Thursday 21 July 2016

French Siege Train - Heavy Metal

I've painted the guns for the siege train now. They are varnished, based and stored away in a new box (titled "French Siege Train" - how's that for organisation?) to wait for a small matter of 52 gunners plus (maybe) one or two senior officers.

This may be the least colourful photo of the year so far. I maintain a house tradition of 2 model guns per battery - the reasons for this are fading into obscurity, but as I recall they included:

* it is possible to field a half-battery (if you need one)

* 2 model guns have a definite front, and there is less scope for crafty spinning on the spot 

* I prefer the look of the thing (important)

* somebody (Charles Grant Sr?) recommended 2-gun batteries years ago, and I duly obeyed (even more important)

You can see here 3 batteries of Vallière-system 24pdrs (heaviest guns were the last to be converted to the Gribeauval system, since advantages of weight saving and standardised spares were less relevant - French siege train in the Peninsula had some very old guns) - models are Minifigs; 2 batteries of howitzers (different types) one lot are by Finescale Factory and the other are Hinchliffe 20mm; 2 batteries of Gribeauval 10" mortars (recently repatriated from the British and repainted - see "oops" reference in previous post) - these are also Hinch 20mm.

On the general topic of drab appearance, I was asked recently why I had adopted brown bases for siege equipment and personnel. I ignored any faint suggestion that it was not such a great idea, and explained that, since siege guns and sappers and similar people would spend most of their working time in specially-dug earthworks or sitting on (muddy) timber platforms, a nice shade of mud was felt to be appropriate for my Old School bases. At times, I confess, I have had doubts about it, but it would be a major project to change it now, so brown bases it is. Certainly, a siege battery sited on a beautiful croquet lawn, like my field artillery, would look spectacularly daft, so I'll cheerfully stick with this. However, olive green guns on a brown base are a bit dowdy, so I'll have to make sure the artillerymen get plenty of red plumes and so on, to brighten things up.


  1. Could you go for a lighter, sandier, base colour? As it's Spain, I'd imagine the earth is pretty dusty.

    Those pieces look 'ace' with their brass barrels. And those 24 pdr are very versatile - if you ever get tempted to do the classic Vauban era...... Fantastique!

    1. Point taken about the lighter brown - I've thought along these lines myself, but I already have a lot of siege stuff in the darker colour, so it would be a major hassle to change them. I assume it has just been raining.

      It is a Marlburian gun (according to Minifigs), so the scope is there! Brass barrels - strange that the British used iron 24pdrs wherever possible in the Peninsula, since they had problems with "gunner's droop" and vents deforming (which is even worse) with the brass ones, while the French seem to have used brass without problems.

      Could be something to do with the British brass guns being borrowed from very old Portuguese stores.

  2. That is nifty fish detailing on the gun handles.

    1. Yes indeed - this is an 18th Century gun, partly because it was the nearest I could get, and partly because it's historically acceptable for the French siege train in Spain to use old guns like these.

      The dolphins always intrigue me. They could have used bananas, I guess, or just plain handles. Why dolphins? - any idea?

    2. YES! :-)

      Well played, sir - love it.

  3. "(titled "French Siege Train" - how's that for organisation?)"

    I'm not sure I'm either ready for or comfortable with this level of soulless efficiency.

    1. I'm coming to terms with the fact that if i don't keep myself organised then it isn't going to happen. Also, i have recently spent ages trawling through old spares boxes, looking for misfiled figures.

      I really believe these old figures move about between the boxes when no-one is looking, just for a laugh. I am working on an Uncertainty Principle extension for Lead Mountains - "we can have exact knowledge of what figures we have, or of where they are, but not both". Quantum Toy Soldiers. Heisenberg is coming round for a game next week.