The "other" Totenkopf Regiment (with white busby bags).
The 2nd Leib Hussars (approx 1866)
The 2nd Leib Hussars (approx 1866)
Greetings, dear readers. I am happy to report that not only have I arrived at the much-anticipated "other side" of the recent unpleasantness at work, but I have marked the moment with the happy completion of my most recent work-in-progress...
...the Northstar 1866 Prussian 1st Leib Hussars (Ta, daaaaaa!)
The same figures, pro painted, as shown in a review in a Recent Wargames Illustrated
The Prussian Leib Hussar, aka "Totenkopf" regiment, goes back to the Seven Year's War and Frederick the Great. In the disaster of 1806, it was one of the few units that came through with a sound combat record and possession of its colors. In 1808, it was reformed into Leib Hussar regiments Nr 1 and 2 and remained in service through the continental wars of the 19th Century (the timeframe concerned here). I chose to go with the "traditional" representation of the 1st regiment, with the red busby bags as opposed to the 2nd with white.
One peculiarity of the mid-century Prussian cavalry was that the striping in the musician's "swallow's nests" was diagonal as opposed to vertical. I was concerned that doing these as such, even if gotten right, would wind up looking wrong. Thus, this was one of those details that I was prepared to do "wrong" (ie, vertical) in order to look "right." However, the diagonal effect worked out fine to the eye. Interestingly, these and the Northstar Austrian Hussars (which I did as Romanians) lack the sabretache, although I did not notice it until painting these. Not sure why that is, but it doesn't detract from the figures.
Prussian hussar officers had brown busbies as opposed to black.I did make some deliberately "wrong" decisions on the details on the back of the uniform. I originally painted the trefoils on the shoulder blades realistically--in other words, as loops with black centers. However, the optical effect of this rendered them virtually invisible; they looked like uncorrected stray marks at the end of the piping lines. Thus, I re-did them with solid centers, which nicely suggests the loop and brings out the detail. Oddly enough, the loop on the back of the collar, painted realistically with a hollow center, does look right to the eye (go figure). All the bits on the cartridge belts, the small sliver of carbine belt diverging from under the cartridge belt, the wolves teeth receding, but still visible, under the saddle roll, these are all indicative of the kinds of details that I mentioned taking "trickeration" to bring out. (For anyone interested in more of the minutia of how I painted these figures, there's a summary at the end of this post).
Left, 1st Leib Hussars (Northstar) and (right) the 5th Blucher Hussars (Foundry). I was concerned about how well the Northstar figures would mix with my Foundry Prussian hussars. The side-by-side eyeball test put those concerns to rest, thankfully. I'm not entirely sure that were I to do another hussar regiment whether I would go with Foundry or Northstar figs. Both lines are fine, and each has its advantages.Of course, the Leib Hussars fit in nicely with their Northstar bretheren, the Prussian Uhlans.
My entire Prussian 1866 cavalry contingent, ready for action: Foundry Dragoons, Cuirassiers, and Hussars. Northstar Uhlans and Hussars.
Black-garbed fellows with skulls on their hats--no Prussian force is complete without 'em.
*More boring details of painting:
The cartridge belts are light gray touched over with flat white. The black uniforms are flat black drybrushed with dark gray (as are the busbys). Another interesting point of the uniform is that the officers' headgear was brown otter fur (his headgear is underpainted black with two levels of brown). The totenkopfs (death heads) are flat steel with a touch of shiny silver. The red busby bags are the dark red (Testor's Signal Red) drybrushed with a brighter flat red. The troopers' barrel sashes are underpainted in black, alternating with the dark/bright red combination and a light gray drybrushed with flat white. The officer's distinctions were silver--which I rendered in flat steel brushed over with a shinier silver. The officer's cartridge belt was silver edged in the attilla color (in this case black). Thus, the flat steel is centered in the belt with a bit of edge left. Technically, the officer's saddle cloth should have an elaborate floral motif in the front and back corners, but I decided that trying to represent that would wind up looking like a mess, even if rendered well, so I left it off. The saddle rolls are dark gray, black washed and then drybrushed with light gray. The leather belting is Humbrol flat leather. The carbines are Humbrol "Brown Bess" with flat steel barrels and brass fittings--all black washed and then the stocks are drybrushed in a touch of lighter brown with the metals highlighted. The flesh is Humbrol flesh with a black wash--then gone over to bring out the face details. The eyes I do in light gray and don't bother with eyeballs--given the dark wash and the shadows, the bit of lighter color in the eye socket is sufficient to the eye. There's probably more (I haven't mentioned the horses, for instance), but I think this will suffice.