Phew, this was quite some painting effort: sixty-six privates, along with four NCOs, three officer, two ensigns, and three drummers – a total of 78 figures!
They depict Le Régiment des Gardes Françaises, an infantry regiment of the Military Household of the King of France under the 18th century Ancien Régime.
These Gardes Françaises will join my ‘imagi-nation of the Barryat of Lyndonia (which featured in Wargames Illustrated 385, Nov 2019). I just have to come up with a good back-story of why they are there!
My favourite figure in this unit has to be the stately officer saluting with his hat. Crann Tara Miniatures have really excelled with the sculpting, anatomy and posture, perfectly conveying the image of the archetypal 18th century gentleman officer.
I’ve painted this unit almost entirely with GW’s Contrast paints. These worked beautifully, flowing well and providing shading with no effort from me. Just look at the officer’s stockings, the wood of the muskets, and the men’s faces – this shading all happened by itself!
Behind the ranks you can see (left) an NCO keeping his men in place with his spontoon, (centre) the colour party carrying the splendid flags of this regiment, and (right) the mounted colonel – he’s actually a borrowed Minden Miniatures general, but he’ll do as the colonel at a pinch.
At the left of this picture there’s another NCO marching along carrying his spontoon. In the centre are the three drummers, wearing their intricately laced uniforms (a real challenge to paint!).
Here’s the massed effect of the whole battalion in line, officers to the front, NCOs to the side and rear, drummers on the flank.
The unit looks pretty impressive when the camera pans along the whole line, with its frontage of nearly half a metre.
… and here they are from the rear, flags fluttering and the colonel commanding his men from horseback.
Before I based these figures, I arranged them for a photo-shoot to recreate my favourite military painting, Henri Félix Emmanuel Philippoteaux’s The Battle of Fontenoy, 1745: The French and the Allies Confronting Each Other. You can see more pictures of this recreated painting here.