2/2 Polish Line and Leipzig a wargamer’s guide

The second battalion of the second Polish Line Regiment has finally raised their flag/standard and marched from the recruiters office on to that rather dangerous place – they field under the stewardship of von Peter himself.

The more observant and educated of The dear readers will notice that the mounted officer amongst the ranks is not the usual Polish Infantry Mounted Office. Sadly the battalion’s officer corps has been hard hit so an ADC has been tasked with leading the battalion until things are sorted. Besides the Front Rank Figurines range only has one Polish Infantry Mounted Officer and one could easily get bored with seeing the same old figure over and over.  😇

Nap Polish 2-2nd Infantry

With active service in the field there comes the associated and inevitable issues resultant from not properly cooking the sausages …

Nap Polish 1-2nd Infantry casualties

One more battalion to go to complete the infantry component of the 27th (Polish) Division of General de division Dombrowski circa 1813.

As always with the Poles of von Peter himself … Front Rank Figurines; pigmentation by Nigel Fun-nell; flag from GMB Designs; horse and basing by von Peter himself.

The two images are clickable for a larger and clearer view.

LEIPZIG: THE BATTLE OF NATIONS  A Wargamer’s Guide to the Battle of Leipzig 1813

LEIPZIG: THE BATTLE OF NATIONS  A Wargamer’s Guide to the Battle of Leipzig 1813 is quite a mouthful of a title. To its credit it does however seem like quite a tasty mouthful.

Just recently published – 18 August 2022 – by Helion & Company with a complement of 134 pages, 8 black & white illustrations, 33 colour photos, 9 colour maps and 12 tables. This has suddenly and spookily appeared as a gaping hole in the library of von Peter himself! We must have it!

The official blurb …

The Battle of Leipzig was the biggest battle of the Napoleonic wars, involving over 500,000 men. Until the First World War, it was probably the biggest battle in human history. It was also known as the Battle of the Nations because it pitted the forces of France and its satellite states and allies (including Italians, Poles and forces from the minor German states), against those of Russia, Prussia, Austria and Sweden. The fate of Europe hung in the balance. Napoleon’s defeat decided the outcome of the campaign of 1813 and pushed the French back to France.

The battle took place over several days (14-19 October 1813 including the battle of Liebertwolkwitz), and naturally breaks down into distinct phases and sectors. This guide helps wargamers refight the battle on a table top with model soldiers, either as one large battle (suitable as a club game), or broken down into a series of smaller battles covering the different sectors. The smaller battles can be played as individual games or linked together in a mini-campaign, the latter giving strategic dilemmas for each of the commanders to resolve.

The guide sets out the strategic situation in central Europe and contains a thorough but clear account of the historical battle. It provides detailed orders of battle of the opposing armies, scaled down orders of battle for game purposes, maps of the historical events, stylised maps for laying out wargames tables, and instructions for each scenario and the mini-campaign. Design notes explain the rationale and historical background to the scenario instructions.

The scenario maps are set out on square grids for ease of setting up tabletop terrain. Any set of wargames rules for the period should be able to be used to play the scenarios. The key points for the game army lists are the number of units and their quality. There is a section that discusses the quality of the troops of the various nations involved.

A discussion of the historical battle raises questions about the decisions made by the actual commanders. These can be explored by the wargame commanders, for example by their allocation of forces to different sectors (within historical constraints), their deployment within those sectors, or timing their use of reserves. Was Napoleon’s defeat inevitable? Wargaming is a form of counter-factual history, and the guide includes a variation which may answer the question, ‘What if Napoleon had recalled the Dresden garrison?’ Napoleon had agreed with Marshall St.Cyr that it would be madness to leave his 50,000 men in Dresden rather than concentrate French forces for the decisive battle Napoleon was seeking. What if Napoleon had not changed his mind?

Many thanks to Peter O’Brien for supplying the heads-up on this book in a comment on the previous post in this here blog. Much appreciated.

WARNING: the Helion & Company website is a VERY dangerous place to visit. The dear reader’s credit cards have been warned.

LEIPZIG THE BATTLE OF NATIONS A Wargamers Guide to the Battle of Leipzig 1813


Until we meet again …

von Peter himself

Get your Front Rank Figurines now

The Monday before last saw von Peter himself break his glasses. He was reduced to wearing his previous generation of glasses that are of course a different prescription to that which is currently prescribed. Happy hint – always keep your prior glasses when receipting the latest pair. You will invariably need them! Don’t ask how they were broken. 🤬 Thankfully the new pair have now arrived  so looking at screens, reading etc is not quite the effort it has been.

Enough of the self pity. Another series of disjointed rambles to hopefully lighten these pestilential times for The dear readership

Front Rank Figurines are go

This “news” is nearly a week old now but for the unenlightened … Front Rank Figurines are back and available to purchase. Similar verbiage is to be found on both the Front Rank Figurines and Gripping Beast news sections …


Hello Everyone!

WEBSITE NOW OPEN! (But please read on….)

Good News! At last! Gripping Beast has finally completed the purchase of Front Rank!

We would like to thank Alec & Angela for their stupendous patience and we wish them a long and happy retirement.

Front Rank has now moved to Beast Towers, lock, stock and barrel. It will, however, take us a few days to get sorted and for production to begin again. In the meanwhile, you can now place your orders on the website in the normal way.

Once we have things organised, we will begin to work through the orders (this will take some days!) We will process the orders strictly in the order in which they were received.

Thank you all for your patience and some level of sanity will be restored as soon as possible


Gripping Beast selling Front Rank Figurines

From the “I always liked the Napoleonic Austrian kuirassier look” file

Outstanding … though von Peter himself has some reservations about the scruffy one on the far right 😇 …

Austrian Kuirassiers - ladies

The image is from the Austerlitz 2013 album as brought to the world by the photographer Thomas T. It’s well worth checking out some of his photo albums. Honest. Click for an enlarged and clearer image.

Easy to make toilet paper sea bases

It’s amazing what one stumbles upon when surfing the ‘net. An interesting video on creating sea bases for ships using toilet paper, pva glue, plaster/ wall filler or spackle if you’re American and paint. The video clip uses Kings of War Armada (fantasy) ships but sea is sea.


Until we meet again …

von Peter himself

Hand-Built History by John Boadle

Last century a slightly younger and spritelier von Peter himself would wait with baited breath each month for the arrival of Wargames Illustrated at the local news agent. Such mind tickling articles; so many advertisements for companies never heard of – e.g. Calpe Miniatures; and such wonderful pictures.

One of the names that often came up in the credits for the pictures was a John Boadle.

Wargames Illustrated 18 front cover - John Boadle

Above: and the caption read …

Front cover photo: John Boadle of the Coventry Wargames Club is responsible for the superb painting and modelling of the troops and terrain pictured here. The figures are from Front Rank Figurines 25mm. SevenYears War. More of John’s collection in tuture issues,till then our French readers can revel in the sight of the British surrendering.

That John Boadle now has a blog – Hand-Built History – and the little introductory burble reads somewhat along the lines of …

This is my blog, to showcase the modelmaking and gaming stuff that I’ve built over the years. I was for some years a professional modelmaker building scenery for many well-known figures in the hobby. More recently I built artillery master models for North Star and Perry Miniatures. Please note though, I am no longer taking any commissions for work at all. Everything you see is in the gaming scale of 28mm, ie 1/56, unless otherwise noted. At some point I aim to add tutorials to pass on the techniques picked up over the years. I hope what you see is of interest or even inspires you to have go yourself.

Currently Hand-Built History is getting a new post almost daily as John is updating the blog with pictures and details of old creations. In the future we may see step by step details of the creation of models.

John Boadle bulding and Nap French Infantry

Above: Napoleonic French occupying a John Boadle creation. Presumably John is quite happy with this picture as it is currently used as the heading picture on his blog

And one more John Boadle creation picture to round out the section …

Wargames Illustrated 19 back cover - John Boadle

Above: This time from half of the the back cover of Wargames Illustrated #19. The editor Duncan Macfarlane had obviously had a photo shoot with John Boadle and was keen to use the photos collected. The caption …

More of Coventry Warmer John Boadle’s Seven Years War collecton, featured on last month’s front cover. Front Rank 25mm. Figurines.

Logo John Boadles Hand-Built History

Found memories were made of these

Seeing the work of John Boadle reminded von Peter himself of a series pictures in Wargames Illustrated of the Scimitar Wargames Group’s Seven Years War project. These mesmerised the impressionable von Peter himself.

Wargames Illustrated 14 - Scimitar Wargames Group SYW villages 1

Wargames Illustrated 14 - Scimitar Wargames Group SYW villages 2

Above: from Wargames illustrated #14. To keep the buildings theme going two photos of some of the buildings created by Pete Duckworth. If the memory of von Peter himself is to be trusted  – hmmm -the fenced backyards were cunningly contrived to hold infantry units.

Wargames Illustrated 37 - Scimitar Wargames Group SYW march scene

Above: von Peter himself must have spent hours staring at and dissecting this photo. Happy memories. From Wargames Illustrated #37. The accompanying caption …

An Austrian column winds its way out of camp. 25mm Front Rank figures professionally painted by Andy Taylor from the author’s (Richard Madder) collection. Church scratch built by Rich Madder (-using a door handle as the cupola), as was, of course, the camp described in this article.

The pictures are “clickable” for a larger and clearer view.


Until we meet again …

von Peter himself

Partizan visions

They say that a blog that doesn’t get updated dies to a degree through a lack of visitations. Well if someone somewhere doesn’t say that then they should. So with no further ado here’s an update based on the hard work of others. Still, perhaps some of The dear readership will get something from it. 😃

Partizan 2021

Back in 2009 von Peter himself was lucky enough to visit Partizan MMIX – thank you Martin Kelly and Peter Fitzgerald for facilitating that visit. Unbelievably they continue to hold Partizan even though von Peter himself is unavailable to attend …

Undoubtedly there are plenty more reports if The dear reader wishes to look for them.

There’s even a Partizan blog at http://thepartizanshow.blogspot.com/ … though perhaps they should update it more often lest it “dies to a degree through a lack of visitations”. A-ha-ha.

A weeney update on the Front Rank to Gripping Beast thing

As spotted on the Gripping Beast News section re the Front Rank Figurines acquisition that was planned to be complete on the 14th of October …

UPDATE – The lawyers are taking their time over finallising the deal so we are currently waiting in frustration for a new date. More news as soon as we get it!


Until we meet again …

von Peter himself

Front Rank Figurines &/or Gripping Beast news


From the Front Rank Figurines website

Front Rank Figurines Ltd are delighted to announce that Gripping Beast Ltd have acquired all the Front Rank ranges and website.

To allow for the handover to Gripping Beast Ltd, we are now no longer taking new orders, any outstanding orders will be dispatched as normal.

Gripping Beast are aiming to reopen the Front Rank website for orders on 14th October.

Alec & Angela would like to thank all our many loyal customers for choosing Front Rank Figurines over the years.

We are confident that you will experience the same high standard of service and be able to continue to add to your Front Rank collections in the years to come.

Alec & Angela wish Gripping Beast every success in the future.

Front Rank

And from the Gripping Beast website

Gripping Beast Ltd is very pleased to announce its acquisition of the ranges designed and manufactured by Front Rank Figurines Ltd, upon the retirement of Alec and Angela Brown. The handover will take several days, and we are aiming to reopen the Front Rank website for orders on 14th October.
There will be no changes to the website for the moment, and we aim to provide the same high standard of service that customers have enjoyed to date. Over time we plan to remove the order value limit and make the ranges available to our trade customers.
We would like to wish Alec and Angela well in their retirement

Logo Gripping Beast


So all seems to be working out nicely then.


Until we meet again …

von Peter himself

Front Rank Figurines shock horror …

From Front Rank Figurines – especially their News Page comes this 18TH MAY 2021 – FRONT RANK FIGURINES FOR SALE stunner …

Exciting opportunity to purchase and relocate a Wargames and Collectors business with an impressive reputation. Would suit business-minded enthusiast/s or established Wargames company wishing to expand their ranges.

Conducting largely web-based sales, supply and manufacturing operation of premium quality miniature metal figurines.

Comes with excellent dedicated e-commerce website & lots of further potential.

Sensible offers over £225,000 + £35,000 for stock, plant and machinery are invited for genuine sale after 35 years of successful trading in same hands. Front Rank Figurines was founded by Alec Brown in 1986.

We are selling the assets and not the company shares, the assets consist of :-

The goodwill, all 28mm & 40mm ranges, stock & stock storage units, moulds and mould storage racks, production masters, casting & mould making machinery, unprocessed metal & moulds, e-commerce website, order processing & mail order list, packaging & stationery materials, office equipment.

Front Rank has a very loyal core of repeat purchasing customers and continues to attract new customers worldwide through our good reputation and word of mouth.

Front Rank has been a major part of Alec and Angela’s life for over 35 years and with Alec’s continued passion for the hobby and military history, it has not been an easy decision to put Front Rank up for sale, but now that we are in our 60’s we would like more time to pursue other interests in retirement.

We believe with a forward thinking, enthusiastic person/s at the helm, Front Rank has fantastic potential to continue to grow and develop.

Raising Front Rank’s online profile and presence through social media to the Wargames community, in Wargames publications/online websites etc, will undoubtedly increase sales worldwide.

Front Rank has not supplied trade outlets or attended exhibitions for a number of years and recently we have had in place a maximum order cap.

Front Rank is for sale as a ready made successful business with a long history and proven track record.

The forecast adjusted EBITDA figure for 2020/2021 ending June 2021 is £102,429.

Information/Sales Memorandum and financial details will only be provided once any interested parties have signed a non disclosure agreement.

We would appreciate only genuinely interested parties to contact us through the Contact Us page on our website.

Whilst Front Rank is up for sale we wish to assure all our customers that during this time it will be business as usual.

What can one say. Alec and Angela have run a top rate outfit that has been a pleasure to deal with over several decades. It is true that along the way they have managed to acquire no little amount of what should have been the wealth of von Peter himself. But the quality of their service and the quality of the product have meant that von Peter himself does not begrudge them. Not too much anyway!  😃

SYW Prus inf command stand front

For the record locally Front Rank Figurines provide all – or nearly all – the figures for von Peter’s

  • Napoleonic Austrians
  • Napoleonic Russians
  • Napoleonic Bavarians
  • Napoleonic Polish
  • Napoleonic civilians
  • Seven Years War Prussians
  • Seven Years War Austrians
  • a small contingent of Seven Years War Hanoverians
  • a small contingent of Seven Years War French
  • Seven Years War civilians.

Who will sculpt/create new figures in the style of Front Rank Figurines von Peter himself muses … to himself? Is this the end of new Front Rank Figurines?

Hopefully whoever takes over at Front Rank Figurines will continue the fine tradition of excellent prompt service and great casting. 

Of course a HUGE thank you go to Alec and Angela. You have been a pleasure to deal with. One hopes that you get your well deserved pursuit of other interests and a happy and extended retirement.

Perhaps von Peter himself should get those few figures required to complete the Polish horse artillery battery now rather than later. Hmmm.


Until we meet again …

von Peter himself 

Polish bangers

And in this case “Polish bangers” is not a reference to sausages but rather Polish artillery of which a foot battery has finally made it to the front to support the cause.

All of the orders of battle that von Peter himself can recall give the independent 27th (Polish) Division as present at the Battle of Leipzig 1813 a supporting Polish foot battery. But annoyingly they don’t say which battery. To not give a unit an actual name seems callous and unforgivable especially considering the future trials and tribulations that are bound to come their way on the table top. So it has been decided to call them the Polish 5th Foot Battery. This may or may not be correct but until further information is revealed that is what they are to be known as! 😃

Figures from Front Rank Figurines pigmented by Nigel Fun-nell. The French M1808 6pdr. French cannon are from Calpe Miniatures and their pigmenting plus the choreography and basing can be blamed on von Peter himself.

A few whining words on the Front Rank Polish foot artillery range are required here to enable the venting of some frustration. The niggle is that the range consists of a whole six figures. As someone who likes to create each gun crew as a unique and cohesive vignette a mere six figures is somewhat limiting. Hence the loading gun crew contains no less than three of the “Gunner with trail spike” figures. Three may seem excessive and some may quite rightly say that two would have given a normalish four man crew on the base but having completed a Saxon 6dr foot battery with five figures on each base von Peter himself is quite taken with the busier look.

And in the spirit of full disclosure the battery and their supports above are displayed on one of The son & heir’s home made terrain boards. It seems only fair to acknowledge the effort involved.


Christmas arrives in the form of a present

The self organised 2020 Christmas present was the “Church Lift Off Roof” from the Big Battalions 28mm Black Powder Europe range of Total Battle Miniatures. And it arrived a couple of weeks back which was perfectly fine service considering the lateness of the order and the current COVID situation. As can be seen it comes in three pieces …

It is the second 28mm church to join the local collection but seemingly most European villages display at least one spire so perhaps two is not enough!  🤣

As can be seen it towers a little over the current House of God so it will probably be used for the larger urban centres … once it gets pigmented. The 28mm Front Rank Polish ADC gives an idea of the real estate sizings.

Above: a picture of the church from the Total Battle Miniatures website


For a larger and clearer view of the images above all are “clickable”.



Until we meet again …

Polish ADCs and a Vauban inspired piece

The fledgling local Polish forces have been patiently awaiting some ADCs to assist the “top brass”. And two dashing Polish ADCs have been patiently awaiting their mounts to be suitably prepared. Finally everyones patient awaiting has paid off. von Peter himself proudly presents said gentlemen …

Figures from Front Rank Figurines. Pigmentation of the men by Nigel Fun-nell. Horse pigmenting and basing can be blamed on von Peter himself.


Anyone up for a Vauban Fort

von Peter himself is a sucker for this sort of thing. “This sort of thing” being grandiose terrain pieces and in this specific case it refers to the Vauban Fort 2 from More Terrain. This time it is the fault of Simon Miller and his BigRedBatCave blog – in particular the entry Going full Vauban – for signalling the existence of the piece … or rather pieces. Artillery fortresses have a particular fascination for von Peter himself perhaps heightened by his interest in the Seven Years War and earlier “squabbles”

Above: a decent image of the Vauban Fort “borrowed” from The BigRedBatCave

The fort comes pre-painted with a choice of two colours. Pictured above is the “beige” version but it can also be had in grey …

The fort’s dimensions are 70 * 70 * 15cm and while not insignificant von Peter worries whether it is big enough to accommodate his based figures. Hopefully the BigRedBat will eventually post some pictures of a garrisoned fort to help gage the practicality of the piece.

The fort comes fully painted for the not insignificant sum of 195.00 € … and don’t forget the shipping. A tricky figure to get past the good Fraulien von Peter herself!  😃

All images are clickable for that larger and clearer view beloved by some.


Until we meet again …

von Peter himself 

Presenting General de brigade Zoltowski

Polish General de brigade Zoltowski has arrived to take command of the infantry component of the 27th (Polish) Division and immediately his staff are keen to draw a pressing point to his attention …

The figures are all from Front Rank Figurines Polish range. The “General of Division in bicorn” figure is used for Zoltowski with the mounted “Aide de Camp, pointing” and the “Officer standing pointing” on foot providing his assistants.

The more knowledgable of The dear readers will have noticed that General de brigade Zoltowski has a fine set of white feathers adorning his bicorne … and that a general de brigade should have black feathers leaving the white feathers to the superior General de division. von Peter himself has decide to allow Zoltowski to keep his flashy white feathers. At least for now.

Pigmentation of the men actioned Nigel Fun-nell. Horse painting, figure selection, choreography and basing by von Peter himself. The latter gentleman(?) is to blame for the mould line on the ADC’s horses from left leg. Irritating but apparently that’s what you get when modelling in short bursts with a lack of concentration.

Click on the above three images for a larger and clearer view.

Or perhaps the staff have just spotted Wally hiding out behind a building and are pointing him out!!

And as a final unveiling the Oak Tree trying to intrude in the photographs is the latest addition to the vegetation stocks from the plant nursery of von Peter himself.

More Poles to come. Hopefully soonish.



Until we meet again …

von Peter himself

Snippets #16

There are more figure unveilings of a Polish nature planned but life is a little hectic right now. A little is presented right here and right now to keep The dear readers “warm” as the marketers would say …


Yet more Brunswickers

Front Rank Figurines have released another tranche of their Napoleonic Brunswickers. This time it’s the turn of the …

  • Light Infantry – marching and firing packs and command packs for each
  • Avantgarde Light Infantry – a firing pack and a command pack
  • Avantgarde Jagers – a skirmishing pack and a command pack.

All packs are £7.80 inclusive of VAT.

Above: Code BWNRPK9 – Brunswick Light Infantry, marching

Above: Code BWNRPK13 – Brunswick Avantgarde Light Infantry, Command standing

Above: Code BWNRPK15 – Brunswick Avantgarde Jagers, skirmishing

And there are apparently more releases for the Brunswickers over the coming weeks.

Pictures borrowed from the Front Rank website.


Yet more plastic Napoleonics

Victrix Ltd are working on some more plastic Napoleonics. This time it’s the turn of the Bavarians …

Our sculptors have been working hard to produce this splendid Bavarian line infantry figure.
At present the plan is to create a 36 man march attack set including 4 dynamic command figures. The command element will comprise officer, standard bearer, sergeant and drummer””. There will be a number of options such as extra arms, back packs with cooking pots and even an arm option smoking a large Bavarian pipe. This is very much work in progress and other variations may be added as we develop this set.
The figure represents the Bavarian infantry from 1809, when they adopted more of a French style kit instead of the slung backpack. We went for the gaiters as they look great, although both gaiter and trousers were worn in the field.
There will be head options with plumes and facial hair for Grenadiers and sharp shooters. It will probably take up to a couple of months to get all this sculpted but we will be posting regular progress updates.

Above: a work in progress view of the Bavarian infantry. click for a larger and clearer view


Yet more gardening

The latest gardening has resulted in a 4Ground  TSM-101 1 x Mature Willow & Base being available to fight around and over.

Above: some Front Rank Figurines Poles of the 1/2 Line Infantry Regiment are shanghaied into providing a size reference. Notice that the grenadiers are a little fuzzy having found a stash of Russian vodka the previous evening! 🤣 Click for a larger view.


Website woes

The website of von Peter himself – as opposed to the blog currently being read – is undergoing some woes which reveal themselves mostly as missing images. When life allows this will be “corrected”. It is also due some updates. D’oh!


A new way to fight ancient skirmishers

The TooFatLardies Infamy, Infamy! rules are available for preorder in the form of various bundles.

Infamy, Infamy! is a game that will, ultimately, be divided into three parts. This is the first rule book which covers Rome’s conflicts with the western barbarian between 60 BC and AD 100. Covered in the rules are lists for Late Republican forces that can be used for Caesar and his campaigns in Gaul and Britannia and against the German tribes raiding across the Rhine. The Early Imperial Roman lists are perfect for the conquest of Britannia under Claudius and the continuing campaigns through to Agricola’s conquest of the North and beyond. The British lists cover the period from Caesar’s invasions through to Mons Graupius, including lists for Boudicca’s revolt. Gallic lists cover the classic period of conquest of the Gallic Wars with the Belgea and Aquitani represented and make every effort to reflect the more advanced culture of the Gauls. The Germans, on the other hand, are the ultimate Barbarians, with lists for the tribes of the Rhineland and those of the dark forests of Germania Magna and for the Batavian Revolt.

The rules are scheduled for release on Monday 29th June.

See “Infamy, Infamy! Advanced Order Now Available” for details on the bundles. At the time of “going to press” they can be purchased here.

As is their way TooFatLardies have embraced modern technology with videos of setup and game play …

By the time The dear readers consume digest this there will probably be more. Perhaps a “Infamy, Infamy! The Movie Part Four”?!

Stop Press 25 June 2020: Infamy, Infamy! The Movie, Part Four has been released.


Until we meet again …

von Peter himself