Poltava 1709 at Joy of Six 2019 – the Grand Finale of the Towards Moscow Trilogy (TMT)

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This is a quick report back from Joy of Six focusing on the table Nick, Andrew, Neil (from the Wyre Foresters, thanks to all of you!) and I put up on the day. there are some additional reflections and pictures of the show overall that I will issue sometime this coming weekend. Thanks to everyone who came by we really enjoyed the feedback!

The Towards Moscow Trilogy

More than three years ago I decided to have a go at doing a few battles of the ill-fated Russian campaign (1707-1709) of the Great Northern War 1700-1721.  I set out the plan in a blog post (link here) and the three battles we would cover were:

Lesnaya 1708 – link to more pictures here in the blogpost from Joy of Six 2017:

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Battle of Lesnaya 1708 (8 foot table)

Horka 1708 (a what-if battle that would allow us to field a more balance army composition and linear battle that would be the case for the battles of the Campaign) – link to more pictures here in the blogpost from Joy of Six 2018:

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Battle of Horka 1708 (12 foot table)

This year it was a 16 foot table and the disastrous (from a Swedish perspective) Battle of Poltava. Here are a number of pictures from the day with the occasional comments and some link on how some elements of the tables was being made – we were far to busy talking to people to even have a go at actually trying to play it! I think the vision of a grand spectacle was achieved, hope you enjoy  (if you have any comments do get it touch through the blog and ask away):

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Initial disposition the Russian Infantry in the Camp on the left, the redoubts filled with Russian Infantry and the line of Dragoons behind the redoubts.
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Close up of the Redoubts, we can see the Swedes in the far right corner starting their march. More about the redoubts here and he colourful fields here.

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More detail of the Yakovetski forest, the Monastery, Poltava itself and the Swedish Camp.

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The Swedes quickly overrun the first redoubt and set about taking care of the other one.

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Poltava with the Siege Lines in the upper left corner. Buildings mainly from Total Battle miniatures with a Scratch built Fortress (walls and towers).  More on the Poltava here, the ruined villages here and the Siege Lines here.

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The Swedes are through
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Some battalions being lost in the forest

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The Swedes organising themselves for the main battle

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Some immense firing

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Swedish Artillery being left behind!

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Detail of the Swedish Camp, more about the camp here.

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Siege works

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/ Hope that was of some interest!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Progress on the Poltava 1709 Project – Siege Lines and the King (TMT)

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In writing this there is about 10 days to the Joy of Six show 2019, the best 6mm wargames show in the world and a damn good show overall.  I am now just polishing off some old stuff I need to take with me and doing some play aids for the day – a little presentation handout for visitors, some cards for the commanders and a list of the forces we will use.

If you do come to the show, please come and say hello. I will appreciate it ,but do forgive me if I seem distracted and do not give you the attention you deserve – it is normally a tiring day and I tend to be a little bit emotional as very often it is the first time I see the fruits of my labour  – I tend to see the things I could have done better rather the positive things I hope others do! I had a vision on how it would look and the story I wanted it to tell and I hope it will come through.

Peter has invited me to some kind of panel during the day that I am looking forward to.

You can read more about who will be there on this link (Baccus homepage).

 

In summary Nick Dorrell, the Wyre Foresters and I will put on Poltava 1709, it will be 4,500 miniatures on the table and although it only at about 1/20 to the real number on the day I do hope it will give the illusion of a grand battle taking place – I will do a further posting on the battle mat that is now complete later this week as well as some files with the hand-outs, this is a short update showing some of the elements that will figure on the day, (i) the Siege lines and (ii) King.

Siege Lines

To provoke the Battle the King (Charles XII) laid siege to Poltava (and I have presented the rather large model of it before – link here) and there is a more elaborate story about this than the scope of the current battle. The Russian had counter redoubts and the Siege lines were more complicated.

To achieve some kind of stylised and re-cyclable solution I decided to use the coving strips I had used for doing the redoubts to create bases of trenches (link to those here) – taking this further one could make many of these and perhaps even do a little Siege game using tiles moving towards the besieged city/fort/town.  I used some engineers from Baccus to show the men working with the digging – these were mainly Cossacks. The basic idea can be seen below.

 

Adding some filler, sand and a little bit of paint and we got something like this.

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…then combining them with some artillery positions I created earlier (Baccus miniatures) creates that little point I want to make about some Siege lines and artillery being present on the day.

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The clutter (Barrels, sacks and boxes) are from Perfect Six miniatures (link here) who do a nice range of stuff for your battle fields to add that little flair that makes the immersion greater – they also do a range of 6mm fantasy figures that is fantastic. Below some of the fantastic stuff you can get from Perfect Six.

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The Swedish King

Charles XII was shot in the foot before the battle and was carried around on a litter during the battle – some accounts states it was carried by horses, but I chose to make is a man carried version – perhaps it was carried like this too?

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I then added some soldiers and officers to the base and used my non-trademarked method to take shots with some backgrounds (link here).

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/That was all for this time, hope it was of some interest

Progress on the Poltava 1709 Project – Trees, tree Bases and small rocks (TMT)

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I have a lot of trees for my wargames tables and I love the effect they give, sometimes (if suitable) I just add some of them on the fringes whether it has any practical use in the scenario or not. I do think they enhance the overall experience, compared to say a dark green piece of felt (or even worse some 2D wood tiles).

As some of you may be aware, I tend to put on large tables for my games at Joy of Six. I have slowly increased my collection of trees and probably reached what I thought was a peak for my 2107 table showing the Battle of Lesnaya 1708 (more about it here).

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Lesnaya 1708 at the star of the battle before all the Russians come marching in. “Oh when Russians come marchin’ in, Oh when the Russians come marchin’ in, I do not want to be part of that Supply line, oh when the Russians come marchin’ in”

However, for this years Poltava table I needed more.

Even at the smaller scale I working with, the cost of buying some wargames specific trees quickly gets costly at the quantities I am looking for. So for my no-pine-tree trees I have gone for the ones you in bulk from china on ebay. This is a typical set of 60 trees at about 15p a tree.

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As sold on ebay 12/06/19

You could then base them individually on bases, I tend to use washers, with small stickers underneath to cover the hole , cut the tree trunk and then glue it in the middle with some 2 part epoxy glue, before basing decoration. Do not forget to spray them with hairspray, scenic cement or clear matt varnish to seal the tree cover as this otherwise easily falls off over time.

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There is a clear benefit in doing this as the trees individually stores very easily in a box or something like that.

Another issue is that some of the colours are a little bit more unnatural looking than others.  You can rectify this at a very low cost by adding some additional colour to the tree.  I tend to use some Dark Green Coarse Grass from Javis as well as some of the Mid-Green variety and did a mix – but you may have some other suitable flock in your collection (perhaps avoiding the static grass type).

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Not a good picture, but this is it.

I then apply some PVA glue on the tree trying to cover most of it and dip it in the mix.

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Let it dry, then apply hairspray/varnish/scenic cement because this will fall off very quickly otherwise.

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A few dipped and ready!

This is a comparative shot, before and after (I think it is worth it).

In addition I wanted to make some forest tiles using CDs – most of us have tons of old CDs, or DVDs, and you could perhaps save a few from going to landfill. Make sure they are not your back-ups of old photos or something like that.

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Give it a little scratch in the name of adhesion

I made a fair few and although they are not as practical to store as the individual trees they allow a quicker deployment on the table and you can decorate the overall area (e.g. the CD) nicely.

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That is about 40 bases with 5 to 6 trees per base, say 220 trees in total.  Covering an area of 2 by 4 feet.  The trees will knock you back about £30 (based on the prices above) the filler, paint, epoxy glue and sand adds a little bit more. Then adding the cost of the Javis scatter and the spray adhesive, etc – call it a total cost of materials between £40 to £50 for this project depending on what you use. That is £1.20 per base and probably what you would pay for an individual based tree! So if you have no problem doing a little bit of work there are some savings to be made with the added advantage that you can finish them in a way so they work together with your other terrain.

They work well with both my 6mm and 15mm stuff — perhaps not as good for 28mm.

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Swedish tanker trying to spot a target (15mm)
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Great Northern Era Swedish Cavalry Units taking their horses for a spin (6mm) – perhaps more suitable given the title.
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Swedish WW2 era infantry (15mm)

 

In addition I bought some N Gauge rock / mountain / outcrop scenery pieces to use for the Poltava battlefield to break down he overall flatness of the kind of mat I will be using.  I bought the set shown in the picture below and another slightly more expensive.

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As sold on ebay 12/06/19

The work really well in the scales I am using (most of them can just be laid flat on the table). I think it will work wonders in creating that look of a battle field that is not completely flat and saved me some time.  They are made from plaster – I guess dental plaster – and painted and decorated as shown in the pictures below.

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The full set (2 packs)
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A few of them had some flat sides – I will make hills sections and incorporate these into them.
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Full set laid out, I think they blend in nicely on my little 2 by 2 game board that is similar to the colours and look of the Poltava battle mat.
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Some 28mm miniatures taking cover (yes they are from the Perry Miniatures Chosen Men – 95th Rifles set – and painted in strange colours and that hardly look like the typically Napoleonic Rifle – but in this shape they are part of my Mutant 1984 Post Apocalyptic campaign and soldiers of the Pyri-Commonwealth)

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Some Cavalry out on a spin (6mm GNW, Baccus)
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Swedish WW2 era AT team behind some rocks (15mm, flames of war)

Both the trees and the rocks will allow me to create that little extra flair to the battle board that allows that magic immersion to set in.

Hope that was of some interest!

Progress on the Poltava 1709 Project – Plush Foam Fields (TMT)

This is the 150th blog post issued on the 3rd anniversary of this blog. Some of the blog posts have been better than others – some of them I am actually even proud of (especially the two that were written by the Little One).  Like most of us I have limited time to spend on the hobby and very often the blog updates goes out without too much second/proof reading but I hope they serve some purpose. 

The first blog post was Saga in 6mm – Part 1 (16th May 2016) – it seems like a long time ago – it is still being read on a regular basis.

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The first picture on the blog – An Anglo-Danish warband.  I now have a massive amount of pictures in the blogs media library.

I will have a cake this evening and maybe even a beer. Whether this is the first time you are here of you have been before, thanks for checking it out!

If this is of any interest to you please engage by leaving a comment, follow the blog (you can sign up for e-Mail updates) and engage here, or on Twitter (@Roll_a_one) or Facebook (@rollaonepage).  These interactions really makes a difference and it keeps me going! I love this hobby and this blog is my open door to what I am doing with it – use it as you wish!

Thank you!

Enough of that – some time ago I read Iain Fuller’s excellent blog (link here) Tracks and Threads where he had found some interesting looking material from Hobbycraft.

“I’ve recently started visiting some Facebook pages after resisting them for ages and apart from the odd silly comment (usually from people not reading the OP properly) it has not been too bad. The other day on one of the pages, 6mm Miniatures and Wargaming, a lovely bloke called Ricky posted that he had found (or more correctly his missus had) some A4 sized ‘Plush Foam Sheet’ that are perfect for fields whilst in a Hobbycraft shop. Upon checking out their website I saw that they do ‘Corrugated Foam’ sheets too so with my ‘Club Terrain Chap’ hat on I duly ordered some – Beige, Dark Green and Yellow ‘Plush’ and Brown ‘Corrugated’ and they arrived the next day, and they are ace: look good, great texture to the ‘plush’ ones and will drape over hills nicely and seem pretty durable to boot. Oh, and they cost 80p a sheet!!”

From the Tracks and Thread blog post “Nice 6mm internet terrain find”, 1st October 2018.

Note: Following some research Ricky is Ricky Bell who produces some fantastic 6mm Napoleonic stuff and posts frequently on the “6mm miniatures & wargaming” Facebook group.  I also think the price has gone up to 99p per sheet.

In the run-up to Christmas last year I found myself at a hobbycraft shop with a gift voucher and bought a fair few of these sheets, I was very excited at the time but then stuck them in a drawer – passing them to the myths and legend of the terrain material mountain – a lighter but more colourful lump of stuff (compared to the lead mountain) that will never transform into nice looking terrain on the table. But faith would have another outcome for these plush sheets.

Last year I incorporated some fields into the terrain mat for the Horka battle, but there were two issues with it: (I) It added to the time to do the mat and (ii) the bushes around it were only indicative as they were built into the surface – it was ok, but I wanted to do something different this year.

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The Mat from last year, this year the mat will be 4 feet longer!

So I thought I do some field tiles instead that I could place on the mat that would create a similar illusion to that achieved last year.  I remembered those Flush Foam sheets. I ventured to the room of many things, rummaged through the boxes, found a lot of things I had forgotten I owned, some of it I had even bought twice, I even found some of the very rare purple lichen (!?) and then in the end I had the sheets in my hand and work could truly begin.

 Here is a series of pictures that I hope will explain how I made some field tiles.

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These are the Plush Foam sheets. They could be used to quickly create some fields just like they are.
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I marked up the tiles I needed on some 6mm mdf sheets I had lying around (these were 2 by 2 feet square) from some previous projects.  I used to make my tables from 2 by 2 boards but have now gone over to the mat concept.
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I then made sure I had enough material and that all the fields would fit in a A4 size (the dimension of the foam sheets) sheet.
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Then I cut out the tiles, sanded the edges (to avoid the flat 6mm edge on the boards – this will further be off-set by adding the clump foliage – as shown later), and cut out the pieces of foam and glued them on (using Grip Adhesive), trying not to have the same colour on two adjacent fields (note the darkest brown is a corduroy type of floor tile I had left over from another project, this sheet is slightly better than the corrugated sheet produced as part of this series).
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It ended up looking like this – a little bit to artificial for my taste.
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I started dabbing in some colour in straight lines, that would match the original colour to create some depth.
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Creating a little bit more depth, but some of the old colour shining through.
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Then I added some clump foliage to the sides and I think the aerial shot has wastly improved. Dabbing on the extra colour in lines gives the illusion of depth and the sheets more looking like fields.  I made the clump foliage myself a few years back for the Saga project and had a fair amount left.  I basically bought a large bag of foam off-cuts, put them with water in a blender to shred them into small pieces. Mixed them with PVA and green paint, spread them out on a flat surface and let them dry. Then, when dry, I ripped them up smaller pieces. You could use some off- the shelf foam, but the method I did creates “firmer” form due to the PVA glue.
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At ground level it is not looking bad either. Here we can see some Russian Dragoons spying on some Ottomans riding through the Country side. Maybe it is during the Pruth campaign in 1711. (6mm Miniatures from Baccus)
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The dark brown part being the floor tile mentioned above, the others the Plush foam.
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Really happy, with the benefit that I can use these for a lot of other situations. Will add a little bit of static grass here and there on the edges and drybrush the bushes before finalising them and then add some matt spray varnish.  But this more or less battle ready.

Hope that was of some interest!

 

Progress on the Poltava 1709 Project – Playing with Matches (TMT)

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The accounts of the Poltava Battle and the Siege of the town itself states that the houses/village outside the city were burnt down in a measure to avoid them being used as hiding places for the Swedes as they laid Siege to the town (the rather big model of the Poltava itself can be found here).  This was a very common measure as a clear area was needed in front of the defensive walls.

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Poltava Town

I wanted to mark this on the mat for the battle by doing some ruined/burnt down buildings.  I checked quickly what was available to buy from various sellers but found mostly WW2 biased stuff in the scale, like bigger buildings and in general two storey buildings – it did not really fit my 18th century rural Russian theme.  I reckoned I could have a go at building something myself that would do the job, here is a rough guide showing how I made them.

This is a very simple project and I hope it is of some use! It is very quick to do! – provided you have some glue and matches. You could of course use tooth picks as well.

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I took some bases and basically cut some matches and used some PVA glue to build these kind of structures. I did the first level complete but then proceeded to some random parts.
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When it was dried I put some black ink (mixed 50/50 with water, the ink works better than paint giving that kind of coal glow – if you know what I mean) on the wood and some brown sand (or any sand just painted brown) for ground cover. I also added some additional matches, to represent collapsed beams etc.
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Grey dry-brush and a little bit of dead grass. I guess I could have added a little bit of more grey here and there to add to the effect.
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I then added them to some tiles that I decorated to blend in with my normal ground cover.
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Good enough! – no Swedes will hide here
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I also made a few tiles for the Villages not burnt down. The buildings are from Timecast Miniatures (http://www.timecastmodels.co.uk/) and the Churches from Battlescale (https://battlescale.com/). Both companies doing some really nice 6mm stuff.

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Some Riders from Nylands Cavalry Regiment! (these and the other miniatures are of course from Baccus, https://www.baccus6mm.com/)

That was all for now, Please play with matches carefully!

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By the way, you can use them for other periods too 😉

Progress on the Poltava 1709 Project – Redoubts and Casualty Markers (TMT)

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In an earlier blog posting I showed my prototype Russian redoubt for the Poltava Battle (see link here, that also describes how they were made). These were hastily fortifications that caused the Swedes a lot of trouble during the march up to the field where the main Battle was fought.

You can read more about the redoubt battle on the eminent Tacitus webpage here.

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Screenshot from the Tacitus page (link above)

In this update we will cover:

  • The finalised redoubts
  • Some casualty markers to show whether a redoubt has been taken or not.
  • A few Swedish Siege Artillery pieces

All scratch built  with Baccus 6mm miniatures, using a lot of their dismounted dragoons and casualty figures from the WSS and GNW range.

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Here are the final Redoubts, note that one is empty as the units were on a toilet break at the time.
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Some of the redoubt were not completed when the Swedes attack, I have added digging engineers to these.
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Another angle.
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Each of the redoubts comes with two markers, this one showing it having been taken. In essence a glorified casualty marker.
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…and the one showing it fully defended.
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Some more casualty markers.
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One with a Dalregiment solder waving the regiments standard. This one actually not a Baccus miniature but a converted Peasant from Microworld Miniatures (I have since rectified the chocolate cake look around his mouth).
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The first six, these are 40 by 40mm bases.
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Some additional ones done from left overs, 60 by 30mm bases.
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The last four, 40 by 40 mm bases.
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Another close up of one of the bases with a Swedish Officer, perhaps reflecting on the horrors of war.
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I also did some Siege Batteries for the Poltava Siege
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Guns and Mortars
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Close-up of the Mortars

Hope that was of some interest!

Let us see that Dalregiment gentleman again! – the flag with the Dalecarlian bolts is waiving in victory. Wish it had gone like that on the day though!

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Progress on the Poltava 1709 Project – the Swedish Camp (TMT)

In the last update on the Poltava project that will be laid out at Joy of Six in July this year I presented Poltava itself and I wrote about it here.

As I have stated on a number of occasions, this is just one of the many features I want to capture on the Battle Field.  In an earlier update I showed some plans I had in doing the Swedish camp.

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I had no idea whether a tent was standardised or not (but since everything else was I assumed it would be) and got some input from Oskar Sjöström who works at the Swedish Army Museum (and also wrote a brilliant book on the Battle of Fraustadt 1706) in the form of photos of tents from re-enactment groups (the one below representing enlisted tents).

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In addition I came across this old document from 1699, showing an officers tent. It is signed by the King himself (Carolus, Charles XII) – straight on top of the drawing.

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Another prominent feature of the camp are the Swedish Supply wagons, these were based on another design from the Period (I wrote a blog on how I made these wagons for the Lesnaya project here).

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The overall design of the camp is based on how a battalion camped during the era, and I used the following picture as an inspiration (from the book Poltava 1709 – Vändpunkten, by Moltusov and Lyth).

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Inspiration
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Initial thoughts and planning – tents are from Baccus 6mm
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Some further work – note the Supply Wagons discussed above. The blue foam is a perimeter wall around the camp. I made the camp on a 6mm mdf board, about 2 by 1 feet in dimension.
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The Tents – I made these on separate bases to allow some flexibility.
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Another angle…
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Some camp followers
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Some fires
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The tents in the Camp
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Some meat is being prepared

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Adding some supply wagons
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The final spectacle with enough space for some troops. Putting it away until the show, there is much more to do.

/ Hope that was of some interest