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WIP Critique Bredow`s ("Death") Charge Vionville 1870

Discussion in 'vBench (Works in Progress)' started by Martin64, Aug 18, 2018.

  1. Martin64 A Fixture

    After learning from a now deleted thread that the kits of the "Dance of Death" by Ellie`s Miniatures have been shipped out to the people that placed a pledge I will offer a brief heads up on what I did so far while working on my copy.(Before I did not want to taunt others that were still waiting for their kit to arrive)

    I will focus on the quality of the kit and of certain features I reworked so far. I will not go into the issues that delayed the shipping and the problems to communicate with customers on behalf of the producer.
    I ask all commenters to avoid this issue likewise.

    If this thread goes well I might offer another more detailed review of the contents of the kit and more background information about the history and the details of the uniforms depicted as a reference for others that might be interested in reworking certain aspects.

    Briefly the kit depicts the clash between a Prussian Cuirassier of the 7th Magdeburg Cuirassier Regt. "von Seydlitz" and a French Cuirassier of the 10th or 7th Cuirassiers that finally counter-charged the Prussian cavalry-brigade "von Bredow" at the Battle of Mars la Tour / Vionville 1870. The charge of the Prussian Cavalry Brigade can be seen as the last successful cavalry charge in history against infantry equipped with breech loading rifles. The heavy losses of the brigade led to the title of "Von Bredow`s Death Ride" or "Death Ride of Vionville" in German contemporary records.

    Casting of the parts by Tommi Worton and packaging by Ellie`s Miniatures were of high quality. The sculpting by Carl Reid is nice.
    Still I felt the need to rework some parts:
    The kit is lacking a number of prominent details - quite visible at the scale of 75mm - among them the absence of the lobster-tail neck-guard of the Prussian Cuirassier`s helmet, the helmet eagle decoration turning it`s head to the wrong side and some issues about the anatomy of the horses. Therefore both necks of the horses were lengthened and the horse of the Prussian was stretched by cutting the body halves into quarters and inserting a considerable amount of putty behind the saddle strap. The wedges of putty can be seen on the pics below as slightly darker grey areas. Other additions from my side done with A&B putty are of a yellowish tinge.

    But let the pictures speak...
    DOD changes.jpg DOD a1.jpg DOD b1.jpg DOD c1.jpg DOD d1.jpg DOD e1.jpg DOD f1.jpg

    Good read about the battle:

    Hobby-related comments welcome!
    Cheers, Martin
    Oda, Mike Stevens, Nap and 17 others like this.
  2. Redcap A Fixture

    Be nice to see it come alive with some paint and as a reference to the uniforms etc.

    aknific, malc, clrsgt and 1 other person like this.
  3. grasshopper A Fixture

    Could even be stunning done as a bronze statue effect...your changes sure work giving it life..tiny details..but wow!
    Nap and Martin64 like this.
  4. Wayneb A Fixture

    An impressive looking piece as well as all the fine details that were added. Look forward to seeing this progress.

    Martin64 likes this.
  5. Fantomas A Fixture

    I agree with Wayne. Impressive!
    Dan Morton and Martin64 like this.
  6. zane666 Well-Known Member

    I do like No 12 Martin, it gives it that connection between the two. I too will enjoy seeing some paint on this in future posts.

  7. Viking Bob PlanetFigure Supporter

    Looks a very good sculpt, looking forward to more.
    Martin64 likes this.
  8. malc PlanetFigure Supporter

    Look forward to a nice lick of paint.
    Martin64 likes this.
  9. Martin64 A Fixture

    Thank you for leaving a comment gentlemen!
    The process of adding details was - although some are tiny - time consuming and is not finished (spurs, horse harness and scabbards need to be completed). Looking forward for the painting:happy:
    Nap and Dan Morton like this.
  10. mick3272 A Fixture

    Hi Martin.
    I know modelers like to convert kits or make small changes adding bits & bobs, But you appear to be doing an awful lot of work to this kit.
    As this kit was purchased off plan so to speak ( ie from a picture) With hindsight do you wish you had waited until the kit was released thereby seeing the finished detail to the model. Then deciding to purchase and undertake the work. Or it would not have mattered as you are making these changes for your own satisfaction.
    Oda, Dan Morton and Martin64 like this.
  11. Martin64 A Fixture

    Thank you Bob and Malc,
    hopefully I will get to the brushes in the next future - at times my job sucks as it keeps me very busy and it`s hard to get a decent paint job when you have to fight to keep your eyes open.
    Cheers, Martin
  12. Martin64 A Fixture

    Good question Mick,
    the painting posted with the call for pledges gave an idea what the result might look like. As the theme and subjects were one of my favorite periods in history I did not hesitate to put a pledge. I still not regret it because you get a good base to start from when you want to get closer to the painting and to the details of the uniforms and the gear.
    For the sculptor a project like this is IMHO always a balance between his salary and the time he has to invest to get it done - maybe also influenced by the references he gets or has to dig out by himself. So it`s not a Pegaso kit but if it were you would not get two mounted cavalrymen at this scale for 100 GBP.

    There were pictures posted of the build-up of the models before I got my copy btw. The problem with these pictures is that they do not show all the details due to the way they are taken with a high contrast and deep shadows. I would prefer better lighting to see more details.

    Nevertheless I was prepared to work on the kit and to a certain extend enjoy to leave my personal note in the build up but honestly I felt a twinge of remorse when I had examined all parts and got an idea what needs to be completed or converted :D . I will include the initial picture and the pre-production pictures for everybody to see.
    Added as well a picture I took of the parts before starting on the kit.
    So the thought behind this WIP-thread is also to give others the chance to know what they can expect if they consider to buy a copy.

    Cheers, Martin
    Dance of Death.jpg Dance of Death 2.jpg Dance of Death 3.jpg Dance of Death 4.jpg DOD parts.jpg
    malc, Oda, Mike Stevens and 6 others like this.
  13. Richard Baxter A Fixture

    I echo Maryin64's response to Mick. One comment that I would add is that it's always tricky if you set out to model the contents of a painting, as here. Alfred Philippe Roll (the painter in this instance) was a French artist with a considerable and deserved reputation, who also served in the militia during the Franco-Prussian War. In turning a painting into a figure, the designer and sculptor are always helped or hindered by the accuracy of the artist's portrayal of details of uniform, equipment and weaponry, and experience tells us that this is not always out of the textbook. Painters such as Detaille or de Neuville were very good at getting it right. Roll did not paint many military subjects, so we have to bear that in mind when turning his work into 3 dimensions. To highlight one example, the Magdeburg Kurassier Regt ( the only Kurassier regiment in von Bredow's "death ride", had yellow cuffs and collar, not black as shown in the painting.

    The aim of this painting is, in my view, to portray action, the closeness and extremes of combat and to convey the bravery and sacrifice of France's struggle (the infantryman lying under the horses' hooves is part of this allegory, I think). It is not intended to be a uniform study. As an action piece it works very well, in my opinion. As Martin says, it is the modeller's choice to add to or alter the figures as he wishes, and whether he choses to reproduce the painting or to make a model which is accurate in all historic and physical detail.
    Theodoros, Dan Morton, DeanM and 3 others like this.
  14. Martin64 A Fixture

    Thank you for commenting Richard,

    I add some references to the uniform of the Magdeburg Cuirassiers No. 7:

    M 1867 helmet, a cuirass and a cartridge box for enlisted men of the Line Cuirassiers
    Steel skull, ridged front visor, brass trims and spike base, front rail with name stamp "Jaeger" on the underside, brass chinscales on screw rosettes, Prussian leather cockade, replaced golden line eagle, leather liner with loops (reworked). Comes with a cuirass for enlisted men with heavy, ridged breast plate, surrounding brass rivets and original(!) lining with wearer's label "Kürassier Lücke. 2. Esc. Kür. Regt. v. Seydlitz/Magd./No.7" as well as depot stamp "II E ...". Also the back plate with original lining (stamped "I 29"), surrounding brass rivets, leather-backed brass chinscales and original straps. Included is a beautifully preserved cartridge box for enlisted men of the Cuirassiers with patent leather lid (manufacturer's stamp "J.M. Eckart / Ulm a./D." on the inside), gilt eagle emblem, chamois leather bandolier and intact straps. Slightly damaged in places, traces of age.
    Helm und Kürass M 1867 mit Kartusche.jpg Kürass innen.jpg [/ATTACH] Helm M 1867.jpg Helm M 1867 1.jpg Helm M 1867 innen.jpg Kartusche vorne.jpg KR 7.jpg Hufeisentasche-Reiterei-Ulanen-Husaren-datiert-1870.jpg Prussian Cavalry 1870.jpg Vionville 1870 .jpg Mars la Tour.jpg KR 8.jpg

    The last Picture in the row above depicts a Cuirassier of the 8th Rheinisches Regt - therefore the green facings - as Richard has pointed out, the 7th Regt had yellow facings.

    Cheers, Martin

    Attached Files:

    Viking Bob, theBaron, Nap and 2 others like this.
  15. Richard Baxter A Fixture

    Excellent references, Martin. Vielen Dank!
    Martin64 likes this.
  16. Dan Morton A Fixture

    Some thoughtful and remarkably detailed and descriptive comments from several about the conversion process. Very helpful.

    What an action pose!

    Martin - To reduce weight, did you drill out the interior of the horse bodies and reinforce the horse lower legs?

    All the best,
    Martin64 likes this.
  17. Richard Baxter A Fixture

    Hi Dan, I have this kit too. The horses' legs come already reinforced with brass wire.
    Martin64 likes this.
  18. Martin64 A Fixture

    Hi Dan,
    as Richard told the right rear leg of the Prussian`s horse and the right front leg of the Frenchman`s mount have a steel rod inserted running up into the body half. The castings of the body halves are already hollowed out and so there should be no problem about the weight to bear by the legs. Anyhow my massive putty wedge inside the Prussian`s horse should ensure that it stays up in the air - even if I sit on it by myself to reenact the charge of the Prussians:D.

    Best, Martin
  19. Wayneb A Fixture

    Although I did not partake in this venture; I find Martin's information very interesting.....

    Martin64 and mick3272 like this.
  20. Martin64 A Fixture

    Some references on the French Cuirassier:

    There has been a valid question raised by Richard via PM about the correct depiction of the coat tails beneath the cuirass. The 7th Cuirassiers received the new uniform 1852 (without displaying the distinctive regimental colors on the collars and turn-backs any longer) with shortened coattails. These could be buttoned up while on horse back. Unbuttoned the coat looked like a "skirt". Obviously there are different depictions in paintings of the way these coattails were worn 1870 - our model wears them buttoned up which should have been not necessary when wearing a shortened version of this uniform (model 1868) that was distributed 1870 among the young recruits of the Cuirassier regiments.
    Still there is also photographic footage showing cuirassiers at Metz 1870 (after Vionville) wearing their coattails buttoned up (see officer to the left in the photograph below). Therefore I don`t think that changes are necessary - there is a fair benefit of doubt to assume that a mix of these uniforms was worn 1870 and our Cuirassier might be a seasoned veteran if we can call him like that as the French Cuirassiers were before 1870 parade ground soldiers and lacked combat experience. This showed even when they counter charged the already worn out Prussian cavalry brigade at Vionville and did not deliver a violent pursuit which might have changed the course of the battle.

    Beside adding the lining to the cuirass and changes on the scabbard I did not notice as many hickups as with the Prussian cuirassier.

    franz Kürassier 1870 uniform.jpg cuirassiers.gif Franz Kürassier 1870.jpg Franz Kürassier August 1870.jpg French cuirassiers Metz 1870.jpg French Cavalry 1870.jpg Cuirassier helmet 2nd Empire.jpg La_charge_des_cuirassiers_d'E._Detaille_(musée_de_la_bataille_du_6_août_1870,_Woerth).jpg 8wcqk8.jpg

    Cheers, Martin
    Viking Bob and theBaron like this.

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