Wednesday, September 28, 2016


Brown on dark tan on cream on burnt sienna on light leather on chestnut on chocolate on dark leather on brown...
And now, for something completely different, here are a few images from my Thirty Year's War/17th Century collection. To begin with, here are two units of Reiters. These figures are from Old Glory. Their TYW/ECW and Eastern Renaissance lines are hidden gems--well worth looking into.   As usual, Clix Pix for BIG PIX.
One great challenge I find when painting in this era, especially something like reiters in buff coats, is keeping them authentic without being monochrome. Forget about 50 Shades of Gray, there are that many shades of brown here, along with some other shading effects.  Adding this differentiation is another case of one of those  "behind the scenes" painting effects that doesn't draw attention to itself.  Nobody picks up a figure and says, "Wow, look at the subtle difference between the two browns here!" Nevertheless, I find it necessary to indulge in these exercises to produce the overall look of the unit (whether it's in all in my mind or not is another question). 
The "Black" reiters
The "Brown" Reiters
The "Bumble Bee" Trumpeter of the Black Reiters
The "Candy Stripe" Trumpeter of the Brown Reiters

                                           HEAVY METAL:   THE CUIRASSIERS

Although shock cavalry would became progressively less armored as the era progressed, one still can't beat the good old Schwartz Reiters, aka Cuirassiers, in 3/4 armor. These guys are the beasts of the tabletop--and you just gotta' have them. One interesting bit of metaphysics informed my choice of horse color. In the 17th Century, it was believed that dark horses were stronger, thus heavy cavalry were mounted on blacks--thus, so are mine. It probably didn't hurt that black mounts added to the effect of big riders in blackened armor! It's also interesting to note that black horses would be a signature look of heavy cavalry in later eras, perhaps a tradition deriving from this early practice.   The first two units are in "black armor" that I did by using a black base highlighted with metallics: gunmetal, steel, and just a touch of silver.
My favorite figs: these are my "Red" Cuirassiers. The figures are from the Foundry ECW line (and don't seem to be available any longer). After firing the pistol, cuirassiers would turn it over and use it as a club. When you look at the monster pistols that these guys are carrying, that makes perfect sense.  As such, it is one of the few figures lines that gets this right.  I also really like the closed-visored figs with the plumes.
These are my "Blue" cuirassiers, from the Perry range. These are very nice figures which fit in well with their Foundry cousins, the main difference being the larger horses. The leader figure is worth the price of the package alone. You can't see it in the image, but he is wielding a war hammer! Gotta love the era. 
"Black" Cuirassiers.  These are Foundry Thirty Years War figures. I did these in "white" armor using steel and washes of black.


Mike asked an excellent question about the color-references for the units, like the "Black Reiters" when there isn't any black about them, which I'll use as an excuse to post a few more pictures to explain. All the units are color coded, as indicated by a peg on the back of the stand. There are only so many colors, so I ran through a sequence of brown, blue, black, and gray (originally), expanding to red, white, and yellow later on as the collection grew. The leaders have solid color pegs, and the troops have numbered pegs. Sometimes, I can pick up the unit color in the figures, but not always (actually, quite often not the case). So the color is really a playing aid. It's less confusing when looking at the units on the table.  [Although in the above set, the "Red Cuirassiers" are actually Gray according to their unit color--it was a test to see if anyone was looking].     Additionally, I mounted the leaders on white/gray horses so that they would stand out in play, and put the trumpeters on blacks.  This works nicely to assist with play, but it is an inversion of the convention where musicians would normally be on white horses. 

Brown Reiters
Black Reiters

Black Cuirassiers...not much black about them except for horses, and all my cuirassiers have black horses.

Black Cuirassier leader has black features.

Hammer Time!  This is just a gratuitous addition to show the Blue Cuirassier leader's  warhammer.  What can I say? I'm easily amused. 


  1. Nice start to the blog, Ed! Always loved the variety of the TYW and you've done a fine job on these figures! So, what rules will be used with these fine fellows?


    1. Hi John, thanks for the note (and encouragement).

      The mounting scheme was deliberately intended to allow me to use the figs for multiple rules sets. HOWEVER, I do have a set of my own rules (surprise!) that I use with these: "Smalle Warre." I'll be posting that system among the supplemental pages to this blog once I get it in shape where it can be shared (right now, it's mainly a quick reference sheet;so keep an eye out for that).

      I also wanted to be able to use these figures for man to man games, hence you'll notice that each figure has a plug on the back with a number so that you can track individual figures. Currently, I use a variant of Dropwing's "Reiver" rules for this level of play.


  2. Love the cavalry but exactly why is that one unit called 'Black'? Other than the trumpeter I'm not seeing much if any black.
    BTW, this is Mike from FDL if you don't recognize the addy.

    1. Hi Mike, Good to hear from you. The colors refer to the unit color codes, not necessarily the colors on the figures. I've added an explanation and some illustrations to the post to explain.


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