantry compared to a 28mm model? I found that painting a base for epic (5 models) took about as long as one 28mm model.
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    Chapter Master sigur's Avatar
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    Re: Sigur goes historical - The Thirty Years War

    @mrtn: Thanks, I hoped you would.

    @Caiphas Cain: Thanky very much. I know it's bordering negligence but I don't really take the time when painting for myself or something I don't paint a LOT of but I always found 10mm scale minis to paint up real nicely and rather quickly as well. Not quite as quickly as 6mm stuff of course but still rather quick and cheerfully, especially infantry. Painting horses, even at 10mm, is still a bit of a pain.

    Update!

    Change of plans as I managed to acquire 0.5mm drill bits today. And, as I had to realize, they're too small for the pikes I got so I'm really happy that I also got a whole set of small drills as well today (from 0.3mm up to 4mm) and the 0.8mm drill fit nicely enough so I quickly drilled out the fists of 100 Old Glory armoured pikemen (100 more unarmoured ones are on the way as well). They come in strips of five guys each but are rather tightly packed for 40mm bases so I cut up some of the strips and added another guy to each rank so it's proper blocks of six by six fellows per unit. As you can see those don't come with pikes cast onto the models which may sound a bit unnecessarily complicated at first but if you ever witnessed the "spaghetti pike" you'll see the advantages of wire pikes.



    The command groups (the blurry creatures in the front) consist of a fifer, a drummer, an ensign waving the flag, a corporal, a musketeer and a random swordsman or halbardier added. The flag was cast onto the models but those would have been puny and a disgrace so I cut them away (required a bit of work because they connected to the fifer and the corporal on either side and I had to cut the flag pole from the ensign's hands and drill some holes for the new flagpole).

    Little update on the Croats as well:


    I added some more detail to the unit leader and muskets, painted the flesh (sadly the detail on the faces isn't really good. I more or less had to freehand noses and moustaches). When I am ever going to finish the bloody bases I hear you ask? I don't know, I should get some additional basing moss in the mail on monday or tuesday, then I'll probably do them.

    Also built two light cannons and limbers for the Swedes because they really liked their light cannons. I guess I'll go clean the Pikemen now, then try to convert one of the Harquebusiers to be a colour sergeant.

  6. #6
    Chapter Master Caiphas Cain's Avatar
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    Re: Sigur goes historical - The Thirty Years War

    How do you manage to drybrush the bases without getting your minis brown to the waist? I do the bases before painting the actual model to prevent that.
    Quote Originally Posted by Litcheur View Post
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    Chapter Master sigur's Avatar
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    Re: Sigur goes historical - The Thirty Years War

    I usually do that as well. The problem with the 10mm on 40x20mm bases is that you can't really glue all the models to the bases prior to painting. I usually glue on half the unit, base half of the base with them, paint everything, then glue on the other half of the unit and base the rest. Drybrushing the second portion of the unit is a bit tricky but can be done without major damage to the prior paintjob.

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    Chapter Master Satan's Avatar
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    Re: Sigur goes historical - The Thirty Years War

    Awesome Sigur! The detail you've painted onto these is amazing!

    Funny story about G II A - He ravaged and pillaged parts of Scania, which at the time belonged to Denmark. When the Swedes took over they erected statues of him and named some of the squares in the biggest cities after him, unforunately they still bear his name to this day, but his birthday (IIRC) is celebrated in Sweden with a special piece of. Ake which most Scanians won't eat... Back in the day there was a small town where some stores refused to accept bills with his face on them! Definitively a larger-than-life personality!
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  10. #10
    Chapter Master sigur's Avatar
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    Re: Sigur goes historical - The Thirty Years War

    @mrtn: Yup, there are many joys to multibases but basing isn't one of them.

    @Satan: Thanks. The guy did have an impact, diddn't he. Hadn't heard that story before but it makes sense judging from all the Swedish/Danish wars in the late 17th century.

    Reet, once again it's WAY too late again but I mostly finished the Harquebusiers now:





    Pendraken minis with Trumpeter and Rittmeister by Irregular Miniatures. One of the Harquebusiers has been converted to become an ensign lateron. I still need to finish the basing (along with the other units I haven't quite finished yet) and need to add the flag and the little flag to go with it on the trumpet.

    Also built, primed and based two light guns plus limbers and crews for the Swedes and the three pikemen units.


    I'm still a little torn about what I'll do with the armies to be honest. I either make the Protestants/Swedes pretty "generic" so I can combine them all into one big army by swapping some flags OR I really go for doing two proper armies for which i need some more units in total. I guess the latter plan makes more sense than sitting and waiting for someone else to do 10mm TYW. If I go with two armies I'll probably just base them on the battle at Lützen in 1632 for simplicity's sake. TYW is too much of a niche for feeling the urge not to do "the big battle" out of fearing that everybody else is doing it all the time. It was a remarkable battle in which several of the Big Men met with about equally sized armies (IF the imperial Cuirassiers arrive in time!) in a pitched battle, the ultimate showdown between Gustav II. Adolph and Wallenstein, Pappenheim came in late to reinforce the Imperials, Bernhard von Sachsen-Weimar, Piccolomini and of course the gloriously named Dodo of Innhausen and Knyphausen. Heroic/reckless charges, tragedy, ruthlessness, holding the line, rallying after disaster and all that jazz.

    Anyway, next up will probably be some Pikemen to get started on the core of things.

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    Modinator Lord Dan's Avatar
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    Re: Sigur goes historical - The Thirty Years War

    Stunning highlights on those tiny, tiny horses.

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    Chapter Master colhodg's Avatar
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    Re: Sigur goes historical - The Thirty Years War

    Crap - you just tipped me towards finally getting some more 10mm... Stunning paintwork on these - for those not used to the scale they are essentially not much bigger than epic. Impressed with the quality of the old glory castings give how inexpensive they are but again will put that down to the quality of the work. Looking forward to seeing some paint on those pike blocks

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    Chapter Master sigur's Avatar
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    Re: Sigur goes historical - The Thirty Years War

    Thanks for the comments, people.

    @Lord Dan: Thanks. I cursed at the little creatures a bit whilst painting them alongside the Croat cavalry but I think I got the hang of it eventually.

    @mrtn: Cheers. Yes, I probably should add some more socks.

    @codhog: Mwahaha. Thank you. Actually all the figures you've seen painted so far are by Pendraken. I only got the Pikemen from Old Glory and some upcoming Dragoons and Cuirassiers. They are a bit slighter than the Pendraken ones but go together well. Out of all of the 10mm manufacturers I got minis from Pendraken probably is my favorite.

    Got another batch of stuff from Pendraken today. I'll be able to basically build everything I had in mind so far. Cuirassiers, Musketeers (finally), even more Dragoons, two more commanders, Finnish Cavalry, some more stuff for my baggage trains, imperial Cossacks, ....

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    Chapter Master kublai's Avatar
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    Re: Sigur goes historical - The Thirty Years War

    Subscribed !!!!!!!!!!!!!

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    Re: Sigur goes historical - The Thirty Years War

    I have wanted to pick up some 10MM stuff for Blackpowder, and this may have just synched the deal.

    Nice work Sigur.
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    Chapter Master Caiphas Cain's Avatar
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    Re: Sigur goes historical - The Thirty Years War

    Hey sigur, nice work on those horsies.

    I checked out that Meeples & Miniatures podcast you've been raving about, and I'm quite impressed! That guy really seems to know his stuff, and his enthusiasm is quite infectious. I heartily recommend everyone else give it a listen too.
    Quote Originally Posted by Litcheur View Post
    Note to 40k players : switching to historicals will get you laid.
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    Chapter Master sigur's Avatar
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    Re: Sigur goes historical - The Thirty Years War

    @kublai: Thanks very much. I'll do my best not to disappoint.

    @Easy E: Cheers. As I said, most of the stuff I order is from Pendraken (lovely little company. Make sure to check out their forums), Old Glory and Irregular Miniatures (they sell single miniatures only but they are of really neat quality, aren't overly expensive and perfect for adding officers, command figures in general and lifestock). If you're going for Napoleonics, there are several more manufacturers of course. What period do you have in mind for your BP stuff?

    @Caiphas Cain: Cheers. I guess I got the hang of it after the first 20 or so. Glad you enjoy the M&M podcast. It's really perfect for painting along with it. It's very laid-back and low-energetic if that makes any sense but it's got tons of useful infos and Neil and his chaps make even the least interesting ruleset or period sound pretty tempting. Make sure you listen to the View from the Veranda podcast as well.


    This update was a bit delayed due to me not knowing what I'm doing.

    Here's the first quasi-finished unit of pikemen:


    Imperials, as you can see from the red. They look very brown overall at the moment but once some flock and grass is added they'll look much more colourful. Since I'm planning to base my armies on the battle of Lützen now I had to start doing some research on the colours (as in flags) of the regiments involved, with a big, dopey grin because of how well researched the battle is and how we know EVERYTHING about it for sure. Well, in true TYW fashion, we don't know all that much apart from the fact that many, many people died. I guess I'll have to get a proper good book on the topic. So until then the command figures will have to stay WIP until I settled for a flag. Stuff like the drum, some trousers and sashes will bear the same colours. Well, not sashes because old Wallenstein banned (at the threat of death) any sashes, scarves and whatever to be worn any other colour than red. He probably got a good deal on red cloth and thought he'd have a good and simple way for monopoly there.




    Just so this update isn't too short, here are two light cannons with limbers and crews. The basing is probably a little big but keep in mind that artillery always required quite a lot of space (which is sometimes overlooked in wargaming).

    So that's that. I'll either put together some Musketeers now or just paint some more pikemen. Just trying to get as many pikes and muskets units done as possible because they are basically the core of both armies and I always try to paint as many core units as possible before getting really bored of them.

  19. #19
    Chapter Master Gargobot's Avatar
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    Re: Sigur goes historical - The Thirty Years War

    Ooh nice to look at and informative.
    Being a history major myself, I still somehow managed to dodge the TYW. I see this as a good opportunity to read up on the subject and gobble down some eye-candy at the same time.

  20. #20
    Chapter Master sigur's Avatar
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    Re: Sigur goes historical - The Thirty Years War

    @Gargobot: Hello. Definately read up on the TYW. It's fascinating and chaotic.


    Now my main problem at the moment is how to base the Musketmen:



    The upper variant would be the swedish system then. Nobody reloads, the unit fires from all ranks at once. Lower variant would be the Spanish system (as far as I know) in which only one rank fires, then run to the back and reload while the next rank fires to keep up a constant stream of fire. I'll probably use both amongst my armies, just curious what you think. Practicable? Looking alright to you? Or just bonkers?

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