Monday, November 5, 2018

1866 AUSTRIAN UHLANS

Battle Honors 25mm 1866 Austrian Uhlans 
In this post, dear readers, we return to painting units as opposed to single command figures. Having recently added Uhlans to my Prussian force, I thought it only proper that I should continue to follow the lancer longitude and produce a counterpart Austrian contingent.  After all, it just wouldn't do to have Prussian but not Austrian uhlans given how much the latter were a signature presence in the Austrian force structure.  For this project, I turned to the Battle Honors 25mm Austro Prussian line of figures. This is a venerable set of figs, as such on the small side, but the sculpts themselves are better than average for their time (with good detail and fair proportions).  I've tapped this most comprehensive figure line before when looking to fill gaps in my mid century continental forces.  The cavalry works well enough with other lines so long as you don't mix the figures.   
From the NYPL Vinkhuijzen Collection

The 1866 Austrian uhlan uniform differs from its Napoleonic predecessor in several ways. The most distinctive is the falling crest on the czapka, which is held in place by two faux metal chinstraps.  Also, although not reflected in the above images, the czapka cord was actually not attached to the headgear in practice but draped around the neck (according to the Osprey on the Austrian Cavalry, 1836-66).  Interestingly, the Battle Honors sculpts get these idiosyncratic details right, to include the disembodied czapka cord.  I must say that it was a good thing that I had read about these points in my references.  Otherwise, I would have been hard pressed to decipher all the lines and cords on the figures, especially in the naked lead stage.  Curiously enough some of the other details are off, like the absence of the "flounders" on the left shoulder (except for the officer, which has them), and instead of the single cord that drapes down from the crossbelt there are what appear to be two aiguillettes coming down from the left shoulder, which look like they might be holdovers from another version of this sculpt. I managed to shake myself out of this deep focus on these details, however, and shifted gears to the reality of presentation. Thus, I decided to paint the figures as sculpted, which is 99 percent correct at the micro level but 100 percent correct in terms of actual presentation.  In the below studies, as usual, you may clix pix for BIG PIX.  

Like my Prussians, I added two regiments plus a trumpeter...

UHLAN REGIMENT 5, GRAF WALLMODEN
By 1866, all Austrian uhlan regiments shared the same red uniform details (piping, cuffs, lapels, and trouser stripes).  Although the colored lapels were capable of being covered, leaving only the trim (like the Prussian uhlans), and references said that the Austrian uhlans wore the standard gray light cavalry coveralls, not a single illustration I came across showed anything other than the colored lapels and the green trousers with red stripe.  Thus, I went with this more colorful scheme--as befitting of "chocolate box soldiers" in the last hurrah before khaki!
Interestingly, the top of the officers' czapkas were in the regimental color, while the troopers' were black leather, which is another difference between the mid-century and Napoleonic uniforms. 

UHLAN REGIMENT 3, ERZHERZOG KARL
I wound up hand painting the lance pennons. The black counterstripe on the yellow field  is another distinction of the mid century Austrian uhlan kit. I replaced the lances that came with the figs with Northstar wire spears, cut to length so that they would fit in the storage boxes along with the rest of my figures--always a potential issue with lancers in the upright position, exacerbated in my case by the added height of the thick bases.  Fortunately, these lances didn't come out looking too stubby.
The regimental distinctions were reflected in the czapka colors--reds, blues, greens, white, and of course, imperial yellow.  I decided to break from the usual signature imperial yellow headgear and went with the more novel blue and red.

TRUMPETER
Just as with my Prussians, I did a trumpeter, even though it would be an "extra" figure.  The falling red plume of the musician is a rather good look.  The black and yellow cords and mixed black and yellow in the epaulettes on these figures was a challenge. I was thinking of just leaving them yellow--which would have been another 100 percent solution in practice--but since I had done these details on my Austrian Hussars (also Battle Honors) to good effect, I thought I'd do them on the uhlans for consistency.  Doing these proved more challenging and time consuming than on the hussars, which was contrary to expectation (Something more involved than hussars? Impossible). Fortunately, the figure count was low enough that I was able to sustain the effort and get at least a consistent look across the figures.
 
  THE NEW AUSTRIAN UHLAN BRIGADE...
Trumpeter, sound the charge!

...AS SEEN FROM THE GAMER'S PERSPECTIVE
A surprisingly snappy looking group--a close second to hussars.

 Excelsior!

18 comments:

  1. Excellent work on your Austrian Uhlans, Ed! Surprising how much thought and research goes into fielding such a unit. Your reasoning is sound and your decision making interesting to read.

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    1. Thanks, Jonathan, for making my mildly obsessive attention to such things sound positive :)

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    2. You're welcome! You would do the same for my ramblings, right?

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  2. Absolutely chocolatey.

    These sorts of uniforms speak volumes for the advantage of small units.

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  3. What a splendid and colorful uniform...great painting!

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    1. Thanks, Phil. I'm happy with the outcome.

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    1. Thanks, Ray: it wasn't until they started coming together that I began to see how the bits were combining for the overall effect--pleasantly surprised.

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  5. Very pretty Ed.
    Uhlans are certainly in the top ten of Chocolate Box Uniforms.

    All the best. Aly

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    1. Indeed: a popular martial confection in a dandy wrapper (I'm now seeing uhlans everywhere!)

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  6. Some of the prettiest soldiers I’ve ever seen. You probably need 30 more...šŸ˜€
    Nice pictures. šŸ˜€

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    1. "30 more..." That sound you hear is my head exploding!

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    2. And I heard it all the way over here! šŸ˜€

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  7. I like them even better than the Hussars, but then again I'm a sucker for a good czapka. Great facial expressions on the figures in the title photo.

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  8. Lovely looking Uhlans! Totally agree with your considered reasoning,I on the other hand am much more slap dash but I can admire it in others!
    Best Iain

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    1. Thanks, Iain. I think narrating the decision cycle behind the process exposes how involved it can get (even though it's routine). I find your Italian Wars project quite impressive--no worries about slap dash there (I just discovered your blog--stupid me).

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