On parade: 40mm Napoleonic French


This is the second of two ‘On Parade’ articles featuring my 40mm Napoleonic figures.  This time we look at the French. These are a mixture of Perry Miniatures and Sash and Sabre figures.

The shako numbers indicate that these men are from the 85ème Régiment d’Infanterie de Ligne. I picked this particular regiment because back in 2005 my son and I were invited to participate with the recreated 85ème in a reenactment of the Battle of Waterloo.


Here’s my entire French contingent – a unit of grenadiers, and another of volitguers.











This is the last of the Napoleonic postings for ‘On Parade’. Next time I’ll be featuring  something completely different from my wargaming collection. See you soon!

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On Parade: 40mm British & Spanish Napoleonics


In my last ‘On Parade’ article I mentioned that the next posting would still be Napoleonic, but a little bit different. Well, here we are, and the difference is that these aren’t my usual 28mm figures.

Back in June 2008 I bought a few of what was then a relatively new line from the Perry Miniatures – 40mm tall Napoleonic figures.

I was impressed at the excellent sculpting, realistic posing and fine detail of these lovely models. Each figure seemed to have a character and personality of its own.


I eventually added a more figures by other makers (including some rather Sharpe-ish figures). These ranges included the Honourable Lead Boilersuit Company, Sash and Saber, and Trident Miniatures.

Sad to say, I never progressed any further in actually playing with these 40mm figures than in one test skirmish game. But truth to tell, many of my other wargaming units seldom get to face battle on the tabletop either, as I game so infrequently!

One issue that did emerge during our sole play-test with the 40mm figures was that they could only be used on a flat battleground. I had made the mistake of glueing them onto such light plastic bases that their height and weight caused them to become top-heavy, and they continually fell over at the drop of a hat.

But even though they haven’t been gamed with much, I really enjoy the look of these figures, and they form a treasured part of my overall model soldier collection.


In this first of two ‘On Parade’ articles about my 40mm collection, let’s look at the British and their Spanish allies.

By the way, the windmill in the background of many of these photos is a resin Grand Manner piece that really sets the scene for any Peninsular War game. The walls and fences are by Games Workshop (Warhammer). All these scenic items are actually designed for 28mm figures, but as you can see they work well enough for 40mm as well.

As usual, click on the pictures if you want to examine them more closely – but prepare to be shocked by my rather impressionistic painting style that looks good from a few feet away, but very messy when seen close up!

British light infantry





British 95th Rifles



Royal Navy


Spanish guerillas





The next ‘On Parade’ will feature my 40mm French collection. See you soon!

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On Parade: Napoleonic French carts, camps and cantinières

A French army on the march always had a long tail of camp followers. There were the wives and children of soldiers following their spouse or parent’s army from place to place. You would also find the many informal army service providers, selling goods or services that the military did not supply—cooking, laundering, liquor, nursing, sexual services and sutlery. And of course there were the ne’er-do-well soldiers, stragglers and walking wounded.

This latest instalment in my ‘On Parade‘ series shows the mini-dioramas that represent the camp followers of my French army. These are intended to add visual interest to the miniature battlefield, and would seldom take part in anything other than scenario-driven skirmish games.

A well-laden supply wagon trails the French army on the march. This is the Perry Miniatures model, sculpted full of baggage and even including an overflowing rack at the rear. The model can be assembled either with or without the canvas tilt cover. I’ve just left it unglued, so I can choose whether the wagon will be covered or not.

The wagon is driven by a soldier wearing a shako and greatcoat. He is giving a lift to a cantinière in the passenger seat. I’ve just blu-tacked these figures on so that I can remove them if I want to use the wagon for other periods. In this picture you can also see some of the Perry Miniatures civilians set.

Speaking of cantinières, besides the one hitching a ride on the wagon, I’ve got another two. The one on the left is from Foundry, whilst Warlord Games make the running cantinière. The latter’s donkey is tied to a convenient rail, and is even carrying a bunch of daffodils in its pannier!

This French campsite scene looks great placed as a decorative vignette on the table-top. The chap in a brown greatcoat looks like he’s returning to his campfire after finishing his turn of sentry duty. These figures all come from a set by Wargames Foundry.

The New Zealand company Wildly Inspired make a nice line of pack horses and donkeys. In this vignette two horses are being led by a Redoubt Miniatures recruit, or ‘Marie-Louise’ as the recruits were nick-named. He wears an over-large greatcoat with a rope belt, patched trousers, fatigue cap, and wooden clogs. His musket strap is made out of string.

At the right is a rather relaxed looking Foundry infantryman with two pack donkeys. One of the donkeys is carrying a body in a bag—there must be a great story lurking behind this model to drive a scenario-based skirmish game!

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On parade! Napoleonic French generals and staff


My series of ‘On Parade‘ postings continues, as I inspect all the wargames figures I’ve painted over the last 20 years.

Just like a real army, a wargaming army needs generals and staff. Most wargames rules  incorporate rules for commanding officers to lead and rally their men. Though that’s  a moot point for me, because my French army has only actually played a couple or so times since I painted these figures in the early 2000s – I’m more of a painter than an actual gamer!


Here’s Marshal Berthier, along with his ADC, Baron Lejeune. These are both Front Rank figures. Berthier (left) is a standard personality figure from their range. But his ADC started life as a model of a Chasseur à Cheval of the Imperial Guard, which I  painted in the highly individualistic uniform of Berthier’s aides. It is said that Berthier would allow only his aides to wear red trousers, and got very angry if he saw anyone else wearing this colour.


Berthier must’ve sometimes got angry with Marshal Grouchy though, as he clearly wore red trousers, as seen here! Grouchy is accompanied by a general in chasseur uniform. I particularly like these figures, as their colourful uniforms make a change from the more usual blue uniforms of the French staff. These are lovely 28mm Front Rank castings from their range of personality figures.

Behind them is a Perry Miniatures figure of an ADC in the act of mounting his horse – a rather unusual pose.


Here are some more of Front Rank’s range of wonderful personality figures.  On the left is Marshal Soult, wearing a cloak slung over his left shoulder. On the right is a general wearing his greatcoat, along with his ADC.


The group on the left in the above picture contains two figures by Essex Miniatures (one at the far left, the other obscured in the centre) and two by Wargames Foundry. The difference in style between these two manufacturers is obvious from close up, but is fine from the arms-distance at which you normally view wargaming figures.

On the right is a group of Perry Miniatures’ command figures. Marshal Ney is leaning on the map-covered table, with Soult and Drouot on either side.


This mounted general wearing a cuirass is produced by Wargames Foundry. I like the pose of this figure, and also of his horse – they go well together. The small road-sign at the back of the base is an out-of-production scenic item that used to be produced by New Zealander, Mark Strachan.


This is one of my favourite command stands. At the right is General de Brigade Chouard of the 2nd Brigade of Carabiniers. He is accompanied by an aide on the rearing horse. These are both Front Rank figures.


Generals of this period always need ADCs to gallop their orders round the field of battle. This nice mounted ADC came as part of Wargames Foundry’s French campsite set. His light blue arm-band indicates that he is the ADC to a General of Brigade. I based him as if he was asking directions from a couple of infantrymen.


The above-mentioned ADC also features in this picture of a busy French campsite.  There’s also another ADC galloping over the bridge on his important mission, and yet one more introducing himself to a pair of light infantry musicians.


Here’s the top man himself – the Emperor! OK, yes, I know, my army is far too small to be commanded by Napoleon himself. But there are just so many tempting models of him available, they’re impossible to resist!

For instance, this Foundry special set depicts Napoleon and his staff (many of the figures based on the famous painting by Vasily Vereshchagin of Napoleon at Borodino). You can see the Emperor sitting on a chair with his foot up on a drum. Behind him are clustered some of his marshals, including Berthier and his ADC in hussar uniform, Mortier, Grouchy, Victor and Ney (with his red hair).


Also depicted on this large command stand are Napoleon’s personal Mameluke aide Roustam Raza, various ADCs, and (obscured) a Chasseur a Cheval standing guard.


Here’s another of my Foundry Napoleons, this time based on the famous painting by David, Napoleon Crossing the Alps. As the setting is in the mountains, I have made a snowy base instead of my more usual grass and sand texturing. I used baking powder for the snow. I was worried this might cause cause unforeseen chemical reactions with my lead figure in years to come – but a couple of decades later it is holding out well!

The David painting is actually a strongly idealised view of the real crossing that Napoleon and his army made across the Alps. Napoleon actually made the crossing a few days after his 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!

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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.

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Napoleonic French cavalry on parade


Following on from the inspection parade of my Napoleonic French infantry, it’s the cavalry’s turn to be reviewed.

I painted most of these figures back in the early 2000s. You’ll see that some of them are painted in a simple block colours, because at that time I hadn’t yet learned how to use highlighting and shading!

As usual in my postings, you can click on the images to enlarge them.

12e Régiment de Dragons




We the undersigned, administrative council of the 12th Dragoons, grant this certificate of “Congé Absolu” to Pierre van Dooren, trumpeter of the 1st Company of the 2nd Battalion, born 13 February 1787 in Weert, Department of the Meuse Inferieur. Height 170cms, brown hair, blue eyes, round forehead, broad nose, large mouth, no beard, round face, passbook number 1447.

Colonel-President Binach, Chef de Brigade Delacpeine, Captain Ribet

Versailles 22.4.1814

When I found the above transcript of the discharge papers of my great-great-great-great-great-great-great-grandfather, Pierre van Dooren, I knew that I just had to have the 12th Dragoons in my miniature army. And one of the figures had to be a trumpeter to represent my ancestor.

Pierre entered the 12th Regiment of Dragoons on March 3, 1807, having left his hometown of Weert on February 12, 1807. With his regiment he was in Germany (1807- 1809) and Spain (1810-1813) before entering the final battle area in the northeastern part of France (1814). He was wounded in March 1814 and was recovering in hospital at Angers when Napoleon abdicated.

My miniature Pierre wears reversed colours from the other troopers (a crimson coat with green facings) in order to make him readily identifiable to his officers in this period when trumpeters might have to issue urgent orders in the midst of the smoke and turmoil of battle. He also has a white horsehair mane on his helmet rather than black, and rides a grey horse.

Of the twelve figures in my unit, two wear the bearskin hats and red epaulettes that denote the elite company, the equivalent of an infantry battalion’s grenadiers. The others have imposing copper helmets with black horsehair manes streaming out behind. The officer has a leopard skin turban round his helmet, whilst the troopers have brown fur turbans.

Because this unit is portrayed on galloping horses, I didn’t line them up straight on their bases. I have some horses racing slightly in front, while others lag behind. This gives a much more natural look to the speeding formation.

5e Régiment de Hussards



For as long as I can remember, whenever I think of Napoleonic uniforms, the flamboyant hussars come to mind first. So I felt it was important to include a hussar unit in my miniature Napoleonic army. I bought these Front Rank hussars second-hand, and was initially disappointed that they were depicted in campaign uniform rather than in their exotic parade dress. But the end effect is still colourful and evocative of the era.

I decided to paint my unit as the 5th Hussars, based purely on the colours of their uniforms (especially the white pelisse and the red shako). Like my other cavalry units, the horses are painted in oils rather than acrylics, which gives a much more natural look.

As these figures are wearing the post-1812 uniform with the tall round shako, I had to look for an 1812-pattern flag for the eagle-bearer. I couldn’t find such a flag online, so in the end I made my own by converting a Warflag image. Strictly speaking, hussars at this time did not take their eagles on campaign, so my unit is incorrect in having an eagle-bearer.

Régiment de Lanciers de la Vistule



These blue-coated lancers in Polish-inspired uniforms were part of the Vistula Legion which transferred to French service in 1808. In 1811 they became the 7th and 8th Chevau-Léger-Lanciers. Their most famous action was at Albuera where they charged Colborne’s infantry.

My 28mm Front Rank figures are wearing blue ‘kurtka’ jackets, except the trumpeter in reversed colours with a yellow kurtka. The square-topped hat, called a ‘czapska’, was typical of Polish units, both foot and mounted.

The miniature lances are from a New Zealand company – whose name presently escapes me. They are designed for ancient figures, so the lance-heads are not strictly accurate. However, they are strong – and very sharp!

The lance pennons are by GMB Design. The unusual flag is a home-made scan from a book by Terry Wise.

4e Régiment de Cuirassiers




These are the only plastic cavalry in my army. The figures are beautiful, as you would expect from Perry Miniatures.

Plastic allows finer detail than metal (the plastic scabbards, for instance, are very intricate indeed). On the other hand, the casting method used with plastic means some things can’t be done as well as in metal, the most obvious example on these figures being the in-fill between the reins. But overall the effect of the plastic is a much ‘finer’ look than metal, I feel.

Two different sets of arms allow you to have the figures either waving their swords in the air, or shouldering them – I chose the latter, except for my officer.

I used my normal black undercoat method. The horses were all done with rubbed oils. And the figures were painted with the Foundry three-colour system.

I chose to paint this unit as the 4th Cuirassiers in aurora facings. The Perry kit also included flags, which are very nicely done in an almost GMB-like style.

1e Régiment des Carabiniers



Usually I would not have an elite regiment like the 1st Carabiniers in such a small army. However, I could not resist these miniatures when they were offered to me at a very reasonable price as part of a second-hand deal. My initial plan was to paint them and then sell them, and with the proceeds buy a more appropriate cavalry unit. But with the time and effort I have lavished on painting my Carabiniers, in the end I couldn’t bear to part with them!

The two units of Carabiniers in the French army (so-called because they were armed with carbines when they were initially raised by Louis XIV) were considered the elite of the heavy cavalry. Until 1811 they wore blue uniforms with large bearskins. My models depict the later white uniform, complete with copper-plated cuirasses and elegant Grecian-style helmets.

I did the cuirasses and helmets using the same technique I use on gun barrels. I left the metal bare, which of course meant I couldn’t use spray undercoat as I usually do with my figures. I then brushed on and rubbed off GW Flesh Ink. Finally I highlighted the cuirasses by dry brushing them with metallic gold paint.

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My Napoleonic French on parade


Continuing this series of postings in which I inspect all the wargaming figures I’ve painted over the years, we come to the largest army in my collection – the Napoleonic French.

‘Valeur et Discipline’ – valour and discipline. These words proudly emblazoned on their flags, the soldiers of Napoleon’s Grande Armée marched and fought their way right across Europe in a series of bloody wars during the first decades of the nineteenth century.


In the early 2000s I began painting my own miniature Grande Armée for playing wargames. When I put lined them all up this week to photograph them for this posting – the first time I’ve ever had the whole army out at once – I was astonished at just how many I had actually painted!


In this posting we’ll take a look at the most basic component of any army, namely the infantry. The cavalry, artillery and guard will be covered in later postings. Remember that you can click on the pictures to enlarge them to their full glory!


There’s a very eclectic mixture of units and time periods in my army. Unlike many wargamers, I do not follow a historical order of battle when selecting units for my miniature armies. Instead, I go for the units that will look the best in my display cabinet and on the wargames table, by choosing those with the most interesting or colourful uniforms and flags.


The above picture must be reminiscent of the enemy’s view of a French column bearing down on their lines, preceded by swarms of skirmishing voltiguers.

Following is just a small selection of the infantry regiments in my French army.

9e Régiment d’Infanterie de Ligne


As French infantry regiments of the Napoleonic period tended to wear very similar uniforms and carried flags that differed only in the wording, my selection was often based on the more colourful uniforms worn by the “têtes de colonne” (heads of column) – the drum-major, drummers, musicians and sappers who marched at the head of the column (as in the 9e Régiment d’Infanterie de Ligne using Front Rank miniatures shown above).


I decided to go the campaign dress way, as I thought they would look less rigid than all in full-dress. But I also threw in a few men in full-dress to add even more variety. So you’ll see some of my soldiers wearing patched multi-coloured trousers (one even has pink and blue stripes), and others with breeches and gaiters. They wear all sorts of headgear – shakos (a few with cords, others with cloth covers), bicornes, bearskins (with and without plumes), bonnets de police, and even a couple with no hats at all.

85ème Régiment d’Infanterie de Ligne


The Perry regiment above has an even greater campaign look. Each soldier is an individual, some in soft pokalem hats, others in shakos, some dressed in great-coats, and others in habit-vestes. I added even more variety by painting the greatcoats in different shades of grey, beige and brown. I had even more fun adding a patch or two, and even some ripped knees on the trousers.


Actually, there’s a story to the above regiment. Back in 2005 my son and I were fortunate enough to take part with the recreated 85ème Régiment d’Infanterie de Ligne in a reenactment of the Battle of Waterloo. So it was only natural that I chose to portray this regiment.

inf_perry_20190210_212128 (2)

The overall look I wanted was for a couple of tightly-packed ranks, followed by a supernumary rank of officers, NCOs, drummers and even a wounded straggler. I think this looks more realistic than putting those kinds of figures in the main ranks, which is what I’d done up till then with all my other units. It might mean a few more figures to paint per battalion, but not too many, especially with judicious use of lying wounded figures, which can take the space of one complete file.


Perry Miniatures produce a set of casualty figures, which I have incorporated into my regiment. An officer caught swinging round as he is hit is one of the nicest figures I’ve ever seen, despite the morbid subject matter.

Infantry in waistcoat order


As they were the main player in the Napoleonic Wars, any company that produces a range from that conflict has to include the ubiquitous French infantryman. But there is sometimes a certain sameness about many companies’ offerings – full dress uniforms, or campaign uniforms that are only barely different.

So when I saw an advertisement for a new range of 28mm French infantry who were not only in campaign uniform, but also wearing waistcoats rather than the more normal jackets, my interest was piqued. So off went my order to Companion Miniatures.

These figures aren’t just in their scruffy white waistcoats, but they also feature lots of different types of headgear, including covered shakos (some with neck-cloths), head-scarves and fatigue caps, civilian bicornes and straw hats.


The command figures included an officer, NCO (who is wearing clogs!), standard bearer, second eagle bearer, sapper and drummer.  They are not in waistcoat order like their men, but I think this is probably quite realistic. The colonel is mounted on a donkey, which is a decidedly different touch.


I noticed an odd thing while I was painting the Companion figures – some of the faces came out looking like famous people! Can you see former British Prime Minister Harold Wilson, “Young Ones” star Nigel Planer, and actor John Thaw from “Inspector Morse” and “The Sweeney”?

Sadly, the bad news is that the company Companion Miniatures, to my knowledge, no longer exists. A real shame, as their figures were beautiful.

The Kapiti Fusiliers


The two battalions above also have a story behind them. They’re the Kapiti Fusiliers Regiment. Never heard of the Kapiti Fusiliers Regiment? Well, that’s not surprising really, as it only exists in miniature. Read on, dear reader, and learn more …

It was ‘Fusilier’ Mike MacGillivray (an American member of the now-defunct Friday Night Fusiliers YahooGroup) who started it all, when in 2004 he posted:

“What if we collectively selected a line(s) of miniatures, each painted representations of ourselves … and forwarded them to New Zealand HQ, so that a ‘miniature battalion’ could be put created and based … to be used in Napoleonic wargames, and designated as ‘The Kapiti Fusiliers’.”

This proposal met with an enthusiastic response amongst the Fusiliers. Before long, we had enough companies to form not one, but two battalions of the Kapiti Fusiliers. They were painted by Fusiliers Michael MacGillivray, Mark Case and Phil Roberts (USA), Mark Temple and Chris Kendrick (Australia), Eric Veitl (France), and Peter Haldezos, Scott Bowman and Roly Hermans (New Zealand). A truly international regiment!

The Kapiti Fusiliers Regiment first ‘saw the elephant’ on 16 June 2007 in the Battle of Segensburg, the first in a short series of battles in a mini-campaign. The various recruiting sergeants from far and wide across the world were pleased to hear they behaved very bravely. The second battalion was so well-painted that a Russian regiment was so overcome at their finery that they took to their heels before contact was even gained – or at least that’s what we’ll believe was the cause of the rout!

Although the Kapiti Fusiliers Regiment is barracked in my display case, they don’t really belong to me, but to all the Friday Night Fusiliers who contributed.

15ème Régiment d’Infanterie Légère


French light infantry considered themselves a cut above their brothers in the line infantry. Their uniforms, with blue trousers, lapels, cuffs and turnbacks, were were often further embellished with fancy epaulettes and tasselled gaiters. I loosely modelled the above light battalion on the 15ème Régiment d’Infanterie Légère, using Front Rank miniatures.

The musicians of the ‘tête de colonne’ are dressed in very colourful uniforms.  There’s also a black musician is wearing an exotic oriental costume and carrying an instrument called a ‘jingling johnny’.


I’ve got another battalion of the 15ème Légère in my army, but wearing campaign-style uniforms rather than full-dress.


The second battalion’s large green and red plumes and short hussar-style boots are packed away. These are again long-gone Companion Miniatures, so sadly you won’t see their like again.

Rest and relaxation


As someone famous once said, an army marches on its stomach. And here to provide some of the sustenance (though the French generally had to live off the land) are a couple of cantinieres of the 15ème Légère.

The donkey cart is a New Zealand-made product from an old company called Wildly Inspired, though I have changed the medieval wheels for Hinchcliffe limber wheels. In the background is a wonderful supply wagon made by Perry Miniatures.


Finally, it’s not always battle – there’s also time for my miniatures to relax and chat, as these Perry figures demonstrate!

Next posting we’ll look at my Napoleonic French cavalry.  We’ve also got artillery, generals and the Guard still to come as well …

See my previous ‘On Parade’ postings: