Legio Wargames

The Legio Blog

By smacdowall, Nov 22 2020 01:20PM

Eschewing the feathers, frills and fripperies of the French Musketeers, I have painted these German arquebusiers in plain sensible clothing, suitable (I hope) for veterans serving in the Spanish army at Rocroi.

Most of the figures are Avanpost — a new Russian manufacturer that makes incredibly detailed and beautifully proportioned resin miniatures. The multi-part rider has separate arms and weapons. His left hand actually clips into the reins on the horse so he actually holds the reins without any gap.

The horses are cast with indentations where the rider’s legs go making a perfect fit of rider and horse — again with no gaps.

Man, horse and bits come in a zip-lock bag.

Man, horse and bits come in a zip-lock bag. The bits (horse’s tail, weapons and arms in this case) are, Russian doll-like, in a smaller bag inside the larger one. So easy to keep track of things and avoid losing or mixing up components. All the pieces fit together well, glued with super glue.

They mix well with other true 28 mil that are relatively finely proportioned. Here they are with Warlord plastics and a Perry figure (on TAG horses). I used the TAG horses because I needed static poses to go with the Avanpost and the Warlord horses are all in fairly active poses.

The super fine detail, crisp casting and perfect proportions make Avanpost some of the best 28 mil figures I have ever seen. The only downside is that the poses are (with one or two notable exceptions) quite static.

By smacdowall, Nov 3 2020 05:10PM

Having made great inroads into my medieval lead mountain, I am now tackling the even larger Thirty Years War one.

There is, however, a problem.

I have some of this and a few of that but try as I might I cannot find exactly the right matching miniatures for the units I wish to build.

This is compounded by the fact that a friend has alerted me to some excellent new European manufacturers of Thirty Years War figures; namely 1898, Tercio, Avanpost and Bohemian Miniatures.

There is no other solution. If I wish to reduce my Thirty Years War lead mountain I need to order more miniatures!

This is better. Being painted now is a unit of German arquebusiers for my Spanish army. Some Perry and Warlord Games figures from the lead (and plastic) mountain have been added to by newly purchased (and wonderful) Avanpost resin miniatures. In the background are unpainted pikemen (mostly 1898 miniatures).

The pikemen will be the basis of a new Spanish Tercio based on this painting of the Battle of Rocroi.

So, like Sisyphus, no matter how much painting I do, the lead mountain remains just as high as before!

By smacdowall, Oct 23 2020 05:16PM

In the early 1980s I was living in (what was then) West Germany. Once, when my young children were going outside to play, I overheard my German mother-in-law warn them not to stray too far from the house “or the Swedes will get you.” She had no idea of the origin of the saying, it was just one of those things that had passed down the centuries from the trauma of the Thirty Years War (1618-48).

A couple of days ago I was one of those Swedes as we re-fought the Battle of Lützen (1632), appropriately socially distanced on the tabletop and via Zoom.

Wallenstein’s Imperialists had a strong centre protected by a ditch (represented by earthworks on the table). Their right was anchored by the town of Lützen but their left was relatively open.

Our plan was to pin the imperialist centre with a thin line of foot.

Refuse our left.

Strike hard and fast on our right with a large cavalry force led by Gustavus Adolphus himself, supported by a brigade of German, Swedish and Scottish foot.

We knew that Pappenheim would be arriving with Imperial reinforcements at some point but neither we nor the Imperialist players knew when. An average die was secretly rolled at the start of the game and kept under wraps until the 6th turn. We were lucky. When the die was revealed it told us that it would take another 5 turns before Pappenheim arrived.

The cavalry action on our right was fast and furious, swaying back and forth as lines of horse passed through each other. Turn after turn almost every unit on that wing was engaged in one way or another. Leading charge after charge, Gustavus was wounded but managed to stay on the fight (unlike the historical Gustavus who was killed).

The Imperialist had the better of the initial cavalry clashes but the tide turned when a unit of Imperialist cuirassiers, led in person by Heinrich Holk, was charged from two sides, The cuirassiers were routed and Holk was killed. This broke the morale of the Imperialist cavalry and advantage passed to the Swedes who began to turn the enemy left flank.

Meanwhile the Swedish foot attempted to close with the Imperialist foot holding their left. Met with a withering fire from guns and muskets, the first line of Saxons were driven back. The second line of Swedes met a similar fate.

As the third line of Swedish foot closed on the ditch, the Swedish cavalry had cleared enough ground to allow two additional battalions to start to work their way around the flank.

The Imperialists sent in a regiment of cuirassiers to block the gap but they were destroyed by a combination of fire from the Scottish foot and a flank attack from Swedish horse.

The Swedish cavalry on the other wing were roughly handled by the Imperialist cavalry. Bereft of cavalry support, the Swedish foot moved to successfully refuse their left flank.

As Pappenheim’s reinforcements finally arrived the Swedes had managed to turn the Imperialist left.

At this point Wallenstein decided that it was time to withdraw from the field of battle and King Gustavus lived to fight another day.

By smacdowall, Sep 12 2016 03:17PM

I knew that Stockholm had some rather good military museums but I had not realised just how good until recently.

The Vasa Museum probably takes pride of place. Seeing this immense 64gun 17th century warship up close is utterly awe inspiring. Built at the height of Swedish expansionist power in 1628, the Vasa was too top heavy and sank on her maiden voyage.

The Swedish Army Museum is probably one of the best army museums I have ever visited. I would put the Turkish one in Istanbul a close second. It covers the Swedish army in action from the 1500s to modern times.

I spent my entire time on the top floor which covered 1500-1900, leaving the more modern bits for a future visit. Much of the upper floor is dedicated to the 30 Years War, Great Northern War and the catastrophic winter campaign against Norway.

Many of the artefacts are supplemented by full scale dioramas which tend to focus on the hardships of campaigning rather than glorious feats of arms. These are done tastefully and realistically.

There is even a 1:1 scale diorama of a fully deployed Swedish army in the 30 years war done in what looks to be 20-25mm scale.

There is also a close-up of a foot unit done with larger miniatures as a spotlight above the the wider diorama.

If one was ever in doubt of the power of 17th-18th century Swedish cavalry charging à l’outrance with cold steel rather than relying on pistols, this trio of troopers literally drives the point home.

The displays are all very well explained in both Swedish and English with anecdotal and personal stories adding colour.

Unfortunatlely poorly lit glass cases house a rather magnificent collection of original Imperialist and Russian flags captured in various 17th -18th century battles.

At the entrance to the museum is a nuclear warhead recovered from an abandoned Soviet base in Estonia which had been targeted on Stockholm. It is a sobering reminder of how close we were to the brink of destruction in the days when I deployed tanks in the West German countryside in anticipation of the Soviet hordes coming over the border.

The Royal Armouries, below the Royal Palace also house some very interesting artefacts. Much of it is devoted to Gustav II Adolf (aka Gustavus Adolphus) and was started by him as a propaganda tool to remind the Swedes of the exploits of their warrior king.

It houses the clothing and buff coat he was wearing when he was wounded in the Polish campaign of 1627.

When the King was killed at Lützen in 1632 his body was found stripped apart from the three linen shirts he was wearing and his stockings.

These are all on display along with his sword which had not been looted, probably because it was relatively plain.

Gustav’s horse Streiff is also on display, much like Napoleon’s at Les Invalides. He is sporting the saddlery and pistols carried at Lützen.

There is also a good collection of arms, armour and Royal costume from the 1400s to early modern times.

There is an entry fee to the Vasa Museum but the other two have free entry.

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