Painting the Nassau-Usingen Battalion. Part one, the plan….

Back in March, I was a participant in a small Napoleonic demo game we had put on to support the Bingham Napoleonic day. We, being my two gaming buddies, Pete and Andy. I had already agreed to finish my model of Papelotte in time for the battle and I surprised myself by completing it way ahead of schedule. You can read all about the day and the battle here:


Papelotte is secure!

Papelotte is secure!

With the main scenery piece completed I turned my attention to the troops involved. Our battles usually tend to be a nod in the direction of historical accuracy and if we haven’t got the exact order of battle we are happy to improvise. However, when I checked my Waterloo companion for the OOB, it was clear that one of  the most significant deployment of allied troops in this area was the 2nd Nassau-Usingen Regiment. Whilst we had plenty of Hanoverians, a contingent of Dutch and Belgium and plenty of British and French troops, none of us had any Nassau. There was even a provision for the Prussians to arrive and we had even talked about using some Portuguese troops as reinforcements! Actually, this turned out to be not so daft as I thought, as Wellington had the same idea, but that’s for another blog!

I thought that I would have a go at painting at least one unit and so ordered some figures from the Perry’s Web site. Of course it wasn’t that straight forward. First I had to do a bit of research and to be truthful, I tied myself in knots trying to figure out what Nassau was which. There were the Orange Nassau Regiment, otherwise know as the 28th Nassau, comprising of 2 battalions and a small Jaeger battalion. The Nassau-Unsingen regiment consisted of 3 battalions of which the first was sent to help defend Hougomont and the second and third battalions, present at Papelotte. The Perry’s web shop list the first and second battalions as separate packs as there does seem to be a difference in their uniforms. The third battalion isn’t mentioned, so presumably it’s identical in uniform to the second, the battalion that I was interested in.


A quick check on the wonderful Mont St Jean site seemed to confirm my thoughts so I went with the second battalion. Now usually I am pretty rigid in painting my battalions as units of 24 figures but I noticed that the Nassau battalions were quite large and consisted of around 900 men. This is significantly more than the usual 600 that were present in British Battalions at Waterloo. There are also some significant differences in uniform within the battalion which is divided into 6 Companies. The four ‘centre’ companies or Fusiliers, are identical apart from the different coloured cap plumes but the Grenadier and Voltigeur flank companies are quite different.

The grenadiers!

The grenadiers!

After a great deal of thought, I decided that I would have to go with 36 figures in  a regiment and placed my order for a command pack, 3 centre company packs, a pack of Grenadiers, a pack of  Voltigeurs and while I was at it, the casualty pack and two packs of Volunteer jaegers. Oh! and the very nice models of the commander Prince Bernard and his staff! And that, my friends, is how that lead mountain accumulates!

The Voltigeurs

The Voltigeurs

Then reality set in. How was I going to have these figures finished in the three weeks that I had before the battle was due to take place? As I had said, my research was cursory at best and I hadn’t even thought about what colours I would use. Fortunately, Dave Woodward happened to call into Arcane Scenery for some paints. Dave actually painted the models used on the Perry’s web site so I pinned him into the corner and interrogated him as to what colours he used! ‘I don’t know’ he cried ‘it was ages ago that I painted them’.  Fortunately, Dave is a great guy and he helped me to work out a basic colour scheme that would give me a fighting chance to at least get some of the figures painted for the battle.

The cunning plan that he came up with was to spray the troops with Army painter Greenskin primer. This colour is perhaps a bit bright but I intended to use quick shade which would dull it down. The other significant colour was the cross straps on the uniforms and the yellow stripes and facings. The answer was Vallejo Yellow Ochre 70913. The rest of the colours were pretty straight forward and using the pictures from the Mont St Jean site as my guide, I could press on and batch paint the battalion!

You can see how I did this in the next blog!

The Commercial bit and useful links

You can see the Mont St Jean reference for Nassau here:


The Sarissa version of Papelotte is here:


Vallejo model colour paints can be found here:


The Perry’s web site is here:



Toranaga San!

I’ve been away on a short break over Easter, so progress on my various projects has been limited. A holiday, however short, is a good time to refocus and think about what will be next onto the workbench. Whilst idling on a sun bed in Gran Canaria, my mind wandered as I considered the unfinished projects back at home.

Oda Nobunaga primed

Oda Nobunaga primed

Before I went away, I had cleaned and primed a Wargames Illustrated Limited edition model of Oda Nobunaga. The original plan was to pretty much copy the colour scheme the the Wargames Illustrated painter had used.

Wargamies Illustrated Oda

Wargamies Illustrated Oda

The Oda model had been produced by WI as one of their ‘Giants in Miniature’ series but was also given a special card for the Test of Honour game that I am such a fan of at the moment! The card allows players to recruit groups of musket men for just 2 points a group – an interesting option for my next warband. You can download the card from the Wargames Illustrated site here:

To read more, you will need to get hold of a copy of WI335 or join the WI prime club – this will give you access to all of the WI articles and is particularly useful to recover older magazines and articles from their vault!

Rather than copy the WI colour scheme, I decided to use a colour scheme based on the description of the fictional hero, Toranaga, from the book ‘Shogun’ by James Clavell. In the book, the ‘goodies’ wear a brown uniform and I thought that this would make a change from the usual bright colour schemes that I tend towards.

I also decided to use a slightly different Flesh colour scheme. It’s one that I have used before and is simply a case of starting with Vallejo 70804 Beige red as a base, adding in 70927 dark Flesh and then using off white 70820 to top off the highlights. I also tend to use at least one or two washes of Army painter soft tone ink to help with blending.

Toranaga Work in progress.

Toranaga Work in progress.

For the robes, I started with 70822 German Camouflage black brown, followed by 70872 Chocolate brown, with a top highlight of 70983 Flat earth. The Under shirt was simply Iraqui sand. It all looked a bit stark so I gave these area a good wash of Strong Tone, the dark brown Army painter ink and the result is as shown above.

Toranaga almost finished?

Toranaga almost finished?

I then went back and using first a mix of Flat Earth and Chocolate brown re painted the highlights and then gradually added more Flat earth, with a touch of Iraqui sand to add in the top highlights. I also added some grey to ‘Toranaga’s ‘ hair, painted the Katanga silver and brass and added some red details to the scabbard and the under shirt. The socks are off white and the sandals German Cam Black brown.

Unusually for me, I’ve painted the eyes on the figure – I don’t usually bother but these are quite well sculpted and fairly easy to paint in. That said, by now my eyes were getting tired and as you can see, eye’s are not my strength when it comes to painting.

Toranga ready for battle - well, nearly!

Toranaga ready for battle – well, nearly!

Not much has changed in the final picture, I have added some ink to the Katana handle to bring out the detail but as I mentioned above, by now my eyes were tiring and I always find that a break from painting and a look at the pictures gives me a chance to assess if anything else needs changing. I can see that the Katana handle will need a quick touch up with white and the red stripe on the under shirt needs a bit of definition – either a black line or careful wash of ink.

The most significant improvement will of course be a proper base ( without the blu tack!) and some grass tufts or flowers to add a bit of interest and Toranaga will be ready to take to the wargames table. Of course, I will still use the Oda Nobunaga card!

So the plan is to have him finished over the weekend and then it’s on to the next part of the Test of Honour project, nine Ashigaru armed with Teppo!

If you would like to read more about Samurai Arquebuses , or teppo, click here:

To read about Oda Nobunaga, click here:

The Commercial bit!

To see the range of Samurai items currently in stock at Arcane Scenery, Click here:


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