Friday, 9 October 2015

Mameluke Band

Napoleon's Mamelukes need little introduction.  Upon his escape from Elba, Napoleon ordered the reformation of the Mamelukes, to consist of one squadron to be attached to the Chasseurs of the Guard.  Sources appear to disagree on whether this squadron fully materialised and, if it did, whether it was actually present on the Waterloo battlefield and, if so, in what capacity.  120-odd Mamelukes may have charged with the Guard Chasseurs...we can't say for sure.  If they did, it's highly likely that the men were French rather than Turks or other men of Asian origin.   

These rather lovely figures are from Gringo40s, who have a small range of off-beat Imperial Guard types (I recently painted some of their engineer figures).  The also do Mamelukes and I believe Lithuanian Tartars are forthcoming.  The Mameluke figures are on a mix of walking and charging horses.  The walking figures include various musicians and I thought it would be fun to put together a small band.  The figures aren't cheap - the kettle drummer costs £5.95 and the other ones are £4.50 each, but I think they are beautiful sculpts and make a nice little vignette.  The other figures in the range include a "normal" drummer, an eagle-bearer, a standard bearer and a charging trumpeter.  I wanted the kettle-drummer to be centre stage, and thought another drummer figure would look a bit odd so I bought the cymbalist and the chap with the "jingling johnny".  This Asian instrument was used by Ottoman armies from the 17th century and made its way into European bands in the mid-1800s.  Apparently it is still carried by bands in the German Army and the French Foreign Legion.

For uniform reference I used the Osprey MAA on the Mamelukes and the relevant volume of the Histoire et Collections series on the Imperial Guard.   I didn't want the figures to be identically uniformed, but I used the same general scheme of red trousers and light blue to tie them together.  I decided to paint each of the horses as slightly different greys, given that the riders are all musicians.  The horses are all in the same pose, although the kettle-drummer's horse has more furniture and ornamentation.  By 1815 it seems that most, if not all, Mamelukes were actually Frenchmen, but I decided to use the Foundry "Mediterranean Flesh 125" palette to suggest some sort of different skin tone.  These were fun, if complicated, figures to paint.  The sculpts have lots of detail which makes them somewhat fiddly to paint, but I'm pleased with how they turned out.  Did Napoleon have a Mameluke band at Waterloo?  I've no idea, but if some Mamelukes were there I'm sure they would have had some musicians...

3 figures.  Painted August 2015.

 
 
 
 
 

9 comments:

AJ (Allan) Wright said...

Amazing work! Trivia question, what's more colorful than a Mameluke squadron? Answer: The Mameluke band! If you're looking for something striking to paint, these guys are it! About the only thing that compares would be Polish renaissance winged hussars possibly. Lovely work Giles. The colors are appropriately vivid and of course your usual stellar brush work and shading. Quite a show piece. This is the type of unit you could enter into a painting competition and just blow the socks off the other entries.

ColCampbell50 said...

Great work, Giles. You can almost hear the symbols clashing and the drums beating.

Jim

Phil said...

Colorful and very impressive, stunning job!

David said...

Those are excellent figures enhanced by your excellent brushwork, Giles! Pricey, as you say, but well worth it.

Lord Hill said...

Fantastic! Lovely figures and beautiful painting.

Dalauppror said...

Impresive paintwork!

These would Win any battle, just play a tune and the enemy would run ;)

Andy McMaster said...

Lovely stuff, Giles!

Simon Jones said...

Fantastic work.

All the best
Simon

Stefan (aka. Monty) said...

What excellent stuff!
Reminds me that I have two of those on my lead mountain...