Wooden Wars: Wooden Soldier Project Part 5: Officers and Commanders

Red Army's Marshal and ADC
"Soldiers generally win battles; generals get credit for them."
Napoleon Bonaparte

Any great army has a commander, a general and/or marshal, leading it to victory.  In this case, it is you!  Or rather, the model that gallantly portrays you on the miniatures' battlefields. Everyone likes their own personal avatar being heroic on the ground, and aside from my "slight" Murat fashion fixation, I am no different!   This gave me two goals for creating the officer and commander models. They needed enough  option bits to create versatility and personalization above and beyond the norm. And, they also needed to be able to utilize hats and bits from other models in the line (and vice-versa).  Ultimately, I wanted to make sure that the mounted officer version could serve double duty as cavalry. 

Mounted Commander Prototype. Note Reinforcement coin.

Various build outs from the same sprue ( not the Hussars)
Blue Commander, side view.
Blue Commander

Sure they are pretty, but what can they do?
The visual spectacle of officers and commanders is a proven aesthetic throughout history.  At least they are in all miniatures war games that I have played in, which of course, makes me the authority on this matter, don'tcha know.  And yet, this is not about me, but about "you” ... on the battlefield. And you, as a Wooden Wars commanders or officers on the field , are not just another pretty face.
Blue and red commanders
Rear details. The saddle Shabraques are different than on the hussars.

Officers, commanding single units, or battalions, are there to: make tactical decisions in the heat of battle; lead by example;  and rally the troops under their command.  When under fire, they keep order; when in melee, they fight like lions.

 Commanders take on the mantle of the C-in-C: the Marshal, General or Emperor in control of the entire army. These charismatic leaders are seen riding fine steeds all over the battlefield, rallying the troops by their presence alone, increasing morale with their bravado and supplying reinforcements to fill gaps in their units. 

Original line work for foot officer

When designing spures, I see how many build out variations I can get.

hot off the presses! Foot officer prototype. More on him later!

To translate these things into a rules system where, like real war, the firing accuracy is often a misnomer, was a fun challenge.  I went about this by first setting up a few basic rules - well ... more like  guidelines, really -  then running multiple scenario specific play tests with other like-minded “historical” gamers. Throughout game play, I’d pause and ask, "Okay, so that just happened", or state "this is about to happen", and ultimately ask  "what, as the officer of that unit, do you want to do?"   This Kriegspiel process, mixed with a few obvious standard rules, created a mash-up of varying degrees of: “feels right”; “feels heroic/epic” and “easy to remember”.  
Grenadier officer reviews troops to make sure they all get a bearskin.
Troop review. Play tests proved that officers should not intermingle, but lead from the front..
Mostly painted Grenadiers column march for an objective.

 It also brought out some rule changes for units, such as forming square and heavy cavalry charges.  But, more on that in the next update.


  1. Stunning painting. Looks like a lot of work, though! Best, Dean

  2. Doing a bit of catching up on your blog and you've got quite the project going here. Very impressive, but as Dean says, looks like a lot of work! ;)

    Great job so far and good luck on the rest.


  3. Dean, Jason, thanks for the feedback and kind words. Actually these guys take about the same time to paint as my regular miniatures, which is to say from 45- 90 minutes, including assembly. The latter being a fancy marshal with all the NMM bling on him and horse. The fact that all the lines are laser etched in means you just use them as a guide with your brush. Easy peasy!

    I've speed painted a few using GW stains and some black and white, which took 10-15 minutes each. I am currently working out a happy medium.

    But don't trust me(he said in his best carny voice)If you guys PM me your addresses, I'll send you each one foot officer prototype to paint yourself. I'd love the feedback!

    Thomas Foss

  4. Ahoy Dean and Jason- an addendum. Being the luddite I am, I cannot for the life of me log onto the blog site's send message. So, please just post me an email at foss1066@yahoo.com with the title Wooden Foot officer.
    Cheers, and sorry for being such a tech dork!