Thursday 31 December 2015

New logo, new range and a Happy New Year!

Here is the logo and brand for the coming Franco-Prussian range:
Eagles of Empire Miniatures. (Logo design by French illustrator, Manu.)

Why this name? During the 19th. The seeds of democracy were swept across Europe with the winds of revolution, but so was nationalism and imperialism. All of them were factors leading to a period of immense bloodshed in World history. The Franco-Prussian War set this process in motion, with the Eagle of Imperial France posed against the Prussian Eagle, gathering all the German states under its wings. 

The Churchyard in St. Privat getting stormed by Prussian guardsmen.
The Battle of Gravelotte St. Private.

The result was a united German Empire, which would shift the balance of power in Europe dramatically. A military and political landslide, that would lead the World into two “Great” wars, as young democracies battled totalitarian governments for the direction of Europe. But it was also a colourful period. One often referred to as La belle époque. 

The World Exhibition in London 1851 ringing in many of the technological
discoveries that would shape the later half of the 19th. Cent.

It was a period of Emperors, Kaisers and Tsars. It was a time of marvellous Grand Exhibitions and fantastic technological progress. Steam powered industry gave rise to new mighty weapons, while the telegraph and railroads changed the way that wars would be lead – and won. It was a time when the old collided with the new on the battlefield. 

Steam Power gave birth to the rail roads.
This would forever change the way armies and supplies moved,
and be a factor that could win wars.

I wanted a brand name that would cover all the above and span the period of 1870-1915, which is my main interest in history. I hope you will all give this new brand a warm reception.

As a further update, I can say that work on the release of the Franco-Prussian range continues. All the basics like packaging, webshop and roll-ups for the launch venue are being designed. I’ll share most of it here in previews during the coming weeks.

A parisian boulevard during "La belle époque".
Paris ca. 1900.

However, as this year draws to a close, I’d like to thank some of the people who have made this project possible:

Robert – UK based sculptor, who not only does the amazing sculpting, but who also have been a fantastic advisor on how to construct the range, to optimized it for casting.

Nick – Bavarian based hobbyist and gifted painter. Many of you know his blog already. Those of you who don’t, go have a look. I’ve been painting for more than 25 yrs, and I still find myself learning from his amazing work.

Manu – French illustrator based in Alsace. Manu has supplied all the basic artwork, and took the project on with great enthusiasm. During his work on researching the uniforms, he has been collaborating with a local Alsacian Franco-Prussian reinactor club, spilling him all the hints on how the uniforms really looked like. He has done an amazing job. More on that right here on the blog in the coming weeks.

Gustave Eiffel's tower still stands tall - and so does Paris.
Goodbye 2015 - Happy 2016 everyone!

Thank you all for your invaluable support during the work on Eagles of Empire – and a big thank you to all the blog readers, for your continued interest in my postings.

I wish you all a safe and HAPPY 2016!

Tuesday 22 December 2015

NEW Franco-Prussian Range in 28mm!

A selection of the French Line Infantry miniatures. There will be 16 different sculpts in the WAVE 1 French Infantry pack. Above minis have been painted by the very skilled Nick over at the Moiterei blog.

For all you fellow Franco-Prussian War enthusiasts out there, here is a little something extra for Christmas. After 1,5 year of concept development and sculpting I’m finally able to introduce this ambitious range of crisply cast Franco-Prussian minis in 28mm, that I’ve developed in collaboration with the talented sculptor Ebob.

French Line Infantry receiving a charge by Prussian Cuirassiers.
The Battle of Mars-la-Tour 1870.

As many of my reader will know, the Franco-Prussian War stands out as one of my pivotal interests in military history. Why? Well, it created the foundation for German unification, shifted the European balance of power, and as in many other cases it ended with a peace settlement that could almost only lead to war.

Close-up on French Infantry Officer.
Thanks again to Nick for the beautiful painting.

The Great War was the result, which again lead to the Second World War and on to modern day democratic Europe. The Franco-Prussian War was the mother of all these events. With dramas like the siege of Paris and The Commune in its periphery, the Franco-Prussian War is an immensely interesting conflict historically, politically and military tactically.

Franc-Tireurs skirmishing in the Loire region.
The WAVE 1 releases will include Imperial as well as Republican phase miniatures.

To set this intense period alive on the gaming tables across the World, I took the help of UK-based sculptor, Ebob. Together with Bob, the highest quality in animation, crisp and painter-friendly sculpting has been achieved. Bob has been at it for well over a year, and the result is a modern sculpted range in 28mm, cast by on of the best companies in the industry – Griffin Moulds.


WAVE 1 packages will include:

- French Line Infantry – a.k.a “Lignards”.

- Prussian Infantry in summer uniforms

- Bavarian Infantry in summer uniforms

- Franc-Tireurs suited for the Loire and Paris/Marne campaign.

We’ve already got loads of other stuff in the pipeline for WAVE 2, like ready-cast historical terrain for the period and of course cavalry, guards, historical characters and artillery miniatures as compliments to the above. 

Franc-Tireurs on the left - Bavarian Infantry on the right.

Two Bavarian Infantrymen advancing.

Imperial German postcard showing the Battle of Wissembourg
and a Bavarian Infantry charge.

Another look at the Bavarian greens.

Franc-Tireurs with the "postal" hats skirmishing with
 the Bavarians during the Battle of Chateaudun.

Prussian Infantry green with the characteristic spiked "Picklehaube".

Prussian Infantry at the charge.

Another Prussian Green before final casting.


Many comprehensive rules already exist for large scale gaming in 28mm, covering that type of gaming nicely. That’s why we’ll be publishing a different kind, one putting your feet firmly on the ground as platoon commander. You’ll be commanding your squads armed with a fist of dice and some beautifully designed command character cards and troop unit cards with special ability profiles for different troop types. The rules will be very inspired by the fast playing, cards & miniatures-driven commercial games we’ve seen in the hobby over the last decade. More will come on the rules soon.

Name of the Range:

I’ll be posting our logo and the website address in January. The logo is pending final layout with the designer, so I’ll keep the actual name of the range and rules as a surprise for next month.

Launch Date:

We’re in the last phase of developing the packaging for WAVE 1, and the webshop is on track in development too. We aim at taking Pre-orders in February, which will be shipped out in April with a launch discount for the supporters. We also hope to be present at a few of the mayor European conventions next year, but that is unconfirmed at the moment.

That’s all for now – thank you for reading and supporting the blog during 2015.
I wish you a Merry Christmas and a happy 2016 – see you all again in January!


Friday 13 November 2015

Deutsches Historisches Museum

Painting of Early WW1 battle.
(Deutsches Historisches Museum).

Dear readers, during the last week yours truly have been kidnapped from the hobby table, and taken abroad on business. The upside was, that the impending meeting would be with an Ad Agency - in Berlin! 

Ran into this guy in the middle of the street.
Friedrich is yet again popular - due to his multi-cultural support during his reign,
his enlightenment adherence and supposed homosexuality.

My travel plans offered me a generous 4 hrs extra time in the city, which I enthusiastically spend on visiting two landmarks of particular interest to the history hobbyist. The fantastic Berliner Zinnfiguren Shop next to Savigny Platz, and the monumentally impressive German National History Museum (Deutsches Historisches Museum).

The Berliner Stadtschloss anno 2015.
€105.000.000 is being poured into the re-construction.

After a double quick check-in at the hotel, I made my way down to Alexanderplatz for a mandatory Kurrywurst. A short post-lunch walk took me over to the "Museumsinsel" and past the massive construction ground for the re-building of the Berliner Stadtschloss - the palace that housed many kings of Prussia and a few Kaisers of the German Reich. 

The Stadtschloss late 19th Cent.

It was destroyed after WW2 by German Communists, and in its places they build the Volkskammer (DDR Parlament) during the German division into east and west. After the reunification the decision was made to rebuild the old Scholß for its historic and symbolic value - a project of some €105.000.000!

At the entrance of the museum Bismarck carefully examines all the visitors.

Having gazed at the massive Stadtschloss, it was finally time to enter the holy Grail - the German National History Museum. Here follows a series of pictures from my visit:

Medieval German/Teutonic pavisade.

Late medieval maximillian armour.

Samples from the Thirty Years War armoury.

Die Lange - The tall guards of Friedrich's father.
His passion for tall men took him across Europe with bounty hunters searching 
for the next colossus to get enrolled.

Frederick the Great's uniform.
Having read about this king since I was a young teenager, 
it was pretty special to actually see this thing live.

The actual hat Napoleon wore at Waterloo, 
captured as a trophy by the Prussians.

The Prussians storm the Danish position at Als.
The War of 1864.

Captured Danish flags.
The war of 1864.

The extremely effective Needle-gun used against 
the Austrians and the French in 1866 and 1870-71.

The actual uniform of Kaiser Wilhelm II.
Note the shorter left sleeve. Wilhelm had an underdeveloped left arm.

WW1 British and French uniforms.

Beautiful and large (1.5 meter) model of the sms Markgraf,
 which fought at the Battle of Jutland in 1916.

The nazification period in the 30ies.
Different kinds of Nazi party uniforms.

Nazi Propaganda Poster focusing on the young audience.
"The youth serves the Führer. All 10 year old in the Hitler Jugend".

An original model by Albert Speer.

German infantry uniform of 1944.

"The Liberation Game"
Who can reach Berlin first?

Portraits of  people who were exterminated at Dachau.

Original Newspaper from 1945 announcing Hitler's death.

Germany 1945 - a land in absolute ruins.

Germany divided - a DDR boarder post.

Actual pieces of the Berlin Wall.
For someone who grew up in the 80ies, 
this part of the museum left the greatest impression on me. 

The Deutsches Historisches Museum kept me entranced for several hours.
As I left the building and strolled down Unter den Linden towards The Brandenburger Tor, I was still digesting the impressions I had gathered. What a magnificent, turbulent, terrible but grand history this country has. 

Thank you very much for reading.

Friday 23 October 2015

The History of elite unit Großdeutschland – part 6: 1943; The road to Kursk

The PSC Panzer III next to the Zvezda Panzer II.

For this update I’ve finished a further two Panzers, completing my initial Barbarossa painting project goals setup earlier this year. More specifically, I have added a Panzer II from Zvezda and assembled and painted another of the excellent Panzer IIIs from Plastic Soldier Company’s sprue boxed set. The Zvezda looks a little small, even when factoring in that it’s a Panzer II next to a Panzer III. So, for someone building a collection from scratch, I’d probably go with either or in terms of the brand.

Erich von Manstein.
He would take command and lead the 43 offensive, reconquering Kharkov.

Concluding my initial painting goal for Operation Barbarossa, I can now look ahead and plan the next step. Having enjoyed the format of connecting my painting project with the history of Großdeutschland, I decided to continue this trend, but moving time forward to 1944-45, and the last defence of East Prussia and later Berlin, when Großdeutschland gets merged with Luftwaffe Panzer Division Herman Göring. So, I’m actually currently experimenting and test painting, to get the right feeling on German Panzer winter camo. Hope to share the fruits of this work shortly. Now, back to the Eastern Front! Its early 1943, and a new and more troublesome year awaits Großdeutschland.


The Road to Kursk

January 1943 opened in white, with a clear and crispy winter landscape covered in fine powder snow. But the mood in the German high command was pitch black. On the 14th January, the Russians launched a winter offensive up the Don, breaking the Hungarian Second Army, and by that opening a 200 miles wide gap in the German front line. Further down the Don, in Stalingrad, the 300.000 soldiers under von Paulus was still trapped. 

Another view of the models.
A few stowage details and antenna has been added.
The white helmet decal gives away the IRGD origin.

Großdeutschland was back in its old role as “fire extinguisher”, constantly shifted along the front line to plug holes and help launch counter attacks. It took a hard toll on the men, and the equipment. IRGD was now situation outside Oskol, fighting bitterly to stem the massive Russian onslaught, but were constantly pushed back. The Russians were now better led, better equipped, and they were starting to field tanks and planes which were equal in quality to their German counterparts. The scales had tipped in favour of Mother Russia.

Kharkov in 1942, during Nazi occupation.

On the 2nd February Stalingrad fell. This came only weeks after parts of the Second Army further north also suffered massive losses due to encirclement. The Soviet offensive was starting to pick up real pace, and forced the Germans back. IRGD was hastily plugged into a hole in the line near Kharkov, in an attempt to protect the vital railroad out of the city, which connected two German armies logistically. The were again pushed back, and ended up near Poltava, where they were finally taken out of the front line for a few days of well deserved rest.

Kharkov after the battle.
A few kids inspects the wreck of a Panzer.

During the rest at Poltava, Großdeutschland was also refitted – with Tiger I’s. They were to see action straight away, as German High Command had planned a counter offensive, with the objective of closing the gap in the front line and reconquering Kharkov. On the 5th March, the offensive began, seeing initial success and the re-capture of Kharkov on the 11th, trapping several Russian divisions in their way.

Grenadiers of IRGD during the winter fighting in 43.

After the March offensive, the Eastern front went quiet for a few months. IRGD was back to their resting area near Poltava, getting further reinforcements to fill the gaps. The Third Battle of Kharkov would turn out to be the last successful German offensive on the Eastern Front.

Next up: Part 7, 1943 - The Battle of Kursk.
Thank you very much for reading!