music while you browse!
website is part of:
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.
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
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
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
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
- 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.
Site designed & owned
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.
Line Infantry (added 8
Click to see
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
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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".
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.
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
some of my other wargaming and military history websites: