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"28mm Livonian Cuirassiers for Breitenfeld" Topic

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1,444 hits since 24 Feb 2017
©1994-2018 Bill Armintrout
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SteveTheTim24 Feb 2017 6:22 a.m. PST

Aderkas' Livonian cuirassiers, in Swedish Service in Gustavus' German Campaign.

It's always hard to get impressive shots of cuirassiers as: a) they're dark; b) I'm not a great painter; c) I'm a worse photographer. I wanted to share these, though, as they're Emil Horky's Bohemian Miniatures riders (on Front Rank horses) and I haven't seen any painted examples on the web yet.

I've seen lots of 17th century armour in museums across the UK, Sweden, Germany, Austria and the Czech Republic and there seems to be two visual hues of cuirassier armour. The first is a deep, lacquered black, sometimes with gilding or silvering highlights. The other is also very black, but like a very, VERY well-seasoned wok. In this unit, I used a satin black paint for the colonel and the cornet to attempt the lacquered look and layered inks on a dark grey for the rank and file. I wanted a forbidding look so all horses are either black or bay, using oil-rub method for the bays and inks over grey paint for the black horses. All figures, horse and riders, are undercoated white. I never, ever use black undercoat. To my eye, it sucks the colour out of the other paints and, more importantly, I can't see any detail on a black-painted figure and if I can't see it, I can't paint it.

I really like these figures, although I hated the separate scabbards, especially upon realising that I'd stuck all of them on before removing the hilts on those figures that are brandishing their rapiers. D'Oh! I think there's an example of each pose that Emil sells in this unit. I also have 24 harquebusiers to paint, but they can wait – there's plenty of painted examples on Emil's site. (

Yet again, the cornet was a chore. In the end, I co-opted a Duchy of Livonia griffin onto a red field and added the ubiquitous GARS motto. As usual, if there's any evidence of the actual standards carried, I'd appreciate being pointed towards it.

Given their apparently impressive weight of arms and armour, I am always intrigued by this unit's place in the orders of battle for the big fights. It always seems to be deployed in the second line. Was this because G2A didn't trust them or rate them, or were they in the triarii role of reliable last line of defence? I don't know a wargamer that wouldn't have such a unit as the spearhead of his main assault.

Hope this post was of some interest.


skipper John Supporting Member of TMP24 Feb 2017 6:34 a.m. PST

Really nice paint, well done! Impressive looking unit. You are a master of the horse.

stecal Supporting Member of TMP24 Feb 2017 7:35 a.m. PST

Love the Emil Horky figures! I did mine in black with a light drybrush of silver to bring out the highlights.

I imagine the Livonians were in the 2nd line because they couldn't keep up with the Swedish gallopers.

Daniel S24 Feb 2017 7:49 a.m. PST

Therr were no Swedish gallopers, Swedish cav moved at the same pace as everyone else i.e move at the walk, charge at the trot. Also Swedish frontline was limited to the pace set by their supporting musketeers.

Daniel S24 Feb 2017 12:29 p.m. PST

Another great looking unit, captures the sheer mass and menace of massed Cuirassiers. The colours and design of the flags carried by the Aderkas squadron are not known.

Wargames rules and wargamers often don't value reserves properly so elite units are often thrown into the fray at the first possible moment.

Aderkas squadron had a long history in Swedish service, Aderkas personal company was originaly the Royal "Livfana" of Gustavus Adolphus (I.e Gustavus' Household cavalry) which can be traced back to at least 1612. It had served in the Kalmar war with Denmark, the Ingrian war with Russia and in 1621 it was part of the the army with which Gustavus began the conquest of Livonia. However late in 1621 it was mauled by Lithuanian Hussars during the battle of Kroppenhofen.

Aderkas took command of the Livfana in 1622 and led it in both the 1622 and 1625-1626 campaigns in Livonia. In 1626 Gustavus invaded Polish Prussia but did so without Aderkas and the Livfana. The title of "Livfana" also seems to have lost much of it's former glory and it fell into gradual disuse. Neither Aderkas company nor the new Royal "Leib compagnie" of Cuirassiers raised by Lassla von Oppel for Gustavus army in Prussia was treated as Household troops in the way that Gustavus treated his "Court regiment" (The Yellow regiment.)

In 1630 Aderkas was promoted to Lieutenant-Colonel and given command of a Cuirassier squadron made up of his own company and four additional companies of Livonian cuirassiers which had served as independent companies in Livonia 1625-1629.
Aderkas cuirassiers were part of the initial Swedish invasion force and the squadron was almost always a part of Gustavus personal army.

There are 10 preserved "orders of battle" showing how the Swedish army was to deploy and fight during the period from the initial invasion in the summer of 1630 to March 1632. The Livonians were present in all deployments and in six they are deployed in the front line while they are in a reserve or 2nd line position in the remaining four. So Gustavus' too favoured using them in the frontline on more than one occasion. At Lützen they served as frontline troops in the left wing led by Bernhard Saxe-Weimar.

Personal logo BigRedBat Sponsoring Member of TMP24 Feb 2017 1:09 p.m. PST

Wow- they have come on since I last saw them! Very impressive, very menacing.

stecal Supporting Member of TMP24 Feb 2017 7:37 p.m. PST

Daniel, as always a font of knowledge. Thanks.

Where can one find these " 10 preserved "orders of battle"?

Daniel S25 Feb 2017 12:38 a.m. PST

They were publish in volume one of "Arkiv till upplysning om svenska krigens och krigsinrättningarnes historia", a 3 part work in which R. M. Klinckowström and J. Mankell published a massive collection of primary sources from the 1630-1632 period.
Several digital versions exist online at for example and MDZ but no online version includes the large fold out drawings showing the order of battles. (They are far too large to fit any conventional scanner.)


SteveTheTim25 Feb 2017 3:14 a.m. PST

Thanks, Daniel. I hope you don't think that I'm posting these articles just to get you to release your Breitenfeld research prematurely and gratis 😏

I wondered for a while about depicting this unit as Tott's, especially after your recent Breitenfeld OOB update where you suggest that Tott's regiment _may_ have been full cuirassiers. In the end I stuck with the original plan of eventually painting Tott's boys as 50% 3/4 armour and 50% 1/2 armoured. Finding the 1/2 armoured figures is proving difficult. TAG have the appropriate figures but I don't enjoy their style and REALLY don't appreciate their horses. Perhaps I can prevail upon Emil Horky to fill the gap.

In the meantime, back to the Green Regiment.

Thanks again,

David Taylor Inactive Member25 Feb 2017 2:37 p.m. PST

Lovely painting
Could you please post a close up of the standard to see your take on their flag?

SteveTheTim01 Mar 2017 2:53 a.m. PST

As requested.

Cornet created by taking an online image of the flag of Ducal Livonia, a bit of tweaking in GIMP, then adding to a red-field template plus the addition of the GARS motto. Printed on an HP photojet then coloured in with craft acrylics. Sounds much grander than the end-product justifies.

Apologies for the rubbish photos: north-facing natural light and an iPad pro are not the environment and tools of choice for a real photographer, methinks.


Personal logo BigRedBat Sponsoring Member of TMP01 Mar 2017 4:18 a.m. PST

The grass is absolutely splendid. Could you please remind me what is was and how you applied it? Also how you did the earth beneath?

SteveTheTim01 Mar 2017 10:24 a.m. PST

Earth is fine-grained modelling sand (sometimes I use GW, sometimes whatever the local craft shop has), mixed with PVA and acrylic van Dyck brown paint. When it dries, dry-brush with Vallejo cork brown then Vallejo yellow ochre.

Then apply tufts. I use MiniNatur, short and long, 'Early Fall', applied with dilute PVA. I buy it from Wayland. When they're adhering safely, cover as much of the remaining exposed earth as you prefer with more dilute PVA, then dip into 4Ground's 'Autumn' static grass (also from Wayland). Use your preferred technique for making the grass stand up (mine is to invert the base then drum with my finger tips!) When all is dry and stuck down, apply more yellow ochre to tufts and other grass as you prefer.

It's much simpler to do than to describe.


Personal logo BigRedBat Sponsoring Member of TMP01 Mar 2017 4:02 p.m. PST

Thanks- I think I shall go with something similar. :-)

DGT123 Inactive Member06 Mar 2017 10:53 a.m. PST

Excellent job! Emil's figures are great to use.

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