Sunday, 10 May 2015

Charles XII and his Dalecarlians

Charles XII leading his Dalecarlians into battle.
All minis and flag from Warfare Miniatures.

This week I finished up the C-In-C command base for the Swedish army we’ll be fielding at next weekend’s Lincon gaming convention in Linköping Sweden. As we are hosting a Great Northern War participation game based on the Battle of Holowczyn 1708, I thought it would be appropriate choosing a scene from that dramatic fight as inspiration. 

Another great Cederström painting of Charles XII.
The warrior king always wore a simple, dark blue "Karoliner" uniform into battle.

The Swedish warrior king, Charles XII, had a taste for battle and enjoyed leading from the very front, sword in hand. During the Battle of Holowczyn, he personally led three battalions of his Guard and the Dalecarlian Regiment over the Vabitsch River and into an initial flanking sneak attack on the Russian camp.

Portrait of Charles XII.
Took inspiration here when adopting a similar hairline to the miniature.

This dramatic scene is what I’ve tried to capture here, on the C-in-C base. King Charles XII, pointing with his sword, directing men from the Dalecarlian regiment forward into the fight. Currently there is no really good Charles XII miniature available in 28mm, so I built this one out of parts from three different Warfare minis, filing away the hairline on the head to resemble Charles’ actual hairstyle.

A view from the opposite site, showing the conversion I did
to create a Charles XII miniature.

To add a little drama and further allude to Charles’ special relationship with his Dalecarlians, I’ve posed him here waving the Dalecarlian regimental flag, as he takes a gallant stand at the front line.

The special relationship between the Swedish kings and the Dalecarlian people has deep roots, going all the way back to when Gustav Vasa founded the Swedish Crown with the help and encouragement of the Dalecarlians in the 16th Century. Through the ages of the Swedish warrior kings and imperial expansion, the tenacious and proud people of the hilly woods and lush farmland in Dalecarlia have been the indicator of national spirit, whether it was for or against the king and his wars.

Gustav Vasa addressing the Dalecarlians in Mora, 
leading to the rebellion that would finally overthrow foreign suppression, 
and found the Swedish Crown in the 16th century.

This special position, perhaps at the very heart of all things Swedish, naturally reflected on the morale and fighting spirit of the Dalecarlian Regiment. This infantry unit was a personal favourite of Charles XII, and often given the most dangerous and demanding tasks in a given battle – simply because the king trusted the Dalecarlians to get the job done.

The beautiful and picturesque Dalecarlia region.

Holowczyn was no exception, and the Dalecarlians preformed the risky sneak attack with great discipline and vigor, resulting in the Swedish forces shocking their adversaries and gaining the upper hand and initiative for the rest of the battle.

A view from behind, offering a good look at the Swedish "Karpus".
The special soft felt hat, worn by many Swedish units during the Great Northern War.
The Karpus could be bent down over the ears, as protection during the cold northern winters.

One year later at the Battle of Poltava in 1709, the Dalecarlians would once again be dealt a most dangerous and demanding task. They were to form the spearhead of an suicidal attack on a well defended Russian redoubt system. Having been given a clear order to attack and conquer the redoubts, the regimental commander, Roos, ordered attack upon fruitless attack, until the regiment was canistered to pieces and all but annihilated. 

Swedish troops storming the Russian redoubts at Poltava.

The destruction of the Dalecarlian regiment and the monumental Swedish defeat at Poltava would also signal the fall of the Swedish Empire, and the rise of a new one. The Russian Empire under Tsar Peter I.

Thank you very much for reading!
P.S: Did I mention my fiancé is from Dalecarlia ;0)

41 comments:

  1. Simply great command stand and painting once again. Nice peice of history and the Dalecarlia region looks lovely.

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    1. Thanks Steve, let see if Charles can replicate history and produce a victory as a 28mm command stand, when we refight Holowczyn in the coming weekend! We'll be playing with the Black Powder extension "Last Argument of Kings", which actually have a special rule for Charles XII.

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  2. Fantastic looking minis and a good write-up.
    (Did I mention my maternal grandparents came from Dalarna) :-)

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    1. Cheers Joakim, happy you liked the little write-up - and with Dala-DNA you're already qualified as Honorable Member of LittleWars :0)

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  3. Couldn't you find a big enough flag? ;-)

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    1. Hehe, well... when it comes to paying tribute to the pristine honor of the Dalecarlian Regiment, flags just can't get big enough ;0)

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  4. This looks great. How do you do your yellow?

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    1. Thank you very much - it's a mix of yellow and ochre to dirty down the otherwise too bright yellow. I've used GW Gryphonne Sephia wash on the base coat. Highlight is the above mix with a little light tan color mixed in. Hope that was helpful!

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  5. Great looking job... that flag is marvellous!

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    1. Thanks Mike, yeah had to go all in on that flag. It's a center piece for the collection, and it's the king, so :0) The flags from Warfare are actually really nice, and they carry a rather large collection of GNW flags in the webshop, so worth a look if you're considering the period!

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  6. Flag...amazing!
    Vignette...wonderful!
    Write up...excellent!
    Illustrations...as always!
    Btw, I didn't know the area "Dalecarlia"...So thanks for these posts sir...

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    1. Phil, you're too kind - thanks buddy! And if you're ever going on holiday in Sweden, let me know, and I'll drop you a list of suggestions for incredible natural scenery (Not that you're short on that in France - I look forward to going back to Alsace as soon as possible)

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    2. Going to Sweden is in my list...with Norway...but in a few months!

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  7. A fine addition to this impressive project, Soren.

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    1. Thanks Dean, yeah was fun to do this center piece... Let's hope he'll preform next weekend when it's "show time" on the gaming table :0)

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  8. Wonderful diorama. Your GNW project will look gorgeous when the armies are painted.

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    1. You're very kid, thanks! Like your SYW range, the Warfare range offers some very nice and anatomically correct miniatures. It's very refreshing to paint these, and they look great and very natural when based!

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    2. I plan on building GNW Swedish and Russian armies with the Warfare figures, which I really like very much.

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  9. Great work Soren, really nice little diorama and background information as we all expect from you!

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    1. Thanks Chris, couldn't help myself with that "heroic" pose on the diorama. Fits really nicely with the myths and sagas surrounding Charles XII, and the Warfare flags are actually really nicely produced, so seemed like an obvious choice for the central command stand.

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  10. Replies
    1. Cheers, glad you liked the result!

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  11. Really nice unit base and good conversion of Charles XII. Are these warfare scultps any good? Tempted to get some and paint Jönköpings Regiment a third time ;)

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    1. They are actually really nice, more anatomical and less chunky than your normal 28's. This will offer a different but very rewarding painting experience, and in my opinion they look amazing when based. The range is quite wide, so you have great choice in poses too! If you come by Linköping next weekend to Lincon, you can see the whole collection and miniatures shop LIVE ;0)

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  12. Beautiful command stand! The flag is especially nice and of the "Large and Luscious" variety!

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    1. Thanks Jonathan, yeah big, bigger, Dalecarlian :0) And I completely concur, the Warfare flags are very nicely done, adding a lot of eye candy to the units.

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  13. Stunning paintwork Sören ! Ofcourse you get lots and even more of bonus points for the Dalecarlian connection:)

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    1. As 100% Dalecarlian, you will naturally take command of Charles on thursday's test game :0)

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  14. Fantastic vignette and great conversion. "Kalle dussin" has never looked better! :)

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    1. Thanks Jonas, Kalle is dressed for success and at his most cheekiest when backed by the Dalecarlians. Gå På!!!

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  15. That is bloody brilliant! I won't make it to LinCon, but if you could run something on a club night, perhaps I could drop by?
    Did I mention I was born and raised in Dalarna and grandpa served at Dalregementet 1940-42? ;-)

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    1. Thanks Thomas, much appreciated! And sure, we're planning plenty of GNW games in the coming period as the collection will grow and Warfare makes new released to the range. We're thinking about replaying Lesnaya at some point soon, will keep you posted! Wow, 1940 - 42 was a pretty intense period to be serving. I bet they made plenty of excursions from Falun and to the mountains and boarder area... You'll have to update me when we meet up for the game!

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  16. He may not have been one of the more beatiful people of his age but you've certainly made a fantastic little vignette out of him! It really captures the flavour of a heroic man leading his best and most trusted warriors to victory...

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    1. Haha, thanks M! I'm glad you think I managed to create a resemblance. I'm just hoping he'll preform when we reach the gaming table this weekend. We're playing him with the special rules for Charles XII in "Last Argument of Kings"...

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  17. Outstanding piece! The colours are lovely and vibrant and as usual a very nice background write up.

    Christopher

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    1. Thanks Christopher, appreciate it - glad you liked the little write-up too...

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  18. Lovely work and excellent bit of history - that flag is an absolute corker!

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  19. Lovely work and excellent bit of history - that flag is an absolute corker!

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  20. Great work!! I was wondering how you were going to make a miniature of the King for the game. BTW I dropped off my miniatures at the club yesterday afternoon. I hope you will have a fun time at the convention and please take plenty of pictures.
    Hope to see you soon!

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  21. Wow, that is nice work. Looking forward to some pictures.

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  22. Wow, that is nice work. Looking forward to some pictures.

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