Monday, 10 August 2015

Général de Brigade Baron Jacques-Charles Dubois

At Waterloo Dubois commanded the 1st Brigade of the 13th Cavalry Division in  Milhaud's IV Cavalry Corps.  His brigade consisted of the 1st and 4th Regiments of Cuirassiers.  Dubois was a natural choice for inclusion in my flurry of French generals as I painted the 4th Cuirassiers a few years ago, and the 1st Cuirassiers are on my list of things to paint up this year.  Jacques-Charles Dubois (1762-1847) joined the dragoons in 1781 but left the service a few years later.  He rejoined soon after and by 1792 was lieutenant in the 16th Dragoons.  He served in the French Caribbean colony of Sainte-Dominque (modern Hispaniola) and then in the Vendée.  Like most French soldiers of his generation, he fought with Napoleon in Italy and then in the Prussian and Polish campaigns.  He fought at Eylau, as a major in command of the 5th Dragoons' elite company, and so distinguished himself that he earnt the praise of  no less a figure than Murat himself.  In 1807 Dubois transferred to the 7th Cuirassiers as their colonel and was appointed a baron of the empire the following year.  At the battle of Essling he had to assume command of his regiment's division, as all superior officers had been killed or wounded. In February 1813 he was promoted to général de brigade rank, in recognition of his regiment's performance at the crossing of the Berezina.  He seems to have been a brave and inspiring leader.

Milhaud's Corps provided support for D'Erlon's large attack on Wellington's centre.  Dubois' brigade appears to have been involved in the fighting around La Haye Sainte, initially to assist other cuirassiers who had had some success against Hanoverian infantry but have then been counter-attacked by elements of the Household Brigade.  Dubois charged into this melee and may then have also been attached by the Union Brigade as it charged into D'Erlon's infantry.  Apparently during this encounter the coloner of the 1st Cuirassiers had his epaulettes ripped off by a captain of the 1st Light Guards. It is not clear whether Dubois' brigade then took part in the later cavalry attacks on the allied centre or was sent to participate in the defence on Napoleon's right against the advancing Prussians.

So it seems that we don't know for sure whether Dubois was ordered to charge the allied square with the French cavalry in the late afternoon.  Which is a shame, as the Foundry figure here has a wonderfully angry expression, as if he's saying to his ADC "tell the Général de Division that I'm not throwing my command away by charging British infantry in square".  Maybe instead he's asking the ADC to ensure that the 1st Cuirassiers' colonel finds some new epaulettes.  The ADC, also from Foundry, is painted as a junior officer in the 7th Hussars, following a colour scheme in the Histoire et Collections French hussars book that is slightly different to the standard uniform for the 7th (I couldn't see a way of painting this figure in the more usual dark blue with light blue facings ADC uniform).  I'm assuming that there is no reason why a heavy cavalry general shouldn't have a light cavalry ADC, and the two figures seemed to go together quite well - Dubois is clearly rather agitated about something.

2 figures. Painted June 2015.


Monday, 3 August 2015

Général de Brigade Baron Pierre-Antoine Husson

Husson commanded the 1st Brigade of the 5th Division in Reille's II Corps.  I have all the infantry and artillery elements of Bachelu's 5th Division painted up, and needed command stands for Husson and Bachelu himself to finish it all off (the commander of the 2nd Brigade, Baron Campi, can be found here).  He was born on 21 May 1769 and joined the army in 1787.  He rose through the ranks, becoming a sergeant in 1791 and a sous-lieutenant the following year.  In 1795 he was a captain serving in the Army of Italy and in 1806 became colonel of the 111th Line in 1806.  He was made a baron of the empire in January 1808 and promoted to général de brigade rank in August 1811.  Husson died on 4 May 1833.  He appears to have had an impressive series of battles to his name, having fought in the Egyptian campaign and then at Jena, Eylau, Friedland and Wagram. In 1812, his brigade was part of Macdonald's X Corps and remained in Germany until after the retreat, and at some stage was moved to Danzig.  Husson and his troops held the city until the garrison surrendered to the Russians in January 1814.  He continued in some "desk jobs" after Waterloo, receiving promotion to général de division in 1826.

These figures are both from the Foundry range. There is a noticeable size difference between Foundry and Perry Napoleonic figures and so I'll have to keep them separate.  I put these two together because I thought Husson looks as if he's just let go of the reins to reach out for the ADC's despatch.  I like the faces on these earlier Perry-sculpted figures.  They are slightly more caricatured when compared with the smoother feature of later Perry Miniatures sculpts, but that style provides some excellent expressions.  When I finished this command stand I hadn't worked out that Hussons had just turned 46 at Waterloo, so making him one of the oldest brigade commanders.  I might add a touch of grey hair this evening.  This command stand has been on the "to do" list for literally years, given that I painted the last infantry battalion in the brigade at the end of 2011.  When I've based the Bachelu command stand I must take some photos of the completed division.
2 figures. Painted July 2015.   

Saturday, 1 August 2015

Current wip

I've fallen behind a bit, I'm afraid - real life, holidays, work etc; the usual excuses.  This photo of what's coming off my painting desk shows what I've been up to and why there's been a lull in posts.  My nod to the Waterloo bicentenary has been to work through my 1815 French lead pile and, in particular, to concentrate on painting up higher command stands for my current French army.  I needed one more brigade commander and a divisional command stand to finish off Bachelu's division from Reille's II Corps.  I already had figures for those, but I thought why not add Reille himself?  And if I'm going to buy the Perry corps commander's pack, why not paint d'Erlon as well given that his corps is what I'm looking at next, having already made a start on the 1st Division of I Corps. Lurking in the leadpile were various ADC and staff figures that I bought years ago for the Salute game but never painted.  So for the past few weeks I've been painting lots of Perry personality figures and other bits and pieces from a variety of sculptors (including a Mameluke band from Gringos40 - that should be finished in a couple of weeks).  I've already based a couple of command standss using Foundry figures - I'm hoping to photograph those either today or tomorrow.   But all the stuff on the photo above is sitting in the "departure lounge" next to my painting desk until I finish everything else, as that's when I will decide how the figures will fit together.  There will be two corps command stands, four division stands and a couple of brigade stands.  And the Mameluke band - every self-respecting Waterloo collection should have one!

Tuesday, 14 July 2015

Bastille Day

14 July is Bastille Day in France - happy felicitations to any French reraders.  So it seems appropriate to post some photos of my AWI French troops.  These photos were originally taken last summer as part of a potential project with a wargames company; but my 10-year camera lacks sufficient resolution (or whatever the technical term is) for the photos to be of top-notch publication quality and so they didn't make the cut.  But it seems a shame to waste them and I enjoy seeing the troops out of their boxes.  I've had photos published before - notably the deluxe "British Grenadier!" rule book, the third AWI scenario book from Caliver and a couple of  issues of "Battlegames".  I quite like the shots - it is supposed to be a French camp somewhere in the South.  The infantry are mainly by Perry Miniatures.  The camp followers etc are from Eureka's Revolutionary Wars range.  The buildings are by Tablescape and the flags from GMB.

You can see the individual units under the French label.  It's been a while since I painted French troops and I'm keen to do more, as they are very pretty troops.  I have a half-finished unit of chasseurs that needs polishing off (this is the unit above flanked by two individually based Eureka Miniatures officers).  The unit stalled because I lost one figure and it wasn't until Salute earlier this year that I finally decided that I'd never find this figure and so bought a whole pack just to replace it.  I'm intending to finish painting this unit next month.  I'll then do a unit of grenadiers and some more line infantry, and I have in the lead pile the various command figures that Perry released.  So at the moment I have 3.5 battalions of infantry and several skirmishers (who aren't shown here).  The figures are mainly from Perry Miniatures.  The singly-based officers, as mentioned, are from Eureka Miniatures' Revolutionary Wars range, as are the various camp follower sets. 

I've also added another label for the various "parades" I occasionally have of my collections.  The original AWI parades are some years old now so I should have a go at re-doing those, although I suspect each side no longer fits onto 1 table - the American forces in particular are much larger now than they were in 2008.  I did a parade of my 1815 French collection last year, but I seem not to have posted about it then for some reason; given everything I've painted since I'll have another session with my 1815 stuff at a later stage.

Was there a direct causal link between France's involvement in the American Revolution and the fall of the Bastille?  The cost of the war was one of the contributing factors to France's economic problems, which were a major cause of the French Revolution.  It is also sometimes said that men who fought in American returned home with new-found revolutionary fervour, but I expect it's easy to overplay that.  As it happens, I'm currently painting the Perry Miniatures sculpt of General Marcognet, a soldier who fought in America as a very young junior officer in the final stages of the AWI and by 1815 had risen to command a division in d'Erlon's I Corps.  I wonder how many other soldiers were present at Waterloo who had also been in the AWI.


Friday, 3 July 2015

Mahdist artillery

I'd completely forgotten about this little piece, which I painted a few months ago.  It's from the
Perries' Sudan range and is a captured Egyptian gun and crew pressed into Mahdist service. As you can see, there are 3 Egyptians and a rather aggressive overseer.  I assumed the Egyptians would be dressed in dirty white or off-white clothes, and I added a bit of variation in the colour of the shirts and trousers.  I also used some brown and yellow pastel powder to suggest sand, dirt and sweat.  Researching the colour of the gun was quite difficult.  Some sources suggested bare metal while others showed painted dark grey.  I've gone for the latter.  

The Sudan is one of those periods that I keep meaning to turn some serious attention to.  I have a mini-leadpile containing British infantry, hussars and naval types and from time to time I get the urge to paint some of them.  I based my Hadendowah, which I painted back in 2007/8 on large Gilder-style bases, which I sort of regret now as most ofthe rules I've looked at (such as "Black Powder") use smaller bases.  So at some stage I'll probably rebase these, which might be tricky given that I think I used greenstuff to glue the figures to the bases.  A couple of photos of the other pieces in my Sudan collection are shown below.  The buildings in the background are by Touching History.  Back in the days when Paul Darnell was still making stuff I bought a load of these Sudanese/Middle Eastern style dwellings together with a Mahdist fort.  
4 figures. Painted March 2015.

Sunday, 28 June 2015

Imperial Guard Engineers

I'm still photographing AWI bits and pieces so here is a small vignette of the engineers of Napoleon's Imperial Guard  (or to give them their proper French name, "le génie de la Garde impériale").  A small corps of engineers was created in 1804 as part of the Consular Guard and a 140-odd strong company of sapeurs was added in January 1811 to act as specialist firemen (apparently, according to one source, in response to a bad fire at the Austrain Embassy in Paris which).  These troops were initially part of the Old Guard, but as the corps expanded in numbers new companies were assigned to the Young Guard.  By 1814 the engineers numbered a complete battalion, of which the first company was in the Old Guard and the second to fourth companies were in the Young Guard.  The engineers do not appear to have ever fought together as a regiment.  As you'd expect for troops of particular expertise, detachments were used as required.  The corps numbered around 600 men at the time of Napoleon's abdication.  During the Hundred Days about 200 men were mustered to re-form the unit, of which just over a hundred appear to have been present in the Waterloo campaign under a Major Boissonnet.  The uniform was very similar to that worn by the regular army's engineers, save that the latter's shako was replaced by the brass helmet you see here.

These figures are from Gringos40, who have released a wide variety of figures in 28mm and 40mm.  Their Napoleonic range has various esoteric Imperial Guard types: mamelukes, Gendarmes d'Elite, the Marins and engineers, and a couple of personalities.    The engineers range has several poses, including skirmishing and marching figures and command.  I thought the figures you see here would make a nice little vignette to represent the presence of the engineers, perhaps being drafted in to ferry ammunition and powder to the Imperial Guard's artillery.  Whether these troops were actually present at the battle of Waterloo I don't know; I suppose they might have been off building or repairing a bridge somewhere.  However, these are nice figures and it seems a pity not to find a use them.  Gringos40 also do a sapeurs fire engine set which I must check out some time...

These are large 28mm figures.  From base to the crest of the helmet is 35mm and they look quite big side by side with Perry and (particularly) Foundry Napoleonic figures.  I thought about putting some more boxes and crates or barrels on the base, but then decided that would be too busy and, given the amount of "rear echelon" stuff I have for my French Waterloo army (with much more planned), I wanted to keep the base size of this vignette as small as possible.  As with my other Imperial Guard figures (who now have a new label all to themselves) I used the Foundry "French Blue 65" palette with a cheeky final highlight of "Deep Blue 20B".   More AWI next, I promise.

3 figures.  Painted June 2015.



Sunday, 21 June 2015

Espana Regiment - 1st battalion

It's been over 2 years since I last posted about the First Carlist War and over 4 years since I last painted Isabelino infantry (and this post has itself been gestating for a couple of weeks while I take and re-take photos; hence the gap in posts).  For the past few months I've been making an effort to deal with the leadpile - as a result I have barely bought any new figures during the past year or so, save some boxes of Perry plastic AWI infantry when they were released, the Ewart vignette and a couple of metal AWI packs and some Maori from Empress Miniatures.  Oh, and some Napoleonics from Gringo 40s that I'm currently getting to grips with.  That's certainly saved some money, and as wargaming chum Timmo says "hoarding unpainted figures isn't much of a hobby".  One aim of this year is to become "lead neutral" on a couple of periods, by which I mean having no unpainted units left to paint and a rule that anything new is painted as soon as it is purchased. My First Carlist War leadpile consists of some Valencian troops for the Carlists and some regular cavalry for the Isabelinos, so not a huge amount to get through.  (The other period I'm focussing on is the New Zealand Wars, with about 40-odd figures and a massive 24-pounder to get through.)  The FCW leadpile also contained enough figures for another Isabelino infantry battalion, and this is it.

The regular army battalions I chose to paint are determined solely by the flags that are available from Adolfo Ramos.  Information on the precise orders of battle for Carlist War battles is hard to come by and, in any event, are there are no distinctions between the regiments that I can discern it doesn't really matter which units one fields on the table.  A scenario needs three battalions from the Princesa Regiment?  Well, I have two already and I'll field the la Constitution Regt as the third; no one's going to complain.  I do try to make each regiment look a bit different.  The standard winter uniform for regular infantry was dark grey overcoats and trousers - I painted the La Constitution regiment like that.  But to make the Espana look different I gave the figures white summer trousers instead of grey ones and didn't add any mud splatter (which I gave to the Borbon Regiment which is otherwise similarly dressed).  If I ever get around to painting second battalions for these regiments I will continue the colour schemes of their first battalions.    

I don't as yet have any light infantry battalions for the Isabelinos, but with 6 regular line battalions and 4 other units, together with the British and French allied forces, I have enough loyalist troops for the moment.  In time I'd like to add second battalions to the Espana and La Constitution regiments and a third battalion to the Princessa.  However, in the meantime my Carlist forces need building up, as I only have 3 battalions and some skirmishers.  Next up on the blog are 4 new American infantry battalions for the AWI; then more 1815.   

24 figures.  Painted December 2014-February 2015.  Flag by Adolfo Ramos and barn by Touching History.