Goldie’s birthday bash wargame was looming over the horizon.
von Peter himself Prince Poniatowski knew what his order of battle would be and between the local Polish resources and those of Garage Gaming Terry they could be provisioned. Except for a foot battery.
There is a Polish foot battery resident in Neu Schloss von Peter. The problem was that it resided in the unpigmented figure pile and Nigel Fun-nell – the painter of Napoleonic things Polish to von Peter himself – had already been tasked with applying the appropriate pigmentations to a second Polish infantry battalion. So an actual Polish battery was not going to happen.
Also residing in the unpigmented figure pile were – and still are! – several batteries of Calpe Miniatures Saxon foot artillery. And a battery of these was hovering near the top of the units to pigment list. And von Peter himself would be the designated pigmenter. The pigmenting of 1st Saxon Foot battery (6pdr) “Dietrich” commenced.
The usual procedure in Neu Schloss von Peter when creating artillery batteries is that the battery is represented by two cannon – or three for the large Russian batteries not that that is relevant here! – and a crew of four figures for each cannon. Calpe dispense their Saxon Artillery in packs of four figures – a loader, a rammer, a vent man and a firer – posed so as to present a gun crew all working in a synchronised manner towards the same goal. This is good. What wasn’t so good is that Calpe also sell a couple of packs of NCO gun captains and a battery command pack that contains amongst other items some artillery officers. Now how could one in good conscience not provide command figures for each of the two cannon – an officer for one and an NCO gun captain for the other. So now we have five crewmen for each cannon. A whole two extra figures to paint! Damn those cunning marketers at Calpe Towers!! 😃
As mentioned the gun crew packs come with four figures. What wasn’t mentioned was that all those figures in each pack wear the same head gear – either covered shakos or uncovered shakos. There is also one outlier pack of “Head and forage cap variants”. Upon receiving the packs von Peter himself assumed that when the time came to paint them that he would just pick a pack and use it in its entirety as supplied to crew a cannon. The problem was that doing this would mean that all the crew for a cannon would either wear covered or uncovered shakos … or “Head and forage cap variants”. This did not seem right so each cannon is crewed by figures extracted from different packs giving a mix of covered shakos, uncovered shakos and “Head and forage cap variants”. This provided a much more satisfying result. It must be the rebel in von Peter himself! Take that you marketers at Calpe Towers. 😇
The placement of the figures is a bit less random than is normally the case for the batteries of von Peter himself. This is because the Guides and Research section of the Calpe Miniatures website has a section on the Saxon Foot Artillery which not only supplies details on the uniforms but also the placement and activities of the various crew specialties. It is to be hoped that von Peter himself has managed to interpret and replicate the positioning of the crewmen with at least a modicum of accuracy.
Uniform details were distilled from two main sources …
- the aforementioned Guides and Research section on the Calpe website
- The Peter Bunde Brigade Uniform Plate 188 – Kingdom of Saxony Foot Artillery & Engineer Corps 1810-1813. von Peter himself sourced his from Calpe Miniatures but they are also available from the Brigade Uniform Plates website. Don’t forget to change the little flag at the top of the screen to the Union Jack if you are ignorant and mostly speak English!
- and a third source – yes von Peter himself knows that he said two! – was the painted Saxon Foot Artillery pack “SA6 – Team 1 covered shakos” on the Calpe website with both front and rear views available. Click on the picture to enlarge it.
The more astute of The dear readership will have noticed that the wheels on the two cannon are different. One set is finer and more detailed. The other is less fine and less detailed! It is thought that the less fine and less detailed are from a preproduction version of the 6 pounder Saxon cannon that von Peter himself got his mitts on … preproduction! Certainly a quick review of the remaining Saxon cannon in stock – 6 & 12 pounders and howitzers – does not reveal any more of the less fine and less detailed wheels. Luck of the draw when von Peter himself pulled the cannon out of the unpigmented figure pile.
If the dreams of von Peter himself are to ever come to fruition then his 24th (Saxon) Division of the Grand Army as it mustered at the end of the 1813 armistice requires one more 6 pounder foot battery and additionally a 12 pounder foot battery from the Corps artillery reserve. Fortunately Calpe produce enough Saxon Foot Artillery packs that there will be no need for the duplication of packs or figures to man the batteries. Excellent provisioning Calpe Towers … and grudging respect to the Calpe marketers.
Above: Saxon artillery earning their keep. Action from The Battle of Grossbeeren (von Peter himself thinks!) – 20th August, 1813
By the usual standards of von Peter himself the battery was painted in rapid mode. The night before Goldie’s birthday bash game saw the completion of the battery with the static grass and tufts added yet that was the result of cunning planning rather than the much more normal blind panic. Nothing short of amazing really! 😇 As usual the Calpe figures made the painting of piping, buttons etc a simple exercise by sculpting the detail in relief. All one has to do is take ones time when picking out the supplied detail.
There are a few touch ups required and a spray to fix the static grass – von Peter himself is a little gun shy of doing this after Varnishgate – but overall von Peter himself is content with his latest unit.
The pictures of the battery are “clickable” and The dear reader is encouraged to do so to see a larger and clearer images.
And in the interest of full disclosure the usual caveat: von Peter himself remains a self confessed Calpe zealot. 🤓
Until we meet again …
von Peter himself