Tuesday, 4 October 2022

“And it was all yellow”

 This post looks at the latest unit for my 1620s/30s Swedish ‘Yellow’ Regiment. 

28mm figures from The Assault Group (TAG).

The latest unit is another ‘sleeve’ of shot for the expanding Swedish Squadron. All 28mm figures from The Assault Group (TAG). I made one head swap, on the sergeant. The original figure was wearing a Montero, but I preferred to have him in a helmet and so made a swap with a spare TAG figure. 

Rear view showing their swords etc.
Rear view, with the sergeant and drummer on the right hand side.
Casualty from Warlord Games and counter base from Warbases.

I’m definitely getting the hang of these now, and quite enjoying the uniformity. 

The Yellow Regiment, so far. (The command group are from Warlord Games.)

Here are the three completed units together;  the pike unit with two sleeves of shot, and also a command base I completed for the Yellow Regiment sometime ago (all Warlord figures, see here for more details https://theviaregia.blogspot.com/2019/05/generalmajor-count-nils-brahe.html).

They obviously know where they are going, and they’re off! (Flags from Flags of War.)

Next on the painting table, a respite from the yellow, and some ‘heavy metal’ horse for the Swedes. 

Close up on the Warlord Games command group.

Until next time!

Andy @ The Friends of General Haig. 

Thursday, 15 September 2022

“And it was called yellow”

In this post I look at the latest unit from the painting table, which is again from Gustav Adolph’s ‘Yellow’ Regiment .

Pikemen from the Yellow Regiment - 28mm figures from The Assault Group (TAG).

Following the completion of the first musket ‘sleeve’ last time, I continued with the yellow theme and this time added a pike block. 

Pikemen are more straightforward to paint, than their brethren in the shot, as pikemen do no have the complication of the bandolier with its charges etc. These figures, again from The Assault Group, have full pikeman’s harness with helmet, back and breast plate, and also tassets to protect the thighs. The armour covers up quite a lot of the coat and so there was some small respite from the yellow!

“I’d have been alright if I’d only worn my armour!”

For details of the approach and paints used see the previous post here: https://theviaregia.blogspot.com/2022/08/yeah-they-were-all-yellow.html.

Once the figures were painted I have added brass pikes. Swedish pikes were probably painted black as part of protecting the wood, which I think makes an excellent pike colour. I snipped the pikes down a bit from the 10cm lengths they came in, to x.x cm. This was my estimate at getting them to scale with the 5.3m length that was the real world, defined length, for Swedish pikes at the time. 

Yes, those pikes are as sharp as they look!

These chaps once again look very smart in their matching uniforms and identical poses, just right for Gustav Adolph’s Household regiment. 

Next time the yellow tide continues! 

Andy @ The Friends of General Haig.  

Tuesday, 30 August 2022

“Yeah, they were all yellow”

This post looks at the start of a new unit for my 1620s/30s Swedish army; the Yellow Regiment.

Swedish Musketeers advancing, 28mm from The Assault Group (TAG)

“A great body with yellow casacks came up resolutely in formation and with pikes covering their musketeers.” Giulio Diodati, Imperial Quarter Master at Lutzen 1632.

Brief Background

The ‘Yellow Regiment’ was the short-hand or nickname for Gustav Adolph’s Household Regiment that evolved from the Drabant Guard of his father and grandfather.  (It was still properly referred to by the current Colonel’s name.)  During Gustav Adolph’s reign the regiment went through several evolutions. It was always expected to serve on active service, and was often heavily engaged in the action. They were certainly not a formation only used for palaces and parades!  Calling them ‘Yellow’ may actually have followed them being given yellow uniforms in the mid 1620s, and their colours/flags then followed suit in being yellow as well.   (For more general discussion about the Swedish ‘Colour’ regiments and brigades see this previous post https://theviaregia.blogspot.com/2020/11/old-blue-and-other-colours.html .)

When I first started collecting Gustav Adolph’s Swedish army the only unit I already knew about was the famed ‘Yellow Regiment’. Surely a striking spectacle for the miniature battlefield.  Now, fours years later, I am finally starting to paint it.  I suppose a simile for this would be collecting a Napoleonic French army and finally starting on the Old Guard.  Or collecting a German army for WWII and finally getting some King Tigers.  So, it feels like a momentous milestone to have reached.

This sleeve of Muskets has integral command with a sergeant and drummer from the TAG command pack 

Saving the best ‘til last

Why has it taken me so long to get around to this iconic unit?  Two reasons. The first is down to one of the first ‘how-to’ books I read about wargaming, Bruce Quarrie’s Napoleon’s Campaigns in Miniature (still an excellent intro to the Napoleonic period, just perhaps skip using the rules!).  In this book Mr. Quarrie advises on how to go about collecting your chosen army.  He suggests painting a regular Napoleonic ‘line’ infantry unit before every other type of unit. So, for example, paint a line unit, then an artillery battery, then another line unit, then a light infantry unit, then another line unit, then a unit of cavalry, then another line unit, and so on. This means you’ll end up with the majority of your army being line infantry, but you’ll always have something different to paint next to keep your interest going. Mr. Quarrie goes on to suggest that even within this process you should leave the guard until last. His logic is that when you start off painting you will not be as competent as you will be after a dozen or so units.  You want your guard to look their best, and so don’t start them when you’re still ‘getting your eye in’, so to speak.  

I still follow this guideline today.  I try to vary units in my painting queue, even within  the same army, to keep the painting mojo going. I also try to avoid rushing in to those special / favourite units.  The Swedish Yellow Regiment was therefore something to be saved, and savoured.

I like the pose as the musketeers appear to be purposefully advancing on the enemy.

“Yellow is capable of charming God.”  Vincent Van Gogh

The second reason for me taking so long to get to the Yellow Regiment was the colour; the dread ‘yellow’.  As someone who undercoats in black, or at least very dark paint, I have always struggled with achieving good yellows.  This isn’t too much of an issue normally where just the odd accent on a figure has to be yellow, but having the whole figure’s uniform being yellow made me hesitate.  I have watched many videos now on how to paint yellow on figures, many of which have been about some outfit called ‘The Imperial Fists’ who even in the far, far future find yellow an ideal colour to wear on the battlefield. (They are obviously fine soldiers with impeccable taste!). I have tried the undercoat in pink technique, and I have tried many brands of yellow paint, all marketed as giving excellent coverage, but none seeming as wonderful as promised.  In the end it has come down to following the adage of Duncan ‘two thin coats’ Rhodes, and realising you often need multiple coats of some colours, and to let them dry between coats. 

I wanted the Yellow Regiment to have a distinctive look, beyond the yellow uniforms. I decided to have them looking quite uniform and smart in appearance, as befits the Household regiment. I chose to use the Swedes in cassocks from the The Assault Group (TAG) range. I’m not convinced that this style of buttoned cassocks was worn by the whole regiment, but they are very nice figures and they will stand out from my other more rag-tag Swedish units. (I understand that Gustav Adolph did order a batch of longer coats for his troops in the 1620s while fighting in Prussia, so it is possible that his own regiment may have been clothed in something like this coat.)

Figure primed in dark brown

Base colours applied

Wash applied

Highlights applied - ready for varnishing


For this first unit of the Yellow Regiment I started by painting just one figure as a test. I followed my current, normal approach. Brush on prime in a dark brown.  Next base colours blocked in, followed by a wash. Finally highlights to taste.  Happy with the test figure I then cracked on with the rest of the unit.

The rear of the unit.

One down …

The first component part of the Yellow Regiment complete is this ‘sleeve’ of shot. They were surprisingly easy to paint as it’s unusual for me to have such a uniformed unit (I’m normally trying to represent the rag-tag appearance of troops on campaign).  

One thing with having such a distinctive unit is needing a suitable casualty marker.  Sadly there are no wounded/dead TAG figures to match the unit and so I used this Warlord casualty figure.

Warlord casualty on a Warbases 40mm ‘counter’ base.

Perhaps some pikemen next.

Until next time!

Andy @ The Friends of General Haig.

Monday, 15 August 2022

More Swedish Cavalry

In this blog post I look at the latest unit from my painting table. A unit of 28mm Swedish horse, for my 1620s/30s Gustav Adolph army, using 1898 Miniatures’ Thirty Years War (TYW) range.

28mm cavalry from 1898 Miniatures’ ThirtyYears War range.

I completed my first unit using these figures back in February (see link) and covered the 1898 recent figure release then. This new unit was approached in a similar way. 1898 released nine packs of cavalry, each of three figures.  I bought one of each pack, and so this new unit was built using the remaining figures (with three left over that will be used to accompany the 1898 TYW general figures that are in the ‘pile of opportunity’). 

As with the previous unit I have kept with the front rank holding pistols and the second rank with drawn swords, following Gustav Adolph’s instructions for how the Swedish horse was meant to attack.  The first rank was to only fire at point blank range, and the following ranks to fall on directly with cold steel.

I had used the one command pack on the previous unit and so for this unit I needed some slight conversions. I used the cavalry cornet pole arm and trumpeter’s arm from the Warlord plastic cavalry box which fitted the 1898 figures with a minimal amount of filing and green stuff.  

The cornet is again from Mikhail Betski, at MB Creation, and I have also again used the colour of the flag to influence the scarf/sash colour, this time having them a royal blue colour, fringed with yellow.  At this period, my understanding is that, there was no standard sash colour used by the Swedes and I tend to switch between blue, green and yellow as fancy takes me, these colours at least contrasting with the Imperials’ red sashes.

I gave the unit a green theme, painting their riding jackets in different shades of green, with a few sleeveless buff coats in the front rank with the better equipped men.  I also gave the trumpeter a pie-bald horse, after reading that this was popular with the Swedes in this period, when appropriate horses were available. 

These were a bit of a slog to get through and I’m blaming that on the summer weather!  Next up on the painting table is the start of a unit that I have been looking forward to painting for a long time.

Until next time!

Andy @ The Friends of General Haig 

Monday, 25 July 2022

Haiduks and Housing

This blog post is just a quick update on my 1620s Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth army in 28mm.

28mm Polish Haiduks from The Assualt Group (TAG) and Foundry.

Slow progress over the last few weeks, but I have completed another unit of Haiduks, and I’ve also built a MDF cottage (from 4Ground) for use in my Polish v. Swedes games set in Prussia.

Marching through the Prussian countryside.

This is my third unit of Haiduks, and I have returned to the ‘classic blue plus red lining’ colour scheme for this unit.  (You can see some more details on Polish Haiduks in my first post on them here:  https://theviaregia.blogspot.com/2021/11/polish-haiduks.html .). The figures remain a mixture of The Assault Group (TAG) and Foundry.  This units uses marching poses from both manufacturers. 

When I was thinking of taking a few pictures of this latest unit of Haiduks I thought that it would be nice to have a rural looking house.  I have had this 4Ground MDF building in my stash for some time, and while intended for WW2 Eastern Front games, I thought it would also suit me for the 17th century. 

Eastern Front MDF building from 4Ground.  Built, primed, ready for finishing and some flock etc.

It is a very detailed kit as you’d expect from (the now sadly defunct) 4Ground, and was easy to build despite the detail.  One of the things that drew me to this model was the teddy-bear fur thatched roof, with the fur provided.  Once the material was stuck on to the roof, I brushed in a lot of PVA to the fur, and then painted it.  This was pretty straightforward and drying times much improved by the UK’s recent heatwave. 

Finished building populated with my Polish civilians.

I have left the cottage pretty much as it comes out of the box for the remainder of the kit, just splashing about some weathering. I built a base for the building using a Warbases 3mm scenery base, and the fencing was also supplied by 4Ground (from Things From The Basement).

Next up on the painting tray are more Swedish cavalry.

Until next time!

Andy @ The Friends of General Haig (FoGH).

Wednesday, 22 June 2022

Stakes, and all of the trimmings

In this blog entry I liven up some bases of stakes, or Swinefeathers, that I made in my last post with some simple vignettes to add to my 17th century Swedish army.

“Hurry up Sven; those horsemen are closer than you think!”.  Warlord, Foundry and Perry 28mm musketeers preparing to give fire, while Bloody Miniatures are setting up the Swinefeathers.

In the previous blog post (link) I described how I used the Warlord Games’ Swinefeathers to create bases of temporary defences for my Swedish musketeers. These looked fine but were perhaps just a little bit bland.  Over recent months I’ve been inspired by seeing some great vignettes on different social media and so I’d thought I’d have a go at something similar for my Swinefeather bases. 

(For the record, some of my favourite vignette creators are:

I started by thinking about what sort of vignettes would make sense on a base of Swinefeathers. These vignettes would be used in games like the other Swinefeather bases and so they needed to fit on the same 60 mm x 40 mm bases. I came up with broadly two categories. The first was to show musketeers in the process of a deploying the swine feathers, and the second was to show the Swinefeathers after being damaged during the battle.

This time it is Avanpost musketeers hoping their comrades hold fire until they’ve finished putting in the last two swinefeathers.

I searched through my “pile of opportunity“ for likely candidate figures and other bits of battlefield detritus to sprinkle about. I came up with the following four sets of figures.

28mm Bloody Miniatures with assorted equipment from various manufacturers. 

I’m a big fan of the Bloody Miniatures range (https://www.bloodyminiatures.co.uk) and I have a nice stash from the recent releases.  I selected a couple of figures that suggested themselves for a base showing men setting up Swinefeathers. One figure was originally thrusting a pole alarm, but with a little bit of conversion, I felt that I had made him look as if he was driving a Swinefeather into the ground. There was also a figure who I thought would make a fine sergeant of Musketeers who would be helping out, setting up a Swinefeather. As well as the two figures I found some suitable pieces of equipment to add to the base; a musket, rest, powder bottle, halberd, and a club to be used to bang in the stakes. With the figures ready, and all the pieces of equipment to hand, I experimented with different positions so I could fit everything on the 60 mm x 40 mm base. This experimentation also showed where I could add Swinefeathers, already set-up, to the base. 

Avanpost 28mm resin miniatures with various manufacturers’ equipment.

Next, I had some Avanpost musketeer figures that were in the process of loading their muskets, but with a small bit of conversion to remove the muskets, I could make them look like they were planting swine feathers into the ground. As with the previous base, I added some pieces of equipment around the two figures to give the impression of a working party.

For the bases showing battle damaged Swinefeathers I was at first just going to model a base with couple of the stakes broken. Then I wondered about adding some wounded figures to the base as well.  On finding a downed horse (also from Avanpost) in my ‘pile’ I thought this would be ideal to add to a base of Swinefeathers.  The horse fitted neatly on to one of the 60mm x 40mm bases and I could add damaged and regular Swinefeathers around it.

Warlord 28mm wounded musketeer tries to crawl through the damaged swinefeathers.

Finally, and in a similar way to the previous base, a Warlord wounded musketeer could be added to a base with some damaged swinefeathers. I imagined cannon shot blasting through the stakes just before Imperial musketeers tried to assault the Swedes behind the stakes.

Avanpost 28mm resin wounded horse.

Warlord 28mm casualty crawling through the swinefeathers.

I had fun painting up the few figures and pieces of equipment for the vignette bases. A nice palette cleanser between regular units of figures!

Using Swinefeathers in games of Pike & Shotte

Now that I can deploy swinefeathers on the battlefield some rules are required.  Luckily both supplements for Warlord Games’ Pike & Shotte rules, ‘The Devil’s Playground’ and ‘To Kill A King’, include the same special rules for all sorts of permanent and temporary defences.

Here is their suggestion:

Stakes or Swedish (Swine) Feathers

… Effect of such devices is defensive and applied to hand-to-hand, not shooting.

  • Negates all charging bonuses.
  • Negates cavalry vs. non-pike combat result bonus
  • Need one complete turn for the defenders to set up or remove. If defenders lose a round of combat during hand-to-hand then the stakes or swine-feather defence is lost.

I think these rules will certainly help a unit of shot when it is charged by the enemy. A few trial games will be required to get the feel of the rules’ effect.  Whether it is enough, or too much, will be a subjective judgement as we don’t have much evidence to go on.   I’d be very interested to hear about other peoples’ experiences with swinefeathers in games of the period, whether using Pike & Shotte or other rule systems.

Next time, back to the more regular stuff.

Until next time!

Andy @ The Friends of General Haig