Why do grown men enjoy painting and gaming with toy soldiers? Surely one of the great attractions is to recreate, in an admittedly modest way, the great moments of history. How many non-gamers have actually heard of Bonaparte’s crossing of the Alps before sweeping away the Austrians at Marengo? How many History students have actually heard of the adventure? But, we have and that makes it even more ‘special’ and worthy of our affection. But, to the miniature enthusiast, Napoleonic armies can be daunting. There is all that lace, facings and rank distinctions…..plus feather colours that vary by company! Are you serious?
Well the Despertaferres answer did come from seeing some ‘flats’ or Zinnfiguren just the other day. Mercifully, not all Napoleonic uniforms were as splendid as the illustration above. No, I refer to the ‘flats’ our grandfathers or even great grandfathers would have played with. These more basic, although still splendid soldiers are much more in keeping with Bonaparte’s hawks descending on poor Italy. I intend going for the right “period feel” rather than strict historical accuracy. The debate as to how reliable such research is we shall leave for another time. When my Airfix Germans stormed my Nan’s birdbath, I didn’t care if they had the right colour Mittelgelb webbing. When your relations, or you (Rob), fired matchsticks at Britains redcoats, we paid no heed to the number of buttons on ‘sir’s’ cuffs.
We need striking colours and a blind eye turned to too much detail. I still go for the black undercoat method. John Treadway started this I believe many years ago and I still like the clear definition it gives.
These were my first effort at a minimal style. I have ignored much of the red piping that much better painters include. I did about eighty in one go so that it is worth just doing say backpacks in one evening.Most hair colour is the same, all muskets and kit is the same. My bible is “Painting Wargames Figure” by Javier Gomez and the electronic inspiration of Chevalierdelaterre website based in South Africa. The latest addition to my stable is Painting War- again from Espagne. The wonderful thing about all these sources is that they tell you the exact paints to use, in which combination. By my reckoning it’s week six of the project and my first three units are done, plus some extras. I really am not that dedicated to painting but an hour a night, a few times a week, has paid off….
The keen eyed will notice I went a bit overboard on the flags. I sent to Elite miniatures and was a little disappointed. You have to buy two packs to get flags for the three standards of a Demi- brigade. Annoyingly there are three flags in each pack so you get one duplicate everytime! My favourite Revolutionary flags are the Venner’s Emporium ones, although I believe you can only get the one set.
Tune in next week when I start on my Christmas French dragoons from Brigadegames USA! (The source of my present financial embarrassment. ) I leave you with my objective figure for the Maurice ruleset. Well, it wouldn’t be right not to have an image of gentlemanly interest now would it?#