Sunday, June 30, 2019

Playing with Molds

In addition to the package of molds from Berliner Zinnfiguren, I also received a new casting pot in the mail this week.  I have a 10-lb bottom-pour Lee pot, but it has been troublesome in some respects the entire time I've owned it.  Between times when the valve won't close and metal keeps draining out while I fiddle desperately with it, and times that the rate of fill of the molds is so slow that they don't cast completely, I have been wanting to try something different.

So, after a couple of days of bad schedules, I finally got a chance to fire things up today.

Lower tech casting pot

The Zinnbrigade marching figures cast easily, although it looks like a vent or two might be needed for some of the more active poses.  The only other mold I tried was of an infantryman running and an infantry bugler, and neither figure cast in two tries, so I set it aside for another day and/or some vent cutting.

Zinnbrigade Marching Prussians

I borrowed two vintage Schneider molds from Chris Palmer recently, and had little success with them in the previous casting session.  They make a sheep a goat, a cow, a fence, a farmer, and a milkmaid, and by using the new pot to pour more quickly, I was actually able to get all of them to cast, although the sheep was the fussiest, with only one decent example.  I could have a herd of goats, though... Cue Julie Andrews...  These will likely end up as part of the Not Quite Seven Years War collection.

Late in the session, I finally got around to trying some Meisterzinn multi-part molds, but it wasn't the day for that, or I was already getting tired.  I suspect that these will still be easier with a faster pour rate, but it remains to be seen.  I wanted a few extra horses, so that I can start work on some general figures.

Old farm molds plus a few Meisterzinn pieces
So, in the previous casting session I was playing around with a vintage mold and had another go at it today.  But I have also acquired another Rapaport Brothers/Schneider mold making sailors.  I got two of them to cast, but they are pretty big compared to the Zinnbrigade figures (see below), and I probably won't end up using them for that.  I cast the fox and hounds from a Prince August mold, so the hypothetical general mentioned above can be accompanied by a dog.  I also cast a handful of knights from a new (though of vintage design) metal mold from Castings.  I'm considering notions for a 54mm fantasy project, and this may help get it out of my system...

This one's complicated
Vintage sailor vs. a Zinnbrigade Prussian

Last time around, I made a few of the running Meisterzinn musketeers to be head-swapped with bicornes for the French Revolution (see below).  Ross had suggested that the Prince August Rossbach Prussian grenadiers would probably work as well, and I figured that I had two molds for them, so it was worth a try.
Prince August Rossbach grenadiers and Meisterzinn musketeer for head swaps

If everything is successfully converted, that's another unit and a half worth of troops.

Meisterzinn single-piece musketeer with a bicorne head swapped

I also received a Scad mold for an 1870 Frenchman, but it unfortunately seems to be deterioriating.  Once metal was poured, the mold seemed to be oozing something, and that was bubbling the surface of the casting.  Apart from that, the Scad mold came with vents pre-installed, and doesn't look difficult to cast cleanly.  I don't know if this will clear up after a few casts, or whether this one is dead.

Scad French; sadly, looks like a mold decay issue

Friday, June 28, 2019

A box of molds arrives

A new project

I really don’t need a new project, so, of course, I bought one.  A box with an assortment of Zinnbrigade molds for late 19th century Germans (and one SCAD mold for an 1870 French chasseur a pied) arrived yesterday.  Reading up on the French Revolution led to reading about the Paris Commune of 1871, which led to the Franco-Prussian War at large.  My son has been working on late 19th century imagi-nations in 1/72 plastic off and on for some time, but I have been planning for A Gentleman’s War in 40mm, so through the wonders of the Internet, an order was placed.  I will have to supplement with artillery from Irregular at least, and they may end up as my main source of FPW French.

Sunday, June 23, 2019

Casting Session

Being in need of more Meisterzinn parts for the French Revolution, I set up the melting pot today.  It was a frustrating day, reminding me of the vagaries of home casting.

I set out to make enough of the cavalry bodies in the lower left corner to match the horses I made last time, and we’ll call that a success. However, I made 10 in 11 pours, and then the remaining three took about eight tries. The advancing musketeer multi-part body wouldn’t cast at all, although I made two dozen last time. 

I thought I might be able to do a head swap on the single piece musketeers with leveled bayonets, but getting 7 took me 20+ tries, so that will not be much help on production speed. 

I was playing around with three vintage molds. The farm animals wouldn’t cast, but I got a few civilians. The new vintage mold I got this week, making some possible FPW figures, is typical. The least useful cavity (crouching guy) cast best, and the most useful, a figure advancing with leveled bayonet, wouldn’t cast at all. I guess I’ll have a unit stabbing down with the bayonet... 
Today’s Casting Results

Sunday, June 16, 2019

A Gentleman's War reviewed

According to my shipping records, I received my copy of A Gentleman's War (AGW)(by Howard Whitehouse and Dan Foley) back on the 24th of April.  Having seen the pre-publication versions of the game being played at conventions, I anticipated that it was going to cover the later 19th century, and that I was just buying it out of curiosity and a love of toy soldiers.  However, while it was on order, and before it arrived, I was playing a remote game with Ross.  I mentioned that I had AGW on order, and Ross told me that the rules also covered the 18th century.  So, instead of needing to go out and buy a bunch of late 19th century toys, I knew that I would be able to play as soon as the rules arrived.

As noted in my Huzzah report, Ross and I had the opportunity to try the rules out a couple of times with the figures we had brought to the conventions for our "official" scenarios.  I tried a third game with my older son, on my relatively compact home table a couple of weeks later.

With the preamble out of the way, what about the rules?

I got the softcover version from Amazon, at $30.  There's also a hardcover available, at $40, which suggests this is a print-on-demand product.  Personally, I haven't had any problems with PODs, but you would have to decide whether the hardcover would be durable enough to justify the $10 price difference. 

The book weighs in at 112 pages, including hardcopies of the quick reference sheets without page numbers in the back.  The sections are an Introduction (2pp), Building Your Army (12pp), The Country (i.e. terrain, 2pp), the Rules of the Game (28pp), Engineering (2pp), Scenarios (6pp), A Guide to Armies (of the H.G. Wells era, 9pp), On Colonial Matters (rules and army guidelines, 25pp), From Flintlocks to Needle Guns (earlier period rules, 2pp), Cameo Roles (5pp), and the balance is various flavors of designer's notes (9pp). 

The authors' intent is to provide a pleasant relatively quick game using large scale figures (40mm or 54mm are the default) with an updated Little Wars flavor.  

In the Army Building section, we find that, while variations will not break the flavor and flow of the game,  cavalry is deployed in 6 figure units, infantry is deployed in 12 figure regular units or 6 figure specialist detachments (e.g. engineers), and artillery is deployed as individual guns with 3-6 crewmen (more for the odd siege gun).  There is a point system to use if desired, with units having a base cost modified for "distinctions" (special abilities or disabilities, like better, or worse, shooting or morale).  So far, the games I've played have been built around symmetrical forces, so I don't know whether the points would hold up to a determined assault by players intending to squeeze every possible advantage from the system.  Most points systems won't, so don't do that.  Armies are divided into small (6-9 units), medium (10-13 units), and large (14-18 units).  The Country chapter suggests that the table width needed to accommodate those army sizes would be 3-4, 6, and 8 feet wide respectively.  For those that don't want to use the points system or deploy symmetrical armies, there is also a random army generation table, where armies are determined to be field forces, advance guards, or garrison forces, with a few core units, and additional units are randomized, with the three types being balanced, cavalry-heavier, and infantry/artillery-heavier respectively.  Ross and I tried that with the second game we played at Huzzah, and ended up with perfectly symmetrical forces anyway. C'est la guerre... I should also mention that basing is discussed in this section.  It is anticipated that you will not wish to rebase your troops, and the default expectation is that you are using individually-based figures on approximately 1" wide bases for infantry, and perhaps a little wider for cavalry.  (That happens to fit with my existing NQSYW collection perfectly, so Bob's my uncle, as they say.)

The rules are generally conventional, and the authors acknowledge the influence of Larry Brom's The Sword and the Flame and various versions of Ross's With MacDuff to the Frontier.  A card deck (with jokers) is used for activation, with each side being assigned one of the colors.  The unconventional part of the activation rules is that there are no turns, per se, and as each side finishes a cycle of activating all of its units (including dead/removed ones), it can start over.  Units activate one at a time, except that up to four units can activate at once if a face card is drawn, or if a general is attached to one of the units.  An ace will allow you to activate a unit previously activated in the current cycle.  The first joker ends restarts both players' cycles and the second does the same and also causes the deck to be reshuffled.  There is an interesting hold card mechanic; each player is allowed a limited number of hold cards which can be used to interrupt the turn sequence, to gain extra abilities in a charge, and to allow additional charge responses.  It took me a while to really pick up on the flow of this, which is my problem rather than the rules'.  Generally speaking, it looks like you want to hang on to a good hold card for a charge response, and that cycling your units as quickly as possible should be your goal.

Movement is where the TSATF influence is strongest; moves are in dice thrown, with 2 dice for infantry line movement and and 5 dice for light cavalry charge movement being the usual extreme ends.  Doing things like changing facing, changing formation, or shooting reduce the movement by a number of dice.  Personally, I like this as a mechanic; it abstracts a lot of fussy terrain definition and command and control representation into something I can remember and use without looking at tables.  

Fire combat is done by throwing a handful of d6s, one per 2 infantry or 1 artillery crewmen, with a target number based on range.  Each hit gets a saving throw based on target type and cover status.  A full strength infantry unit in line is going to get 6 dice of fire, and would need a 5-6 at short range (half the maximum), so would have an expected value of two hits.  Against another line in the open, the saving throw would be a 5-6 as well, so 2/3s of a figure would save; leaving an expected value of 1 1/3 hits.  With numbers like that, units will typically stay around for a while.  With the default 1890s technology of the rules, long rifle range is 24", and extreme field gun range is 72", which is a significant chunk of a 5 foot wide table.

Melee combat is a bit more involved.  There is a list of circumstances providing advantages of 1-2 points.  The advantage status of the unit (+2 or more, +1, Tie or lower, tie or lower and disordered) gives the target number for the melee.  The saving throw is collected from another table in which the results (doubled, more casualties, indecisive; I'm paraphrasing) and the melee type (cavalry vs infantry, etc.) are cross referenced.  This feels a little fussy for a d6 toy soldier game, and one definitely wants to have a copy of the table in a quick reference sheet for each player, but it's not too slow overall, and gives a wide range of possible results.

Morale is built into the melee results, but in other circumstances is checked at 1/3 and 1/2 casualties with a d6 roll, giving results from "run away" to "carry on".  There are two lines to the table, "bothered" and "disconcerted", and when I customize the quick reference sheets I'll add something about disconcerted being disordered, routed, or below 50% and bothered being anything else, because I'm having a little trouble remembering that at three games in.  I'm sure it will stick eventually.

There's a short summary of engineering tasks for special scenarios, weighted toward things that wouldn't take too much time (i.e. demolition over construction).  Time is measured, when necessary in cycles for short things or jokers for longer things, without attempting to give real time correlations.  Given the level of abstraction, that seems reasonable.

There are short descriptions of nine general scenarios, with some information on force balance and objectives.  While these should work, I haven't tried them yet, nor have I tried translating the general scenarios from the C.S. Grant books into these rules yet.

The guide to armies section has some suggestions about the translation of historical troop types into game terms, plus some suggested likely distinctions and deficiencies for the types.  Britain, France, Germany, Austria, Russia, Turkey, and the United States get write-ups.

The colonial section has the same sort of information on the great powers' colonial armies, plus rules for additional troop types such as porters, tribal infantry, tribal cavalry, and obsolete artillery.  Tribal units are half again as large as regulars, so based around 18 foot or 9 horse.  I would have to try it to see (using my existing 25mm colonials), but it feels like the larger units would probable lead to a wish for a larger table size than for the regulars.  

The main effect of the Flintlock to Needle Gun rules is to add optional loading (I've tried two games with and one without; doesn't seem to be necessary, but it's there if you disagree) and to shorten the weapons ranges.  All three games I have played so far have been with the flintlock-period weapons tables.

Once you have the rules and the distinctions firmly in hand, the Cameo Roles rules add a touch of whimsy.  There are a number of possible roles, ranging from civilians who impede traffic to spies who affect initiative cards to the regimental mascot who can add to your melee capabilities.  The intent of these rules is to give an excuse for all the odd miniatures one might tend to collect.  As someone's whose miniatures collections includes livestock, civilians, marching bands and what not, this looks like fun, although I haven't had a chance to try it yet.

The book finishes up with a discussion of philosophy.  The intent is to provide something fun and not too serious, with what I might describe as a neo-Wellsian aesthetic, all goals which I support.  

My initial experiences with these rules have been very positive, with the caveat that I'd like to tweak the quick reference sheet.  They have the advantage, from my point of view, of allowing me to use them with my existing 40mm collections (including the odd stuff) immediately, and to play games that feel enough like the Charge! battles that I'm used to to be satisfying, and to do it in a significantly smaller space.  With my recent move having left me with a smaller space, that's a plus.

Overall: Solid rules with an interesting initiative mechanic.  Highly recommended...

(And I just started expanding the French Revolution project and ordered a bunch of 40mm Franco-Prussian War molds, so you can see I was hooked.)

Saturday, June 15, 2019

Expanding the French Revolution Project, Part 4

Having finished the British infantry, the next task is to try to do something with some British cavalry. The excerpt below shows a sergeant of a British light dragoon regiment in 1793, and is from Funcken's The Lace Wars, Vol. 2.

For A Gentleman's War, I will want a unit of 6, and the recent casting sessions have produced the necessary pieces:

I started in on one this morning, and have concluded that I want to file down even a little more of the lapels and lace originally cast in.  I also hope to suggest the helmet crest a little more closely by filling in the gap above the brim with epoxy putty.

Here's where the first one is so far:

Sunday, June 9, 2019

Expanding the French Revolution Project, Part 3

As I started into the work week, I had the basic colors down on all twelve figures, but had done the final detail work on just one.  I reached yesterday evening with all 9 troopers done, and the three command figures remaining.

Nine troopers completed this week

I finished up the officer and the fifer without too much trouble this morning, and that just left me with the flag.  I haven't done a historical British flag in quite a while, and I hoped it was going to be similar to the flags I'd done for the French and Indian War.  This turned out to be true, so I had the choice of doing the King's Color (a Union Jack with a wreath and the number) or the Regimental Color, a flag of the facing color with a Union Jack in the canton and a wreath and number, and chose the latter, to keep my straight lines down to short ones.  A quick internet search turned up a site with a picture, fortuitously, of the flag patterns of the 37th Regiment.  Of course, it turns out that there was a picture because it was special, but that specialness wasn't too hard to paint.  The 37th is one of the Minden regiments, and the wreath on their flag afterward includes roses intertwined with thistle flowers.

The flag, after a little recreational vexillogy
 By lunchtime, I had everything based and sprayed with a varnish coat, and there we have it: The first reinforcements to this project since 2006, if my painting records are correct.  I'm not sure if that sets a new personal record for longest time between things painted for a project, but if it does, at least it makes it look like painting a dozen units or so by next May is merely ambitious, not impossible.

And done!

Sunday, June 2, 2019

Expanding the French Revolution Project, Part 2

As described in Part 1 and in Ross's blog, we have decided to work on the French Revolution, with the intention of putting the combined results on the table at Huzzah next year (15-17 May 2020) in Portland, Maine.  The target rules are A Gentleman's War (AGW), which gives us a basic structure of 12 man infantry units, 6 man cavalry units, and cannons manned by about four crewmen to work toward.  For a two-player game, the rules recommend using 6-9 units for a "small" army.  Based on our combined decades of convention gamemastering, we would anticipate that players will have "enough" to do if they are each commanding 3-5 units in a multiplayer game, especially if we are generous with the cameo roles and use the distinctions rules.  Six players seems a solid goal for Huzzah, and that translates into 18-30 units, of which we currently have five.  It would seems that we have our work cut out for us...

My own initial goal is to get to two cavalry units (have 2 of 4), four infantry units (have 3 of 8), and a gun for each side (have 0 of 2), so that I can put a game on the table at home for inspiration.  That would be 14 of the 18-30 we would want for Huzzah.

Having done these calculations, the weather last Monday, on Memorial Day, was beautiful.  My son Norman and I played out the AGW game previously reported, and he headed home.  I took my casting gear outside and prepared to add some reinforcements.  Apart from a test session with these molds a couple of weeks ago, it's been quite a few years since the Meisterzinn multi-part molds in my collection have been in serious use.

Setting up outdoors
Years of experience with casting has taught me that there are variables over which I have no control, so that on days when certain molds are working well, I make extras, because there is no guarantee that things will work again the next time. 

Results of casting session 
I spent three or four hours casting, cycling through three or four molds at a time, enough to allow the casting to solidify before opening the mold, but not so many that the molds got "cold" (it's all relative when you're pouring metal at 600+ degrees Fahrenheit).  The walking/trotting horse from mold 1322 was having a good day.  I was getting a better than 90% success rate on pours, so I made about 20 of them.  The galloping horse from mold 1325 almost never works.  I tried six or seven times and didn't get close to a complete casting.  This is why every horse already done for this project is a 1322, and it looks likely that every new horse will be too.  I wasn't sure what cavalry I would be making, and a have a handful of the hussar bodies already around, so I only cast three hussars and seven cuirassiers.  They also generally cast easily, so getting more later should not be a problem.

Mold 1324 makes an advancing infantryman and a standard bearer.  Past experience is that both of these figures cast fairly reliably.  Unfortunately, one doesn't need that many standard bearers, and the hands are in a position opposite that of a right-handed shooter holding up his musket.  I have occasionally filled out a unit by sticking one in anyway, but more often I have used this casting as a figure loading.  If you put a section of fine wire in the right hand as a ramrod and a musket with the butt on the ground in the left, he's passable.  However, I didn't plan on doing that so I only poured that mold cavity a couple of times.  The advancing figure (as I'll show below) was working well, and I was able to make 21 of them, with a solid 90+% success rate.  

The other molds were more troublesome.  I lost track of how many times I tried the firing poses mold (1329), but I got 6 usable figures (three of each), none with bayonets cast, after at least a dozen attempts, so a success rate of of under 25%.  I ended up with 4 good examples of the marching infantryman from mold 1321 after at least eight tries, and they were mostly from the first few tries, so I set it aside for another day.  I tried 1326, the civilians, and got a couple of women, but the man wouldn't cast.  The bandsman, 1332, as usual, would not cast at all, although I got more cocked hat heads, as used for the British below. 1328, an officer with cast in lapel detail (so of a later style than the officer in 1321) was working, so I made 3 of those.  

Overall, I ended up with horses for three new cavalry units, or a little more if the existing 8-man units are expanded to 2 6-man units, two uniform pose advancing infantry units, and enough assorted castings to staff a third unit, which brings up an artistic/aesthetic question, to be discussed below.

On Friday, a day I had off from work, I sat down and started to assemble pieces.  I have a cache of fifers from years past, and the fifer mold (1323) at least used to cast fairly reliably.  So I decided that the first unit up would extend the available bodies a bit by consisting of 12 men, including an officer, a flag, and a fifer.  A drummer would be better, of course, but Meisterzinn does not have a drummer with a normal military drum--even the bandsman, if one could get it to cast, comes with a choice of a snare drum or a bass drum.

Here is a 1792 infantryman from Vol. 1 of the Funcken Lace Wars book. After discussions with Ross, I concluded that the best match for the transitional cocked hat from the available Meisterzinn heads was one that is included only in the bandsman mold.

With as many figures as we are proposing to add, it is going to be necessary to keep the piece-by-piece conversions down to a minimum, so the goal is to be "recognizably close" to the historical figures.  So, sometime in the 1780s the British went from gaiters reaching above the knee to gaiters below the knee.  I am not attempting the file the castings to reflect this.

First British under construction
By Friday evening I had the whole unit assembled.  I glued them to craft sticks (aka tongue depressors) for ease of handling.

A unit ready to prime
I got up yesterday morning and primed them with a black spray primer.  I considered using white, given the British colors, but I appear to be out of white primer at the moment, and I didn't want to go out in search of more at 0600.  I would expect that I would have started by running a black ink into crevice and shadow areas, but that experiment will need to wait until later. 

After spraying the primer from six directions and giving it time to dry, I started in on painting.  I am more or less attempting to match the style I used on the existing figures.  After putting one a coat or two of the basic colors, I took one infantryman and finished him up.

Sample infantryman

Sample infantryman, back

I used the distinction colors and a simplified version of the button lace pattern from the 37th infantry regiment, one of the ones deployed for the Flanders campaign.  

The state of the rest of the unit when I quit for the day
Today my plan is to see if I can finish the rest of the unit (minus the actual flag, most likely), but if the weather is good, I might see about more casting.  The next unit up is probably going to be some approximation of British light dragoons, for which I believe I have the parts already cast.  At that point, the Coalition will be ahead in strength, so I would hope to alternate between Coalition units and French units.

If the casting success rates remain constant (not usually a good assumption), I am eventually going to have to deal with the aesthetic question of how uniformly posed I want the units to be.  An all-advancing unit, as shown above with the British, is likely to be fairly easy.  A firing line unit of an officer, a flag, five kneeling shooters and five standing shooters with complete bayonets is going to be nearly impossible.  The existing units, as shown in Part 1, were intended for an individual figure based skirmish game, so I wanted them to be as mixed as possible, in case it was necessary to easily identify individuals.  Going forward, I would like the French to present a more irregular appearance, and they historically used more skirmishers, so there may be French units which are half shooting/half advancing.  If the firing figures continue to be rare, though, I may reserve them for special units, jaegers or other light infantry, and it will probably be necessary to fill things out with standard bearers posed as loaders. 

By the end of the outdoor casting season in September/October, I would like to have all of the pieces and parts wanted for the Huzzah game.  

Saturday, June 1, 2019

Expanding the French Revolution Project, Part 1

The origins of my French Revolution project are now lost in obscurity.  I originally bought a set of the 40mm Nuernberger Meisterzinn molds for the purpose of adding some expansion units to Chris Palmer's French and Indian War project.  I started thinking about what else I could do with them, and realized that the different heads included covered a number of French Revolution types, and somehow the idea that a Scarlet Pimpernel-based scenario would give me another use for the molds as well as provide an excuse to put a marching band on the table in a game pushed this over the edge, from thinking to doing.  That also tied the time down to 1793-4.

My main resources for painting were the Funcken Uniforms of the French Revolution book, and the Haythornthwaite book on the same topic.

In the initial scenario development (and I have the notes around here somewhere...) the idea was that each player would have one unit, each of which would have its own separate victory conditions.  We also had a suggested set of variant victory conditions, so that we could run the game multiple times and playing previously would not be a spoiler, because the hidden information could be different each time.  What stayed the same is that the Austrians were more-or-less working together to take a military objective (a bridge), and the French national guardsmen (or Les Bleus) were tasked with defense of the objective, and a special order to capture the Scarlet Pimpernel.  One of the other five French factions (regulars, cavalry, mounted police, band, and civilians) would not be what they seemed, but would be the Pimpernel, his assistants and some French nobles attempting to escape.

Each mounted faction was built with eight figures, and each foot faction was built with twelve.  We ended up with a few extra civilians as well.  As always, Ross Macfarlane decided to pitch in and help with the painting (and more, as will be shown).  

Ultimately, we played this a few times in 2007-8, and it got shelved with a mental note that the rules I was using needed some work, and that not all of the factions were fun to play.  It was close, but not quite there.

When I got A Gentleman's War (AGW) last month, I realized that it might be just what I was looking for to get the French Revolution back on the table, although as a small battle game rather than a skirmish.  The presence of an extended section on "cameo roles" gives something to do with civilians, bandsmen, and the Pimpernel.  I discussed the idea with Ross, who was very enthusiastic, and recommended a couple of sources on the 1793/4 campaigns in Flanders.  

Part 2 will be more about where this might be going, but here's a quick review of what there is:

First up are the Paris mounted police.  I have a feeling that finding a battlefield role for these guys may be difficult, but perhaps we can just slide them in as a French cavalry unit without drawing any particular attention to them.  I'll mention here that the mold collection has two horses, but I have only been able to regularly cast the horse that comes with cuirassier body successfully.  All of the mounted  police were built using the "hussar" body, with the cast-on lapel lace filed off.

Paris mounted police, from Funcken

Close-up of one mounted policeman
The Austrian cuirassier uses the same bicorne head as many of the French.  As "toy soldiers" I compromised and painted the backplate cast on the figure, although the Austrians historically only wore breastplates.  My general goal has been to save metal file work for when it is really needed.

Austrian Cuirassier, from Haythornthwaite

The French chasseur a cheval uses one of the two standard helmet heads included in the various molds, and the hussar body without modification.

French Chasseur a Cheval, from Funcken
The marching band turned out to be more difficult than expected.  The marching band mold has a figure with his arms extended, which would require various levels of re-posing to hold the instruments included.  He turns out to be incredibly difficult to cast, and I could barely get enough to do the drum section.  Fortunately there is a fifer mold, which casts very reliably, so the band was filled out with fifers, plus a standard bearer and a regular officer "armed" with the conductor's baton from the band mold.

French Marching Band

The French National Guards were the most fun to paint.  I did some light conversions with file work and putty to give most of them non-uniform trousers, and then painted them with patches, faded coats, and so forth. I used a mix of bicornes, some with plumes lost, both sideways and fore-and-aft, plus one bare head pulled in from the civilian mold.  As I expand, I am probably going to do a second equally ragged unit, painting a couple of figures at a time between regular units as a treat for making progress.

French Garde National
The old French regular infantry wear something close enough to one of the helmets included in the mold set that I just used them as is.

Old French regular army
The Austrians were a pain.  The Austrian casket hat from the 1793 period is not included in the molds, so I attempted to file something down from Seven Years War grenadier mitres.  As my tolerance for filing diminished, I finished them up with a couple of bare heads.

Austrian infantry
Early on, the civilians stalled me.  Chris Palmer tried a couple of civilian conversions for me, the fellow in the green coat with a spike club, from a Meisterzinn SYW officer, and the guy with the pitchfork, from a Meisterzinn 16th century halberdier.  Ross, in a burst of enthusiasm, decided to sculpt a couple of civilians and make molds, so the rest of the men are from one of those two masters with varying amounts of conversion. The women are straight out of the Meisterzinn civilian mold, with both possible heads included.  

Civilians, some rather militant
I did one of the male civilians from the Meisterzinn mold up as a Representative on Mission, as a wild card for the Scarlet Pimpernel scenario.  He comes with the roll of paper clutched in his left hand, here undoubtedly representing a blank death warrant.

A Representative on Mission

That, then, is where the expansion starts, with five reasonable combat units (National Guards, regulars, and light cavalry for the French, infantry and cuirassiers for the Austrians) for AGW, a number of cameo roles, and some left-over cavalry to expand into six man units.