Saturday, 31 May 2008

French Legere Officer

Officer of Voltigeurs, French "legere" (light infantry). Converted Front Rank miniature.

Front Rank do make light infantry, but in the 1807-12 uniforms only. This regiment was wearing the more practical (and to me at least, more elegant) uniform of the 1812 Bardin regulations.

But as the "legere" were proud of their elite status, I wanted some officers wearing vestiges of their earlier, more flamboyant uniforms.

In this case, I modelled a busby ("colpack") and bag ("flamme") from epoxy putty- the original figure came wearing a shako- and added a plume from a Front Rank Russian.

With Tamiya epoxy putty or similar, a small drill and a few paper clips you can do wonders!

French Legere Officer (2)

Rear view of above. I'm rather proud of the "flamme" blowing in the breeze!

Amazing the difference in lighting can make on an image. The brown looks completely different. The front view is closer to the original, although the blue has come out considerably brighter than it appears on the actual miniature.

Of course these haven't been varnished yet, which tends to deepen the colours anyway. Tokyo's humid summers mean that it may be a while before I get to spraying them.

French Voltigeur

Voltigeur of light infantry. Wounded, but still more than willing to fight on for "The Little Corporal"- La patrie en dangeur!

I very much enjoyed painting this figure. The smooth surfaces on the Front Rank minis make them easy to paint, and the well-sculpted greatcoat provided a great palette for shading, lining and highlighting. I'm no fan of drybrushing except for feathers and furs!

I have to admit I still haven't decided how best to base my skirmishers- individually would be best for the "Sharpe Practice" rules (recently released by the Two Fat Lardies) that really look interesting, but I want to play "General de Brigade" as well. I'll probably procrastinate on basing them for a little while longer yet.


French Carabinier (as grenadiers in light infantry regiments were known). Those banded shakos are buggers to paint (lots to be said for campaign shako covers...) but do look good when done carefully.

The hardest things to do are the straps around the backpack- these caused considerable grief, but I think I have the hang of them now- paint the straps first, and then the rest of the backpack around them!

French Command Stand- 28eme Legere

Getting that new cellphone camera at last gives me the chance to post a better picture of that command stand I painted last year (!)
Another Front Rank conversion, the fifer is wearing a magnificent white colpack with red flamme. A uniform of pure fantasy, on the rationale that the regiment's well-heeled colonel had the money to spare for outfitting his "tete de colonne" as he saw fit.
I have no evidence that any such uniform was worn by those of the 28th. And if someone DOES come up with evidence to the contrary... c'est la vie, I have no intention of repainting anything. If that bothers anyone- well, tough truffles.

M. le Capitaine's log, supplemental.
It was pointed out to me on another forum that the flag shown here is the 1803 pattern, not the 1812 tricolour that would have been used in 1813. My answer- I know! Most of my infantry and cavalry will have the later pattern flag, but for variety- and because it is pretty- a few regiments will be flying the 1803 pattern, on the assumption that they were not around to receive the new colours or were immensely proud of their old ones for sentimental reasons and were not willing to switch! Stranger things have happened in war.
For the record, I subscribe to what I call the "Roly Hermans" approach to miniature painting. Inspired by history, I like my units to reflect their historical antecedants, but I am willing to turn a blind eye to the occasional artistic touch for the sake of aesthetics (as no doubt were the artists of the time). At the same time, I still like such touches to remain within the boundaries of plausibility (even if stretching them to the limit!).
Likewise, my miniatures are a lot less muddy and dishevelled than they should be after plodding through the wet fields of Saxony! After all, we are already making compromises in that we are using 24 miniatures to represent batallions of 600 or so men.

Command Stand (rear view)

Rear view of that command stand of the 28th legere. Here you can see the "Chef-de-Bataillon" of the first battalion of the 28th, the fearless and much-decorated Jean-Etienne de Bricole, as he urges his men forward for Glory and l'Empereur! Flag by GMB. 

Note the dreaded backpacks and blanket rolls, with all those goddam straps...

En avant!!

Frankenstein's new laboratory! Note the "Tour de Joie" on the left. Amazingly, no cats are present.

It has been far too long- almost a year- since I last posted anything on this blog. The excellent progress Iannick Martin (TMP's "Archduke Charles") has been making on his blog recently has shamed me into getting off the "Imperial derrière" and updating mine- thanks, Iannick. I needed the kick-start!

Basically the problem has been that I've got more projects on the go that life has really given me the time for.

I've been working on a 6mm 1809 Austrian project, but it is proving hard going- the figures, while amazing for their size, have not "grabbed me" so far, and I haven't really found a painting technique for the little guys that I am satisfied with.

But also, to be honest, the past year has seen periods of lethargy and procrastination which haven't helped either! I have a room for painting and modelling, but I couldn't leave stuff out on the table as I need the space for other things as well (not to mention in order to keep brushes and minis safe from our three marauding felines).

This meant that every time I wanted to paint I had to drag out boxes of paints & brushes, clear off the table of other junk, and allow myself time after a painting session to put everything away again. This was getting far too much like work rather than what should have been an enjoying hobby.

Fortunately, a while ago I was able to acquire a useful set of plastic drawers that fit my needs- and the corner of the desk- admirably, which means that my brushes and paints are now within easy reach. And -gasp- I have found myself beginning to churn out figures again!

Another leap forward is that I had to replace my keitai (cellphone) recently, and the new one includes TV, a navigation system, and much more relevant to my needs a high-quality, 5-megapixel digicam! I've just started getting the hang of the beast- the instruction book is a bewildering 200 pages long- but here are some of the results, of figures that I have recently been able to finish.

Anyhow, back to the painting table- more to come, including some Russians which, when done. I will add to my "Skoryi Szag!" companion blog. Once I work on a decent backdrop/terrain I'll start adding pictures of whole units!