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.


 

 
 

12 comments:

Phil said...

Very nice Giles.
Also like the building.
Phil

Ken Reilly said...

Nice piece

Heinz-Ulrich von Boffke said...

Agreed Hard to go wrong with crested helmets.

Best Regards,

Stokes

Silver Whistle said...

A wonderful addition to your collection Giles, superb painting as always.

paulalba said...

Lovely Giles, that final blue highlight really brings the uniform to life! So there are now large 28's around!

Simon Jones said...

These are very nice and a great addition to your army.

Joaquin Mejia said...

There is a color print of these troops on the first stages of the Waterloo campaign. They are clearing a barricade set up by some Prussians jaegers rear force. It´s in one of the new Campaigns books from Osprey.

Oriol said...

Great vignette. I nice addition to an army

DeanM said...

Very nice - I like the dark blue uniforms, as well as the cool helmets.

David said...

Fine work, Giles!

Phil said...

Fantastic poses and excellent paint job!

Christopher(aka Axebreaker) said...

Marvellous work yet again Giles!

Christopher