Wednesday, June 28, 2017

WORK IN PROGRESS: AUSTRIAN COMMAND 1848-66

What with travel and other seasonal distractions, hobby progress can be described as something other than linear (to say the least). In order to get some mojo back, I've decided to shift gears and do something modest, the command elements for my budding Austrian Chocolate Box Wars force. As usual, acquiring the figures was easier said than done. In order to get a good figure-size match with the rest of the figures I have, I decided to seek elsewhere before resorting to the Battle Honors Austrian command figures for 1859-66, which run on the small size compared to my others (although I have those in reserve).
I realize that the officer uniform did change over the years I'm considering, mainly in terms of headgear. References state that the shako was the only headgear after about 1850 or somewhere in there (except for grenadier officers), however, there are images (like the one at the top of this post) of Austrian generals in the bicorne much later than that. Not only do I like the look of these, but they fit in with the general gestalt I'm going for. So, I've decided to go with both versions: a strict historical and one with some license.
As far as figure availability, Helion used to make mounted Austrian command figures for 1866 (above), but unfortunately when Northstar picked up the Helion line of 1866 figures, they stopped offering mounted officers (above image taken from the General De Brigade Forum). But...
...regular  searching (let's not call it "obsessive") on eBay finally produced a package of these out of production figures (above)! Unfortunately, they were packaged with mismatched horses (that cannot be used!). Fortunately, I had some spare Front Rank horses on hand that will work just fine  (once again, the "lead mountain" renders gold....if that makes sense). I aspire to see if I can replicate the spiffing paint job rendered in the above example! Of course, shortly before these figures had shown up on eBay...
...I had finally decided to pull the trigger and get a set of mounted Austrian officers for the era that Eureka offered.  Within a week of ordering the above, the Helion/Northstar showed up on eBay, so I now have both.  The Eurekas are in shako without cover, so they will be bit more colorful in that regard.  So now I have more than enough command figures in shakos...
...Thus, I will have my straight "correct" command figures covered. That left me address my  bicorned command figure (which is technically still historically correct, but just not for the entire era, depending on the source you use). Aside from Battle Honors, nobody makes this command figure, but if you recall, I have done a command figure conversion like this before using Perry Carlist War figures (for my Danes, pictured below), and these fit in perfectly with the rest of my figs...
...So, mining the lead mountain once again revealed that I had another of these figures on hand...
...which I have modified to capture the look of the Austrian commanders pictured in the opening image of this post. Specifically, I have shaved off the epaulettes and other ornamentation on the coat and hat, and I've once again added green stuff to sculpt the feather plume on the headgear, only this time, it covers more area than the previous conversion to reflect the greater volume that the Austrian plumage takes up.    It looks like I'll have some good painting time available in the near future, so hope to have a follow up on progress/completion of these soon.

4 comments:

  1. Interesting and thorough research on these austrian command types, your Danish conversion looks splendid and I have no doubt your Austrians will too.
    Best Iain

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    Replies
    1. Thanks, Iain. We'll see what we can do!

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  2. I like your custom work on the officers, Ed. The 25mm Austrians in your photo look smashing. Are those Northstar or Battle Honors?

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    Replies
    1. Hi Jonathan,
      The three figures without horses are Helion/Northstar. Northstar picked up the Helion line (which is why the slash). Unfortuantely, these are OOP (Northstar doesn't produce any mounted command figures for these lines)--which is why I was watching for some to turn up on eBay.

      The two mounted figures are from Eureka: really nice sculpts (photos don't quite convey).

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