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Sunday, November 7, 2021

November 2021 - Works in Progress

 I have a fair number of units under way for my old school Napoleonics collection, so though none are finished yet, I thought it would be interesting to show some works in progress.  This should give an idea of my process, an idea that I have shamelessly stolen from Aly over at Aly's Toy Soldiers.

The Legion du Midi is well underway with all of the base coats essentially done.  The devil is in the details as they say and these fellows will be no exception; lots of fiddly work still to do.  The prep work on these was challenging as well.  All of the shako cords were removed, a carrot shaped pompom added, and the shako plate of an eagle removed to be replaced by a teeny tiny diamond cut from cardstock.  The rank and file as well as the command on foot are all Der Kriegspieler miniatures, while the mounted Colonel is an exquisite modern figure made by Franznap.

Also just now getting underway are two line battalions of French infantry, painted by Richard Tennant.  These battalions were featured in the Airfix guide to Napoleonic Wargaming by Bruce Quarrie.  Mr. Tennant and Mr. Featherstone contributed a good many of the pictures that were used in that guide.  I still can't believe I ended up owning a collection that was so vital to my early interest in the hobby.

Here's how they appeared in the Airfix guide, though of course in black and white.  Mr. Tennant still had copies of the original images, which he kindly shared with me after I realized his figures had been featured in Napoleonic Wargaming.  I hope to have them spruced back up to their original glory soon.

Unfortunately the trans-Atlantic crossing was pretty rough on the collection and there were a few casualties and a lot of chipped paint.  The metal is so soft in these early Alberken figures, that drilling out the ankles to put in support posts was a very challenging process.

But worth it in the end!

A little bit of green stuff and he will be good as new.

The Battalion flag for the second battalion was in pretty rough shape so I decided it would be best to replace it.  Though I try to stick with the original paint scheme as much as possible, I think I will likely paint over the inked in flag holder, as the way it is presented just doesn't seem particularly practical.

The first battalion eagle and flag are actually still in pretty good shape so I will likely keep them, but may add the complete baldric, rather than just have it painted on as it is presently.

My current conundrum, which I would love feedback on is two-fold: 1) Should I pare down the Alberkan grenadier, sapper, and voltigeur stands so that they match the Hinton Hunt fusilier stands which are the majority of the battalion?  2) I swear I have seen this before, probably in the Funken uniform guides, but were there really white, over the knee gaiters, with black boots?  I suspect I will keep this as it hearkens back to the early days of our hobby, but was this really a thing?

My buddy Rob has been harassing me to get on the stick and get the first of the Vimiero scenarios ready, but sometimes you have to take a break and just enjoy life when the occasion presents itself.  Not long ago we got the chance to enjoy my wife's fall break in nearby Chattanooga on the banks of the Tennessee River.  Sometimes the little metal guys have to take the back seat!

I've also been busy harvesting the last of the garden veggies.  On the stove is a mash of fermented and pulverized Jalapeno, Poblano, and Anaheim peppers.  Not too spicy but oh so flavorful!

Alright, back to business.  Along with all the infantry I have been prepping three squadrons of Imperial Guard Chasseurs-a-Cheval, and the attached squadron of Mameluks.  For these I am using Minifig s-series as well as early minifigs, which are in this case quite similar.

I have worked to give the figure pose a little more animation, as well as shorten the sword to be more in line with the Der Kriegspieler Chasseurs-a-Cheval.  Size-wise the two figure brands match remarkably well.

The Chasseurs-a Cheval of the Imperial Guard were known to have a Mameluk kettledrummer, so I converted a trooper into a convincing looking drummer.  I was also very fortunate to find a bugler for the Mameluk squadron.

The kettle drums themselves were actually cut from a 15mm Essex camel drummer from their Ottoman range, to which I used epoxy putty to model the drum cover and fringe.  I also stole his drumsticks.

Here is the command group for the Chasseurs-a-Cheval of the Imperial Guard, all made from converted troopers.

The bugle was donated by a spare Mameluk who had no need of it, and the eagle is actually available as an accessory pack from Hagen.  The cord attached to the bugle is actually from Richard Tennant, who sent a few of his modeling supplies along with the collection.

Here is a shot of the command figures in process.  In the background you can just make out the Legion du Midi before receiving their brown jackets.

Lastly, as if all this were not enough, I wanted to give a quick shout out to Wellington Man who let me hang onto these beautiful Hinton Hunt castings of the Princess Dragoons from a figure lot he found here in the US.  Many thanks WM.  They are already cleaned up and stripped of the old paint.  I understand know why you are always eager to get the Hinton Hunt castings over the Der Kriegspielers.  These really are magnificent little figures.

Sunday, October 10, 2021

French Heavy Dragoon Cavalry Command

 For Vimiero the French need to have some dragoons, so I set about getting a regiment updated which was featured in my last post.  Today I belatedly bring you the command figures, all painted originally by Richard Tennant with a little additional work by me.

Divisional and brigade level commanders with their aide de camps.

General de Division Louis-Pierre Montbrun with a Colonel of Dragoons

Aide de Camp to General de Brigade Cavrois

General de Brigade Cavrois

Aide de Camp to General de Division Montbrun

Up next: The legion du Midi.

And the painting begins.  Der Kriegspieler miniatures customized to more closely resemble the uniform worn by the Legion du Midi.

While preparing the French Cavalry Command and Legion du Midi, I had the chance to meet with a small group of gaming buddies this Saturday and get in a couple of nice games of DBN (De Bellis Napoleonicis - a DBA variant).

1806 Prussians vs the French

Note the splendid killing field in which the French cavalry are about to enter...

Prussian baggage train element

The octogenarians leading the Prussian army

Brave Carabiniers dashing into the mouth of the Prussian guns!

The French artillery tried in vain to position.

If only the French can reach the hill - they outnumber the Prussian cavalrymen 3-2.

Meanwhile Prussian jagers and light infantry fight to delay the deadly French Legere on the opposite flank from the cavalry attack.

The weight of the Prussian guns is too much for the French Dragoons, who flee the field.

The French heavies charge up the hill to confront Blucher's Red Hussars and the Von Beeren Kuirassiers, but they were to spent by the time they reached their foe.

This scene is actually from our second battle, which followed a more traditional firefight followed by an infantry attack.

The French infantry performed admirably, but on the flanks their forces were soundly defeated, leaving the infantry attack isolated and stalled.

Across the way was a beautiful 28mm ECW game.