Have you ever happened to pick up a miniature you painted many years ago, but which you’ve hardly taken any notice of since, and examined it afresh? That happened to me today when I was clearing a wall-shelf in preparation for some house repairs we’ve got coming up. As I was moving a group of rather dusty figures off the shelf, this 28mm model of Napoleon drew my attention.
A handwritten note underneath the base informs me that I painted this figure (made by Wargames Foundry, if I recall correctly) fifteen years ago. Since then, I’ve walked past the shelf where it sits numerous times every day. But only today have I actually picked the figure up again and studied it carefully through new eyes.
Speaking of eyes, back in those days painting eyes was probably my biggest problem area. I mean, jeepers, creepers, look at those peepers! He’s like something out of Thunderbirds! Nowadays I only hint at eyes with a wash of a darker shade, rather than trying to paint them in detail.
The figure is based on the famous painting of ‘Napoleon Crossing the Alps’ by the French artist Jacques-Louis David.
This painting is a strongly idealised view of the real crossing that Napoleon and his army made across the Alps through the Great St. Bernard Pass in May 1800. In reality Napoleon made the crossing a few days after the troops, led by a local guide and mounted on a mule. However, as this painting was first and foremost propaganda, Bonaparte asked David to portray him mounted calmly on a fiery steed.
Sort of a Tinder profile vs reality!