Sunday, February 9, 2014

First Batch of Painted, Mounted Schutztruppen (25mm - 30mm)

DSWA Schutztruppen on Horseback, Various Manufacturers
Mounted Rider with Slung Rifle (Matchlock 25mm)
The German Southwest Africa Schutztruppe was mounted infantry, and during the German - Herero War of 1904 the riders fought most of their engagements on foot.  The Jones - Alvarado Herero War Scenario and Rules Book, scheduled for release next month, calls for just a single 8 man mounted section with an officer and NCO and six troopers.  Three mounted command figures are also needed. 

This still presents a challenge, as there are only a few sources for mounted Schutztruppen in 25mm or 28mm scale, and one of the best - those from the Honourable Lead Boiler Suit Company - are no longer in production.

Nevertheless, I managed to find 10 HLBS mounted figures, including an officer, NCO and eight riders, in an unpainted condition on eBay.  They are 28mm scale, came from a seller in France and were a steal - not always the case.   I have painted one of the HLBS riders up in a test batch of 4 mounted figures, one from each manufacture.  The results are here before you.

The single rider, above, is from Matchlock
HLBS, left and Tiger Miniatures, right: 28mm
Miniatures, cast using molds from Falcon Miniatures USA .  I have found Falcon to be singularly unresponsive to requests for its own offerings.  Not so with Matchlock, which has many but not all of the falcon Line available.  This figutre is in true 25mm scale and looks positively hobbit like next to the largest figures from HLBS and Tiger miniatures (at right).  The Tiger trooper, closer to 30mm than 28mm, came in a set with 2 riders on camels, but I swapped out the mount for a horse that came with another set with 2 riders wearing WWI era Tropenhelms.

The last figure, below,  is a German officer from the Old Glory Boxer Rebellion range that came in the Great Powers High Command set of six mounted figures representing the various powers that fought in China in 1900.  It is a hefty 25mm scale that works with 28mm figures.  He required a little bit of putty to fill in a gap in the brim of his Südwester hat but is one of only a couple of options for mounted German commanders available that will work for this period and his horse is suitably spirited.

Old Glory German High Command Figure (Boxer range, 25mm)
Alternate View, Old Glory German Commander
I have decided to use the Tiger and HLBS figures for my gaming table.  Possibly I will paint one of each as Hereros in captured uniforms, perhaps one of them as a Herero commander.  That will still give me enough to meet my needs for mounted Germans, though I would very much like to have another Officer figure.

No manufacture of mounted Schutztruppen thus far has sculpted horses with proper tack and associated accoutrements, including the bucket holders for the rifles that were attached to the saddle in front of the rider's right leg. There is a good possibility, though, that Askari Miniatures will produce mounted Germans this year. They are closer to 26mm in size, but beggars cannot be choosers and I am sure will be as admirably detailed as their dismounted compatriots.

Tiger Mounted and Dismounted Figures (really 30mm, esp the officer)

Mounted Schutztruppen: Tiger, HLBS, Old Glory, Matchlock/Falcon

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