My Napoleonic French artillery on parade


Continuing my series of postings in which I’m undertaking an inspection parade of all the wargames figures I’ve collected and painted over the years, we now come to the Napoleonic French artillery to support the infantry and cavalry. These were mainly painted between 2002 and 2008.

The artillery contingent of my Napoleonic French army consists of three batteries, each with two artillery pieces.


These Front Rank figures are painted in the blue uniforms of the Foot Artillery, though I have given a couple of the gunners different coloured trousers to indicate campaign conditions.

I found the best way of representing the bronze gun barrels was to leave them unpainted metal, but rub on and immediately wipe off several coats of brown ink. This eventually stains the metal a bronze colour, as well as picking out the cast-on detailing.

The gun carriages are painted dark green, with the metal work done in black and then dry-brushed with gun-metal silver. I had a few spare rammers and other tools, so I’ve glued them lying on the base underneath the guns.

One of my only criticisms of the superb  Front Rank gunners is that they are hard to arrange on their bases performing the same part of the loading and firing sequence. Thus you have the gun being loaded, but meanwhile one gunner is just about to touch the linstock to the vent!


When I later added a Perry Miniatures Foot Artillery 6-pounder battery to my army, I was pleased to find that they sculpt sets of gun crew all performing a particular part of the sequence. The result is a lively action-packed base where you can tell exactly what’s happening at that frozen moment in time.


Front Rank make this wonderful set of Horse Artillery of the Line, with the gunners in full dress, complete with huge red plumes and lots of braid. These lavish uniforms are fun to paint, and certainly look dramatic on the table.


My artillery only has one limber model, mainly due to the expense of such intricate models that are ultimately not much use for wargaming purposes.

This is an old Hinchcliffe limber that I bought second-hand many years ago, but which then sat unloved and unpainted because I felt the figures didn’t match the look of my armies. But in 2014 I decided to paint it just to see how it would turn out, and was pleasantly surprised.

I kept my painting fairly simple, as the figures don’t really have much detail. The figures are also smaller and slighter than my Perry and Front Rank armies – but by adding a higher base than my normal style, this isn’t too obvious from a distance.

The horses also had rather odd anatomies, with very slender and high-slung bellies But once painted, this didn’t seem too noticeable either. On the other hand, the horse harness is simply superb. And the easy method of attaching the traces is something modern companies could emulate.

Previous ‘On Parade’ postings:

11 thoughts on “My Napoleonic French artillery on parade

  1. Very nice as always Roly – I agree with you about limbers, caissons, water carts etc – although there is a school of thought that says they SHOULD be there, because they take up X amount of room, and that space should be filled with something, otherwise maneuvering the guns becomes unrealistically simple – but I don’t subscribe to that view – after all, the emphasis in Wargame is on the Game – we are not at Sandhurst or Westpoint! Having said all that, I have two of the same model by Hinchcliffe plus a truly ancient Minifigs one purchased 40 years ago!

    1. Yes, I’ve seen pics somewhere of a miniature battery with all its paraphernalia. The depth of the whole unit seemed almost bigger than its width.

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