It was some time ago that I mentioned that I was about to start work on Warlord Games version of Napoleons Carriage – see my blog entry ‘A Confession’ . I was hesitating to start the project for two reasons. One, I was struggling to find the information that I needed regarding colour scheme etc and two, I had decided that I wanted the door to the coach in an open position for reasons that I will explain later.
Well, I’ve tracked down a brief account of the famous carriage. I didn’t have to look too far – on page 419 of the book ‘Waterloo Companion’, by Mark Adkin is a short description of the coach and how it was used. Incidentally, Mark Adkins book is a must have item for any Napoleonic Wargamer. If you haven’t already got it, then put it on your Christmas list now!
The carriage is described as ‘ a large green carriage’ used by Napoleon as a mobile command post. It had strength, stability and manoeuvrability and was weather-proofed. It must have been quite a large affair, as one seat across the back was partially partitioned so that two persons could work, without being thrown around. Opposite was a lockable cabinet that could be converted into a writing desk. There were other cupboards containing everything that Napoleon might need. A silver chronometer hung on one wall and Napoleons seat could be transformed into a bed!
The Warlord Games version is clearly not a scale model of this actual coach but is a very good representation as far as a wargaming piece goes. Which leads me to remind myself that I am neither interested or capable of making a detailed scale model of this subject, merely a passable representation that will look good on my wargames table as an objective or conversation piece. In this respect the Warlord Games model is an excellent model.
The real coach was captured and plundered in the chaos and confusion after the battle of Waterloo. Indeed on the 19th June 1815, Commissariat officer Tupper Carey passed it, still surrounded by Prussians ‘scraping and sifting the ground, in consequence of a report that some diamonds had fallen from their settings in the night scramble’. Although the Prussians stripped and plundered what ever treasures were aboard the coach that day, the coach itself was returned to England where it eventually ended up in Madame Tussauds in London but was destroyed by fire in 1925.
So having decided that I would like to build the model, I decided that I would depict it as being captured after the Battle of Waterloo. In my minds eye, this would simply involve the Carriage being halted by the Prussians and the start of the search for plunder. It is quite an ambitious diorama for me to build and I suspect that it will take some time. The first task was to see if I could safely remove the door of the coach. Using a new, sharp scalpel blade, I carefully cut around the frame of the door, both inside and out. Fortunately, Warlord Games use a good quality resin, rather than the cheap & nasty brittle sort used by some manufacturers, so after about 20 minutes of patient cutting, the door was safely removed!
And that’s about as far as I have progressed with this particular project. I think that it will take me some time before it is actually completed. I intend to paint it in stages and the horses are the first on the painting table. Having undercoated them, I’ve given them a coat of light grey, the idea being to gradually highlight them up to white. I’ll post updates as I progress with the painting.