Steve is sunning himself on holiday (with a JD in hand so his blackberry email says). So before he jetted off he decided to update on his Napoleonic army.
“It’s been about a year since I started to collect Napoleonic figures and I had intended to keep the blog posted with my progress. Unfortunately, these blog posts dried up a bit due to technical difficulties, although I’m pleased to say that the modelling didn’t. So here’s a round up of the figures that I’ve painted to date along with a few pictures!
4th Kings Own Battalion
This was the first unit that I tackled in my quest to build a Napoleonic army. It now consists of 48 figures, which on reflection, is a bit on the big size for most war games. I wanted to learn how to paint the models and used this unit as a bit of a trial. I’ve tried at least three different undercoats (white, red and grey) and three types of finish (Army painter dip, in dark tone and strong tone, and Windsor & Newton peat brown ink), and three types of paint (Games workshop, Foundry and Vallejo) but hopefully that’s not too apparent when viewing the whole unit. I’ve also learnt as I’ve painted, so some of the details on the early figures are not quite correct.
However, I’m quite pleased with the result and I have now clarified in my mind what I’m trying to achieve with my army and the painting style that I intend to use. I’ve found that I prefer to use a grey undercoat and that the Army Painter ‘dip’ is a great way to finish the figures off. I prefer to bush the dip on, and try to control where it is going rather the dip the figures into the tin. I know that some modellers think that dip is the devils tool (mind you, there’s some that feel the same way about plastic figures) but I think that it’s just a really good way of producing table top standard figures at a reasonable rate. My preferred choice of paint is now Vallejo, it’s very good quality, value for money and the pallet of colours available is amazing. That said, I still use some GW paints ( I’m too mean to throw them out before they’ve been used up!) and do like the Foundry paints for the clever system of providing a highlight & shade for each colour.
Finally, I always spray my figures with a matt varnish finish. At the moment, I’m using the Army painter variety but a word of caution based on experience. Matt varnish is always temperamental, particularly if you don’t shake the can properly and particularly if you use to heavy a coat. So shake it like a Polaroid picture, as the song says, and go easy, you can always give the figures another coat. I’ve got a few figures with a bit of frosting & crazing because I didn’t take my own advice!
So the 4th Kings Own is complete and ready to take to the battlefield. Next up Artillery!
Foot Artillery Battery
After painting all of those red coats, I wanted a break from red so I decided to have a go at the Artillery. As I’m a fan of plastic, I was drawn to the Victrix British Artillery set. I think that this set is one of the best plastic boxed sets on the market. The figures are beautifully sculpted and posed, there are plenty of options when it comes to building the cannon, the limbers and accessories are a joy and the wheels are exquisite!. The only thing that stops this set from being perfect is the lack of horses for the limbers. But that’s not a major issue and hopefully Victrix will address this in their future releases.
I decided to build a standard foot artillery battery of two 9 pdrs and a 5.5 inch howitzer. (In real life, there would have been five 9pdrs & a 5.5 inch Howitzer). I always like to drill my gun barrels out where possible for added realism and I’ve used the superb renedra bases to make a scenic base for each gun. I really like the renedra range of bases, they’re precision made and the variety of sizes mean that you will always have the right sized base for the job. They’re also not too thick, so I think that the bases blend in with the gaming table. Mind you, we now sell precision cut MDF bases if you prefer wood to plastic!
Having built the artillery battery, I felt that I really ought to have a limber and horses so I went for the Perry Miniatures Foot artillery limber and substituted the plastic Victrix limber for the metal one. The battery was completed with the addition of the Artillery Colonel on horse back. A beautifully sculpted model from the Perrys – again! You may notice that I’ve also started to add a few accessories like the barrel & spare rifles. They don’t really serve any purpose other than to add detail to the battlefield, a subject I will no doubt return to later!
Officers & Characters
I tend to get hooked by the simple things and when Renedra released their tent set I had an idea for a small diorama. I used the Foundry set of officers to produce the group having the conference under the tree. I also like the two ADC’s and so put these together to make another mini vignette. Finally, I had to have a version of Wellington & Picton, so these were also completed. All of the above are intended as scenic pieces for the battle field rather than playing pieces but they were fun to make & paint.
I had noticed in the Waterloo companion that the 4th Kings Own were in a mixed brigade with Hanoverians so it seemed sensible to have a go and paint a battalion. These turned out to be my biggest challenge to date both in modelling terms and research. The models are Victrix plastic figures with the addition of the metal Hanoverian heads & packs. So assembling these was a bit more complex than normal plastic models. Trying to establish the correct colour scheme was also a bit of a trial.
I’ll look at how feasible it is to put my reference sources into the blog in a future post, but in broad terms, the Hanoverian Landwehr (as opposed to field battalions) were equipped as British troops but with a stove pipe shako as opposed to the later Belgic shako. Officers & Ensigns did have the belgic shakos and where worn, had yellow sashes & plumes rather than red & white. As always, the colour plates in the Waterloo Companion were a superb guide, so I’ve broadly followed these as a guide and of course the colours on the Mont St Jean site (This is the best reference on the internet that I have found).The flags were also very difficult to find and I am indebted to Graham at GMB designs for his help. There are 32 figures in my Hanoverian regiment and once again I had had enough of red paint so I needed a change!
Despite being firmly avowed to paint only the British Army I was attracted to this set from Warlord. They looked really straight forward to paint and the preparation looked simple as there was no assembly involved. Even better, they came with some good painting instructions and background and after all the Prussians were our allies…
The Warlord plastic Prussians come in three poses and you get nine of each pose, so for those of you that like all of your figures to be regimented in this way, these are ideal. The sculpting on the plastic figures is a bit clunky compared to the usual warlord standards, the feet & hands being a bit oversized.
That said, I think that the models paint up quite nicely and look effective when marching together. Just a warning for when you are cutting the spare swords from the sprues: these are quite delicate and can break if you are not careful. They are to be attached to the 18 models that do not come with the hatchet moulded onto the figure.
The 3 man metal command group that comes with the set is superbly sculpted and full of character. Once added to the unit, I think that the battalion is a nice addition to my collection. I will be adding another Battalion, using some of the metal figures available as support packs from Warlord. I just cant resist the other command group that is available!
The 95th Rifles
I’ve been painting this Battalion on and off between other projects, a couple of figures at a time. Most of the figures are Perry Metals with a few plastics and it’s still a work in progress. I use these figures for my skirmishes with the Sharp Practice rules and I intend to have a full battalion of 30 figures eventually. I’ve heard rumours that Victrix will be releasing a boxed set so I may just wait before completing this Regiment.
I’ve published pictures of my wagon in previous blogs and it is still a work in progress although it is now complete as I write. I have just added three ‘Crew’ for the wagon. It is intended to be a supply wagon for my artillery battery. Although not strictly necessary in war gaming terms, I like models that add character to the war games table and I have previously used the wagon as an objective in a skirmish. I will be adding more of these in the future, Trent Miniatures produce not just the Plank sided wagon but do a Ladder sided version. After all, in Napoleonic times, everything moved by manpower, horse power or donkey and its only right that they should be represented on the table.
So that’s my army so far: 48 soldiers of the 4th Kings Own Battalion; 16 soldiers of the 95th Rifles; 32 soldiers of the Hanoverian Verden Landwehr; 30 Soldiers of the Prussian Silesian Landwehr; 3 guns, 1 limber and 23 gunners & riders; 8 Officers or Characters; 1 wagon ; 14 horses.
I reckon that just about makes a brigade! I think that after a year, I’m ready upgrade from commanding a few groups in Sharp Practice and to start playing with a Brigade using Black Powder rules! “
If you want to catch up on some Napoleonic history there are plenty of available books.