Napoleon’s Old Guard 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 Napoleon’s famous Old Guard. These were painted in the early 2000s.

For a long time I had resisted the temptation to add some units of the Imperial Guard to my miniature army. After all, the guard would not have been present with such a small force. But, in the end, the glamour and colour of the ‘grognards’ of the Imperial Guard won me over, and I eventually succumbed!

Grenadiers à Pied de la Garde Impériale


If I was going to do the Guard, why not start at the very top – the Foot Grenadiers of the Imperial Guard. These are the soldiers everyone thinks of when you mention the words ‘Old Guard’ – big bearskins, red epaulettes and plumes, long blue coats with white lapels.

I selected Front Rank figures for my unit of Foot Grenadiers. These miniatures seem to be based on the famous Detaille painting of a grenadier on guard duty, as they are in an identical pose.

The command figures for my unit include two drummers, a sapper wearing a white apron, a standard bearer holding a GMB Design flag, and a mounted officer.



2e Régiment de Chevau-Légers Lanciers de la Garde Impériale


I have also painted a cavalry unit for my Imperial Guard contingent. Being of Dutch heritage, it was impossible for me to choose anything other than the famous Dutch Lancers, often known as the Red Lancers, but correctly titled the 2nd Regiment of Light Horse Lancers of the Imperial Guard.

I chose to model my lancers at rest, rather than my more traditional charging cavalry pose – this was because I feel the lances look better upright than thrust forward. The pennons are by GMB Design, who also produced the flag.

Most French light cavalry units didn’t carry their eagles into battle. But my philosophy is that I want all my units to have an attractive flag and eagle. As my figures spend most of their time in the display cabinet anyway, they could be said to be depicting the regiment on parade at their home depot, rather than on campaign!


By the way, the Parisian buildings in the background of some of the above photos are not wargames terrain. They are in fact rather expensive collectible miniature buildings from a range called Gault. My wife and I bought them as souvenirs during our honeymoon in Paris in the late 1980s! They are low-relief buildings, and far too small in scale, but still make nice photo backdrops, n’est-ce pas?

Visit my previous ‘On Parade’ postings:

19 thoughts on “Napoleon’s Old Guard on parade

  1. You have done a truly magnificent job on both these Guard units, but the infantry in particular are outstandingly detailed – great work Roly!

  2. A lovely series and these units top it nicely. I was admiring the backdrop buildings way before you mentioned them, thank you for the explanation. I’ve played a few historical refights where the Guard has appeared as a Corps and would recommend it if you love big Napoleonic battles. They can be very powerful if not properly matched against worthy opponents, see my latest blog post for an example

    1. Umm … no, they haven’t made the table often – in fact, hardly at all. I’m afraid that, despite collecting wargames armies, I don’t actually game that often.

  3. Roly ,
    On french TV they informed that in french town LYON , an association had been created to sell 14.000 dresses and uniforms of various centuries . In fact it is the collection of someone who is too old to continue collecting . Dresse had been used for movies . Price of a jacket of 1830 is 150 euros , trouser is 45 euros . They have real spare for WWI and WWII . Do you want me to reseach more about this association ?

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