What was the Confederation of the Rhine?
The Confederation of the Rhine (or Rheinbund) was a coalition of German states created by Napoleon in 1806 as a buffer between France and its European enemies. Austria and Prussia were the only German states not included in the Confederation.
The armies of these satellite states were allied to France, and took part in many of the famous campaigns of the Napoleonic Wars. Some of the bigger states, such as Bavaria and Saxony, had their own armies, while smaller duchies and principalities furnished contingents to make up the composite battalions. It is these latter forces that are portrayed in my miniature wargames army.
Which states formed the Confederation of the Rhine?
The member states of the Confederation of the Rhine were:
What make of miniature figures do you use?
I am a fan of Front Rank Figurines, a British manufacturer of beautiful horse-and-musket era miniatures. The Nassau and Wurzburg battalions in my army are made up of Front Rank figures. These 28mm miniatures can be bought by mail-order, either directly from Front Rank themselves, or (for Americans) from the Miniature Service Center in California.
The 25mm metal figures I used for the Lippe and Anhalt battalions are French infantry made by a now-defunct company called Hotspur. I gather this was a British-based firm, but my soldiers were made under licence in New Zealand. They are smaller than my favoured 28mm Front Rank or Foundry figures, so I have subsequently sold these two units.
How accurate are your models?
This is a wargames army, and in no way purports to be fully accurate. My aim is to have an army that looks enough like the real thing to be recognizable, but not necessarily accurate down to the last button. For a start, I am restricted by the models themselves, some of which are manufactured as French infantry, so are not fully accurate as Confederation soldiers. I have also found a lot of conflicting sources on uniform details, in which case I have always gone for the option which looks best in miniature.
How do you paint and base your models?
I use Citadel and Vallejo acrylic paints on top of a black enamel undercoat. By applying the colours using a technique called 'dry-brushing', the black undercoat can still be seen in the creases, so giving some depth to the model. I also use Citadel inks to add shading to some areas, such as faces.
Once finished, I spray the soldiers with flat varnish, then glue them to heavy cardboard bases with black-painted edges. These bases are then covered with PVA glue, sand and small stones of pumice, then decoarated with patches of static grass.
How do you organise your models?
My battalions of foot are made up of six bases, each carrying about four men. Each infantry base measures 3.5 x 5.5 centimetres.
Where did you get your flags?
Flags are a particular problem, as there is very little information. In fact, some regiments did not have flags. But, as I want a good-looking army, I use conjectural flags where I cannot find evidence of the real flags. Websites such as www.warflag.com provide me with the basis for my flags, though I modify them in Corel PhotoPaint 7. I then print them out and glue them to the flagpoles.
I am hoping soon to replace my home-made flags with the beautiful miniature flags produced by GMB Design.
Why are your photos of such poor quality?
The photos are taken with a tiny, ancient digital camera, and then enhanced to the best of my ability with Corel PhotoPaint 7. When I get a better quality camera, I'll redo the photos. Finances (or, rather, lack of finances) preclude that from happening for some time!
What is wargaming?
Wargaming involves two or more players moving armies of model soldiers across a large table decorated with miniature terrain. Rules set out how far various units can move each turn, and dice are used to assesss shooting casualties and morale. These dice throws are modified by factors such as distance from target, closeness of generals, protected or open flanks, and so on. Obviously, this is a gross simplification of wargames rules, but gives you the general idea.
Which wargaming rules do you use?
I generally play with Piquet rules, which are a universal set of rules for all periods. These are modified to suit the Napoleonic period with a supplement called Les Grognards. These rules are rather controversial, as they do away with the standard turn-based timeline used by most other wargames rule sets. This causes a lot of unpredictability - and (most importantly) fun!
Visit my other wargaming and military history websites: