On parade! 18th century French guards and grenadiers

Having previous inspected the French and foreign infantry in my eighteenth century French army, we now come to the guards and grenadiers.




These Gardes Françaises were the first Front Rank figurines that I ever painted. I still recall how surprised I was at how easy the job was made by the fine sculpting of the models.


The Gardes Françaises were part of the King’s Royal Household. Their uniform was quite ornate, compared to normal infantry uniforms. For instance, the belt slung over the soldiers’ left shoulders was lined with lace.


I have always admired Phillipotteaux’s famous painting of the Gardes Françaises at the Battle of Fontenoy (see my more detailed posting about this painting), so I determined to paint my soldiers as shown in Phillipotteaux’s work, rather than from other sources which differ somewhat.


The flags for my minature regiment are by GMB Designs. I added white cravattes made from paper. All French regiments had these tied to the top of their flag staffs.

Note also that I painted the officers with red stockings rather than white gaiters (as shown in the Phillipotteaux painting).

My Gardes Françaises regiment can also change identity if required! If there is no call for guards in a game, then I can easily change the flags to those of the Ecossais Royal (Royal Scots). The uniforms of these two units were vaguely similar, so they can pass as one another near enough.




“As fierce and terrible fellows as I ever saw”, remarked a British eye-witness about the Grenadiers de France at the Battle of Minden in 1759.

The four brigades of Grenadiers de France were composed of the former elite companies from several disbanded regiments. Their blue and red uniforms with the black bearskin hats give them an imposing appearance.


In the early 2000s I obtained quite a few miscellaneous Front Rank grenadier figures in a bulk second-hand deal, so it was only natural to paint them up as this very distinctive unit.

My next posting will cover the light infantry. And don’t forget to visit my other On Parade! postings, in which I’m gradually doing inspection parades of every army in my wargaming collection.


I hope I've given you something to think about - please do leave a comment with your thoughts or reactions.

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