Valeur et Discipline - a Napoleonic French army in miniature
Valeur et Discipline Napoleonic French Homepage
Valeur et Discipline Napoleonic French infantry
Valeur et Discipline Napoleonic French  cavalry
Valeur et Discipline Napoleonic French artillery
Valeur et Discipline Napoleonic French generals
Valeur et Discipline Napoleonic French  links

Napoleonic music while you browse!


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What's New

23 January 2006 - A new Vistula Legion lancer unit on the Cavalry page, and some new staff figures on the Generals page. Don't forget to check out the photos of of my opposing British, Portuguese and Spanish armies in the Kapiti Fusiliers website galleries.

31 July 2005 - Last month I had the opportunity to find out what it feels like to be one of my model soldiers! Well, almost ... it was actually a reeenactment of the Battle of Waterloo, involving some 2,300 uniformed reeenactors, including yours truly. Here's an illustrated article about my experiences at Waterloo 2005.

30 July 2004 - 'Valeur et Discipline' makes it into print! Several photos of the miniatures on this site feature on the front cover of the latest edition of Piquet's Les Grognards rules!

Cover of Piquet's Les Grognards 2.

30 August 2003 - miniature troops need terrain to fight over. I have just completed a whole village of 25mm Peninsular War houses, which you can see on the Kapiti Fusiliers Historic Gaming Club.

27 July 2003 - some more photos of my British Napoleonics (to oppose the French on this site!) have been added to the gallery pages of the Kapiti Fusiliers Historic Gaming Club.

20 November 2002 - a few months ago I was commissioned to paint a Napoleonic Portuguese army for the Miniature Service Center in California. You can now see pictures of the figures I have finished so far on the MSC website.

14 September - Everyone knows Theodore Gericault's famous painting of an Imperial Guard mounted officer. But if you click on the picture below, you'll find an interesting variation of the picture.

"Sacre bleu - watch out what you're doing with that sabre!"

Site designed & owned by:
Roly Hermans
New Zealand.

French Light Infantry


NEW! Post-1812 Line Infantry
Pre-1812 Line Infantry
Light Infantry

The most basic component of any army is the infantry. French Napoleonic infantry are instantly recognizeable, with their blue coats, red piping and distinctive skakos. My French regiments each consist of about 24 miniatures, including a standard bearer, drummer, mounted officer, and other "character" figures, as well as the regular fusiliers, grenadiers and voltigeurs.

Unlike many wargamers, I do not follow a historical order of battle when selecting units for my miniature armies. Instead, I go for the units that will look the best in my display cabinet and on the wargames table, by choosing those with the most interesting or colourful uniforms and flags.


Post-1812 Line Infantry (added 8 May 2005)

Click to see fullsizeFoundry French

My latest French infantry battalion is depicted wearing the so-called Bardin uniform, which came in after 1812. However, as these Foundry figures are mainly wearing campaign trousers and greatcoats, it is only on some men that you can distinguish the details which made this uniform different from the earlier one (the short-tailed coat or "habit-veste" with a squared off front, and the shorter gaiters). The main visible feature of the 1812 uniform seen here are the flat-topped "pokalem" forage caps worn by some of the men.

Click to see fullsizeFoundry French

In the above photo you can see the unusual hat being worn by the 2nd Porte-Aigle (to the right of the mounted officer), which looks more like a cavalry helmet than anything else. This type of hat was apparently worn by the Porte-Aigles in some regiments, though most had a more normal style of head-gear.

You can get a nice varied look with campaign figures. Each soldier is an individual, some in pokalems, others in shakos, some dressed in great-coats, and others in habit-vestes. I added even more variety by painting the greatcoats in different shades of grey, beige and brown. I had even more fun adding a patch or two, and even some ripped knees on the trousers!

Click to see fullsizeRoly's Foundry French

Foundry figures are renowned for their realistic animation, particularly with their command figures. Look at the foot officer on the left of this picture, striding out with his sword in the air. His shako has a cover, which he has pulled down over his neck.

There are two drummers in this battalion, one of whom can be seen clearly here - a very attractive figure, shown carrying his drum rather than beating it. The man wearing a busby, just discernible on the left-rear in the above photo, is the drum-major.

The flag is by GMB Design. It was a spare one I had for a light regiment, so I have carefully folded it so that you cannot see the word "Léger" on the flag!

My thanks to a couple of benefactors who very generously gave me most of these Foundry figures. Other than for some of my vignettes, I had not tried using miniatures by this manufacturer in my army, and so am very pleased to see the result.


Pre-1812 Line Infantry

Line Infantry

French infantry regiments of the Napoleonic period tended to wear very similar uniforms and carried flags that differed only in the wording. So when I chose a pre-1812 regiment to paint, my selection was based on the more colourful uniforms worn by the "têtes de colonne" - the drum-major, drummers, musicians and sappers who marched at the head of the column.

Line Infantry

I spent some considerable (but enjoyable) time browsing through books and websites, looking for the nicest "tête de colonne" uniforms. My decision was made when I read several references to the red coats and green trousers worn by the drum-major of the 9th Regiment de Ligne. I now have two battalions of the 9th as my first infantry units.

Front Rank produce a very nice light infantry drum-major figure wearing a colpack (fur hat). The Osprey book on French Line Infantry indicates that although the 9th's drum-major wore a large bicorne, the drum-corporal had a colpack and was dressed in the same uniform as my Front Rank figure. So my drum-major was demoted to drum-corporal! The drummers and sappers of the 9th had green facings piped with yellow on their blue uniforms, so they added another dash of colour.


9th musicians
9th grenadiers

I also had a choice to make about the uniforms worn by the fusiliers, grenadiers and voltigeurs in my units. Would they be in full-dress or campaign uniforms? Full-dress would mean lots of plumes, shako cords and so on, and a fairly regimented look. Campaign dress, on the other hand, would mean less finery but more variation in colours and styles of uniform. I could also vary the hats - see the bicorne worn by the grenadier in the back row of this base.


I decided to go the campaign dress way, as I thought they would look less rigid. But I also threw in a few men in full-dress to add even more variety. So you'll see some of my soldiers wearing patched multi-coloured trousers (one even has pink and blue stripes), and others with breeches and gaiters. They wear all sorts of headgear - shakos (a few with cords, others with cloth covers), bicornes, bearskins (with and without plumes), bonnets de police, and even a couple with no hats at all.


9th voltigeurs
9th command

My first flags were from the excellent Warflag website, and were merely resized, printed out, trimmed and attached to the staffs of the standard bearers with PVA glue. I have since replaced many of them with the truly exquisite flags produced by GMB Design. The secret for effective paper flags is to fold them diagonally - not vertically - from the top of the staff to produce a natural blowing effect. Another important finishing touch is to carefully paint any white that shows around the edges of the glued-together flag.


The soldier wearing an apron and carrying an axe is a sapper. Behind him you'll notice another man carrying a halberd with a red pennant. He represents the eagle guards, whose job it was to protect the eagles from falling into enemy hands (in the French army, it wasn't the actual flag that was revered, but the golden eagle mounted on the tip of the flagpole).

9th command base


Light Infantry

Light Infantry

French light infantry considered themselves a cut above their brothers in the line infantry. Their uniforms, with blue trousers, lapels, cuffs and turnbacks, were were often further embellished with fancy epaulettes and tasselled gaiters.

My light battalion is looslely modelled on the 15th Léger (Light Infantry). Their musicians of the "tête de colonne" are dressed in very colourful uniforms. The drummer has a red coat with sky-blue facings, and looks particularly striking in his sky-blue shako. The black musician is wearing an exotic oriental costume and carrying an instrument called a "jingling johnny".


15th Light Infantry musicians

I say my unit is "loosely" modelled on the 15th Léger, because I had a problem deciding which real-life light infantry regiment to depict, as none of them exactly fitted the exact configuration of miniature soldiers I had already bought. For instance, so far as I know, the 15th Léger's voltigeurs did not wear colpacks (fur hats), but some of my miniature voltigeurs do have them. Therefore my 15th Léger is not strictly accurate, but more an amalgam of various light infantry styles.

15th Light Infantry command

15eme Legere march into battle

fannion in Knötel printMy carabinier sergeant (on the right of the above picture) has a small red flag known as a "fannion" attached to his musket. This was used as a marker to indicate the start of the line. I copied the red flag adorned with white grenades from an old Knötel print of an unidentified light infantry carabinier's uniform.

I wanted my light unit to contain a mix of full-dress and campaign uniforms. Front Rank make light infantry in full dress only, so I thought some line grenadiers in trousers could fill in for my lights in campaign dress. Wrong! I found out later that light troops wore a coatee with much shorter tails than light infantry, and so my converted line figures stand out with their much longer coat-tails. One day I'll buy some more light infantry to replace them, and use the discarded line grenadiers as the cadre for a new line unit.



Don't forget to also check out my Confederation of the Rhine website to see the German battalions which fight alongside my French.

Line Infantry


Visit some of my other wargaming and military history websites:
Napoleonic Confederation of the Rhine website 18th century French army website 18th century Bavarians at the Battle of Leuthen
American Civil War Battle of Gettysburg
let me make a wargames site for you!