Thursday, October 3, 2013

Great Northern War Preview

Clibinarium - The Great Northern War is a project that Barry and I have discussed quite a bit over the months, in fact it might be turning in to years now, but since the summer of this year the talk started to get serious. There was always a lot do do for our League of Augsburg range (and there still is), and it always seemed to get in the way of doing anything else as design time is finite. There's long been an enthusiastic group on the Fighting Talk forum, and primarily this post is for them, but of course anyone with an interest in the war might like to have a look too.

First thing to note about these figures is that they are previews, they may or may not appear in these forms in the final figures, because some of them are really dollies that have been taken "on" a stage and turned into finished figures. A good example of this is the marching figures, we'll probably remove the heads and cast the bodies as dollies, so that they can be sculpted wearing karpuses or mitres or whatever headgear might prove useful. Others like the Russian officer in the kaftan will likely stay as is. It may be that certain aspects are a bit too ambitious to cast easily, I'm thinking of the shouldered muskets of the marching figures. Faced with the choice of filling in the small spaces between musket and head or making the musket and arm separate, I think musket and arm would be best separated, (see the previous post Gardes Françaises Revisited for an example of the same issue). It makes for a better figure, but also means there's a little construction involved, it that the figure's arms and swords will have to be attached. If you have strong feeling on this either way please say so in the 'comments' section.

Another point to note; these figures are all based on the new "blank" dollies. You can see the consistency this lends to their proportions. It will be apparent that the two marching figures, that although they are clearly different, the same dolly underneath should be pretty obvious.

A lot of work went into these figures, and to be honest I am glad they are finished (for now). There are some aspects that I am still not quite satisfied with and may make further corrections, for example I'm not thrilled with the Russian ensign's face.

 I hope you like them and will be doing my utmost to retain this level for the rest of the range, and improve it where possible.

Swedish Infantry

On the left is a Swedish sergeant in winter gear; he has tied the flaps of his karpus under his chin, turned up the collar of his cape and unhooked the turnbacks of his coat. On the right is a grenadier getting ready to charge. I've put him in a mitre, though they may well have worn tricorns on campaign. Once this figure is dollied he can be put in any variety of headgear. There seems to be quite a variety of possible headgear for Swedish grenadiers,  we may go with plug in heads to solve this, its still being considered. Note the bayonet of the Swedes which was unusually long (approximately 78cm) not that much shorter than the sword they carried.

On the left is a standard musketeer marching, as noted above the musket holding arm may have to be made separately. On the right is a standard-bearer, though he could easily be used as an officer with a change of weapon

Infantry officer.  The idea is that he's marching with his unit, turning to reorder a line that's beginning to get ragged.
I think the pose will work without the polearm too.

Russian Infantry

Early Russian infantry, around 1698, the first years of Peter the Great's process of reforming the Russian army on a Western European model. On the left is a well off officer in a long Kaftan. My personal favourite of this bunch. He's based on an illustration in Letin Leonoff's book on the Russian army of the 18th Century. The Infantryman on the right is still using the matchlock. His fur hat is the only particularly Eastern aspect. With a head-swap he could easily be made into a Western soldier.

On the left a Russian ensign, though could be used an officer with the addition of a polearm. Not wild about the face of this figure, I might revise it. On the right a musketeer, again a separate musket arm might be required. A head-swap and some minor additions would change him into a grenadier.

A grenadier. Very similar to the musketeer, again could be changed with a head-swap. His cartridge box is decorated which would have to be changed. Musketeers had a different design (though they appear to have been plain before 1708)



  1. Absolutely excellent quality on the sculpting!
    The blank dollies really gives consistency, without taking any credit away from the hand craft put into these. Truly looking forward to getting my hands on these figs.

  2. I just love those. Happy with everything you've discussed there. My only criticism would be the absence of any aggressive Swedish musketeers like the grenadier.
    My personal favourite is that grenadier firing his musket - just superb.
    Thnkyou thankyou thankyou for giving us a real alternative to Musketeer Miniatures.

  3. I am delighted with these 10 sculpts.Both Clibinarium and myself very much appreciate ALL feedback as it is helpful and directs future decision making. Just before anyone presses the panic button though it is important to reiterate the following;

    The tests had a very specific purpose:

    1. To allow Clib to flex his creative muscles and articulate my ideas in 3D.. ie a practice run.

    2. To find the 'groove' for the feel of the range. By this I mean what it will actually look like and convey to customers. Our idea crystallizes around the words: animation/movement/style/campaign feel/freshness(avoid repetition of what is out there already ie Musketeer /Reiver / Foundry etc) /completeness.

    3. We have probably the most extensive range of body dollies available and so the variety of look we can get into this range should be un-paralled.

    4. Allow the investors to provide input and comment (as you are doing on this thread) and then decide the way forward.

    With all of this in mind, I would say.. if you don't currently see your 'favourite pose' , dress, headgear, weapon type... don't be dismayed. No one ever runs everything in a test. We are proving things to ourselves currently. As an example, the grenadier attacking.. if the pose suits he can have some equipment changes and various head swaps and we have an entire regiment attacking. We'll worry about that on everyone's behalf! What we really need right now is comments on the 'feel and spirit' of the models. Do they convey YOUR mental impression of the GNW. Ideas too are very welcome.
    So thanks to everyone and keep the comments coming.

  4. The test sculpts look wonderful. I'm not keen to be gluing arms onto musketeers, noting that many other figure ranges seem to have figures out how to do this in one piece. Is it the angle of the musket resting on the shoulder that leads to the need for the separate arm? I defer to your judgement on casting issues. I will still buy the figures even with separate arms -- I would just ask that the socket in the torso be deep and the pin in the arm be long so that the assembly process is easier to do.

    I know that these are test figures, but I would hope that a more conventional looking officer ( looking forward) will also be available . I like the Swedish officer, but I wouldn't want him in every Swedish regiment that I create. But knowing how Warfare Minis does things, you will probably overwhelm us with choices and variants .

    These look very nice. I definitely will support the range. Darn it, that's all that I really need right now, a new historical period to collect. :)


  5. Absolutely superb! I like the the older look on the Russians the winter look on the Swedes. It looks like the Russian Grenadier is a favorite so far, so I have to ask, will there be any reloading poses to go with the firing pose? Great stuff, and looking forward to them once completed.

  6. That's where we're at Greg. The short answer is that anything is possible from here on in. When I establish the level of funds available we'll work a plan the covers as much as we can in terms of variety. With the start we already have I think we could get to production on some codes this side of Christmas. I imagine that when Clib and I talk tonight we'll get the whole thing to the next stage... and then we'll be only to happy to let you know where we're going.

  7. These look absolutely superb and I'm sure will do wonders to increase the popularity of this conflict.

    Will someone now please have a word with my boss and arrange for
    i) a suitable pay rise to allow me to purchase what I need, and
    ii) sufficient (paid) time off to paint the damn things!

    :) :) :)

  8. I'm loving the early Russian figures and can see me getting some of those for Donnybrook games then going with the later ones for BLB.

  9. Jim P, I can't find your email address in my file and could have sworn I had it. If you feel inclined to send it to me at I'd be obliged.



  10. Very well done! All are beautiful figures. The historical period very charming. My cares are the same of Der Alte Fritz. I add :pay attention to too thin torsoes. I especially like your marching musketeers and your idea of separate arms and heads to add variety. Good work!!

  11. Stunning figures. My only reservation, like DAF, is the separate arm/torso thing. I hope this will be a comprehensive range....what sort of timescale before cavalry & artillery join the footmen, to enable some sort of game while the rest of the range is filled out?

  12. I am interested in the comments relating to separate arms. What is the reservation precisely? I have seen this a few times not just relating to our mention of it but in general. Answers would be helpful thanks.
    Re: filling range out, time scales are based mostly on sculpting time and sales. A huge amount of time and money needs to be thrown into make a project work particularly when we are not a full time business and only one sculptor is in place. Evidence of what we've managed to produce in less than 2 years elsewhere should provide reassurance that when we get our teeth into something we'll produce the goods and within realistic time scales.
    Guys could I also respectfully ask that if you are commenting on any thread that you either sign in or sign your name.


  13. Personally I am a fan of multi-part models. It isn't necessary to go all GW on things, but a separate arm here and there allows for greater variety and greater scope for conversions (saving me the trouble of having to take a saw to 'em). Certainly the joints need to be well done as a poor fit will ruin the pose and discourage some modelers, but I think this was handled well in the various cavalry already available so I don't think that's a concern...

  14. They look great. One point: shouldn't the Russians have bayonets and scabbards? This project looks like it will be everything we could wish for..

  15. Please let me paint my League of Augsburg figures before you make me start a new period! Yes, another vote for the Russian grenadier figure as my favourite - looks russian and menacing. I have had issues with separate arms with other manufacturers. Either the fit isn't very neat (hole too small/gaps when the arm is fitted high or low) or the arm hasn't anatomically matched the torso well & looked too big/small. However, delighted so far with your LoA figures, so should probably trust you!

  16. Stick with the LoA for now Stuart... plenty more new stuff in the pipe there too. Pix of the new Gardes Francaises up soon.

  17. Nice miniatures, but let me make few comments on Russians, please.
    The Russian early (1690s - 1702-05) uniforms were Eastern (Polish/Hungarian/Russian) style and looked a little difefrent: they didn't have that many buttons, had no cuffs and pocket flaps, they wore cartridge box on a sling, not apostles, and per their drill they didn't cary musket by beneath musket butt. In brief, they looked like this:

    And Russian later uniforms never had those straight cut saw-shaped pocket flaps. Just never, despite what was shown in Viskovatov and in Osprey Men-at-Arms. See original pieces here

    1. If you look at the first illustration under 'history of the regiment' it shows a soldier with apostles and looks exactly like the figure Gareth has sculpted.

  18. Thank you, these comments are helpful and am sure will be of value to Clibinarium as the project rolls out. I am always however wary of absolutes predicated on a single or few piece(s) of evidence. Evidence is of course vital but extrapolation of universals such as 'always' or 'never' are very dangerous. Examples of what shouldn't be done can be seen everyday on TV when combat troops or any nationality in action adopt non standard kit because of personal desire, slack discipline or necessity. Human nature, shortage, greed, lack of money and many other factors all influence what is and what should be. We'll see how the range develops as a result of all of your feedback so thanks again.

    1. I also hesitate to trust blindly when some absolute knowledge is presented. In such cases it very much helps to see references and find out what are primary sources.
      And the story with saw-shaped pocket flaps dates back to 1840s and to miscommuniction between Viskovatov who's describing survived items and an artist who was drawing illustrations basing on those descriptions but without seing those survived items.
      But since Viskovatov's illustrations were the only graphic reconstruction of GNW Russians from 1840s to 1990s, it firmly entrenched in uniformological literature with all its flaws.

  19. What a terrible Russians... :-(

    Better figures here

    1. I think we will forgive your unacceptably rude English as most of us speak no Russian. I presume the post is a rather shameless plug for your own shop?
      I looked at the models, quite nice dragoons actually with good detail and well painted. Horses sculpted well but look somewhat on the small side (although this may be accurate for the breed). I think that is fairly balanced feedback. Maybe you should think a little not about what you say but rather How you say it.

    2. All photos available there -

    3. Sorry for my terrible English. :-)

  20. Let's not talk about how to make action figures, but, uniforms incorrectly displayed, the data outdated and does not reflect the realities, but some options are fictitious.

  21. To any Russian speakers; anybody who can help with research will be listened attentively and gratefully. As Igpp1709 points out, the majority of material available in the English language is based on Viskovatov, and the more up to date material is hard to access. Please realise that we can neither read nor speak Russian, so trying to work with Russian material is difficult (for example we have some newer Russian material; some illustrations, but without being able to read the text its hard to assess or use).
    These figures were done as samples, so where there are problems they can be changed, for instance the pockets on the Russian infantry coats can be altered.
    I'd encourage anyone who can provide corrections to the older sources to join the "fighting talk" forum to contribute. Then the misconceptions can be corrected.

    1. Dear clibinarium, fill free to ask as at (registration needed) . We have Google Translate module. Hope it helps you.

  22. Russian chaps, thanks for the input. Have looked at the thread but cannot really make much of it in English. Seems to be the same type of comments seen on TMP... don't like this, don't like that... horse looks like a donkey etc. Not helpful.
    We would appreciate constructive help at these early stages. If you have translated material that will add value then fantastic, gratefully accepted. Otherwise.. well...

    1. Some information about early Russians at the begining of XVIII century you can find at

  23. You need to decide on what period of the Great Northern War, and which shelf in Russian, Swedish? From this, much depends ....


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