After a rather long hiatus in my painting activities, caused by not being able to recreate the sheer euphoria of painting figures for the WW1 Chunuk Bair diorama during the first half of the year, I’m now finally back in the saddle again, as it were.
I’m working on a large unit of 28 Minden Miniatures French hussars to accompany my imaginary Barryat of Lyndonia army.
To fill in those who don’t know about the Barrayat of Lyndonia (ie nearly everybody in the world!), it is an imaginary nation – or ‘imagi-nation’ – I’ve created for my wargaming army, based on the Stanley Kubrick movie, Barry Lyndon.
The Barryat does not recruit its own army, but instead contracts regiments from other states in Europe – which provides the backstory to allow me to mix and match whatever real-life nations’ units I wish.
Here’s my painting board. So far, the hussar riders have been undercoated in black, and are just being tested for how they’ll fit alongside each other when their horses are attached in pairs on pre-cut bases.
You might be able to see that I’ve also converted one officer to hold a standard – hussars didn’t normally carry standards, but, hey, this is an imaginary army!
Also visible in the above picture are a couple of my previously completed Prussian dragoons, and various small items I’ll paint at the same time as the hussars, such as a Minden French general and some Brigade sailors, as well as a few miscellaneous bits of baggage.
A few of the wonderfully energetic galloping Minden horses, showing the results of my oil-based horse-painting technique. This entails spray-painting the horses with rust-coloured car primer, then painting on black or burnt sienna oil paint, and immediately rubbing it off again with a tissue so the rust primer shows through – quick and dirty, but effective!
Now, the big question, which I still haven’t answered for myself, is which French hussar unit I’ll paint these up as? At the moment I have the following two options in mind.
Le régiment des hussards de Bercheny
The Régiment des Hussards de Bercheny was one of the regular hussar units of the Ancien Regime. Like the other French hussar regiments, they were clothed in light-blue. Their distinctive colour was red, as can be seen in this anonymous painting Le régiment des hussards de Bercheny en marche, vers 1752-1763 [Photo (C) Paris – Musée de l’Armée, Dist. RMN-Grand Palais / image musée de l’Armée].
You can also see that the Bercheny trumpeters were dressed in brown coats with green turnbacks.
These aren’t mine! This picture is only to show the look I would strive for with my painting of these figures. These Bercheny Hussars were painted by noted British wargamer and author, Charles S. Grant, the picture coming from Jim Purky’s Der Alte Fritz Journal blog.
I like this colour scheme, one of the nicest of the regular French hussar regiments. However, the standard French hussar light-blue is coincidentally also the colour I painted my one other cavalry regiment for the Barryat of Lyndonia, the Prussian Truchseß dragoon regiment. Ideally I would like some more variety in my imaginary army.
Les Chasseurs de Fischer
The Chasseurs de Fischer were a volunteer corps of both foot and cavalry, established in 1743 by a former officer’s valet who made a reputation for himself guiding other valets in and out of the islands of the Moldau River.
I really like their uniform of green and red, as depicted in this great old print of one of the mounted chasseurs, entitled Frankreich. Fischer’scher reitender Jäger. 1743 (French Fischer’s mounted chasseur) by Richard Knötel.
Here are some exquisitely painted flats from Crogges’s My Seven Years’ War blog from Germany. Though in my case would prefer the shabraque (horse cloth) to be red rather than green, more like the Richard Knötel picture above.
The Minden figures are also cast with the fleur-de-lis insignia on their sabretaches (bags), whereas the Chasseurs de Fischer had a device with three crossed fish – but maybe at this scale that won’t show too much.
This is also the only picture I’ve been able to find that shows the uniform of a Fischer trumpeter (French hussar trumpeters wore entirely different uniforms from the rest of the unit).
So, choices, choices! You’ll just have to wait and see which way I go …