Total Pageviews

Search This Blog

Sunday, August 4, 2019

6th Legere Deployed and an Amazing Serendipitous Find

Before revealing the "amazing serendipitous find" referenced in the title, I wanted to post a few pictures of the 6th Legere in all of their glory.  After last month's test game using Muskets and Marshals, I decided it would be best to retain the original structure of the 6th legere's battalions in the Tennant Collection.  These are organized into very large battalions of 36 figures, which lends itself nicely to deployment in line or column, and is large enough to allow the voltigeur companies to be detached in skirmish line.  With that in mind I re-based some of the companies and now am able to present them in what I hope will be their final state.  By incorporating the regimental staff (eagle bearer, officers and cornetists) into the battalions, I was able to have enough figures left over to add a company to the battalion deployed in skirmish order, bringing the 3rd battalion up to a reasonable strength of 24 (4 - 6 figure companies).

The majority of the 3rd battalion chasseurs are made up of Alberken FN05 figures (very early minifigs) painted by Peter Gilder. I was able to find an unpainted example on Lazy Limey's excellent blog site: 

The voltigeur are Hinton Hunts and the carabiniers are converted Hinton Hunt chasseurs. 

Here we see the command set incorporated into the battalion structure for ease of movement on the battlefield, and frankly the esthetic of having them incorporated into the line.  With the abstraction of 20 men per figure, I thought it appropriate to do so.

On Mr. Tennant's advice, I created a ground template for the eight gun battery that is representative of the actual width of a battery in comparison to the width of the battalions when deployed in line.  Ten yards per gun is the recommended width, and a French Battalion in line deployed three deep tended to be ~170 or so yards wide, so the battery is just under half the width of the battalion in line.

I wanted to add mounted Colonels and Chefs de Battalion to the structure of the army, so purchased the figures above from Franznap to serve in that role.  These are excellent highly detailed slender 1/72 scale metal figures.  They are a tad slimmer than Hinton Hunt figures, but nevertheless fit in well on their own.  I had quite the discussion online of how to properly color the plumes in the 1811-1812 period, which if you really want to get into the weeds of Napoleonic uniforms you are welcome to read:

It felt good to add my own work to the Tennant collection!  The officer in the white plume is the Colonel (regimental staff) and the one in the red plume is the Chef de Battalion.

Beautifully sculpted figures with separate right arms to enable a variety of poses.

As the 6th Legere is half the strength of the 1st Brigade of the 1st Division of Loison's 6th Corp of the Army of Portugal, I thought it appropriate to go ahead and mount up the divisional commander and brigade commander, beautifully painted by Mr. Tennant.  A little bit of shading and highlighting was my only contribution to these wonderful figures.

All of the armies leaders are labelled with their name and rank on the top of the stand, and each stand of all units has a label on the underside detailing the battalion, regiment, brigade and corp of that particular unit to aid in keeping them appropriately grouped when traveling to and from wargames meetings.  Mr. Tennant shared a story that he felt his wargaming friends were a bit rough with his figures on occasion, and given the labor of love he put into them I entirely understand.  That is actually one of the main reasons I am mounting them on larger bases and giving the a very hard coating of a durable oil-based clear varnish.  They should be well protected now!

Just couldn't resist slipping in another (hopefully better) photograph of this wonderful artillery train!

And without further delay, a story wonderful enough to make me weep with joy.  Above is a copy of the Airfix guide to Napoleonic Wargaming that was the genesis of 40 years of devotion to the hobby of miniatures collecting, painting and wargaming.  I was 12 years old when I first thumbed through this book, and the black and white images within are indelibly imprinted on my memory.  As a lad of twelve without much in the way of resources, I made my first armies with figures made from hand drawn colored soldiers cut out from index cards and glued onto paper bases.  At the time living in Oxford, 18 pence per metal figure seemed like a fortune, but by the end of my stay was able to move back to the states with a few battalions of Hinchliffe 28mm Napoleonics.

After my last blog post, Rob posted a comment that mentioned the book above and that was enough to get me to open it again (yes I still have my original copy) and thumb through it.  I was astonished to see Richard Tennant credited with several of the photos.  Suddenly I realized that the figures I now so proudly own and am endeavoring to bring back to the wargames table are actually some of the very same figures featured in the Airfix guide of my youth!  I contacted Dick Tennant, and indeed he remembered photographing them and forwarding them Donald Featherstone, where they were mixed in with other photos.

To my utter joy and amazement Mr. Tennant still had scans of the original color photographs, which he so kindly shared with me.  Here you can see the Polish Vistula lancers that are impatiently awaiting my attention.

I have yet to break out any of the British and Portuguese, but they will be making an appearance soon.  I wanted to get at least one brigade of French ready before starting to tackle the British.  Can't wait to pull these bad boys from the Highlands out of their plastic storage box!

Here is a shot of the 2nd battalion of the 39th Ligne that I tried to photograph in some semblance of the same order that they appeared in when photographed originally

Here they are in a grand review.  Even the trees in the background were included in the collection on a lark.  How fun it is to see them in these photographs.  Originally the building were going to be included as well, but we decided jointly that they would just be prohibitively expensive to ship, and they found a good home with a collector in Great Britain.

Love the painted backdrop!

The 1st battalion of the 39th Ligne has been on my painting desk for the last couple of weeks, and as luck would have it, the weather cooperated and I was able to finish them and get them based in time to include some finished photos (below).

Voltigeurs leading the way.  Mr Tennant's painting on these is exquisite!  All I added was a bit of touch up work, a wash to bring out some of the facial details, and some highlighting to help make the colors pop and give the figures a little depth.

While the unit is depicted in 1812 regulation dress, I have read it was not unusual for the flags to have been late in getting to the battalions and many second and third battalions retained their eagles for years, hence the earlier patterned flag with an eagle for the premier eagle bearer.

To the right are a staff escort who I believe is Spanish and will serve in the 3rd division most likely (Correction - this was a uniform I didn't recognize but realize now is that of a mounted Gendarme so will probably serve in the 1st or second division staff), as well as an Aide de Camp (From the aide's red brassard, he would serve a General de Division, so will be an aid to General Marchand).  Now on to the second battalion!


  1. Great looking collection with an interesting provenance.

    1. Thanks Jonathan. The provenance of the figures has been an interesting and delightful sojourn. I was initially interested in them just because of the stunning nature of the collection, but it became clear very quickly there was so much more to it than that!

  2. These are all stunning figures, David, and how wonderful to have the shots of them being used in the Airfix guide.

    I was a bit confused about the provenance of the Legere Figures. The Carabiniers and Chasseurs in close order battalion both look a lot like they started out as FN 75: Young Guard Voltigeurs. Is that correct?

    All the best

    1. Honestly WM it is difficult for me to tell, as it is the rare figure with a legible code on the bottom. There are slight differences in the figures however, such as the plume and the tilt of the head. There are two poses of carabiniers, one firing (1st battalion), one advancing (2nd battalion), which I believe are different from the chasseurs. I'll see what I can find and get back with you.

    2. WM, I did a lot of searching on the Hinton Hunter and found this image of FN 255 (Firing), which I can't find in any of the catalogue sources I have. If not for the musket sling it could be the Carabinier firing.
      FN 75 (charging) was used as the Carabiniers in the second Battalion with figures advancing rather than firing it appears, but the Chasseurs are slightly different.

      Do you know of a catalogue listing that shows a comprehensive set of HH codes?

    3. OK - no substitute for just plugging away through 210 FN codes on the Hinton Hunter Site.

      For the Firing Battalion:
      FN 76 Voltigeur Guard Firing as Carabinier
      FN 85 Voltigeur Kneeling Firing
      FN 72 Tirailleur Guard Firing as Chasseurs

      For the Battalion Charging:
      FN 75 Voltigeur Guard Charging
      FN 82 Voltigeur Charging
      FN 71 Tirailleur Guard Charging.

      FN 86 Voltigeur Bugler in both battalions

    4. Hi Dave, Chuck Gibke posted the complete HH listing on his site at

      I'm astounded at the Tirailleur conversions - he's even added epaulettes!


    5. Thanks WM. I was probably mistaken about the tirailleurs. I don't think there were conversions on the chasseurs. For some reason last night I thought I saw boots and epaulets on them, but I see now that is not the case.

  3. Ah those black and white photos in the Airfix guide - I spent hours trying to work out which figures they were and uniform details .

  4. You lucky, lucky, man!
    I still have my original copy of the Quarrie book but came to it a bit later at Uni - before that I'd used Charles Grant's rules (copied out from the Mil Mod series of articles) and before that Arthur Taylor's.
    Anyway after that discovery you really have no option but to re-fight the example battle in the Quarrie book - I shall be waiting...

  5. You are so correct Rob about being lucky! Fortunately the figures used for the battle in the Airfix guide were not from the Tennant collection so I am off the hook. That being said, I promised Mr. Tennant I would recreate the battles of Rolica and Vimiero using his figures, so I better get cracking on the British soon!

  6. Great work on the 6th Legere, the basing and varnish really does the trick! I look forward to seeing more in due course.

    1. Thanks Stryker! Now that I have figured out how I want them based I hope to make some more timely progress, though each unit does demand a fair amount of attention.

  7. Fantastic stuff. I too started wargaming at about 12 years of age with the Airfix guides - Napoleonic and WWII (both by Mr Quarrie). The WWII guide is more firmly embedded in my memory but, like you, I still recall the photo's and that feeling of wonder. I read it so much that, even now, when I write wargaming related things I tend to revert to that Bruce Quarrie style.

    1. Thanks Ian. I can't imagine artillery on any kind of base except the triangular ones proposed by Mr. Quarrie, so in that sense I guess, like you, these rules were imprinted on my brain. :)