Wednesday, 15 March 2017

French Guard Cavalry Part 2 - 28mm Perry

Guard Lancers, 1st and 2nd Regiments. The famous Polish and Red Lancers. These are Perry figures and are in full dress uniform unlike their other Guard Cavalry for some reason. They also make them in campaign uniform but I much prefer full dress, especially for these Lancers. Both the Polish and Red Lancers use the same figures, but the colours of the uniforms are quite different.The lances themselves have been replaced with steel ones from North Star, and lance pennants are from Adolfo Ramos.

A decision to be made with the Polish Lancers is how to do the "Polish Crimson". This is another of those Napoleonic colours that is the subject of much debate (like Aurore for my last regiments of French Guard Cavalry). I didn't debate this colour as much though, deciding to go for quite a pinkish hue with the highlights over a deep red, to clearly contrast it with the red of the Red Lancers. Similar to the picture below.

Here's the 1st Regiment, the Polish Lancers. A lot of detail in these uniforms, especially the Czapka! The Perry figures come with a wounded General Colbert of the Red Lancers, so I replaced him with a Murawski officer figure for these Polish Lancers.

This regiment is special to me for another reason. It was the first regiment Napoleonic regiment I ever painted, in 1/72nd scale many years ago (and since sold). Good to have them back again!

Here's the 2nd Regiment, the Red Lancers, also nicknamed 'écrevisses' or the 'crayfish' due to their red uniforms. The Dutch Royal Guard Hussars were converted to this regiment in 1810, after the Kingdom of Holland was annexed by Napoleon.

They are led by Colonel Colbert, who has his arm in a sling as at Waterloo. Though given his extensive history of wounds it seems pretty fitting to have him depicted wounded anyway! He was shot in the arm in the Egyptian campaign in 1798, wounded in the thigh at Austerlitz in 1805, and shot in the head at Wagram in 1809. He was shot again in the arm at Quatre Bras in 1815, but still led his troops with his arm in a sling at Waterloo two days later. Interesting history worth commemorating, though I wish Perry would make him as a separate personality rather than being in each command pack for the Lancers!

Alright thanks for looking! Not sure what will be next, but Polish, Baden or French are likely. Maybe even Italians, we'll see!

Wednesday, 22 February 2017

French 1814 National Guard - Perry 28mm

By 1814, with forces of the 6th Coalition closing in things were getting very desperate for the French Empire. Looking even more raggedy than the Marie Louises in the previous post, here's some National Guard of the time. Conscription was expanded to a wider age range, and equipment was in short supply. 

These are Perry National Guard figures and a Perry French mounted officer who is no doubt thrilled to be in charge of this rabble. Also included is a scrappy but enthusiastic one eared dog from Westfalia Miniatures.

The figures are in a variety of clothing and poses, from some to none in terms of military gear excepting that all are equipped with a musket and cartridge belt.

Kudos also to my wife who suggested they needed a dog, reminding me to start using the Westfalia dog pack I had forgotten I had. A nice addition to the unit I think.

Sunday, 19 February 2017

French Marie-Louise Infantry - 28mm Perry

Added to the late French Empire ranks, here's some Marie-Louise infantry. 

At the sunset of Empire in 1813/14, Napoleon was desperate for troops and young conscripts formed an increasingly large part of the French army. They were referred to as "Marie-Louises" in reference to the fact that the young Empress Marie Louise signed the conscription orders. And as I understand it, also perhaps because many of them looked as young and small as the Empress.

Increasingly often these troops did not have proper uniforms, instead being equipped with a grey greatcoat and Pokalem headgear instead of the more expensive shako. That's how I've chosen to depict them here.

Most of them would have been added to regular line units to help make up numbers, but I wanted to have some separate units to clearly represent provisional infantry regiments, so did them up in their own units.

Each box of Perry French Line Infantry contains 18 spare heads with Pokalem, so you end up with heaps of them lying around. You have to snip off the shako head, trim the collar area with a craft knife, then stick on the pokalem head. It's pretty quick after the first few, though it also generates a slightly disturbing feeling like you're guillotining the little chaps!

This is a closer look at a Pokalem. Apparently the term 'Pokalem' comes from 'Poka = Polska, Lem = helm', the 'Polish helmet'. Though of course it was made of felt. Not very pretty but quite practical. Having done the blue, I decided that adding the very fine red trim was not worth the time investment for the moment given how hard to see it would be on the table. Maybe later! 

And lastly here is a portrait of Marie Louise, Empress of the French 1810-1814, after whom these troops take their name.