Monday, 25 January 2021

Napoleon (2)


This is the Napoleon in Egypt personality set from Brigade Games.  Perry Miniatures don't have a Napoleon figure in their Egypt range, presumably because the range is more orientated towards the British intervention after Napoleon's departure in August 1799.  Before Christmas I put in an order with Brigade Games to take advantage of a sale and to buy some of their new(ish) AWI figures, and I couldn't resist this set and a couple of other Egyptian campaign things.  I was going to blog next about my recent ACW units but thought I'd just finish off these French bits first.  This is my second attempt at Napoleon, after the rather massive piece I did for a Salute Waterloo game many years ago (see here).  I won't both with any sort of potted biography of Napoleon, even one limited to the Egyptian campaign, but rather will post some observations on the paints and colours I used, in case of interest, and some inspiration.      

Back in 1799 Napoleon was 30, trimmer and fitter than at Waterloo.  His Egyptian adventure captured the imagination of French artists, and Jean-Léon Gérôme painted three depictions of Napoleon in Egypt which show a young man who is quite different to the corpulent Emperor of several years later.  Gérôme painted a number of middle eastern scenes and had travelled in the region in the 1850s.  His three best known Napoleon paintings are below.  These are very atmospheric paintings, a long way from heroic battle scenes like the work of Horace Vernet, for example.  Commentators have noted how these paintings are quite psychological, with Napoleon seeming deep in thought or contemplating some aspect of his destiny (there's a good analysis of the second painting here).  I found these quite inspirational. 

Napoleon in Egypt, circa 1863

Napoleon and his General Staff in Egypt, late 1860s

Bonaparte Before the Sphinx, 1886

I had to re-find the paints I'd used for the Dromedary Corps vignette.  The base coat was Citadel XV-88, then various layers/touches of Tau Light Ochre, Bestigor Flesh, Ushabi Bone and Foundry "Base Sand" and "Boneyard" paints.  I had to look up the colour of Napoleon's hair, which apparently was dark brown (I had thought it was black).  

Uniform information was sourced from the Osprey MAA and the first volume of Charles Grant's "Napoleon's Egyptian Campaign".  Those books suggested that the uniforms of the high command were often adapted at the whim of their wearers, particularly the hat plumage.  The chap with the telescope is supposed to be a general de brigade (hence the light blue sash) and the mounted figure is a general de division (hence the red sash and plumage).  I tried to paint as much decoration on the camels' saddle cloths as I could without over-cluttering.  The cloths on Napoleon's saddle are sculpted such that there's a lot more cloth on the left of the figure than the right, so the pattern looks a bit uneven.  I wasn't entirely sure what sort of animal the skin on the horse was supposed to be, but a leopard looked appropriate.  I had originally intended to place a few bricks and perhaps a bottle cork at the back of the base to suggest some ruins, but decided that would look too busy.  So I'm sure more could be done with this set to jazz it up, but I'm pleased with how it came out and it didn't take long to do.          

3 figures, 1 horse and 2 camels.  Painted January 2021. 


David said...

Those are very fine examples of your great brushwork skills Giles.

Marky Mark Melbourne said...

Great start to 2021 Giles!! Top shelf work as always, and appreciated the link to your earlier version of Napoleon. I hadn't looked at that post for many years now and enjoyed re-visitsing it!!

Stryker said...

Great work - I also enjoyed the link back to the Waterloo version!

airhead said...

Love a good camel Giles, great brush work. Keep up the good work, all the best Airhead

Neil said...

I love Brigade Games and they are usually my go to for my hobby needs in the States. Lon Weiss and crew do a great job. Oh, and by the way - great painting and vignette!

Doc Smith said...

Only just saw this Giles - glad somebody else has also been bitten by the French in Egypt bug! I tried the same vignette last year (and posted on Doc's Art of War blog) but used a few more figures to go with the Brigade ones. I do like your camels - nicely decorated indeed! I've just finished building a French Armee l'Orient (using both Brigade and Perrys) and really enjoyed it. Thoroughly enjoyed your posts on the same!

Cheers, Doc